2011: Looking back, looking forward

2010 was a busy year for the IT industry. We look back at our highs and lows or the year and look forward to what we hope will happen in the coming 12 months.

Although the new version of Apple's Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X Lion, isn't due out until sometime in summer 2011, it was announced back in October 2010 so I'll moan about it here.

As a long-time Mac user, I always look forward to new Mac OS X releases. Previous versions have steadily added new and useful features that I've quickly adopted, but I doubt this will be the case with Lion.

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The features announced so far are underwhelming. The new Mac App Store will also be available for Macs running the current Snow Leopard version of Mac OS X. There'll be a new way of launching applications with the iOS-style Launchpad, but do we really need yet another way of opening programs? We already have the Dock, Stacks and Spotlight to name but a few. Mission Control is a tool for organising windows.

Although it's difficult to tell without trying it out, it looks like a refined version of the existing Expose and Spaces features.

I don't envy developers of long-established software. Trying to entice existing customers to upgrade while pulling in new users can't be easy. Although I'd like to be proven wrong, Mac OS X Lion might be so underwhelming, it could be the Mac operating system that I'll skip installing on my home Mac in many years.

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Hope for 2011

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It's hard to get excited about ports unless you're a geek. Although USB3 finally started appearing in PCs during 2009, the lack of integrated support in Intel's laptop and desktop chipsets, limited its appearance to niche PCs and motherboards aimed at enthusiasts.

USB3 is old news though. Intel is already working on its potential successor, Light Peak. USB3 has a theoretical top speed of 4.8Gb/s but Light Peak should reach a speed of 10Gb/s making it twice as fast as the already very speedy USB 3.

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