IDC 2010 Forecast: Apple's iPad Arrives & Frenetic Tech M&A

The end of the year is approaching, and market research firm IDC today came out with its annual list of Top 10 Predictions for the technology market. The forecasts, working on the themes of “recovery and transformation,” include some surprises.

IDC researchers foresee the number of applications in Apple’s (s AAPL) App Store tripling to 300,000, but TheAppleBlog today says that number is too low. It’s predicting half a million apps will be available — “minimum.” IDC also sees the much-rumored iPad tablet arriving from Apple.

Among other predictions, IDC expects the rate of growth in the number of Android applications to outpace iPhone app development, with fivefold growth next year. The research firm is also bullish on cloud computing:

Cloud computing will expand and mature as we see a strategic battle for cloud platform leadership, new public cloud hotspots, private cloud offerings, cloud appliances, and offerings that bridge public and private clouds.

[related-posts align="right" tag="Mobile"]That last forecast — that hybrid public/private cloud deployments will pick up steam, is rapidly gaining traction among analysts. IDC also foresees enterprises helping drive “a watershed year in the ascension of mobile devices as strategic platforms for commercial and enterprise developers,” with over 1 billion mobile devices accessing the Internet. And it predicts “a frenetic pace of M&A activity” returning to the tech market next year, driven by changes in the IT industry.

Here are other predictions from today’s report:

  • Growth will return to the IT industry in 2010. IDC predicts 3.2 percent growth for the year, returning the industry to 2008 spending levels of about $1.5 trillion.
  • 2010 will also see improved growth and stability in the worldwide telecommunications market, with spending predicted to increase 3 percent.
  • Emerging markets will lead the IT recovery, with BRIC countries growing 8-13 percent.
  • Public networks — more important than ever — will continue their aggressive evolution to fiber and 3G and 4G wireless. 4G will be overhyped, more wireless networks will become “invisible,” and the FCC will regulate over-the-top VoIP.
  • Rising energy costs and pressure from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference will make sustainability a source of renewed opportunity for the IT industry in 2010.
  • Business applications will undergo a fundamental transformation — fusing them with social/collaboration software and analytics into a new generation of “socialytic” apps, challenging current market leaders.
  • Other industries will come out of the recession with a transformation agenda and look to IT as an increasingly important lever for these initiatives. Smart meters and electronic medical records will hit important adoption levels.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.