One of the trends I see in development is the structure of the programming languages. Although the trend is not new, the required skills for job placement are. The iSeries was once a solid RPG or COBOL platform. RPG is a column-based language, but it has not attracted the developers needed to continue its run. RPG IV was enhanced for several reasons, but the trend in RPG IV is to move away from the "old RPG" constraints. You need only to look at the expanded "IF/DO" statements and now the "Free Form" statements. This trend will continue down the path it already has traveled.
Another trend for the iSeries is the move to Java. IBM has worked hard to get Java to run on the iSeries. With VB.NET adapted by Microsoft, this may become the new "battleground" between developers. Although Java has been around for a while, Microsoft has a large following of developers and vendors.
As for IBM's handling of the iSeries, until there is "an iSeries in every pot" they still need to work better at selling them.
Senior programmer analyst