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Tech 2012

December 27, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

As we approach the end of the year I think it is time to ruminate on tech trends and to speculate on where things are heading for 2013. Generally I think the trends of this year will continue and there is not likely to be anything new or revolutionary appear next year. Of course predictions by experts are notoriously unreliable and there might be something totally unexpected happen that I haven’t thought of, but that’s what makes working in IT so much fun!

Anyway, here are my observations on the year which I think will be an indicator of where things will continue next year…

The year has been an interesting one for computers and information technology in general. It has been one where the new trend towards use of non-computer devices, such as tablets and smart phones, has accelerated while traditional devices have become less relevant. And cloud services have became more important as mobile devices became more widely used.

Android devices make up the bulk of the numbers of these new smartphones and tablets but, as is so often the case, Apple have continued to lead the way and show everyone else how it’s done. I think Android will be the most widely used platform for these devices in the immediate future but Apple will always be the best.

I personally find Android OK but it’s so far behind iOS in terms of pure usability that you wonder whether it will ever catch up. Maybe it will be like the PC and Mac situation now: OSX is much better but Windows is OK for those who either don’t care or who are prepared to put the extra effort into using and maintaining their computer.

There are three news stories I have read recently which back up my opinions and might indicate where things are likely to go next year, especially for Apple…

The first is that Apple achieved its highest ever US smartphone market share for the quarter with 53.3% of the market, mainly thanks to the release of the iPhone 5. This shows that Apple is still very competitive despite the quite good hardware available from other manufacturers like Samsung. Predictions that the vast numbers of Android based devices would destroy Apple seem to be somewhat different from the reality.

Things aren’t quite so good for Apple in the rest of the world – the iPhone was beaten by the 61% share of Android in Europe – but it is still a very significant brand. And it’s also important to realise that most iPhones are used a lot for their smart features where many Android phones are almost unusable as smartphones and are really nothing more than fancy feature phones.

Another interesting story involved the rapid evolution of the iPad. After the surprise release of the iPad 4 (I know it is really just called the iPad, but I’ll stick with this naming) there are now rumours that an iPad 5 isn’t too far away. Apple will need to keep moving quickly to stay ahead of the opposition and an unfortunate side effect of this is that older iPads will become obsolete quickly.

Again it looks like iOS versus Android will be the big battle here because no one else (see next story for details) seems to be selling many devices. And again Android will represent the most common but inferior platform and Apple will be out ahead with superior design and innovation but at a premium price.

The final story involves Microsoft’s Windows 8 and how sales are disappointing. Most commentators have been saying this for a while but Microsoft have insisted that sales are good. It seems that the Microsoft propaganda is just that: propaganda. The problem in a market area where people just want something that is good enough (rather than brilliant) is that when they have something which is just good enough (Windows 7) why would they change (to Windows 8)?

So the big problem for Microsoft is that their traditional area of strength is becoming less relevant. Even the corporate market, which is always the least innovative and open to change, is likely to move to more mobile devices in the future. Microsoft have joined this trend late with their tablet product and they also might have taken the wrong approach.

Microsoft have tried to create one OS which does everything: Windows 8 runs as a desktop and laptop OS as well as a touch OS for tablets. In contrast Apple have built a different OS optimised for the two different functions. iOS is built specifically for touch devices and OS X for computers. Both approaches have their advantages and time will tell which will work. I think it’s clear that the Apple approach provides a far superior user experience but that isn’t necessarily the most important thing to many corporate users, so Microsoft’s approach might still be successful.

The fact that WIndows 8 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet devices have not sold well doesn’t bode well for Microsoft, especially as iPads and Android tables continue to sell in great numbers, so I suspect Microsoft’s recent slide into obscurity will continue. Never mind, they still have the Xbox. At least they can still beat Sony, but who can’t do that? Oh how the mighty have fallen!

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  1. December 27, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Wow, I was interested to hear what you had to say until you said this:

    “Android devices make up the bulk of the numbers of these new smartphones and tablets but, as is so often the case, Apple have continued to lead the way and show everyone else how it’s done. I think Android will be the most widely used platform for these devices in the immediate future but Apple will always be the best.”

    That last sentence makes you a moron. You used the words ‘will always be’ as if this was possible. gah! I have a G2 and an iPhone5 – trust me, the G2 is much more intuitive. One button means the screen (which is small-ish already) is wasted on soft buttons. You, sir, are a moron fanboi.

    • ojb42
      December 27, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Yikes! A moron eh? That’s a bit harsh! Just my opinion and one shared with many others. Clearly a certain degree of subjective opinion involved however.

      • December 27, 2012 at 6:18 am

        Well, you used those words: ‘will always be’ …. rules are rules. When you use those words, you get to wear the moron label.

      • ojb42
        December 27, 2012 at 6:20 am

        I did make it clear at the start that predictions and opinions should be treated with caution. You certainly should apply this rule in relation to my blog posts which can be somewhat controversial!

  2. December 27, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Okay, I’ll just come right out and say it… it’s sarcasm! albeit a bit pointed, but sarcasm just the same. No matter where I am, who I am with, if I can start a fanboi war… I’m in LOL You used those words… them is fighting words, damnit!

  3. ojb42
    December 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

    OK. Sarcasm is saying one thing while meaning the opposite. Does this mean you agree with me or not? You do prefer Android to iPhone as far as the user experience is concerned or not?

  4. ojb42
    December 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Strangely enough it was using a G2 which convinced me about how horrible Android was. The user interface is a shambles. However, as I clearly said in the original post, that is my opinion so I accept your contrary opinion as also having some degree of validity :) Both iOS and Android have their strengths and weaknesses. It depends very much on your requirements. But I must reiterate that the majority of experts agree iOS is far more polished and elegant than Android.

    • December 27, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Have you tried to use iTunes on windows? Really? That thing is more like a virus than a piece of useful software. Don’t get me started on the group think that believes one button for five fingers is a useful engineering design. Every car, no matter how basic has multiple multifunction input devices on the steering column, yet you will say that Apple has the best design. Wow!

      You still don’t get this do you? I’m deliberately trying to provoke the fanboi in you….

  5. ojb42
    December 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I have heard several people say iTunes isn’t good on Windows. Oh well, now you know how Mac users feel having to use that hideous Microsoft travesty of a word processor called Word on a Mac! I agree not every Apple product is perfect, I just think they are better than most others. Apple mice have had multiple buttons for many years now. The best way to answer an attack of is sort is to take the higher moral ground and offer reasonable responses as if the whole thing actually matters! :)

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