We’ve had the smartphone boom, and the tablet armada is busy conquering all corners, but where’s the next big tech explosion going to come from? And who will set it in motion?
If you’re an avid tech watcher like me, 2012 was rather like watching the Christmas episode of Eastenders – everything appeared to be new, but deep down it was all the same old stuff given a fresh coat of paint.
Microsoft was the only company to launch anything genuinely new in the form of Windows 8 and its Surface RT tablet, or ‘Microsoft Surface with Windows RT’ to give its full (stupidly long) name.
Truth be told, Windows 8 and Microsoft’s much-touted ‘touch revolution’ is more of long-distance runner than a 100m champion. It may pick up pace in 2013, but a launch founded on the idea of a tablet ‘that can do stuff like Word, Excel and PowerPoint’ was never going to set hearts aflutter – unless your heart beats very slowly and sensibly. A tablet that costs more than an iPad has to do more than that to convince me to switch sides.
Mobile and tablet wars diminishing
Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung (and Google) continue to wage an increasingly boring war in the mobile and tablets space. Putting aside all the patent shenanigans, it’s increasingly looking like a race to the bottom – as evidenced by the excellent Google Nexus 7 tablet and Apple’s response, the iPad mini. This is all par for the course – once a market is established, it’s a process of evolution with very occasional spikes in innovation along the way.
So will 2013 be another year of evolution, or is something *genuinely* interesting going to happen?
The smart money is on Apple’s oft-discussed TV set – it doesn’t take much intelligence to make this particular prediction:
- Everyone keeps on talking about it, so you can hardly call it a well-kept secret.
- Apple’s been responsible for the last two ‘big things’, so why not another?
- Both Tim Cook and the late Steve Jobs (via his biographer) revealed Apple’s intense interest in TV.
Taking these points together, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in the making. Or is it?
Watch this space for Apple TV
For me, the idea that Apple will waltz into the TV market and take it by storm is a fanciful dream. That’s because designing a good looking box (or television) won’t get you anywhere. There’s no money to be made in selling dumb boxes and TV sets – ask any TV manufacturer and they’ll tell you it’s a hard sell these days.
No, content is where the money is and guess who owns the content? Here’s a clue – it’s not Apple. It’s more than likely that whatever Apple is cooking up involves serving up TV content in a new and innovative way, but to do so it needs TV and film studio partners to play along.
What’s more, Apple is arguably behind the game a little. Yes, it has Apple TV already – a neat little box if you want to stream films and TV or use Netflix – but it’s hardly alone. Indeed, in a rare reversal of fortunes, Microsoft is better placed than most thanks to its Xbox 360 console, which already has live TV courtesy of Sky in the UK. And since we’re on the topic, do you seriously think Sky, Virgin Media and their ilk across the world will roll-over for Apple?
I believe the next big thing will involve TV – it’s overdue a serious rethink. But it’s going to be a dirty, messy war for supremacy with few true victors, apart from (hopefully) you and me.