News is already buzzing about the new Facebook smartphone which is rumoured to be making a release, sooner rather than later. While it’s generating a lot of interest, the big question is, will it sell? I predict, probably not, and for some very fundamental reasons.
As a gadget freak, I’ve pretty much got every gadget going, but when the iPad came out, I genuinely didn’t know where it would fit into my life. Sure, it’s great for magazines and newspapers, but was that worth €500? What I have found however, is that the iPad does fill the role traditionally my notebook held; an ultralight portable which I use to write articles and work on, out of the house. While my MacBook Air now only leaves the door when it needs to, instead being more of a desktop.
I love my iPad, and with the iPad 3 rumoured to be fast approaching, Apple is still on a high in the tablet market, controlling the lion’s share of sales, and having turned around what was seen as a ‘cool concept but impractical’ and roundly plundering the netbook market it’s brought us a handy and cool way to consume media anywhere. But as Apple created the smartphone and slowly lost it’s majority market share, the iPad will do the same and 2012 will be the year the Android tab, took over.
Apple’s revolutionary and iconic iPhone is still seen as very much ‘the’ smartphone, however with Ice Cream sandwich and more and more sleek Android devices coming on the scene, it’s now seen as the high-end niche phone. While the iPad continues to dominate the tablet market, we’ve seen some interesting contenders over the past year, from the Sony S to the Galaxy Tab. Most interestingly perhaps, is the Kindle Fire.
While nowhere near the iPad in terms of specs and features, the Fire is cheap, handy and takes advantage of the trusted Amazon marketplace. Shipping over 1 million units each week in the run up to Christmas, cheap Android tablets may see the iPad taking a similar place to the iPhone. The Fire’s big advantage is that people shop so regularly on Amazon, they’re already set up on every service they need, and know and trust these offerings from the online retail giant.
Up until now, Android has been hampered by endless updates and a slew of devices, which have had serious hardware problems (Motorola Xoom, Dell Streak and many more), making the iPad the simpler, more refined choice. However, with Ice Cream Sandwich being a very much more refined and simple OS than previous Android versions, and high-profile companies like Sony, Samsung and Amazon getting involved, we’re beginning to see a new generation of devices which appeal to the mass market, while carrying a certain style of their own.
One big thing that Android allows is customization of its OS, unlike Apple. Companies like Sony have added in Playstation features to appeal to the large gaming market, while Amazon have added their own Film, Music and book store to take advantage of their huge customer base. While iOS does allow some of this through various apps, the simplicity and appeal of having these natively cannot be under-estimated in their appeal to consumers.
The iPad certainly isn’t going into obscurity, much like the iPhone it may lose out on its overwhelming market-share, but it will very much so, still be seen as the best on offer while Android continues to mature. The mistake industry people tend to make is to label something as an ‘i-killer’ when in reality, no single Android device can kill the iPhone or iPad, but the flood of low to high-end options can. What this means for us, the customers, is a wide range of tablets getting better and better, with more features with every release.
If you downloaded the Apple 12 Apps of Christmas, then you’ve been lucky enough to have your phone stocked with some great apps, games and music (One Direction, swoon!). But for me, one app really stood out. Not being much of a gamer, Snapseed was my by far favourite, and an absolute gem in the app store crowd. This handy photo editing app allows you to edit images into any style you like, bringing amateur photography to a whole new level, which Instagram can’t even touch.
The Nokia Lumia 800 is due to shortly hit our shelves here’re in Ireland, and might just hit out heartstrings. Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 handset is seen by many as the ailing mobile giant’s last chance to turn it’s luck around, as well as the clock and rise to the top of the league again. It’s not an easy task, that’s for sure. We’re all getting pretty comfy with our snazzy iphones and androids, so it’s going to be tough to woo people away and back to what is still seen as ‘the old reliable’.
With Apple’s conference confirmed on the 4th October, and the iPhone 5 all but a certainty, just what can we expect the new CEO Tim Cook to unveil to us? Here’s some of what we can be expecting from the conference next week.
The iPhone 5 is largely expected to undergo some kind of redesign in terms of the hardware. While it’s expected to look very much the same as the iPhone 4, the internals are expected to address the hazardous antennae issue which gave Apple so many headaches not long ago among other things which aim to generally give the new iPhone a bit more Oomph. Some speculation over the thickness of the handset has arisen, suggesting that the actual handset will be thinner and lighter than previous models. There has also been some comments over the phone’s screen size which is expected to increase to match the growing displays from rivals like Samsung and HTC. Personally I think Apple did well with the iPhone 4 in terms of design, it’s a usable size with little weight and feels good to hold so I can’t see any hugely outlandish overhauls in this field.
Some of the internal changes however aside from the antennae fix, will be big ones. It’s expected that thus iPhone will be made even faster, getting rid of the already short lags present in the current range of iPhones. It’s expected that with the larger screen, Apple will need to invest in much punchier processor power as well as some updates to the excellent Retina Display. Another internal change which would be welcome is the inclusion of an NFC chip, which would allow for contact-less payments to be made. Google already allows this in their own Nexus handsets, and last week activated the feature allowing people to pay for items with Google Wallet, through their smartphone and it’s expected that more and more Android handsets will begin carrying this soon. With PayPal already working on their own apps it makes some sense to do this. But we’ll have to see, Apple tend to wait until a method is more tried and tested.
There has also been some discussion around the possibility of the new iPhone being 4G, I personally don’t really see this as being a major deal breaker, most people won’t have anything above 3G connection and really don’t care much about 4G. So while this might be a bit of Future-proofing on Apple’s part, like the Thunderbolt connection on the new MacBook Air, it’s really not something to get excited about yet.
It will be an intersecting presentation, marking the first major product launch that Jobs hasn’t helmed. iOS5 will also be released to customers in and around, which looks set to add a host of new features to the iPhone. I for one, won’t be buying the new iPhone, I think the iPhone 4 with iOS5 will be able to do much of what the iPhone 5 will be packing.