5 big tech stories to look out for in 2012

I saw a joke going around recently … according to tech-experts at Apple, 2012 is actually 2011S. Rather funny, considering I just got myself an iPhone 4S a week ago. It looks and feels exactly like the iPhone4. I upgraded from the iPhone 3GS, so it was a big shift for me, but it really does look the same. Hopefully 2012 will be a little more exciting than a rehash of 2011.

So what do the big giants in the Industry say is going to happen in 2012? Firstly, I suppose, we have to acknowledge that the Euro is still under threat and the United Kingdom is set for a double-dip recession. I think that’s going to affect major tech-releases as people are going to turn over their pennies before spending them.

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The good news, however, is that the money-scarcity actually may propel tech-research further…if money is tight, people want value for money and that means companies are going to have to push the boundaries a little further.

A large focus with tech is still going to be around mobile. Web-designers are creating mobile-friendly sites; marketers are focusing on mobile technology… So what should we watch out for?

1. The release of the Apple iPad 3
First on the list, and having been on the rumour mill since October, is the imminent release of the iPad 3. It was scarcely a year between the release of the iPad 1 and the iPad 2, so technically the iPad 3 is a little late in the game. I’m not exactly sure what Apple will be changing though, perhaps a new camera with a flash? The rumour mills also suggest a retina display. That being said, the iPad is coming under some fierce pressure from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and I’m sure Samsung will fling something into the mix.

2. The Samsung vs Apple Wars continue
Apple and Samsung are strange bedfellows. It seems that while a large percentage of the iPhone and iPad are being produced by Samsung, Apple continues to sue Samsung for infringing on its patents. Samsung counter-sues for infringement. Already the Samsung Galaxy Tab may not be sold in some EU countries. And while Samsung is trying hard to undo the judgements, it’s pushing for the sale of Apple products to be banned in South-East Asian countries, most notably South Korea (the home of Samsung).

3. Microsoft and Nokia take on the Smartphone Market
Speak to anyone and they’ll all admit to owning a Nokia phone in the past, most notably in the indestructible Nokia 3310, but since the surge of smartphones since the release of the iPhone2G in 2007 it seems Nokia has always been on the back-foot. I predict Nokia is going to give a last push in 2012 to regain some of its past Glory Days.

Why it decided to partner up with Microsoft for the operating system is beyond me as I would have thought Android the more logical choice, but the Finnish giant has made the call and decided to run with it.

It has a long uphill battle as the smartphone market is now dominated by Apple and Android. Will the marriage between Microsoft and Nokia be enough to sway people back? I’m not so sure.

4. The end of RIM?
BlackBerry creator Research In Motion (RIM) has seen its dominance in the smartphone market shrink in large margins. The appeal of “BBM”, the near-free communications for BBM users, and the eat-all-you-can internet service has been the saving grace to Blackberry, especially in emerging markets. And perhaps that’s where RIM needs to put its focus? These days, emerging markets like South Africa and Malaysia are among the few countries in the world where BlackBerrys actually still dominate.

The share price for RIM has dropped 77% over 2011 and earlier announcements of a delay on its new operating system (Version 10) until at least the end of 2012. Such a setback could signal the end of BlackBerry altogether.

5. A Steve Jobs-less Apple
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Steve Jobs has left Apple with a few years’ worth of research up its sleeve, but it will be interesting to see how new Apple CEO Tim Cook is able to fill the large shoes left behind by Steve. Their management styles are very different, and 2012 may show the “unbundling” of central power. Steve Jobs was notorious for micro-managing research.

I do so hope that we’ll also see Steve Jobs’ pièce de résistance in 2012. There are rumours about an Internet TV floating around, but whatever it is I’m quite sure Steve Jobs had a game-changer planned. The iPad changed the way we interact online. Websites are being redesigned for tablets and even companies like Dell are looking at ways to get out of the Desktop PC market.

The new year is going to be a good indicator of what the new Apple will look like.

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