The next BIG thing!

So with iOS 7 coming, Key Lime Pie on the horizon and Windows 8.1 all looming I was wondering what could make, or break their respective releases...

For Apple, the thing that will make or break them over the next year or so will be the following, the displays need to be a bit bigger, seriously, that screen may have been ok last year or even the first half of this year but not for any longer. The screen needed become massive or 'phablet' size but similar in size to the Galaxy S4 or HTC One would be great. The current iPhone 5 screen is just too small now, its true, deal with it.  iOS 7 is out in Beta 6 guise and we'll look at it a bit closer later on in this piece, Apple needs a winner, already 80% of smartphones sold over the last 6 months were Android, that's massive, with Apple only getting 14%, and it has more to do with the UI experience than Apple realise, its not just due to Android phones covering the market from corner to corner with different priced options.

The ever increasingly informed (and opinionated) Consumers want, nah, demand a certain level of flexibility, control and customization options that iOS just doesn't offer any longer. So is iOS 7 a worthy overhaul, well yes and no, 'yes' where it doesn't really matter and 'no' where it does matter, I'll explain, the majority of the changes are aesthetic and visual (3D effects, new icon designs etc.) with a few design tweaks here and there, but in terms of functionality very little has changed (still no 3rd party file sharing, no user definable default apps, no widgets etc). And come on Apple its 2013, no trace typing or auto correct on the keyboard yes its amazing that Apple still hasn't cottoned onto this yet, these keyboard related functions and others offered by Android keyboard apps like SwiftKey and Swype, the Apple keyboard was wow in 2007, but things have moved on since then but the Apple keyboard hasn't... For me the biggest of these is the widgets, how Apple can ignore the user orientated and functional awesomeness of widgets is beyond me. When I look at a iPhone 5, the look, the feel is identical to what I had on my iPhone 3, come on... I'm not talking revolution here but evolution that goes beyond making mere visual orientated changes and design 'tweaks' and focuses on adding meaningful functionality, not being able (only through 3rd party apps) to Bluetooth a photo or file to another OS is so 'childish' in its efforts to be controlling, its laughable.

iOS 7 is like a 'pretty'd' up version of iOS 6 with the emphasis on transitions effects and layers...I don't think it will turn Apple's declining sales and market share around, the iOS needs a revolution (cos Apples' idea of evolution is meek, predictable and safe, and not orientated to technological reality of now).  Apple is in 'safe mode', trying to legitimise its current approach rather than realizing that its not the leader anymore and must adapt, in the past Apple was the proactive manufacturer, the trend setter, the revolutionary, but it ain't any of those anymore, problem is it still thinks it is, it's not and it needs to realise it quickly. "People do not want to be controlled by the Apple ecosystem, they want to control the ecosystem based on their needs", realise this Apple and you could swing things around.

For Android, I reckon they'll keep on taking over the world, there are little detail orientated 'things' that are not perfect but overall the OS offers so much of what people want in terms of  flexibility, control and customization options, with so many differently styled and spec'd phones the Android army of Google, Samsung, Sony, HTC et al. have nothing to fear... But they could end up being their own worst enemy as the existing markets get saturated and efforts to continue the unsustainable growth could be fraught with self destruction tendencies. Also, as the growth in certain markets slows other markets will open but the marketing strategies will need to be different and how to sustain all these different socio-economic contexts will be arduous for sure.

For Windows and Blackberry its simple your time is nigh, I cannot see you surviving another 2 years, Windows mobile may limp along for a bit longer, I foresee them stagnating  at around 5% of mobile phone market share, unless something drastic happens. I just don't think Microsoft should be involved in Phones or Tablets, they'll keep trying and maybe they up their market share to 5% but in the end they are a victim of their own inefficiencies and poor understanding what consumers want, Microsoft is full of bright tech savvy people who make big assumptions about what people want instead of actually finding out from consumers...

I thought and hoped the Blackberry 10 would resurrect RIM, the Z10 and Q10 are well made handsets, but after trying Blackberry for 2 months (had a Q10) all I can say is that as good as the phone is (well made, love the keyboard/touchscreen combo, great camera) the OS is so buggy and frustrating, head over to Blackberry's forums and its a train-smash I tell ya, so many things in the OS not working properly, too many bugs etc. Blackberry had an opportunity but messed it up by rushing BB10 OS to market. If it had been 5 years ago they may have got away with it but these days with Android and iOS so smooth and reliable (very few bugs) AND the fact that many new Blackberry users came from Apple or Android to try out BB10 on a Z10 or Q10 meant that we were immediately frustrated by a host of functionality issues and OS bugs that we hadn't experienced in Android since maybe the days of Froyo. Blackberry NEEDED BB10 to be a lot smoother, reliable and less buggy than what it was and still is.

Mobile phone manufacturers and OS developers need to realise that the consumer is changing, both in terms of want they want and how they want it, consumers are increasingly better informed and more empowered in terms of what they want from their phones, its not the manufactures and developers setting the pace any longer, its the desires, wants and needs of the users...

Author: Jonathan C. Diederiks

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