If 2011 was anything to go by 2012 is going to bring new innovations in every aspect of technology, social media and the way we perceive the world. Here are a few technological events that defined 2011 for me….
2011 saw Apple continue its market dominance and passed Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable corporation, even with the death of its enigmatic leader. Everywhere you looked this year, Apple seemed to have the golden touch.
From the mobile market where Apple launched the new iPhone 4S with Siri, the voice controlled feature that everyone wanted, pulling in 40 percent of smartphone revenues, nearly 65 percent of the sector’s profits.
Through to the PC and iPad markets, with PC’s selling up to 13 percent of the market share and iPads a whopping 75 percent, nearly 50 million units by the end of the year. The pace didn’t slow down either with the launch of iCloud making device interconnectivity easier for the user, the iPhone and iPad’s increasingly downloaded Apps, with October seeing the 60 billionth song sold on iTunes, never mind opening more and more Apple stores worldwide. Even in death Steve Jobs sells with his book being the number one best seller on Amazon for 2011. While the company is at the top of its game, one wonders whether this will carry through into 2012 with the loss of their charismatic, volatile, mercurial, creative genius? Jobs was driven to seek perfection in his company’s products through simplicity, and ease of use through elegant design both inside and out, will Apple manage to continue this trend?
August 2011 saw Google’s Android capturing 48 percent of the smartphone market, according to the Canalys Report. Successful Android-based products include vendors such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei, as catalysts for the platform’s growth. The market gap between the Apple and Android tablets is slowly closing, in 2010 the market share was 83.9 to 14.2 percent respectively, while a small percentage sat with other vendors. However in 2011 this gap is now 68.7 to 19.9 percent, respectively. Will Android begin to dominate the market share in 2012? Projections from Gartner show that by 2015 the market share will be 47.1 to 38.6 percent, so watch this space.
The Social Networking Boom
Wikileaks began the year with revelations about the US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, then the information on what American Diplomats had been writing home about was revealed. The Arab Spring made the world aware of just how powerful, on the political front, social networking and mobile devices could actually be. With demonstrators holding up placards with Twitter hashtags in Tahrir Square starting the online media frenzy of information, then came the Tunisian conflict, with the government initially not realizing the significance of Facebook or Twitter and Mubarak’s complete internet shut down once they did. With some hackers setting up a “phone to tweet” system enabling Eygptian’s to dial an international number and record a message that was then broadcast as a tweet. But every disconnected day meant a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for those running businesses there, with most just happening to be some of Mubarak’s Generals, so the country hastily rejoined the networked world. Lybia saw similar media frenzies with ordinary people on the street sending through messages, videos and blogging about their ordeals, with Gadhaffi’s final moments being recorded and broadcast with a mobile phone. The Syrian conflict continues and moments in history are being broadcast live across the world via social media streaming. When we think back to wars lost and won and how initially media correspondents would put themselves in harms way bringing us broadcasts via satellite phones, then we would watch in horror at live broadcasts via satellite and now we are witnessing, not via the press, but the everyday people on the streets involved in these conflicts “then and there” via modern communication tools. Our perspective on war, on the people (not the soldiers or politicians), on the destruction, has changed and the truths behind these events can no longer be hidden as in the past.
The Facebook phenomenon continues, starting the year with 500 million users and finishing with over 800 million, it is the worlds largest social
network. Every day, Facebook users comment or press the “like” button more than 2 billion times and upload more than 250 million photos. Analysts estimate that the network’s users post 30 billion pieces of content every month. However, it has brought to the forefront the issue of privacy and just how much information users do not know is out there about themselves. Facebook’s policies, more than any others, seem to be driving the discussion of privacy in this new age. And so it should be, with new features such as the Timeline, where all your information will be available from birth to date, to sharing exactly what you are doing at a specific moment in time with your friends, very little will be left to the imagination about your life. As Facebook prepares for a much-anticipated public offering, which could come in the spring of 2012, the company is eager to show off its momentum by building on its huge membership.
The Paperless eBooks
eBooks have certainly also introduced us to a paperless more environmentally friendly format to reading books. Many are not fans yet, but when you think of just how many trees can be saved along the way with the Amazon Kindle or downloadable books for the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and other tablet devices, then not paging through a book makes a lot of sense. With smaller thinner versions of these in design, the idea of carrying a small light weight device is much more appealing than a big hefty book which will be discarded or gather shelf dust. Easy to download, read what you want when you want, add audio recordings, visuals and the movie of the book, the idea of eBooks becomes extremely appealing.
2011 can be defined as one of the most interesting technological years, will 2012 hold as many new advancements for us? I don’t think the pace is going to slow down, if anything it will grow more frenzied, with more to watch, read and participate in.
What defined 2011 for you in our ever changing ICT world?