There were many developments in technology in 2012 with some good and some bad. Here’s a brief rundown on 10 of the most impactful tech-related events of last year.
iPad Mini Launch
The relevance of the iPad Mini launch was less about the device itself, which presented an underwhelming screen resolution and little in features beyond a smaller screen, and more about Apple entering the small tablet market. Apple recognized the loss of market share and challenges it faced with competition from the Amazon Kindle line and Google Nexus tablets. Despite Steve Job’s assertion that a tablet smaller than the traditional iPad was foolhardy, Apple has attempted to enter the market with the iPad Mini.
The new features and layout are an ambitious attempt to drastically upgrade the aging software and integrate touch and tablet technology but the results were underwhelming. The Microsoft Surface runs on the new software but requires that users go through a cumbersome, unintuitive process to switch between tablet and desktop modes. This highlights many of the shortcomings of the software itself. Many reviewers feel it was rushed to market and presents itself as unfinished and clunky. Maybe they’ll get it right in 2013.
Amazon Reigns Supreme
Amazon continues to build its ubiquitous marketplace and stranglehold on eBooks with the success of its Kindle e-readers, the upgrades of its devices, the improvements to its supply chains, and the launch of successful e-publishing programs like KDP and Kindle Series. All have further cemented Amazon’s status as a retail and technology giant in 2012.
Apple’s 6.0 & Apple Maps
For a company that is known for its user experience and cutting edge technology, Apple sure fell on its face with its upgrade of the iPhone and iPad OS. Apple has since reinstated Google Maps in the App store and upgraded the software but not before letting two of its top iOS execs go.
John McAfee’s Weirdness
The security software mogul and multi-billionaire has seemed to taken a turn for the worse in terms of his sanity. The bizarre developments of the last couple of months exceed the amount of space in this article. Suffice to say that the thrill-seeking tech giant is now embroiled in extradition battles and is listed as a murder suspect.
Facebook Goes Public
The much maligned CEO of the largest social media site in the world gave shareholders even more reason to question his motives and abilities as the mismanaged IPO of Facebook stock cost investors millions, the stock continues to underperform, and the company begins to see its advertising revenue evaporate. Despite having nearly one billion registered users, Facebook has learned that being a publically traded company, beholden to shareholders and the almighty earnings reports, is an entirely different prospect than launching a successful startup from your college dorm room at Harvard.
Groupon Goes Public
This actually happened in late 2011, but the stock has tumbled mightily since its public offering and the IPO darling further proves that it’s not such an easy and smooth transition from startup to publically traded company. You still need to provide value to shareholders and, in Groupon’s case, display a business model that actually generates a profit. The failure of the stock since its launch has increased the buzz for CEO Andrew Mason to step aside.
The Growth of Kickstarter
The crowd-sourcing website has become a sensation and the go-to vehicle for trendy startups and serious entrepreneurs alike. Over the last several years, the company has raised more than $300 million for close to 12,000 projects. 2012 saw its greatest growth and it doesn’t appear to be losing any momentum heading into 2013.
Tie: Beats Audio & Big Smartphone Screens
The final spot is shared by the headphone sales explosion that is Beats Audio and the overall trend to expand the size of our Smartphone screens with devices like the iPad 5 and the Galaxy phones. All of the latest Smartphones sport larger, high definition screens with some, like the Galaxy Note, approaching tablet size. Beats Audio’s sales of headphones and earphones have skyrocketed and the devices now seem almost as ubiquitous as Apple’s iconic ear buds.
2013 is already shaping up to be another interesting year as we look to see if RIM can revive the BlackBerry and compete with other Smartphones, how the whole Instragram privacy debacle shakes out and, of course, whatever Apple products will be hitting the shelves.
What are your favorite tech moment of 2012? Share below…