2013 is finally here, and the technological world is poised for some interesting times ahead. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is expected to once again set the standard of mobile and desktop computing this year, but it won’t be as easy as before.
In the past, Apple’s combination of style and almost-ruthless operations management (thanks to now-CEO Tim Cook) allowed the Cupertino giant to stay ahead of the pack. Case in point: the iPhone, which only saw serious competition over a year after its initial introduction. But now it seems like the playing field has leveled out somewhat, and the products offered and being developed by competitors are posing serious threats to Apple.
To some, it seems like Apple has lost its innovative flair. iOS and iPhones are touted as being “derivative”, more focused on iterative development than on bringing out cool new features for the “next big thing.” Apple will thus have its work cut out for itself in 2013: the primary challenge will be to reinvent itself in the mobile department. To this end, the iPad is rumoured to have a redesign, pushing it in line with the look of the iPad mini and iPhone 5. The OS X platform will also see major overhauls in design, as famed industrial designer Sir Jony Ive will take charge of the software teams, and is expected to get rid of skeumorphic design trends that have plagued Apple interfaces in recent years.
Apple will need to ride the wave of its success with deft and care, striving to be not arrogant about its position as a leading tech company that rose from the ashes, but as a company dedicated to providing world-class computing experiences.
2013 is the chance for Apple to do this. Last year, they were able to transition under the leadership of Tim Cook, and build a remarkable product lineup (perhaps the biggest in a single year for them). Now, they will be challenged with keeping that leading product lineup ahead of Android competitors, and even the new BlackBerry 10 platform which is looking strong and set to shake-up the mobile space. As with the beginning of every new year, I wait with anticipation for what our favorite tech company has in store for us.
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