If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to flick your One Direction calendars from September to October. October… how the hell did that happen?
For those who spent the month of September in cryostasis, 1. Welcome back sleepy heads, and 2. You’ve only gone and missed a whole bunch of important mobile phone stuff. But fear not; I’ll bring you up to speed in a few hundred words.
In the first week of September, we learned – as many conspiracy theorists were predicting back in February 2011 – that Microsoft is officially set to swoop in and buy the former world’s number one mobile manufacturer, Nokia.
Summing up Elop’s work in one paragraph, he jumped from Microsoft to Nokia, chose to exclusively back unproven Windows Phone (which launched with a tiny handful of near-identical handsets just a few months before) instead of throwing the company’s weight behind MeeGo (or even Android), and failed to make significant impact on the post-Symbian smartphone market – so much so that his former employer was able to grab itself a bargain.
Better still, Elop’s former employer will again become his current employer, when he jumps back to Microsoft to become an executive vice president. He’s also tipped to succeed Steve Ballmer. Good job, sir!
The other annual mobile trade show was in fact arguably more interesting than Mobile World Congress 2013, thanks to a series of big-name launches.
At IFA 2013, among other things, we met the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, notable for including lots of genuinely useful multitasking features, the surprisingly impressive Samsung Galaxy Note 2014 Edition, the Sony Xperia Z1 with its 20.7MP rear camera, and the, er, Samsung Galaxy Gear, which even Sammo concedes is a bit rubbish.
HTC continued to fertilise the low/mid-range, but unfortunately the much-discussed HTC One Max failed to make an appearance. We’re hoping it might pop up in October.
The iPhone 5S arrived almost entirely as predicted, in gold, grey and white, and with a fingerprint scanner and slow motion video. It also has a 64-bit A7 processor, put to good use (we’re told) by Infinity Blade III (which is great, incidentally).
As for the iPhone 5C, it is indeed cased in plastic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheap. In fact, it’s only £80 cheaper than the flagship.
The days following the launch saw plenty of bickering about the very need for an iPhone 5C, since it’s far from wallet-friendly, and is pretty much just an iPhone 5 with a colourful plastic case.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Market share means nothing. What’s more important is profit and app sales. Yes, Apple could sell a cheap iPhone for razor-thin profit in markets where people aren’t going to spend much on apps, boosting their market share in the process, but why? They make premium products. There’s no cheap MacBook. Likewise, there’s no cheap Lamborghini.
On the software side of things, iOS 7 touched down shortly before the new iPhones, breaking the internet in the process. And while the post-WWDC reaction was largely one of concern, the reaction to the final product was largely pretty positive.
And that was September 2013 in the world of mobile phones. If it’s possible, October is potentially looking even crazier, but I’ll get to that next time.