You’ve likely heard of cord cutting, the trend toward cancelling cable TV in lieu of streaming video or no paid TV service at all. This trend, which is becoming more mainstream, is no longer just a behavior of innovators who test the waters of new technology. In fact, it’s so pervasive that media companies such as Disney, CBS, and HBO, have or are in the process of decoupling their programming from the traditional pay-TV distribution machine, now offering streaming services that don’t require you to buy a large bundle of channels, but rather subscribe to the core content they offer.
The initial fanfare of last week’s Apple announcements has subsided and the debate has moved from what will be announced to which device consumers will purchase. What we have seen so far from data collected by market intelligence company, CivicScience1, is that consumers are fairly divided.
While the smartwatch is still not a mass-market device, with roughly 9.5 percent penetration among U.S. adults as of the middle of 2017, Apple has certainly been doing its part to push the category in that direction. Apple currently owns more than 50 percent of the U.S. smartwatch market and the newly announced Apple Watch Series 3 will further bolster Apple’s status as the top smartwatch maker in the industry.
This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas is, in many ways, a story of edges. Smartphone manufacturers are clearly demonstrating that phones should have less edge, while the networks that enable these devices will require a far greater edge presence to succeed in the future.
Tomorrow, Apple is expected to launch its next generation iPhone. Assuming the anticipated announcement becomes a reality, this will mark 10 years since Apple entered the smartphone market and fundamentally changed not only what we expect from a phone, but also the competitive landscape for mobile phones – and smartphones in particular. Theoretically, this next iPhone should be an incremental enhancement, following Apple’s pattern of launching the “S” version every other year; but, Apple cannot (and will not) simply launch a minor hardware update for the 10th anniversary. Apple is working to stay at the leading edge of the market as competition looks to build faster and more aesthetically pleasing alternatives to the iPhone behemoth.
The lady sitting in front of me on the tram was clearly into her music. She was using headphones, but it didn’t really make much of a difference. The tram driver came back with the request for her to turn her iPhone volume down, which she did. In the relative quiet that followed, I realized that there were two tech issues addressed by that single moment. Firstly, in a future (or in some places, current) world where there is no tram driver anymore, we would have continued to listen to the tinny echoes of Eric passing through the headphones; and secondly, tech smarts can (at least for now) be ignored at will by the consumer.
LeEco’s vision for the U.S. was bright and promising, but a bit more fleeting than some anticipated. The company started that way, with a spectacular launch event that promised an array of hardware (from TVs and VR, to a connected bike and self-driving car) as part of a much broader vision to be the ultimate content ecosystem. But its strategy quickly started to show flaws, with little positive news following the initial hurrah, and a slow trickle of doubts and rumors about if it was possible to turn the LeEco dream into reality.
Spring is making a late arrival in New York this year, and the delay is beginning to take its toll. Last week, as I prepared to drive back from the warm, balmy air of Virginia towards New York, I decided to take the top off of my Jeep for a taste of spring. Despite knowing it was a rainy day back home, I took my chances and tried to judge how far I could push it before pulling over to put the roof back on. Naturally, I sought the advice of my smartphone’s digital assistant...
If there was any doubt that we are entering the post-mobile era, this year’s CES ratified the fact. The absence of mobile integration as a core discussion, and “must show-off” checkbox, demonstrates that the ground has shifted. Where iOS and Android integrations were the must-have stamp of approval in previous years, this year the badge of honor was to show-off Alexa integration.
As we embark on the holiday season, two distinct dynamics tend to converge: chaos; and new technology. Is your work done? Are you ready to take the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day? Have you even started your holiday shopping? As you read on, I hope you spot a gift idea for that tech-crazed special someone on your list.