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2012 Wrap-up. 2013 Predictions, Part II.

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1st January 2013

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 Apple Apple

2012 saw the launch of the Apple iPhone 5, the iPad 3 and iPad 4 and also the iPad mini. Although sales are strong and Apple's margins are very good, it seems suppliers are struggling to keep up with Apple's demanding specifications and volumes and are not making much money on the deal.

Apple in 2012 is beginning to look like Nokia in 2007 - on top of its game but with limited room to manoeuver. Because it looks like sales growth is drying up, Apple's over-performing share price is beginning to slip.

2013 will inevitably see new Apple devices, but it is whatever comes after the iPhone 5 which will be crucial. Can Apple come up with something that is both innovative and distinctive at the same time? Or will post-Jobs Apple become vulnerable to more radically minded competitors?

 Samsung Samsung

The company that Apple is most afraid of is Samsung. These two have been battling it out for the title of best-selling smartphone during 2012, both in the marketplace and in the courts. As a larger and more diverse company than Apple, Samsung is in a stronger financial position to deal with any disruption that might happen as a result of the endless round of lawsuits.

 Samsung Galaxy S III Samsung's product range is huge, and no other company can match their potential reach, but it is their "halo" devices such as the Galaxy S range that get the most press. Of course, we can expect to see a Galaxy S IV during 2013, but can Samsung actually come up with anything revolutionary?

At the moment, they seem to have abandoned their own Bada operating system, and almost every handset release has been Android with just a tiny handful of Windows devices. The apparent death of Bada slipped by un-noticed, but with no new handset releases in well over a year, then our own conclusion is that we won't see it again in its present form.. although it may be rolled into the Tizen project.

 Nokia Nokia

Nokia continued to fade during 2012, but the excellent Nokia Lumia 920 demonstrated that there  Nokia Lumia 920 is still plenty of fight left in the Finns, and when combined with the cheap but capable Asha range of feature phones then there is a good chance that we will see something of a revival.

The mobile industry as a whole needs Nokia to be competitive, but if the current strategy fails then it will be hard to see how they can recover. Does Nokia have a plan B? There are rumours that it has something left in reserve in case the Windows strategy does not catch on.

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