After the continuous stream of news following WWDC 2012 and Google I/O over the past few weeks, this week has been fairly quiet without any major announcements whatsoever. That said, no week passes by without rumours about Apple's future iDevices.
A report published by the FT shows that Apple's flagship handset is still the most popular mobile in the UK with Samsung and its Galaxy range rapidly closing the gap between the two brands. Another possible explanation for the apparent decline in sales of iPhone 4S is the fact that Apple will release the iPhone 5 soon and that potential buyers may be holding off buying the current handset, eyeing instead the forthcoming one.Arguably, beyond the speculation lies some hard truth.
Over the past two years, top of the range Android smartphones have been refreshed at a faster rate than Apple's own iPhone, buoyed by fierce competition which in turn caused prices to tumble faster and rivals to up their game. The Galaxy S3 for example has proved to be a genuine rival to the iPhone 4S as people flocked to Samsung's newest flagship.
Google has confirmed that non-US owners of the Google Nexus 7 will not be able to download music tracks, TV content and magazines from Google Play, the company's alternative to Apple's iTunes because of complex geographical licensing agreements.
This makes the tablet slightly less attractive especially if you want to use it primarily as a medium to consume content passively.It also brings up the question of Google's clout. If Amazon and Apple have been able to publishers and content owners to distribute their content on their respective platforms (Kindle and iTunes) outside of US boundaries, then why Google - with hundreds of millions of potential Android customers - hasn't been able to emulate that? You can view our review of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, a device that earnt a 9 out of 10.
The arrival of Google Nexus 7 could be the final nail in Steve Jobs' argument that 7in tablets are "tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad." The chatter around a 7in iPad is too loud not to be heard. Expect the device to be smaller and cheaper than the current one with the screen likely to be manufactured by Sharp. As for the launch window, September seems the most likely month alongside the new Apple iPhone 5 and before the holiday period.
Given that the Google Nexus 7 costs £159, less than half the price of the current iPad 3 (new iPad), Apple will need to seriously reconsider its pricing strategy if it doesn't want to be beaten on value for money as all reviewers have praised the build quality and sheer sexiness of Google's tablet, rating it as highly as Apple's (albeit with some major differences). The main issue remains the qualitative and quantitative gap between Android and Apple's ecosystem.