The Biggest Disappointments In Tech In 2007

Dec 17th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, General, iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players, Video

Leopard boxPC World has released a list of its Biggest Tech Disappointments of 2007, and a lot of them are likely to resonate with anyone involved with new media.

Here’s some of the article’s highlights:

  • Amazon Unbox – The interface is cluttered and ugly–lacking both the simplicity and sophistication of the Apple iTunes Store or NetFlix’s Watch Instantly. The selection is weird, and searching is cumbersome. When Unbox debuted in late 2006, we were willing to cut it some slack. After all, we’re talking about Amazon, the guys who put the e in e-commerce. We thought by now they’d have figured out how on-demand video is supposed to work. We were wrong.
  • Microsoft’s Zune – We’re not the only ones disappointed in the Zune. According to the NPD Group, Microsoft still lags behind Sandisk and Creative Labs in market share for portable media players. And for every Zune Microsoft sells, Apple sells 30 iPods. Remember: You can’t kill an iPod if you can’t get close to it.
  • The Great, The Bad, The Ugly: Apple iPhone – Memo to Apple: It’s time to treat iPhones for what they really are–pocket computers with phone functions built in–and open them up the world. Just a thought.
  • Needs To Change Its Spots: Apple “Leopard” OS 10.5 – Maybe we just got spoiled by the iPod and iPhone, but the glow came off Steve Job’s halo after this feline fleabag debuted. Within days of its release last October, Mac users reported dozens of problems with the new OS, some more serious than others. Among the many: Wireless connections that slowly petered away, administrative logins that mysteriously disappeared, and a disturbing tendency to nuke data when moving it between two drives if the connection is interrupted. Worse, a security bug that was fixed in OS 10.4 in March 2006 resurfaced in Leopard, according to Symantec. In mid-November, Apple released an update to Leopard that fixed some of the bugs, including the firewall glitch. Repairing Apple’s reputation, however, may take slightly longer.
  • What Is It Good For: The High-Def Format War – Enough already. Did we learn nothing from VHS vs. Betamax, CD-R vs. CD-RW, DVD-A vs. SACD, and so on down the line?¬† At least the warring DVD camps worked out a compromise in the mid-90s that allowed everyone to profit from the new movie format (though it took them a while). Not so in HD land, where a take-no-prisoners attitude on both sides has left consumers cold. It will be a snowy day in Video Hell before we’ll put our money down on either format.
  • No Wow, No How: Windows Vista – Five years in the making and this is the best Microsoft could do? It’s not that Vista is awful. It’s just that Vista isn’t all that good. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there’s something deeply wrong with the universe. We have no doubt Vista will come to dominate the PC landscape, if only because it will become increasingly hard to buy a new machine that doesn’t have it pre-installed. And that’s disappointing in its own right.

While the PC Week article may seem a little harsh, especially in a year that brought us the iPhone, real competition in the portable media player market and more options for new media than ever, a lot of it still rings true.

The iPhone is fantastic, but people want it to be a platform, not an appliance. Apple has said that it will address this issue in 2008. Vista was not an option for a lot of people, and the latest version of OS X, Leopard, had some serious problems. Apple has updated Leopard, but it was released too soon.

The Zune in 2007 is a great improvement over the Zune in 2006, aka the Zunetanic.¬† The problem with the Zune is that its basic feature set is still inferior to the iPod’s and the innovations that it offers just aren’t that useful.

When it comes to HD, it’s starting to look like the format wars may make HD players irrelevant. We’re already getting HD directly from the Internet to our TV, though not from Amazon Unbox – we just need more options for content.

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  1. […] You can’t kill an iPod if you can’t get close to it. The Great, The Bad, The Ugly: Apple iPhone – Memo to Apple: It’s time to treat iPhones for what they really are–pocket computers with phone functions built in–and open them up the world. Just a thought. Needs To Change Its Spots: Apple “Leopard” OS 10.5 – Maybe we just got spoiled by the iPod and iPhone, but the glow came off Steve Job’s halo after this feline fleabag debuted. Within days of its release last October, Mac users reported dozens of problems with the new OS, some more serious than others. Among the many: Wireless connections that slowly petered away, administrative logins that mysteriously disappeared, and a disturbing tendency to nuke data when moving it between two drives if the connection is interrupted. Worse, a security bug that was fixed in OS 10.4 in March 2006 resurfaced in Leopard, according to Symantec. more […]

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