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By 22 December 2010 | Categories: feature articles

 

To describe 2010 as a stellar year for Steve Jobs and Apple would be an understatement. There was Apple’s iPad, Apple’s iPhone 4 and Apple’s Macbook Air, basically making it Apple’s 2010. Luckily there was also other important tech news – here are our top 5 tech news stories of 2010.


3D’s whimper

After the success of Avatar all expectations were that 2010 would be the year of 3D. Not really. Most of the major television manufacturers released 3D models, but these were hindered not only by high prices but also by a severe lack of 3D content. Plus those silly-looking glasses are still a prerequisite.

It was not all gloom, seeing that a few 3D notebooks saw the light of day and some even got it right, while we also saw an interesting 3D camera from Fujifilm. There are massive expectations resting on the 3D enabled Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system to be released next year, while manufacturers like Toshiba are already talking about 3D telly without the glasses. But for 2010 3D eventually turned out to be more a whimper than a bang.

 

iPhone 4 trials and tribulations

If only more products were accompanied by such intrigue as Apple’s iPhone 4. First a protoype of the phone gets left behind in a bar by Apple engineer Gray Powell. Tech blog Gizmodo (image courtesy of) paid good money to get hold of it and exposed the phone way before the official announcement. Apple wanted it back and eventually Gizmodo’s editor’s house gets raided by police.

When the iPhone 4 is eventually released complaints start surfacing about reception problems. Apple responds by claiming “you’re holding it wrong”. Antennagate is born and Apple is later forced to release special casings for the phone to counter problems.

Back here in SA the big news was that the iPhone will be carried by both Vodacom and MTN. Queue both cellular providers promptly organising launch parties on the same day. Oh yes, and the iPhone 4 turned out to be quite nice actually.

 

Telkom 8ta comes to town

Strange billboards started appearing around about September this year, shouting quite cryptically “Heita!”. Heita transmuted into 8ta, South Africa’s fourth cellular network courtesy of none other than Telkom Mobile.

At its launch, 8ta was heralded as “the start of a new era in mobile phone communication in South Africa” by Amith Maharaj, Telkom Mobile’s managing executive. We would love for him to be right, hoping for a voice and data price drop similar to that which MWEB (see below) brought about on the uncapped internet scene.

It seems highly unlikely at this stage, but here’s to holding thumbs that maybe in a few years the situation has changed.

 

MWEB goes uncapped

In March something happened that brought a lot of good to South Africa’s overcharged broadband users – MWEB slashed their uncapped broadband prices. All of a sudden an uncapped account was priced cheaper than a capped one, with rates starting as low as R219 for a384 Kbps line.

Consumers flocked in droves to take up MWEB’s latest offers, forcing other ISPs to see how low they could go on uncapped accounts. But while uncapped prices might be better priced, South Africans are still burdened by Telkom’s very restrictive monthly line-rental charges and ADSL set-up fees.

 

The iPad veni, vidi, vici

When the Apple iPad was released on the 3rd of April this year, people didn’t quite know what to make of it. Yes it was hotly anticipated, but there were tablet PCs before. These Windows-based machines did not really set the market alight, so why would the iPad differ? Soon the sales figures started coming in – 1 million sold in 28 days (the iPhone took double the time), 2 million sold in less than 2 months, 3 million sold in 80 days.

It became apparent that the iPad, with its sleek 9.7" multi-touch display and iPhone-like body, was changing the game. Some joked that it’s nothing more than a big iPhone that can’t make calls, but the iPad heralded a new era of devices that enhances media consumption (surfing, reading, games and apps) instead of creation.

PC manufacturers scrambled (and are still scrambling) to get their own tablet devices out, leading us to believe that 2011 will be all about the tablet. Now if only the iPad can grace our shores … 

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