2012 in Review
Don Scansen posted on January 02, 2013 |
What did 2012 look like? At Electronics, it looked like this.

Photo credit:  Katie Scansen

Perhaps my skin is too thin, or maybe outlook is too short, but I am in the comfortable position of needing little in the way of reviewing my predictions for the past year since I made none worthy of note. It’s the time of year to reflect on what you thought would be, how many “to-dos” were crossed off and the like, but I seem to be off the hook here. I think not enough predictions are reviewed with the benefit of hindsight, but if you predict, you should set aside future time to gauge your accuracy. Or do I expect too much? It could just be that the simple act of prognosticating shortens ones memory as need to stretch vision forward. As humans, we seem so focused ahead that there is little interest in looking back to see how the visionaries performed.

Although it might be fun to research the “Top 10 Worst Predictions for 2012,” there are too many best, worst and so forth floating out there already. In any case, perhaps the fresh prediction cycle for 2013 might be a more entertaining time to remind the pundits of past performance (or why we shouldn’t listen). Plus, I’m sure most people are actually happy about the least accurate prediction for 2012 (you know that Mayan thing).

Instead, with nearly a full year of content under our belts here at Electronics, I will list a few of my favorite articles from 2012. But first, what have we been stopping our otherwise hectic lives to address in the columns of Electronics?

Broadly speaking, our editors concentrated their efforts on just a few topics. In technology, we had non-volatile memory (NVM), mobile payment systems (NFC). In companies, well, it was  a heavy dose of Apple, a smattering of ARM, and just a touch of Intel. And just generally speaking, there were the blogosphere’s inattention to details, patents, and product teardowns.

But here’s what I saw as the most interesting and best giving readers the most insight into what’s in store for the coming year.

2012 was nothing new in terms of the volume and intensity of media buzz spawned by new Apple products. Paul Boldt dug deep beneath both the headlines and the gadget guts to examine what drives Apple’s semiconductor strategy. Outstanding amongst his efforts was Paul’s analysis of Apple’s (then) newest chip – the A6. The iPhone 5 launch was anticipated by at least a year, and it did not disappoint as the new smartphone platform showcased the Apple chip design team’s latest and best effort in the A6.

Chips inside are one thing, but there is a fairly linear progression as we have seen A5, A5 and now A6 inside a similarly numerical iPhone progression. Product news and rumors can engender hysteria, but it is nothing like the fervor Apple seems to create with every small company it gobbles up. Back in August, the acquisition of interest was AuthenTec, the biometrics company. With so much speculation, Paul Boldt followed up his first piece by taking a closer look at AuthenTec’s fingerprint sensor technology and how Apple might incorporate it into existing or upcoming platforms.

As for my own pieces, I thought one of the better investigations was a look at product teardowns. In the rush to be first to rip apart the latest gadgets, at least one well-known analysis firm blurred the lines between prediction and being first in line with their virtual teardowns.  When is a teardown not really a teardown? was a critical look at the practice of guessing the components and resultant BOM of an unreleased product. iPhone 5 - Virtual Teardown Guessing questioned the motivations of estimating component costs after first speculating on the BOM totals before ever looking at the product in question.

Interestingly, one of the most popular articles of the past year was actually a less than glamorous look at Apple products. Tim Whibley offered a critical assessment of Apple’s product roadmap in The iPhone 5 Disappoints. With many pundits (and investors as Apple’s stock endured a difficult end to 2012) now wonder how Apple can keep momentum, perhaps Tim’s look at the iPhone foreshadows a less revolutionary future for Apple.

Well, that’s it. 2012 is in the books and this article is posted. But stay tuned, 2013 is bound to be an interesting ride.

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