Catching up with the Tech - well Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Apple

Onwards to my favourite subject, but one I’ve been a little neglectful of lately. All things technological.  In particular, two subjects, that of the Social network and of Apple.

Facebook has become THE social network. It’s slowly grown into that position over a (relatively) long period of time, as you can see here:
I’m sure you’d agree that’s some pretty rapid growth. But that’s nothing.  Take a look at Twitter’s growth numbers.
So Facebook went from zero to 800 million users (by far the most of any Social Network) in 7 years. You could average it at 114m users a year if you like.

However, Twitter went from zero to 200 million in 5 years, which again you could average to 40m a year. So that’s still very rapid growth, but not as fast as Facebook.  So what about Google plus?

G+ went from zero to 10million users in 16 days.....  and we can see from the trends of the other networks that growth starts off slow....  If that’s slow! then these are crazy numbers..  averaging out at 228m a year!!! Holy crud.  Of course - these are just statistics and as we know 87.4% of statistics are made up on the spot.  G+’s biggest problem is that to move people from Facebook onto G+, the Facebook crowd won’t budge until their friends are there, or until Facebook changes something major that they don’t like.

And guess what?  One snippet of tech news that’s not just a statistic is that Facebook is changing.  Their recent F8 conference announced a whole raft of changes which clearly show they feel threatened by the release of Google+ and that they’re running to catch up quick.  One of the more interesting is the timeline, which I actually think looks very nice - but it's pretty creepy when stuff like this happens to what you thought was personal - and then suddenly isn't.  

And of course, Facebook users - who are traditionally a fairly conservative bunch - won’t like the change.  At least for about three weeks and then they’ll just resort to their usual level of bland chitter-chatter.

Here’s what timeline looks like from Facebook’s perspective...

Now, from socialising, onto the fruit stuff... Apple.....

If you didn’t know already, there’s an Apple announcement tomorrow and this has served to whip the IT press into a frenzy.  Here’s what I’ve heard that seems pretty solid...

Steve Jobs probably won’t be there, because Tim Cook will be, now that Steve has officially retired. It would be great for him to appear to handover to Tim, but he’s probably too unwell, which is a great shame.  He’s clearly been one of the most innovative CEO’s in the tech industry over the last 10 years and turned Apple around when they needed it most. He will be greatly missed by the tech world as a whole.

As for the announcement, the expectation is the iPhone 5 will land - and I have to say after all I’ve seen and read - I don’t think it will. I think the iPhone 5 (which might have a curved back a bit like the iPhone 3 - or it might not) isn’t going to show up until next year at the earliest. 

Furthermore, the location for the announcement (Apple’s HQ) is a very small venue - too small for an iPhone launch - and this time of year is traditionally reserved for iPod announcements.  Having said that, the invite for the event looks like this:

Now - lots of people have tried to analyse this image - and have drawn the conclusion that - it’s clearly an iPhone event (and not an iPod event), It’s on Tuesday the 4th at 10am in Cupertino, CA and it’s about voice recognition on the iPhone.  That seems to fir with all the other rumors pretty nicely.

iPhone stuff
  • There’s going to be a cheaper 8G iPhone 4 (model N90A)
  • There’s going to be an iPhone 4S (model N94) will have CDMA GSMA HSPA+ (in other words 4G capabilities)
  • Really good speech recognition. Probably not on the iPhone 3Gs or earlier.

Non iPhone stuff
  • The iPod classic will no longer be available.
  • A new iPod touch possibly

Other random guesstimate....
  • There really might be an Apple HDTV - but it’s really dodgy ground.  I’d love to think this was true, but who knows. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow....

The far more interesting part of the announcement will be the arrival of iOS 5.

iOS 5 has loads of great new features - and as I’ve said elsewhere, since Amazon have announce the Kindle Fire - hardware isn’t where the fight is anymore.  It’s moved on to content. Once more, content is king again. 

If you count an OS as content, then Apple are going to do something awesome in this space. You can read about the advertised changes here:

But one last minute feature that I hadn’t heard about until this week is iOS5’s new locking features - including shapes. Drag your finger in a shape to unlock the screen.  Android does this already - so it’s a welcome addition.

So - 10am PST is 6pm UK time. The only absolute certainly is the tech press will still be talking about it and wondering what Apple will do next.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous