CES 2013: Why Apple and Microsoft Aren’t Needed, But Also Haven’t Left

January 11, 2013

Yesterday we shared some of the highlights from this year's Consumer Electronics Show: All Access Weekly's Best of CES So Far

More than anything, it showed that despite the departure of Microsoft and Apple, CES is still an industry showcase worth paying attention to and also a really good indicator of where tech's going.

A lot was made of Microsoft and Apple opting to do their own quarterly (sometimes more frequent) presentations in lieu of having a presence at CES. The thing is, though, that their presence was still felt. Both companies have so much influence on the tech market that you can't help but see them on the floor. They're not the elephant in the room, either. They're right there in various tablet and smartphone displays. So really, while we didn't get the unveiling of something like Windows 8 or iPhone 5, we still got a glimpse of what's on the horizon for those two companies.

More importantly, Apple and Microsoft stepping aside only meant that other companies stepped up. In particular, Samsung may have been the star of this year's CES with its hype of their new 4K Ultra HD TV series and various other products. This comes on the heels of the Galaxy SIII surpassing the iPhone as the best-selling phone in the world for the first time in the third quarter figures that came out last month. That comes with the caveat that those figures include the period before the release of the iPhone 5, which put Apple back on top. But that's only a temporary bump.

What we've seen from the last several months and this show is that while Apple is the innovator, it may no longer be the undisputed and unchallenged leader in smartphones and tablets. And, if anything, they may actually be in danger of falling behind other emerging companies.

There are also the news items that didn't exactly make front page headlines, but will in hindsight be huge industry game changers. In particular, McGraw-Hill's announcement of its intention to transition to a software subscription service where you can access educational texts via PCs and tablets for only $19 a semester in lieu of hundreds of dollars for print textbooks. This is huge news for any student who has to factor in textbooks as an expense, but it also will have very real consequences for the print industry.And so, as we wrap up another Consumer Electronics Show, the future seems uncertain, but only in the sense that we're no longer certain that the big two are going to dominate all aspects of tech. That may not be a bad thing, either, since the greatest advancements have always come from a healthy dose of competition.

We'll have more coverage on this site and also come to you from the floor of the show on our programs all next week:

• Wednesday Jan. 16th @ 1am/12c – All Access Weekly

• Thursday Jan. 17th @ 1am/12c – GTTV

• Saturday Jan. 19th @ 1am/12c – Playbook360

And check out the latest All Access Weekly for a preview:

Consumer Electronics Show Preview - Episode 208
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