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2015: The year mobile become boring

Not to be a Grinch, but the mobile industry wouldn’t be on my Christmas list if I were Santa. Not because it’s been bad, but because it’s been boring. The sad truth is nothing really interesting debuted this whole year, and there’s no evidence that 2016 will be any better.

Tablet sales have been sinking for a while, after a red-hot streak for their first few years. Like a PC, a tablet is good for several years, and there’s been no meaningful change to the genre lately. Apple even skipped updating its main iPad model, the iPad Air, this year. Its iPad Mini gained a speed bump (yawn), and its overhyped, oversized, derivative iPad Pro debuted (Apple copying Microsoft and Samsung).

Now IDC predicts that smartphone sales will decline in 2016. (Of course: Almost everyone now owns one.) For several years, new iPhones and new Galaxys have featured the same kinds of enhancements that PCs long have had to rely on: faster processors, better cameras (to an absurd level, frankly), and new colors and case materials.

The last significant actual innovation was the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in 2013’s iPhone 5s. Well, that and the Handoff feature that debuted with iOS 8 in 2014, but it was part of OS X Yosemite, so it’s not strictly a mobile technology.