Where We Could Be Tomorrow
I think if we were to give 'tomorrow' a date, we'd put it at 2015-2016. We'll see another iPhone, but it won't be incredible. It'll be the same thing we've seen with the iPhone 5, because Apple used their excuse of it's "designed from the ground up". So if the iPhone 5S doesn't have any huge, fundamental changes, Apple can't claim it to be "designed from the ground up". So this means we already know what the iPhone 5S will be, or at least I'm predicting what the iPhone 5S will be - something not exciting whatsoever.
Samsung's Galaxy S IV will sure receive a bunch of press, but it won't be a huge shift in what we have now. Faster processor, slightly bigger and higher-resolution screen, but it'll still just be what we know and love. Samsung are at the same point as Apple - you don't want to push away your core customer bases with huge changes.
Google's Nexus 4 handset, in my eyes, is already the 'next-gen smartphone' with how smart it is with tech like Google Now. But Google are rumored to be working on X-phone, which I think will be something as a transition between smartphones and Glasses. It'll be something to stick around and be legacy for a few years (with new generations every 6-12 months) to keep a nice transition for people.
Battery technology is another huge factor that needs to be improved. Sure, we're seeing these high-res screens, quad-core processors and increasingly powerful GPUs, but what good is it if we're not getting a week charge out of our devices? Give me a whole week at max screen brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on constantly and I'll be happy.
iOS is really stuck in the old days, it feels and looks so dated now it's not funny. Android is moving in leaps and bounds in terms of its UI, which feels so utterly fresh it's almost next-gen to iOS. Apple needs a huge shift in their operating system, or else they're going to fall too far behind.
I can't see where Apple are going to go from here, as they've done their "designed from the ground up" and what we got was the lackluster, Maps-sucking-ass iPhone 5. If that's all they can do with five years of iPhone behind them, what can they possibly do next? Steve Jobs is gone, and I think Apple really lost a lot of their mojo.
Microsoft, well, they have the money and the name, but I don't see them doing much that will shake the market up. They're stuck right now, and as much as they try to innovate, it will feel like a copycat of iOS and Android, unless they do something drastic. But again, it's the same as iOS, they can't just admit that their flagship next-gen mobile OS "wasn't good enough". Although, I do wish we had some sheer honesty from companies like Microsoft, and then dump out a truly mind-blowing product.
Apple could also release a completely mind-blowing, next-generation product seemingly out of nowhere throwing both consumers and competitors sideways. Samsung also have some decent power to do something, but this is an unknown right now.
I'm writing this piece from the perspective of what we know, and what we know right now is that Google are working on augmented reality tech, and have already showed it off. Apple, Samsung and every other company: feel free to surprise me, I'd love it.