By Harry McCracken | Thursday, December 24, 2009 at 2:19 am
A year ago, I asked the Technologizer community to make tech predictions for 2009. Lots of you chimed in–and with 2009 wrapping up, it’s time to revisit your forecasts and see whether they were eerily accurate, in the ballpark, or bizarrely off-base. Here we go…
Prediction: “I think what’s going to be the big news story of 2009 is the further personalization of entertainment. Apple has been on the cutting edge of this with such items as the iPod and iTunes, but I see a dark horse coming up that is going to change the game. But mass-communication as we know it is going to begin a steady decline, with people preferring to listen to their own portable video and audio libraries, on their own schedule and terms, and eschewing the old model of “I must be home at 9 pm to watch Desperate Housewives”. Broadcast television, which is already slated to go all-digital in February, is going to soon become as quaint as 78 rpm records.”–Dave Mackey
Reality? Entertainment certainly got more personal–and less schedule-based–in 2009, thanks to services and software such as Hulu and Boxee, and the growing sophistication of smartphones as audio and video devices.
Prediction: “Blockbuster will finally declare bankruptcy after admitting defeat to competing internet download and cable on-demand movie services.”–Scott Olson
Prediction: “The TV-room finally gets an all-in-one product that will enable viewers to surf the internet, watch the internet (videos and movies) and share their home media to the other folks on the couches. The essential difference this product has over the other contenders is that it seamlessly fits into the existing computing environment in homes. No clunky and manual file transfers between devices, cable disconnects and re-connects, etc.”–Niraj Shah
Reality? If someone introduced this product in 2009, tell me about it–I wanna buy one!
Prediction: “Blu-Ray discs will be the last successful generation of optical discs, as digital distribution through ubiquitous broadband becomes viable.”–Simon Goldring
Reality? Digital distribution certainly made inroads this year. I’m guessing Simon’s right that Blu-Ray will be the last successful optical format, but we didn’t learn for sure this year.
Prediction: “Blu-ray will go mainstream. Prices will go into the sub-$150 range for players, and movies will come down in price to match those of DVDs.”–The Human Yawn
Reality? Blu-Ray is indeed under $150. Blu-Ray movies still list for more than DVDs, but Amazon.com sometimes charges less for them than for the DVD.
Prediction: “The lawsuit against Real over RealDVD will be shot down because it holds no ground (and I can finally download it); Real countersues because of lost revenue”–The Human Yawn
Reality? Sadly, RealDVD isn’t faring well in court and remains unavailable.
Prediction: “LCD TV’s will get much cheaper–20-30% drop–which will force plasma to take note and follow suit.”–Jeff Shuey
Reality? I’m not sure about percentages, but both LCDs and plasmas have gotten even cheaper this year.
Prediction: “Cameras will become “self-aware” and recognize networks AND will make recommendations to ‘connect’ and share pics/videos.”–Jeff Shuey
Reality? Wi-Fi cameras are still around, but if there were any usability breakthroughs this year I missed ’em.
Prediction: “Yes, the “Dick Tracy” wrist communicator is just around the corner for the masses. No, it’s not your grandfather’s LCD. watch/calculator–it’s a PDA, mobile-phone and bio monitor device all in one sleek package.”–Jose Almodovar
Reality: Watchphones exist, though I haven’t seen them on the wrists of the masses yet.
Prediction: “I predict that we’ll get a new Kindle from Amazon capable of color graphics. In conjunction with the release of the new Kindle, one of the major comics companies–probably Marvel Comics–will start releasing content for the device. Marvel already has a digital comics initiative, so that makes the most sense.”–Ray Cornwall
Reality? The Kindle, like all E-Ink e-readers, remains defiantly monochromatic–unless you count the Kindle app for the iPhone, which did come out this year. And Marvel got into the iPhone comics game, although not through Kindle.
Prediction: “Microsoft will continue to flog the hell out of Windows Vista without actually mentioning the name of the product in television ads.”–Dave Mackey
Reality? Dead on, Dave.
Prediction: “What I’ve seen so far of Windows 7 is promising and I think many people really really want it to succeed. My real prediction is that Microsoft will actually price Windows 7 so that people might actually buy it instead of trying to get a copy from their friend. When Vista first came out, Bill Gates said it would be ‘less than a hundred dollars’. That was the price for Vista Basic which was useless and a downgrade from Windows XP. Expect fewer versions of Windows 7 to be available to ease the confusion.”–Bill Pytlovany
Reality? Microsoft offered steep discounts for Windows 7 preorders, and cut some prices permanently. There are fewer versions of Windows 7 than of Vista, but I’m still confused.
Prediction: “Windows 7 releases in a single version format, early and to high praise…for $199.”–Scott Bartley
Reality? Win 7 has certainly been well-reviewed, and it shipped on time, but there are still a bunch of versions.
Prediction: “Windows XP will limp along until Windows 7 is released. I think around 6 months to a year after the Windows 7 release.”–Mike Lopez
Reality? Too early to tell. I’m guessing XP is starting to fade away, but it’s going to be a loooong time until it’s not surprisingly popular.
Prediction: “Windows 7 will fail to excite, but meet modest market success as a (late) market replacement for Vista. Microsoft continues to remain a powerhouse in the enterprise but increasingly less relevant in consumer markets.”–D.R. Gardner
Reality? Excitement is in the eye of the beholder, but I don’t think there’s any question that Windows 7 gets high marks from most of the people who’ve tried it. It wasn’t, however, a great year for the company in terms of consumer products. Exhibit A: The ongoing meltdown that is Windows Mobile.
Prediction: “As we all know, Microsoft will likely release Windows 7. I expect it will be their best Windows version and will be secure, reliable and compatible in every way. However, despite its dependability, the perceptions of Windows Vista will carry over and will adversely impact sales. This perception will force Microsoft into selling Windows 7 upgrades at a very low price to increase sales. Perhaps sub $50. My guess $29.99 for the Home Premium or equivalent.”–Jim Bednarz
Reality? Windows 7 seems to be selling decently if not downright well, and so far hasn’t been subject to additional price cuts. Actually, with the recent end of the Windows 7 Family Pack, Microsoft imposed an effective price hike on multi-PC households.
Prediction: “Vista will rapidly become the latest Windows ME as Windows 7 becomes more recognized as the leap forward that Microsoft was originally promising with Longhorn. Enterprises will rejoice.”–Dave McCall
Reality? I’m not sure if enterprises are giddy over Windows 7, but many are receptive, at least, in a way they weren’t towards Vista.
Prediction: “Late in the year, Apple will have a new product in response to the emerging Netbook category. Essentially, it will be a MacBook nano — small, lightweight and very polished.”–Niraj Shah
Reality? Apple has another week to announce the MacBook nano. If it blows that timetable, it can still announce a tablet in January and make Niraj’s prediction come nearly true.
Prediction: “Being relatively anti-Apple, this isn’t good news for me, because this will be a killer product. Really. A TV which looks great, has a very intuitive interface and a remote that you will want to have on your TV table and which lastly lets you rent/buy movies and TV shows. Wow. Get the Apple stock before this one is announced.”–Lars Henriksen
Reality? Rumors of Apple making TVs have been around for eons, but they remain just that: rumors.
Prediction: “I predict we won’t see an iPhone Nano.”–Lacy Kemp
Reality: We didn’t.
Prediction: “Apple will make a huge push into the enterprise. They’ll target everything from SOHO to small business to the largest enterprises. The remote wipe feature we saw in the iPhone was just the beginning.”–Bob Van Valzah
Reality? It’s been more of a gentle nudge than a huge push, but Apple continues to add stuff of interest to business customers, such as the online version of iWork.
Prediction: “Apple will merge the MacMini and Apple TV to createa more powerful market competitor in an effort to maintain and grow market share in home entertainment.”–D.R. Gardner
Reality? The Mac Mini continued to evolve, but Apple TV didn’t much–and they remain unmerged.
Prediction: “After flirting with Microsoft, Adobe will be swallowed up by Apple. These moves will cause the same consternation as the Microsoft-Yahoo proposed merger the year before. Microsoft will make a grand overture to take over Adobe, but the EU will demonstrate its disapproval, causing Microsoft to drop out. Adobe stock suffers in the aftermath, and with no new products to introduce in 2009 comes to the verge of bankruptcy before being saved by cash-rich Apple. In order to get EU and U.S. government approval, Apple agrees to continue making identical Adobe products for the Mac and Windows, as well as Linux–Andre Hinds
Reality? I guess it’s possible this will all happen in the last week of the year. Seems unlikely, though.
Prediction: “Apple’s market share will grow considerably. Apple will ship Snow Leopard and it will sell well. No new devices, but possibly some updated hardware (most likely the Mac mini). At least one record label will go DRM-free in iTunes.”–The Human Yawn
Prediction: “Steve Jobs will be leaving Apple, or at least stepping down in some way, shape or form. While it saddens me to say it, I think that time’s almost here.”–Dave Moyer
Reality? Well, he did go on medical leave, which may count as “stepping down in some way, shape or form.” But he also returned from medical leave.
Prediction: “Apple will announce in 2009 that Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO in 2010.”–Bill Baker
Reality? The year is nearly over, and Steve Jobs is CEO of Apple.
Prediction: “Steve Jobs will retire or take on a less significant role by the end of 2009.”–Jason Power
Reality? Only those who work directly with Steve Jobs know if his role has changed. But his contributions still appear to be enormous, and the man remains anything but retiring.
Overall, not bad! Your collective punditry was certainly more savvy than that of some folks who get paid big bucks to make these sort of predictions.
Coming soon: A recap of the predictions you’ve made for 2010, so I have it handy a year from now when it’s time to rate your powers of prediction all over again…