Tag Archives | Predictions

The Only Safe Prediction About the Future of Phones: It's Unpredictable

Bad news, Apple: The iPhone’s market share is poised to take a tumble over the next few years. Between now and 2014, in fact, iOS devices will fall from 14.7 percent of phones sold to 10.9 percent, a 25.9 percent drop. Android phones, meanwhile, will boom, going from 16.3 percent market share to 24.6 percent, a 51.2 percent bump. RIM’s BlackBerry OS will dip slightly, from 17.9 percent to 17.3 percent; Windows Mobile will go from 6.8 percent to 9.8 percent. And even though handsets based on Nokia’s Symbian will fall from 40.1 percent share to 32.9 percent, they’ll still outsell every other mobile OS.

That, at least, is the truth as predicted by research firm IDC. The company has released those numbers as part of its sales forecasts for “converged mobile device operating systems.” They certainly sound plausible. But I’m struck by how precise these 2014 numbers are. IDC’s phone experts clearly think they can extrapolate a great deal from the current trajectories of major phone operating systems.

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Your Apple Music Event Predictions: The Upshot

Earlier this week, I asked you to predict what Apple would announce at the music event it held yesterday. Time for a recap! (Executive summary: You got a bunch of stuff right but missed out on a few key points.)

You said: Apple will announce a new iPod Touch, a new iPod Nano, and a new Apple TV. It won’t announce any other new products.

What happened: Apple did announce a new Touch, a new Nano, and a new Apple TV. But it also unveiled a new iPod Shuffle. (It released a new version of iTunes as well, but I’ll cut you slack on that one, since I didn’t ask specifically about that app.)

You said: The iPad will get at least some of iOS 4’s new features.

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Your Apple Predictions, From New Products (Three) to Musical Guests (Fab)

What will Apple announce at its music event? By noon or so tomorrow, we’ll know all there is to know. Let’s wrap up the period of blissful ignorance, rampant rumors, and informed speculation with our traditional Technologizer community predictions.

As usual, I surveyed you guys and asked you to give your best guesses at what the news will involve. For questions in which you could choose only one answer, whatever answer got a plurality of responses counts as the prediction. For questions that let you choose multiple answers, any answer that more than fifty percent of you chose counts as a prediction. (I’ll note the percentage that chose each answer).

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Make Apple Predictions, Get a Shot at a $100 Apple Gift Card

Apple is holding its traditional September music event this Wednesday at 10am PT. As is my wont, I’m going to avoid making any predictions by asking you to do so. Click here to take our quick survey. I’ll aggregate everyone’s best guesses and turn them into shared predictions from the Technologizer community. (I’ll publish them before the event so you can score at home, and again after the event so we can reflect on how we did–your track record when we’ve done this in the past is not bad at all.)

When you take the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing for a $100 gift card from the U.S. Apple Store. The survey and gift card giveaway end at 2pm PT on Tuesday, August 31st. We’ll notify a winner by September 2nd.

Have fun and good luck!

[NOTE: Please take the survey rather than leaving comments on this post. Thanks!]


Rating Your Apple WWDC 2010 Predictions

Another Apple WWDC keynote has come and gone. (Here’s a transcript of our live coverage.) As usual, I cleverly avoided making any predictions of my own–if you don’t predict, you can’t be wrong–and instead invited you to participate in a survey which formed the basis of collective Technologizer predictions.

Hundreds of you took the bait. And you were right a lot more often than you were wrong–including on one point where I felt positive you’d be proven incorrect this morning.

After the jump, your predictions and today’s upshot.

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Apple WWDC 2010: Come Predict With Me

On Monday at 10am PT or thereabouts, Steve Jobs will take the stage at Apple’s WWDC 2010 conference and announce something. Maybe several somethings–including, just possibly, a new iPhone. I’ll be in the audience providing moment-by-moment live blog coverage at technologizer.com/wwdc2010, and hope you’ll stop by.

In the meantime, how about some predictions? Not by me–by you. Click here to take our short multiple-choice predictosurvey. [UPDATE: survey closed–thanks, everyone!] Before the keynote, I’ll publish your collective wisdom on what we’re likely to see. And then after Jobs has been heard from, I’ll revisit your guess to see how we did.

We tried this experiment at last year’s WWDC, and you guys made more accurate predictions than some big-deal pundits did. I have this weird feeling that you might find it even easier this year to figure out what’s in store, but let’s see…


Today’s Tech, Predicted in 1960 by a Bad Cartoon

Here’s a 1960 Paramount cartoon about future tech that predicts the Roomba and Skype–and therefore reminds me of the eerily accurate/hilariously off-base 1940s whiskey-ad predictions I discovered a couple of months back.

(Via Jerry Beck at Cartoon Brew)


Snap Judgments! The Early iPhone Skepticism

A month ago, before any of us knew anything for sure about Apple’s tablet, I looked back at the period before any of us knew anything for sure about Apple’s phone. It turned out that about 95% of the speculation and rumors about the iPhone had nothing to do with the device that Apple actually announced at Macworld Expo in January of 2007.

Now that we know quite a bit about the iPad, a massive rush to judgment is already underway, with pundits predicting everything from historic success to epic failure. Which led me to wonder: How accurate were the first predictions that got made about the iPhone’s fate? So I went back and read scads of stories from the first couple of weeks after the phone’s announcement.

Overall, they weren’t bad. Lots of pundits said it was a landmark product with the potential to transform the phone business. But there were plenty of dissenting opinions, too. This article is devoted to them.

I’m not dredging up these stories to mock anyone. For one thing, some of them make reasonable arguments about the original iPhone’s limitations; it’s just that the phone managed to thrive despite them. For another, I thought that famous flop the G4 Cube would be an influential hit, and am therefore in no position to taunt anyone for making inaccurate forecasts about Apple products. I’m doing this because I think reviewing iPhone predictions is a useful exercise as we think about the future of the iPad.

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Mr. Edison’s Kindle

”The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” So said legendary tech visionary Alan Kay. He was absolutely correct. But he might have added that inventing the future is anything but a cakewalk. Even though everyone who does it has the luxury of learning from predecessors who tried and failed.

The brightest inventors on the planet keep coming up with ideas that never amount to much–even when they set out to solve real problems, and even when their brainchildren foreshadow later breakthroughs. And professional tech watchers have long proven themselves prone to getting irrationally exuberant about stuff that just isn’t ready for prime time.

Thanks to Google Books’ archives of Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, LIFE, and other magazines that frequently reported on futuristic gizmos, we have a readily accessible record of technology that failed to live up to the initial hype–including random notions that never got off the drawing board, startlingly advanced products that didn’t find a market, and very rough drafts of concepts that eventually became a big deal. The best of them are fascinating, even when it’s not the least bit surprising that they flopped.

Herewith, fifteen inventions–not that all of them ever got built–that were at least a decade ahead of their time. They’re in chronological order, starting with the inspiration that gave this article its title.
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The Apple Tablet: What Will Be, According to You

Last week, I asked you to help me kill time until Apple (probably) announces its tablet by participating in an experiment: a group prediction about its features, name, and price. Nearly three hundred of you pitched in. Here’s part two of the project: aggregating your responses into one big collective guess. (Part three will come once Apple unveils the thing: We’ll go over our prediction and see how we did.)

The predictions are based on your answers to a series of multiple choice questions. In instances where you were allowed to select more than one answer, any answer that more than 51% of you chose counts as a prediction. In cases where you were only allowed to select one answer, the one that received the most votes counts as a prediction, even if it fell short of a true majority.

(There is, of course, nothing the least bit scientific about any of this. But given the lousy track record of professional Apple pundits, I figure it stands at least as good a chance of being accurate as any other method short of finding someone within Apple who knows what he or she is talking about and has very loose lips. )

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