This has been such a wacky year for me personally (actually the wackiness began in 2012) that I almost find it hard to believe I made mobile tech predictions for 2013. But I did. So in this post I’ll grade how I think I did before I put on my psychic cap and post my predictions for 2014. You can play along if you like. If I was a baseball player my batting average would have me making millions. But alas, I’m not.
2013 certainly was a crazy year. In some ways it was a year with lots of chaos that seems to have inched the big players a little closer to some sort of parity in the minds of consumers. Or perhaps consumers were just focused on pocketbook practicality more than they were on innovation. At least that’s how it feels this holiday season. Many of the measurements that have traditionally defined the winners and losers are being revealed as irrelevant. They’ve always been largely irrelevant because it’s the consumers who make the decisions when the players can provide the product and a consistent and compelling message to sell it.
While we might be inching closer to parity there are still leaders, those playing catch up, and those that finally quit the race. Apple and Google are still battling it out for the lead. Microsoft is still trying hard to catch up, and having some success. Amazon is still its own thing, still making inroads and improving the tech in its Kindles and services. That continues to make the leaders a bit nervous. RIM has become a corpse without a casket or pall bearers to bury. Samsung is still pushing hard and actually finding ways to market and create good quality products that make a difference, when it isn’t cooking the benchmark stats. Nokia will become Redmond’s headquarters on the Baltic when Microsoft takes over as Steve Ballmer prepares to step down.
Everyone is at least pretending to care about privacy and data security in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. Privacy will continue to be a big story in the next few years just as the tech and service companies are making moves to turn our mobile devices into money and us into targets for sensor fed advertisements.
Content players and content providers are starting to finally figure out that more is more. Social networks are going public and trying to find a balance between the users who created their value and the stockholders who want it. Print media and journalism still hasn’t figured out how to cope with the Internet and stay in business and for some reason advertisers still keep advertising and paying for it all.
That’s a quick preamble to how I think this past year played out and here are my specific predictions going into that year and how I scored them.
- Apple will release new products. Actually, Apple will release updates to its new products that it released in 2012. None will be that revolutionary. (Somewhat True. Apple released a “forward-looking desktop level processor” in the A7 inside of updated products from 2012 and the iPad Air surprised many.)
- Apple will make some sort of play in the TV game. (Somewhat True. Apple has been adding channels to its existing Apple TV.)
- Apple will see ups and downs in its stock market value as things continue to remain uncertain and given that everyone likes to take shots at the leader. (Mostly True. Apple was down for most of the year but bounced back a bit at the end.)
- The iPad mini will look like the future of the iPad by year’s end. (Not True. The iPad Air changed the game and Apple had trouble delivering the new iPad mini with Retina Display.)
- A new iPhone will be introduced. It won’t be a real game changer. (True. This year. We’ll see what it brings next year. Forward looking, remember.)
- Apple still won’t have the Cloud figured out by year’s end. (Sadly, still True.)
- There will be a larger number of “Apple is declining stories” than the previous year. (True.)
- Google will continue to provide Android to the masses and dominate the meaningless number game. (True.)
- Google will move further along with its Nexus lineup, delighting those who actually care about what a real Android experience actually is. (True.)
- The next version of Android will see even more design improvement in the UI and UX. (Somewhat True.)
- Google and its partners still won’t be able to move the needle far enough when it comes to convincing larger numbers of developers to write for Tablets. (True.)
- Gmail will still continue to have problems. (True.)
- Microsoft will see Windows 8 gather some early momentum, then lag way behind expectations. The fall will determine the success rate of Windows 8 in all of its variants. Nothing that happens in the first quarters will eventually matter. (True.)
- Microsoft will not make changes in its marketing personnel or approach and continue to suffer because of it. (Somewhat True. Microsoft changed some of its advertising to take shots at Google and others.)
- Surface RT will continue on its path to Microsoft Bob status. (Mostly True. Can you say $900 million dollar write-off. But the Surface 2 shows that the platform might make a comeback.)
- Calls for Steve Ballmer to step down will increase. (True. Calls may have increased, but the ones that mattered came from Microsoft’s board. Ballmer is leaving.)
- Windows Phone 8 will continue to be an also ran. (True.)
- Amazon will continue to bring moderate heat with its Kindle Fire line, introducing new models in the fall. (Mostly True. Amazon raised the temperature higher than I was expecting.)
- Amazon will continue not announcing real sales figures. (True.)
- Amazon will offer its Amazon Instant Video App for all Android Tablets, thus negating the need for a Kindle Fire for many consumers. (Not True.)
- Talk about Amazon doing a smartphone will increase. (True.)
- Amazon will raise the price for Amazon Prime yearly membership. (Not True.)
And then generally
- Web companies will continue to struggle to find business models. (True.)
- There will be a least two big privacy scandals. (True.)
- Laptop and desktop sales will continue to lag behind other mobile gadgets. (True.)
- Kickstarter will begging fading away into a memory. (Somewhat True. Kickstarter is still there, but not as vital as it once was.)
- RIM will see what might look like a small resurgence, but it won’t be. (Not True.)
- Voice control will continue to improve, but not achieve what we all would like it to. (True.)
- Carriers will continue to gouge us with data plan pricing that makes no sense. Rates will rise. (True.)
- Ting will continue to grow. (True.)
- The allure of social networks will start to wane as users begin to figure out what this all really means. (True.)
- Facebook will continue to dominate for reason’s no one can fathom. (True.)
- The Rumor Game will become old and begin to wane. (Somewhat True. With leaks who needs rumors.)
- Someone is going to seriously start asking what Intel’s problem is. Finally. (Not true.)
- Privacy will continue to be an on again/off again issue. We still won’t have any. (Somewhat True. It’s on big time as an issue. We still don’t have any.)
- Wearable gadgets are going to become the popular thing to speculate about. (True.)
- App stores from all parties will continue to be unsearchable and undiscoverable messes. (True.)
- Marissa Mayer will continue to make news with Yahoo but the expectations game of the marketplace won’t be satisfied. The honeymoon is over. (True.)
- Twitter will continue to be popular as it continues to piss off just about everyone. (True.)
Stay tuned for my 2014 mobile tech predictions tomorrow.