I’ve always liked year-end lists and predictions. They help highlight where we’ve been, and where we might be going. That said, I consider tech predictions as fundamentally problematic, and not to be taken too seriously. In that spirit, I’m grading my predictions from last year.
Grading last year’s predictions for 2014:
- The iPhone 5c will be aggressively priced at $399 in December 2014. Wrong. As of Dec 30, 2014 the unlocked price is $450. My thought last December was Apple would never introduce a really cheap iPhone, but would definitely build a phone that several years down the road could be priced very aggressively in India and China. That’s certainly what happened with the 5c. Even if my exact price pick was too aggressive. In fact in my prediction last year I said “a $499 or $449 price point for the 5c is more likely than $399. But what’s the fun of that?” Current score 0 for 1.
- Cord Cutters take IP Spoofing mainstream to get blacked out sporting events. Cable companies furious, broadcasters secretly delighted. Yes this is happening, but definitely not a mainstream thing. Instead, the biggest cord cutting news this year was HBO’s announcement it will offer its HBO Go streaming to people who don’t pay for a cable HBO subscription. The way it works now is to watch HBO over the internet on a Roku or Apple TV device, you still have to pay your local cable company to get HBO on cable the traditional way. So I think the idea of cord cutting making incremental but not major progress in 2014 was correct. But still, definitely wrong. Current score 0 for 2.
- Apple TV will gain an app store. Nope. As I said in my prediction “This may be more likely to happen in 2015, but it’s such a big deal let’s go for it in 2014.” I still think this is coming and a big deal since current TV home systems are way too complicated. There’s a deep and real need for a simplified TV experience with cord cutting, and having an app store for Apple TV would help push that along. So I still may predict something around Apple TV again for 2015. Current score 0 for 3.
- Apple will release a 4k monitor with embedded mics for Siri, video camera and perhaps even Kinect style motion sensors. Way off. Sure Apple released a 5k retina iMac with an amazing display. But this prediction was mostly made pushing back on the idea of Apple releasing a TV set, which believe it or not was a popular idea in 2013. Should have just predicted that Apple would never make a traditional TV set. Current score 0 for 4.
- Kenyans, Ethiopians and Eritreans will run the 70 fastest marathon times in 2014. In 2013 the fastest non-Kenyan/Ethiopian/Eritrean marathon time was 2:07:55, run by Mustapha El Aziz from Morocco. He had the 59th fastest time of the year. And Kazuhiro Maeda from Japan had the 62nd fastest time with a 2:08:00. In 2014 the fastest non-Kenyan/Ethiopian/Eritrean time was Kohei Matsumura from Japan with a 2:08:09 for the 86th fastest time. As mentioned last year, I’m using times from this site. It’s amazing how 5 million Kalenjin people globally dominate distance running, and that dominance continues getting more pronounced every year. First correct prediction. Current score 1 for 5.
- Microsoft accepts reality and goes freemium on consumer versions of Microsoft Office and Windows (for both RT/Phone and Windows 8). In my view this is my best prediction from last year, even if it won’t completely come about until 2015. In Dec 2013 it was not clear who Steve Ballmer’s successor would be. Predicting Microsoft would go freemium on office and windows, and upend Microsoft’s 30 year old business model was a bit out there. So yes, it won’t be until Windows 10 until that the consumer version of Windows is free for the basic version. But Office for iPad has come out with a freemium version already with Office of iPad free, and then it costs $120 a year to get full featured Office 365. This was a risky prediction and I’m glad Microsoft is embracing it’s future. For more about Microsoft and Satya Nadella’s leadership, see here. So I’ll take a credit on this one for being partially right on a risky guess. Current score 2 of 6.
- The DNA from a third hominin that interbred with modern humans (beyond Neanderthals and Denisovans) will be sequenced. This is still coming. Also see John Hawks here. But not in 2014. Oh well. Current score 2 for 7.
- Xiaomi successfully expands into Singapore and Malaysia. Recently raising $1 billion and valued at $45 billion, it’s no surprise the press has gotten excited about Xiaomi, some calling it “China’s most important technology company.” It would be more accurate to say Xiaomi is one of China’s most interesting mobile companies. That’s because it is the highest profile China mobile company attempting (with some risk on having the necessary patents) to expand outside China. And yes Xiaomi is now in Singapore and Malaysia. So I think this was a good prediction. Xiaomi continues to be a fascinating company to watch. Current score 3 for 8.
- Cincinnati Bengals make NFL playoffs for fourth straight year. For my sports prediction I said “I know this one is bringing the crazy, but have to go with my old hometown team.” What do you know. Four years in a row in the playoffs, so a correct prediction. Current score 4 for 9.
- I’ll keep the same weekly Monday blog post schedule, but mix in more short posts to get higher average quality. Last year when I wrote this I realized doing long posts on a weekly schedule was getting to be a bit too much, given family and work. As it turned out, work for me was extremely busy these past two months (Nov/Dec 2014), so I cut out posting entirely. With that said, 2014 was a really great year for this blog. I first moved to WordPress from Tumblr in November 2013, and started writing longer (and hopefully better) posts at that time. For my first few months on WordPress (Nov/Dec 2013), I had about 1000 pageviews per month. In contrast I had over 110k pageviews for the year of 2014, which works out to about 9000 pageviews per month. And this despite no posts (excluding this one) in the last two months of the year. While this amount of traffic is a rounding error for a real media site, it’s been more than enough readership to make blogging fun. I should note many of the pageviews in 2014 were due to my Fermi Paradox post getting picked up by Daring Fireball in June. So that was very cool. With work now easing back again, my plan for 2015 is to return to regular blogging. But given family and work commitments I’ll just post as things as they get done rather than attempt a weekly schedule. Say at least once a month. Back to my prediction scoring, the final score is 4 for 10.
Overall, despite my prediction scoring, this has been a great year for this blog. So thanks for reading. I’ll put up a companion piece with a few predictions for next year as well. Have a great 2015!