At the start of the new year, everyone, it seems, is offering up their predictions for 2013. Will $AAPL reach $700? Will Windows Phone find success? I thought it would be helpful to think much further out.
The smartphone is our most personal of personal computers. There are already one billion in use. I predict this number will grow to at least 3 billion -- by 2018. The multi-trillion-dollar smartphone market is remaking computing, technology, Silicon Valley, of course. But also...learning, work, entertainment, publishing, retail, culture and politics.
The smartphone will change everything. Yes, everything.
Therefore, and it being the start of the new year, 2013, here are my bold, zany, wild-ass predictions -- that I nonetheless absolutely believe will come true over the next five years.
Sony will be acquired by Samsung -- not for patents or revenues, nor for customers or brand name. Rather, simply for national pride.
Samsung will also acquire Hewlett-Packard.
Microsoft will be owned by Oracle.
Facebook will be owned by Amazon.
Apple will make the world's most popular "personal computer" -- the iPad. Apple will have no better than the forth most popular smartphone platform, however. The top 3 will be:
- A version of Android found almost exclusively in China.
- A version of Android/Nexus/xPhone controlled by Google.
- A version of Android used by Amazon-Facebook.
No one will remember Square.
Disney will own Twitter.
3D printing will be a niche business.
However, same-day retail delivery will be the primary means of shopping for the top 15% of earners. Better still -- for smartphone platforms -- more than 25% of all consumer purchases (in the US) will be made through smartphones and/or tablets.
Google Glasses and similar devices will be used only by a very few; nearly all of these, socially awkward engineers.
Siri, Google Voice, and similar voice UI services will be the *primary* method people interact with computing resources that are *not* "PCs", "tablets" or "smartphones".
A typical home 'television' screen will be approximately 80 inches.
One of the primary reasons to see a 'movie' at a 'theater' will be to let everyone know you were 'first' and to share details of the film and the experience with your followers (in real time).
A movie shot and edited entirely on a smartphone and/or tablet will premiere in movie theaters and earn at least $50 million during its first year run.
NFC will be as common as smartcards.
Advertising on smartphones will be a $25 billion business globally -- though this will include the equivalent of today's promoted tweets, in-app ads, web ads and the like.
A low-end iPad, with 4G connectivity, will set you back $99.
Baby Boomers will continue to restrict access to marijuana though will promote expensive growth hormones, steroids and other treatments that make (mostly them) look if not feel much younger than they really are.
Facebook will near 2 billion users -- the most it ever achieves.
There will be a minimum of 800 milion Apple computing devices in active use.
Similar to today, though not as restrictive, you will pay for content you do not want so as to get content you do want much cheaper. (E.g. you want Fox News, which you can have as is, but you can have access to it for less if you also get CNN, for example.)
Apple will have the fouth largest digital media content platform (e.g. iTunes). Google, Amazon, and at least one other (probably Asian or South American-based) will all be larger.
As with today's computer-tech websites, most content about technology products and services (e.g. solar panels) will be funded by investors and companies with a direct stake in their success.
People will call this journalism.
Extended family dinners via Skype, FaceTime and similar services will be a common practice. 'Adopted' family members -- such as those children you 'adopt' and support via services like Christian Childrens Fund, will regularly participate.
Driverless cars will be popular though not the norm. If you are reading this, however, you will own an electric car.
The equivalent of the 2013 iPhone 5S will be free.