Anybody can make predictions, but few can make accurate predictions. Now that the initial shock of the new decade has subsided, we decided to revisit some of the predictions made in 2009 and see what people thought we could look forward to in the ‘10s. After sifting through tons of business predictions (“We See Apple and Amazon Poised for Great Things!”) and gadget predictions (“Ten E-readers Poised To Take Over the World!”), we found an article on the Telegraph with a handful of predictions that were pretty spot on. And, like any list of predictions, there were a few that completely missed the mark.
The Rise of the Tablet: It’s hard to believe the iPad is just now turning 10, but at the start of the new decade, Apple’s tablet was still just speculation and guesswork. Then, in early April 2010, Apple finally released it’s iPad to the world. It lacked a camera and wireless sync, but it kicked off a trend that would mark the beginning of the mobile computing age and the end of the desktop. And while Apple still dominates the tablet market, options like Microsoft’s Surface guarantee plenty of competition and innovation for years to come.
Streaming television on demand: In 2009, the Telegraph looked forward to on-demand television and said: “This year will hopefully see broadband-enabled TV finally come to the living room of the masses.” They also looked forward to the possibility of “going through to the BBC’s website and its offerings.” What they didn’t foresee, but would ultimately make these dreams a reality, were tiny devices like the Roku and Apple TV loaded with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu that would provide access to thousands of movies and television shows. Nor did they anticipate all of the original content produced by these streaming services. A rare instance where the reality far exceeded the predicted.
The Social Boom is Still Booming: Ten years ago, the Telegraph made the bold declaration, “social websites such as Facebook and Twitter are here to stay.” Right again, wise Telegraph, but like your previous prediction, this one goes much deeper. The “real-time web,” as they called it, has continued to shape our lives in ways we could have never foreseen. It’s influenced elections and served as a platform for social and political movements bringing positive change. It’s a source for outrage, optimism, opportunity, and, yes, goofy cats, and we expect we’ll find it affecting our lives over the next ten years in mind-blowing ways.
But now, a couple of predictions that may have been a bit premature.
3D TV: The Telegraph said, “It’s set to be a bumper year for 3D television” and, maybe it was, but it hasn’t gone much further than that. Whether it’s because two is as many dimensions as you need to enjoy “The Mandalorian” or “The Big Bang Theory” or we just can’t seem to improve on those awkward 3D glasses, what was once called “the future of television” remains firmly planted in the future.
Augmented reality: Apart from that nanosecond when everyone was playing Pokémon GO, the Telegraph’s prediction that “location-based games will spread” just hasn’t panned out (yet). “Forgetful people will find their lives transformed as their phones remind them of the names of the people they meet and blank walls will become huge constantly-updated displays.” Unfortunately, we still have no idea of what’s his name’s name and unless there’s a huge, constantly updated display somewhere telling us otherwise, augmented reality is still mostly fiction. Although, that may change…
Ask any meteorologist: predictions are a tricky business. Technologies that seem like they’re here to stay wind up on the scrap heap tomorrow (Adobe Flash, anyone?) and just as often the skeptics and naysayers are proven wrong (Did anyone else think Minecraft with its ’90s era graphics were doomed?). But that’s what makes technology so much fun: it’s nearly impossible to predict what’s going to succeed, what’s going to fail – or why. At Boxcar, we’ll continue to be mindful of emerging trends, when to hop on board and when to pass. What do you think we have to look forward to in the next decade? We’d love to hear your predictions. Then we can discuss them.
Ten years from now.