Grading My Predictions For 2013

John Kirk / December 26th, 2013

Sigh.

Time to fess up and see how badly I did in last year’s predictions. You can find them all here.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. 
It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. 
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. ~ Winston Churchill

Prediction #1: There Is Little Room For A Category Between The Tablet And The Notebook.

This is still in dispute. Many still feel that a hybrid category between the tablet and the notebook will eventually emerge.

Not me. And it surely didn’t happen in 2013, so I’m chalking this one up as “correct”.

Here’s the thing: The touch user input (finger) is wholly incompatible with pixel specific forms of user input (mouse and stylus). And putting both side-by-side on a single device is not the solution, it’s the problem.

Why (my wife) hates Windows 8? In her words, “It doesn’t do what I’m telling it to do!” ~ Brad Reed (@bwreedbgr)

It’s anecdotal, but that’s about as damning a criticism as a product can receive.

In 1995, Cynthia Heimel wrote a book entitled: “If you leave me, can I come too?” I think that’s today’s de facto motto for Microsoft. Microsoft wants to have it both ways – sell you an all-in-one notebook AND tablet — and consumers are having none of it.

Prediction #2: Tablets Are Going To Be Even Bigger Than We Thought.

Worldwide the number of smartphones will surpass the number of PCs in the next 6 months. ~ Benedict Evans

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 17.51.51

Nailed it. 2 for 2.

Tablets were the biggest story in 2013. And they may well be the biggest story in 2014, too.

Prediction #3: Apple Will Create A New iPad Mini In The Spring.

Wrong, wrong wrong. I thought that Apple would target the tablet for the education market. But Apple has opted, instead, to move almost ALL product launches — iPod, iPhone, iPad – and maybe even Macs — to the holiday quarter.

2 for 3.

Prediction #4: iOS will become the premium model, Android will take the rest.

Sounds about right to me.

There a persistent misunderstanding of the Apple business model.

…Apple simply doesn’t care about market share. As a properly capitalist company it cares about the profits…

Apple has repeatedly said that it’s not interested in being a top Chinese or anywhere else smartphone player. It’s interested in being a top player at the top end of the smartphone market which is an entirely different thing. ~ Tim Worstall

No one seriously argues that Burberry should be more like Walmart1. Why ever does anyone think that Apple should be more like Samsung?

That makes me 3 for 4.

Prediction #5: Samsung Will Be Forced To Create Their Own Ecosystem.

Hmm. Lots and lots of talk about such a thing happening but almost zero action. Got that one definitely wrong.

Final score: 3 for 5.

Conclusion

I don’t really have much faith in my predictions anyway. I don’t pretend that I’m a seer who can peek into a future that no one else can see. As I often say, I prefer to predict the past — it’s safer. Easier too.

I more or less see my role as trying show people that the future they’re resisting is already here today — that the things that they are denying have already happened.

To most men, experience is like the stern lights of a ship,
 which illumine only the track it has passed. ~ Samuel Coleridge

Here’s a couple examples for 2014.

A) Microsoft is in more trouble than people seem to realize. Microsoft is making lots of money — which is good — but consumers are about to fire Microsoft from its current job and Microsoft doesn’t have any obvious prospects for obtaining future income — which is bad, bad, bad.

B) Phones and tablets are a thing. Notebooks and Desktops are a niche. Still getting lots of resistance to this fait accompli, and that resistance is warping the analysis of many.

C) Android is not the Windows of the 1990’s. Apple is not the Apple of the 1990’s. If you can’t see that today’s marketplace is entirely different from the computing marketplace of the 1990s, it’s because you refuse to see what is right before your eyes. The evidence is all around you.

There’s more, of course, but this isn’t a prediction article, it’s a mea culpa article. I was extremely conservative in my predictions and I still got 2 of 5 wrong. C’est la vie.

Happy New Year to all…and one last prediction:

I predict it will be an unpredictable year.

  1. Analogy borrowed from Brian S. Hall. []

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • isitjustme

    Didn’t know why you didn’t pick on this low hanging fruit called Intel.

    It is trying to throw as much mud as they can to see which will stick on the wall.

    • FalKirk

      I wrote an Insider article on Intel: “Over-Serving And Under-Serving The Marketplace” ~ http://techpinions.com/over-serving-and-under-serving-the-marketplace/25835

      What can one say about Intel? Only a two year’s ago we were talking about the Wintel monopoly. Today, both Microsoft and Intel are reeling.

      • aardman

        And I’m stubbornly hanging on to my INTC for no other reason than inertia.

        I only started tuning into Techpinions middle of this year, if memory serves, but it has already climbed into the top three tech sites that I peruse. Thank you Mr. Kirk for your informative and entertaining articles. Same goes for the rest of the Techpinions commentariat.

        Happy New Year.

  • stefnagel

    I look forward to reading you in the new year. Thanks for the good work.

    • FalKirk

      Thank you for the kind words. I look forward to reading your future comments, too.

  • Glaurung-Quena

    “Apple has opted, instead, to move almost ALL product launches — iPod,
    iPhone, iPad – and maybe even Macs — to the holiday quarter.”

    One thing they might do this coming year is start to refresh their mac lineup in August, so the new models will be available for the “back to school” market, which is the other big annual bump of consumer spending on laptops. Which will have the side benefit of enabling them to have one press event for each of their three product lines – phones, tablets, and computers. Cramming computers and tablets into the same press event this past fall made it feel like they weren’t giving either line the attention it deserved.

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