This is another one of those posts that that give you a far-to-distant look into the future. I want to take this time to predict what will occur (mainly in technology) over the next ten years. I’m late, and that ok because I’m looking ten years forward. Here’s what I think will be a reality in 2020:
Apple will have dominated for most of the decade – Apple will continue to be the model for how to run a company. It will not introduce anything revolutionary – but it will continue to improve on what exists and earn the most profit in the process. In 2020, Apple will be the biggest seller of all forms of consumable media and in addition to the iPhone, iPad, and iLCD – they’ll be imminently releasing a massive computer that takes up so much space, it will be called the iSore.
Google will have ruled everything else – Yes, Google will be the main center for all applications and the standard. Google will also be your Telco and will also be your source for other services as it continues to destabilize brick and mortar companies. In Canada, Rogers and Bell will be severely impacted by this (possibly one of them will die in a major bankruptcy). The Canadian government will attempt to stop this by regulation, but it will be too late.
Device input will be via touch – Expect touch interfaces to be vastly different in 10 years. Computers, Phones, and other personal devices will be driven less and less by mouse/keyboard and more by touch gestures, muscle movements and yes – by the end of the decade, thoughts, eye movements or the by-products of certain thought patterns. In 2020, it will be difficult to find a media player that has physical buttons that you press. Expect people in 2020 to be talking about the side effects of repeated clenching of certain muscles (get you’re mind out of the gutter).
Attention spans will become much shorter and longer – In 2020, expect to see Twitter to have more users than Myspace and Facebook combined as more and more people turn to using very short messages to express themselves. All of Friendfeed’s feature will be inherited by Facebook and Friendfeed will no longer exist. There will also be a continued movement to longer prose, many bloggers leading the way to longer and more detailed posts. This will give rise to a special group of bloggers that only exist to sell product, expect them to be called floggers.
Web services will rule the decade – the biggest story is going to be the evolution of web services as they’re transformed into full-scale applications. The Operating System (and essentially all local computing on any device) will be rendered mute with most major applications moving to (what we call now) the web. This won’t be called “The Cloud” in 2020 because of a major mid-decade backlash, but most, if not all data will reside in the cloud (for ubiquitous access on all devices). Because of the Uber-Commodization of the base Operating System, Microsoft Windows will be forced Open Source/Free. In another possible huge move, by 2020, Microsoft shifts from making new Operating Systems and turns to updating/patching any and all Operating Systems from the past. Silverlight on Windows NT 3.51 anyone?
More about “The Cloud” backlash – somewhere in the middle of the decade, Cloud Computing is going to take a major hit. The power of data centres and the increasing amount of downtime that continues to occur to all services will start a major counter-movement towards non-cloud computing. Expect to see the decade end with most applications and services either on a Hybrid-Cloud system or seeing the possibility of turnkey Cloud systems that are implemented on premises. In 2020, there will be a new name for this: “Parallel Applications” that make use of both the cloud and something of a locally run locker or storage point to mirror your data and make it easy to get it back independently of the application your using.
Microsoft will stagnate for most of the decade, two big things will happen – first, Steve Ballmer will leave during this decade – he’ll probably be pushed out; but I expect that if you look behind the scenes, he’ll have been forced out by the shareholders. The next CEO will make waves late in the decade. Secondly, Microsoft will redefine touch computing further with a massive touch API and the Surface PC will be available everywhere. Expect Microsoft’s biggest killer new app to be the Cloud-Based Windows system management tools. Windows will be mostly Free/Open Source by then.
..and an totally unrelated-to-tech prediction:
Obama will win the next US Election – but after that it will be a white republican – Yep, 2012 will be much of the same, Obama will be the next US president. He’ll be the first US president that I can remember who wasn’t subject of impeachment. Both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end this decade. The 2016 election will be won by a rather unknown (in 2010), young white republican.