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Taking Stock of 2016 and Looking to the Future

Year End, 2016

You might remember I used to do a fun set of predictions on this blog. I would then take the previous year’s predictions and tally up my successes and failures. For some reason I stopped doing that. It’s a shame, because it allows for a great amount of introspection and foresight. Well, I’m back at it and I’m going to use this space to look back a bit, and then tell you what I think is coming for 2017.

Goodbye 2016

In our Western zeitgeist, 2016 was a dreadful year. Unpopular Trump was elected president after very emotionally draining campaign. Several high-profile musicians and celebrities were lost including Prince, George Michael, Leonard, Cohen, Muhammad Ali, and Carrie Fisher. Regions of the world remained at war in complex situations, perhaps highlighted by Syria and those retreating from that conflict. News that climate change is getting worse and the great barrier reef is dying (as are the bees) should have everyone worried.

Of course, a great deal of good happened.  We have an Ebola vaccine, and malaria is down. Manatees are no longer endangered,  and the tiger population is returning. Seaworld will stop breeding killer whales and charity in the world is up all over the world. Thousands of refugees have been taken in all over the world. Peru and Bolivia are working to preserve the beautiful Lake Titicaca. Let’s not forget the Paris Agreement. The Cubs won the World Series (shouldn’t it be called the North American Series?).

Personally, 2016 was as bad as it gets. Personal and professional struggles made for some seriously rough going. There were also some great things happening. I managed to get to some wonderful places this year. I visited Argentina in January, Europe in September (Netherlands, Belgium), Cuba in March and July, Iceland and Colorado in November and Dominican in December. All along the way, I was blessed to photograph some incredible places. This will continue in 2017, and I’m excited for what’s next. I’ve become very passionate about photography.

Here, I wrote less than normal. 34 posts for 2016, which is far less than one a week. I’ve made a concerted effort to write with more purpose and less news chasing. This work in progress continues but hopefully you’re finding here is more worthwhile of your time. I strive for clarity and brevity in all I write.

What I expect in 2017

Apple will release some kind of AR/VR apparatus. There has been talk about this becoming a reality from the behemoth (and legitimizing it), and I think it’s true. I expect to see some kind of sub $200 headset coupled with using their phones and software. As with all Apple announcements, expect a large “Meh”.

Speaking of Apple, they will discontinue even more products and technologies . In 2016 they seemed to cull products at a record pace. In 2017 we’ll probably see the end of lightning connectors (in favor of USB-C), more headphone jacks, the Apple Watch (yes, really), the iPhone SE, and Apple TV (unless they actually make an, uhm, TV). Perhaps future Apple-watching will be about what they give up instead of what’s next?

Malware and leaks will become further intertwined. In fact, expect 2017 to see the kind of blended malware that ups the ante on Ransomware: The software will gather real information found on the target computer and extort it for money, lest user wishes to have that info released to the public (encrypted files will always be a fallback).

In the industry, we’ll see at least one massive merger of big companies. Perhaps Apple will buy Blackberry, or IBM will merge with Microsoft. At least one of these big deals will happen, even though regulatory approval might not.

Cloud based tools and applications will start to morph into context or intelligence reliant applications. Only the large companies will be able to get into this game due to the massive amount of data required. We’ll see more and more services pushing useful utility into the cloud such as Relonch.

Laptops and tablets will see a new form factor emerge. One that may be what’s considered a hybrid between a laptop and a tablet (which we already have), but it will be clever enough that the manufacturer (not Apple) should gain market share from it. Laptops and keyboards aren’t going anywhere.

Ultra comfortable warranty and support will see a return. Today, few companies feature warranty services that can feel incredibly comfortable compared to the “ship it, we’ll look at it and return in two weeks” model. Companies like Apple and Peak Design know aggressive support increases their brand value greatly. Expect to see more of this.

That’s it. I hope 2017 is your best year. Go out there and do shit everyone!

I predict you’ll be glad you subscribed to my newsletter. 2017 is going to be a big year.