Q: Since 2019 is upon us…what can we expect in the world of technology next year?
A: We’ll make a deal with you: We’ll share our predictions for 2019 here with you, and in return you agree not to go back and check how well we did on our 2018 predictions, capiche? (For the record: Right about Bitcoin and TV shows, sort-of right about Internet of Things, and so very, very wrong about MoviePass, which we now expect to bite the dust before next Christmas.)
Based on current trends, we expect continued success for Apple in their campaign to make people think it’s normal to pay over $1000 for a new phone every two years even though we think that’s ridiculous. (For that kind of denaro, you can buy a pretty decent laptop.) But we also think that will create a market for cheaper (sub-$400) phones from lesser-known companies you probably haven’t heard of yet.
The good news is that probably near the end of 2019, a few phones will start to support 5G networks, which means download speeds twenty times faster than current 4G connections. Molto veloce! Fantastico!
Along with faster speeds comes more connected things in general, including many that will make you wonder “why on earth does that thing need an Internet connection?” We’re talking more connected toothbrushes, shoes, and garbage cans (“more” because there are some already). Why not e-floss to send your flossing statistics to your phone for later review? Compete with your Facebook friends to see who flosses the best! Also, look for the phrase “smart toboggan” to make its debut.
Smart TVs are already a thing (with built-in Roku or similar services). They’ve been hacked before. We expect a few more news stories about these getting hacked more as they become more popular. This means creeps on the Internet will be able to spy on you through your TV, which has already been proven under controlled test lab conditions.
As someone who created websites in the late 90s, it feels weird to write that “Microsoft will continue their push to support and transition to open-source technologies,” especially given that their official company motto in 1998 was “Be Evil.”
On the flippity-flop, Google (official company motto in 2013: “Don’t Be Microsoft”) will be featured in at least a couple of news stories where we find out they track everything we do every second of the day. But since that’s how they give us directions without us even asking, and how they auto-complete what we type into our emails (How did you know I was going to say that?! Get out of my head!), no one will care.
As more lawsuits are brought against Facebook, leaked documents will continue to reveal the systemic nature of their problems with protecting privacy and user data. But since everyone on the planet already has a Facebook account, not enough people will care for it to make a difference to their bottom line.
The only casualty will be the recently-launched Facebook Portal because the idea of putting one of their video cameras in your home is just too much and besides, we already have a video camera in our home from Amazon so why do we need another one?
Finally, 2019 will be the year that thousands of people finally look at a new laptop from Apple and decide that the thrill is gone. For a few years no, laptops from HP, Dell, Asus, and others have bested the latest offerings from Apple on both form (thinner, smaller, lighter) and function (better specs, and for much less money). But since Apple has convinced people that spending $2500 every two years for a new laptop is normal (it’s not!), they’re still going to have a great year.
And lest you think we have a problem with Apple: They will continue to dominate the tablet space, and for good reason. Android tablets just aren’t as good and won’t be before 2020.
A few parting observations: Tumblr will continue its slow descent towards wherever Myspace ended up now that they’ve banned adult content. The market for meal kit delivery services will consolidate and shake out – instead of Blue Apron and a dozen others, there will be maybe a third as many in a year’s time. Mama mia!
Lastly, just like every year, the PropellerHeads will be here to answer your questions and help you make sense of the technology landscape in 2019. That’s not a prediction – that’s a threat! We mean, a promise – capiche?!