A year ago several people at Fynydd participated in the First Annual Fynydd Predictions for the New Year, covering technology and trends for 2015. Who nailed it? Who was pushing claim chowda? Now that it's 2016, it's time to see how we did.
Since I'm the Apple guy, I have an agenda. So I'll start with an obvious one. NFC payments will begin to take off. Everyone is focused on the point of sale improvement achieved by paying for stuff with your phone. But the big win will be in online purchasing, led by the Apple Pay in-app solution. Because of it, we'll see the birth of ubiquitous credit cardless (tokenized) transactions, ushering in the death of online credit card theft. Fingers crossed.
Keep dreaming. Apple Pay certainly made a splash, but it didn't gain the traction we all hoped it would. That said, it did make Google Wallet more popular, and many apps began to implement Apple Pay. So the jury is still out on this one.
Apple TV will have a major upgrade this year. It's been two years since it was updated, and even that upgrade was a minor one from the user's perspective. It could gain a complete form factor change, and even become the hub in a connected house initiative (remember iOS 8 HomeKit?). Something's brewing. And this is the year we get some answers.
I mostly nailed this one. The disappointing miss here was the ability for Apple TV to be the hub in a connected house.
Watch out for the GigantiPad. Apple will release an iPad with a larger screen, more suitable for content creation, especially for artists and videographers. And I wouldn't be shocked to see Apple release a stylus for this model. They all need that option.
I nailed this one.
iOS 9 will be released in the fall, and feature an evolutionary change in the springboard user interface. The grid of icons will likely remain, but there will be other significant changes to the way apps are navigated, organized, and launched. It's been a long time coming, and after two successive iOS releases with almost identical visuals, Apple is poised to shake things up. Besides, building a larger iPad would almost require rethinking the user interface.
I mostly nailed this one. The grid of icons remains, but the search was extended to help find and launch apps more quickly. And the Siri Suggestions page exposes even more apps and content.
And Verizon FiOS will still be unavailable in my neighborhood at years end. SHOCKING.
Nailed this one too. Still no FiOS in my neighborhood. But it's only been 12 years, so...
We have countless clients who rely on Microsoft SQL Server; but the growth in on-premises/PAAS implementations is decreasing as Azure SQL increases faster. This trend will continue in 2015; but it will be quite a few years out before Microsoft SQL Server goes the way of Windows XP.
Nailed it. The trend for hosting SQL databases in the cloud has certainly continued, with Microsoft Azure as well as other offerings, like Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora.
Microsoft is an Open Source company? Believe it or not there is currently a trend in Microsoft towards open sourcing. One example of this is Microsoft's 2014 effort to open source ASP.NET and portions of the .NET Framework. This trend will continue through 2015 as Microsoft expands their cloud offerings.
A hopeful longshot in hardware news, the first personal computing prototype based on carbon nanotubes (CNT) will be created this year. Unfortunately, I doubt we will see them commercially before 2019. Cheers to Gordon Moore!
Keep dreaming. There are still roadblocks, but IBM is one of many companies who have solved some of the problems facing manufacturers.
And Verizon FiOS will finally be available in Mike's neighborhood in 2015 (I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you, Chris — MA).
Keep dreaming. New Jersey will be under water before FiOS is rolled out to my neighborhood.
Wearables such as smart watches and activity trackers will increase in popularity this year. Whether they make people more active or not is up for debate. On one hand, I don't even have to pick up my phone; everything is on my wrist. But on the other hand, I can now track my heart rate, stamina, distance, steps, elevation, etc.; so maybe I'll be motivated to get out there more often. With that in mind, I think it's time to take the FitBit I've been staring at for months off my shelf and put it to use this year.
Nailed it. There were a TON of wearables released in 2015, from makers like Microsoft, Apple, Fitbit, Shine, Jawbone, Nike, and a long tail of super cheap devices from China.
This is the year that top television and cable providers like Dish, Comcast, and Verizon will start to offer 4k (Ultra HD) packages. Consequently, mobile devices with larger screens (like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note) will begin offering 4k screen resolutions.
Nailed it. Comcast released X1 in UHD and DirecTV introduced the 4k genie. The iPhone 6S was released with the ability to shoot 4k video. And the Samsung Galaxy S6 series was also released with 4k video support (among others).
Google Fiber will expand to cities on the east coast, expanding high-speed access to more people than ever.
Keep dreaming. Google fiber has the potential to expand into more markets (like the east coast), but the distribution is still sparse and varied across the west coast and midwest regions.
And in the personal computer realm, lightweight, touchscreen laptops will outsell tablets for the first time.
Keep dreaming. Gartner reported that over 21 million hybrid devices were sold in 2015. But tablets sold over 200 million units.
HBO cutting ties with cable will cause huge numbers of people to cancel their TV service and just go with data. This has been on the horizon for a long time. But as cable and television contracts with production companies like HBO expire, this is the year that we finally see movement en masse.
Nailed it. Cable TV ratings are plummeting. Goldman Sachs reported in October 2015 that the third quarter was the fifth consecutive quarter of high single to low double digit declines. Declining ratings for broadcast and traditional cable programming may indicate that viewers are increasingly watching online, according to Goldman Sachs.
Exercise smartbands will continue to improve on current technology by more accurately counting steps/miles, calories, heart rate, and have a more sensitive indicator of actual sleep patterns and full detailed explanation of the results with recommendations to improve in all areas. All this will still be compatible with iOS and Android, as well as desktop versions. These devices will also sync with your music library, making your audio accessible via Bluetooth to your headphones and external speakers. And, they will also be water resistant to at least 30 feet (hopefully 60 feet) for divers/snorkelers, and have the ability to take photos (underwater or above water).
Nailed it. As I wrote previously, there were a TON of wearables released in 2015 from lots of device makers. And even the premium watches (like the Apple Watch) have proven to be water resistant (IPX7).
Many of us are hoping that Apple Pay will be accepted everywhere... still crossing fingers on that as it would be awesome not to carry a purse everywhere!
Keep dreaming. Although Apple Pay has been rolling out to more and more retailers, there are exponentially more who do not accept electronic wallet payments of any kind, than do.
I'm also going to predict that Fynydd will be a rousing success in 2015 as one of the most successful software design and development companies emerging from the smaller market.
Nailed it! In 2015 we doubled our active client roster, successfully deployed solutions using cool new technologies, and expanded our service offerings.
My prediction: I think we'll see bitcoin become a more widely used form of currency as it stabilizes through the year and becomes more easily accessible to the average user. This new universal currency will have many potential uses as we grow into a more global economy.
Nailed it. Bitcoin was the top performing currency of 2015.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will offer new opportunities for mobile developers in 2015. Many manufacturers have announced that the first cars featuring these platforms will become available this year. Additionally, the Parrot RNB 6, a device that can be installed in existing cars to bring support for Android Auto and CarPlay, was unveiled at CES.
Mostly nailed it. Apple Car Play and Android Auto were seen in more vehicles in 2015, but app development for them is minimal.
Smartwatches will start to grow out of their niche to become more practical everyday devices for more people. The first generation of smartwatches featured a myriad of issues including poor form factor, slow processors (Moto 360), and lack of battery life. 2015 should see improvements in many of these areas, as well as more useful apps for these devices.
Nailed it. Apple Watch and Android Wear devices really became mainstream in 2015, even though it's still a growing category.
3D printers will continue to evolve to become cheaper, more consumer-friendly, and have more varied uses. XYZPrinting unveiled three new printers at CES, including the Da Vinci Junior, which costs just $349, and a 3D food printer which can print with materials such as chocolate, icing, and cookie dough. Additionally, Voxel8, a Boston-based company founded by a Harvard professor, has unveiled a $9,000 printer capable of printing electronics.
Nailed it. According to 3D Hubs, the top 10 3D printers sold 15-20% more units in 2015. Choice of materials has expanded as well, from resins to sandstones.
Watch for our 2016 predictions in an upcoming blog post.