My 2012 Predictions

For the past 5 years I’ve been privately tracking the accuracy of my predictions, I must admit that my results have been pretty good. For the last two years I’ve been publishing annual prediction podcasts within Amdocs called DoxCast which, together with Adi Lachman, I’ve co-created and co-hosted. DoxCast gave me an opportunity to be “on the record” with my yearly predictions – for 2010 and 2011. My accuracy on these is 77%. With these results, it seems appropriate to start a new tradition on my blog – annual predictions for the year to come. Without further ado, here are my predictions for 2012 in no particular order:

    1. Apple
      • iPhone 5 (yes, this time it will be called “5”) will arrive Aug-Oct 2012, unlikely sooner nor later. It will have a new form factor, with NFC (and a payment ecosystem!) as well as LTE. I’m not sure about anything else, but those would be the highlights of the device.
      • iPad 3 will arrive March-July 2012 and might include a 7” companion (which would match the Kindle Fire and other Android tablets). It may not change form factor at all! So it would add retina, better processor, LTE, etc. – mostly under the hood. It might be called 2S – but that name doesn’t sound snazzy enough for Apple. An accessory to the iPad (such as a native keyboard) could be added, but there’s not much more people are really expecting. Nevertheless, they will have something cool and new. It will not be 3D nor a radically different display technology.
      • TV – They may come out with a new TV experience – including possibly a TV. If Apple does come out with a TV, it will get rave reviews, and few buyers. This is because the the market for TVs is very different than that for handheld or portable/mobile gadgets. TVs are replaced much less frequently and people just went through a huge replacement cycle due to flat panel and HDTV. While it might redefine the experience, Apple’s TV set will not be a huge commercial success nor disrupt the industry – as it has done to many other industries. As an add-on appliance (e.g. Apple TV in its current form), it does have an opportunity to redefine the experience – and if that’s the form factor to build upon, Apple does have a chance at disruption. It’s no surprise that today the Apple TV is difficult to even find on Apple’s web site – it’s buried under “iPod”. It’s not yet a big push for Apple, at least not yet.
    2. Mobile:
      • RIM breaks up/dies/collapses. They have lost their way and this might be inevitable.
      • Android continues to thrive. No surprise here. However, nearly all the money in the industry goes to Apple. What I mean is that the ecosystem remains so fragmented, that nearly no company eally makes big money on their investments except Apple. True, the OEMs like HTC, Samsung, and others do have sales – but with dramatically weaker margins.
      • Microsoft/Nokia partnership makes some headway, but not enough to be significant vs. Android/Apple. Developers don’t flock to this platform, still in 2012. They would create Web Apps that would work on it. The overwhelming majority of developers for mobile will target primarily iOS and Android.
    3. Tablets
      • Amazon Kindle Fire is a huge hit – already seen. But it will continue into 2012. The price point and value are great.
      • eInk becomes a niche technology and starts lowering sales or stays flat despite historically low price points (eReaders at the end of the year will likely be priced at about $50)!
      • We’ll see more form factors explored, like the cool ASUS Transformer, which I predict will have commercial success due to its unique and functional design.
    4. Google
      • They will not YET kill Google Plus in 2012 (like they’ve killed so many things in 2011). Google Plus is struggling to become a “destination” – a place people live, like they live in Facebook. It has millions of registered users and it’s integrated into many of Google’s assets – so it may become more part of the fabric than a destination. But it isn’t really causing a dent in Facebook nor Twitter.
      • Will sell off much of Motorola Mobility – this will prove to anybody not yet convinced that this acquisition was all about the patents Google needs to try to defend the Android ecosystem it has created.
      • Will make a big push with Chromebook tied to good nationwide 3G+ network. This is one cool device – while it did go commercial this year after a beta, the big push will be 2012.
    5. Telecom
      • Nothing much will change. This industry is becoming slower by the minute in its abilities. Just more speeds and feeds. Even less control over the devices/services that run over their network. Some seemingly desperate efforts to become the “center” of something.
      • WAC, developed the “telecom way” will not sway developers towards developing for the ecosystem.
      • Biggest pushes will be managed services – for businesses (cloud/data centers) and consumers (home security, etc.). Both of these might see some traction – depending highly on regional market and execution.
    6. Social will continue to permeate our lives with many new things happening, such as AirBnB, TaskRabbit and many others. Lots of eCommerce that once didn’t succeed will now become successful because of the “web of people” created by social networks. Trust becomes possible through the user rating system and “real people” behind the transactions. This enables the many visions of the dot com bubble to finally become feasible.
    7. Cloud will become the dominant deployment architecture for new services in 2012. It will no longer be considered “an alternative” but rather the “default”, even for enterprise app deployments, towards the end of the year. The enterprises will go with private or hybrid (public/private) clouds this year.
    8. Payments: 2012 will be the year of mobile money – with lots more push in this domain – even in developed countries. We’ll see Google Wallet really begin to expand, as well as competing solutions. Lots of activity here. A clear winner may not yet be clear at the end of the year, though.
    9. TV battleground:
      • No significant change in landscape, except one important previous prediction will be realized – most cable and satellite providers will have or will have announced plans to stream OTT (over-the-top) content to the TV, including web, YouTube, etc.
      • 3DTV continues to move very slowly (as I’ve predicted earlier). Interactive TV continues to slowly percolate the market.
    10. Gaming will have no fundamental change in landscape, though it’s expected that at least Nintendo will come up with their new device to succeed the Wii.
    11. Enterprise environment: The biggest investments will be in: Big data, business intelligence, and “smart features” – things that used to be called “artificial intelligence” – being put to use on enterprise data and transactional systems.
    12. Healthcare: I believe social and big data will have a huge impact on medical research and healthcare as we know it. Already we’re seeing the signs of this happening – but 2012 will have more in the revolution of Health 2.0.
    13. Crowdfunding: Big year with lots of success to the crowd-funded model. Kickstarter is just one of tens of companies trying to do something in this space. I believe the legislation in the US will finally pass to allow greater use of crowdfunding. Currently there are competing US legislation proposals for equity-based crowdfunding, so it might take a while, but once this hurdle is crossed – and even before then, crowdfunding is bound to pick up even more steam in 2012 and be a funding vehicle for many more startup ventures.
    14. ASUSTeK truly becomes a consumer brand to be reckoned with. Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and the de-facto creator of the term “Disruptive Innovation” explains in this Keynote at a Gartner event recently, how ASUS grew over the years. In 2011 we are finally seeing the “in-your-face” innovations from ASUSTeK in the form of the Zenbook – an ultrabook to compete with the MacBook Air and the Transformer. Both are terrific and I believe will lead the company to more commercial success this year.

I’d love to hear your feedback on these predictions. Please comment! If you have key predictions I’ve missed, point them out.

Based on my predictions, it’s not clear that 2012 will be very exciting. Perhaps, I’m missing a Black Swan or two… can you speculate on what might be a Black Swan for 2012?

22 thoughts on “My 2012 Predictions”

  1. It is an informative predictions. Actually, we can expect many social websites and online applications to launch their mobile version because the year 2012 would be a positive year for mobile technology.


  2. Greta tradition and blog Tal.
    Totally agree regarding Mobile Money, Mobile Payments and Mobile Commerce.

    Wonder what your prediction would be regarding HTML5 as part of the App marketplace?


  3. Radio

    I will see this coming back into our life, sans the advertisements blah-blah! The World space satellite radio (which filed for Chapter 11) equivalent will come in a big way into our life through satellite car radio.


    People who have information retrieval skills, i.e. Health Information specialists will be a new breed that will be in demand.

    The recent find in Indian Institute of Science – creation of cells which can replicate the muscular type of cells of the heart using stem cell technology will become more pronounced.

  4. If Apple does bring out a TV, it will be a big seller. You say the opposite. You are not the only one. Yes, TV’s are different, and certainly its price point is, but I think much like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, it will have a halo affect and bring in a whole type of buying audience – one driven to finally buy an Apple product and one who just wants the coolest newest – and most stylish fashion statement in their home. I also think AT&T and Verizon, through their UVerse and FIOS IPTV platforms, could become distribution partners, and possible subsidize the cost of the Apple TV or bundle it into your cable bill.

    1. Alan,
      Thx for the comment. Quick response and clarification – when I predict Apple will sell “few” units (of an Apple TV), I mean that in relative terms. It will sell like a high-end TV sets today, but it won’t disrupt the market. Apple could “teach” the world how the TV experience should look like, but by coming out with a TV display itself, they will not be the ones to benefit the most, and they’ll have a marginal marketshare (below 5% of TVs sold – even after 2-3 years in the market). Obviously, Apple has its loyal fans and many that would admire and appreciate the great new experience – and would pay a premium for that experience. So there will be sales. However, in absolute terms, I predict this will not be nearly the success the rest of their recent products were (iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, App Store, etc.). Regarding the bundling/subsidy – I doubt such a distribution model to be created, and if it is created, for it to be substantial. Could it happen? yes. Likely to have an impact even if it does? I simply don’t think that AT&T/Verizon are going to be better sellers/channel for Apple.

  5. Ah… good response. No, I don’t think Apple will disrupt the market. I agree.
    AT&T, in particular, has very nice retail stores, that are focused on U-verse and displayed nicely with big screen TVs. They already sell iPhones, iPad and accessories. No reason they could not sell Apple TVs.

    As alway with the future, we’ll see…. 🙂

  6. Interesting forecast. We have been doing the same for the last several years , but I focus on 5 years out. . Here a link to our 2012 forecasts.
    I agree with many of your forecasts. Here are some comments that I have a little different twist.
    1) Apple – Don’t underestimate the power of the Apple brand. While technologically it may not set the world on fire, but the incremental progress together with it’s brand may.
    2) Mobile – RIM is on a death spiral. It will be bought out for it’s patents and it’s BES server. Security is it’s strong point and whoever wants to be strong in the enterprise space will try to get this very valuable asset. You will see major strides in the mobile transformation of the enterprise. We will see some major battles in this space, especially as consumerization of the enterpise accellerates. And we will see some surprising innovation on the emerging world space, especially in the area of mobile money.

    3)Tablets will be a big hit in the enterprise.
    4)Google will make major inroads in some areas outside of search and ads.
    5)Telcos still trying out figure what they will be when they grow up. Look for some changes in their business model
    6) Social and Big data will be big in 2012, but security and privacy concerns will emerge as the the milstone around major adaption. Security will also limit major advances on mobile money in the developed world.

    Nice job.

  7. Nice reasoning.
    I get the Apple cult, but I don’t buy it personally and try not to propogate the debate! Surely it will be easier and better for Apple to stick to multi-faceted Set Top Boxes. I do think that the TV channel is the next frontier for a lot of developments and more consumer interaction.
    Someone else just mentioned security and that’s definitely going to be an issue in smartphones in 2012. That and the continued rise of wallet adoption for mobile payments.
    I think Google will also continue to thrive and move us all along nicely, at least for a couple more years+
    , but I make no claims to my predictions 🙂 Good stuff.

  8. Hi Tal,
    It’s done very very well. Please read T3 and Stuff from UK and you can get updated about more news.
    Best regards,
    Eli Alroy

  9. Tal,

    I agree with most of your predictions, particularly with regards to brands. I agree that Asus will emerge as a major player and Blackberry will be as relevant as Palm.

    My main disagreement may seem semantic, but hopefully will stimulate some more dialog. I disagree with the concept that telecom is getting slower. I believe that the rate of change in the industry is actually increasing.

    Many of the companies that have dominated in telecom in the past are not getting with the program however. They are not becoming more agile, rather more entrenched in their processes, etc.

    I think that the companies that are able to become more agile can thrive in the new environment, those that cannot will go the way of “fading away”

  10. Interesting stuff Tal, thank you for putting this post together. I think one of the biggest mysteries for the coming year or two is Google, specifically Google+. I liked your observation and the way you put it, and wonder how would another failure in the social networks sphere impact Goog. After Buzz, Wave and +, they will have to find, define, settle in and defend their position in the internet and the nature of the company. But, what will that be?

    Also, of course, I’m curious to see what 2012 will bring to crowdfunding, and have a few predictions of my own 🙂

    1. First, I’d like to thank all the terrific responses – both here on the blog and on Twitter. Here are some specific responses to comments:

      Benji, LTE in iThings is probably one of the riskier predictions – but I think it might be right. We’ll see soon enough.

      Oded, you might need to be more specific regarding HTML5. The landmark shift at Adobe regarding Flash (which was a direct result of Apple’s reluctance to include Flash in its devices) gave even more steam to HTML5 – so it’s the preferred method to develop front ends moving forward.

      Sriganesh, regarding revival of radio – the Internet has thousands of radio stations already. I’m able to dial into practically any type of content I wish – especially audio. In the car – via the iPhone (or other smartphone). Don’t know if plain old radio has a revival planned. Healthcare will continue to improve, but the revolution in 2012 will be related to what I was talking about, I think.

      Alan, notice the recent rumors on the new 32/37” sets from Apple (came a day after I published the blog post :-).

      Paul, thanks for the observations. 5 years is much more challenging – thanks for the link! However, I did take a stab at timing many major developments in a previous blog post. Let me know what you think about those! I do not underestimate Apple, just think that the impact on TV will be more gradual and more indirect than that they had on other ecosystems. Regarding RIM – agreed. They will be acquired, not go under and disappear. That said, the device itself has lost its attraction vs. the competitive landscape and it would take some work to revitalize the ecosystem. Agreed on Tablets, though I see that already – so 2012 would just be part of the hockey stick in that regard. Google – yup, I can see that. Don’t know which of their ventures it will be, though. Telcos are too grown up as it is – it might be that it’s hard for an old dog to learn new tricks. Re security and privacy – issues indeed. Is 2012 their year? Not sure. I think that just like music moved online, payment will as well – so I doubt security is what’s going to hold it back (even though we’re talking about hard cash). Thanks for all the insightful comments!

      John, I actually think security will be a big issue primarily in Android rather than mobile, in general. Apple have some benefit with the more closed device.

      Don, so we’ll have to disagree on Telecoms pace. Let’s see – it’s going to be difficult to gauge at the end of the year as it’s one of the more subjective calls. As you said (agreeing with me), many of the dominant companies are inclined to fade. The question is, who are those that “get with the program” and really step out to reinvent themselves? I see attempts, but not many successes (if any).

      Alon, one way to do this would be to acquire Twitter…

      Keep’em coming. Primarily, what are the Black Swans?

  11. Tal, since you ask specifically about black swans, check out Connect.Me (disclaimer: I’m the chairman). As a socially-verified reputation network it goes specifically towards the last sentence of your prediction #6. It’s still in private beta, but take a close look at the legal framework it is based on, called the Respect Trust Framework. It won the Privacy Award at the European Identity Conference last May after it was publicly listed with Open Identity Exchange.

  12. Tal,

    What about search? Do you have any prediction about Facebook moving into search? What about Siri?
    I predict that no one will put a dent into Google’s search business in 2012.

    1. Eli, thx for positive feedback. I read those from time to time. Especially on flights 🙂

      Drummond, sounds very interesting. I’ll check it out. Thx for pointer.

      Yoav, I don’t consider these part of my overall predictions, but here’s what I think – search will have some interesting changes this year from new and unlikely actors as well as existing players. It’s not easy to predict what Facebook will do – they have a lot of directions they could choose to pursue, Search is, obviously, one of them. Siri – still works best with simple accents in well-connected environments, like the US. It might take years for this to really mature beyond cute. Yes, some people can begin to rely on it and it changes their lives – but that’s not yet available to all for a variety of reasons. I agree that Google will remain “the” dominant player in search. Bing will continue to make some headway, slowly but steadily, with some pushes that might be considered aggressive. But Microsoft aren’t moving nearly as fast as they should as a challenger.

  13. Thank you Tal, these are some great and thoughtful predictions!

    There is so much here to relate to; I’ll just give my 2c re Google Plus: I’d definitely say this one is NOT going to the get killed like their other social initiatives. As you say, and unlike their other/previous “social” products (Orkut, Buzz, Wave, …) Google Plus was created (in my view) to serve as a social fabric for social-enabling other Google products, and the web experience through Google services/browser/OSs as a whole. This means they *don’t* need to get people to visit G+ as a destination site instead of Facebook. All they have to do is have enough social context in G+ to prevent Facebook from getting the monopoly on the social-fabric – and the social fabric(s) will increasingly underlie most online experiences. And they have the entire Google range of services (and OSs) and the now-most-widely-used web browser to do just that: Push people to be on G+, even if not as their main social presence.

    So, Facebook’s demise is not a prerequisite nor a plausible goal for G+ 🙂

    And with that, my chips are on Google succeeding (per the definition above) with this one.

    1. I saw some great predictions here. Few and interesting.

      Itamar, I agree that G+ can live on for long as a fabric. The thing is, that if people don’t live in G+ and they do live on FB, then FB has the opportunity to do more things with these users – and hence diversify and grow faster. For example, gaming – much more popular in Facebook. Also “living in” the environment is critical as that’s how they begin to message, chat, video conference, and more. I believe Google+ aspires to do more than just be a fabric, though it might be relegated to that position by not creating enough of a pull to sway people away. The question is, where is the “default” location of people – is it Facebook or G+ or some other web portal. G+ doesn’t seem like it is a serious contender just yet.

  14. Itamar, yes, this competition about the social scene will be interesting to watch. Google has a lot of value to add to G+ making it even more difficult to part with (if ever). As I said, I believe G+ will remain alive this year – and that doesn’t mean that it won’t be expanded – it probably will. However, that’s not necessarily forever (forever is awfully long :). I still think that G+ must establish itself as a sort of “home” where people revolve around – when you are browsing Google-services, that’s already becoming the case – the challenge will be to expand this beyond Google-provided services. When they create the ecosystem to add value on top of G+ it will begin to look better for them…

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