My 2013 Predictions

Continuing the annual tradition: Last year, my predictions for 2012 turned out to be remarkably good with 85% accuracy! That’s even better than the 77% accuracy of 2010 and 2011 predictions. If you want to check it out yourself, here’s the scorecard.

I loved the video summary Google did for 2012. I actually didn’t mention many of these developments. So surely you must consider my predictions not “all that will be”, but rather, what will be within specific areas that I’m focused on. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on that I don’t touch on.

So without further ado, my 2013 predictions:

  • Apple:
    • iPhone 5S – Again, this summer, June-August. No change in form factor. Most improvements will be “internal” and in software and ecosystem – not in sheer device capabilities. Could be cosmetics, like colors. It could even be perceived as somewhat of a letdown. Not a prediction, just a small comment: The iPhone 5 is an amazing device with its power, size, and weight. However, I really don’t like how it scratches so easily on sides and back. The iPhone 4/4S was much more durable in that respect. Apple may fix these aesthetic aspects while maintaining the same form factor.
    • iPad Mini will get a Retina-rated display, and a stronger processor around April-October 2013.
    • Opening up iOS a bit more – given the Maps fiasco, I think Apple may allow replacing the default application to open for maps, mail, browser on the device. This is somewhat unlikely – so it’s not obvious it would happen. But it wouldn’t be too difficult for Apple to do. Especially now that Steve isn’t here. This may make Chrome and Google Maps even more pervasive on this platform.
    • I think a real Apple TV will come this year. I predicted it for 2012, but 2012 was too busy with the iPad Mini and the lightning port and two iPad versions, so I think it will be this year.
  • Microsoft:
    • Windows 8 will be a success. It’s a very nice OS.
    • Surface with Windows RT will also be doing pretty well this year. I really don’t like the touch keyboard, but the physical key keyboard is terrific. A real laptop alternative on the go. Better than an iPad for most serious work.
    • Windows Phone 8 – Also, a big mover this year. I think it will take a chunk out of Apple growth, but it won’t stop iOS nor Android from having another great year. It will be the 3rd OS – giving even more options for users.
    • Overall, I’d say Microsoft innovation is “back”. They are going to do a lot of great stuff.
    • Bing – no change. Will continue to be a distant 2nd place, but may move up a notch. Right now, Google has 80% of worldwide search and Bing has nearly 10%. I don’t think we’ll see Bing get over 13% during 2013. Here’s the trend over the past few years. Quite steady now.
  • Google:
    • Search dominance continues.
    • Online video dominance continues.
    • Online ad dominance continues.
    • Browser – Chrome continues to grow, from 24.5% market share to about 30% market share during the year. This eats into FireFox and IE marketshare, mostly.
    • Chromebook – probably doesn’t make it. The push I expected in 2012 didn’t happen and I’m beginning to doubt that it will resurface in 2013. So this year I’m actually predicting Chromebook doesn’t have much news or progress.
    • Google+… – It doesn’t seem like it’s going to grow dramatically in 2013 except organically. It’s not becoming a destination in and of itself. Just a tool to improve other Google products.
    • Google Drive – great traction here. Google remaining a dominant cloud player.
    • Research projects – we’ll continue to see great stuff here. Cannot predict exactly which of them will make a splash/dent.
  • Games:
    • Nintendo Wii U will NOT be a huge success. Yes, it will sell. But it’s not a Kinect-beater. Two reasons – price and complexity. The experience is too complex. Immersive, but not nearly as immersive as Kinect.
    • Microsoft Kinect continues to dominate the console market – taking marketshare from Nintendo and Sony. It’s just a better overall experience.
    • Nintendo is also suffering from the smartphones on the portable platform, with continued decline in NDS and N3DS usage.
    • Sony continues to falter on handheld platform – no way to beat smartphones or even Nintendo 3DS with PlayStation Vita that followed PlayStation Portable.
    • Basically iOS and Android rein in the portable gaming field, and  Microsoft move strongly into a lead on the console side.
  • Home entertainment:
    • The streaming video business is a very tough battle on content and rights and platform availability with Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, Boxee, and others.
    • The battle continues. Will a winner emerge this year? I doubt it. So that’s my prediction. It’s still a fragmented market.
  • Mobile:
    • RIM, manufacturer of Blackberry, continues to fail. Perhaps it’s breakup will be in 2013. I incorrectly thought it would be 2012, but I think RIM will be unable to recover and someone will acquire its assets and user base. Two things RIM could have done, and may still do to save itself: Become a virtual carrier for roaming business users or move to Android (or Windows Phone) platforms as its prime OS. It may not save it completely, but it could slow its decline.
    • I already made predictions about Android, iOS and Windows. No other OSs are likely to be important in 2013 on a global scale.
    • This is particularly true for Jolla, from the folks that formerly created MeeGo at Nokia and as can be seen here. I seriously doubt they could have much of an impact. Even if they have a different strategy with a China-based go-to-market plan.
  • Ubiquitous Connectivity:
    • As I predicted earlier, I still believe that by 2019 we’ll have about 10mbps access affordably and globally from wherever we shall be. That’s 6 years away now. To this end, in 2013, I predict Internet connectivity will return to over a quarter of domestic flights and will exist in over a quarter of land-based public transportation (trains/buses/subways). I don’t have an easy way to measure this without a lot of research – but if someone knows how to find the stats, let me know.
  • Social Media: No huge change in landscape.
    • Facebook continues to dominate.
    • Twitter continues to grow.
    • Google+ too. But not a destination in and of itself.
    • LinkedIn remains strong.
    • But apps to try to make it all more meaningful does emerge. Pinterest? Possibly an additional service ramps up during the year. There’s still room for improvement and an innovator is lurking to make use of these vast networks on top of their authentication and mechanisms.
  • Health:
    • Amount of innovation in Health related topics is accelerating. Social web + smartphones + tablets are going to bring a lot of new innovation. It’s hard to define how to measure this, but I see it all around us.
    • I predict that you’re going to hear great things about a small new startup: Medivizor. Await more great news from that small company…

Even though these predictions aren’t wild, 2013 will be another exciting year. As we all saw, 2012 was pretty amazing.

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

UPDATE: Eli pointed out that I missed the recent sale of Motorola Mobility’s Set Top Box business, and that’s about 20% of Motorola Mobility, so the score is actually 86% prediction accuracy.

19 thoughts on “My 2013 Predictions”

  1. Tal, very reasonable prediction, and a comprehensive view on the landscape.
    Adding to telecoms, I think that we will hear more from Huawei this year. After several years of massive investment in their OSS/BSS, including acquiring innovative solutions worldwide, I think this year will see the topple point against their main competitors.
    On management, with all the hype around agile, most organizations will continue to suffer from dealing with rapidly changing requirements, stiffling contractual agreements, quality concerns and more. A small number of organizations will succeed to make the mindset shift; but they will also be seen as the odd guys danding nearby, as in Derek Sivers’ video and we have at least a decade to go before the hype turns into mainstream – althouh many organizations mistakenly believe that they are already there.
    My 2c added…

  2. Hi Tal,

    Windows 8 and W. Phone 8 is the worst OS i ever see, we expect from a company that want to compete with Apple and Google to come with something different, but they took the old OS and destroy it.
    regarding BB, i am sure they will recover, remember that they still player in the enterprise and the new OS support Business environment.

  3. A lot of chane will happen surrounding the launch of Willow Glass, an ultra thin and bendable type of glass, which the company hopes will revolutionize the form of next-generation gadgets.

    The thinness and flexibility of Corning Willow Glass means that displays can be “wrapped” around your phone, tablet, and other devices.

    Nothing else you have talked about is exciting!

  4. Tal,

    You can actually improve your 2012 score a bit – Google did announce they are selling the setop box business of Motorola Mobility (about 20% of the Motorola Mobility).

  5. Hi all, thanks for comments!

    Ilan, Huawei is trying a lot! But a lot! Haven’t seen them yet succeed as much, but perhaps this year. Not sure, though.
    Loved the short TED talk – which works well with my TED-talk-a-day Diet

    Ami, I simply don’t agree with you here. It is not radically different, but it’s pretty good. And it’s different enough and quirky enough to be interesting and even useful. Yes, they are a player, but they will not recover, IMHO. So let’s wait a year – our views here are almost diametrically opposite. It will be interesting!

    Sriganesh, didn’t see Willow Glass. Thx for pointing out. I think it’s exciting, but I highly doubt it will have a real impact in 2013. I think it will take a while for this technology to find it’s best commercial market fit. I agree that what I predict isn’t very exciting. Hopefully, it could be useful.

    Paul, thanks! Even if we’ll see more federated digital services, Telcos are not well positioned for this. I think they’ll continue with advantages of facility-based providers that can assure end-to-end service for unique services such as business continuity, security, and others. Things they’ve begun doing better also in 2012 (not all of them, of course).

    Eli, thanks. Updated – now accuracy is at 86% 🙂

    Keep’em coming.

  6. I’m missing your 2013 Telecom predictions. BTW, you for 2012 you didn’t consider RCS (joyn). Do you think we’ll see more carriers and handset manufacturers joining GSMA’s battle with OTT?
    Also, where do you see WebRTC going? The technology can influence both OTT players and carriers.

  7. Tzahi, this year I hadn’t had enough Telecom interactions to feel strongly enough regarding those predictions. No, I didn’t see RCS/joyn in 2012 predictions. As I said, the predictions are not “everything”… Do you happen to know what’s the actual up-take on joyn in terms of users/usage?

    It’s interesting to see that the handset manufacturers, even advertised as part of joyn, are hardly pushing it. Check this, for instance. (HTC has no mention of joyn on their web site although listed first here). Nor on Samsung.

    So it seems more like a ‘technology prototype’ than something that really has an impact. Let alone that nearly all the utility of joyn was already available in many other apps…

    I actually think the battle with OTT is almost doomed from a mobile perspective – that is, the carrier role is negligible in innovative services. Yes, we’ll see a lot of investment in trying to maintain a foothold by the carriers, but overwhelming majority will not pay off and, in general, we won’t see the impact. It’ll be more “me too” and for certain pseudo-captive audiences.

    WebRTC – cooler. But I’d put as a “research project” – there are hundreds of those going on. It’s really difficult to tell whether it will become important or not. So I’m not making that call – too soon to say.

  8. Tal, good predictions overall, and nice going for 2012.

    Real Apple TV: Kind of a very soft prediction, especially when you consider they already sell an Apple TV. Adding “Real” in front does not cut it as a valid prediction. Yes, they will come out with an Apple TV, but I hope you don’t give yourself a good score at the end of next year if they come out with just an enhanced hockey puck.

    I would have liked to see it written: Will the hockey puck disappear into a new slick HDTV design? We will finally see new agreements with content providers to make the TV experience different enough for consumers to absolutely gotta have one?

    1. Thiery, of course I mean an Apple HD TV set. It was a 2012 prediction that didn’t pan out. I just didn’t repeat the full text.

  9. Tal,

    Yes, RCS faces many challenges but GSMA and many carriers (especially Vodafone) are putting a lot of effort into it. Still number of users is not high. Not at all. An analysis predicts 76 Million devices with RCS at 2016 ( but that’s too low and they’re aiming at 500 million.

    I don’t think the battle with OTT players is doomed. RCS vs OTT can take many forms. For example, finding a niche person-to-service market rather than person-to-person.

    At any case, if you’re going to MWC this year, I expect you’ll see a strong presence of Joyn (RCS) there. Will be interesting to talk to carriers un-officially and hear what they really think…

    WebRTC – Don’t think there’re many projects. There’re a few branches, especially from Mozilla, Opera and Telefonica but we’ll see where it’s heading.

  10. Tal:

    Any reason you didn’t include Roku in the home entertainment area? Not sure it is a major player, but did note that Amazon Cloud Player was just added, which I found useful.

  11. Tal,
    Very insightful!
    One question that I have is what do you think will be the big surprises of 2013???


  12. Steve, don’t see Roku as a big player. Yes, they have years in the market, and they have a lot of product out there, but they always remind me of Archos for some reason. Don’t see as remaining important.

    Avi, great question! First, surprises are, by their very nature, difficult to predict. I spent a few minutes thinking about this and as much as I try, all my expectations of surprises are so weak that hardly justify putting in writing.

    Instead, let me ask you, and everybody else – what surprises do you expect in 2013?

  13. Hi Tal,
    Interesting predictions for Windows 8. I’m not sure I agree with it. Businesses aren’t likely to make the switch, especially after many switched from XP to 7, and I can’t really see many people upgrading from 7 to 8. The main audience will be people who are buying new PCs, but that audience is shrinking now.

    In mobile, Ubuntu for phones has just been announced and will be shown off more at CES. How do you think it will fit into the market?

    As for games, what do you think of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 successors that will likely launch later this year (or at least be announced)?

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