Quite naturally, most predictions concentrate on what’s likely to happen in the coming year. (I’m not immune to this trend: See 10 things that will absolutely, positively happen in 2015.)
But sometimes it can be more illuminating to consider the things that aren’t going to happen, the hopes dashed, expectations denied, and disasters averted. Here’s my list of key tech trends and developments that we most definitely won’t see in 2015.
1. The Apple Watch will legitimize wearables
The Apple Watch will sell tons of units… it’s from Apple, after all. But don’t think for a minute that the first-generation Apple Watch will suddenly make wearables cool. It’s going to take a lot more than that.
2. Shadow IT will go away
Nope. Look for Shadow IT to become even more pervasive in 2015, as cloud and SaaS alternatives to traditional IT solutions become ever cheaper and easier to use. There are only two viable solutions to Shadow IT: 1) Provide an approved service good enough to make alternatives unnecessary, or 2) Decide to support the best of what users actually like, bring light to the shadows.
3. People will figure out what the IoT is all about
The Internet of Things isn’t going away—CES is already being hyped as the moment when the IoT comes home. But that doesn’t mean most people—even most tech professionals—understand what it is, how to use it, or how to leverage it. In fact, I predict that the term IoT won’t stick in the long run. It’ll just be yet another part of the overall Internet.
4. The next version of Windows will fix everything
Windows 10 is due to be revealed to consumers later this month, but don’t think that Microsoft’s latest operating system will fix the company’s bumpy path. I’m confident the company will fix many of the issues of Windows 8, but the new OS is not going to heal the PC market, and it’s not going to jumpstart Microsoft revenues. Windows is simply being asked to do too many things—satisfying consumers and businesses, powering PCs and tablets—to fully succeed everywhere. Plus, with Apple making new versions of OS X available for free, there will be increasing pressure on Microsoft to justify its OS pricing strategy.
5. Apple will release a smaller "iPhone 6 Minus"
This doesn’t need to happen, so it’s not going to happen. The standard iPhone 6 is not too big for anyone, and most of the people who say they like the old 4-inch screen size of the iPhone 5 get over it as soon as they actually use the new models.
6. Bitcoin will go mainstream
Don’t make me laugh. In 2015, not even Apple Pay will go mainstream, much less something like Bitcoin. According to the writer of a recent New York Times piece on How My Mom Got Hacked, for example, hackers love Bitcoin, but the advantages for regular folks are far less obvious.
7. Google Glass will make a comeback
While I remain bullish on the future of augmented reality wearables, Glass is deader than doornail. Despite Google’s “best” efforts, the devices are now seen by the public in the worst possible light. My only hope is that the profound failure of Google Glass doesn’t doom the next attempt to something cool and innovative with wearables. (Google Cardboard is a promising step.)
8. Net neutrality will be settled to anyone’s satisfaction
The issue of net neutrality is so important, so fundamental, and so misunderstood that no matter what happens, plenty of people will be really upset. Knowing that, the political solution will inevitably be a compromise that gives the appearance of a level playing field but actually makes the problem worse, giving rich, well-connected companies the ability to charge extra for favored treatment while still proclaiming their defense of an “open internet.” This one almost makes want to cry.
9. Anyone will challenge Amazon’s place atop cloud computing
Everyone from Google Compute Engine to Microsoft Azure wants to grab a piece of Amazon Web Services’ success. The market is growing fast enough for many of them to build successful businesses of their own, but they’re not going to topple AWS from its perch. Lower prices and innovative, flexible services are important, but AWS is becoming a de facto standard that won’t be dislodged without real disruption. I see no indication of that coming in 2015.
10. Your smartphone battery will last a full day of busy usage
It’s a beautiful dream, but it’s not going to happen. The problem is that the longer your battery lasts, the more you’ll want to use your phone, so the more juice you’ll need. It’s a vicious circle with no end in sight.
Bonus prediction: We won’t find Malaysian Air flight 370
Not in 2015. Probably not ever.