aNewDomain — Happy New Year, tech people.
Once again, it’s time to look ahead to what will be the big tech stories over the next 12 months. Here are my top tech predictions for 2017. I’ve got three big ones for you …
1. Apple’s iPhone 8 ambitions will get it into trouble
As I noted in my Morning Tech Report recently, 2016 wasn’t a great year for Apple. Sure, it made lots of money, but compared to the previous year, sales were down. In 2016, creatives panned its new MacBooks, Microsoft attacked it with its MS Surface Studio, and Apple iCloud remained as confusing and messy as ever.
In 2017, Apple will be mostly relying on its upcoming iPhone 8 to maintain its brand clout and stay ahead of the competition.
Expect Apple to go all out with the iPhone 8 this year.
This year marks the 10th anniversary the iPhone, you know, which is why Apple will likely push the envelope in design and features.
Will Apple push too far? That’s my prediction. Just as Samsung suffered after cramming too many features and battery into too small a space with the Samsung Note 7, Apple is likely to end up in similar straits with a too-ambitious iPhone 8. I’m not predicting exploding iPhone 8s, but I see quality control to be a big and costly problem for Apple as the year marches on.
2. Google Pixel will become the No. 1 Android smartphone.
On October 20, 2016, Google launched its first true flagship smartphones, Pixel and Pixel XL. Google developed every aspect of the Pixel line, which is a key distinction from its non-Google designed Nexus phones.
The result? Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will easily rise up as the best, and best-reviewed, Android smartphones of 2017.
The Pixel’s high regard is warranted. The camera is amazing, and Google’s optimization of the software is spot on. It simply works, is super fast, never slows down, and is void of the crapware installed by manufacturers and carriers.
In 2017, the Pixel line will skyrocket in usage and mindshare and by the end of the year will be threatening Samsung in Android market share. Expect the Verizon exclusivity to end and all the carriers pushing this phone. Google will release new versions of the phone that address its weaknesses: bland design and lack of waterproofing. Whereas Google used the Nexus line as an example of what Android can be, Google envisions the Pixel line as what Android will be. By the end of 2017 it will be clear we live in a world of iPhone vs. Pixel, instead of iPhone vs. Android.
3. Nintendo Switch will be a runaway hit, until supply shortages get in the way
I believed, and still believe, in the Wii U.
I realize I am in the minority. The WiiU, by any measure, is a failure right know. But what most pundits are missing is that, at its core, it represents Nintendo’s ability to think way outside the box. Its forthcoming Nintendo Switch, which is really just a clever reinvention of the Wii U.
I expect the Nintendo Switch to exceed everyone’s expectations when it ships this spring. Nintendo generated an enormous amount of goodwill in 2016, what with Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run. Add that to the brand’s cross-generational appeal and killer intellectual property portfolio, and Nintendo Switch is all set up to be one of its biggest runaway hits ever.
Unfortunately, Nintendo won’t be able to come close to meeting the demand and will suffer major manufacturing shortages. This is a typical problem for the gaming giant. Remember the NES Classic a few months ago? It was the must-have tech gadget going into the holiday season. Inexpensive and full of nostalgia, the Nintendo NES was on everyone’s wish list. Only problem was, you couldn’t find them anyware. Nintendo was unprepared supply-wise to meet demand.
When Nintendo released the original Wii, there were similar shortages. But that was a different time, and the radical nature of the Wii produced a willingness to wait.
They may be less willing to wait for Nintendo to get its act together with Switch. And that, unfortunately, will result in a setback that Nintendo will find difficult to recover from.