The longer you work in tech, the more you get a sense of where things are going. It’s like always keeping your head on the rails and listening to the oncoming train. No one could see it, and even if they pressed their heads against the cold, hard metal, they couldn’t feel a shiver. But 36 years of listening have fine-tuned your senses, and now you can hear and feel things no one else can. So, you stand up, squint into the distance, and tell a story about a possible tech future.
Here are nine predictions, ranging from almost certain to almost fantastical. Also just a glimpse. Use this set of forecasts as the spark for your own forecasts.
Before the end of next year, consumers will be seriously considering a range of streaming packages that will increasingly resemble the cable TV deals they’re all trying to ditch. There are dozens of streaming services available and an uncertain economic outlook for the services (subscriber churn and churn) and the industries that offer them (entertainment (opens in a new tab)), smaller streaming services may seek safe harbors for bundling or even consolidation.
Can Apple to buy Netflix in 2023 (opens in a new tab)? It might be affordable, but Disney, which already owns Hulu and Disney+, is the more likely candidate. Netflix’s interest in a sale may depend in part on the success of its ad-supported option.so far, have a little stupid (opens in a new tab), but may change next year. If it doesn’t, and Netflix goes through another cycle of subscriber base instability, it may seek to seal a deal.
At the very least, we’ll see more cable and internet companies offering more packages that include all of your favorite streamers, as they’ve done with cable bundles for decades. Everything old is new.
electric vehicle steering
The entire auto industry is struggling to switch from internal combustion engines to electric motors, and by 2023 we should see new sedans and sedans from all major manufacturers.EV growth U.S. lags far behind Europe and China (opens in a new tab) But the introduction of EV pickups from gm (opens in a new tab) with ford (opens in a new tab) This can be changed.
Ironically, electric vehicles, which are supposed to help us fight climate change by producing zero emissions harmful to the atmosphere, may be more vulnerable to weather events caused by climate change.Saltwater flooding from Hurricane Ian damaged electric cars’ giant lithium-ion batteries (which often run the entire car base) and make them easy to catch fire (opens in a new tab).
That may be something that Tesla, the world’s leading electric car maker, may hope to address in 2023.But this once steadfast leader is now faltering massive inventory loss (opens in a new tab) And a CEO who seems more interested in social media than the electric car brand he’s building. Elon Musk will have to refocus on Tesla in 2023 to save it and help the entire EV market move forward.
bye bye wire
It’s a safe bet that we’ll see the first port-less and wireless smartphones in 2023. Apple has removed the physical SIM slot from the iPhone 14 handsets (in the US), and many believe it could quickly move from a Lightning port to a USB-C port to no charging port at all. A variant of the iPhone 15, possibly the rumored Ultra, may launch in some markets without a charging port, instead charging via an included MagSafe charger.
Apple may not be ready to take that step, though. Of course, one or two smaller Android makers may try portless phones before the end of 2023, if only to test the waters.
To enable a wireless future, we need faster wireless charging capabilities. The best wireless chargers out there offer 15W of power and can charge your phone in under two hours. 2023 could see higher wattages and 45-minute full charges.
Rationalization of the smart home
The biggest story in the smart home space is undoubtedly Matter. Unfortunately, consumers won’t understand it or even care about it for most of 2023. However, many people will still benefit from Matter if it works.
As more and more smart home gadgets purchased throughout the year support Matter, consumers may find setup and interoperability between their different digital assistants very effective. Clearly, this would be a win for Matter and all of its partners, even if Matter doesn’t matter at all to consumers.
The only thing that might slow down the adoption and utility of Matter is if not enough companies support it too Wire (opens in a new tab), a low-power mesh networking technology combined with Matter for faster and easier smart home connectivity. I’ve seen too many products support one (substance) but not the other (threads).
The social media reset will continue apace in 2023, with Twitter either dead or under different controls, Facebook gasping in the metaverse, Instagram trying to find itself, and TikTok battling a US government that doesn’t trust it.
This will leave plenty of room for some new platforms to emerge. As difficult as it is to understand, Mastodon had an early lead as an alternative to Twitter, even though it wasn’t a news platform. I think there might be something new on the horizon that combines the best of Twitter, the classic photo prowess of Instagram, and the security and community of early Facebook. Or, maybe it’s just wishful thinking.
The question is, will our love of social media last in 2023?my money is in Do not.
I’m almost certain we’ll see some sort of folding iPhone or iPad, but I’m not sure if it’s coming this year. I mean, we might see Apple’s planned device at WWDC 2023.
By showing off this next-generation iOS or iPadOS device early, Apple can give developers 18 months to design new folding apps and possibly dual-screen iPhones and iPads.
This is not an unprecedented move. I still remember Apple launching the cylindrical Mac Pro at WWDC 2013 and not shipping it for six months. Perhaps this more aggressive product move will require more time in the development oven.
Sustainability is our
One of the biggest stories at CES 2023 won’t involve new gadgets that rejuvenate your face, fold your clothes, or send you into the metaverse. It’s going to be sustainability, and it’s a story that’s going to run through 2023.
It’s a way for companies to talk about climate change without fully addressing it. Instead, they all use terms like “carbon neutral,” “net zero,” and “sustainability.” At least the last one seems to point to a more life-supporting planet.
For the first time we will talk about our own household carbon footprint and ask how the products and technologies we introduce into it can help us reduce our own emissions. For many people, when they consider their first electric car, their efforts may stop outside the front door (see above). But consideration of smart home technology may eventually be combined not only with cost savings through more efficient technology, but also with matter-based systems that communicate and craft better, more neutral home energy profiles.
On the one hand, I’m excited about the advancements in VR and AR experienced with Meta’s latest Quest headset. Quest Pro showcases the progress we’ve made in advancing mixed reality. But as many have pointed out to me, a system that still doesn’t allow virtual objects to seamlessly interact with the real world is far from ideal.
The good news (and bad news) for Meta is that no one is interested in the Metaverse. In other words, there’s no rush to build an immersive, omnipotent world for everyone at home, at work, and at play. Instead, Meta will improve its mixed reality hardware and world-building software in 2023, while most people still use VR headsets primarily for gaming and exercising.
2023 won’t be the year of the Metaverse, and it might even skip 2024. I think 2025 is when the hardware is smaller, lighter, with 10x better optics and graphics performance, and things finally start to get interesting.
AI gets to work
Someone is going to hire the first AI journalist to not only spin ideas from prompts, but to ask questions, get answers and write original stories. AI will break news. 2023 will also see the first stage of production of scripts written by AI. Songs written, written and performed by AI will hit the Billboard Top 100.
Major art museums will host exhibitions of AI art, and some museums will display computer-generated artwork alongside masterpieces. At some point, no one can tell the difference.
As I said, this is nothing more than a narrow view of the vast and busy future of technology. I could be wrong about some or all of these things, but I bet I’ll be more right than ChatGPT AI. When I asked it about the major tech trends for 2023, it told me some that were already happening, such as 5G for smartphones. Maybe I should rethink the whole AI part.