So, the review of the last year has been done (good thing, as there wasn’t much going on* Citation needed) it’s time for the predictions for 2021. Also, not a cop-out here, but, more than most years, this is likely to be a bit of s shaky one when it comes to the dates of things, but let’s see how we get on!
- New iPad Pros, the first half of the year – the chip is now two generations behind and that’s a big gap in Apple’s line-up. There’s an off chance that the new iPad Pro’s may pack a system on a chip (SOC) that’s as powerful as the 2020 M1 chip.
- WWDC will likely be virtual again. The impact of the pandemic means that this will be the safest way possible. However, the keynote may have an audience for the hardware product launches at the event. Expect this to be the week commencing on the 7th of June.
- WWDC will bring some new hardware previews, including, but not limited to a new iMac design and a new MacBook Pro design. These may include FaceID and obviously will include M1 / M1X / M2 processors
- iPhones. Totally going to be a ‘toc’ year. We had a big design change in 2020, improvements in camera tech and new sizes to boot. Expect new ‘extra magic’ in the same form factors with some new colours. Maybe TouchID comes back to the iPhone but in the power button, like the iPad Air. If Apple has their schedules back on track, then these will be announced at an event on either the 7th or 13th of September. Deliveries starting at the end of the month.
- Apple Watch. Honestly, this feels like time for a new form factor. There have been some big advancements in the performance/power use across the S4, 5 and 6, that a new size/shape seems inevitable. These should be at the same iPhone event.
- Long Shot: Part Deux – I’m reposting the AR/VR stuff. Seriously, come on 2021, give us some glimpse at our augmented future, please?
- Samsung – Already copying Apple by not shipping phones with power adapters, will also keep pushing foldable, but hopefully will release fewer phones, because at the moment, they are cannibalising their own market share
- Google – Pixel 6 will not be a flagship. Google may very well get close to making the best $500 phone they can and be done with it.
- Electric cars – So, many, options. 2020 brought a lot of announcements and 2021 will see the deliveries. Especially in the UK, where we are p[hasing out the sale of ICE (internal combustion engines) in nine years time.
- Movies – We may be able to go to the cinema again.
At the end of 2019, I said 2020 ‘sounds like a properly futuristic date’ and that was right, I just didn’t think it was going to be the future from a disaster movie. Being completely frank, 2021 is going to be the first year where, when I come to review at the end, I’m not going to give a crap about how accurate I was. All of the pre-existing patterns are things that are due to return but I’m not beholden to them.
I genuinely think that’s going to be the largest theme of 2021. Everything that was established Paradyne pre-2020 has been heavily impacted in both positive and negative ways. Five years of transformation has occurred in the space of 10 months. It’s not by design, by any stretch of the imagination, however, our imaginations are what is going to get us out of this an into something better.
I personally have been re-evaluating how I work and how I think about what it is that I do and what I can contribute. As a very technically minded person, I’m able to switch to different ideas quite easily, which is not something that the vast majority of people can do. I’m aware of that and will be here to help others on that journey. The last five years of my life of been spent helping companies and organisations transform and I do not see there being a diminishing requirement for this. The biggest impact is a lot of people and companies will feel like they’ve “missed the boat” or that they have let themselves down. They haven’t. Typically the hardest step on any journeys the first one. When the first step is falling off a cliff you can’t get mad at gravity.
Usually, in these predictions, I look out at the rest of the year and that’s enough. Yes, we can go back through this blog and see where predictions were made seven or eight years ago have come to pass from a technological standpoint but the majority of that is based on logic and knowledge. What happens if we put that kind of thinking into action over the next decade and on the subjects beyond hardware and software.
By 2030 the vast majority of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will have fallen from a public recollection. All that will really remain at that point will be the financial impacts that will continue to hinder economic growth for a number of western economies. What will have changed is the shape of our towns and cities. Commuting isn’t dead but the traditional model is. It’s changed and will remain on changed as people will not want to go back to the ‘old ways’ and companies will realise how much money they can save in comparison to the traditional setups.
This means we are likely to have a different value over for instance groups of people meeting for work or pleasure will have a higher social value and psychological value than previously. Yes, the feeling of relief from cancel plans will still be there, however, the time that we get to spend together will be considered differently especially by a generation that had it taken away from them for two years. And keep that in mind that 2021 is not a silver bullet, as I discussed in the review article 2021 is a is “coming to” from the hit of 2020.
One of the key things that have been rolling around in my head, is the comparison from now to the impact of the Spanish flu a hundred years ago. After the effects of the Great War and Spanish flu, there was a large resurgence in human development and to some extent experimentation. The “roaring 20s” were revered for what they brought in the west as a balm for what had just been the hell of the years pre-dating them. The problem is that 20s ended with another economic collapse as the seas of nationalism in northern Europe started to grow into what led into further global conflict. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes” is a quote from Mark Twain and looking out onto what is the next 20s I hope that we only see a rhythm rather than a repeat.
I am however optimistic no matter how the previous paragraphs may seem, I do think that a positive change is here. This is the largest impact in living memory that people have had on their lives and I do genuinely think that we can become better from it, we can become more. 2020 tried to break us. 2021 it’s when we get back up.
(all of the above is null and void if the Aliens turn up.)