My history with Apple dates back 20 years. It’s a give and take relationship. I give Apple money. They give me toys, gadgets, and a hobby.
There was a time, back in the mid 1990s, when I thought Apple might close down. Fortunately, the drama continues. Back then the predictions of Apple’s fate were fast and furious, a similar frenzy to how well Apple’s products will fare today. Are your predictions as stupid as these?
The Past From The Present
It’s a lot more fun to look back on a string of crazy wild predictions than it is to select which predictions will actually come true.
Back in 1997, Wired magazine published 101 Ways to Save Apple.
Some of the predictions were obviously adopted by Steve Jobs and the NeXT agents of change when they stormed Apple’s gates in 1997.
Others are just plain looney. For example, #1:
1. Admit it. You’re out of the hardware game. Outsource your hardware production, or scrap it entirely, to compete more directly with Microsoft without the liability of manufacturing boxes.
We can be very glad Apple did not take that advice. #13 looks like the forerunner of Apple’s highly successful Get A Mac television commercial campaign.
13. Exploit every Wintel user’s secret fear that some day they’re going to be thrown into a black screen with a blinking C-prompt. Advertise the fact that Mac users never have to rewrite autoexec.bat or sys.ini files.
Others are more notable and on target. Get rid of the cables and go wireless. Create a new logo. Build a PDA for less than $250 that actually does something. Port the OS to Intel. Build a laptop that weighs 2 pounds. Give Steve Jobs as much authority as he wants. Build a computer that doesn’t crash. Click Here for the full list.
The Prognosticator’s Horror Show
It may not pay to prognosticate Apple’s future from the present, but it makes for wonderful reading in the present. Consider these choice gems from the past. From Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, 1998.
The iMac will only sell to some of the true believers. The iMac doesn’t include a floppy disk drive drive for doing file backups or sharing of data. It’s an astonishing lapse from Jobs, who should have learned better… the iMac is clean, elegant, floppy-free–and doomed.
Our old whipping boy, Rob Enderle is always good for a few laughs. Here’s what he said just before Apple switched to Intel chips and the Mac began to sell in record numbers.
The biggest long-term problem with moving to an Apple platform is that the company is in decline.” — Rob Enderle, in October 2003.
Rob is also the guy who said, “The expectation on the iPod is that HP’s version will probably outsell Apple’s version relatively quickly.” Obviously, HP’s Invent slogan didn’t apply to the iPod.
What about the Mac in the pocket, Apple’s hot-selling iPhone? Matthew Lynn:
The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.
Looks like there are about 50-million gadget freaks. Then, there’s the ever inaccurate Dave Winer in 1997:
The idea that they’re going to go back to the past to hit a big home run… is delusional.
Of course, Apple’s home runs since 1997 include the iMac, the iPod, the iTunes Store, the Mac notebook line, the iPhone, record revenues, record stock price, record profits.
In fact, Wired’s The 15 Dumbest Apple Predictions Of All Time are just the tip of a very big iceberg.
What’s your success rate predicting Apple’s success or failures?
Mine runs about 50-50. Half the time I’m wrong. The other half I’m simply not correct.
Will Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch be supplanted by Android-powered smart phones? Will the iPad succeed where other PC tablets have failed? If so, why? If not, why not? What about the Cloud? Will Apple finally make the move to online storage for everything—music, photos, movies, TV shows? If so, how? If not, why not?