The year 2018 was remarkable in the technology sector, with interesting products, market twists and scandals (we’re looking at you, Facebook). But now it’s all past, and it’s time to look into the future.
What can we expect from technology giants for the new year to begin? The Teknologya has looked at what companies have done in recent years to understand what to expect from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung and Facebook for 2019. Check out:
The year ended was bittersweet for Apple. The company continued to charge for its iPhone, and the good results led the company to become the first publicly traded company in the US to reach a market value of $1 trillion. However, 2019 promises to be more challenging for the company.
The projections presented so far are negative. The company has called for a slowdown in the production of new iPhones, which means the handsets are not being bought at the expected pace. Recent quarters also show a stagnation in the number of iPhones sales, which could be a worrying trend to watch next year.
It will be interesting to see what Apple holds for next year. The company needs to diversify its revenue streams, as more than 60% of everything that goes into the company’s cashier comes from the iPhone. Other products have failed to win the public as iPhone has conquered: the iPad has been steadily declining sales, Apple Watch is still limited niches, Macs remain stable, but do not show growth, while HomePod has been completely overshadowed by competitors Google and Amazon . The only category that continues to rise in the company is that of services.
So, 2019 can be a very treacherous year for Apple. The iPhone will surely carry the company to new big results for a little while, but it needs reinventing itself soon enough, and the risk of being passed on will only increase if it does not happen next year.
It’s also worth noting that 2018 was an “S” year, which means iPhones only saw spec upgrades without major aesthetic renewal. If the company keeps the logic it has maintained since it started to launch smartphones, we should have an iPhone different from the X and XS models.
Unlike many of its rivals, Google had a reasonably quiet year of 2018. The company got a hand in Pixel 3, did not get involved in big scandals like Facebook (although it also has very questionable policies regarding privacy) and has quite diversified activities, so its results do not depend on just one product that can go out of style at some point, as is the case with Apple.
By 2019, we should see a Google increasingly invested in artificial intelligence. During this closing year, the company even introduced the Duplex, a new technology integrated with the Google Assistant that allows a robot to make calls by the user to set schedules in restaurants and beauty salons, for example. This kind of thing should be increasingly common for the company, which should integrate AI into all its services.
In the end, however, the business model will continue to be no different from what it is today: harnessing the good free services provided to users in exchange for their personal data, used to target ads in a way that is ever closer to the public.
The year 2018 was horrible for Facebook. The company was bombarded by scandals, boycotted, saw its stock plummet, its reputation as the public disintegrate and its user base began to stagnate and even fall into major markets such as the United States and Europe.
In this situation, what can we expect from Facebook next year? It is hard to believe that the company will not have new problems in 2019, because they are many years of problematic management. The trend is that we have new skeletons found in Mark Zuckerberg’s closet throughout the year.
At the same time, it’s also hard to believe that the company has not learned its lesson from the rain of 2017 and 2018, so we should see a company trying to rebuild and regain public confidence. Simultaneously, we should see Facebook giving more and more attention to other apps that are not called “Facebook”, and that are not yet so burned; is the case of Instagram and WhatsApp, for example. It is already known that WhatsApp should begin to show advertising soon within the Status, and Instagram is increasingly integrated with Facebook’s strategy. It is to see how this unfolds in 2019.
Amazon’s year was strong, accompanying Apple in the race for a market value of $1 trillion. At the same time, some worrying signs began to appear, indicating stagnation in growth in the e-commerce sector, which makes sense considering that the company is already almost a monopoly in the countries where it operates.
To continue growing, we should see Amazon diversifying its activities, which includes starting to bet on physical stores, as we have seen recently. The company has already bought the chain of high-end Whole Foods markets and began opening Amazon Go stores, which use camera and sensor technology so consumers only need to put their products in the bag and leave the store; the payment process is linked to the Amazon account and the products collected are automatically charged to the user’s credit card.
AWS promises to remain a powerhouse in the cloud computing industry, and the trend is for the business to become even more important over the years as the cloud market trend continues to grow.
Microsoft also had a year of ups and downs. The company has presented solid numbers throughout the period and has managed to diversify its activities well, becoming less and less dependent on the success of a single service as it was when it depended only on Windows and Office. The positive results led Microsoft to end 2018 as the most valued publicly traded US company, outpacing huge rivals such as Google, Apple and Amazon.
At the same time, not everything went very well. Microsoft slipped ugly at the time of releasing the October 10 update of Windows 10, causing more problems than expected, causing file losses, unexpected crashes, bootloops, and so many other crises that needed to be solved in an emergency. Only now, in December, the October update was released widely to the public. The hardware division also does not go so well: Surface is growing but not yet a significant difference in the company’s results, and Xbox One also failed to repeat the success of 360.
In 2019, we will certainly see the company taking more care of the Windows update so as not to repeat the failures of 2018. We will also see a stronger investment in what has worked out right so far: cloud computing with the Azure platform. In the Xbox area, we will begin to see the efforts going back to 2020, when it is expected to launch the next generation console. We will also see more and more artificial intelligence integrated with the company’s services, while Microsoft seems to be putting aside Assistant Cortana; perhaps the system is definitely left behind?
Samsung’s year has been pretty quiet about its products, though there is some buzz behind the scenes. The 2018 releases were only evolutions of the products of 2017, although they are good devices, with good acceptance of the public. Both the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 have proved to be excellent devices capable of meeting Apple in the line topping market.
If 2018 was a year of minor improvements, the year 2019 promises some bolder things. The S10 should be the first device in the S family to adopt a notch, the cut on the screen, but with a feature different from the iPhones: instead of the “fringe”, the device should only have a hole in the screen to house the front camera. It is a trend that has already been observed in the Galaxy A8s and has been applied in other Android devices that have been launched in recent weeks.
The great news of 2019, however, should be the company’s first foldable phone, which finally had a prototype demonstrated in 2018 and is about to become a real product. Samsung’s mission will be to convince the public that this idea makes sense and demonstrate the benefits of technology; so far, this was not very clear.