Predictions for 2006

Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on January 3rd, 2006.

As we take our first tentative steps into a new year we are always flooded with a wave of nostalgic look back at the year before and then another wave of predictions for the year that we’ve just entered.  While I’m not going to bore you with an article telling you that 2005 was the year of Paris Hilton or claiming that we’ll always remember President Bush’s denials of America’s policy of torture while secret camps are revealed in Eastern Europe, I am going to give you a few things to look forward to in the year 2006.

Podcasting gets bigger and then smaller:

We could say 2005 was the year of the Podcast, and in fact the New Oxford American Dictionary of English picked it as their word of the year.  You might remember reading an article I wrote about Podcasting, a way of delivering on demand audio via the internet, a few months back.  If you need a refreshed grab your back issue of eVent!  What you don’t keep back issues of eVent!?  Well then I’ve got another New Year’s resolution for you.

Anyway podcasting may have reached its zenith recently when Ricky Gervais, the creator of the hit British comedy The Office started his own podcast.  Back before the professionals started to get into Podcasting the unique voices of people like Dawn and Drew (from the Dawn and Drew Show podcast) were being hailed as a breath of fresh air in a world controlled by boring corporate radio.  Gervais’ show though is so good, while still having that laid back podcasting feel, that the quality gap between the professional entertainer and the amateurs is so acute.

As money starts to come into podcasting both through advertising avenues and as satellite radio providers, eager to fill their large universe of stations with content, start picking shows like the Dawn and Drew Show up for airing on their network the quality is going to suffer.  This has already been evident in the Dawn and Drew Show where being on satellite radio and moving from two or three shows a week to five has had an noticeable impact on quality.

People who are getting into podcasting for money will fail, and leave within the year.  People who got into podcasting for fun but are having money thrown at them will keep doing it but focus less and less on the show and more on the business end.  Like blogs podcasting will stick around, and shows like This Week In Tech, which is largely a labour of love will thrive.

Apple’s Intel Macs change the computer industry:

With last year’s announcement that Apple was ending it’s long relationship with IBM who had been supplying the computer maker with chips for several years, the fruit flavoured computer company announced that it was going with Intel from now on.  This switch of chips is a fairly significant thing, necessitating a rewriting of a lot of Apple’s operating system.  However with rumours that the first Intel Macs will be unveiled this month at Macworld in San Francisco it seems the switch may come quicker than anyone had predicted.

The big question on the minds of most tech industry pundits is how easy would it be for a Mac with Intel inside to run Microsoft’s Windows operating system.  Previous since Macs ran on a completely different chip design than the average Windows machine this would have been impossible now it’s possible the question is how hard or how easy is Apple going to make it.  Also how difficult will it be to run Apple’s OSX operating system on a standard PC box?

If OSX can be run on a standard PC suddenly Apple is positioned to make a move deeper into Microsoft’s core operating system business.  OSX is safer from viruses and spyware and it’s easier to use than Windows.  The only things holding back the Mac platform is price and the availability of certain programs (mainly games).  If the Intel Macs can boot Windows easily any Windows program will run on the new machines.  And if OSX can be run on non-Mac hardware then suddenly you can build your own cheap computer and run a much more advanced operating system on it without having to spend the extra for a Mac.

The Mac – Intel alliance has the potential to seriously alter the computer world over the next year.

Well that’s it.  Okay so it’s only two predictions, but I’m out of ink and you need to go about archiving this issue of eVent! so come 2007 you can look back and see just how right I am.