Now that 2009 is only hours away, I thought it was time to unveil this year's 2009 predictions. There's no telling if what I think will happen will come true or not, but I thought I'd fill you in on five of my predictions for the New Year.
Please share your own 2009 predictions in the comments with the rest of us, so we can look back a year from now and see who did the best job.
1. PS3 pricing is reduced by $100
I don't think there's any doubt that PlayStation 3 pricing will be reduced by $100 in the next year. As the costs of building the console continue to fall and Sony's competitors continue to enjoy strong sales thanks to a lower price, the pressure Sony will feel will be too much and it'll be forced to bring the price of its PS3 down to $299 to compete more effectively against the Xbox 360 and the Wii.
Will it work? You bet.
2. Apple ends iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T
This one isn't too much of a stretch and I'm sure many of you would agree that it's only a matter of time before Apple finally announces that the iPhone will be made available to more carriers.
AT&T exclusivity simply doesn't work for Apple anymore, since it's now one of the leaders in the cell phone space and it's doing itself a disservice by not opening its popular mobile phone up to the millions of people who have decided against AT&T as their mobile carrier.
Exclusivity was great for two years, but now that Apple has proven it has its sights set on RIM, it can't beat the BlackBerry maker unless it makes its iPhone available to any U.S. carrier.
3. Blu-ray gains little ground on DVDs as streaming takes off
Sorry, but Blu-ray won't gain very much ground in 2009. So far, its adoption rates are still quite low--around 10 percent to 15 percent each week based on Nielsen VideoScan figures--and both the players and the movies will still cost too much for people to move to Blu-ray in any meaningful way.
Meantime, 2008's breakout success--Hulu-- will help lead the charge in online streaming and act as the benchmark all other professional media outlets will try to surpass. While that's happening, more capable set-top boxes will hit store shelves and more people will find reasons to stream movies into their living rooms instead of popping a disc into their Blu-ray or DVD players.
4. Windows 7 hits store shelves
Vista has been a PR nightmare for Microsoft, vendors are still upset with the product, and businesses are loath to deploy the OS for fear of incompatibility, security, and stability issues.
Realizing that, Microsoft will ramp up the rhetoric in 2009 and start talking more and more about Windows 7. And at what it believes is the perfect time--March or April, if you ask me--it will announce that Windows 7 will be launching in 2009.
5. Steve Jobs announces his retirement date
I know Apple zealots and shareholders won't like to see this one happen, but Steve Jobs will announce his retirement date in 2009. I don't think he'll retire in 2009--that would be a disastrous move from a share price perspective as shareholders are looking for a strong leader in uncertain times--but he will announce that he's had enough and will call it quits by the end of 2010. At the same time, he'll announce his successor and throughout 2009, he'll let that person take more of the limelight to quell some shareholder unrest over his departure.
So there you have it: my predictions for 2009. Will they come true? Who knows? But one thing is certain: 2009 will be an exciting year for tech and I hope you keep coming back to The Digital Home in the next year to continue our discussions about some of the most important topics in this industry.
Happy New Year.