The 2010-2020 Prediction Thread

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I am not sure if this has been tried before.

Now this site has been active for a full decade its interesting to look back at the technological evolution of the last 10 years. How little or how much people here have actually predicted would happen. We dicsussed 10 GHZ powermac G6's and G7s back in 2000, but instead we have iPhones and iPads. Almost no one saw things like the Ghz barrier or the transition to Intel coming. Google, Wikipedia, youtube, facebook and twitter have emerged in the 10 years of ongoing disussions on these boards. Heck i didn't even own a mobile phone in 2000. While other stuff has beeing standing almost still, for example the powermac box has only been redesigned ONE time in the decade.

The idea with this thread is simply to try to make realistic predictions for what products apple will release in the year 2020. And then we digg the thread back up in ten years and look how ridiculous the predictions were.

I'll start:


In 2020 apple will release a 256 core (multi-layered chip) workstation running at 3 GHZ. It comes with 1024 GB ram standard. An explosion in bandwith technology however will give users millions of times the computing power, because of distributed computing. Every Apple workstation in the world shares processor power as they form one giant networked supercomputer, capable of stuff like almost instant 3D, virtual reality production and artificial intelligence. Apple will be the first to implement this technology directly in the iOS, which every product will be running. There will not be a tower form-factor. They will resemble more the current all-in-one imac.


There will be no distinction between ipads, iphones and laptops. There will just be one product line of portable touch-screen devices in different sizes. They will be superslim (around 5 mm.) and completely minimalistic designed, just like a sheet of black glass. They will come in sizes from iphone size to a sheet of paper. In the summer 2020 Apple will release the first flexible version.


Apple will have entered the TV market with a product that combines all the best from Network TV, Tivo, internet, iTunes. It is not a set-top box, but a minimalistic ultra thin screen that has everything built-in. It streams 3D High-def content from all kinds of sources, its a video phone on your wall. It comes in sizes from 50-100 inches. And it dominates the tv-market. Its called Apple Window


Apple will again have personalized the computer by incorporating artificial intelligence into the core of the system. The OS basically becomes a person you can talk to, do stuff for you. A kind of HAL 9000 system but made by Apple so it doesn't suck.


  • Reply 1 of 2
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Apple TV, the TV and games console platform with iTunes TV built-in.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    Of course that won't stop me from predicting and offering counter points.


    Contrary to popular belief Mac OS/X isn't going away. Yes the two forks will end up integrating features from the other but OS/X will remain a high performance UNIX OS. In fact all indications are that development of Mac OS/X is actually picking up again, Apple is just adept at focusing your attention else where.


    Multi core machine are of course the future, the question is how many processors can be put on a die and used successfully. Right now it looks like 32 would begin to cause issues. I'm actually going to predict that we will soon see clock rates going back up, hitting 4to5GHz in the near future. There are all sorts of reasons for that but number one is that the far cooler 22 & 32 nm processes allow for higher clocks without much effort. Combine that with the reality that a good portion of the economical die space will be going to the GPU, I/O, cache other features and you are limited with respect to the number of CPUs you can put on a die. Thus we are back to bumping clock rates for better performance.


    The flip side of much higher integration and tighter coupling of the CPU and the GPU is that we might actually see the CPU become much simpler. Think about this one a bit, does it really make sense to support vector type instructions in a CPU when the GPU is sitting right on the die? Especially considering that GPUs are already far better vector processors than any CPU implementation existing or coming.


    Another thing that will lead to simpler CPUs is the implementation of special purpose function blocks for things like the decoding of video streams and such. Apple perhaps demonstrates best the use of such hardware in a positive way on their "I" devices. They save power and improve performance. In the end the CPU becomes tightly focused minimal hardware which can run much faster than current designs.


    I don't get the constant whine about the Mac Pro's case. It is a good design and most importantly for many users a stable platform. While the case will eventually get replaced Apple won't rush another design into service. Rather they will need to come up with something that can last another ten years. The Mac Pro simply isn't a platform where you can justfy annual cosmetic updates, further most customers don't want those updates.


    Apple still needs an XMac. Maybe we will see one in the next ten years.


    I suspect that we have yet to see some of Apples best work with respect to iOS devices. In fact I see the current crop to be about as primitive as the old Apple II. So number one I expect far more advanced hardware likely due to PA Semi actually delivering some impressive hardware. More importantly the array of "I" devices will be surprising. Expect to see an array of iPads for example but those won't be impressive. Instead expect to see "I" devices integrated into sunglasses and other wearable devices.


    System on Chip (SoC) technology will dramatically alter the performance of the entry level devices. Performance being measured anyway you want, be it battery lifetime, new more compact enclosures, faster operation or whatever. New laptops and Minis based on this tech will be surprisingly affordable and impressive upgrades to the current machines. SoC tech is going to happen a lot sooner than many might think.


    Flash memory will be a thing of the past. Bulk storage will move to much faster devices that are also more relaible. It is hard to pick a winner here so I won't but just about everything in the labs these days works better and flash is hitting a technology wall.


    XCode will be bug free!


    Apple puts it's unibody tech to work to produce an industrial strength computer enclosure. That is one sealed tight to resist water, oil and dust.


    Apple becomes far more honest with it's spec sheets and actually gives us the info we need. For example the reluctance to publish the RAM data for I devices. Or consider the lack of info on the new SD port on the Mini. This is stuff that Apple needs to come clean on. It does them little good for example to include an SD port but not tell us what cards it is compatible with. In other words I'm hoping that there is a change in direction at Apple that results in it having a little respect for its more intelligent customers.


    GCC is quickly replaced by LLVM and friends as the open source compiler. People will still whine that Apple doesn't do enough with open source even though LLVM and friends is just one project that they underwrite.


    Likewise I see big things for Grand Central Dispatch and libdispatch. Uptake will be far wider than Apple. The same will happen with OpenCL. These are really key technologies for future development and Apples promotion of them benefits the greater computing community. More importantly the foundation has been laid and Apple is quickly embracing these technologies in new libraries. Lots of good things will come based on these technolgies in the next decade.


    IWork will get the love it deserves. Here I'm looking primarily at Numbers. It would be nice if it could reasonably compete with Excel. Maybe they could implement a Ruby or Python interpeter inside of Numbers. It should also become a power house graphing platform.


    Apple rethinks its rack mount XServes. Or at the very least release a model focused on computation with a respectable OpenCL capable GPU card. Go to two U if you have to but offer up something that can easily go into a rack as part of a cluster. With Apples focus on key technologies to support computational nodes they could get some traction here. Or simply offer up a Mac Pro with Fermi card installed. I'm not even convinced this would require a lot of effort on Apples part as most of the infrastructure is already there.


    Last but not least Apple pulls its head out of its ass and produces a real home server. As much as I like the Mini the Mini server just doesn't cut it. A box supporting four drives at the minimal is required. Oh one has to be able to easily access those drives, even though the new Mini is a vast improvement over the old it still is to much work for a drive swap.

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