... the 2010 iPad is more than $500 - but by 2011 the device will sell for under $500 with 3G-equivalent capabilities. An additional $15 a month will provide basic VOIP phone services ....
... By 2011 the combination of a $400 iPad (and iTouch for less) and $15/month VOIP access will start to replace a number of devices that are costly to own and acquire, while providing basic net services ...
I figured no moving part netbooks would be selling for under $100 by 2011, finally following the trajectory of calculators .
Maybe I shouldn't take this so hard. After all, even the pros have a hard time predicting the near future. On the other hand, honesty compels me to review how a few of my past non-obvious expectations turned out ...
- Eight track tape would go away. 
- Information technology would lead to mass middle class unemployment. Maybe, but it's taking a long time.
- Email would replace the fax machine. It's still not dead yet. I think I will die before the #$@#$ fax.
- The net would kill the post office. True, it's dying now. But it won't die completely for decades. See fax.
- CD ROM would revolutionize worldwide knowledge access. Well, maybe it would have. It did cut the cost of sharing knowledge dramatically. Except a few years later we had the net ...
- Palm type devices would show up in cereal boxes. Again, I was fooled by the calculator. I mean, these things were cheap to make...
- IBM's OS/2 would crush Microsoft's crummy Windows 3. Pathetic. I liked GeoWorks too.
- The web would destroy most universities. Instead tuition skyrocketed. How wrong can you be?
- American health care would collapse within a decade. It survived long enough to be saved by ObamaCare.
- Modems would be gone by 2000, fiber to the desktop. We really believed that. Vast businesses were based on this premise. It's 2011, and there are still a few modems around.
- Phone calls would be too cheap to meter. My voice services still cost a fortune.
- Free WiFi would be city wide everywhere: Technology issues and business issues killed this one.
- Credit card security failures would force industry reform: Twenty years later credit card fraud is institutionalized.
- Fuel cells for laptops. Nope
- The falling cost of havoc  is an existential threat. Actually, this was one of my less exciteable post 9/11 predictions. Honesty isn't enough to compel me to tell the rest. We're still around in any case.
- Anthrax would kill the post office. The PO is very tough.
- Security and fuel costs would kill air travel: This one might be right.
- iPad and ChromeBook: see above
- Gas in America would hit $5 in 2011: It won't happen this year, unless Saudi Arabia goes down hard. Maybe by 2013.
- DRM will win out in the end: This might be true.
- Skynet is more than 70 years away: I hope so.
- China's bubble is going to burst before 2012. Given my track record, this is probably wrong.
That's a pretty long list for a few minutes of thought. I hope I'm mostly remembering when I was wrong, and of course I'm not including obviously correct predictions like "Gopher will change the world forever" .
I'm not going to give up predicting of course. That would be boring. Going forward though, I'll try to keep these lessons in mind ...
- Choose your models carefully. No technology has seen the price crash of the calculator . Several of my mistakes came because of my early experience with calculators; that was probably a major anomaly.
- In period of rapid innovation "winners" (CD ROM, Gopher) can have very short lifespans. The shape of the winner is more predictable than the details.
- Big, integrated enterprises take a very long time to die. Years ago I called this Canopy Economics.
- We are embedded in a complex adaptive system with gobs of inertia. Our world has a strong tendency to return to its historic trend; and to delay big disruptions by hook or by crook.
I'm not bad, I think, at predicting the future. I'm just bad at predicting when the future will arrive ...
- fn -
 Charlie Stross says I was almost right, but the death of a talented data center architect set back Apple's MobileMe plans. It's also true that 2011 isn't over yet. But I'll take the hit anyway.
 My first four function calculator was a lot bigger than a modern laptop, required a plug, and cost more than $400 in today's money . I am old. Before that I had a slide rule. Really old.
 Ok, so that was a gimme. I include it only because I wanted an example to show that "tools never die" ain't true.
 I'm sure I had a lot more, but that was a long time ago.
 Gopher was revolutionary. It would have changed the world, but a few years later we had Mosaic ...
 Perhaps because IP enforcement was weaker then?
 A post 9/11 meme of mine. My premise was that technological progress was making it possible for small organizations to purchase large amounts of havoc. Bioweapons, dirty bombs and so on. The cost of anonymous attack was falling quickly, but the cost of defense was falling more slowly.
 I originally wrote $200. I later read that a 1974 $1 was the equivalent of about $4.30 in 2010. So I adjusted the number.
- Canopy Economics (5/2004)
- In 1994 we expected these things to disappear ... (5/2009)
- The limits of disaster predictions: complex adaptive systems (2/2007)
- Civilization is stronger than we think: Structural deficits and complex adaptive systems
- Welcome to the wild times... (5/2010) (Charlie Stross on the failures of prediction.)
- Why did medical progress slow after 1984? (12/2010)
- Whitewater age: Nashville edition (5/2010)