321: Concrete Predictions for 2018

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2018 Predictions

It’s the beginning of 2018 and that means it’s time for us to provide concrete predictions of what will happen in tech this year. We managed to keep the show under an hour, which is amazing. We talk about larger tech trends (telling you the theme for the year), we cover the big 5 oligopolies (Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft), plus discuss some small players (Snap, Elon Musk, Snap, Disney). It’s a great show and will give you a concrete foundation for the year. See the show notes below.

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2018 Predictions Show Notes



  • Matthew will be living somewhere new (but probably in the Bay Area)
  • James will get a new computer


  • Matthew will visit Italy
  • James will resist the siren calls of solar for 1 more year


The Big Theme of 2018


Technological Distrust


  • Antitrust concerns reach the level of action
  • Too much screen time
  • Robots are taking jobs too fast



  • Bitcoin is dumb. It’s pure speculation, which never ends well. Especially since it’s essentially free to start up alternate versions, ensuring it never gains critical mass.
  • Decentralization (chat rooms) -> Centralization (AOL) – > Decentralization (IE/Digg/web 2.0) -> Centralization (Facebook, App stores) -> Decentralization (Blockchain?)



Tier One Oligopolies


  • James:
    • New earpods
    • Johnny Ives is coming back, but it’ll take him a year to get back into it.
    • Apple stays the course on Apple
    • 2-3 years Apple will do awesome stuff or Cook is out
    • HomeKit improvements will be slow and steady… AKA Boring
  • Matthew:
    • 6.5 inch iPhone XI (iPhone 10 plus)
    • No TRUE wireless charging =(
    • The pencil will work with phones
    • Mac Pro will be upsetting to fans (Something will be missing and it won’t live up to the “cheese grater” Mac Pro)
    • Apple Watch redesign.
    • FaceID will come to one of the iPads
    • Homepod will launch to rave reviews about sound quality, but middling reviews about overall benefit, especially at the price.
      • Where everyone else will focus on an assistant in every room, Apple will completely wiff.
      • I also predict I will get one =/



  • James:
    • Nest will get folded into Google’s Home division
    • New hardware for phones and the assistant (duh)
  • Matthew:
    • They’ll explain what FusciaOS is, with very limited availability (closed beta sorta thing)
    • Android Wear will get an update with more focus on health.
    • Android will continue to updates, but without major feature updates
    • A FaceID copycat will launch
    • A really cheap Google Home option (Like $20)
    • Google will reduce the number of messaging apps they have (like, they have to, right?)
    • Waymo: I’d love to see an expansion of the Arizona program, but I’m not sure the value in scaling that service. Continued R&D, continued development with partnerships. Nothing too exciting.



  • James:
    • Facebook: distracted by privacy and fake news
  • Matthew:
    • Facebook: distracted by privacy and fake news
    • Facebook will truly try to focus on its core competency
    • New Oculus Hardware will launch with very little fanfare
    • A multi-billion dollar offer will be made to a smaller competitor (this is a solid hail mary)



  • Matthew:
    • Alexa’s current dominance will further delay improvements to overall skills issues.
    • More Alexa form factors



  • Matthew:
    • Hololens hardware update.


Tier 2

Elon Musk: SpaceX / Tesla / SolarCity / Boring

  • James:
    • Falcon Heavy: screaming success
    • Model 3 production will get figured out, but with lots of blood
  • Matthew:
    • Nervous about FH, probably a successful launch but not everything will land.




  • James
    • ESPN streaming service: cable takes a noticeable nose dive
    • Hulu gets better? Why not use that to take on Netflix?
    • Box office wins all year. Avengers is #1. Han Solo #2