Looking Through My Crystal Ball

It has become something of an annual tradition on Beyond the Rhetoric for me to gaze into my virtual crystal ball and attempt to foresee the future. In 2010, I predicted the launch of the iPad. That was bang on. In 2011, I said that the BlackBerry PlayBook would fail and that was largely true too. Of course, I’m not always right. Going through my 2012 predictions, I said the Canucks would have a Stanley Cup rematch with the Bruins, but neither team made it out of the first round. But I’m not going to let that deter me.

And so, now that we have arrived in 2013, I thought it would be only fitting that I put forth ten more predictions for this year. We’ll revisit these predictions in 12 months and see how I did.

1. US Dollar Plummets to 0.90 Against CAD

In previous years, I had a conservative optimism about the American dollar, hoping that Barack Obama and his administration would help to turn around the US economy. Today, we find the US dollar roughly on par with the Canadian dollar. With all this trouble surrounding the fiscal cliff (among other concerns), I think it’s more likely that the American dollar will continue to fall rather than rise back to its former levels.

2. Android Smartphones Continue to Grow

While the iPhone continues to be a popular choice among consumers, a growing number are making the switch to Google Android. This trend should continue, but I also foresee the trend of larger screen sizes continuing too. The Samsung Galaxy Note II is massive with its 5.5-inch display, but 2013 will see “phablets” inch toward the 6-inch range.

3. Iron Man 3 Enjoys Over $160 Million Opening Weekend

One of the most anticipated movies of the year is Iron Man 3 with Robert Downey, Jr. reprising the titular role. The first Iron Man grossed over $98 million in its opening weekend and Iron Man 2 raked in $128 million. If we assume linear growth, that should put Iron Man 3 in the $160 million range, though The Avengers earned over $200 million in its opening weekend.

4. Next-Gen Xbox and PlayStation Unveiled at GDC or E3

The Wii U from Nintendo isn’t quite the runaway hit that the original Wii was, but it does put immediate pressure on Microsoft and Sony to release their next-generation consoles. I’m expecting the Xbox 720 and the PS4 (or whatever they’re called) to get a formal announcement at GDC in March, followed by more specific information–like AAA launch titles–to be announced at E3 in June.

5. Best Buy USA Downsizes with Smaller Retail Concept

Even though Best Buy has an online store, it’s losing a lot of its market share to Amazon. It’s hurting and it needs to reconsider its business model, because too many go to a Best Buy to try the products, then go home and buy them on Amazon. In an effort to reduce costs, I think it’s possible that Best Buy USA may adopt the smaller retail concept that we are seeing with some new Future Shop locations in Canada. John Biehler wrote about these a couple months ago.

6. Canucks Trade Cory Schneider

The Vancouver Canucks will likely need to trade away one of its two main goalies this year. Finding they are having a hard time finding teams that actually want to take on Luongo’s contract (and the ones that do have nothing that the Canucks want), they decide to offload Cory Schneider instead while he still has some serious upside. The Vancouver fan reaction is mixed, as per usual.

7. US Launches Program to Become Completely Independent of Middle East Oil

If you follow car sales in the United States these last few years, you’ll see that the average MPG of all vehicles sold is steadily increasing. There’s been talk about moving away from a reliance on foreign oil and given the ongoing conflicts in the region, the government will finally make the initial steps toward making the United States completely independent of oil from the Middle East within the next 20 years.

8. Kanye West Learns Baby Isn’t His

So, Kim Kardashian is pregnant and Kanye West is saying that she’s his baby daddy. Unfortunately, I think he may have foretold his own future in “Gold Digger” when he rapped, “18 years, 18 years. And on her 18th birthday, he found out it wasn’t his.” The difference? It won’t take 18 years for him to found out and for Kim Kardashian to “leave with half.”

9. Working Google Glass Prototype Demonstrated

Google Glass, if it really lives up to its promise, will completely revolutionize the way we interact with the world. No longer do you need to stare into a smartphone screen, because you’ll have a heads-up display with you everywhere you go. We’ve seen some leaked footage shot with a Google Glass webcam, but a more complete demo (including third-person perspective video) may become available this year.

10. Psy’s English Language Debut Is a Flop

His “Gangnam Style” quickly became the viral hit of the year, becoming the first video on YouTube to ever surpass one billion views. Psy got connected with Scooter Braun, who already works with Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, and they plan on putting out an English language album some time soon. However, I think the public is all Psy’d out and the Korean pop star will fall by the wayside along with dramatic gopher and Chocolate Rain.