Fred Wilson’s 2015 Predictions

A slew of DF readers have emailed regarding Fred Wilson’s pessimistic prediction for wearables and Apple Watch in particular:

Another market where the reality will not live up to the hype is wearables. The Apple Watch will not be the home run product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been. Not everyone will want to wear a computer on their wrist. Eventually, this market will be realized as the personal mesh/personal cloud, but the focus on wearables will be a bit of a head fake and take up a lot of time, energy, and money in 2015 with not a lot of results.

I don’t think it’s fair to say he’s predicting “a flop” — he’s just saying it won’t be a “home run”. (Wilson, too, is annoyed by Business Insider’s headline.) But the iPod, iPad, and iPhone were all very different sorts of home runs. The iPod took years before it became a mainstream hit. The iPad started faster than any other Apple product, but plateaued far sooner than the iPhone. And the iPhone is simply unprecedented — it’s the biggest home run in the history of computing.

I don’t think it’s possible for Apple Watch to be an iPhone-type success. iPad- and iPod-like are possible, though.

I thought this was the more eyebrow-raising of Wilson’s predictions:

Xiaomi will spend some of the $1.1bn they just raised coming to the US. This will bring a strong player in the non-google android sector into the US market and legitimize a “third mobile OS” in the western world. The good news for developers is developing for non-google android is not much different than developing for google android. [Lowercase “google” and “android” all sic.]

I don’t see Xiaomi having success introducing a third mobile OS in the West, and I don’t see them having success selling hardware here, either. It’s no coincidence that to date they’re only operating in countries with weak IP laws. I’ll be surprised if Xiaomi even tries to enter the Western markets this year, and I’ll be downright shocked if they do so and succeed.

Friday, 2 January 2015