Celebrating 25 Years of New Year’s Columns from Dr. Mac

The Apple Crystal Ball

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #365

This will be my 25th column celebrating a new year, so I scoured the archives and discovered that the majority of my New Year’s missives fell into two categories:  Predictions and prognostications or New Year’s resolutions.

In my very first New Year’s ditty, way back in December of 1996, I attempted to predict the future (and got most of it right):

The Apple Crystal Ball

New Year’s 1997:

The Internet will become much better integrated into both the Mac OS and Mac applications from major vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Claris. Using the Internet will become more and more transparent to the user; remote sites will appear as extensions of your local network. Many people who never thought they’d have a home page will start their own home page. And more people than you’d expect will be connecting at speeds of 33.6K or higher.

There’s no doubt all of the above came true in abundance. Microsoft, Adobe, and Claris (which changed its name to FileMaker, Inc. in 1998, and then changed it back to its original moniker—Claris—last year) are all heavily invested in cloud computing and SAAS (Software as a Service); remote sites including FaceBook, Google, Twitter, and others are indeed extensions of your (always-on) network today; and, of course, connection speeds today are as high as 1,000 Mbps (megabits per second), many orders of magnitude faster than 1996’s pokey 33.6K (kilobits per second).

Sadly, I didn’t always get it right. For example, this prediction for 2013 was only half correct:

New Year’s 2013

In spite of rumors to the contrary, Apple will not be getting into the television business, nor will it introduce Apple-branded flat-screen TVs. Rather, I expect to see a more powerful version of the $99 Apple TV, complete with new content providers and better synergy with set-top cable boxes and DVRs.

So, while I was correct in predicting Apple would not produce flat-screen TVs, and that Apple TV is unquestionably more powerful today, I missed the boat completely when I predicted Apple wouldn’t be getting into the television business.

For what it’s worth, I hereby predict Apple will win at least one Emmy Award for its original programming within a year or two.

Finally, my second New Year’s column (and many subsequent New Year’s columns) focused on resolving to back up your precious data properly in the new year. For example, here’s advice from 1998:

New Year’s 1998

I recommend you resolve to back up daily and keep three backup sets, with at least one of them stored away from the computer, in another building or a safety deposit box. That way, even if your office is destroyed by fire or flood or robbed, you’ll still be able to restore all but your most recent work from the offsite backup. If that’s overkill for you, even two sets, with one stored off-site, is better than one.

Interestingly, 22 years later, I still recommend the same thing.

Please resolve to back up properly (if you don’t already do so) and have a fabulous, prosperous, and joyous 2020!

And that’s all he wrote…

2 thoughts on “Celebrating 25 Years of New Year’s Columns from Dr. Mac

  • In fairness when you said Apple would not be getting into the TV business, you and most all of your readers were thinking television hardware. As far as Apple becoming a television production house with their own shows, that blindsided a lot of us. Remember for about a decade the AppleTV was called a hobby project, and not taken seriously.

    1. Good point… but I said, “Apple will not be getting into the television business, nor will it introduce Apple-branded flat-screen TVs.” I think I considered them two different things (or I’d have just said “won’t introduce Apple-branded flat-screen TVs”).

      In any case, you’re right that the hoopla back in 2013 concerned flat-panel TVs, not original programming.

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