The 2005 year was really big for lots of people and companies, and I think 2006 is going to be even better. Here are my predictions for the upcoming year.
1. Apple comes out with widescreen & Intel-powered iBooks in Q1, Mac minis and Powerbooks in Q2, and Powermacs (named G5 still) in Q3. The new iBooks will be announced in January to correspond with the Yonah announcements from Intel. These new iBooks will start around $700 for the 12″, with the 13.3″ widescreen version around $1100. Apple’s U.S. marketshare will raise 5 percent over the course of the year.
2. Pricing for iTunes Music Store songs will change based on the popularity of the song. Some songs might go for $.29 while new hits will rise to $1.99. To appease customers, the album price will only raise a bit.
3. The major purchaser of budding companies will be C|Net, and they will make a purchase of a 1-2 well-known “web 2.0” companies prior to the start of Q3. Yahoo will stop moving on new companies, and will work to integrate their new holdings (Flickr, Del.icio.us) into their existing services. Yahoo Photos will go the way of the dodo.
4. Digg will be purchased by C|Net for $5-8M.
6. 37signals will come out with 3-4 new web applications, effectively doubling their current revenues but only expanding their user base by 25% since current 37s customers are more likely to use future 37s products. Jason will hire 3 new Ruby on Rails gurus, and every budding RoR programmer will dream of working for the shop that started their career. He will get even more offers to sell the company, but he’ll keep turning them down.
7. A brand-new web publishing application will launch, take on MovableType and WordPress, and will be successful. WordPress will continue it’s rise, and will eventually be used on all major weblogs that used to use MovableType. Our buddy Matt will finally become a millionaire.
9. Skype’s popularity doesn’t grow as sharply as in 2005, the user base graph flattens off. eBay uses Skype to introduce new auction and community-based services to connect buyers to sellers. eBay partners with Salesforce.com to work on the enterprise scale of sales and marketing.
10. A new weblog advertising model and platform is introduced, but not by any of the current players (WIN, FM Pub, Gawker, etc.) It will take on BlogAds and AdBrite and beat both at their own game.