How’d that turn out? Revisiting some Apple-killing technologies

CurrentC and Essential didn’t quit kill their Apple competitors.

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It’s time once again to play the new game show that’s sweeping the nation: How’d THAT Turn Out?, in which we look back at predictions of things that were totally going to own Apple and see how that turned out.

(Please note that The Macalope is free to make up as many fake game shows as he likes and is under no obligation to follow up on them later.)

First up: The prediction that Apple Pay had no chance.

HOW’D! THAT! TURN! OUT?!

“Apple Pay is on pace to account for 10% of all global card transactions.”

Ignore the projection part of this. The projections analysts make are often comically, hilariously, pants-falling-down-ingly, tumbling-into-a-barrel-full-of-cod wrong. For example, The Macalope’s favorite projection was the one made in 2011 saying—and here the the horny one is legally obligated to tell you to clear your mouth of any liquids, food stuffs or confetti before reading further—that Windows Phone would overtake Android by the end of 2015.

If you look around very carefully and examine the smartphone market up close with a giant, novelty-sized magnifying glass that makes your eye look huge from the other side, you will notice that that did not happen. In fact, the opposite of that happened. Windows Phone was scrapped.

Things move pretty fast in the technology world and market share projections are subject to too many moving parts to be reliable. They’re mostly done to get your highfalutin analamysting firm in the press. And it works. But no one ever goes back to check them. That would be rude. Normally The Macalope would make up some jokingly wrong prediction here and what would be the result of going back and pointing it out to the chastened analyst, but he doesn’t think he can top that Windows Phone projection so he’s not going to bother.

No, the point that’s worth noting is that Apple Pay currently accounts for about 5 percent of global card transactions. That might not seem like much percentage-wise, but that is a lot of transactions. And, if we go back to 2014, what were people saying? That CurrentC would beat out Apple Pay. If you don’t remember CurrentC, well, don’t feel bad. The only person who remembers it is a senior accountant at Walmart who gets a wistful memory of CurrentC on cool autumn mornings as he sees the leaves beginning to fall outside his office window. He thinks of what might have been as a single tear falls from his eye onto the cover sheet of his TPS report.

Speaking of what might have been in some alternate reality but clearly was not going to be in this one, remember Essential? Well, feel free to repurpose the brain cells it took to do that.

Because HOW’D! THAT! TURN! OUT?!

“Essential, Andy Rubin’s phone company, is shutting down.”

You may have thought Essential had already shut down but, no, the phone was only very late, had meager sales, and then was canceled. Rumors that it stepped on a rake and had the handle smash into its face could not be confirmed but let’s just assume that happened, too.

So, did it ever get around to killing the iPhone. Uhhh, no. That’s just what people said it was going to do based on two things: Andy Rubin (which… yeeeeow) and some vague, pre-release pictures of the device. Really. That’s a thing that people felt was OK to say. But if you were wondering if that happened, no, it doesn’t look like that happened.

The point is not that “Apple always wins.” Just look at the HomePod. Just don’t look at the butterfly keyboard, because just looking at it too hard might cause a key to fail. The point is that there are times when things are very obvious about who is not going to beat Apple at something and yet people will try to tell you the opposite anyway. Which is weird but happens a lot more than you’d expect.

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