Doomed to eternal limbo
It feels like every time there is a tectonic shift in how people use tech, IPv6 misses the boat. I think it's doomed to live in perpetual limbo.
- It missed the explosion in cloud. Even today, AWS and Azure etc have good support for IPv6, but not great. Your first contact is probably something like an EC2 instance, and IPv4 just works, out of the gate. For most people, that's it, game over, never look at IPv6 again. Imagine what might have happened if AWS had said, "any new service is going to have an IPv6 endpoint, and you must pay extra if you want IPv4"
- It missed the explosion in home devices. Netgear, Belkin etc were never going to make the DHCP on their home routers dole out IPv6 by default when all the home TVs and lightbulbs dont support it. At best you end up with dual-stack, and then you have a support nightmare on your hands (given that we are talking about consumers). Ugh.
I do think it will live on for some (large) niches, like mobile internet, where operators have been doing Ipv6 for years, but as a world-changing tech, I dont see it.