Season’s greetings! I hope you all get lovely new technology for the holidays and have a wonderful time poking and clicking and pinching and zooming!

I’ve been looking ahead to 2013, trying to guess what will fill our time in the technology world next year. Here are some of the things that are coming, in no particular order.

  • You will pick up and cast off computers, tablets and phones at an ever increasing clip. Tablets and notebooks will get cheaper and the flood of features and apps will make 2012’s flow look like a trickle. Everyone will have a drawer of discarded devices.
  • Your personal lives will move to the cloud. The days of carefully tended personal collections of photos and videos are on the way out, already gone for many people, as we throw videos into YouTube and photos into Instagram and Facebook and Flickr and Skydrive and expect them to be available forever on all of our devices. Old-timers will hang onto their curated music collections but everyone else has already left them behind in favor of streaming music from Pandora, Spotify, or XBox Music, or collections stored with Amazon or Google or Apple.
  • Businesses are not far behind. I expect many small businesses and law firms will begin storing documents in the cloud during 2013. Many businesses have already made that move, of course, but even conservative businesses will be swayed by the convenience of ubiquitous access to files in Box.net, NetDocuments, Skydrive Pro, Google Docs, or one of the others.
  • I’ll set up fewer onsite servers and more connections to cloud servers or line of business apps run from the cloud.
  • Solid state hard drives are beginning to be used in many laptops, even inexpensive ones, and will replace conventional hard drives almost completely in 2013 as SSD prices drop. They improve laptop performance tremendously, along with assisting with longer battery life and super-fast resumption from sleep mode. There’s another interesting thing to note about SSDs: they have far lower storage capacity than conventional hard drives, and it doesn’t matter when our files are stored in the cloud instead of our local hard drive. You don’t need hard drive space to view photos on Facebook, to watch a TV show on Netflix, to listen to music on Pandora. There’s going to be a fast reversal of the move over the last few years toward supersized hard drives.
  • Microsoft has a vision of Windows 8 as a platform that powers office computers as well as becoming the third option for tablets and phones – following behind Apple and Google, of course, but perceived as a respectable choice and earning a decent market share. We will begin to find out if that is a wise strategy during the first six months of 2013. There is already some reason to fear that Windows 8 on computers might suffer the Vista death of a thousand cuts, turning into a “failure” just because that’s repeated often enough that people start to believe it. Meanwhile, people won’t buy Windows 8 tablets and phones unless the Windows 8 app store begins to fill up with wonderful apps – and app developers might not bother when it’s so obvious that people are only buying Android and iOS devices. Microsoft has its work cut out for it to improve Windows 8 quickly on all platforms and get developers to step up before all hope is lost.
  • Office 365 is going to get a major overhaul as the primary mechanism for distributing Microsoft Office to everyone, individuals and businesses alike. If you’re not already an Office 365 subscriber, then chances are good that you will become one during 2013.

Finally, here’s one possibility – mere speculation – that might be more important than everything else.

A few months ago Apple fired two executives who had played big roles in the look and feel of Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads. In their place is Jony Ive, who is given credit for the hardware designs of Macs, iPhones and iPads that have brought Apple to the top of the world.

iOS badly needs an overhaul. It looks dated and stale compared to Windows 8 and the latest version of Android.

If Jony Ive can take control of Apple’s software design and deliver a deep, clean, modern overhaul of iOS, perhaps along with sorely needed updates to Mac OS and iTunes, it would change the competitive landscape overnight. After years of evolutionary updates, Apple is starting to look staid and a little dull. It could leap to the forefront again. Jony Ive might be the person to make that happen.

I can’t wait to find out what my role will be to help your business use this technology in 2013! The reason I can’t wait to find out is because at the moment I’m honestly not sure what the answer is. It’s going to be a tumultuous year in technology and I’m going to do everything I can to be a steady voice of reason and help you understand what’s going on. Perhaps that will be enough.

All my best wishes!

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