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Tech trends for 2013

What does the next year in tech have in store? We’ve looked at some predictions from across the web.

Apple

Will they hit a wall or continue earning more money than quite a lot of nations out there? With Steve Jobs gone, scandals about the working conditions in Apple factories in Asia and the Australian police advising people against using the maps on the iPhone 5, is the magic slowly disappearing? Or are there still enough hard-core fans out there to make sure the US company can’t do anything wrong.

Apple Inc. has an unmatched track record, pioneering entire new product categories over the past decade with its iPhone, iPad and iPod. The results have been clear, with top-line revenues growing by an average of 40% per year for the past 10 fiscal-year periods. Net income has come up more than 40-fold in that time. Such growth can’t continue forever. Sales grew nearly 44% for its 2012 fiscal year, ending in September, down from 79% annual sales growth just two years prior. Analysts expect sales growth of about 24% for the current fiscal year. But Apple’s reputation is for innovative products, so much will depend on whether the company can push into new areas, writes MarketWatch.

PCs and Microsoft

Will the PC make a comeback? Will Microsoft release a tablet customers can get excited about?

By 2015, tablet shipments will be 50% of laptop shipments, with Windows 8 in third place behind Apple and Android. Microsoft‘s share of overall client platform will fall to 60%, and could drop below 50%. In smartphones, Windows could pass RIM to be #3 player, and could be same size as Apple in units by 2015. Windows 8 will be “relatively niche,” with mostly appealing to enterprise buyers, predicts Gartner.

IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell said the “impact from Windows 8 could take as much as a year to really make its presence felt, as it’s going to take a long time for people to get used to the new user interface and for the supply chain to deliver lower-cost touch-enabled notebooks.”

Mobile

Here is the reason why the personal computer isn’t top dog anymore. Mobile was a buzzword in 2012 and it looks like this part of the tech industry will grow even more next year. Will this be the year when tablets and smart-phones become more popular than the personal computer?

In 2013, mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools. By 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones. Predicts Forbes.

We will also see a rise in the use of second screens, writes Mashable, which marketers will most likely take advantage of.

More than 80% of smartphone and tablet owners use these devices while watching TV. At least 25% of U.S. smartphone and tablet users use the devices while watching TV multiple times per day. 51% of those who post on social media while watching TV do so to connect with others who might also be watching the same thing. 24% of Facebook users report posting about the movie they’re watching (in the theater!).

Facebook

We all remember the excitement around the Facebook IPO in May, the stories about how the street artists who painted the walls in the Facebook office became a millionaire because he had been given some shares. Mark Zuckerberg was the greatest man to grace the cover of tech magazines since Steve Jobs. Then the stock price started falling and most people agreed that they had seen this coming all along. Does Facebook actually have a businessmodel that works? Will they be able to make money? The seeds of doubt have been sown.

The company has bounced back as the year draws to a close, buoyed by an upbeat third-quarter and gains in mobile ads. “All they really need to do is to embrace mobile and continue to show progress monetizing,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told MarketWatch. “Investors want to believe Facebook has revenue growth potential, and are merely looking for signs of progress.”

Green tech

Green technology has been a growing trend over the last few years. Every now and then there is a story about a car or some other transportation device that will be faster, smoother and not run on petrol – and about as often someone like Jeremy Clarkson comes along to tell us why these things aren’t working, yet. But it doesn’t look like green tech will allow itself to be intimidated by the naysayers.

President Obama in the States has promised to invest in green technology, which might give the industry a further boost. However Forbes is predicting that VC investment in the sector will dry up. According to them we might also see fewer wind and solar farms being built as clean coal becomes more popular.

Emerging economies

If the global economy doesn’t take another drastic dip downward next year the middle classes in emerging economies will most likely keep on getting richer and keener to consume.

Geographic areas like Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East will spend $730 billion on IT, up almost 9%. One-third of the customers that IT vendors have will come from these areas, writes BusinessInsider.

Big data

According to most tech sites out there big data is set to become even bigger next year. Nate Silver is still a name most of us remember, the guy who predicted the elections results in the States with about 99.9% accuracy, just by analysing data. Silver might not have intended it to seem like data is a fail-safe way to analyse the future, but a lot of people have probably taken it that way.

IDC says the big-data market will grow at an annual rate of 40%. It will hit about $5 billion in 2012, $10 billion by 2013, and $53 billion by 2017, writes BusinessInsider.

It’s becoming more economical, thanks in part to low cost servers and CPUs, for organizations to tackle big data projects, writes Gartner. By strategic big data, Gartner believes that users will be moving beyond isolated projects and incorporating big data analysis in more and more of what they do.

The next big thing?

Is it going to be the cloud? The more devices we use the more important the cloud becomes. Will it be crowdfunding? Or perhaps robots? What do you think? Let us know in the comments or on twitter.

Image via Mr Outdoorguy.