10 tech bets for 2013: what's most likely to happen?

2nd Jan 2013 | 14:45

10 tech bets for 2013: what's most likely to happen?

The odds on this year's top tech topics

Predicting the future can be a tricky business: Popular Mechanics told us that the fully-automated home was just around the corner in 1939, and we're still waiting.

And, famously, the Back to the Future trilogy reckoned we'd have flying cars and hoverboards by 2015. If only.

But 2013 is upon us now, so what will be the top tech stories of the year? We've picked out a few to reckon on, and some others you shouldn't.

What are the odds of them actually happening? Let's find out.

1. Apple releases iPad mini 2 with Retina Display

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

It's the one weakness in Apple's otherwise-excellent little tablet, and if Apple can do it in phones, iPod touches, iPads and MacBooks, then it can cram one into the iPad mini too.

Why not:

Retina Displays are more complicated and need more power than non-Retina ones, and that means heavier, more expensive devices. Hands up who thinks the iPad mini needs a price hike?

The odds:

2/1. We know it's going to happen, and we don't want to pay out too much when it does.

2. BlackBerry 10 saves RIM and puts BlackBerry back on the mobile map

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

It's a lovely operating system, a big step forward, and the hardware's looking pretty tasty - and both enterprise customers and BBM-crazed teens love their BlackBerries. The BlackBerry's back, baby!

Why not:

RIM's in deep, deep trouble and BB10 should have shipped in 2012.

Apple and Android are bigger players than BlackBerry now, and nobody's pulled off this kind of recovery since Steve Jobs returned to Apple. RIM doesn't have a Steve Jobs.

The odds:

7/1. We hope it happens, but we wouldn't bet our shirts on it.

3. Windows RT falls flat

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

Microsoft upset its OEM partners by making its own Surface, whose sales are currently behind target, and many Windows RT tablets have been delayed.

At the time of writing, Facebook and Google don't see Windows RT as worth writing apps for, consumer reaction has been lukewarm and businesses aren't interested.

Why not:

Microsoft is coming from a standing start here, so of course it isn't going to do iPad numbers in the first couple of months.

OEMs will come on board and consumers will get the message.

The odds:

5/2. It's looking a bit shaky right now.

4. Chromebooks sell in significant numbers

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

Google's Chrome OS gets better with each release, and there's a decent range of kit to choose from, much of it at rock-bottom prices.

In these tough times, cheap laptops should be an easy sell.

Why not:

You can't make a brilliant laptop and sell it for £200 - but you can make an excellent tablet and sell it for considerably less.

If we had £200 we'd buy a Nexus 7 and a keyboard. Sales figures suggest you would too.

The odds: 7/2. Your kids want a tablet.

5. Seven-inch tablets dominate the tablet market

Why:

All the benefits of full-sized tablets without the drawbacks: they're lighter, more portable and much, much cheaper than their bigger brothers and sisters.

Why not:

They don't always have the cutting-edge tech of the larger tablets, so, for example, an iPad mini is closer to the tech of an iPad 2 than the current iPad. Some cheap tablets are pretty nasty.

The odds:

2/1. We saw the Christmas queues for titchy tablets.

6. Android outsells Apple - not just in phones, but in tablets too

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

Not everyone wants an iPhone, likes iOS or wants to pay Apple prices. Android has more manufacturers making more models at more price points than any other mobile operating system. These days it's bloody good, too.

Why not:

In tablets, Apple dominates the market, and the iPad mini should help sell a lot more iOS devices. Apple's widening the range to meet a wider range of budgets, and it has a cool factor that Android lacks.

The odds:

2/1. It happened in phones, it'll happen in tablets.

7. Windows Phone becomes the third biggest mobile platform

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

Windows Phone 8 is really nice and the phones are good too: it's a proper alternative to iOS and Android, and RIM's misfortunes could be an opportunity for Microsoft to regain some of its lost mobile market share.

Why not:

One lost BlackBerry customer doesn't necessarily mean one new Windows Phone customer - they might buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 or an iPhone. Microsoft is facing an uphill challenge here, even if RIM self-destructs.

The odds:

5/2. A lot depends on whether RIM can stop its nose-dive.

8. Mobile devices replace the PC

Why:

Mobile devices aren't just the punters' favourites: they're becoming businesses' favourites too.

According to Phil Redman at Gartner, "The era of the PC has ended. Employees are becoming more mobile and looking for ways to still be connected wherever work needs to be done."

Why not:

The PC era ain't over yet. We've got Windows 8; we've got ultrabooks; we've got those gorgeous new iMacs; we've got a Mac Pro coming... as much as we love our mobiles and tablets, we want PCs too.

The odds:

9/1. Mobile sales will outstrip PC ones next year, but most will supplement computers, not replace them.

9. Retailers will embrace NFC

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

The banks want it. The credit card companies want it. Most of the mobile makers want it. NFC is quick, convenient, saves you from having to mess around with plastic cards when you're buying a cup of coffee, and pretty much every phone maker bar Apple is on board.

Why not:

Recession-hit retailers are wary of splashing out on new NFC-enabled tills when it's unclear whether they'll get that money back.

In-app purchasing and alternative payment systems such as Square are stealing some of NFC's thunder. PayPal reckons it's a technology looking for a problem to solve, not a must-have for shops.

The odds:

7/2. We're not at the tipping point yet.

10. Apple will launch the Apple TV

10 Tech bets for 2013

Why:

It's currently the worst-kept secret in tech. Tim Cook says, "When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years", while winking, nudging and waving a flashing neon sign that says "HINT HINT HINT".

Why not:

While Cook says it's an area of intense interest, TV is a tough nut to crack: it's largely a licensing problem, rather than a technological one.

There's also the issue of price: any Apple TV set won't be cheap.

The odds:

5/2. Maybe 2012. Maybe not.

World of Tech Apple BlackBerry Windows Chromebooks Adroid
Share this Article
Google+

Apps you might like:

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version