Predictions for 2013
Whilst it's slightly early for the prediction season, I thought I'd put forward a few possibilities, based on some digital crystal gazing, some wistful looking off into space, a finger in the air and some personal perspective. Some of these may even come true.
1. Twitter rises, Facebook falls.....
Twitter has hit its stride as a social news source, with careful users eschewing celebrity gossip and banal minute-by-minute updates and instead receive and comment on breaking news that is pertinent to them. Meanwhile, Facebook use will hollow out - while it will continue to expand into new markets, older users will start using it less and less. Will this be the end of Facebook? As a social media company, possibly. But with a huge war chest and a lot of talented people, it can reinvent itself into whatever sort of company it wishes to.
2. Apple stumbles, but opens up new markets.
Apple Maps represented a seismic shift in the company. Without Steve Jobs, the search for perfection in user experience had been lost, and was (and is) a bit of an embarrassment. Products like the iPhone 5 are slight improvements over the 4, but we'd come to expect more. They need to turn round any complacency and refocus on UX. However, later in the year they'll announce a major move into home products - Apple TV will finally become worthy of the Apple name, and major initiatives towards integrated lighting, music, video, heating and other controllers create a major new market for them.
3. Disintermediation becomes a major buzzword, as a new organisation takes on high-street banks. With a huge online and international customer base, the organisation starts through supporting direct lending between individuals, but garners enough credence to be able to access international lending and government funding at very low rates of ~1% and passes this directly on to customers, offering mortgages and loans at similar low rates. People love it as it is both financially beneficial to them, and upsets the bankers by beating them at their own game.
4. New state proposed. Major players on the Internet make a semi-serious proposal to set the Internet up as a nation state, with its own tax and legal regime, to try and address trans-national issues. This state proposes to have relatively low taxes but a clear relationship with national tax authorities, to reduce legal tax avoidance issues, and uses the revenues to support enforcement of new laws governing corporate ethics, access to sensitive material, as well as supporting initiatives like Wikipedia and new entrepreneurs.