As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my own self-imposed space limitations, 2011 was one boring year, tech-wise.
But I predict we'll see a host of history-making digital goodies in the next 12 months.
Yesterday I prognosticated five of these tech trends. Here now is the final five of my top 10 tech trends for 2012.
6. Final Attempt to Make 3D Cool
While Cameron's more recent billion-dollar 3D adventure, Avatar, failed to ignite interest in 3D at home, perhaps being able to watch Leo and Kate and the spectacular sinking of Titanic in 3D will.
3D TV makers will hope for an early 3D Blu-ray release of this new 3D version of Titanic to give us one last push toward buying a 3D HDTV.
My guess? We've pretty much decided we don't want to wear glasses in our living rooms to watch TV. If Avatar and 3D sports didn't convince us of 3D's coolness at home, nothing will.
7. Apple iPhone 5
Finally, Apple will (hopefully) give us the iPhone we geeks expected the 4S to be – the iPhone 5, a true (finally!) next-generation handset, hopefully with at least a 4-inch screen and, more likely, 4G LTE connectivity with longer battery life than other Android 4G LTE handsets.
Other hoped-for improvements: with the extra power provided by the same quad core A6 chip in the iPad 3, Siri might be able handle local iPhone tasks (playing a song, dialing a number) without first connecting to the Internet, as well as voice control over Apple TV (teasing trend #10, below), and maybe iPhone 5 will be NFC-compatible so it can be used as a digital wallet – just wave it past a countertop terminal at a retail store to pay for your purchase.
Mirroring the price-cutting of the iPhone 4 last summer, Apple also may dramatically reduced iPhone 4S's price as well.
8. Video Eyewear
Along with video phones, another long-promised technology is personal video. This means glasses or, more frequently, goggles equipped with tiny video screens mounted inside so you can watch movies all by yourself. The small screens are mounted so close to your eyes, you see them as one giant screen floating in front of your face.
Having played with many of these personal video headgear thingies, I'm a skeptic, especially since from the outside these video glasses/goggles make you look dorky at best, like a blind idiot (the screens block your sight for anything else going on around you) at worst.
A company called Nabes is hoping to change this dorky dynamic. Nabes is creating a small video screen mount that clip inside custom designer sunglasses. In other words, wearing Nabes' contraption is no worse aesthetically than wearing normal (albeit large) sunglasses with headphone wires streaming from it and a cable trailing to your smart phone, tablet or other video source. Plus, you can still spy what's happening around you.
Here's a video of the Nabes in action:
Maybe Nabes will be the breakthrough video eyewear product, even though it'll be initially priced at $500. I'll see how it all works when I get one to play with, likely sometime in the late summer or early fall.
9. Hotspot 2.0
Nearly a year ago I told you about Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 ("Easy-to-Connect Wi-Fi Everywhere On The Way"), which detailed how, in the near future, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable Wi-Fi devices will automatically and seamlessly connect to compatible hotspots just like your phone stays connected to the Internet via 3G or 4G networks as you roam seamlessly from cellular cell-to-cell.
That future is…soon.
Seamless Wi-Fi connection is a good thing because connections are nearly 400 times faster than the best 4G LTE network, which means uploading large files, such as emailing HD video you shot with your phone to your family, will take only a few minutes. It's also a way to avoid hitting the data cap ceiling imposed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
This new seamless Wi-Fi connectivity, now dubbed Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, is scheduled to roll out market-by-market starting this fall, led by the world's largest hotspot provider, Boingo. Your cable or satellite company and cell phone carrier will offer their own Passpoint hotspot network or partner up with a hotspot company like Boingo (which Verizon already does). In any case, seamless Passpoint connectivity will simply be added to your current bill.
I'll have more details on Passpoint, along with details on a new technology called Super Wi-Fi, which could create Wi-Fi hotspots measured in miles rather than feet by 2014, in a couple of months.
Within five year, ubiquitous Passpoint and Super Wi-Fi could make 4G an anachronism. All mobile devices will automatically connect to much faster Wi-Fi almost everywhere in the world.
10. Apple HDTV
Arguably the most anticipated tech announcement of the year is Apple's long-rumored LCD HDTV. Apple watchers are pegging October 23d, the 11th anniversary of the iPod, as Apple HDTV D-Day, reportedly in models from 32- to 55-inches, with LCD panels made by Sharp.
Among the expected hardware benefits of an Apple HDTV will be built-in Wi-Fi, built-in webcam and Facetime video telephony, a powerful custom processor so it'll be as much computer as TV (essentially an iMac for the living room), ability to run all iPad and iPhone apps – especially games controlled by an iPad or iPhone, which will give video game console makers more sleepless nights, and voice control via Siri and the iPhone.
Oh, and one more thing: Apple is hoping to offer channel cherry-picking iTunes content plans rather than the bundles of (mostly unwatched) channels your cable and satellite provider greedily foist on us.
How will my top 10 tech trend predictions hold up? We'll find out starting next week when the ball drops on the tech new year at CES – the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Super Bowl of technology.
And what will happen in Vegas next week will definitely not stay in Vegas. Tune in next Monday for the first of my week-long gizmo-by-gizmo CES coverage.