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Apple TV could revitalize slumping television market
Will Apple launch its own television set in 2013? It's possible, and very likely -- if the analysts are right -- but when, and at what price?
Apple lost out to the sub-$200 mini-tablet range by pricing its own 7-inch iPad mini at a price premium. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant has not broken down the figures, but analysts still believe the mini-tablet has failed to take off. If Apple takes the same approach with a fully-fledged 'smart TV,' it may not revitalize the wider technology market.
The problem is that televisions are not replaced very often, and are low margin products. This is why Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, and others -- excluding Samsung which is faring the weather well -- are struggling to stay afloat and are looking at financing options. A break into the television market would be an automatic failure, but if Apple could control it -- as it would -- it would be more than a "hobby business," as Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at the company's fourth quarter earnings call, but also be less than a dire waste of time.
Still, by bringing iTunes and pay-per-view content to the television set, the devices could be sold at a modest premium with razor-thin margins -- just as Google and Amazon do with their tablets -- and still rake in the cash long-term with the television content factor.
Anonymous, Wikileaks will revive, hacktivism will hit a new level
Wikileaks has had a relatively quiet year, in spite of Julian Assange's 'house arrest' in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Anonymous, however, has remained busy, taking down what it deems to be unethical companies, exposing security holes in networks, and above all else -- it seems -- having fun in the process. The hacking collective typically works 'for the people' exposing wrongdoing and illegal behavior and activities.
Wikileaks' Assange has already promised to release many more leaks in the coming year that could have lasting effects on governments and private industries. Outside of the Wikileaks collective, Anonymous and its affiliates will continue to exploit security weaknesses 'for the lulz,' and the possibility that governments will begin to exploit these hackers for their own purposes.
Cyber-weaponry will continue to be used as an effective method of destroying physical items with computer code, such as with the rise of Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame among others. Where drone missiles and tactical military strikes once did the most damage, the 'unknown' governments behind these attacks will anonymously strike at regional targets that pose ongoing threats to domestic and international security.
Big data will get bigger and better
Big data was one of the biggest enterprise buzzwords of 2012. Simply put, it's making use of 'big' amounts of 'data' through a variety of sources, from shopping details, climate information, data collected from smartphones, device feedback, and a variety of devices that connect to the 'Internet of things'.
That data becomes an untapped mine of information and feedback -- and by using analytics retail decisions can change, and flaws in processes can be identified, along with increasing revenue through data trading or data resale.
Jobs in big data will increase rapidly in 2013 in order to help extrapolate the goldmine that the vast amounts of information that consumers provide and companies collect in order to improve the world as we know it. Real-time analytics will be standardized; the ability to predict the next major shifts in finance and banking will become a reality, and the enterprise will benefit hugely from new strategies eminating from the new data-analytics technologies.