1. Windows 8 revolution
This is the biggie, and not just because of Microsoft's enormous user base: Windows 8 is a dramatically different version of the world's most popular OS, with particular emphasis on tablets.
2. Really good tablets
If 2011 was when the tablet market learned to walk, 2012 is when it'll learn to run.
3. Big names in big trouble
Some of tech's biggest firms face a rocky ride in the coming year: the Financial Times reports that the EU "plans to slam Google with a 400-plus page" statement of anti-trust objections before possibly embarking on legal action, while in the US the Federal Trade Commission has ordered Facebook to behave itself or face action. The EU's sniffing around Facebook too, with German regulators being a particular thorn in the social network's side.
4. TV continues to change
The lines between TV and PC will continue to blur in 2012.
5. Voice input
We're loath to call this voice recognition, because it's bigger than that: natural language systems such as Apple's Siri are closer to virtual assistants or intelligent software agents than traditional computer voice recognition, not least because you're taking advantage of enormously powerful servers rather than the processing power of your device.
6. More and more Ultrabooks
We like ultrabooks, the super-thin and super-portable Apple-inspired notebooks from the likes of Acer, Asus and Toshiba. We're not so keen on their prices, though, so it's good to see DigiTimes predicting that prices will fall by as much as 10% in early 2012, bringing Ultrabooks into the sub-$1000 price bracket. We're expecting to see as many as fifty new Ultrabooks at January's CES extravaganza, not to mention new, slimline MacBook Pros from Apple later in the year.
7. The end of boxed software
We predicted this one last year, but Windows 8 didn't arrive as early as we'd hoped: Windows 8 brings the app store model to the majority of the world's desktops, and between it and Apple's Mac App Store (not to mention the mobile app stores on iOS, Android and on Android forks such as Amazon's Kindle Fire) we're looking at the end of shrink-wrapped software boxes.
8. Everything in the cloud
The rise of mobile devices means that we expect to get our stuff on any device, anywhere we happen to be - and more often than not, that means storing our stuff in the cloud.
9. Mobile payments
There's more to mobile payments than near field communications (NFC) chips, although that's where most of the hype is currently focused. Ebay tells us that 10% of its UK payments are now made via mobile phones, while a recent survey by KPMG found that some 24% of people worldwide are making phone-based payments. Factor in the arrival of NFC chips in mobiles and NFC readers in more high street shops and it's clear that mobile money is going to be a big deal in 2012.
While ISPs won't - and can't, under EU law - be forced to monitor everybody's online activities, demands for per-site censorship will soundtrack 2012. The BPI is already asking ISPs to block The Pirate Bay, while in the US the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act could result in entire sites being blocked by ISPs, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks as a result of a few users' bad behaviour.
Such US legislation could have global effects, because most of the world's websites are registered in the US: while SOPA is opposed by the tech industry's biggest names, it's widely expected to become law in time for the New Year.