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Predicting the most unlikely tech events that will happen in 2013

Mobile, mobile, mobile. That's where everything is going, so the clever people conclude. But surprises do sometimes happen. Big surprises.

Chris Matyszczyk
4 min read
Mr. Pop on his flip phone. Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The other day I was lying on the beach when an older, bronzed man came and lay down next to me.

He made some groaning noises and chatted on his flip phone. He was Iggy Pop.

This, in itself was unusual. However, at the very moment he was there I was reading a book called "Paris, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down," by Rosencrans Baldwin. It's the story of an American writer who moves to Paris with his wife to write silly ads for Louis Vuitton.

I happened to be on page 167, where Baldwin describes Karl Lagerfeld: "He resembled a short, dead Iggy Pop."

Please, you who count how many Corn Flakes are in your bowl. How likely was that? I almost wanted to tell Mr. Pop that when he dies he will look like Karl Lagerfeld.

So while the majority might want to believe that 2013 will be all about mobile, mobile and an Apple wristwatch, I'd like to offer some far less likely things that will actually, actually happen. Well, they conceivably might.

1. There will be no more free news and social media sites
Chuckle though you might, aren't you a little tired of all this free, free, free? Aren't you finding that free is coming with strings that are longer than a list of Silvio Berlusconi's lovers? Whether it's privacy policies or data selling, it's all getting ugly.

Facebook is little different from Spirit Airlines. It's now trying to find every possible method of putting its bulbous hand in your pockets and grabbing your nickels and dimes. It will soon be no more free than your every business lunch. The New York Times' paywall is working rather well. Soon, all news Web sites will follow. 2013 will see a long-lost embrace of the quaint concept of "you get what you pay for." And people will suddenly respect what it is they're getting by paying for it.

2. Apple and Samsung will merge
Yes, yes. There's as much chance of this as there is of Kristen Stewart getting back together with that nice vampire who rarely shaves. Wait. If there's one thing I know about people -- just one -- it's that the more passion they put into their bickering, the more they're really expressing their love.

It's easy to believe that Apple and Samsung are deadly rivals. But what if they suddenly got together, like two royal families of ancient times, to secure not merely the future of fine, arousing technology, but vast political influence not imagined even by that great political force of our time, Google? I'm a dreamer, me.

3. Sharing on social media sites will go down 30 percent
There was surely nothing more poetic than Randi Zuckerberg banging her shoe like Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations, after one of her very personal photographs was seen by the great unwashed.

Some might have thought this merely proved that anyone could become a director of social media company. The deeper, though, realized that it was a significant moment when everyone realized that their postings truly were never safe from prying eyes.

This will lead to a sudden restraint that will signify a monstrous trend toward meeting groups of friends at secluded cafe tables. The name of the cafe will only be released at the very last minute, as with a virulent rave. Once the group is seated, everyone will whip out their iPhones and quietly display their photographs of their latest beet salad, beat poetry reading or beatdown of their brother at squash, in the sure knowledge that no one else will see them. Except for some quasi-Stasi operative at Apple, perhaps. (Oh, they must have a way of seeing your photos, mustn't they?)

4. Justin Timberlake will succeed Steve Ballmer
Snigger away. But while you are, ask yourself this: who, other than the Timberman himself, will be able to whip a vast room full of Redmondians or developers into a hip-waggling frenzy, the way Ballmer always does?

Who else could possibly embody Microsoft's new era better than a man who can seduce every single member of the human race with either his pelvic gyrations or his golf swing? Timberlake isn't merely some sort of pop star figurehead.

This is a man who is rapidly turning around MySpace. This is a man who's already been Sean Parker. Compared to that, bringing the sexy back to Microsoft will be little more than whipping off a small piece of Janet Jackson's wardrobe.

5. Google will form a political party
Oh, stop your snorting. This is nothing more than a logical extension of the current reality. More than any organization on Earth, Google can claim to know more about people, more about who they are and what they think and more about what truly matters to them.

Google understands that we don't really want to drive, we don't really want to think and we don't really want to buy phones from Apple. By creating a third force in politics, Mountain View's most pulsating company will be able to claim -- more fairly than any other force that has ever existed in politics -- that it truly represents the people's wishes. And it'll know that we intend to vote for it before the nice people at the polling stations -- yes, even before Nate Silver.

You will think I've been a little fanciful with these predictions. But I don't see how I can lose. If they fail to come true, you'll think me the freakish fool that you already do.

However, if just one of these happens to occur, I can cheerily take my place among the pantheon of the prescient, write a book on how I got there and finally, finally make an appearance on "Letterman."