Seven Trends to Watch in ’13

We’ve reached the point where the pace of technological progress is so fast that advancement itself seems ordinary. But things are anything but ordinary here in Las Vegas, where the growing tech scene is primed for a year of maturation. That said, here is my look at what to expect in 2013:

Internet poker arrives in Nevada. The first companies were licensed in June to create legal online poker sites in the Silver State. Odds are on South Point to launch the first site. But regardless of who is first, we’ll see Internet poker sites up and running this year.

Tablets become less expensive and more plentiful. This year we’ll see more and cheaper tablets from a variety of manufacturers. Some will be designed for narrow purposes such as reading books, watching videos or playing games. Others will do everything, and may be able to replace your laptop.

Digital publishing takes off. Driven partly by increased tablet use, digital publishing will take off in a major way. Competition between Amazon and Apple will keep book prices down. More newspapers and magazines will switch to digital-only offerings. And libraries and schools will increasingly look to tablets as a way to inexpensively distribute large numbers of books.

No significant innovation from Apple. In case there was any doubt the Jobs era is over, consider the 2010 problem with the iPhone 4’s antenna, where users quickly got an actual solution, compared to the recent problem with the iPhone 5’s maps, where users got only an apology. In the future, expect only incremental changes, such as a retina screen on the MacBook Air, NFC (near-field-communication) finally on the iPhone, and a USB port on the iPad. (OK, I’m kidding about that last one.)

More wearable devices. From Bluetooth watches and headsets to sensors such as the Fitbit One and the Jawbone UP, wearable devices will become smaller, more durable and more common.

More consumer-to-consumer services. Sites such as eBay have made consumer-to-consumer sales common, but expect to see more of it in the next year. C2C sites such as TaskRabbit are experimenting with connecting people to provide house cleaning and child care, and even Vegas startup Rumgr, an iPhone “garage sale” app, wants to build a community of connected users to provide more than just products.

The Vegas tech scene goes mainstream. More tech companies will come to Las Vegas this year, but that’s like saying more tourists will come to gamble. The scene will also grow to include more than just tech people. Some non-techies already have discovered that the Vegas Jelly meetups Downtown are good places to network, and events such as February’s Mini Maker Faire and August’s SXSW V2V will help introduce the tech community to the general public.