The recently concluded iWorld expo of Apple has had the buzz getting louder about the impending iPad3 launch. It is now widely acknowledged, even by reliable news agencies, that the next generation iPad will be out next month sporting a faster processor and an even crisper display. The iWorld is Apple's annual calendar event for developers and enthusiasts alike as the company chooses to give other big events, including the Las Vegas definitive CES, a miss. Apple is flush with funds at the end of a spectacular financial year topping off at a market value estimated close to U.S. $ 400 billion. According to market analysts, it is very possible that the company's shares are still on a growth trajectory and could reach anything between U.S. $ 550 to 600 each. That could take its market value close to U.S. $ 600 billion, roughly the annual GDP of Switzerland. If those numbers are not enough to send you in a tizzy, just imagine what the company could be planning with its reserves. There are speculations about the iPhone5 too. According to some coders who visited the iWorld event last week, there is a good chance that the next-generation iPhone would feature the near-field communications (NFC) technology, which among other applications, can turn the mobile phone into a payment platform via online payment gateways. The NFC technology has been available on the Android Platform for some time now and also has the ‘Google Wallet' application running on it. But a thrust for the technology from the world's biggest technology company would mean that it has finally arrived.

Facebook IPO

The big newsmaker this week is the IPO bid of social networking giant Facebook. After years and years of speculation, the Mark Zuckerberg-headed social network is expected to make the first moves towards Wall Street. Analysts predict that the company, that has on its social network nearly 800 million users, is likely to be valued between U.S. $ 75 to 100 billion. Yes, that is right, with a ‘b'. This is expected to become one of the biggest IPOs ever, and certainly the biggest IPO after Google. The company is expected to raise at least U.S. $ 10 billion, and already people are calling Mark Zuckerberg the next Steve Jobs. But the big question is how will it affect its users, specifically you and me? The bottomline for a company that raises funds through shares will be to show results. Already there are forums discussing whether this is the tipping point where more targeted advertisements find their way to Facebook Walls and other forums. How will the company now balance off its ongoing face-offs with government agencies on privacy issues with the demand to bring in more revenues using its biggest asset: private data? This year promises to be an interesting one on Facebook.

Kinect for Laptops?

In one of the more bizarre but juicy rumours doing the rounds in Internet forums, there is a lot of speculation that Microsoft might port its motion-detecting Kinect technology to Windows laptops running the much-awaited Windows 8 operating system expected to debut later this year. The Kinect technology has been winning kudos ever since its debut in November 2010. Hackers have come up with some fantastic applications for Kinect (check YouTube for Kinect Hacks). Now there is speculation that a series of laptops from manufacturer Asus are being manufactured to run Kinect for Windows 8.