The pace of everyday living may be hectic, but the pace of innovation is downright frenetic. Technologies barely imagined a few years ago are now poised to change the face of computing, as digital devices continue to burrow into every aspect of daily life.
The world of science fiction is rapidly becoming fact, from tabletops that charge your laptop wirelessly to wall-mounted PCs that recognize your face and gestures. Thanks to breakthroughs in miniaturization, you'll be able to tuck products into your pocket that wouldn't have fit into your briefcase a few years ago, such as projectors and photo printers. The next generation of Internet technology will change everything from TV to Coke machines. And standard computer building blocks are growing ever more powerful, as processor makers squeeze more cores onto each chip and drive makers pack more bits into each platter--guaranteeing that even ordinary PCs of the future will be anything but ordinary.
In the pages that follow, we spotlight a dozen major innovations, from ones right around the corner to a few that won't show up until at least 2012. On multiple fronts, the future you've been waiting for has almost arrived. Here's what you need to know to prepare for it.