A new term has emerged, “Appy Hour” reflecting the growing demand for apps that do things that people do every day but wouldn’t mind automating. Of course, developers are guessing at ideas looking for the next “BIG THING” but a few stood out at this month’s technology showcase show, CES, the Consumer Electronics show. Such as the 3M Touch Systems 84-inch touch table shown above.

In the past few short years the emphasis has shifted from hardware to software to apps. This helps explain why Google and Apple are both relentless in their software development and any protections they can exert on everything they design. They understand it’s the key to their digital success today and into the next three decades.

Another interesting iPad app is Audi’s fully automated self-parking system, which it demonstrated at the CES show. If you needed physical proof that Audi is working on its own self-driving car, look no further than its Pilot Parking and Pilot Driving for AudiConnect vehicles. These two cars, which are built using production sensors, can easily park and drive themselves, respectively, without human interference. You can see the car park itself here.

Developers are redesigning conventional thoughts and products that have been in place for a very long time. For instance, magazine publishers are rethinking how they approach their subscribers with new apps. Forbes has built an iPad application that better ties its publication to its branding and website. Book publishers are aggressively moving into the E-Book space. Authors are opting to self-publish shedding their reliance on traditional publishing houses.

With so much transition up in the air, there are new opportunities to innovators in pretty much every market sector. Best ideas usually win out. The question is who will be the new leaders? Perhaps it won’t be the standard computer companies, but some kind of new application house that puts everything together for us without using a restrictive proprietary software and hardware solution. That would be nice wouldn’t it?