Apple's iCloud and other cloud-based storage and streaming solutions are merely the start of a paradigm shift in technology and, even, general lifestyle. While they allow the current generation of adults to remotely store their media, photos, documents and the like on servers far removed from their own computers or mobile devices, even this detachment from ownership will not be enough for the next.
Or so believe some global trends experts.
Speaking at the Forward with Ford Futuring and Trends Conference in Dearborn, US - the home of the car manufacturer - prominent analysts such as Barbara Bylenga, president and founder of youth trends agency Outlaw Consulting, and Ford's own group vice president, design, and chief creative officer, J Mays, are sure that cloud computing is just the start of the move away from coveting possessions:
"There’s going to be a lot more sharing," said Bylenga. "We don’t need so many prodcts. We won’t even need to own a car." A strange comment considering the hosts of the conference.
Instead, Bylenga believes that the "Millenials" (aka "Gen Y") will lease or share cars with others; chopping and changing their vehicles as often as they swap in their mobile devices. And it won't stop there:
"Owning can be a burden," she claimed. "There is a shift towards renting an appartment rather than buying. Maybe it’s more successful to borrow and share and go off and do other things.
"[For the Millenials] it’s about the ability to be more mobile, and not be held accountable to possessions."
However, she does admit that the global financial crisis may have had something to do with that: "The recession is making it harder to afford the status symbols, so it’s perhaps easier for the Millenials to say that they didn’t want things in the first place."
Ford itself is, naturally, less keen on the idea that the next generation won't own cars. Although it does believe that the trend will shift to smaller vehicles both in the States and beyond.
Ex-menswear designer for Donna Karan and now interior designer at Ford, Anthony Prozzi, was keen to stress though that small doesn't necessarily mean worse: "Right now you’re seeing the shift that luxury no longer means a bigger car," he said. "There’s no excuse where you can’t have the same kind of crafting as in a larger car."
And the last word went to Mays, who explained how Ford is attempting to keep the Millenials interested in ownership: "A lot of what we do in design equates to what they do in the movies," he stated. "It’s about making a story. Movie makers know who the film is aimed at, and we know who the car is aimed at.
"Movie makers communicate through film, and we communicate through bending sheet metal."
What do you think? Are we moving away from owning possessions? Do we want to? Will our kids forsake the tradition of seeking to own a house, a car? Let us know in the comments below...