The new year is upon us and if Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl has his way, we’ll be goners by December. In the meantime, Sparksheet presents a curated sampling of pre-apocalypse predictions.

Events

This summer sports fans, brands, and anglophiles will be flocking to London for the Summer Olympics.

According to JWT, social media will be playing a bigger role than ever, with an IOC sanctioned social media policy already in place for athletes and affiliates. #Olympics is expected to trend for months.

As the event approaches, expect to see lots of ads from traditional sponsors, like this…

…and a few unexpected ones, too:

Entertainment

Netflix will be turning heads with its first offering of original programming. Lilyhammer, starring The Sopranos’ Steven Van Zandt and set in Norway (you might remember it as the location of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games) is scheduled to air early February. It’s a bold move for the streaming powerhouse. We’ll see whether critics give it a gold.

In other TV news, Apple plans to enter the television market this year with a TV/computer hybrid that has a chance to do for the crowded TV market what iPod did for mp3 players.

The first installment of Peter Jackson’s two-part epic, The Hobbit will be hitting the big screen this year in time for the 75th anniversary of J.R. Tolkien’s much loved classic. Will it be the blockbuster of the year?

Social Media

While Facebook’s early adopter markets reach the saturation point (and it plans for its early summer IPO, currently speculated at $100 billion), Google + has been growing fast, with one analyst predicting it will reach 400 million users by the year’s end.

If Zynga’s recent IPO is any indication, free and social gaming, and more generally, social design, will emerge as ‘the next big thing’ across digital industries, says Facebook VP of partnerships and platforms, Dan Rose.

Mobile

Apple’s recent announcement that its iPhone 4S will launch this month in 22 countries – including key-market China – means big business for the company. But speculation abounds as to how Apple will transition into the post-Jobsian era.

Android, on the other hand, has surged in popularity, taking nearly 50% of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be hitting the 60% mark by the end of 2012.

Finally, with speculation of a leadership shuffle at struggling RIM, and with Nokia giving a boost to Windows Phone, expect to see plenty of mobile headlines this year.

Technology

Mobile payment services like Google Wallet were introduced to the U.S. last year, and will launch in the U.K. in 2012. But according to ABI research group, we shouldn’t expect to see too much growth until at least 2013 thanks to difficulties developing effective business models.

Cloud computing is also getting its fair share of buzz. While it’s been around for half a decade (is there anyone left who doesn’t have a Gmail account?), end-users will begin to see more applications emerge in areas ranging from security and databases to games and music.

And while the cloud bubble continues expanding, Berkeley scholar Vivek Wadhwa predicts that a cloudburst may rain on the market’s parade if big companies experience security breaches, which is far and away cloud computing’s biggest concern.

If you’ve got time to kill before the apocalypse, check out JWT’s slideshare, 100 Things to Watch in 2012 and Wired’s series 25 big ideas for 2012.