At the PDC05 conference this week, Bill Gates has been waiving the banner for the next versions of Windows and Office, both of which are scheduled to debut during the second half of 2006. One of the more interesting things that Gates revealed was that Office 12 will attempt to automatically adapt its interface to the type of work that a user is doing. I’m a little ambivalent about that because Windows and Office already try to do some things automatically and the results aren’t always good (Clippy the PaperClip comes to mind). Nevertheless, this makes me think that we may be seeing the beginning of the smart applications of the future — applications that will be able to anticipate and help streamline rudimentary tasks.