Where Gadgetry and Geekdom Are Heading in 2015
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Just when you thought your iPhone 6 Plus was supercool, there’s even hotter technology.
By Vignesh Ramachandran
Your iPhone 6 is so last year. Just when you unwrapped all those shiny new holiday toys … tech companies have all sorts of gadgets coming out this year. Here’s OZY’s take on the new year in technology.
More “Internet of Things” Things
Everyday things around the house are only going to get smarter. Gartner tech analyst Tuong Huy Nguyen says we’re going to see more and more wireless sensors in everything from home security to tablets to fitness bands. “You have sensors in … everything in your life that’s on your body to monitor and give you all this information that people either need or want,” he told OZY. Whether it’s household robots, smart dishwashers or your air conditioning, expect — yep — an app for that. The emerging “industrial” Internet of things promises a world where everything from agriculture to street signs to highways will be tech-connected.
iPay, YouPay, WePay
With major banks on board, Apple’s Pay is clearly hoping to make mobile payments mainstream. Will people completely cut the plastic and leave coins in the piggy bank? Unlikely, but we’ll start to see more use of payments through smartphones. Adoption will be slow — Apple Pay requires a new iPhone and consumers will have to trust an e-wallet. But mobile shopping sprees should be easier as wireless charging becomes more accessible — like with Starbucks wireless charging mats.
There’s already the Pebble, the Moto 360 and Samsung’s Gear smartwatches. It’s too early to know if Apple Watch is going to be a hit or a big flop. With an expected release early this year, this first-generation design is not jaw-droppingly sleek, but expect Apple’s usual user-friendliness.
By now, you can pretty much see a person’s every wrinkle and stray hair when watching an HD broadcast. But TV is about to get even more detailed. New 4K TVs, no longer the price of a small car, will likely get more affordable in 2015. Amazon and Netflix are reportedly already streaming 4K content. Some of us can’t wait for the day when Food Network shows are broadcast in 4K-delicious quality.
3-D printers are beginning to pop up in local libraries, schools and — more and more — people’s homes. This year, 3-D printing will become more common, less of a novelty. The marketplace already offers a platter of 3-D printer choices, including the Micro, the Cube and various models from MakerBot.
Last year, Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus VR for a cool $2 billion, which means VR technology is expected to become more mainstream. Imagine an incredibly real immersive movie-watching or video-gaming experience. A space to watch for sure, you might start to see Samsung Gear and Oculus Rift headsets in early adopters’ living rooms, as the content starts to build.
Will our mail and pizza be delivered by drones? Not this year. But experimentation continues. Nixie, a wearable camera drone, lets you take selfies to a whole new level. A new breed of drone can even fit in your pocket. Also, from San Jose to Baltimore to Delhi, police are figuring out how drones can help with surveillance. And Hollywood is getting green-lighted to use remote-controlled drones to shoot movies.
So, tech nerds: Prime those credit cards — plastic or virtual — because 2015’s explosion of new tech is going to test your credit limits.