Here at RepairLabs, we like to lean back and take stock of everything that we do throughout the year and our analysis of tech innovations has abounded.. We thought there would be no better time than the last day of the year to remember the most influential tech events of the year, and to think about what they may mean for us next year. Here is the list of our top 10 favorite tech events of the year.
Apple abandons their near-religious devotion to the 4-inch iPhone screen format in favor of a 5-inch screen. Apple chose to go with totally expanded device (pictured on the right) rather than just expanding the screen. Ahhhhhh real –estate.
What this means for 2013: With Apple finally willing to innovate again, rather than rigidly sticking to a (now) arbitrary design, we can expect great changes to come: NFC chips, wireless charging, waterproofing, and better cameras could all be in the works.
The way that we interact with technology is changing, now we’re more likely than ever to be multi-tasking and using multiple screens. We’ll watch TV and surf the web, or play a game on our smartphone and keep one eye on social media on a tablet as well. Enter new devices such as the Wii U, a tablet/remote control to augment what’s happening on our screens. This screen device can be used as a controller or as a supplementary piece, think DVD on TV, except all the extra info is on your Will U.
What this means for 2013: Your tablet is gonna become the supplementary device to your TV. Conan’s doing it already with Team Coco for the iPhone, and there are just going to be more and more shows, movies and games jumping on the bandwagon. Expect a mild case of information overload around June.
So what is a light field camera? Lytro is. And? It lets you focus anywhere, even after the picture has been taken. It’s essentially a camera that focuses on everything. Word is that Toshiba is now developing a lens with this capacity that’s approaching being able to fit into the slim profile of the iPhone. So between Toshiba and Apple, Lytro may be able to put this technology into your smartphone. Though the technology is not perfect just yet, it has endless potential to change the way we photograph with our phones.
What this means for 2013: Expect the camera phone competition to get HOT. Really really hot. And the democratization of photography: everybody will be able to take beautiful photos, with just your phone.
How about a nifty little attachment for your iPhone or iPad that allows you to accept credit cards? How about doing business anywhere you can get a WiFi signal or cellular connection? Though introduced in 2010, the Square card reader has grown in 2012 and allowed businesses to take their credit card payments anywhere. And it’s not just for craft fairs any more. Think food trucks and mobile diagnostic centers, just to name a couple. Square brings payments to the common folk with a 2.75% charge per swipe with no additional fees or prohibitive overhead in costs or setup. Business owners can simply sign up and the Square Reader is free.
What this means for 2013: Maybe your barber will come to you, or you can have your Thin Mints the second the Girl Scouts come around, if their Scout Mom happens to have a Square reader on her phone. Square giftcards are also up and coming in the future, along with Square Wallet, an app which purports to replace and upgrade your traditional physical wallet, cash, and credit card system.
The Microsoft Surface was what the world was waiting for: a PC/ Windows compatible tablet. It also fused the purposes of the laptop computer (mostly work) and the touch tablet (mostly play) into one neat, clicky, keyboardy, kickstandy little package. Offering a competitive price point, size, weight, portability, hard drives, keyboard AND touch screens, and Wifi connectivity, it seems to beautifully marry purposes of the ultrabook and the tablet.
What this means for 2013: Though the Surface’s OS, Windows 8, has debuted to much criticism, expect this device to only grow in popularty as it will feature full Office functionality. Business travelers, rejoice!
Just like Thelma and Louise. We guess they’ve never heard the expression “Dance with the one one that brought you,” because both organizations seem to be forgetting the root cause of their success: their users. Both have disregarded the needs and wants of their users in favor of seemingly endless tweaks and policy changes designed to enhance profitability. We have no beef with making a profit (we all aspire to be profitable) – but not at the expense of the users. Every little tweak seems to a little piece of the joy out of using the thing and adds to the complexity of life. Take FB’s IPO and Timeline updates, and Instagram’s disasterously bad (in the PR world at least) acquisition by Facebook: neither designed to enhance user experience.
What to expect in 2013: Users are a fickle bunch, who won’t fail to punish hubris in companies. We wouldn’t be surprised if the new MySpace experienced a resurgence, along with social aggregator services that blend all of your profiles into one feed. Also Facebook might just shock us all and revolutionize web advertising and develop its own Pandora-like add free subscription option. What we hope this means: social will pivot back to focusing on the users and take a tip or two from Twitter, who manages not to ruin the user experience with ads, and still runs promoted stories.
By angry kids with internet connections, and Vendetta masks. And hundreds of legit site owners who took their sites dark in protest. SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, Protect IP Act, would have served to censor the internet, under vague pretenses of preventing intellectual theft.
The public spoke out, and refused to allow media companies to use legislation to cudgel their way out of what really amounts to a business model problem, that can be addressed through innovations like Spotify and Netflix. Though hardly innocuous, Anonymous does use their network to preserve online freedom, and the bills are stopped, for now.
What this means for 2013: With acts such as these being stopped, and innovations like the $40 Aakash tablet, information becomes more free. Affordable tablets being air- dropped over no-no zones like North Korea and Kenya in much the same way as the Allied Berlin chocolate bar drop. Education expands exponentially, people solve their own problems, and the world becomes a better place. Censorship is dying. Also: You can’t beat the Geeks. Ever.
Steve Jobs (the apotheosis of geek and ultimate arbiter of things tech, in the eyes of many) was wrong. He believed that the 7-inch tablet size was the red-headed step child of the tablet market, too small to be really useful, and too large to be really portable. However with the advent of the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7, and now, in the absence of Jobs, the iPad mini, this sizing format has experienced a remarkable boom. Portability plus phenomenal pixel displays plus affordability make these the personal devices to have.
What this means for 2013: Everybody and their grandma is going to have one of these cute little tablets, in a pocket, a purse, or on the plane, and companies will find more and more uses for them. Expect to be able to use tablets for anything you can dream up.
Gone are the days of Star Trek Replicators (“Tea, Earl Grey, hot”) being sheer science fiction. Though a 3D printer can’t make you a cup of tea from thin air (YET), they can carve objects from Styrofoam and plastics. The products are usually smaller than a breadbox, but they’re only limited by your imagination and by your 3D computer modeling skills. Commonly printed items now include jewelry, sculpture and even working guns (though they tend to only be good for a few shots, dangerous and inaccurate.) Heck, now you can even build your own 3D printer out of Leggos.
What this means for 2013: your imagination is the only limit. Do-it-yourselfers will reign supreme, and will be making startups, innovations, and all the money, IF they can keep the lawyers out of their hair.
On August 5, 2012 NASA did the impossible and safely landed an exploration vehicle, the Curiosity, on Mars to cheers of triumph at Mission Control. Despite budget slashes, and Space Shuttle retirements, NASA still managed to triumph over adversity and innovate a one-in-a-million safe landing on a planet millions of miles away from our own. It would have taken a person over a year to get to the Red Planet, and once there, ostensibly, he would have no way to return. But our virtual presence there has already even uncovered evidence of organic matter.
What this means for 2013: things are going to start happening virtually. Patients will be able to make a virtual visit to their doctor’s office, Skyping with the doc, or IMing him photos of that spider bite. Unmanned vehicles and even tiny drones will be taking care of our recon for us. We’ll send image-transmitting submarines into heretofore unknown depths of the oceans! We may finally get that elusive photo of Bigfoot! More people will work from home! The possibilities are endless.
So what have we garnered from all of these events combined for 2012? The internet, and the way we use it is changing. The more personally we can use our devices, the more we can connect with others, and the more we can learn. The more we share and learn, the greater the trend of democratization around the globe. We can reach heights never before imagined, through collaboration, as we did with Rover. Then we can tweet about it sarcastically! 2012 was one heckuva year for tech events and innovations, and 2013 is likely to send our heads spinning even more.
Also. Higgs boson was pretty cool.
by Curtis Taylor, Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.
Curtis is one of the lead public technical advisors for all personal electronics. With a burning passion for not only bringing you the most informative articles, but also for his websites RepairLabs and Fix-iPhones.com. His proudest achievement though is Op:HERO -- a program dedicated to making each repair help overcome.
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with Curiosity, Rover, Mars, NASA, legos, 3D printers, Kindle Fire, 7-inch tablets, PIPA, SOPA, facebook, instagram, surface, credit card, card reader, square, lytro camera, lytro, second screen, Wii U, 2013, change, 2012, events, Nexus 7, Apple, iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Tech, iPhone 5