There is more to New Year than making well-meaning gym resolutions – that, let’s be honest, you’ll only do for two weeks anyway. It’s a time to reflect on where tech went last year and most importantly where we are going in 2018. The truth is, there is always something on the horizon that is likely to make this year’s tech gift obsolete!
Here are some of our favourite rumors and predictions:
Xbox One X – The most powerful gaming consol ever made
Thanks to a last minute big push this guy hit the shelves days before Christmas. SA faced some teething difficulties with customs issuing only 1000 lucky pre-orders. The rest of us were to wait till February to pay more money for the first ever Xbox to outstrip a Playstation in terms of power and graphics – but it looks like sometimes Christmas comes early after all.
Selfly – Smart autonomous flying phone case
Thanks to a healthy obsession with the show Shark Tank, I have been enamoured with the idea behind this piece of tech for an age. Who wouldn’t want to turn their cellphone into a drone? Next year your smartphone case can turn your phone into a tiny drone at anytime that is, as the name suggests, just waiting to take a photo of you at the best angle.
Prynt iPhone case – Print snaps instantly and portably
If turning your phone case into a drone wasn’t enough, you can also instantly print that airborn selfie straight from your case. A massive rise in instant photos has hit hard with Polaroid making a come back and even Leica getting in on the action. But maximising on the best of both phone camera clarity and old school physical personality makes this one an exciting no brainer.
HomePod – The battle of the smart speaker
Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home Max are taking over homes up north but now it’s time for Siri to step into the ring as Apple have designed their own version of the smart speaker with added emphasis on speaker. By delivering premium quality, multi-room audio, Apple Home is about to cut into the premium wireless speaker as well as the bossy home assistant marker. Here’s hoping that since we actually have something resembling a Apple presence in this country, this may actually hit our shores – although I will always wait on amazon.co.za wistfully.
FORMcard – Strong mouldable bio plastic
Global warming is real folks, don’t let any American president tell you otherwise and our over reliance on plastic is not helping matters. A massive push for plastic eradication is on, from banning plastic bags altogether to the war on straws – and we’re here for it. So the introduction of innovations like FORMcard is a welcome one. FORMcard is a piece of bioplastic that when dropped in hot water becomes plyable to any shape you want and hardens when cooled. What’s more, it’s reusable and comes in loads of fun colours.
Ultra Ever Dry - coating that repels water
It’s true that when you see this product in use it’s seriously reminiscent of 1990’s Verimark ads, but seriously you won’t believe your eyes! Ultra Ever Dry is a coating that makes use of oleophobic (hydrocarbons) technology that makes water, some oils, wet concrete, and other liquids dance and skate across any surface with not a drop of a soak. The possibilities for this tech is endless and goes way beyond the garden gloves that they use in promos – no more umbrellas for me; sexy raincoats ahoy.
Samsung Galaxy X – the first foldable smart phone
Now there was nothing more satisfying than slamming a phone shut when you were done talking and I take it that someone at Samsung felt the same way. The team have reportedly been working on this concept as they while away on the 9. While it’s all still rumors at this stage, Samsung’s play at the letter X could be a compact phone that folds out into a larger tablet falling under the Note range. Either way it would be a massive game changer.
iPhone X Plus – the X gets bigger and cheaper
Preliminary rumours are already flying about what’s next for Apple’s latest phone that only hit the shelves last month. Not to be outdone by size or stature, it seems as though Apple plan on making the home button go the way of the headphone jack on all of their upcoming phones including a big phone friendly Plus option. Surprisingly, they are also looking at a lower cost model – after reports show the X isn’t fairing as well as hoped due to the price – to sandwich the gap between the 8 and the X, as well as a fresher look for the even cheaper SE.
Huawei Kirin 970 – Pass the chips please
Although nothing is even remotely confirmed at this stage, it is safe to assume that Huawei will start popping in their flagship Kirin 970 AI chipset into their other offerings beyond the Mate 10 Pro. I personally would love to get my hands on that incredible tech in one of their smaller (and cheaper) offerings as well as their upcoming Watch (3?) – seeing as they offered phone calls on their smart watches a full seven months before Apple announced their’s. I can’t see why not.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT
SteamVR - the virtual reality social platform
Microsoft have made a play for a space that they have wedged between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and are calling it Mixed Reality (MR). Although virtual reality is slowly growing in the gaming world, Microsoft believe that the future lies in the user maintaining a presence in the “real” world while they interact with objects in both physical and digital. They recently released 10 headsets to show their commitment but I think partnering with one of the biggest online gaming store communities is a smart and massive step forward for the medium and may finally get it going in a world outside medicine and educational purposes.
Cryptocurrencies – More than one coin made of bits
After Bitcoin made a major splash and Ethereum is also racing up the charts in value, you can expect many more to follow suit. But hopefully this may finally be the push in legitimacy that digital currencies needed from a more mass-market audience – bubble or not. In the future it will be possible for the average Joe to program your money to be used in specific ways and spaces – such as making sure you kid only spends money on the things you allow – on a much larger scale. As South Africa steps up to the plate with its first ever blockchain summit in March 2018 you can be sure you’ll be hearing about it a lot more next year – where experts predict your investments may even triple, so get on it.
Hoverboard – Great Scott!
Technically a few have already been made by both Omni and Lexus (that mostly worked because they used a cheating magnetic skate park) but the guys I’m most excited about it are Hendo who have been making their hoverboards more powerful (and less ugly) since debuting with Tony Hawk in 2014. Although their Version 2.0 faired better a year later, we are still awaiting that converted version 3.0 that looks a little more future a little less back yard Frankenstein tech fantasy, let’s hope this is the year they crack it.