Promises of the new year

2015_road_aheadHappy New Year!

After our inaugural 12 months of publishing tech-52 in 2014, we’re excited to begin our second annual tour across the technology landscape.

Looking down the road, we’re revving up our engines and already considering technology highlights that will shine in 2015. This is not so much a predictions column, but more a look at the hardware and software products that will either see their initial release in 2015, or which will evolve significantly—products that we’re awaiting with excitement and anticipation.

Tell us in the comments section if they align with your expectations. What tech products are you looking forward to in 2015?

Apple Watch

We know that the Apple Watch is coming in 2015, because Apple has said so—more than once.

Apple_WatchAs befits a brand new Apple device, the technology press is aflutter with opinions, speculation, and forecasts. For every positive story, you can find a negative viewpoint. That’s the nature of the beast, as scribes look to fill column inches and generate page views.

But the reality is that no one really knows until the Apple Watch in all its permutations is released. You can’t really appreciate a device from Apple until you see it in person, touch it, play with it, and begin to imagine it in your lifestyle.

Why I’m excited: Back in January 2007, when Apple announced the first iPhone, it looked great, had leading-edge functionality, and held the promise of all the great Apple products that preceded it. It also received incredibly mixed reviews, even though the device would not be available until five months later. When it was released, it went on to far exceed even Apple’s own expectations, and today is the number one mobile phone in the world—by far. I’m an iPhone aficionado, as it has shaped the way I organize and manage my digital life. As someone who has integrated technology into my sporting life and exercise program, I have a suspicion that I’m going to feel the same way about Apple Watch.

Health apps

health_data

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / nevarpp

I’ve been using Stepz and Lark, a couple of health-tracking apps that take advantage of the M7 and M8 motion co-processors, gyroscope, GPS, and other components in the iPhone. These apps have made me more aware of my daily activities and habits, and I’m beginning to understand how they can benefit me going forward.

Working out and staying fit is difficult, and the awareness of one’s habits over time is the best way to modify one’s behavior for the better.

Why I’m excited: Health apps rely on smartphones, wristbands, and other hardware, which will only continue to improve. The Apple Watch will likely set the bar for the industry, but no doubt even better hardware with expanded tracking capabilities is on the horizon. The easier it becomes to take advantage of these tools, the better it will be for our increasingly sedentary society—not to mention yours truly.

The Apple-IBM iPad partnership

Late in 2014, the first wave of IBM enterprise apps for the iPad were released, and that was just the beginning salvo of a partnership that could revolutionize the tablet paradigm.Apple_IBM

When we say enterprise apps and expansion, we’re talking about every conceivable enterprise in which agents, sales people, managers, employees, teachers, students, and others will benefit from mobile computing.

Add to that the likelihood that Apple will improve the device hardware, improve the operating system, add new form factors and accessories, and upgrade third-party developer tool kits.

Why I’m excited: As an Apple stock holder, technologist, and iPad power user, I expect 2015 to be a banner year for the iPad.

Entertainment enabled by technology

We write frequently about how technology has driven the entertainment industry. Music, movies, and television have ridden a technological tsunami of changes that has reshaped business models and provided enormous benefits to consumers.

imageFor example, compression technologies have enabled video streaming across the Internet. Peer-to-peer file sharing technologies have enabled piracy and have forced the entertainment industry to offer affordable new services in response. Innovations in high-definition video, Dolby surround sound, and high-resolution flatscreen TVs have made home theater setups extremely popular.

We’re already seeing companies such as HBO, Showtime—even CBS—offering a la carte services free of the cable TV tether. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple will continue to push the envelope.

Savvy entrepreneurs will develop new channels and exciting new content to compete with the big boys.

Younger consumers, as they have already, will continue to push consumption costs toward free, and movies and television programs will increasingly become commodities, like music before them.

Why I’m excited: All of those factors will spawn more and better programming options to reach the higher bar that more discerning consumers demand. And we, the buying public, will be the primary beneficiaries.

Microchip-enabled credit cards

In 2014, Apple introduced Apple Pay—not the first NFC-enabled e-pay and digital wallet system, but arguably the first one to gain traction. What it offers is a highly-secure method for charging purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online.credit-card

This year, Apple Pay will be available farther and wider, as more banks and financial institutions will support it through their credit card businesses. But Apple Pay is limited to Apple devices.

What about non-Apple users? Well, there is Google Wallet, which is available for NFC-enabled Android smartphones. But, unfortunately, Google Wallet is not widely supported.

Most promising are the announcements from MasterCard and Visa that they will be supporting microchip-enabled credit cards. These cards offer an extra layer of security, and are exponentially harder to counterfeit.

Europe has been using microchip-enabled credit cards for years, and the region has not had anything like the type of credit card fraud that the U.S. has experienced.

Why I’m excited: Every time I use a credit card, I cringe just a little bit. I imagine the myriad ways I might be exposing myself to identity theft and fraud. No technology can solve the problem permanently, but each advancement is something worth cheering for.

Those are the highlights upcoming in 2015. From all of us at tech-52, here’s wishing you a safe, happy and technologically advantageous 2015.

One thought on “Promises of the new year

  1. Fred Dunfey

    I throughly enjoy your analysis of current and recently announced technology. Most other reviewers are too enamoured with the technology to adequately remove their biases and blind spots. I look forward to your future posts in in coming year.

    Happy New Year
    Fred

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *