2013 will be a big year for technology. Most of the big guns in consumer electronics have some major launches lined up, and a few surprises are no doubt in store too.
Here we take a look at some of the new products we can expect to see in 2013 – some still just rumours, but others clearly the real deal; some desirable, and some just…weird.
If 2012 was the year that technology went truly mobile, 2013 will be the year it became wearable.
Rumours are flying thick and fast about a possible ‘iWatch’ from Apple. It’s all speculation at this stage but it’s a very tempting thought. An iOS-driven watch that lets you keep your phone tucked away when you don’t need it but gives you handy (pardon the pun) access to alerts and information would certainly have a market. This article is a great summary of the impact this product could have on how we use technology.
Various concept designs are doing the rounds, here are three of the best:
Pebble is another smart watch that is available for pre-order for US$85. It has been crowd-funded by Kickstarter to the tune of $10 million. It runs on apps so it is infinitely customisable and interfaces with iPhone and Android via Bluetooth.
The CST-01 by Central Standard Timing is billed as the world’s thinnest watch, at just 0.8mm thin. Another Kickstarter project, it uses e-ink for the display, etched into a single band of stainless steel. While not a ‘smart watch’ like the Pebble, it certainly looks cool.
Project Glass is an augmented-reality head-worn display developed by Google that aims to deliver a connected online experience to anyone anywhere (that’s not afraid of looking silly) via its heads-up display.
It will run on Android and operate mainly via voice commands and gestures picked up via its camera. While at first look it seems kinda crazy, this video by Google gives some interesting ideas on how it could work in our day-to-day lives (if we don’t get run over crossing the street outside our house first!)
The big rumour is that Apple will launch their own television, further cementing their move into the consumer electronics space. This must be giving traditional TV makers like Sony nightmares, although it’s fair to say that many TV makers have stepped up to the plate in terms of technology (for example Panasonic) and design (e.g. Loewe).
Apple however have the potential to change the game in the same way they did for smart phones and personal music players. No-one outside of Apple really knows what they have in store, but we can expect gorgeous design, a slick interface and apps a-plenty if and when it does appear.
Below is one of many concept designs floating about the web:
Our article on Ultra HD TV late last year looked at this technology in detail; in 2013 we can expect to see more products coming out with this technology on board. Regardless of whether it’s a valuable technology or just a marketing gimmick (read the article for our views!), we’ll be hearing more about it in 2013.
At the CES show in Las Vegas in January, Panasonic and Sony both launched what they claimed were the world’s first ultra-HD OLED televisions. While not yet on the market, they certainly looked impressive – OLED has many advantages including deeper black levels, faster response time, wider viewing angles and over time, potentially lower cost. For the first few years however, expect it to be very expensive.
Samsung also showed off their 85″ UN-85S9 Ultra HD television (below), with a tilting ‘artist’s easel’ floor standing design. While no formal pricing for this television has been announced, it is estimated to cost $30,000+ when it becomes available!
Gamers are in for a treat in 2013 with the latest instalments from the XBox and Playstation camps – Xbox ’720′ and PS4.
The details are sketchy, but the new Xbox (name TBC but possibly 720, Infinity or Loop) is likely to be smaller, much more powerful and with a greater focus on their Kinect system. Below is one of many mockups of a possible new design:
Sony have scheduled an event in New York on Feb 20 where it’s expected they’ll reveal the latest Playstation – the PS4. Again we can expect to see a sleeker, faster product, with perhaps some innovative control options and maybe even a 4K ultra-HD output. The concept below is a little out there, but we won’t have long until we get real pictures of the new model.
The Oculus Rift is another Kickstarter project, not yet released but hoped for in 2013. It’s a virtual-reality head-mounted display for gaming, with a wide 90 degree field of view that creates a deep sense of immersion. It’s 3D too, with head tracking ability, so it should be an absolutely amazing gaming experience!
Weird and Wacky
iMusic Body Rhythm
Yet another Kickstarter project, iMusic Body Rhythm promises to “develop a pleasantly surprised experience for you”. Connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth, the lifejacket-styled vest vibrates to the music, so you can feel all tingly while you look all dorky. Fail.
This new device is supposed to help the little ‘uns with toilet training, by keeping them amused while on the loo. We pray that this does not hit the mainstream, as an entire generation may find itself unable to manage nature’s call without an extended session of Angry Birds. The mind boggles.