Now that 2014 is over, the world’s biggest technology companies are preparing themselves for their 2015 releases. Of course, the planning stage begins long before anything is released, but the general public is still to some extent blissfully unaware of precisely what tech treats await them over the next twelve months.
But here are some of ValueWalk’s suggestions regarding some brand new technology products that will hit the market in 2015.
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Tech products and trends: Apple Watch
One new device that we do now about for certain is the forthcoming Apple Watch. Although Apple has not explicitly confirmed when this smartwatch will be released, it is widely considered that we will see it at some point late in Q1, or possibly early in Q2.
It is difficult to assess precisely where this fits into Apple’s portfolio of products. On the one hand, with the company having promised the city that it will explore new product niches, it could be asserted that it is an extremely important release. On the other hand, the smartwatch has not yet taken off as a mainstream device, and there is little prospect in the immediate future that the Apple Watch will shift the sort of units associated with the iPhone or even the iPad.
Nonetheless, all Apple product releases seem to entice two-mile long queues on release day, and the Apple Watch is certain to create a buzz among consumers when it finally hits the stores.
Tech products and trends: Project Morpheus / Oculus Rift / Microsoft VR
In all honesty, the video games industry experienced an extremely moderate 2014, and there is a feeling that some innovation is desperately needed. Although video games are still developing as a medium, with increasing cinematic and storytelling capabilities possible within contemporary games, there is nonetheless the nagging perception that producing something truly original after nearly half a century of commercial video games is becoming a massive challenge.
Virtual reality should not be seen as the solution to this issue, any more than 3-D movies have been the savior of cinema. But it is hoped that some seriously innovative virtual reality gaming content can help reinvigorate the video game industry to a certain extent.
Three companies are currently working on highly publicized virtual reality devices, with each one aiming its products at a different marketplace. Sony unveiled Project Morpheus some time ago, and this could see a 2015 release date. This would be a big deal for PlayStation 4 users, who have been looking forward to the device for sometime.
Additionally, the PC-based virtual reality project Oculus Rift appears to be developing rapidly, and this could also see a release date sometime towards the back end of 2015. However, it is the least publicized of the three VR devices, and one that has not even been given an official name yet, which is most likely to launch during the calendar year. Microsoft has already bragged confidently that its VR project will see the light of day in 2015, and this could be a big deal for both the video gaming industry and Microsoft itself, as the software giant attempts to claw back lost ground for its Xbox One console.
Tech products and trends: Mobile payments
This is not exactly a new technology, but it would be fair to say that mobile payments have yet to really become mainstream. Well, this could rapidly change during 2015, particularly as the Apple Watch provides another convenient mobile payment platform for consumers. Apple has thrown its weight enthusiastically behind the concept of mobile payments, and with the Apple Pay system already in place and now compatible with the latest version of iOS, it seems certain that this proprietary technology and software will play a significant part in the march of mobile payments in 2015.
Meanwhile, existing services such as Google Wallet should make gains during the calendar year, while further mobile payment systems are also eyeing 2015 launches. Zapp for Android and EE’s Cash on Tap service should both come to fruition early in 2015, and the next 12 months promises to be one where retail transactions are increasingly made in mobile fashion.
Tech products and trends: Smart appliances
The technology is already available for smart appliances, but the concept of the smartphone could really begin to come into its own during 2015. Numerous companies are proposing to unveil and showcase smart appliances during the January CES Electronics show, with Bosch being the main sponsor of the smart-home section.
Other major players such as Nest Labs, Philips, Belkin and Electrolux will also be in attendance at the Las Vegas trade show, and there are a huge amount of smart devices mooted for the event. The prospect of every area of our lives becoming smarter and more Internet-connected is certainly on the horizon in the next 12 months.
Tech products and trends: 4K goes mainstream
High-definition technology has become so commonplace now that it is almost mundane, and the audio-visual industry was always likely to have a successor up its sleeve. For some time it seemed as if 3-D technology was going to be the next revolution in the home, but in all honesty this has failed to gain any real traction, even in the cinema where it would appear to be more practical.
Step forward 4K resolution. There is already some 4K content available, but during 2015 the technology should become far more affordable, and the technology-obsessed should begin to get on board with the 4K format. Apple has already given a boost to ultra-high definition technology by releasing the first desktop computer with a 5K display, in the shape of the Retina iMac. This is a stepping stone to the future in which 4K resolution becomes a mainstream medium.
Of course, not all new technology catches on, and given the relatively small amount of content available in this resolution, there is no certainty that 4K will become an industry standard. But given that smartphone manufacturers are already looking towards this technology, and the practicality and feasibility of including it within audio-visual equipment, it seems likely that we will see a 4K future not a 3-D one.