The exciting thing about technology is the fact that it is always developing. Someone, somewhere is working on something new. There maybe some unannounced mind blowing innovations in development for 2015, but let's take a look at what we’re looking forward to next year.
1. Apple Watch AND MOTO-360
Apple plan to kick off the year with their first venture into wearable technology. The Apple Watch will allow users to integrate their current Apple products and services with the device which also holds fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities. Our Head of Design Jade takes a look at even more features the Apple Watch has to offer. There have been lots of debates and mixed feelings around wearable technology with a lot of people feeling skeptical as to whether or not they want more than the standard functionality from a watch. Andrew Daniels recently shared his opinion on how he plans to embrace wearable technology in Points North, Prolific North. How this will go down, who knows, but so far Apple products have never failed to win us over.
2. Say Fido-Bye to Passwords
We all know that passwords are a pain. The stronger a password is, the easier it is to forget and if the password is weak then it risks being insecure. Entering a wrong password and having to request a new one can be frustrating and this may explain why Google is backing a technology called ‘Fido’. Tired of the standard username-and-password login? Take a look at how it works in the video below from one of the manufacturers of a Fido product:
3. .NET becoming more open source
Recently Microsoft announced that they open sourced the main .NET functionality on GitHub, a popular website for sharing code. This is really exciting as it means that .NET is likely to become cross-platform (e.g. be able to be used on more than just Windows computers) in the future, amongst other things. On a more general note, it signifies a big change in how Microsoft approach developers, and this - along with them releasing Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition for free this year - looks like Microsoft are trying to rid themselves of the old, clunky, walled-garden image they’ve had for some developers.
4. Sainsbury’s plan to cut the Queues
Hate queuing in the supermarkets? Don’t we all! Sainsbury’s have recently announced and are currently piloting a new smartphone app that allows customers visiting the supermarket to add items to their basket before reaching the store which will then direct customers around the aisles to find their items. The app will also allow customers to scan items from their phone, pay for the shopping via their mobile phones and walk out of the supermarket without having to go through the tills. Sainsbury's says that in testing, checkout time has been cut to seconds and has given those with limited time to shop, greater efficiency. We love convenience and this may just be the key to improving the supermarket shopping experience.
5. Instagram overtakes Twitter
We all know that social media apps are typically the most used apps amongst a consumer's phone. This year we have identified Instagram as the latest and hottest craze having been embraced heavily this year by the biggest brands across every industry sector. BBC news recently highlighted that Instagram has now overtaken Twitter with 300 million users. Twitter have claimed to have 284 million users. With the exception of Facebook as the leading social platform, it’s looking like 2015 could potentially be the year of Instagram...
Heard of Snapchat? Well they're already on there way on to venture number 2. The phenomena of Snapchat really took flight this year. Snachat is a social mobile app which allows its users to instantly send and receive photos and videos typically lasting between 1 to 10 seconds. The simplistic, yet fun nature of the app has become extremely popular and now has around 100 million active monthly users. The new feature 'Snapcash' is expected to launch in 2015, this new feature will allow users to send and receive money to other users of the messaging app. Like any money sending social feature there have been security concerns raised however, Snapchat have made it clear that none of the user’s personal information will be stored on their servers and users who sign up for the service will be creating a square cash account. we’re definitely interested to see how users will embrace this service offering.
7. Fancy chilling on Facebook at work?
How does not getting in trouble with your boss for having a browse on Facebook sound? As reported in Tech Republic, Facebook have plans to venture in to the world of enterprise with ‘Facebook at work’. The service would offer capabilities such as newsfeeds, groups, chat, and document collaboration for internal use in businesses which would make it one of Linkedin’s biggest rivals. There was a lot of umming and ahhing in the office when mentioning Facebook’s new venture but of course this seems like a logical and genius way for Facebook to continue diversifying their service offerings. It has been announced by The Next Web that it will have the same look and feel as the original Facebook with news feeds and groups however, users will have the choice to maintain a separate work profile as well as a personal profile. Will this takeover Linkedin? We can't be sure, but it is something to definitely look out for!
8. iPad Pro is rumoured to come out next year
This new iPad is expected to have a 12.2-inch display which would be slightly smaller than a 13-inch MacBook Air, but with the same light and thin shape as the iPad Air 2; resulting in a hybrid between tablet and notebook. It is rumoured to boast a quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, a high-resolution display (4K anyone?), and improved stereo speakers. One feature to look forward to is the ability to open two apps side by side on the screen. It is expected to be most popular in the enterprise market and will be in competition with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3.
9. Virtual reality gaming
Virtual Reality has been developing at a rapid pace for a couple of years, technology has caught up with the 80s/90s dream and a convincing experience is finally possible. The Samsung Gear VR has just gone on sale, it’s only compatible with the Galaxy Note 4 (an expensive device at £550) which will prevent it being a runaway success, but a quality and compelling experience is now available for hundreds instead of thousands of pounds. 2015 should also see the consumer release of the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus making mass-market virtual reality - a reality.
10. Can the 2-faced phone be trusted?
We’re divided on whether this has any chance of success at all, but the hardware and design look solid. The Russian designed Yotaphone is the world's first smartphone with two screens. The power saving screen means that the device can last up to 100 hours and the always on screen allows users to keep up with important information without having to unlock their phone. This can be personalised to suit the user’s personal needs and interests. Although it is still early days, this device could be something special, Forbes has expressed that the device has the potential to be the most disruptive smartphone ever invented – in a good way.
The official launch of sales is scheduled for December in Russia and is expected to roll out globally in the first quarter of 2015. The device is currently priced at £555.
If you enjoyed reading this post, why not take a look at our Top 10 Technology Highlights of 2014.