Blog 53

Technology is at the heart of everything we do at Degree 53. We are living in an exciting time where technology is constantly being taken above and beyond our expectations. It’s fair to say that this has been one of the most innovative years in technology.

Let’s take a look back at some of the top 10 technological highlights of 2014.

1. Launch of the iPhone 6

This year, we witnessed the launch of both the Apple iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Despite the disappointing live streaming of the launch, the iPhone 6 promised to deliver several new features that would tackle some of the many issues expressed by iPhone users. This included: better battery life, an aluminium shell to prevent the phone from cracking when dropped as well as improved quality in pictures. However, it wasn't the usual fairy tale Apple launch we expected as only days after the product launched, users expressed concerns about the iPhone bending in their pockets. This put Apple under immense pressure but did not stop Apple fans from buying into the product. Despite this issue, we have to admit that we are in love with the new iPhone 6, overall it really is a great device.

Apple iphone 6 and 6 plus

2. Was 2014 the year of wearable technology?

There have been claims that 2013 was the year of wearable technology and further claims that this year is in fact the year of wearable technology. Is this true? We can’t be sure, but what we do know is that this year we have seen some of the big players teaming up with the technology industry to take the user experience to new heights. This has been most predominant across the fashion industry and we recently took a closer look at how smart technology may influence the way you dress.

man wearing wearable technology glasses

3. Smart homes

This year we have witnessed advancements in home appliances being controlled via smartphone apps. How does the thought of a fridge that tells you when your food is about to go out-of-date sound? Or being able to load your washing machine and start it whilst you’re out and about via an app? As humans, we love convenience, simplicity and just about anything that improves our quality of life.

It’s not too surprising to us that futuristic smart homes don’t seem too far away. Although in previous years we have heard about the development in smart home technology, this year we have seen this concept really take flight with leading brands such as Sony and Samsung driving the future of more healthier and energy efficient homes.

Samsung's vision of a smart home blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, as they introduce the concept of having dinner with a distant friend or relative via a video appearance.

couple having virtual dinner with a distant friend

Creepy? Exciting? We’re not sure how this will go down. All we know is that we are truly excited about the future of the smart home.

4. Rosetta drone landed on a comet

This year, Europe made history as the Rosetta drone landed on a comet after travelling 4 billion miles during a decade. The U.S. made the first landings on the Moon in 1969 and Mars in 1975, but the European Space Agency have made space history this year. Go Europe!

the rosetta drone landing on a comet

5. Apple Pay by Apple launches in the US

What do we want from our customers? Money. And when do we want it? Now. Of course this is the sole purpose behind every business and may explain why companies are constantly searching for new ways to improve the buying experience by giving customers more diverse and simplistic ways to purchase their products or services. Apple Pay launched in the US this year with the sole purpose of replacing the ‘wallet’ by introducing contactless payment technology, allowing consumers to pay at the counter using their iPhone 6. The service is only available in the US, but is expected to roll-out globally in the near future. Could this be the future of how Apple users make payments for their daily goods? Only time can tell.

apple pay in use in store

6. Did someone mention 3D body parts?

It’s definitely looking as though we are moving into a future in which a device connected to a computer can print a solid object. Although the 3D printing concept has been in development for some time, this year we have seen a significant growth in its appeal to several key industries, but more noticeably amongst the healthcare sector.

It was reported in The Guardian that medical implants and printable body parts may be the key driver of 3D printer growth which could be worth $6BN by 2025. More recently, the Royal Mail launched a 3D printing service which allows customers to have items such as keychains to mini post boxes printed and posted from its delivery offices. With so many big brands embracing this functionality, its fair to predict we will probably be seeing a lot more of this next year.

7. PS4 vs Xbox One

The year has witnessed the PS4 and Xbox One battle their way into homes around the world as gamers scrapped their old game consoles for the latest versions. Topline improvements included, new and improved graphics, a faster gaming experience (roughly 5 times faster than the previous models) as well as quality improvement in the latest games. Like any new model of a product, the sole purpose is to give users a better gaming experience and it is clear that both consoles have achieved this.

There’s always been the battle of which console is better and gamers have always shown love and hate towards the two. Based on online reviews, it’s clear that both devices are equally good and of course proving popular amongst consumers. Techradar take a closer look at both consoles from a technical perspective.

ps4 and xbox remote control

8. The rise of UBER taxis

Ordering a taxi via an app seems a little risky right? Will it turn up? how will I know it’s on the way? It appears that Uber have managed to win over taxi users and this is becoming a highly trusted taxi service. Uber kicked off over four years ago in San Francisco, when entrepreneurs Travis and Garrett found themselves lost in Paris without a clue how to hail a cab in a foreign land. To bridge the gap the pair set up Uber and the taxi service has already seen massive growth across the US and Europe.

The taxi service hit the UK during the Olympics and only recently spread to Manchester this year. We were most impressed by Uber’s latest collaboration with Spotify, allowing users to play the music they want whilst travelling with Uber. We love personalisation! Who doesn’t want to hear what they like whilst travelling in a taxi?

uber taxi app

9. Android Wear

Announced in March and launched in June, Android Wear beat the Apple Watch by a year. It does everything Google Glass does except take pictures, but it’s a much more elegant experience. The Motorola Moto 360 is finally available to buy and new watches are being released all the time now. Wearables are now a well-established part of the mobile landscape.

Read our first thoughts on Android Wear from earlier in the year.

10. Android Lollipop launch

Android 5.0 "Lollipop" which officially launched November 12, 2014 On Wednesday 15th October Google made some big product announcements involving brand new mobile devices and a new operating system. Read more insight on Android Lollipop from a Developers Perspective.

android lollipop sticks

If you enjoyed reading this post, why not take a look at our Technology to look out for in 2015.

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