6 Tech Trends to Watch in 2017
While 2016 was often branded as a harrowing year, it did show a lot of promise in the technology industry. We were introduced to the Tesla Model 3, SpaceX successfully landed a rocket ship on a barge at sea and a computer beat a Grand Master at Go (a very complex board game).
But 2017 is looking to be even better. If you’re a tech head, these are some of the upcoming trends to look out for this year:
Voice command is already making a strong statement in 2017. Devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home show real promise in practical, natural voice command in the home. Owners who can’t be bothered to order a package on the computer or phone can simply bark a command at Alexa (the Amazon Echo) and the order is placed automatically. If Apple finally gets serious about Siri, we could see a real uptick in where and how well voice command functions by the end of the year.
3-D Printing (for Consumers)
3-D printing has been around for more than a decade — large companies like Apple Rubber use it as part of its manufacturing process — but for most of that time the costs were too high for the average consumer. But now a budget 3-D printer only costs a few hundred dollars and some high-quality 3-D printers go for less than $4,000.
VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Playstation VR are becoming so commonplace that the content is finally starting to catch up, and we’re seeing a boom in two areas:
- Video games that don’t require a multi-thousand-dollar PC are making their way to consoles like the PS4 and upcomingMicrosoft Project Scorpio.
- Supplemental content for TV and movies. During Super Bowl LI, Fox heavily advertised a three-minute prequel to its new show “24: Legacy,” which was completely filmed for virtual reality. Even comedies like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” are following the trend.
Virtual Reality is making headlines, but AR is right around the corner and could potentially have a more everyday application. Augmented reality combines VR and the real world, not very different from the way Snapchat adds fun filters to your face in real time. The Microsoft HoloLens, the most popular AR headset, is already available for developers.
Nostalgia is having a moment. It’s why “Fuller House” is one of the top shows on Netflix and why we binge on old episodes of “Saved by the Bell” and “Fresh Prince.” Nostalgic technology already produced a best-selling machine last Christmas with a miniature Nintendo NES that sold out in just a few days, and we could be seeing the same with social media. Entrepreneur and social media icon Gary Vaynerchuk predicts that we could soon be seeing the next “recall” of a social media platform in the likes of MySpace or Friendster, simply because they remind us of the past.
Apple made the bold move to wireless audio when it introduced the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack. The skeptics were critical of the phone they called incomplete, but the tech giant’s truly wireless headphones, AirPods, have been a massive success. The rumors even show that Apple could make the future iPhone 8 with wireless charging capabilities, taking yet another cord out of the equation.