As each year winds to a close, consumers eagerly anticipate what the next one has in store for technology, and 2016 is no exception. We love our gadgets, and companies love to leak information about the freshest trends to hit the market in the new year. So what does technology have in store for H2 2016? He are some highlights.
Trend #1: Wearables Will Become Haute Couture
In the technology world, we ring in the New Year with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which starts January 6. The CES is an opportunity for companies to tease their wares, making us impatient for tech giants to unveil the latest from their R&D departments. Last year, wearable technology stole the show, and it appears this year will follow suit. Most of us are acquainted with some form of wearable technology, whether it’s a Fitbit to track our New Year’s resolutions or an Apple Watch to solidify our status as a member of the techno-elite.
2016 holds even more promise than the previous year when it comes to wearable technology. The Apple Watch introduced the idea of the “luxury wearable” in 2015, but now companies are expanding the idea of what it means to be “haute couture.”
- Social causes have been replacing the frivolity of luxury purchases in recent years, thanks in part to the socially conscious entrepreneurial spirit of the Millennial population. Expect this trend to extend to the wearable tech set. For example, 2016 promises another launch from Wearables for Good, this time a collaboration between Unicef and Frog to create ethically conscious technology. Looking cool never felt so good.
- The term “beauty sleep” will take on new meaning with the launch of the highly anticipated Kokoon earphones, expected to arrive in late 2016. Headphones that can actually improve sleep? That’s something we have to see.
- It seems that 2016 is paving the way for smart jewelry, after Ringly CEO Mercando D’Avignon received $5 million in investments for her smart ring. Replacing the bulky, loud interfaces of traditional wearables with the calm, understated aesthetic of jewelry is an idea we simply find tres chic.
We can’t have the wearable discussion without addressing what has thus far been an adoption flop: virtual reality headsets. Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift promised to be the “next big thing,” but we’re still waiting for that big thing to drop. Is 2016 finally the year for VR? Maybe. It’s certainly becoming more affordable, but it still lacks the understatement of other forms of wearable technology.
One thing we are excited about for VR wearables in 2016 is the highly anticipated opening of The Void, a virtual reality theme park still in beta. Slated for a 2016 launch in Salt Lake City, The Void can make all of your gamer fantasies come to life by physically immersing you in your gaming environment. You can channel your inner Rambo or Morpheus and still make it back to your hotel bar in time for last call.
Trend #2: Tablets/Mobile Will Up Their Game
If you followed CES last year, you may have been disappointed in the relative lack of tablet and mobile offerings for 2015. Remember Google Glass? How about the highly anticipated Lenovo Yoga 2? The Apple Pencil? Yeah, neither do we.
You weren’t alone in your tablet and mobile accessory ennui, and companies are looking to redeem themselves this year with some serious improvements in their game. Here’s how:
- Microsoft was among the first to declare that tablets could replace laptops with the introduction of their Surface Pro 3. Expect other players like Android and Sony to follow suit this year. Apple follows with its Apple Air 3 and Pro 2 in 2016 or in 2017. We likely won’t know more about these models until closer to launch time, but we can hope good things are in store.
- Expect mobile phones to be bigger and faster than ever before. Apple may be drop its iPhone 7 this year, and it will likely feature a larger screen than its predecessors. We’re also anticipating waterproofing to become a standard for smartphones in the next couple of years, so at least you can avoid that pesky warranty void.
Mobile and tablet technology may have been a flop in 2015, but we can only hope this year has more innovative prospects in store.
Trend #3: We All Drone On
We all salivated in anticipation when Amazon announced its plans for PrimeAir, a drone operation capable of delivering goods to your door in record time. Sadly, none of us stopped to consider the logistical nightmare that drones can cause and the amount of FAA red tape companies will be hacking through for years to come. Still, we can’t help but get a little giddy when companies announce their plans for drone technology at CES. This year, 27 companies are slated to show off their unmanned aircraft wares at the show. What are they promising?
- Better battery life and longer range capabilities. We’re not quite at delivery service yet, but consumers can expect some quality improvements for private machines.
- Onboard camera and software advancements. Expect piloting to get a little easier, creating a more positive experience for all.
From health technology to ethical business practices, the gadgetry of 2016 seems primed to surpass those of its 2015 predecessors. Mobile and tablet manufacturers will have to impress this year at CES if they want consumers engaging actively with their brands. And while drones seem like a distant reality, individual consumer models will come with more bells and whistles. If only we could make VR headsets look good, we’d have a pretty flawless last half of 2016.