Brace yourself! The air is charged and the line-up, even more so. August to December is when the tech world loses all control as rumours and carefully curated leaks, by the companies themselves, come in at the speed of light.
The biggest rumours are from Apple as they release most of their biggies around this time. Expect an all-new line-up of MacBook Pros, with a brand new form factor, OLED screens, a fingerprint scanner, a bigger touchpad (that can use the Apple pencil as a drawing board), new 3D touch mouse controls, a touchscreen strip (in place of function buttons) that can do much more including notifications and the absence of the headphone jack (hope not, as that would be a disaster).
Pokémon Go may have done more for Microsoft than for Nintendo, as it got people to understand Augmented Reality. The Hololens is the first ‘no wires’ holographic system that is completely self-contained. It mixes the reality around you and blends it with 3D holographics, so you can interact with both digital content and the world around you. Rumour is that the Hololens may be ready this year for commercial release. If it happens, it must be making Oculus very nervous.
Well, this one is critical as sales of their mainstay have dropped dramatically. The iPhone 7 is rumoured to have a brand new form factor, is much thinner, has better screen resolution (thank god), no 3.5mm headphone jack, a second speaker (making it true stereo), slight bump-up in battery, dual camera at the back, wireless charging with the charger in the box (please, please), completely waterproof (I hope so) and a physical home button replaced by ultrasonic imaging embedded into the display (big mistake, if true).
Google Nexus Watch
Two of them coming and they look absolutely stunning. Codenamed Angelfish and Swordfish, they have a four-day battery life, OLED screen, full fitness tracking, GPS, heart rate monitor, LTE Slot within, four sensors for body functions, Google Assistant integration with extreme intelligence, and a dial with multiple controls. If they actually have even 70 per cent of this, it will blow anything else out of the water.
Yes, we all hope it’ll happen as the rumours are getting stronger. Codenamed ‘Titan,’ there are apparently hundreds of people in that division. Though people think the iCar will be out this year, it won’t. If it ever does, then Apple will probably just come up with technology for other automakers and not become a Tesla competitor themselves. Unless Apple buys out Tesla. That would be so much fun!
Sony 4K PlayStation 4.5
The next big gaming console may not be the PS5 but the one in-between. The PS 4.5 is an all-out ultra HD system that can play full 4K videos as well as 4K games, and that is a dramatic jump in gaming power, if true. The 4.5 will also be able to handle Virtual Reality games, be compatible with PlayStation’s VR headset and manage a very high resolution. If they release this in the next few months, it will blow the next-gen Microsoft console to bits.
If it hadn’t been for Pokémon Go, I’m not sure many people would have been interested in what Nintendo does next. Well, now they are. The NX is supposed to be a radical departure in consoles, where the controller has an inbuilt screen. You can play it even if you’re not next to the console, as the games are streamed to you. Your smartphones can also be brought in as part of the gaming system and apparently, the game play is at an all new level of VR interactivity. I hope they pull it off as Nintendo usually follows a success with a huge dud!
Apple Watch 2
To be out this year, it’ll be more expensive, thinner with single glass construction, different looking with a three-day battery life and its own LTE slot. I’m going to dismiss most of these. It maybe thinner, but it will look the same, and might draw a bit more battery life. Most of the changes will continue to come with software functionality. The Apple Watch is not in a very exciting space right now.
FitBit Charge 2 and Surge 2
Most people seem to think that the slow moving and almost dead smartwatch market has only Apple selling a few pieces. Here’s a wake-up call. The broader fitness wearable market is dominated completely by Fitbit, with shipments close to three times that of Apple. The new Alta and Blaze devices have been huge hits and now, rumours of two new devices are taking shape. The Charge 2 may have a brand new form factor and all new sensors with a two week battery life, and the Surge 2 may well be a full runners watch cum a fully-featured Smartwatch. Rumours are also strong that an Apple bid for Fitbit was rejected recently. Never a dull moment in the world of tech!
That’s a small synopsis of the exciting times ahead. As always, watch this space in the next few months.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, August 7, 2016
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch