Tech predictions for 2015
2014 was a year of hacking scandals, wearable devices of questionable use, and about a million smartphone launches.
Thankfully, there’s actually a lot to look forward to in 2015. In this article we bring to together the collective wisdom of the PC Pro team and make predictions about what to expect from the technology world next year. Note that good battery performance and hover boards still evade us.
- Smartphone predictions for 2015
- Wearables predictions for 2015
- Tablet predictions for 2015
- OS predictions for 2015
- VR predictions for 2015
Tech to expect in 2015: smartphones
David Court (@davidcourt86): At risk of sounding like a Harold Macmillan wannabe, when it comes to phones we’ve never had it so good.
Why? We have quad-HD displays with more pixels-per-inch than any human can focus on. Our pockets are equipped with ample gigabytes of memory, plus fast 4G access to virtually unlimited cloud storage. And to fill that limitless storage we have incredible cameras capable of recording at 4K resolution or capturing video in breath-taking slow motion.
Finally, our data is kept safe with fingerprint scanners and facial recognition. All of this is available in pretty much any size we want. Not bad really.
Why am I telling you all of this? As background to my boring, but very true prediction for smartphones in 2015: the world’s best technology is going to improve… again.
- See also: the 16 best smartphones of 2015.
Most important device of 2015: Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung has been frustratingly close to creating the ultimate smartphone for several years. Early rumours suggest that Samsung has got the design right this year, merging a metallic case with a screen that curves around two edges in a Galaxy Note-Edge fashion. Marry that with a new NFC payment feature to rival Apple Pay, and probably the best camera in the industry, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 becomes a big favourite to be named the best smartphone of 2015.
Tech to expect in 2015: Wearables
Jane McCallion (@janemccallion): Once the preserve of fitness fiends and gadgeteers, wearables hit the tech mainstream in 2014 with wave after wave of new consumer devices. But that’s just the start: 2015 will see an even greater variety of innovative wearables grace our shelves.
We’re currently stuck in a bit of a smartwatch/smartband rut, although there’s been an increasing a convergence between “classic” smartwatches and fitness bands. This is a trend that’s only going to continue into the new year – see Apple Watch and Fitbit Surge for further details.
However, I can see a three other trends start to take hold.
The first is wearables’ move away from the tech brands into the wider market. While smartwatches have been produced mainly by smartphone makers, now every hardware manufacturer under the sun wants in on the action. This is good news for consumers – greater variety means greater competition and could push down prices, at least for low-end devices.
The second is the emergence of high-end wearables that don’t look like wearables. The first example of this is the MICA smart bracelet – a couture wearable for women developed by Intel and Opening Ceremony, which carries a hefty $1,000 price tag. It’s also worth bearing in mind that 2014 saw DKNY models take to the catwalk wearing Google Glass, while a range of designer frames for Google’s smart glasses was released too.
Finally, I think we may start to see the emergence of smart fabrics. Once again, this is likely to start off in the fitness sector, but it’ll be the first step in what many think is the real future of wearable technology.
- See also: the best smartwatches of 2015.
Most important wearable of 2015: Swatch Touch
You may be surprised I didn’t put the Microsoft Band here, and there’s no doubt it’s a very exciting piece of technology. However, what makes the Swatch Touch so important is that it’s the first to be made by an established watchmaker. This could open up a whole new channel of smartwatches, as, if it’s a success, Swatch’s competitors will follow suit. This, in turn, could lead to well-known makers of other consumer items turning their attention to make their own products “smart” in some way.
Tech to expect in 2015: tablets
Jonathan Bray (@jon1bray): It’s been coming for some time now, but I think that 2015 will finally be the year that the iPad starts to lose ground in its fight against the Android opposition.
Even before the iPad Air 2 came along it was difficult to see where Apple could improve, and although it did with the achingly slim, super-powerful iPad Air 2, we can’t see it performing the same heroics next year. Meanwhile, iOS seems stuck in something of a rut.
Perhaps Apple will introduce a bigger iPad Pro, as has long been rumoured to be the case, perhaps it will focus on delivering the update that the iPad Mini deserved this year. Either way, we think that either LG, Samsung or (most likely) Sony will finally produce a tablet that batters the iPad into submission – one with a better screen, a lower price, faster performance and maybe even a pressure-sensitive stylus as well.
And it will be thanks in no small part to Android 5 (Lollipop). The latest version of Android is the best yet for tablets of all sizes, and it will help devices built on the platform go from strength to strength in 2015.
- See also: what’s the best tablet of 2015?
Tech predictions 2015: operating systems
Editor-in-chief Tim Danton (@timdanton): I often hear that operating systems don’t matter anymore. The trend for document storage is heading one way – the cloud – and that means our devices are relegated to the dumb terminals of yore. They’re a tool to do a job, and we should care as little about the code that runs underneath as we should the embedded OSes that power our washing machine.
Wrong. And I predict that 2015 will be the year this fact is thwacked into our collective skulls with greater force than ever, because Microsoft, Google and Apple know full well that to control the OS is to control our purses. Get it right and they receive a cut of the money we pay retailers for those oh-so-convenient wireless payments, a 30% tax on all app transactions and an ever-growing-chunk of the world’s marketing budgets through search-based advertising.
This battle for resources is exactly what wars were fought over in centuries past, so if you believe that any of that Big Three are going to rest on their laurels then you’re very, very wrong.
Most important operating system of 2015: Windows 10
This is the biggie. If Microsoft can get this release right then it will have a massive advantage over its rivals: a single environment for users and developers, running right the way from watches to phones to tablets to laptops, could provide the pathway to even greater riches than the twin cash cows of Windows and Office.
But Microsoft mustn’t be distracted by this thought of glory: for once, it has to listen to its users and create something they love to use. We’ve already seen promising signs of this with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which goes far beyond resurrecting the Start menu.
Once Microsoft has made users happy, and can give developers a big enough pool of buying customers, we could see Windows become “cool” again.
Tech to expect in 2015: VR
Adam Shepherd (@AdamShepherdUK): One of the most interesting themes of the past year has been the continued development of virtual reality. Oculus Rift has been making progress in leaps and bounds, and Samsung and Sony have revealed their virtual reality hands with the Gear VR and Project Morpheus respectively.
Already, film festivals across the globe are seeing a slew of virtual-reality movies that let viewers experience the events of a film from a whole new perspective.
The Gear VR is on sale, and rumours abound that a consumer version of the Oculus Rift won’t be too far behind. Once these devices hit the mainstream marketplace, we’re likely to see a huge, fundamental shift in the way we experience our media.
Most important device of 2015: Oculus Rift
As VR starts to become commonplace, we’ll see more and more media developed for it; Coldplay has already revealed plans for a virtual reality concert. But don’t let that put you off. 2015 is when we’re going to see this kind of entertainment take off in a major way, as content creators start exploring the possibilities of a new medium. Holodecks, here we come.