Written by Alex Kyrtsoudis
Good news! 2015 was a brilliant year for technology with all sorts of tech that we have been promised for some time appeared all of a sudden. I have some personal favourites of the most exciting tech that this year brought which I’d like to share.
Amongst the watches with tacky straps and the-only-thing-that’s-changed-is-not-much iPhone 6S that Apple debuted this year, in my opinion the coolest product was the iPad Pro. Its gorgeously large screen and powerful A9X processor combined make it a real choice for professionals and consumers alike as a laptop replacement or just a really big screen to indulge in creative genius. Although pretty pricey it is extremely tactile and, as more of us are realising, tablets are just so much more fun to use than the more traditional hardware choices. Note: Google’s Pixel C tablet-come-laptop is also very interesting. It’s just been released so go check it out.
Something that caught my eye recently was Bosch’s new wi-fi connected appliances. The term ‘internet of things’ has been bounded about over the last few years, with people saying that we’d have everything in our homes connected to the net. Ok, so people like Philips have made a pretty good start with their Hue connected lighting but really we haven’t seen much else that’s available to the normal people of the land. Until now that is. Bosch introduced its range of home electronics including a fridge with a camera that takes a picture every time the door is opened. This can then be viewed from an app to remind you what you need to buy next time you shop. Their oven can be started from your phone as you drive home stop you needing to wait for it to heat up and the status of your dishwasher’s fabled salt and rinse-aid levels (who bothers with that?) can be checked remotely. However, this is all crumbs in comparison to the best use for home connect; turning on your coffee maker from the comfort of your bed! None of that horrible, getting-out-of-bed-to-brew-coffee-when-your-half-asleep feeling because now you can do it from the comfort of your covers! One of the most exciting aspects of their tech is that the app, Home Connect, has been released to developers from other manufacturers, meaning that you will be able to connect up your home tech without worrying about compatibility issues and use just one app to control everything.
A quick word about TV streaming sticks. I know they are everywhere but 2015 has seen an abundance of products land on the market and also major price drops too! Amongst the best and cheapest is Google’s new Chromecast. In my opinion this is one of the best things you can buy for £25 (and you get £20 of free Play store credit if you buy now too). It releases your TV from those boring main channels and allows basically anything in a Chrome browser or compatible app (of which there are many) to be streamed to your TV and controlled by your phone. You can also carry it around when you travel to host impromptu film nights. Perfect.
Another brief mention of drones. Yeah yeah, they’ve been around for ages but seriously go and watch Amazon’s new advert for their Prime Air delivery service. It’s not yet been given regulatory approval for flight in many countries, including the UK, but everything works and the advert shows a real-life delivery taking place from warehouse to the customer’s house in just 30 minutes! And having a drone deliver your printer cartridges could be useful if you’re only a couple of hours away from submitting an important project and your inkjet’s ran out of ink. Plus it’s so much cooler than the post. Finally, if you’re reading this and still relying on your phone’s measly storage to hold onto your photos and then transfer them to your laptop with a cable then STOP! Go and download Google Photos and I promise it won’t disappoint. The phone and desktop apps automatically sync everything between your devices, so the instant you take a picture it’s visible on your computer or tablet and available wherever in the world too! Also (and this is the great bit) storage is free no matter how many pics you upload. Gap year travellers snap away…