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10 gadgets and technologies to watch out for in 2023

The first half of the year will be jam-packed with slab phone announcements leading up to the Mobile World Congress in late February to early March.

January 28, 2023 / 11:50 AM IST
10 gadgets and technologies to watch out for in 2023

10 gadgets and technologies to watch out for in 2023

While 2022 was a year for iterative upgrades in terms of smartphones, 2023 is shaping up to be the year that paves the way for tech in the years to come. The flagship smartphone launches have already begun with the iQOO 11 5G announcement. The next device to look forward to is the Galaxy S23 Ultra which launches on February 1, followed by the OnePlus 11 on February 7. The first half of the year will be jam-packed with slab phone announcements leading up to the Mobile World Congress in late February to early March.

CES 2023 also showcased various new technologies that could be coming to the next device you buy, and the Qi2 wireless charging standard is one of them. Apple is helping the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) to introduce the Qi2 wireless charging solution to the Android world.

The mobile world will see a new foldable rise in the form of Google Pixel Fold expected in May, so Samsung will finally see competition in the foldable segment in markets aside from Europe and China. It will lead up to the launch of new Samsung foldable in August, and the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 around September.

The more exciting launches will come in the second and third quarters of 2023. Apple is rumoured to be gearing up to introduce its first AR/VR headset, which is speculated to be called the Apple Reality headset. It could potentially change the way we interact with AR/VR content. While the company has already launched new M2 chips alongside its latest MacBook Pros, the much-anticipated 15-inch MacBook Air is still under wraps.

Here are the gadgets and tech trends you need to watch out for in 2023.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The first Samsung flagship of the year will be launched on February 1. It is said to feature a simpler design language. The phone will be powered by the latest Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, paired with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. On the optics side, it will have a 200MP primary camera, alongside an ultrawide-angle sensor and two telephoto cameras for 3x and 10x optical zooming needs. The pre-orders are already open, and you can expect it to be released by mid-February.

Google Pixel Fold

Since the launch of the first Galaxy Fold in India, Samsung has had virtually no competition. The Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold series are the only options for you if you want to buy a foldable smartphone. However, 2023 could be the year when foldables penetrate further into the smartphone market because of more competition.

The Pixel Fold is an exciting proposition because the design leaks show it to be more of an Oppo Find N-like foldable than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. For the unaware, the latest Galaxy Z Fold features a slim front display, which is hard to type on. Moreover, most of the apps have scaling issues on the display. These two are major problems solved by the China-exclusive Oppo Find N and N2.

The Pixel Fold will feature the Find N-like design. As per the leaked renders, unfolding the Pixel Fold would give you a large tablet-like display in landscape orientation. There are big bezels on the top and bottom of the inner screen. The top bezel could hide a 9.5MP camera for selfies and video calls. The Google Pixel Fold is not confirmed to make its way to India, but you can expect it to go official at Google’s I/O in May 2023.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

For years, the Samsung Galaxy Fold lineup has had a “crease problem”. If you don’t know, the screen on Galaxy Folds doesn’t sit flat. But it could change with the Galaxy Z Fold 5. As per some accounts, Samsung will change the hinge design on the Fold 5, which will change the way we interact with the Galaxy Fold series.

As for speculations, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is expected to sport better optics in the same three-camera design. It will still work with an S-Pen but don’t expect an S-Pen slot in the device. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is likely to launch by August 2023 and will be Samsung’s second flagship of the year after the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

iPhone 15

The base iPhone 15 is likely to be the most popular choice among Indian consumers in 2023. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the iPhone 15 will get Dynamic Island from the iPhone 14 Pro. The feature was introduced in 2022 and was kept limited to the Pro models. It is likely to be powered by the in-house A16 chipset. Other than that, there’s nothing major rumoured for the next iPhone. You can expect the same dual camera hardware and no design changes when it launches in September 2023.

AR/VR headsets:
HTC Vive XR Elite

HTC announced its Vive XR Elite at CES 2023. It is the latest version of HTC's VR/AR headset and might be the best Vive so far when it's released in late February for $1,099. The India launch date and price remain unknown for now.

With the Vive XR Elite, the company has shrunk the VR headset down to almost normal glasses size, which is a big deal for any AR/VR headset. It features adjusting dials or diopters that can change the lens prescription in real-time, so you won’t have to wear glasses or contact lenses to operate the headset.

Apple Reality headset

The Apple AR/VR headset is touted to be the next big product from the house of Apple since the iPhone launch in 2007. You can expect it to launch later this year. It is expected to redefine the AR/VR industry and open new ways to interact with the technology. With the kind of support Apple has from developers, the company has a lot going for it.

The Apple Reality headset is speculated to be incredibly lightweight, as the battery could be worn around the waist. It is tipped to feature a hot-swap design for the battery, which will make the reported one to two hours of battery life digestible. The new Apple product could be made out of aluminium, carbon fibre and glass, while offering a very high-resolution display and thin optics. It is rumoured to offer a 120-degree field of view that would surpass other VR headsets.

One reason why the Quest 2 or the HTC Vive haven’t breached the divide between AR/VR and consumers is that there are not many developers making apps for the currently available hardware. However, the Apple Reality headset could change that with its Reality Kit software, while the hugely popular Unity developer kit might also be supported. That being said, it would still be challenging for Apple to justify the rumoured $2,000-3,000 price of its headset. A new report from Bloomberg also claims that Apple is already looking to make a cheaper alternative for its Reality headset, which could be launched in 2024.

Laptops and TVs:
15-inch MacBook Air

Apple is expected to introduce a new 15-inch MacBook Air in 2023. The latest M2 MacBook Air features a 13.6-inch screen. The upcoming product would sit between the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

It is said to sport a 15.2-inch display, which is 0.2 inches smaller than the previously available 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. However, given the slim bezels on the M2 MacBook Air design, the 15-inch Air could be overall smaller than the past 15-inch MacBook Pro.

The upcoming MacBook Air is expected to include a MagSafe charging port, two USB Type-C ports, a 1080p camera, and an upgraded speaker system. Don’t expect the display to have ProMotion technology or be made out of mini-LED – those are limited to the MacBook Pros. It is expected to launch in the second half of 2023.

Wireless TVs

CES is a big show for TVs. From Sony to LG, all the big names showcased their flagship lineups of the year at CES. While Sony didn’t showcase any Bravia TV this year (which is a bit odd), Samsung and LG went all-in with OLED. But the standout TV was the $3000 wireless one announced by a company called Displace.

The Displace wireless TV relies on batteries rather than a power cord, which makes it truly wireless. And if you are anything like me, hating a messy wired situation going on with their tech, this must be exciting news. However, convenience comes at a cost. Since there are batteries, they’ll be needing charges. According to the company, if you were to use the TV for six hours each day, you’ll have to recharge the batteries at the end of the month.

Technology standards:
Qi2 wireless charging

I love having wireless chargers on my desk but there are times that the phone rings or vibrates and my phone slips from the charger, thus pausing the charge. Apple came with the MagSafe charging that solves this exact problem by using magnets. And now, the company is working with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) to introduce Qi2 (pronounced chi-2) wireless charging solution.

Qi2’s magnetic power profile opens the door to an entire future ecosystem of snap-on accessories. It is a much-needed upgrade from the Qi wireless charging standard for convenience as well as functionality. And it’s always lovely to see companies using the standards to make things that reduce friction between consumers and their products.

In a statement given to The Verge, the WPC said that it will also mandate the size and strength of magnets to ensure a strong connection. While Qi2 is likely to be made available in 2023 for phones and earbuds, the consortium says it will bring an updated Qi2.1 wireless charging standard that will add support for smartwatches and tablets around mid-2024.

ChatGPT is the next big thing

The release of ChatGPT to the general public proves what a powerful AI system can accomplish. It can remember the thread of your dialogue from previous questions and answers in a conversational tone. Unlike Google, it doesn’t search the whole of the internet in real time but has been trained to a certain limit with huge volumes of information available on the internet.

My friend asked it for suggestions to help my sleep schedule, and it answered starting with, “Convincing someone to change their behavior can be challenging, especially when it comes to something as personal as sleep habits.” It moved on to give me five suggestions to improve my sleep quality. You can ask it to write an essay, and after the reply, enter “make it more exciting,” and the AI will do it for you. There’s a lot going on here.

I’ve noticed ChatGPT offers advice on both sides of the coin, so the end decision is yours to choose from. It can be used in a variety of ways -- you can create a new bedtime story every night for the kids, get it to write recipes for you from the groceries you have, practice for interviews -- the possibilities are endless. However, OpenAI, the developer of the chatbot, warns that ChatGPT "may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information.”

Notably, ChatGPT is already being misused by students to write essays. A high school teacher, Daniel Herman, concluded ChatGPT already writes better than most students today. That being said, the influence of Google, Wikipedia and the internet itself was at one time considered to ruin education, but they did not. I guess, we’ll wait and see how this turns out but AI will surely change education from what we know of it today.

Not only education, AI is influencing jobs around the world. The likes of CNET and Forbes are already using AI to generate content. However, CNET says that a team of editors fact-checks and fine-tunes the pieces before anything is published. Whatever content an AI might generate, till it learns to share personal experiences and form stories, the job of reporters is safe. On the other hand, StackOverflow has already banned ChatGPT-generated software, so developers still use their brains to build things.

“AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows.” The statement comes from Microsoft’s EVP and chief product officer Panos Panay. At AMD’s CES 2023 press conference, he explained how AI will change the way you use Windows. For context, AMD announced Ryzen 7000 mobile processors, which are claimed to be the first x86 chips to contain a dedicated AI engine that could help with all of the AI activities going on in your gadget.

While Panay didn’t go into the details, one of his suggestions included how the dedicated AI chips can help detect eye contact, add background blur, and automatically frame someone on a conference call, which is all part of Windows Studio Effects.

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first published: Jan 28, 2023 11:50 am