One of the nice things about the tech world is just when you think things have reached their peak, a new summit appears in the distance.
2022 had plenty of new tech, from smart watches that can call for help if you’re in an accident to art created by artificial intelligence that we all couldn’t keep from showing off to the world. And while some of the real treasures of 2023 won’t be unveiled until CES in January (or later), there are already several things that have us eager to learn more.
Here are some of the things that are already piquing our interest.
APPLE’S AR/VR HEADSET
Apple’s entry into the virtual- and augmented-reality space has been one of tech’s worst kept secrets for some time. What has been less clear is when, exactly, the company would showcase some of those plans. Increasingly, though, it appears 2023 might finally be the year (though it now appears that will happen in the back half).
Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has called the mixed-reality headset a “game changer” that “will further boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment.” The headset has also been referred to as the most complicated product Apple has designed.
Apple has a built-in ecosystem of users, and it has the resources to loop in top developers. Most importantly, unlike Google, it has patience. AR/VR might be a slow burn for the company, but if it shows steady growth and Apple continues to support it, it could finally bring the technology closer to the mainstream.
Sony had an advantage when it released the first PlayStation VR in 2016. The system was cheaper than the then-new Oculus Rift, didn’t require a high-end computer and, while not wireless, was much less cumbersome than other VR headsets at the time. It also launched with game franchises people knew. The device sold more than 5 million units.
So, the second generation, releasing on February 22, has a lot to live up to, but it doesn’t launch with the same advantages.
The base model costs $550—$150 more than the Meta Quest 2. That works against the system, but the game lineup features some major Sony franchises. And the visual upgrade, from the tech specs, is light years better. There’s also haptic feedback. And a vastly better tracking system. It will all come down to the games, but PSVR 2 could lure hardcore gamers back to VR.
META QUEST 3
Speaking of Meta’s VR headset, the long-awaited update to the Meta Quest 2, is also expected to come in 2023. In October, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Stratechery that the device would likely be in the $300 to $500 range, similar to the current model. Although we don’t know many other details yet, the headset is rumored to feature a graphics upgrade and possibly even support for mixed reality.
PHOTOSHOP WITH BUILT-IN GENERATIVE AI
The rise of DALL-E and Lensa this year has given AI art a big buzz factor. Microsoft and Canva are already incorporating generative AI into design tools; and in 2023, photo and video behemoth Adobe plans to dive in as well. The company aims to use generative AI to greatly simplify the tedious process of compositing images. It will let someone find and pull highlights from video content using voice searches in a service called Project Blink (currently in beta). You’ll be able to edit out distractions easily and even change people’s apparel in photos, if the tech lives up to its promises. You’ll even be able to move people or objects in photos and have them cast realistic shadows.
TEXT-TO-VIDEO GENERATIVE AI
2023 is shaping up to be the year of AI video. Just as AI photos can be generated by suggestion, new systems (like Meta’s Make-A-Video and Google’s Imagen) are ramping up and letting users turn text prompts into unique videos.
“Generative AI research is pushing creative expression forward by giving people tools to quickly and easily create new content,” said Meta when announcing the tool. “With just a few words or lines of text, Make-A-Video can bring imagination to life and create one-of-a-kind videos full of vivid colors, characters, and landscapes. The system can also create videos from images or take existing videos and create new ones that are similar.”
An Android competitor to the iPad from Google would be enough to turn heads all on its own. But the Pixel tablet gets extra attention as it’s the first stab at the market in five years.
The system will run on the same Tensor G2 chipset that powers the Pixel 7 smartphones, and it can magnetically attach to a speaker dock, effectively turning it into a smart display (like the Nest Hub Max). Google declared last year that tablets are the “future of computing,” and it’s now trying to spark the category. The Pixel looks like an interesting start that incorporates itself into daily life.
While a new processor and camera upgrades are a certainty, the thing that has us most excited about the 2023 crop of iPhones is the possibility that Apple will finally embrace USB-C charging. The European Union has mandated that all phones sold there must support the technology by 2024 and Apple has said it would comply.
That would let people in the Apple ecosystem charge multiple devices with the same cable, dramatically increasing convenience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Morris is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience. Learn more at chrismorrisjournalist.com