It is without a doubt that 2019 truly was the year of tech. From Apple’s revolutionary iPhone 11 wielding its unmistakable and distinct dual and even triple rear cameras, to Tiktok taking the world by a record-breaking storm, and even to Elon Musk’s launch of the absolutely meme-worthy Cybertruck, this year really was a wild ride.
As the year comes to a close, it’ll be good to remember and celebrate the tech that defined 2019, and will set the stage for the incoming tech of the new decade. With that, here are seven of the many technological breakthroughs and game changers that made it big this year:
The iPhone 11
Last September 2019, Tim Cook unveiled three new premium flagship iPhone models: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Interestingly, the star of the show wasn’t any of the more expensive and advanced models, but rather it was the entry-level model, the iPhone 11. This is because, at a starting price point of Php 47,990, it is the most affordable device in the star-studded lineup. But don’t let that price tag fool you, because the iPhone 11 comes with the A13 Bionic SoC, the most powerful chipset Apple has launched so far. It also comes with two powerful rear cameras that rival the best smartphone cameras on the market. It’s fast, it’s sleek, it’s beautifully designed, and it’s definitely cheaper than its predecessors – one doesn’t even need to wonder why the iPhone 11 was such a big hit this 2019.
Imagine a world in which doctors are able to perform remote procedures on patients who don’t have access to hospitals and healthcare. Imagine a world in which cars can tell you all about the terrain you’re driving on – in real time – just by sensing it with its wheels. Imagine an entire world that is connected – person to person, machine to machine, home to home, country to country. Thanks to 5G technology, that world has now become a reality. 5G was first launched last April 2019 in South Korea and was soon followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. But even with its widespread deployment, most people are only aware of 5G’s basic – but still impressive – features such as faster speeds, lower latencies, and support for multiple devices. While it’s truly amazing to be able to download files at speeds of one gigabit per second, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of 5G’s innovations in the field of medicine, automation, and manufacturing in 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold
When the Samsung Galaxy Fold was launched last September 2019, the population was divided. Is it an ultra chic throwback to the flip phones and clamshells that defined the early 2000s or is it just plain awkward and out of place in this new era of slim and thin smartphones? As it turns out, many are still conflicted. The controversial device – while, performance-wise, was as good as the Galaxy S10 Plus – was considered clunky, impractical, and unpleasing to the eye on the count of “The Crease.” This crease being the very obvious line that divides the Galaxy Fold into halves and well, as its name suggests, creases when it’s folded shut. For most loyal Samsung fans, the crease issue was easy to ignore, however, the fragility of the smartphone was not. Unfortunately, most Galaxy Fold models broke within days of the owner’s possession – although some of these incidences were on account of users peeling the protective layer covering the Fold’s screen. In spite of this, we’re excited to see how the newer Fold models will fare in 2020.
This popular short-form video app took the world by a storm this year – boasting over 500 million monthly active users and 1.5 billion total downloads as of November 2019. It has even surpassed Twitter and Snapchat, and is projected to remain on top in 2020. It has provided kids, teenagers, and young adults alike with a unique space in where they are free to express themselves and be creative – which is why it’s gained so much popularity. Looks like we can look forward to more Tiktok memes, dances, challenges, and crazes in the future!
Augmented reality has been around for a while now, but this is the year in which tech companies around the world sought to make AR more accessible to everyone outside of the professional field. With the introduction of AR glasses in the market, companies such as Microsoft, Google, North – and soon, Apple and Qualcomm – not only popularized the use of augmented reality, but advanced current AR technology to make it more suitable for everyday use. For example, the Focals by North seeks to give its users more access to their digital lives, with an instant display of information, updates, and notifications across the glasses’ interface. (Think: the EDITH that Tony Stark gifts Peter Parker in Spiderman: Far From Home). However, AR technology still has a long way to go, especially in terms of optical physics limitations and computing power, but with the way things are looking now, it seems like all of these AR glasses are preparing us for a bright future ahead.
The Tesla Cybertruck
Yes, the Tesla Cybertruck looks like it came straight from the Minecraft universe, and yes, the launch was just as appalling, but it does have its good points. Whether you love it or hate it with a passion – and find a lot of joy in seeing all of the memes – it is admittedly a game changer in the electric vehicle industry. The Cybertruck was unveiled last November 2019, and was revealed to be an all-electric pickup truck featuring the same stainless steel alloy used in Elon Musk’s SpaceX creations. It’s packed with lithium ion batteries, self-driving capabilities, and a solar roof option. What’s more is that, compared to regular, non-electric trucks, it has fared better in terms of motor efficiency and aerodynamics. It’s quiet, clean, fast, eco-friendly, and it’s far more spacious than it seems. With these features, perhaps we’ll learn to look past – and even love – the Cybertruck’s futuristic look and charm after all.
Last November 2019, Disney entered into the fray of what has been named as “The Streaming Wars,” with its launch of Disney+. It now competes alongside big streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, and Apple TV+ – and it seems like Disney is winning. In the month of November alone, the platform has taken almost 1.1 million subscribers from Netflix, and rendered Apple TV+’s most popular title, even at its peak, no match for Disney+’s rapidly increasing demand.
How exactly did Disney manage to come out on top at such a short amount of time? The answer is Baby Yoda.
When The Mandalorian was released, hundreds of thousands of fans flocked to subscribe to Disney+ to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the Star Wars franchise. Its popularity peaked with just three episodes in, and unfortunately, Apple TV+’s most popular title only garnered a fraction of that fame. With Baby Yoda in Disney+’s arsenal, its extensive library of nearly 450 movies and 7,500 TV episodes, and exciting upcoming rollouts of original content such Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it’s no wonder that Disney+ has made such a promising entrance into the new decade of streaming entertainment.