We may still be in the heat of summer, but look around and you’ll see the first signs of fall. The NFL preseason kicked off Thursday night. The whole pumpkin spice is starting to seep into grocery stores, cafes and restaurants. And the tech world is on the cusp of its annual explosion of new products.
Samsung will get the ball rolling next week, with its Unpacked event on August 10. Apple, Google, Amazon and Meta are expected to follow as the holidays approach.
Some things are predictable enough. The new phones are as regular as clockwork. But it’s the wildcards that make this time of year especially exciting for tech enthusiasts. A year ago, for example, Amazon unveiled its Astro robot, an “Alexa on wheels” that would follow you around the house. The year before, it touted a security drone. (It should be noted that both products are still only available by invitation).
Wildcards will, of course, be surprises, but here are some of the most anticipated gadgets you might hear about in the days and months to come.
Samsung, via a teaser video for its Unpacked event, confirmed that it will introduce new foldable smartphones, likely the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4. Look for the fold to become less noticeable with the usual memory and camera upgrades. Hopefully the price will drop as well. Expect some peripherals, like a new generation of Galaxy Buds headphones, to be featured as well.
Apple has yet to set a date for its fall showcase. (He tends to wait almost until the last minute to do so). It’s a safe bet it will be held in September though, and you can expect the iPhone 14 to be in the spotlight. Apple is expected to roll out four models this year, including a new Plus/Max version.
Google, meanwhile, is expected to start selling the Pixel 7 in October, after teasing him in May. It should run on a second-generation Tensor chip and come with Google’s Magic Eraser photo-editing tool (which lets you remove unwanted objects from photos). The Pro model will feature three rear cameras, while the standard model will have two.
Look for bigger screens and a sturdier case on at least one model in the new generation of apple watches. Apple is leaning more and more into the sports market and a report in Bloomberg indicates that the rugged version will have a larger screen than current models. A standard Apple Watch 8 and a budget model are also expected to be part of the September event.
Google, meanwhile, confirmed in May that it’s getting into the smartwatch game with the Pixel Watch. This could be available in October, likely alongside the Pixel 7. The renders the company has shown indicate a more minimalist design. Expect it to also feature a sports focus following Google’s acquisition of Fitbit last year as well as some Android-exclusive features.
Virtual reality could be gearing up for a big push this holiday season. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 could hit stores before the end of the year (although early 2023 is still a possibility), with an impressive spec list. The two OLED screens combine to give users a 110-degree field of view and the headset will use eye-tracking technology to both increase immersion and reduce motion sickness. The controllers will have the same haptic characteristics as the PS5 controller. And the range of games is impressive, with VR slices of the Horizon, Resident Evil and No Man’s Sky franchisees.
Meta, meanwhile, is set to introduce the Meta Quest Pro later this year, with more advanced sensors and mixed reality capabilities. It is expected to be a premium product with a premium price, which might be more for enthusiasts and professionals. One rumored feature is face tracking sensors which will make metaverse interactions more realistic. And Zuckerberg also touted potential augmented reality (AR) features.
“Imagine working at your virtual office with multiple screens, while seeing your real office so clearly you can pick up a pen and write notes without taking off your headset,” he said, revealing what was then called Project. Cambria. “Or you do a workout with a virtual instructor in your living room.”
Apple, however, is the true joker in the AR/VR space. The company is widely expected to introduce a mixed reality headset, but there’s no good information on when that might happen or what features it would offer. Whispershowever, say it would combine elements of VR and AR, allowing users to merge digital content into the real world.