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SALT LAKE CITY — One month into 2013, and we’re already a few tech debuts behind the times. In January, Apple released a 128 GB iPad with Retina display — a move being hailed as both long overdue and completely unnecessary — while Microsoft unleashed its latest office suite with Microsoft Office 2013.
But as February begins, so do the rumors of new consoles, motion tech and auto-pilot vehicles. So looking forward, here are five tech items to watch for in 2013.
At the end of the month, Sony will be hosting a press event in New York City where they’re promising attendees will “see the future.” Almost everyone is assuming this will be the big reveal for Sony’s next gaming console, and the video currently hosted on the Playstation site seems to confirm the obvious.
Several tech sites are putting out their wish-lists for the next generation console, including TechRadar, who notes, "We want Sony to take a long look at how it’s going to make its gaming system more portable. We want to see a proper linkup with our tablets, laptops and phones.” DigitalTrends predicts, “the PS4 will generate the kind of graphics that have hitherto only been available in the very highest echelon of gaming PCs.”
Regardless or what the next Playstation has to offer, many believe the system’s success depends on when it’s offered.
According to TechRadar, “We remember, of course, how Microsoft managed to launch the 360 a full year before the PS3 went on sale and that enabled it to gain a huge headstart, despite all sorts of technical faults and expensive repair bills.”
It’s a bit cliche now to reference “Minority Report” in any tech conversation, but I’m not sure how else to describe the functionality of Leap Motion. In the demonstration posted to its official website, a user is seen controlling a computer seamlessly with simple hand gestures, almost exactly like the opening scenes of the Tom Cruise sci-fi film “Minority Report.”
What’s most interesting about Leap Motion isn’t the fact that it makes Microsoft’s Kinect look like primitive tech, but rather how the company claims to have made its motion-sensing advancment. According to Arstechnica, “The company says the breakthrough in resolution comes not from the hardware, which consists of relatively standard parts, but from what CTO David Holz calls 'a number of major algorithmic and mathematical problems that had not been solved or were considered unsolvable.' "
Exactly how Leap Motion will be used in the real world is yet to be seen. Perhaps this is the future of online piano lessons, or playing catch with your Dad when he’s on a long-distance business trip. Those were just off the top of my head. You’re welcome, Leap Motion.
Like the PS4, there isn’t a great deal known about what Microsoft plans to unveil with it’s next gaming system, but I sincerely hope it has nothing to do with IllumiRoom, a technology Microsoft demonstrated at Samsung’s keynote during CES 2013.
In a demonstration video that can be seen at IGN.com, IllumiRoom extends an Xbox screen out across the surrounding wall of a television, giving a confusing wireframe look that developers could use to either expand a game’s environment or mimic a game’s weather patterns. For example, if it’s raining in your game, light streams would streak down your wall making you feel as if you were in the Disneyland Tiki Room.
The most persistent rumors for both the PS4 and Xbox 720 suggest we will be seeing release dates before the 2013 holiday season, so hopefully there will be official news to report in the coming weeks.
Cadillac Super Cruise
This may actually be a 2014 rumor, but according to Motorauthority.com, Cadillac will soon be taking cruise control to the next level:
“The SuperCruise system controls not only the accelerator and brake, but also the steering, allowing the driver to remove his or her hands from the steering wheel.”
There’s a good chance you’ve already seen videos of the Google car doing exactly this, with its prototype car allowing a legally blind man to drive around San Francisco. But if Cadillac is ready to bring this technology to the masses, expect to see a lot more cell phone driving texters hitting the streets in the not-too-distant future. In fact, we may find lobbyists hoping to adjust the drinking and driving laws if the car works as well as it claims.
Perhaps the most over-rumored gadget since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' passing, the Apple device set to revolutionize the way we watch TV is still the stuff of legend in the tech community. The reason people are still waiting for it, despite the endless unfulfilled prophecies, is Jobs himself said it exists — or at least, that it soon would.
In Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple guru, Jobs was quoted as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
According to businessinsider.com, trusted Apple tipster Gene Munster has said the release date for this mysterious device is November of this year. Do I believe him? No, not really. But I do believe the device will eventually find the market, and November is as good a time as any say it will happen.
According to the report, this has nothing to do with the $100 box you can buy from Apple now. According to the report, Apple will be releasing a complete television. “It should cost $1,500$2,000 and come in sizes from 42 inches to 55 inches."
Travis has been writing tech and film reviews for Deseret News and KSL.com since 2010, and continues to contribute coverage for the Sundance Film Festival and other live events here in Utah. You can contact Travis at TSPoppleton@gmail.com.