Depending on the breaks, 2022 could be a very hectic year for new tech products and even brand new tech categories. From games to electric vehicles to wearable mixed reality devices, next year’s releases could even initiate a shift in how we view technology’s role in personal and professional life.
I’ve done my best to collect the most important and anticipated of these releases. It is admittedly a mixed bag. Some products have already been announced and, barring disaster, will be delivered next year. Others are still in the rumor stage, but have a reasonable chance of hitting the market. Others are direct longshots. But some segments of them will indeed appear.
Panic Playdate. Panic’s new Playdate handheld video game device should finally see the light of day in early 2022 after the company delayed its launch twice. The Playdate, which was originally announced in 2019, features a 1-bit black and white display and the primary control is a four-way directional pad. It was designed in collaboration with Swedish eclectic consumer electronics company and design house teenage engineeringwhich might be the reason for its most intriguing feature: a crank on the side of the device that’s used for game control. Panic plans to release games in “seasons,” with new titles every week during twelve weeks.
Valve steamer deck. Valve and AMD said in July that they had collaborated to build a new portable gaming computer called the steam bridge. The device looks a lot like the nintendo switch, but is the first portable PC-compatible console and can play the full Steam library of Windows PC games. After the Steam Deck was officially announced last July, orders for the device on the Steam website were so fast and furious that they briefly overwhelmed the servers. Then in November Valve informed people who had placed orders whose delivery would be postponed to February 2022 due to the chip supply shortage.
Rivian R1T and R1S. Rivian Automotive recently held an IPO it earned it nearly $12 billion and valued the new electric vehicle at more than $65 billion, more than some of the world’s best-known automakers. The company is working to deliver a fleet of local delivery vans to Amazon, which owns 20% of Rivian. But its flagship products are an electric pickup truck and an electric SUV. The company is now starting production on the truck, the R1T, which it expects to begin shipping in higher volumes in 2022 for a starting price of $67,500. The SUV, the R1S, will start at $70,000.
Apple Universal Control. Universal Control isn’t an actual product, but it might as well account for the high level of anticipation among Apple loyalists. At its WWDC conference in June 2021, the company announced that upcoming versions of its iOS and MacOS operating systems will allow users to control a Mac and iPad from a keyboard and mouse or a touchpad. For example, you can use a Mac keyboard to type text on the iPad screen or use the mouse to drag content from the iPad to the Mac. Apple originally announced the new feature with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey and that it would arrive “in the fall”. But like Jason Snell at six colors pointed outApple now has updated its website say that the Universal Control function will arrive next spring.
Magic jump 2. Magic Leap says it will release its Magic Leap 2 Mixed Reality Headset Next year. It will be smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Magic Leap 1, and will have a faster processor and better battery life. It also has a decidedly more svelte and less steampunk design language. Notably, the field of view of the lens-integrated displays (where the digital imagery is mixed with the real-world view) is also much larger. The company has turned to selling its AR glasses to businesses, particularly the healthcare, manufacturing and defense sectors, where they will be used for everything from worker training to remote surgery.
Meta Quest 3. Meta (née Facebook) said in her grand presentation of the metaverse in October that he was working on a new virtual reality device intended to introduce people to metaverse-like experiences. The code name for this device is Cambria Project. This left some people wondering about the fate of the sequel to the already popular Meta Oculus Quest 2 headset, the Quest 3. (The company is phasing out the Oculus name.) Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that his company is still working on the device, but gave no firm time frame for its release. It will likely arrive in 2022, if the product’s current release cadence holds. The Quest 3 will feature a more powerful processor and possibly a better battery, and it could sell for even less than the Quest 2’s $299 price tag. It’s also possible that Meta will brand the Project Cambria device under its choice during 2022.
Apple iPhone 14. As usual, Apple isn’t talking about next year’s iPhones. But if it stays true to tradition, it will launch a new line of iPhones called iPhone 14 in fall 2022. MacRumors believes the lineup will consist of a 6.1-inch iPhone 14, a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max inches. The main design themes of the iPhone 13 (mainly the flat metal edges) will likely remain. But some reports say the new phones will either have a smaller “notch” (for cameras and sensors) on the front, and others say the notch will disappear altogether. Some also believe that the camera lenses will no longer protrude from the back surface of the phones, but will be flush.
Rumor has it that the 120Hz (120 times per second) screen refresh rate that was supported in this year’s iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models will be added to a cheaper non-Pro iPhone 14 model next year . All iPhone 14 models will likely get processor speed boosts and camera upgrades (report says Pro models will get a 48 megapixel camera). It’s uncertain whether there will be an iPhone 14 Mini to follow this year’s iPhone 13 Mini; sales were reportedly weak for the 5.4-inch armored device.
Google Pixel watch. Google’s main role in smartwatches so far has been to provide the operating system that powers many of them – Wear OS, which it merged with Samsung’s Tizen operating system. But the company purchase of fitness clothing manufacturer Fitbit in 2019 suggested to some that Google could be out soon his own smartwatch in the same way he developed his own Pixel smartphones. The smartwatch is also expected to use the Pixel brand name. Google hasn’t confirmed any of this, but the level of chatter surrounding the product is growing.
Apple AR glasses. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a pair of mixed reality glasses. The release date has long remained a mystery, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is often right about Apple releases, says the product could launch as early as the end of 2022. Kuo says the device will be powered by a couple of Apple’s in-house chips – one for the lens-integrated OLED displays, and a less powerful one for processing information collected by the device’s cameras and sensors. Kuo says Apple sees the device as the eventual replacement for the iPhone as people’s central personal computing device. The glasses will also be able to display VR experiences, Kuo says. Color me skeptical about it appearing in 2022, but we’ll see.
Microsoft Surface Neo. In October 2019, Microsoft announced that it was going to release a dual screen tablet called Surface Neo. It was supposed to run Windows 10X, but Microsoft later ditched the OS. It was going to be powered by an Intel Lakefield processor, which Intel later discontinued in the middle all his worries. Now the Neo has been postponed to 2022. Microsoft has now released a first and second generation of its first dual-screen phone/tablet, the Surface Duo, but the devices would have not sold well. So it’s possible the Neo may never see the light of day.
Chevrolet Silverado E. GM CEO Mary Barra is set to unveil her company’s latest all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Silverado E Truckduring (virtual) keynote at CES on Jan. 4. The truck features a fixed glass roof (the first on a Chevy vehicle), which creates a fishbowl effect in the cabin with maximum view of the outside world. The lack of a combustion engine paves the way for plenty of room for front and rear passengers, Chevy says. The vehicle, which can steer with all four wheels, can travel 400 miles on a single charge using the GM-developed engine Ultium Modular Battery System. Production of the new electric truck is not expected to begin until 2023.
Google AR glasses. Google started playing with augmented reality a long time ago with Tango Project. In 2018, he released his AR development framework ARCor. And, of course, in the 2010s, it gained notoriety with its pioneering but despised Google Glass smart glasses. But the company has never admitted to working on its own pair of real AR glasses. Now new job offers strongly recommend that’s all. One of the job postings reads, “Our team builds the software components that control and manage the hardware of our augmented reality (AR) products.” What the listings don’t suggest is when Google might finally launch its AR glasses (if they really exist) on the market. It is unlikely that he will do so next year.