From the release of the Apple Watch to NASA missions to Pluto and Mars, here is a look at stories set to make the news next year.
1. Wearable reckoning
This year’s CES in Las Vegas set the tone for a wearables-obsessed year and it was a hot mess of so-so products.
Then, in September, Apple announced its Watch. It’s scheduled for release in spring 2015 and represents the biggest test for wearables so far.
If Apple can’t make a wearable work, probably no one else can. Even much-hyped launches from tech megacorps can quietly die – remember Google Glass.
Actually, it’s still slated for a consumer launch next year. If both those fail, we may finally get to retire the worst word ever invented.
2. The internet breaks down (in a good way)
In 2013, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on mass surveillance.
In 2014, users caught up, asking for better privacy and encryption tools: Whatsapp’s 600 million users all now benefit from end-to-end encryption.
Next year, that trend goes even further, with the emergence of a truly decentralised internet.
Ethereum borrows the idea of the blockchain popularised by Bitcoin to deliver a ton of activities on a decentralised network, with no one in charge
“Voting, domain names, financial exchanges, crowdfunding, company governance, contracts and agreements of most kind, intellectual property, and even smart property,” according to the website.
MaidSafe and Open-Root are also trying similar things.
Then there’s Indie Web, dedicated to bringing you an internet free of spyware – whether corporate or governmental – also launching next year.
These services will remain niche in 2015, but could point to a very different future for the web.
3. More cool space stuff
Space is cool every year, but 2014 rammed that home, with the Rosetta mission and the announcement from NASA that it would send humans to Mars.
Next year the momentum will continue to build.
SpaceX is planning its first manned flight with version two of its Dragon capsule.
NASA will launch missions to Pluto and Mars (New Horizons and InSight), and China will launch another lunar rover.
Mars One, the slightly alarming crowdfunded mission to send humans to the red planet, will also commence astronaut training.
Virgin Galactic will also be looking to recover from the very sad loss of one of its pilots, Michael Alsbury.