Well, we're still here. We are not biting the dust as a species in a giant fireball as the Mayans (or whatever nervous pessimist who interpreted the end of the Mayan calendar) predicted. And that's a good thing -- and not just because we all get to, y'know, keep living and stuff.
It's also because life is about to get really awesome. We have a lot of future tech to look forward to and geek out over in the coming year. Here are some things that'll make the post-non-apocalypse world a little cooler.
1. 3D Printers
Yes. Printing actual things. In 3D. While the technology has been around for a while, get ready to have it become more of a presence in the tech world--and even in your own home. For an example of what a 3D printer can do, check out this sweet video of the MakerBot Replicator 2.
The 'wow' doesn't stop at building models. Imagine large scale printers that could print entire rooms or buildings, or medical printers that can build entire body parts (already happened) or even finer tissues. The future!
2. Car Tech
Little by little, our cars are getting ever so much closer to becoming K.I.T.T., and I, for one, am SO down for that. The Google Driverless Cars are becoming more of a thing as more cities make them street-legal. 2013 model consumer-grade vehicles are getting increasingly smarter, with cars like the 2013 Dodge Dart even providing you with a Wi-Fi hotspot, and other models even notifying you if you hang out too long once the car in front of you has moved ahead -- so necessary in our neck of the woods.
3. A Smarter TV
So-called "smart" TVs are currently available, but in 2013, they will become a lot more ubiquitous -- and a lot bigger, offering higher resolutions and coming loaded with apps, games, and 3D capabilities. Don't have the actual television? Expect smart "sticks," USB sticks that come loaded with goodies, courtesy of Roku and perhaps even Google. With TVs boasting app services such as Netflix and Hulu, you're no longer confined to your laptop/mobile device or having a gaming console such as your Xbox or Wii do the streaming for you. And while we're on the gaming subject...
4. Next-Gen Gaming
All of the crystal balls have been pointing towards next-gen consoles appearing just in time for Holiday 2013. It's all rumor thus far, but the experts will eat their proverbial hats if we don't have an Xbox 720 or PS4 in our living rooms late next year. Sporting better graphics, more storage, and perhaps revamped controllers, expect more news on the next generation starting as soon as January, but definitely during next year's E3.
5. Whatever the next Apple thing is.
Let's face it. Whether it's the iPad 5, the New NEW (they mean it this time) New iPad, or the iPhone 5Sx.2, it's going to be better than what you have. It may not be better by much -- but it'll be just enough to make even the most conservative techie an early adopter.
Don't want to wait that long? No problem! Here are some sweet apps and tech you can enjoy right now to tide you over until next year:
1. Liquipel: Waterproof Your Phone!
It's a familiar story. You put your prized smartphone on the table or bar, only to have some ass bump your drink and spill it on your treasure---or even worse, the dreaded "asshole cat knocked my phone into the toilet" scenario. For around $59 plus shipping, you can permanently safeguard your phone from these liquid hazards thanks to Liquipel. Check and see if your phone is on the list of supported models, and send it off. You might be out a phone for two days, but it's a small price to pay to keep your phone from drowning.
2. iPad Mini
The 7" tablet market is what some call the 'Goldilocks' kind of tablet: not too big, not too small, but just right. Out of all of them, including the Google Nexus, Kindle, and Nook, the iPad Mini offers the best combination of size, weight, and app availability. After rocking the iPad 2 for a year, I must admit I was intrigued by just how more...'right' the mini felt in my hands.
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3. App: IntoNow
Take advantage of whatever tablet or mobile device you have and use it to add another layer to your TV viewing experience. More and more shows are hooking up with IntoNow, turning your device into a second screen showing you behind-the-scenes info, trivia, and other ways to interact with your favorite shows.
4. Game: Journey, PS3
Journey, the indie game that revolutionized the industry this year and made us fall in love with scarves again. No dialogue, no violence, just breathtaking beauty and the first ever video game soundtrack to be nominated for a Grammy. Journey has received multiple industry awards and tops myriad Game of the Year lists for a reason. You'll have to play it to believe it -- it's a game that more than makes the argument for video games as art.
5. Wii U
I know. Hear me out. While the launch titles may have been a bit of a dud save for games such as ZombiU, 2013 promises to have way better reasons to adopt this first major console change in about four years. Rayman Legends and a new Zelda offering are enough for me to get excited, and it still remains to be seen what other third-party developers can do with it. Take advantage of post-holiday sales and reap the benefits in 2013.