The end of the year is quickly approaching, and it also appears that my trusty 2011 iMac is also approaching a tipping point. Recently it has developed occasional screen artifacts, and my Google-fu is pointing towards a dying video card. Soon I’ll be at a crossroads where I need to determine if I want to get the video card replaced, or stat up with a new primary machine for myself. That will once again open the discussion of laptop vs desktop, but thanks to an interesting 2015 in the tech world, I have whole new choices to consider.
On the traditional desktop front, 2015 didn’t really bring anything new or earth-shattering. Most manufactures have adopted the traditional iMac all-in-one design for a segment of their desktops, but you can also still find the more traditional towers with tons of expansion and power for gamers. Processors and video cards have continued to advance, giving the average gamer even more incredible visuals and speed than ever before.
On the laptop side of the fence, things have gotten a bit more interesting. Apple unveiled their new MacBook, a 12 inch, ultra-portable that tried to bridge the gap between tablet and laptop, yet still remain on the laptop side of the fence. Beyond the new MacBook, the traditional laptop scene remained largely the same. Where things got more interesting was in the 2-in-1 convertible market.
With the advent of the Microsoft Surface a few years ago the design of 2-in-1 laptop/tablets has taken a whole new shape. This year Microsoft continued to up the game with their new Surface 3 and 4 Pro, as well as the new Surface Book. The Surface design was incredibly unique, with it’s kickstand and typepad cover. It’s proven to be a tremendously popular form factor, and has spawned a ton of copy-cats. Even corporate laptop lines from companies like HP have their Surface clones making inroads into the Enterprise market.
What Microsoft started with the Surface also caused a ripple with Google and Apple. Google developed their Pixel C, which frankly was is just a super powerful Android tablet with a halfhearted attempt at a keyboard. The more interesting development came from Apple with their iPad Pro. This beautiful and HUGE tablet landed with a lot of fanfare, and a keyboard cover that has gotten very positive reviews. At the end of the day however, it’s still iOS under the covers, and for many people that works just fine. Apple has chosen to go with a two device strategy for people who need both a powerful tablet, and a laptop. Microsoft Surface tries to make it all happen in one.
Therefore, if I do end up deciding to change devices I have a lot of options to consider. One device that hit the scene big time in 2015 that I will NOT be buying though is a smartwatch. The trend for wearable computers on your wrist is a fad that just has no appeal to me. I wear a GPS watch while running, but for the most part have little patience for a device strapped to my wrist all the time. Maybe I would get used to it, but overall I just don’t see the benefit of having a small screen on my wrist tell me I need to do something with the bigger screen in my pocket.
The year 2015 was a fun year to watch technology grow into new paradigms. I’m excited for what 2016 will bring, and what new devices and gadgets I’ll be able to play with in the coming year.