As another decade draws to a close, it’s worth considering some of the technology that has changed and shaped the way we live and conduct business.
Apple iPhone – technically launched in 2007, however the iPhone 4s – unveiled in October 2011 – was the big game-changer for Apple’s business. The freshly redesigned device included three new features that would define the way we use personal tech devices for the foreseeable future: Siri, iCloud (on iOS 5), and a camera that could capture both eight-megapixel still photos and 1080p HD videos.
Cloud everywhere – with IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft dominating the cloud industry, it’s no wonder that almost everything is in the cloud. Today, we have incredibly cheap storage in the cloud, licensing models based purely on cloud technologies like Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud, SAP and SalesForce.
Ride-sharing apps – UBER and Lyft – Who would have thought a couple of tech bros having a hard time getting a cab in San Francisco would lead to one of the most transformative technologies of the decade? UberCab launched in June 2010, which let people could call a “cab” with the push of a virtual smartphone button.
Apple iPad – 2013, the iPad Air redefined what “thin and light” meant, and the 2015 iPad Pro was the first Apple table to work with a stylus pen, attach to an always-charging “smart” keyboard, and run on a powerful 64-bit A9X chip. The iPad is no longer just a nice tablet for reading magazines and watching videos; it’s the computer of the future
WhatsApp – In early 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion (yes, billion with a “b”). And what a prescient acquisition that was, as WhatsApp has swelled to 1.6 billion users and has become one of the most important social networks in the world.
Tesla Model S – It was not the first all-electric car to hit the mass market, but you’d think the Tesla Model S was the first simply because of the way it captured the imagination of car lovers. Tesla shifted its focus from the smaller Roadster to the luxurious, five-door Model S and officially launched the coveted EV in June of 2012.
Amazon Echo – The Echo simply appeared on Amazon’s website one morning back in November 2014, its unceremonious reveal giving little indication of just how influential this product would be in the latter half of this decade. Whether or not we wanted voice-control smart speakers or displays in our lives (most of us are still on the fence about those), Amazon went ahead and thrust it in front of us anyway, and almost every major tech maker has followed suit. Now, the question for the next decade is: Will tech companies be able to train the AI used in these “smart” devices without employing other humans to listen to our voice queries?
SpaceX Falcon Heavy – This truly was the “product launch” to top all launches. In early February 2018, seven years after first announcing the project, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully blasted a three-core rocket with 27 engines called the Falcon Heavy into space. Capable of lifting 140,000 pounds of cargo into lower orbit, it’s the most powerful launch vehicle in the world, and it was built at a fraction of the cost of NASA’s newest rocket. The successful test flight even included a nod to Elon Musk’s other company: The payload included a cherry-red Tesla Roadster, with a mannequin (“Starman”) at the wheel.
Google Maps and Wayz – Where would we be? Quite likely lost! Originally founded in 2006, Google acquired Waze Mobile in June 2013. The app was updated in 2011 to display real-time, community-curated points of interest, including local events such as street fairs and protests