With the year almost coming to an end let’s take a look back at some of the more interesting technology developments of 2013. In no particular order.
Apple Mac Pro
Released Thursday 19 December. £2,500 for the Quad core, £3,299 for the Hex core.
The new Mac Pro has undergone a complete redesign, with aesthetics and thermal dissipation being key features in the new “trash can shaped” design. Boasting truly impressive hardware specifications the base model (if you can call it that) has an Intel Xeon E5 with 10MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, 12GB DDR3 memory (configurable unto 64GB), Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors (1280 stream processors, 2 teraflops performance), support for up to three 4k (UltraHD) displays or six thunderbolt displays all built into a sleak chassis weighing just 5km, 25cm high and 16cm in diameter.
Amazon Drones (aka Amazon Prime Air)
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s the postman.
Unmanned drones have featured somewhat heavily this year, from military use to commercial and personal they seem to be “doing the rounds”. Many thought this was a joke but Amazon are entertaining the idea of using these unmanned drones for parcel delivery. Once approved by the FAA we could see these unmanned drones flying over our houses and places of business (hopefully not bumping into one another and falling out of the sky) as early as 2015.
Wearable Technology from Google.
Not yet commercially available. Available to Google Glass Explorer participants for around £985
These android powered spectacles have a small built in display to present data to the wearer as well as a headset to receive audio and take verbal commands. They are capable of taking pictures and capturing video, streaming real time video, getting directions via Google maps, translating voice commands in a number of languages, making calls… There is so much potential here, and it’s really great to see that a tech giant has accepted the challenge and is making real progress in this field.
Sony PlayStation 4
Next Gen Gaming Console from Sony. £350
10x the power of the last generation PlayStation 3.
Power where it counts. The Sony PS4 shares the same CPU with the XBOX One (AMD Jaguar 8 core CPU ), albeit clocked slightly lower, but that’s not where the magic happens. With gaming machines the grunt of the work is done by the GPU, and the PS4 has a far superior GPU in comparison to the Microsoft counterpart.
The PS4 has an AMD Radeon HD7870 based GPU with 1152 shader processors (18 compute units) which on paper is 50% more powerful than the XBOX One.
Microsoft XBOX ONE
Next Gen Gaming Console from Microsoft. £500
The all-in-one Entertainment System.
More than just a next generation games console, Microsoft are going for a more complete home entertainment hub with the XBOX ONE. Live TV, Movies, Music, Gaming, Web, Apps. One device connected to your living room TV, acting as a pass through hub for other devices.
The XBOX ONE has a slightly faster CPU, but with a slightly lower end GPU, the AMD Radeon HD 7790 with 768 shader processors (12 compute units).
Valve Steam Machine (Steam Box)
Open Source, Free, Linux Gaming ? Finally.
With both native support for Linux games and streaming support for many Windows titles will this free and open source platform finally encourage more people to ditch Windows for a Linux platform. Well until there is more support for native Linux games probably not, but at least this might encourage graphics and display vendors to enhance support for Linux.
Lucky beta participants received a Steam Machine prototype on Friday 13th December 2013.