It was a year in which triple and even quad cameras almost became a norm.
The year is almost over, and as we look ahead to what the new year might hold for us, it is also the time to ponder what we did well and what could have been better in the past year. As far as personal technology goes, 2019 was an interesting year, and I would think the one in which many milestones were covered when it comes to crossing over from one era to another. This could also be because 2019 was also the end of a decade, a decade that changed our lives drastically.
Smartphones, the technology product that touches most number of lives the most number of ways, saw at least one dramatic change. This was the year when large batteries became the norm across Android, and even iOS, devices. So much so that Samsung Galaxy M30s was able to offer a 6000mAh battery in a slim chassis, thus finally overcoming a problem of physics that has held back smartphones for long. With the iPhone, too, offering batteries that could charge really fast and then hold the charge for well over a day, we can say 2019 was a year when smartphones got over the big pain point of battery life.
It was also a year in which triple and even quad cameras almost became a norm. An ultra-wide, regular and telephoto lens combo is now the standard across most price points, even though we all know most users will need, and use, just one of these most of the times. Even the iPhone went the triple camera way, but offered all settings from panorama to slow-motion across all the lenses. It also showed that on a powerful phone like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, all of these lenses along with the selfie camera can record 4K footage at the same time. Unprecedented in more ways than one.
The other big switchover was in cameras. I think this was the year the mirrorless cameras finally came on their own. While these cameras have been there for close to a decade, this year they became dominant across many price points and use cases. So much so that even professionals were now looking to upgrade to a mirrorless from their specced-up DSLRs. The fact that these cameras perform better in low light and are a bit lighter is helping them gain widespread acceptance across price points. Yes, both Nikon and Canon offer mirrorless cameras now, but it is Sony that lords over the new technology, with its Alpha range of cameras.
Then, the laptops; no one talks much about them these days. However, I was fascinated by how even affordable laptops are now thin and light. This is in contrast to the large and heavy devices most students and entry-level office executives used to lug around. With AMD Ryzen processors stealing a bit of Intel’s thunder, companies like Asus were offering entry-level laptops that were not much heavier than the Ultrabooks.
Even gaming laptops are becoming lighter. In fact, 2020 could be the year when it becomes pointless to launch a laptop that is an unnecessary burden on its user.
Meanwhile, in the course of the year, the iPad finally did what no tablet had done before, become powerful enough to run a heavy software like Adobe Photoshop. Yes, the latest iPad Pros are powerful enough to run a lot of software that could bother even some laptops. While Adobe launched unbundled apps that allowed users to take the power of the Photoshop to touchscreens, it also learnt that there is no longer a reason to offer 10 ways to add the same filter as it has done for decades. With some of the most powerful software in the world coming on touchscreens, we should be prepared to see a new wave of experts emerge with no context on how these software used to work before and hence with completely new, and maybe more natural, techniques to master these apps. Yes, it is truly a brave new world out there.