The buzz on upcoming tech product releases

Published June 30th, 2016 - 11:43 GMT
The second half of 2016 is going to play host to an impressive number of consumer tech products that will be better than their predecessors in every way imaginable. (Shutterstock/View Apart)
The second half of 2016 is going to play host to an impressive number of consumer tech products that will be better than their predecessors in every way imaginable. (Shutterstock/View Apart)

The second half of 2016 is going to play host to an impressive number of consumer tech products that will be better than their predecessors in every way imaginable. Here, we will be taking you through a list of 6 consumer tech products that will sell like hotcakes during the second half of this year, or during the start of next year. These consumer tech products will range from the ever popular and ubiquitous smartphones, notebooks and of course gaming consoles. 

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7

In terms of features, Galaxy Note 5 offered consumers less as opposed to a Galaxy Note 4 where expandable storage, and removable storage were taken into account. Though it was a great phone in its own right, the Galaxy Note 7 is set to raise the bar quite effectively against its predecessor. We have stated that the rumored price tag of the phablet is said to be $904.3, but if you’re going for the latest and greatest handset belonging to the Note series, then such a decision requires you to spend quite a bit of money.

Galaxy Note 7 has been rumored to come with a dual-camera, in order to stay ahead of the competition. We reckon that both cameras will be a 12.3MP sensor present in Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. With a Galaxy Note 5 coming without an expandable storage card slot and a smaller battery compared to a Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 7 has been rumored to come with a 4,000mAh and bring back the microSD card slot to facilitate users, along with a massive 5.8-inch screen with a QHD display (2560 x 1440 pixels).

However, one change that we have not seen in any Galaxy Note smartphone is an iris scanner and with Samsung focusing on beefing up the security of its Galaxy Note 7, we hope to see such a feature added that will combine ideally with the fingerprint sensor.

The official announcement of Galaxy Note 7 is going to take place in August, so be sure to check out our coverage of the latest news of the upcoming flagship.

2. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

It’s strange that so many manufacturers release an abundant number of models each year and its always Apple that takes the larger piece of the cake with just two iPhone announcements (three if you count the release of the iPhone SE). With iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (or iPhone 7 Pro, the model name is still not confirmed), we could see a dual-camera configuration, but it’s unconfirmed if the feature is going to be available for the phablet sized smartphone, for both devices, or if it is going to be omitted completely.

What we do know is Apple is very keen on getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the latest rumor suggests that that smartphone packaging of the iPhone includes a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter for those that want to plug in their headphones that make use of the old connector. However, what this means is that users will not be able to charge the device and listen to music at the same time, which will present a huge degree of inconvenience, unless of course Apple adds wireless charging to those growing list of features.

As for the hardware specifications, both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are rumored to come with upgraded storage models, speculating that Apple might finally be getting rid of the 16GB and 64GB model completely and replacing them with the following:

  • 32GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB

Apple A10 is expected to house a dual-core custom Cyclone processor that is going to be supplemented by 3GB of RAM, and we certainly hope that the company has given significant thought to placing in a larger battery capacity. The changes coming from both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are going to be vast and we hope that they become a worthy upgrade for those who want to trade-in their iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus for better performing models.

3. 2016 MacBook Pro

We’ll get to the hardware aspects of the notebooks in a bit, but the upcoming MacBook Pro lineup is expected to be completely revamped product line by bringing together a plethora of features that are not present on any MacBook so far. One of them is the notorious OLED display that we keep hearing about. This display is going to replace the physical function buttons present on top of the QWERTY keyboard and from what we can tell, the OLED display will allow you to open up applications from the display itself rather than using the trackpad to open up the same app from the display of the MacBook.

If you take a look at the concept images, we have a pretty fair assumption of what this OLED display will be able to do. First off, it will present a customization option to let users choose which app icons should be placed on the home screen. After that, as soon as you fire up the application, dedicated controls of that app will be present on the screen, allowing you to monitor and control that said app from the tiny display itself. We feel that this addition will allow users to gain more productivity from their MacBook Pro.

Another change that we might see is the addition of USB-C ports. Where the 12-inch MacBook came with just a single USB-C port, the upcoming notebooks have been rumored to feature 4 USB-C ports thus allowing you to charge several mobile devices and transfer data to other storage peripherals, all at once. There is also speculation that the upcoming MacBook Pro will get support for the Touch ID interface, but it has not been detailed if the security feature is going to be implemented inside the trackpad, or will there be a dedicated button present right next to that trackpad.  

Macbook Pro 13

What sort of hardware should we expect from the 2016 MacBook Pro?

With Intel’s Skylake processors being the top performing chips, it is no question that the company’s Core i5 and Core i7 series of CPUs are going to be present in the 2016 MacBook Pro. As always, the configuration of the notebooks will be as follows:

  • 13.3-inch MacBook Pro will feature dual-core Core i5 processors with Intel’s iGPU
  • 15.4-inch MacBook Pro will feature quad-core Core i7 processors with Intel’s iGPU, along with the option to choose an AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU.

We will be covering the 2016 MacBook Pro round off in a later topic so be sure to catch that while you’re reading this.

4. Google's non-Nexus smartphone

Do our eyes deceive us, or is Google looking to cut off its relationship with phone manufacturers it has maintained for years in pursuit of making its own smartphone? A Google non-Nexus smartphone will definitely be running stock Android, with the only difference being that instead of the manufacturer, the tech giant will decide the design and the hardware that goes into making that handset. In short, it appears that Google wants tighter control over every single aspect of the smartphone, including the most important one of them all: pricing.

HTC 10 is a beautiful smartphone without a sliver of a doubt, but its flagship status doesn’t exactly make it the most affordable one out there. With a rumored HTC Nexus scheduled to be announced later in the year, the company might get ahead of itself and do the same mistake that Motorola did when it announced its ludicrously expensive Nexus 6 for $649.99.

Let us hope that Google is able to produce a smartphone that not only runs stock Android, but possesses a plethora of features, an attractive design, powerful hardware and the best possible price tag, while carefully studying the rest of the competition. If Apple can do wonders with its own iPhones by taking care of every single aspect of the smartphone, then there is no reason why Google should not be able to replicate the same act.

5. Sony’s PlayStation Neo

PlayStation Neo is going to be the direct and only competitor to Microsoft’s ‘Project Scorpio’ by presenting its own 4K-capable gaming console to the vast and endless gaming community it has accumulated over the years. While there are no details provided of the hardware packing inside the upcoming console, if Sony is marketing the console to being able to play games at 4K, then we should expect some impressive hardware powering it up. Price wars will play a pivotal role in deciding the sales outcome and if Microsoft has learned anything, it’s not to overprice products for the sake of quick returns. 

These are the 6 top tech consumer products that we know you’ve been waiting to see. While some of them might not release this year, it goes without saying that ‘patience is a virtue’ and your patience will reward you greatly in the coming months. Do you feel that you want to add a product that is missing from this revered list or do you feel that there’s not much hype created about a specific item? Let us know your suggestions, questions and other matters of import in the comments.

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