You thought news might slow down in December? Wrong. So much happened.
Ah, 2020. Not all was lost, believe it or not. To give you a 40,000ft view of the tech world over the last 12 months, and drop you a few reminders of really major events that happened this year in tech, I went through every Daily Authority newsletter sent in 2020 (previously known as DGiT Daily) and whittled it down to this.
Of course, I’m not able to touch on absolutely everything but just a few things that really caught my eye outside of new devices.
2020 welcomed the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and Series S gaming consoles, both high-performance devices sold at less than cost to get gamers hooked. Microsoft pushed its Game Pass offering pushed extra hard this year.
While ARM-based chips have dominated our smartphones, thanks to leading work from Qualcomm and Apple, the desktop transition has been slower, due to the dominance of Intel-AMD and x86 processors, and Windows, and Mac. That changed in 2020, thanks largely to Apple.
Apple spent years working on its move away from Intel, and a major event in tech, finally unveiled its M1 chipset on November 10th. Three new Macs sported the Arm-based chipset, including two laptops, and it was powerful, efficient, and able to emulate some x86 apps at faster speeds than even the most optimistic would’ve hoped for. The M1 chipset marked a shift, and with desktop processors expected from Apple in 2021, and talk of both Google, for its Pixel line, and Microsoft, working on similar for its servers and Surface PCs (The Verge), there’s a new age of computing evolving over the next few years.
Momentous? Well, I’m stretching it a bit. But 2020 was the year a new charger won’t necessarily come with a new phone.
We heard the news as early as July that in the next round of flagships from Samsung, a charger won’t come in the box. With solid reporting that Apple would phase out the included charge first, both to reduce costs and with environmental reasoning as well, the wider smartphone industry was sure to follow. The iPhone 12 series duly debuted without one, and while Samsung poked fun at Apple, the Samsung Galaxy S21 will be the first major Samsung flagship without a charger in the box in 2021, too.
While 2020 wasn’t the start of SpaceX’s Starlink launches, 2020 was the first time the public got access to its satellite internet. And things looked pretty good.
Also: SpaceX managed two successful crewed flights to the ISS in 2020. Remarkable. (The Guardian).
An absolutely awful virus came to dominate the world. I’m not here to rehash the ins and out, but COVID-19 affected all parts of life across the globe in almost entirely negative ways. There is some good, though: For example, 75,000 academic papers were filed on the virus, per Elsevier. Remarkably, we got a vaccine, and it was approved so fast that people were vaccinated in the same year. Three vaccines, astonishingly.
CES 2020 was one of the last major tech conferences to be held in person in early January. Given the latest research showing COVID-19 cases were already in France in December, CES 2020 might’ve been a breakout event, with classic #CESFlu tweets taking on a different meaning looking back now. The question of what exactly might’ve affected people at CES hasn’t been answered as far as I know.
Airplane tech to round off 2020! When Boeing’s enormous 777X airplane made its successful maiden voyage, the company’s 737 MAX fiasco (CNN) was finally sidelined for a minute. Things were looking up: the 777X with its folding wingtips remained on track to debut sometime in 2022. With listed costs at $442.2 million per plane before customary discounts, it’s going to be important for the company, and for Emirates, the first customer.
Boeing’s year, though, probably peaked on January 25 after the 777X flight. While the 737 Max troubles were resolved in November after 20 long months of pain, 2020 air traffic was a little down on other years, you might say. The biggest capacity troubles were at airplane storage facilities, such as one in Central Australia. Boeing ended the 747 in July, too. Still, the 777X looks impressive.
Anything I missed? I mean, sure. We can talk the first folding laptop, the shift to working-from-home (and need to stay sane) and video calls taking over our lives. Let me know what mattered to you, too.
It’s getting really close to your last chance to grab a holiday deal for someone special! Here are some last-minute present ideas sure to arrive in time — digital gifts!
I’ve just been informed that although the Covid vaccine won’t contain microchips, it will have the new U2 album
— Chris Stein (@chrissteinplays) December 16, 2020