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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Future Is Now: What We Imagined for 2013 — 10 Years Ago

Predicting the future is hard, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. We’re Wired, after all.

Ten years ago, we boldly declared that we’d be living with phones on our wrists, data-driven
goggles on our eyes and gadgets that would safety-test our food for us. Turns out, a lot of
the things Sonia Zjawinski conceptualized in our “Living in 2013” feature way back in 2003
were remarkably close to what we’ve seen. We even got the iPhone right (sort of).

And so, as we look back on life in 2013 circa 2003, we’re going to spin it forward once again
to tell you what life will be like in 2023.

Predicted for 2003 (above):
Apple redefined the desktop, laptop, and MP3 player. The next insanely great thing: an LCD
arm cuff that includes a PDA, wireless Internet, a mini iPod, and, of course, a phone. The
iPhone bracelet's motion sensor allows you to scroll through apps and files with the flick of
a wrist, its clasp holds a digicam for use during video calls, and its wireless ear clip lets you
listen and speak to callers. And everything can be done via voice recognition or touchscreen.

Delivered in 2013:
Hey, it turns out, Apple gave us an iPhone after all! We got the name right, and even seemed
to know about FaceTime. But the form factor details? Not so much. While you can wear an
iPod nano as a watch, or make a call with your iPhone, if you want the watch-plus-phone
combination that we teased you with 10 years ago, for now you'll need to pick up a secondary
gadget that can transmit to your phone, like this Pebble.

Looking ahead to 2023:
Here's the thing, the screen on a watch is simply too small to display lots of data. And as an
input device? Forget it. Yet keeping your phone out of sight means you often can't interact with
your data on the go. The obvious answer is a variable size display. Samsung has already
demonstrated a pretty convincing foldable OLED display prototype. Given 10 more years, we can
easily see one screen serving multiple purposes by taking on multiple form factors, depending on
whether you wanted to simply glance at it to read a message, or unfold it to write your reply.

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