We're drawing in on the end of the year and I'm feeling a little nostalgic for 2015. The year brought some great tech that goes in our pockets, to on our desks, to on our wrists, and even all over our faces1. Mid-range phones got very good this year and everyone started making smart watches, even though Apple seems to be the only one who can sell one.
It's been fun, and I'm sure you'll see tons of buying guides and "best tech of the year" posts elsewhere on the web, and I guess you could consider this one of those, but don't expect anything crazy on this little list. This isn't what I think is the coolest tech I got/saw this year, it's the 3 things that I got the most value from and could not live without.
I've given the Apple Watch shit here and there, but it's absolutely the best tech thing I bought all year. It now kills me when I have to charge my Watch and my phone buzzes. It feels barbaric! It amazing how quickly you get used to the subtle taps on your wrist.
The convenience of having a hands-free Siri on your wrist is also a treasure. I can set reminders, reply to text messages, and more on my bike without breaking stride. I wish she could do a little more2, but it's a huge asset and feels like magic when it works perfectly.
And then there's the little things. Setting timers is simple and insanely quick. The silent alarm is a great way to gently rouse yourself in the morning. And don't get me started on the activity rings. People make jokes about the stand reminders, but no other fitness tracking system I have used (and I've used Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, and Breeze) does as good as job at getting you be active throughout the day.
The Apple Watch has become an essential part of me. It's a marvelous product that is bound to get even better as it grows up. There's a lot of stuff in my tech life that I enjoy but could live without, but the Apple Watch is not one of them. It's essential.
This is almost too big of a topic to get into in this piece, but the iPad Air 2 is a stunningly good computer. This is no mere consumption device, it's a full fledged laptop replacement. I still have my Mac, and I do some things on it, but the iPad is where I prefer to work and play.
Apple like Coda, Adobe Lightroom, Ferrite, Ulysses, Reeder, Tweetbot, and many others make this the computer I pick up in the morning and it's the one I do my work on all the way to the end of the night. I'd love to see more great software come to the platform, but what's there already is pretty darn impressive.
I've paired a Bluetooth keyboard with it as well, but I'm amazed with how fast I'm getting on the on-screen keyboard. I make very few errors and can crank out articles just as fast as I can on the Mac. And oh my god, how good is that two finger cursor control?! Whoa, love it!
What Apple has done for the iPad in iOS 9 was amazing and made it an even more powerful tool. And with the release of the iPad Pro, I'm more confident than ever that the iPad has a bright future and will only improve.
A router? Thrilling choice, I know, but this router is by far the best one I have ever used. It's an 802.11ac dual-band 5GHz and 2.4GHz router that's fast, reliable, and easy to use. As cord cutter's we stream a lot of video and tend to consume a lot of data (hey, Comcast!) and this router handles everything like a champ. 3 devices connected via ethernet and 7 or 8 wireless devices are always connected and we never feel like we're overloading it. Our 75Mbps download speed is easily handed by this little guy.
I do wish that it handled networked drives better and it could afford to look a little better, but a good router makes everything else in your tech life better, so this is a central part of my tech life. If you're in the market for a better router, this gets my highest recommendation.