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What’s coming from Apple, Samsung and Google

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We may still be in the dog days of summer, but look around and you’ll see the first signs of fall. The NFL preseason began on Thursday evening. Pumpkin spice everything is starting to infiltrate supermarkets, coffee houses and restaurants. And the tech world is on the cusp of its annual explosion of new products.

Samsung will get the ball rolling next week, with its Unpacked event on August 10. Apple, Google, Amazon and Meta will follow as the holiday season approaches.

Some items are predictable enough. New phones are as regular as clockwork. But it’s the wildcards that make this time of year particularly exciting for tech enthusiasts. A year ago, for example, Amazon unveiled his Astro robot, an “Alexa on wheels” that would follow you around the house. The year before, it touted a security drone. (Both products, it’s worth noting, are still available by invitation only).

The wildcards will be surprises, of course, but here are a few of the most anticipated gadgets that you’ll be hearing more about in the coming days and months.

Phones

Samsung has confirmed through a teaser video for its Unpacked event that the new . will introduce foldable smartphones, probably the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. Note that the fold is less noticeable, along with the usual improvements to the memory and camera. Hopefully the price will drop a bit too. Expect some peripherals too, like a new generation of Galaxy Buds earbuds.

[Animation: Samsung]

Apple hasn’t set a date for its fall show yet. (It tends to wait until almost the last minute to do this). It’s a pretty safe bet, though, that it’ll be held in September, and you can expect the iPhone 14 to be in the spotlight. Apple is expected to roll out four models this year, including a new Plus/Max version.

Google, meanwhile, should start selling the Pixel 7 in October, after teasing in May. It is expected to run on a second-generation Tensor chip and comes with Google’s Magic Eraser photo editing tool (which lets you remove unwanted objects from photos). The Pro model will have three cameras on the back, while the standard model will have two.

Watches

Look for bigger screens and a more robust housing on at least one model in the new crop of Apple Watches. Apple is leaning more and more on the sports market report in Bloomberg says the rugged version will have a screen larger than current models. A standard Apple Watch 8 and budget model are also expected to be part of the September event.

[Animation: Google]

Google, meanwhile, confirmed in May that it’s coming into the smartwatch game with the Pixel watch. That could be available sometime in October, likely alongside the Pixel 7. The renderings the company has shown point to a more minimalist design. Also expect it to have a sports focus, after Google’s acquisition of Fitbit last year, as well as some exclusive Android features.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality could be gearing up for a big push this holiday season. Sony’s PlayStation VR 2 could hit store shelves before the end of the year (though early 2023 is still a possibility), with an impressive spec list. The two OLED screens give users a 110-degree field of view, and the headset uses eye-tracking technology to both enhance the immersive experience and reduce motion sickness. The controllers will have the same haptic characteristics as the PS5 controller. And the game lineup is impressive, with VR episodes from the Horizon, Resident Evil and No Man’s Sky franchises.

Meanwhile, Meta is expected to introduce the Meta Quest Pro later this year, featuring more advanced sensors and mixed reality capabilities. It is expected to be a high-end product with a high-end price tag, possibly aimed more at enthusiasts and professionals. A rumor has it that face tracking sensors will make metaverse interactions more realistic. And Zuckerberg has also touted potential augmented reality (AR) features.

“Imagine working at your virtual desk with multiple screens, seeing your real desk so clearly that you can grab a pen and take notes without taking off your headset,” he said when unveiling what was then Project Cambria was called. “Or you do a workout with a virtual instructor in your living room.”

However, Apple is the real wild card in the AR/VR space. The company is widely expected to introduce a mixed reality headset, but there’s no good information on when that might happen or what features it would offer. whispershowever, would say it would combine elements of both VR and AR, allowing users to fuse digital content with the real world.

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