People Mourn the Loss of the Headphone Jack: After Apple removed the headphone jack from its latest iPhone in early 2017, people argued whether it was a beloved, crucial feature or a relic of the past. Many felt that removing it and forcing the use of an adapter was unnecessary, while others were ready to embrace the future of wireless headphones. Overall, it seems the public has adjusted and the headphone jack is on its way out.
Digital Assistants Make Themselves at Home: In 2015, Amazon created the smart speaker with its digital assistant Alexa, and since then, the idea has taken off. The adoption rate of these devices – which stream music, search the Internet, and control other in-home devices with simple voice commands – doubled in 2017 and is increasing steadily into 2018. Alexa remains the most popular, but other companies are trying to catch up. Google released a miniature version of its Home in October and Apple is going to release its HomePod at some point soon. Overall, it shows how technology is leaving our pockets and making itself at home in our living rooms.
Net Neutrality is No More: Mid-December marked the end for Net Neutrality, the law that prohibited Internet providers from varying speeds for different websites. Republicans argued the law limited the competition which could lead to cheaper Internet plans. Democrats insisted that, without the law, Internet providers have too much power and could slow down or impose fees on websites. It’ll be interesting to see how the Internet changes in 2018.
Trump Embraces Twitter: Throughout President Trump’s first year in office, he’s made consistent – and controversial – use of Twitter. Trump prefers to communicate directly with the people instead of relying on what he calls “fake news.” It is a huge change for an American president to rely so heavily on social media. Trump supporters love his straight talk, but critics say his unfiltered tweets are a danger, At one point, people even claimed Trump should be banned from Twitter for breaking its terms of service by “bullying.” Twitter responded that banning world leaders would be wrong, since Twitter is a way for them to reach so many people.
Equifax Hack Leaves Millions at Risk: September was not a good month for credit check company Equifax and its customers. Hackers accessed the personal information of 143 million Americans, including names, addresses, and social security numbers. This reminded us that no technology is truly secure –although the head of security at a company safeguarding millions of American’s information probably should have more than a music degree.
Apple Stumbles Through Battery-Gate: Sneaking into the news in the last week of 2017, it was discovered that Apple was slowing down iPhones that have older batteries. This came after years of talk about Apple and “planned obsolescence.” The company released a statement saying they only slowed down phones with older batteries to prevent the phones from unexpectedly shutting down. They insisted the problem could be fixed by replacing the phone’s battery, and offered to do it at a discount. If Apple had only been honest from the start, the company would have avoided tons of bad publicity.