Most anticipated tech announcements still to come in 2015

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We are already in the middle of 2015 – but there are still six months of amazing tech surprises that lie ahead of us for this year! Here are updates, announcements and releases from the tech world that are set to arrive in the second half of 2015.

Windows 10

Windows 10 has been called the last version of the operating system ever. Microsoft is moving towards a “software as a service” system with the (rumoured) July 2015 release. Major releases of Windows every few years or so will become a thing of the past, and only regular improvements and updates will occur in future.

Windows’ operating system components like the Start Menu and built-in apps are to be separated and will then be updated independently of each other. Microsoft Office will also receive regular updates (similar to a mobile app). Seven individual versions of Windows 10 have so far been announced, including IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, Home, Enterprise, Professional, Mobile Enterprise and Education. Preview builds of Windows 10 have already been given to select participants for testing.

It is said that there will be a free upgrade offered for Windows 10 (Home and Pro) to current Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users that have the appropriate licences. In future there is likely to be a monthly subscription fee attached to maintaining one’s use of the Windows operating system, but this has not been confirmed.

Android M (or Android 6.0)

The newest version of the Android operating system, Android M, is set to be released at the Google I/O event alongside the Nexus 5 during 28 and 29 May. The “M” in Android M is speculated to stand for Muffin, Marshmallow, Macaroon, Marzipan, Mud Cake or M&M – but we’ll have to wait a few more days to see the final sweet name.

One of the updates that can be expected is one-touch login for supported apps, which means there will be no need for entering a password. However, a built-in fingerprint scanner will be needed on Android-supported phones such as with the Samsung Galaxy S6.

The Smart Home will be a major focus of the new update, where one can gain control over connected devices at home and in office via Nest or other third parties.

Notifications have been a point of contention with users before for not being relevant. Android is now aiming to unify notifications across all platforms. Notifications will also be improved for Android Wear alongside better voice input to compete with the very successful Apple Watch.

When it comes to the design of Android M, a major overhaul is not expected. There will be refinements but overall it will look pretty much the same as previous versions.

Google I/O 2015 (May 28 and 29 ’15)

Google’s annual software developer-focused conference, Google I/O, always elicits a lot of excitement amongst tech enthusiasts. This year is no exception. Here are some of the things that have been creating the most buzz ahead of this event happening on May 28 and 29:

  • Android M – As discussed above, this operating system has been much anticipated, even though not much is known about how impactful it will truly be.
    Chromecast 2.0 – Chromecast is a media-streaming device that you can plug into your television’s HDMI port to stream entertainment and apps from your tablet, laptop or phone to the big screen. Its first release was met with open arms and praise, so Chromecast 2.0 is expected to evoke the same. There are rumours that it will provide support for 802.11 AC, 5GHz Wi-Fi and even 4K content.
  • Android TV – Despite Chromecast’s popularity (see above), perhaps there is no need for it at all. Google is supposedly planning to bring out the Android TV, which will make gaming on the big screen of your television and using your smartphone as a controller that much easier. However, there is concern that the lack of apps and games for Android TV at the moment will hinder its progress.
  • Google Glass 2.0 – Sales of Google Glass were halted in January 2015 and it left many people wondering if it will ever be as great as was promised. Development has now been handed over to Tony Fadell, the inventor of Nest and one of the people involved with development of the first iPod. It is expected that this new version will boast longer battery life, better sound quality and display, as well as being much cheaper for the man on the street to afford.
  • Android Auto – Rumours abound of cars that run entirely on the Android operating system, and that drivers won’t need to have an Android smartphone on hand to use them either. At Google I/O it is said that there will be demos and partner announcements surrounding Android Auto.

Apple WWDC (June 8–12 ’15)

Just like with Google I/O, many people look forward to what Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) will deliver each year. Here are some of the rumours going around about this June event:

  • Apple Music – Apple acquired Beats during August 2014 and have been working on plans to rebrand the music service ever since. Beats Music will supposedly be built into iTunes and also be available for Apple TV and Android. It will be the first time that Apple will be developing an in-house Android application. Costs for the music service will supposedly be between $7.99 (lower than competitors) and $9.99 (on par with other services like Spotify).
  • iOS 9 – The latest iOS update is said to be similar to that of the Mac OS X update Snow Leopard. There is likely to be more attention paid to stabilizing the OS and optimizing performance rather than new features and design. Some features will be added, including improvement of Siri, new San Francisco font, HomeKit “Home” app, iPad split-screen multitasking, indoor-mapping abilities for Maps and transit directions. There is also a goal to decrease the space needed for OS updates.
  • Apple TV – The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple is working on a new music- streaming service, and has been since 2009. They have been in talks with programmers like CBS, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney. It will be an online subscription-based streaming service that will have 25 channels. Cost should be between $30 and $40 per month, and it will be available on iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. It should be announced at WWDC, but only officially launched in the US in September.