Year Ender 2023: The year belongs to ChatGPT, GenAI, Apple’s spatial computing & lighter, foldable smartphone

Apple unveiled the Apple Vision Pro and its era of spatial computing.

ChatGPT and Generative AI hogged consumer tech headlines in a year when our devices got smarter. Apple unveiled its ‘vision’ for the future as it began to look at life beyond the iPhone. Smartphones became lighter even as mobile photography got better. OnePlus took the foldable challenge to Samsung with its first attempt at a foldable smartphone while Samsung shook up the tablet segment with water-resistant tablets.

ChatGPT makes 2023 one of the most innovative years in tech

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It might have launched in 2022, but 2023 is a year that probably belongs to ChatGPT and sparked an unprecedented consumer interest in AI. ChatGPT got off to a flying start in 2022 clocking its first million users in just five days. It broke the 100 million barrier in early 2023. ChatGPT made tech more accessible and human – it’s almost like chatting with a real person. Google’s betting big on its Chat GPT rival Gemini which has also started playing out in smartphone experiences. The big game changer in ChatGPT is it’s Large Language Models that power it. This is the tech that makes conversational AI happen

The Spatial computing era

While the iPhone launch in September might have grabbed more eyeballs, it was the WWDC (World-wide developers conference) 2023 that was Apple’s big play for the future. Apple unveiled the Apple Vision Pro and its vision for spatial computing. Analysts have been predicting that Apple expects the iPhone to make way for AR or mixed reality by the 2030s. We could be seeing the beginning of this change with Apple Vision Pro, a new headset finished with premium materials, including a laminated glass and a gorgeous aluminium alloy frame. Packed with two ultra-high-resolution displays, Apple Vision Pro can transform any space into a personal movie theatre with a screen that feels 100ft wide and an advanced Spatial Audio system. Apple has announced that this pricey ($3,499) gadget will debut in early 2024 in the US.

CES sets the tone for sustainability

The year’s first big tech event – the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas set the tone for more sustainability in the consumer tech space. ASUS claimed that it has used 1,500 tonnes of recycled plastic in its products since 2017. The brand’s ASUS Zenbook S OLED (2023) wasn’t just one of the lightest ultrabooks of the year; all metals and plastics originate from recycled sources. The 2023 Apple Watch Series 9 became a big part of Apple’s drive for Carbon neutrality by 2030. Apple claims that the Series 9 is net zero – the brand’s first carbon-neutral product.

Made in India iPhone

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Apple iPhone 15 line-up. Apple iPhone 15 line-up.

According to Bloomberg, Apple made India-built iPhone 15 units available for purchase in India and other regions on the first day of sales. This is the first time India-made iPhones arrived on the same day as iPhones manufactured in China. The 2023 iPhone was probably the biggest overhaul of the iPhone since the iPhone X in 2017. Apple finally ditched the Lightning port makes for a more universal USB Type-C port (across all iPhone 15 models). The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max were lighter thanks to an all-new titanium finish and come with an all-new Action button that we first experienced on the 2022 Apple Watch Ultra. They also became the first smartphones to be powered a 3-nanometer chip (The A17 Pro Chip).

One year of 5G in India

October 1, 2023 marked one year of 5G in India. Jio and Airtel have quickly ramped up 5G coverage across the country with millions of subscribers coming on board. While quite a few premium smartphones have been 5G ready, 2023 saw a wave of affordable 5G-ready smartphones like the Redmi 12 hit the market.

Foldable smartphones are here to stay

OnePlus Open OnePlus Open

While Samsung might have a massive head start in the foldable smartphone segment, OnePlus hit all the right notes with the OnePlus Open, it’s first ever foldable. You get two vibrant, Super Fluid AMOLED displays (6.31-inch and 7.82-inch) displays that are both equally functional and feature a 120 Hz refresh rate. The Samsung Galaxy Flip 5 was the showstopper at Samsung’s big Galaxy Unpacked event in Korea while OPPO’s flip alternative – the Find N3 Flip adopted an interesting vertical approach for its cover display that allows you to view apps in their native resolution.

The ‘anywhere’ tablet

Samsung Tab S9 Samsung Tab S9

Tablet sales might have slowed after the highs of the pandemic but dismiss them at your own peril. Samsung injected new life into the segment with the Galaxy Tablet S9 series billed as the first water-proof tablet. The performance of this premium tab remains unchanged even when completely submerged in the water, making it an anywhere work and play accessory that’s ready for your camping trips or extreme outdoors.

Meta’s VR pitch

Meta Quest 3 Meta Quest 3

While Apple might be betting big on Spatial Reality, Meta unveiled a couple of innovative gadgets with a VR pitch. The big showstopper was the Meta Quest 3 an improved VR headset with mixed reality features and anew Snapdragon chipset to power it’s mixed and virtual reality features. Priced at $499, the headset was made available in 23 countries (India is not on the list) through the Meta store. Meta also partnered with EssilorLuxottica to launch a new generation of Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses. You can livestream (on Facebook or Instagram) from the glasses and snap an image or video clip from your unique point of view.

The Generative AI era smartphone 

Pixel 8 Pro Pixel 8 Pro

Google unveiled its flagship smartphones for 2023 – Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, calling them the generative AI-era smartphone.  Google was among the first brands to harness the power of AI for its mobile shooters. Think Night Sight (Google’s lowlight photography solution) or handy tricks like Magic Eraser or Photo Unblur that we enjoyed using on the Pixel 7 twins. The Pixel 8 twins ramped up AI experiences with features like Audio Magic and  Best Shot. And a new update brings more AI features like smart compose for your texts as well as improved transcription and summary options for your audio recordings, making it an even more handy tool in meetings.