5 things Apple fans should watch for at CES 2019

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The biggest tech show of the year is nearly here.
The biggest tech show of the year is nearly here.
Photo: CES

Prepare your news feeds for an avalanche of gadget announcements.

CES 2019 — the biggest electronics trade show in the world — is set to kick off in Las Vegas next week where nearly every tech company on the planet (except Apple) will be showing off their latest wares. Even though Apple won’t officially be at the event, dozens of its employees will be roaming the show floor observing how the competition is trying to catch up.

While you won’t see any new Apple products at CES the company’s presence will certainly be felt from smart homes to self-driving car tech. Here’s what we’re looking forward to most at this year’s show.

5G Everywhere

This Intel modem will likely power the first 5G iPhone.
This Intel modem will likely power the first 5G iPhone.
Photo: Intel

The iPhone isn’t expected to get 5G until 2020, but plenty of Apple’s competitors will be busting out 5G capable phones in Vegas. PC manufacturers are also planning to bust out some new laptops that come with 5G modems. Adding blazing fast 5G data speeds to laptops and smartphones will unlock tons of new potential for users.

There’s also a possibility that 5G modems will make their way into the cars of the future, allowing vehicles to “talk” to each other. The biggest hurdle for all these 5G devices though will be the slow rollout from the networks. AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks will trickle out to limited major markets in 2019 but it’s not going to be widely available in most places until late-2020 at the earliest.

Autonomous driving tech

Apple car
Apple is invested heavily in self-driving tech.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Cars have quickly taken over CES as the most interesting part of the show in the last few years. Electric vehicles and self-driving technology are all the rage and there will probably be some amazing concepts on display. Apple has been working on a self-driving car for years but we

Futuristic passenger vehicles are cool but we’re also really stoked for how self-driving tech will be applied in other use-cases. Udlev, a startup that promises to deliver groceries to your home via its fleet of driverless vans, will be doing demos of its product. 11 major automakers will also be at the show to exhibit their cars of the future and the tech that will make it all possible.

Folding Smartphones

smartphone

Nearly every major smartphone manufacturer allegedly plans to put out their first folding smartphone in 2019. Apple’s won’t arrive until 2020 and the past has proven that sometimes it’s better for Apple to be late but get it right. Still, we should get a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come.

Samsung might bust out its concept folding Galaxy phone that it showed off late last year. There’s also a folding phone from Chinese company Royale out there that we’re dying to see in action. There were also be a lot of traditional smartphones on display with neat design ticks like pop-out cameras and punch-hole cameras that are tightly integrated into the display.

AR/VR Headsets

Trying out the Vuzix Blade augmented reality smart glasses at Mobile World Congress 2018.
The Vuzix Blade AR smart glasses offer a glimpse of the future.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

With iPhone sales on the decline, Apple’s in need of a new market to take over and augmented reality could be one of them. The company supposedly has a team of hundreds of engineers working on different AR and VR headsets. CES 2019 could highlight some of the ideas Apple is pursuing in its labs.

A lot of headset makers will like HTC will be displaying their lighter and cheaper VR headsets. Consumer interest in VR hasn’t really taken off so it will be interesting to see if any companies will be able to move the meter with something new and exciting.

Fitness wearables

Fitbit

Apple Watch finally has some decent competition from the likes of Fitbit and Garmin. More companies will be aiming to take a chunk of the wearables market as more people turn to tech to help improve their fitness.

My inbox has been flooded with emails from CES vendors peddling wearables that do everything from help prevent drowning, get over jetlag and of course, track your steps. Other mobile devices with an ECG might make an appearance and there will certainly be no shortage of Apple Watch accessories.