Anyone else remember this record? It’s actually one of the first actual CDs I bought, back when buying a CD was an incredibly forward-thinking thing to do. But that’s not the point of this article, not really. It seems like we really are actually heading into a “golden age” of wireless devices, and it’s coming whether you want it or not.
Of course we would all rather be wireless than have wires all the time. It would be wonderful to use any device we want anywhere by simply moving it; ideally the device would be recharged wirelessly too. That all could be coming. Let’s take a look at why this is the best time ever for wireless devices.
After about half a decade of mucking around, wireless charging is finally starting to get some traction. Samsung may have struck out with its Galaxy Note 7, but they deserve a lot of credit for pushing wireless charging and the Qi wireless charging standard. You’re starting to see it in cars, and I believe you’ll see it in bedroom lamps too; of course everyone puts a phone next to the bed so a lamp designed to be a wireless charger seems like a no brainer. At some point Apple will get on this bandwagon too, they’ll call it iCharge or something and claim they invented it, and after that we’ll all be charging our phones wirelessly. Wireless charging could come to other devices too, making it easier to charge your remote, your earbuds, whatever. It’s all coming in the near future. I even think that we’ll see more wireless charging for cars; park your hybrid in a designated space and it will trickle charge while you’re shopping.
We’re so close. SO close. Apple’s AirPods are almost here and although they are obviously not the first wireless headphones, as I said Apple claims they invented everything. In this case they really seem to be pushing this technology forward. I haven’t tried them yet, but the reviews are quite positive; they don’t seem to fall out of your ear as easily as we all worried and they sort of just work. And honestly, they are the coolest looking Bluetooth earpiece ever, which is hardly difficult considering that most Bluetooth earpieces make you look like an investment banker from the mid-2000s. I forecast that the writing is on the wall for wired headphones, and that pretty much every earphone, headphone or earbud will be wireless in 5 years, or it will be in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.
We have officially hit the point with Wi-Fi where it is faster than any normal human needs it to be. Properly configured, Wi-Fi can be three times faster than Gigabit Ethernet and provide you with the ability to stream stuff from your home devices at speeds that could keep even a part of teenagers happy. As for cellular data, we’re very close to being able to get 100 megabit speeds over LTE. I think you’ll see that in the next 12 months. Then maybe another 18 months before there’s enough wireless capacity that a normal person will be able to afford a 1TB data plan, which would let almost anyone use cellular data at home. At that point, why have home internet that’s separate from your cell data plan? Why not just pay one company? It’s coming, and it’s coming faster than you think.
As we venture ever further into the “Internet of Things,” you’ll see more and more devices communicate using super-low-powered Bluetooth connections. I’m talking about something that could go 1-2 years without needing any sort of a charge, and is so inexpensive that it could literally be built into anything. We already have low-power products that help you find your keys and car, and I’m talking about devices that can unlock doors, deliver medicine… honestly there’s no limit. Some people find this a little scary, and I’ll admit I’m one of them, but if everything goes right it could be incredible.
I think if you look at what the next few years could be for all of us, it’s really refreshing to see it as a wireless utopia. We could all use a little bit more utopia, don’t you think?