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‘Seeing’ Into the Future with Vuzix Blade

‘Seeing’ Into the Future with Vuzix Blade

If you haven’t ever watched the sci-fi show Black Mirror, I highly recommend it. Black Mirror is set in the near future and bases each episode on the accounts of several different peoples’ experiences with the technology and gadgets of their time.

One of them, which is in just about every episode, is a chip in their neck right behind the ear that lets them see visuals like a computer or smartphone device. Its almost as if this show has given great insight to tech companies to develop such possibilities. From early prototypes, such as the Google Glass, to the near public release of the Vuzix Blade.

The Rise and Fall of Google Glass

Google Glass was the talk and excitement for two years from 2012 to 2014. Developed by Google X, a facility within Google that is devoted to tech advancements, it was all the buzz being presumably the first smart glasses to be released to public. Designed to be like a pair of eyeglasses, the Google Glass produced a display much like a smartphone, but hands-free. Being able to communicate with the internet using “natural language” voice commands. It also featured a ‘timeline’ like you would see on your phone or computer with pictures, since the Google Glass was also able to take pictures and record 720p HD videos.

Google Glass

This smart glass brand was a little before its time. The Google Glass was taking much ridicule for being buggy and not complete. As of January of 2015, the Google Glass was announced needing redesigning and will not be released until it is ‘perfect’. Other companies have joined in and have learned from the early mistakes of the Google Glass prototypes that were released to the public.

The smart glasses of Google X were in redevelopment stage and were said to be released in 2017 as the Google Glass Enterprise Edition. As they were in redevelopment, other tech companies have scaled the wall of smart glass technology. Smart glasses, such as; the Solos, Eyesight Raptor, ODG R7/R8/R9, and my favorite the Vuzix Blade.

‘Black Mirror’ Coming to Life with the Vuzix Blade

The Vuzix Blade is scary when it comes to the resemblance of the ‘chip’ in the show Black Mirror. Although they are glasses not chips of course. Shown to the public at CES 2018, people were absolutely astonished. Not only for the first time did the Vuzix Blade look good and sleek, but just like in Black Mirror you have a hands free visual that allows you to use internet, take pictures, videos, even has a facial recognition system, and more. Alexa is even a feature as a smart assistant to help navigate, giving location based alerts, and messages.

Vuzix Blade

The Blade is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera and gives you quality 1080p video that makes pictures and videos crisp and vibrant. It’s also equipped with a 4GB of storage and the battery life is good for almost 2 and half hours. All used by voice controls and programmed to be multilingual. Don’t worry about outside noises interfering with your smart glass interaction, because it has a noise canceling microphone.

On the side of the glasses there is a touchpad built into the frame so you may interact with your ‘on screen’ visual display. You may use these glasses like a phone by connecting via Bluetooth and using the Micro USB ear-phone jack to talk to people and send messages. They can be used as sunglasses too, that can come in multiple lens colors and all of them are standard UV protection. People with prescription eye glasses can get script Blades that also come with the UV protected lens.

‘Seeing’ Into the Future with Vuzix Blade

Right now people can reserve their Vuzix Blades by going to their website. The Blade is a little on the steep side with Vuzix starting them at $1,800. The company does say in due time that price could drop to $1,000, but for all the technology that this pair of smart glasses can provide, the price of $1,800 doesn’t sound so bad. Take into consideration the buggy and incomplete Google Glass nearly 6 years ago was $1,500 and an additional $225 for custom colored lenses. The Vuzix Blade will be released to consumers in the second quarter of this year and will hopefully bring the full ‘Black Mirror’ experience.

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Quantum Computing Becoming a Reality

Quantum Computing Becoming a Reality

Making computers faster and more powerful is something that companies have always been aiming for. However, quantum computing is the one idea that could take that to the next level. Processing power has reached a point where it cannot go much higher without breaking the quantum barrier, and breaking that barrier would be a huge step leading to benefits for all of society. Many companies have been working to break that barrier as quantum computing emerges.

Key Facts About Quantum Computing

Quantum computing aims to develop computer technology based on quantum theory, which explains the properties and behaviors of matter on the atomic level and below the atomic level (sub-atomic or quantum level). So, quantum computing tries to take advantage of the strange behaviors exhibited by matter at the quantum level. We already know that the computers we use today perform calculations using binary “bits” composed of one and zero, but quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits) which can exist in both states at the same time, along with other states in between.

Quantum Computing

For that reason, qubits have the property of quantum entanglement, which means that groups of particles depend on each other and cannot be described independently. These groups of particles could, theoretically, be an unlimited distance apart, but scientists have found that if they are linked by quantum entanglement, they are able to transfer information between each other. Using this knowledge, computer scientists have been working to take advantage of this and build a quantum computer that is much more efficient than the conventional computers we know today.

First Quantum Computers

In 1982, the idea of quantum computing was first proposed. Since then, the idea has been used to crack encryption standards, and for a quantum network. The first commercial business, 1Qbit, was also established in 2012. Recently, all of this time and dedication to quantum computing has brought results. In 2016, IBM launched Q via cloud which offered 5 qubit quantum computing services. It upgraded to 20 qubits last year which greatly improves processing power. Now, other companies have been getting in on the action. Google, NASA, and Lockheed Martin have been taking advantage of D-Wave’s quantum computing infrastructure while Alibaba and Baidu work to create their own.


Alibaba and Baidu Enter the Race

Alibaba just released an 11 qubit quantum computer to the market that makes it the second quantum computer. Still, it doesn’t beat the 20 qubit system IBM has. Many of the details of Alibaba’s system have not yet been released, but its emergence into the race for quantum computers shows that bigger and better things are coming.

Shortly after Alibaba, Baidu announced its own launch of an institute for quantum computing which will be dedicated to the application of quantum computing software and information technology. The institute will be headed by Professor Duan Runyao, who says he plans to turn it into a world-class institution within five years.

During those five years, Baidu’s plan is to have quantum computing gradually integrated into the business. The fact that quantum computing will become such a huge part of Baidu’s business shows that they are eager to compete. Neither these companies or IBM are close to the scale of D-Wave, but they can only gain knowledge and improve from these first trials.


The huge potential of quantum computing brings huge players into the competition to create a quantum computer. D-Wave has been working on quantum computing for eight years, developing a processor that has been used only in research labs. The company recently received a $50 million investment, so it plans to move into the public cloud soon. This is the next step as D-Wave’s technology has already been used by researchers at other companies for years.

Quantum Computing Becoming a Reality

In 2015, Google and NASA worked together on a project using a D-Wave machine – they said it performed tasks 100 million times faster than the processors on conventional computers. D-Wave machines have been used by Google, NASA, and Lockheed Martin for other experiments, such as; seeing if quantum computers can solve problems in drug discovery, cyber-security, and space exploration. Even in research alone, quantum computing has an abundance of benefits, but it would also benefit the public greatly.

According to D-Wave’s CEO Vern Brownell, the company’s technology will be available in the public cloud for the first time this year by either Amazon, Microsoft or Google. He says he want to be, “…an arms merchant for the cloud providers” because, “…once one of them has the capability, all of them will want to have it”. D-Wave is driving the hardware forward and letting other companies use the hardware for applications and software tools.

D-Wave is in a great position; they have been working on quantum computing for so long that they have a huge lead on any other company. Therefore, they can provide all of the resources to huge companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

Google’s Quantum Computer Chip

However, while D-Wave creates machines, Google has also been developing its own chip. This quantum computer chip is called Bristlecone and it is composed of 72 qubits. This will go far above and beyond the 9 qubit device they already made, and any problems they had with that device should now be worked out. Google plans to use quantum computing for physics and chemistry simulations along with artificial intelligence chores. Since AI is something Google is very invested in, quantum computing will directly benefit the company in that way.

Bristlecone: Google’s Quantum Computer Chip

Quantum Computing for Everyone

Ideally, quantum computing will improve to the point where everyone can enjoy and benefit from it, not just companies and computer scientists. Right now, quantum computers are far too complex and expensive to be commercialized. Although D-Wave has open-sourced its software, that only allows people to work with it and solve problems at the software level. They won’t have a quantum computer to actually use the software.

Now, companies must work to make quantum computers more economical, or at least have specific, useful tasks that only they can perform. Quantum computers are technically “here”, but they are not here for everyone yet. The potential is incredible. However, commercializing quantum computers could still be a ways off.

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Google Joins Forces with the Pentagon

Google Joins Forces with the Pentagon

The Department of Defense has teamed up with Google in order to use artificial intelligence in the military. The Defense Department needs help with the technology of their new algorithmic warfare initiative, and who better to do it than Google? The tech giant has been working on so many new projects, and branching out into numerous areas of gadgets and technology.

One of those areas is artificial intelligence (AI), so Google is perfect for this job, and it is easy to see why they would jump at the chance to spread their technology to the Department of Defense (DOD). Google and the DOD were brought together by the technology staffing company, ECS Federal, and the partnership has been kept very private – the contract was first reported on Tuesday. So, what does the Pentagon want Google for exactly?

Project Maven

The Pentagon already has a fleet of 1,100 drones with the intention to improve combat performance “by automating the decision-making process in locating and targeting combatants…” (The Intercept). Google is being used to help these drones detect images, faces, and behavioral patterns while looking through copious amounts of video footage in order to achieve this goal of accuracy in bombing and other aspects of combat.

Project Maven

This is all part of Project Maven, which was launched in 2017 to create an, “Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team which advocates using sophisticated algorithm-based technologies to combat rising competitors…” (rt). The Pentagon wants to begin using big data and machine learning to improve combat and speed up the process of analyzing collected data. This will not only take out human error, but it will also cut down on the number of humans actually needed.

Race for AI

This comes at a time when AI is extremely prevalent in warfare. According to a DOD report, the three main things causing a push for AI are, “…department budgetary challenges, evolving security requirements, and a changing military environment”. Right now, the Pentagon maintains the title of the top AI developer in the world, but it is in a heated competition with other countries. Just last month, there were discussions of Chinese efforts to develop quantum computing and AI to try to get ahead of the US, so Google is a very important addition to the team at this time.

Google’s TensorFlow

In order to help the Pentagon, Google is providing its AI framework, TensorFlow, which will aid in drone imagery and analysis. TensorFlow is an open-source, machine learning framework which was released at the end of 2015. Since then, it has been used for both research and production at Google.


According to a Google spokesperson, this particular AI for the Department of Defense is being trained to simply analyze drone footage and flag specific things for human review. This is huge for Google as the company looks to expand its reach for its cloud and AI service businesses. However, some Google employees don’t agree with working with the military.

Debate at Google

A Google spokesperson has already reassured people that the company’s technology is not being used in any sort of combat capacity, but some employees are still not satisfied. All that is known is that the program Google is helping develop will determine what data is safe to discard and what data should be kept for training, but it is unknown what the training is for.

Google Joins Forces with the Pentagon

Google has the mottos “Don’t Be Evil” and “Do the right thing”, so working with the military carries the possibility of violating those. It is easy to see how some employees are worried about the technology being used in negative ways, but combat will happen with or without Google. With Google involved, the company is helping keep the country and troops safe while profiting. It seems to be a win-win, and using Google’s technology means Google can control how it’s used anyways.

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Amazon is Expanding its Household Gadgets with Acquisition of Ring

Amazon is Expanding its Household Gadgets with Acquisition of Ring

Last Tuesday, Amazon agreed on a deal to buy the company, Ring, which is their second largest acquisition to date. For anyone who doesn’t know, Ring is a global home security company specializing in motion based cameras and doorbells, so that customers can see outside their homes using phones, tablets, or computers. This is a clear sign that Amazon is moving farther into the home security market and connected household gadgets.

More About Ring

Ring first became well known when its founder, Jamie Siminoff, appeared on ABC’s show Shark Tank five years ago and was declined investment from the shows judges. Since then, the Alexa Fund, which is Amazon’s venture capital for voice technology, invested in the company; Their line of devices is already integrated with Amazon’s Alexa because of this. Anyone with Amazon’s Alexa equipped devices can purchase Ring cameras or doorbells and then ask Alexa to use them to show a feed of their property at any time. So, why is Ring giving the reigns to Amazon now?

Why Sell Ring to Amazon?

Amazon gives Ring a much larger reach than the small company would have been able to get on their own, and their ideals line up. According to Siminoff, “the idea that Amazon goes into things to win, to deliver the best service to the customer, that aligns with what we want to do. We want to deliver the most cost-effective solution at scale” (The Guardian).

For, Ring, it was never about the money, but rather the customers. They believe Amazon has the same idea, but will be able to get their product to more customers at a better cost. Amazon has a better chance at changing home security for people around the world.

What’s in it For Amazon?

Before buying Ring, Amazon was already producing and selling two camera products – the Echo Look fashion advice camera and the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera. The latter is part of Amazon’s revamp of delivery service as it is part of their Key service.

Amazon’s Key service utilizes a smartlock to allow packages to be put inside homes rather than left outside for a chance of being stolen, or spoiled in the case of food. Amazon’s interests in delivery technology, and especially their recent move into the grocery delivery space may be the reason for buying Ring as, “…[they] believe smart security devices will be an important factor in driving user adoption” (The Guardian).

Building a Fleet of Household Gadgets

However, aiding their grocery delivery service probably isn’t the only reason Amazon bought Ring; It all ties into the never-ending development of Alexa as well. These security cameras and doorbells expand Amazon’s network of internet-connected household gadgets – all controlled by Alexa. As Alexa begins to control more and more devices in consumers’ homes, Amazon’s reach becomes wider than ever before.

Amazon is Expanding its Household Gadgets with Acquisition of Ring

Before Amazon took over, Ring doorbells were already in use by 2 million customers, so any of those customers who didn’t already have Amazon or Alexa in their home now do. With the addition of Ring, Amazon is competing in so many markets, it is nearly impossible to miss them, and definitely impossible to count them out in the future. The company is slowly but surely solidifying its place in our lives.

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Astranis Space Technologies: A New Approach to Satellite Technology

Astranis Space Technologies: A New Approach to Satellite Technology

Satellite telecommunication technology looks to find ways to better connect people all over the world, and a lot is going on in the industry right now. Recently, Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX launched two test satellites for its Starlink Internet Project. Competing with SpaceX is OneWeb.

Both companies are in a tight race to transmit data around the world, and they have the same idea of how to do it. Their plan is to have thousands of smaller satellites less than 1500 kilometers above Earth in order to provide constant, low-latency internet connection to people. However, Astranis Space Technologies, a startup company, has a different idea on how to give billions of people access to Internet through satellites.

Astranis Approach

Recently, Astranis received a Series A round investment of $13.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz and other venture capital firms. This will fund their ideas for satellite technology and allow them to compete with SpaceX and OneWeb. What is their plan? While SpaceX and OneWeb plan to have satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO), Astranis wants to launch their satellites into geostationary orbit (GEO).

With LEO, satellites are rotating around the Earth every 90 minutes, so “…hundreds of thousands of satellites…”(EdgyLabs) are needed to give complete coverage. On top of needing fewer satellites, the GEO will allow the satellites to maintain fixed positions above specific points on Earth, so they can provide connectivity to people right after being launched.

The Astranis satellites will be smaller (about 300 kg each), but this approach should allow them to cover broader geographic areas. A prototype was already launched in January this year and was successfully able to give broadband and HD video streaming functionality. John Gedmark, a rocket scientist who co-founded Astranis says, “you have to have hundreds of satellites up before you can be operational in [LEO]…This is a more direct path” which has been proven by the fact that functionality has been seen with the launch of just one satellite so far.

Astranis Space Technologies: A New Approach to Satellite Technology

Radio Differences

On top of the major differences is the orbit of the satellites, instead of an analog radio, Astranis satellites use a software-defined radio. This means that the satellites can process digital signals and increase its performance using that information. Another plus of the software-defined radio is that while other satellites must have frequency bands hardwired, Astranis satellites can use different frequency bands, depending on the situation, without hard-wiring them. Hopefully, this technology will make transmission, both; easier and cheaper.

What’s Next For Astranis Space Technologies

Astranis is already manufacturing the satellites, and hopes to launch the first commercial satellite next year. The first customers will reportedly be satellite operators who already use satellite bandwidth for Internet services. But, Martin Casado, a director on the Astranis board, says the real goal of Astranis is to connect the people in rural areas who really need a connectivity solution. Right now, it’s almost impossible for people in sparsely populated areas to get connected, because it is expensive and there are no practical solutions to making it affordable. So for Astranis, the goal has never really been to compete with SpaceX or OneWeb. If Astranis can solve this problem, they will be happy.

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Mobile Networks Going to Outer Space

Mobile Networks Going to Outer Space

Our phones allow us to connect with people all around the world, but now mobile networks are being taken to a new level. Next year, the moon is set to get its own mobile phone network. It’s all part of a project backing a privately funded moon mission – in fact, this will be the first privately funded moon mission. This comes 50 years after NASA astronauts first walked on the moon, and the advancements made in technology in those 50 years are really going to help.

The Key Players

The companies working to support the mission are Vodafone Germany, Nokia and Audi. These companies are helping PTScientists, a Berlin-based company, to see that a launch happens in 2019 from Cape Canaveral. According to the Vodafone Germany Chief Executive, “this project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure” (Reuters).

“Radically innovative” is a good way to describe it; nothing like this has been done before, so as you can imagine, it is taking some serious thinking outside the box to make this happen. And, most likely, there will be some trial and error, and bumps along the road. But what is the technology looking like so far?

The Ultra Compact Network

The hardware consists of an extremely small device for the huge things it is going to do – it weighs less than a bag of sugar (1 kilo). Somehow, this tiny device, which has been aptly named the Ultra Compact Network, is going to deliver 4G mobile coverage to the moon. Nokia is going to be working with Vodafone Germany as the technology partner helping to create the Ultra Compact Network. Then, this network will be paired with two Audi lunar Quattro rovers to allow communication from the moon to Earth.

Why 4G?

The long term evolution (LTE) of the network, which is standard for 4G networks, will help by saving a lot of power while sending data, making this a sustainable way to communicate with and transfer data from the moon. One question people may have, is why they are using 4G?, when we have brand new 5G networks already running. The answer to that is a simple one – 5G networks are still in the testing stages, so they are not guaranteed to be stable enough to work well on the surface of the moon.

Mobile Networks Going to Outer Space

The Mission

Once this device is ready to go (the plan is 2019), the first privately funded moon mission will be carried out. But what is this mission? Robert Bohme, the CEO and founder of PTScientists said, “in order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet” (LiveScience).

The Audi lunar Quattro rovers will explore NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle and use the network created by Vodafone and Nokia to communicate its findings back to Earth. This communication will come in the form of a live-stream HD video for a global audience. The information gathered and the information that is continually gathered using this network, will allow for the development of new space technologies, improve education, and improve research among other things.

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OLED Taking The Charge in Home Entertainment

OLED Taking the Charge in Home Entertainment

At almost every home, the TV is the centerpiece, especially since most of one’s free time after a long day is spent in their family room watching television. Over the past couple years, we have seen the evolution of televisions expand – introducing us to 4K Ultra High Definition.

We now also have the capability of using our TV like a tablet, computer, or phone as they are now able to download apps, use web browsers, and notify of weather & sport updates. Now, LG has displayed a 65 inch 2160p 4K OLED TV at the 2018 CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

Rollin’ Into the Future

OLED had already been brought to our attention. But LG added a twist, releasing a prototype TV which is able to roll back down into its stand with just a push of a button! This makes it easy to transport and safely store. Not only is it great for transport and such, but you can even leave a small portion of it sticking up. At this point the TV turns into an informational center with weather, news, and sports updates. Basically, it’s a coil of paper that provides a 4K 2160p resolution! This also leaves your wall to be used as you wish when the TV is not in use, making your family room look more appealing for guests.

Breakdown of OLED

It’s insane to think that a sheet of paper that can be bent and rolled like a newspaper can even project a picture. It’s like something out of a Harry Potter movie. OLED is an organic light-emitting diode. It contains thin flexible sheets of organic electroluminescent material, making it super light, flexible enough that it could technically even be on clothing, and gives off a brighter and clearer picture. It emits light as a response to electric current when provided. The difference with OLED is that it provides it’s own. Each pixel provides its own illumination instead of an LCD TV in which an LED backlight illuminates all the pixels. This is possible because the organic molecules create their electrons and holes.

OLED’s Potential Downfall

While we see the positives – thinner, lighter, more flexible, and a brighter picture – OLED has its disadvantages which may cause the price of OLED to drop dramatically. With LCD and LED having lifetimes ranging from 46,000 to 230,000 hours you will be shocked to hear that OLED’s lifetime is significantly shorter. The organics it takes to make them only last around 14,000 hours or 5 years at 8 hours a day of use. It being so expensive to buy an OLED TV you would expect to get your moneys worth.

That doesn’t matter though, because manufacturing costs are way too expensive right now to even think to bring down the price. Every electronic is susceptible to being damaged by water, but to our surprise, OLED is even less protected against it. Organic materials are easily damaged by water intrusions into the display. Which inevitably leaves OLEDs having to improve on a sealing process necessary for their displays.

OLED Taking The Charge in Home Entertainment

There are a lot of very good things coming from OLED technology. Like any other new
technology, there are still many things to work out as well. We will soon see how the current
problems are solved, what problems arise in the future, and what will be added to the OLED

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Apple’s Next Generation AirPod Headphones May Hit the Market this Year

Apple’s Next Generation AirPod Headphones May Hit the Market this Year

Apple Watch didn’t take off as some Apple investors had hoped for in 2015, and the company is still looking for a blockbuster since then. If the Bloomberg reports are true, then Apple Inc is working on the next generation of AirPods. AirPod headphones have not been appreciated enough for their success since their launch in 2016. They were introduced along with the Watch Series 2 and iPhone 7.The AirPod headphones were so marketed by Apple that they could be ordered online.

If reliable sources are true, Apple will roll out the next generation AirPod model with an upgraded chip this year. Subsequently, they are also planning on a water-resistant model.

The Bluetooth wireless earbuds launched in 2016 were a hot favorite with the buyers. The sound quality they provided was excellent and its Siri controls provided good accuracy. What Apple has in store for the new AirPod 2 model is an awaited event; in terms of pricing, specifications and new features.

Apple has always believed in releasing yearly updates of its products, avoiding the big rush and making them reliable. Even a third version is expected to be released in 2019.

The scheduled March 2018 launch of the iPhone SE 2 may concur with the release of the AirPod 2. If not, the StudioPods to be released in September of this year may see the AirPod 2 being introduced with them.

Apple’s Next Generation AirPod Headphones May Hit the Market this Year

New AirPod 2 Features Expected

New features are always the main driving factor for the iterative upgrades from Apple, and we may get these dazzlers:

  • Hey Siri: You can activate Siri on your AirPods by tapping them. However, the new model will allow voice activation that will be totally hands-free. This feature is currently available on iPad, HomePod, and iPhone.
  • Water Resistant: The 3rd generation AirPods expected to be launched in 2019 will have the water resistance capability. Not good for a dive in the pool though, but fine when it rains.
  • Wireless Charging: The AirPower wireless charging pad by Apple will work with the AirPod 2. The quality of wireless charging, will be very high as a result.

AirPod 2 Price and Technical Specifications

We’re still not sure about the technical specifications the AirPod 2 will offer, but a W2 wireless chip is certain to be included with Apple Watch Series 3. Apple claims that W2 Wi-Fi is 85% faster and 50% more power efficient than its predecessor. So, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will be better off than W1 that appeared with the original AirPod.

The current headphones cost around $159 at the moment. It is expected that the AirPod 2 will be available pretty much in the same price range. It is the 3rd generation model that is likely to see a price rise. A more significant design rehash is also likely with the 3rd gen model.

The wearables revenue of Apple grew by 70% in 2017 and it was the 2nd largest contributor to their growth in revenues. AirPods don’t come with the hype that is associated with the iPhone or the Apple Watch, but they are expected to be a key element in Apple’s augmented reality push.

AirPods will surpass Apple Watch in the coming decade as the headphone gradually becomes more wearable and an audio augmented device. By 2022 the AirPods will generate the same revenue as the Apple Watch for the blue-chip company.

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