The Upgrade

The Technology That Will Define 2019

A major iPhone shakeup, 5G, and even more bitcoin are on the horizon

Lance Ulanoff
Published in
6 min readJan 3, 2019

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Credit: Malte Mueller/Getty

AA year ago, I picked seven technologies that would play significant roles in 2018. Some of my predictions were correct, and some of them reappear on this list — 5G hasn’t quite happened yet, but we’re getting closer.

As George Saville, the 17th-century English statesman and essayist, once wrote, “The best qualification of a prophet is to have a good memory.” It’s a fancy way of saying the past is prologue, and no vision for the near-future is possible without analyzing past trends. That’s what I’ve done to concoct these informed guesses about the state of tech in 2019.

Of course, there are bound to be surprises and off-base prognostications. Don’t sue me if things go a bit differently than expected.

1. Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin opened 2018 at almost $17,000 in value and exited at under $4,000. This does not mean the end of it or other emerging cryptocurrencies.

The year 2018 taught us that the broad concept behind cryptocurrency — the blockchain — could be useful elsewhere. Expect token experiments in banking, business, and media to expand in 2019. Many will fail as token entrepreneurs struggle to connect offerings to real-world value. But immutable ledgers are attractive to an increasingly security-conscious world, and they will become the foundation of innumerable new ways of buying, selling, and accounting.

2. “Screen Time” Services

We loved social media, we overused it, and now we’re finding that it probably isn’t that good for us. In addition, whatever trust we once had in the world’s most popular social platform, Facebook, all but vanished in 2018. Thus, 2019 should bring a reconsideration of our obsession with sharing and those dopamine-producing likes and hearts.

Instead of measuring followers, we’ll start comparing screen times. Expect more apps, hardware, and IRL services to reward us for the time we don’t spend online. Apple’s iOS Screen Time, Android’s Dashboard, and third-party apps like Hold are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Lance Ulanoff
OneZero

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.