Over the weekend, our friends at Android Central surprised the wearables industry by publishing a series of photos of the long-rumored Pixel Watch in the wild. Of course, we’ve seen renders and heard rumors about this watch, but to see it in the flesh (so to speak) is another matter entirely. According to the news story, the item was found in a restaurant, and if you’ve been paying attention to the tech space for a while, that might evoke memories of Gizmodo finding an unreleased iPhone 4 in a bar years ago.
One of the prime benefits of finding hardware in the wild is that it is proof that the thing we all want and have heard so much about actually exists. The Pixel Watch is a thing that Google is actually working on. Not only that, but physical hardware also suggests that a release might be imminent. Up until now, the Pixel Watch only existed in rumors and renders (which are really just rumors plus CAD software). Now we know it’s a thing.
So it got us thinking, what other unannounced products would we love to find in a bar somewhere? Here are some ideas we came up with.
We’re going to start with an item that has been part of the rumor mill for as long or even longer than the Pixel Watch. Apple has put a lot of emphasis on AR over the past several years. It built lidar into the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro, and it built it into iPads as well. Speaking of the iPad, that’s currently the best portal into Apple’s world of AR, but that isn’t the best implementation, now is it?
Yes, the expansive screen of the iPad Pro can help you visualize AR in the real world, but a headset is always on and always there, just waiting for you to take in the world. But so far that hardware has not been seen anywhere in any form, so at best it’s still a rumor — and a patent filing or two. Seeing the hardware would help us believe that we’re going to finally get the hardware Apple is not ready to give us.
The Nintendo Switch is one of our favorite gaming consoles today. It’s flexible and portable, and can still push some pretty powerful games. The Switch is also home to one of the best games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Recently, Otto Kratky wrote for Digital Trends about the problems an update to the game could encounter. Specifically, will the Nintendo Switch be able to handle a game like The Legend of Zelda 2. Accordion to Kratky, the next version of the game needs to be bigger in every way, and the old Switch would struggle to keep up.
Enter the Switch Pro, or the theoretical Switch Pro, that is. Of course, the device doesn’t exist. Rumors of its imminent unveiling have lingered for years. The closest we got was last year’s Switch OLED, which is nice, but we’re not there yet. Finding a supercharged Nintendo Switch would get people excited again and confirm that just because Nintendo’s gaming hardware is portable, doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.
Oh TCL, you were showing such promise. TCL kicked off 2021 with a bang, promising not only to release a foldable phone before the end of the year, but also showing off a concept idea of a 17-inch rollable screen. Since then, we’ve seen more tame concepts like the Chicago foldable and my personal favorite, the Fold ‘n Roll. Those are nice, but we already know they exist. The rollable concept from CES 2021 is another matter entirely. That rollable was honestly more science fiction than a concept. TCL reportedly has dozens of folding and rolling concept prototypes out there, and this is one I’d like to see.
Sure, it almost certainly won’t work. But even a nonworking concept prototype could go a long way in showing how it might work. That alone is worth the price of admission, and I would be all over that thing just trying to figure out the engineering behind it, and possible use cases for it.
When I asked Digital Trends A/V Editor Phil Nickinson’s opinion on what he’d love to find in a bar or restaurant, he responded simply with “servers.” I admit I was taken aback, not really expecting such an enterprise-focused solution. But it really makes sense when you think about it. Servers are the backbone of the communications industry, which is so important in today’s hybrid work environment. So finding some new and upcoming hardware to power that back end could be a huge wake-up call for the industry at large.
On second thought, it’s also entirely possible I interrupted Phil at lunch, so maybe it’s best to just move on.
We have another Apple entry on the list, and why not? Apple practically invented the idea of leaving hardware in a bar. This product though isn’t a rumor. We know it’s coming. We’re just not sure what it’ll be when it gets here. The M2-powered Macbook Air will have a radically different design and insane amounts of power. Of course, the Macbook Air is already ridiculously thin and light, but Apple is looking to up its game once again with a slightly larger screen, the reintroduction of MagSafe, and color choices akin to the 24-inch iMac. The Macbook Air could also see a notch in the screen and a squared-off design in the chassis.
But of course, the star of the show would be the M2 processor. Apple has already upped its processor game with the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra, but we haven’t seen an M2 yet, and you can bet the folks in our computing section are eager to put something that powerful through its paces. The M1 is already insanely fast (with native apps,of course), so actually seeing how much more power is possible is exciting. Seeing it before everyone else is just icing on the cake.
Sonos is synonymous with sound, but the company has yet to deliver a set of wireless headphones, and just what’s up with that? Well, it turns out Sonos might be looking to upend the buffet table in the world of wireless sound by introducing Wi-Fi to wireless headphones. Wi-Fi would allow for a much better sound signal to reach your ears than what Bluetooth can currently provide. But it’s fraught with challenges. To start with, batteries need to be bigger and cables need to be thicker.
Finding a set of Sonos headphones would be pretty amazing because we would get a sneak peek at how Sonos is solving those particular problems. Plus, it would finally be proof that Sonos is actually working on this product, and not just submitting patent applications. It’s one thing to design it; it’s another thing to make it. If Sonos is putting together this tech, we badly want to put hands (and heads) on it.
Just imagine you’re sitting in a TGI Fridays, chowing down on your endless mozzarella sticks basket and contemplating other bad life choices you’ve made, and you look over and see a robot just sitting at the next table over. It could happen to anybody really. The engineer just stood up from the table, checked for their wallet, keys, and phone, and then headed out to the car and “Oops! I forgot my robot!”
As one does.
Well, now you have the opportunity to grab that thing and toss it into the back of your PT Cruiser and hurry home to fill out our tip form. Think about it, of all the robots in all the restaurants in all the world, this one ended up in yours!
As much as we like to think these things could happen, they probably won’t. But that’s what we all figured for the Pixel Watch too. You just never know. So, the next time you head out for a nice dinner with the fam, or belly up to the bar in your favorite watering hole, keep your eyes peeled. You never know what might be sitting on the next table over.