Ten tech innovations that have changed our lives13 November, 2015
Ten tech innovations that have changed our lives – by Chris Barraclough
With another big-screen bio of Steve Jobs hitting cinemas this past month, it’s safe to say that tech hasn’t just enriched our lives over the past couple of decades; it’s also seriously cool. In the days since Jobs rose to fame at Apple, we’ve seen all kinds of techy innovations that have made everyday life a load easier – and here’s our pick of the top ten.
1. The iPhone
You can’t have a tech-related list without mentioning one of Jobs’ biggest successes, the popular iPhone. The original smartphone brought efficient mobile internet to the world, made apps incredibly popular and paved the way for the likes of Android.
2. Online insurance
Back in the day, taking out an insurance policy was tougher than a week-old doughnut. You’d basically have to endure the expense and inconvenience of scheduling an appointment with an Independent Financial Adviser, whose sole judgement you then relied on to bag you the best policy. These days, online insurance providers such as Beagle Street can help you to pick the perfect policy for your personal needs in just ten minutes, without the need to even get out of bed. Quick, simple and generally stress-free.
3. Instant movies
The chore of trudging to your local video store to rent a movie (and your chosen film inevitably being out of stock) is now a distant, harrowing memory. Instead, simply sign up for one of the growing number of subscription and on-demand movie streaming services, which give you instant access to a huge catalogue of flicks for a few quid.
4. Social media and real-time news
These days it’s possible to discover the big news headlines before they even hit TV, thanks to social media services. You can hear perspectives from across the globe on all kinds of topics and trending issues, all with just a quick search. Or, alternatively, you can share with the world how you had an amazing tuna melt sub for lunch, or spam your followers with non-stop cat pics. #fuzzy.
If you love kicking back with a good book, chances are your suitcase used to be packed with paperbacks every time you flew off on holiday. These days you can thankfully carry hundreds of hefty tomes around on a tiny, slender eBook reader, wherever you happen to roam. With instant access to a massive online catalogue from popular retailers, you’ll never be stuck without something to read ever again.
6. On-demand music
Remember those days of carrying around plastic binders filled with CDs, or those clunky brick-like MP3 players that could only hold about twenty songs? Well, these days you can stream your tunes straight from the cloud, eliminating all of that hassle. With unlimited access to millions of songs for a small monthly fee, you’ll have no trouble finding something to bop along to whatever your mood.
7. Holidays made easy
No longer do you have to put up with travel agents selling you a cheap week in Benidorm, only to discover that the hotel is run-down with rude staff and a strange, cheesy odour. Now you can jump on the web and find a great-value holiday with real-life reviews and traveller photos, before getting the best possible deal from a comparison website. All while sipping tea on the sofa.
8. Messaging and video chat
Two decades ago, if you wanted to meet your friend somewhere, you had to call them beforehand and arrange a time and place to hook up. And then pray that they actually showed. Now you can simply jump on your phone and arrange an impromptu gathering, or even track your friends’ exact position using GPS. Plus, video chat services allow us to natter face-to-face with distant loved ones, even if they’re living on the other side of the globe.
9. Smartphone cameras
In the supposedly good ol’ days, taking photos of your family involved lugging around a camera everywhere you went, while shooting home movies meant shouldering a monstrous beast that wouldn’t look out of place in a BBC studio. Now you can record 4K video and take impressively sharp, detail-packed snaps on your humble smartphone. How wonderfully convenient.
10. Smart home systems
Too lazy to get off the sofa to fiddle with your thermostat or dim the lights? Not a problem in the home of the future. Now you can control your heating, lighting and various household devices with your mobile phone, so you can lie there and watch Don’t Tell the Bride until your muscles petrify.