Technology let us down on a number of fronts in 2018. Be it through hacks, privacy breaches, crappy hardware, unwanted updates, bendy iPads or products missing in action; here are the lowlights of the year in tech.
The wireless charging solution skipped the entirety of 2018 and Apple is still refusing to confirm a release date for the device it claimed would replenish an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods at the same time. It appears the technical challenges in achieving this tri-charging solution has even the geniuses in Cupertino completely stumped.
It’s now more than 15 months since Apple announced AirPower and we’re wondering whether we’ll ever see a release.
Facebook’s annus horribilis
Mark Zuckerberg may have broken the world record for the world’s longest squirm in 2018, as a series of privacy scandals brought Facebook to its knees. The Cambridge Analytica disaster was just the tip of the iceberg for the social network as massive breaches and bugs were revealed on an almost monthly basis. Zuckerberg went on an apology tour, was dragged before the government in the US and refused to turn up for questioning in Europe.
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However, as bad as 2018 was for Facebook, it could get worse in 2019. There are calls for it to be regulated, or broken up into chunks. The company remains under fire for its role in the spread of fake news and, there’s the small matter of our guide to deleting Facebook permanently constantly sitting among the most read articles on this site. Will the great exodus happen in 2019?
Elon’s eventful 2018
It’s been an eventful year for tech’s most eccentric entrepreneur. However, the tweet spree announcing plans to buy back all Tesla shares and take the company private once again takes some beating. US regulators accused him of fraud, fined him $20m, and barred him from serving as company chairman for three years.
Then, of course, there was the unfortunate incident where he referred to the British cave-diver who helped rescue trapped Thai children as ‘pedo guy’ seemingly because he deemed Musk’s proposed vessel impractical.
Elsewhere things weren’t so bad. Tesla had a good year, he got on top of Model 3 production bottlenecks, sent a Tesla into space, allegedly took a hit of a joint on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, and got his solar panels into production. He made loads of massive holes in the ground, released a flame thrower and added a fart machine to Tesla vehicles.
A quieter 2019 on the menu for Elon perhaps?
Windows 10 October Update
Microsoft has six months between its major operating system updates and releases countless preview builds, tested by millions of PC owners along the way. So, how does one explain the unmitigated disaster that was the October 2018 update release?
The first attempt saw the contents of some users’ hard drives completely disappear, while multiple issues with .ZIP files saw the company pull the update for a second time. It also caused audio issues for some users, while the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death also reared its ugly head once more. Not to worry, Microsoft. It’s not as if more than 700 million people rely on Windows 10, is it?
Sony PlayStation Classic
When the NES and SNES Classic editions launched in 2016 and 2017, they were the most sought after Christmas tech items of their respective years. The Sony PlayStation Classic? On sale for practically half price before the year’s end.
Sony defined what can go wrong with retro consoles, as licensing challenges saw the console loaded with a largely crappy line-up of games that cannot be boosted through legal means. The emulation was poor and playing these games on a 4K TV does the early 3D era no favours at all. It was one of the gaming disappointments of the year, but now it’s half price and has been hacked, it’s actually not a bad deal.
Google’s Project Maven
In March, the world learned Google was working with the US military on an artificially intelligent computer vision system for drones, to be used in advanced warfare. In May, Google dropped its ‘Don’t Be Evil’ motto from its code of conduct. Coincidence?
Naturally, the revelation Google was effectively working on a real-life Skynet didn’t go over too well. More than a dozen employees resigned in protest as the world envisioned the AI nightmare imagined by The Terminator films may be coming to fruition. After dropping its contract with the Pentagon, Google announced a new set of principles to guide its work in AI, including a vow not to pursue uses of the tech likely to cause widespread death and destruction.
Snapchat February 2018 update
You know a Snapchat update is unpopular when even Kylie Jenner stops using the app and over a million people sign a petition wanting it thrown into the sea. Amid users desperately seeking to reverse the February 2018 update, the company eventually relented and mostly restored the original functionality. However, it hasn’t stemmed the exodus. The firm has lost five million users in the aftermath and is now relying on lenses for dogs to win back punters. Hey, it might work!
Apple iPad Pro 2018
Up until the middle of December, we’d never have dreamed of placing Apple’s best iPad ever in a list of tech fails. However, once the company began claiming a pronounced bend in the chassis – straight out of the box – was completely normal, all bets were off. The proclamation that the bendy iPads were not defective in any way was right up there with Steve Jobs telling people to “just hold it differently” during the iPhone 4 Antennagate scandal.
Dixons Carphone hack
There were a number of contenders in this category. However, the Dixons Carphone hack in June, which compromised the data and credit card information of 10 million customers, takes the prize. Dishonourable mentions go to the Ticketmaster hack and the British Airways data breach that affected a quarter of a million customers.
Amazon’s Alexa devices had a blockbuster year in terms of sales, with a plethora of new Echo devices entering the smart home arena. However, concerns over eavesdropping continued to intensify. Firstly, a family in the U.S. city of Portland complained private audio recordings had been sent to a random person within their contact list. More recently, a man who requested everything Alexa had recorded received 1,700 recordings from a stranger.
Which tech fails did we fail to mention? Do you have higher hopes for 2019? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.