As we come to the end of 2019 and prepare to welcome in a new decade, it's time to take stock of what has gone before in tech. This year we saw the 40-year anniversary of Sony's iconic Walkman, but what can we expect in terms of 'Techniversaries' in 2020? Here's our list of tech birthdays for next year.
Apple iPad (2010)
It's hard to believe, but the Apple iPad is 10 in 2020. Unveiled at an Apple event on January 26, 2010, the first Apple tablet launched in April of the same year, at least in the United States. It came to Europe, including the UK, Germany, and Italy, in May 2010.
Steve Jobs is famous for stating as early as 1983 that he wanted to "put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes". By 2010, Apple had essentially achieved that goal. The first-generation iPad was a runaway success. Apple sold three million iPads in its first 80 days on the market. By March 2011, with the launch of the iPad 2, Apple had sold 15 million tablets.
Nokia 3310 (2000)
It seems crazy to think about it now, but in just 10 years we went from the Nokia 3310 to the iPad. These two mobile devices feel more like 30 years apart in my mind! Launched on September 1, 2000, the Nokia 3310 needs no introduction. The iconic feature phone was solid as a rock, stylish and affordable. It turned out to be an attractive package, and Nokia sold a quite frankly ridiculous 126 million of them worldwide.
In 2017, the 3310 made a bit of a comeback. A newer version of the phone was released with a color screen and some cool new features the original didn't have such as a 2-megapixel camera and a MicroSD slot. Our very own Jessica tried to use for seven full days instead of her smartphone, you can read about how she got on in the article below:
Sony PlayStation 2 (2000)
Also 20 years ago next year, Sony Computer Entertainment launched the PlayStation 2. Japanese gamers were the first to get their hands on the followup to the company's successful PlayStation in March 2000, but it launched in North America, Europe and Australia on November 24 the same year.
The PlayStation 2 became the best selling video game console of all time, selling more than 155 million units worldwide. It's a title it still holds to this day, closely followed by the Nintendo DS launched on 2004. The Sony PlayStation 4, which is still on sale of course, is unlikely to make up the 50 million units it is currently behind by. The fact that the PS2 could also play DVDs, which were booming at the time, was a huge factor in its success.
So many iconic games were on the PS2, including Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy. It was also backward compatible with all of the games from the original PlayStation. For those of us old enough to remember playing one, the PlayStation 2 holds a special place in our hearts.
Founded on September 3, 1995, by French-born Iranian-American computer programmer Pierre Omidyar, eBay turns 25 next year. Perhaps the single biggest success story of the dot-com bubble, eBay has grown in a multi-billion dollar business and today operates in more than 30 countries worldwide. No longer just a simple online auction site, eBay is an online market place that has become a key platform for both small and large businesses. The purchase of PayPal in 2002 was a landmark moment, although the payment platform eventually spun-off and began trading as an independent company in 2015.
Today headquartered in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the online marketplaces that seemingly everyone has used at some point over the last 25 years. The auction bidding system that drove its early success remains today, although a large part of eBay's business operates more like a regular e-commerce site with fixed pricing.
It seems unthinkable today, but just 10 years ago we were living in a pre-Instagram era. It's hard to think of another single app that has an equal impact on society and digital culture around the world. Launched in October 2010 exclusively for iOS, Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It came to Android in April 2012, and around the same time was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock.
Since then, Instagram has become a worldwide phenomenon. By 2018, the photo and video sharing app had accumulated 100 million active users. By the time is turns 10 years old next year, that figure is expected to be somewhere around 115 million. The most followed person on Instagram is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, with more than 188 million followers. The most liked picture of all time is a picture of an egg, with 53 million likes. It was created the sole purpose of knocking Kylie Jenner off of top spot. What a time to be alive...
The Sims (2000)
The Sims, developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, is also 20 years old next year. The life simulation game, in which players take control of a set of characters (or Sims) and guide them through almost every aspect of life, including work and relationships, is one of the best-selling video game series of all time. The Sims is still going strong today, with the latest release being The Sims Mobile in 2018.
The original game was released for Windows in February 2000 and shipped 16 million copies. Several expansion packs were released for the game, and today this formula of base-game plus expansion packs is a tool for the game's success. The Sims went online in 2002, but it's the immersion in single-player stories that really captured gamers of all types. The franchise has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide to date.
Adobe Photoshop (1990)
Although the original development for Photoshop started in 1987 when two brothers, Thomas and John Knoll, got to work, the photo and graphics editor was only officially released on February 19, 1990, after the brothers had sold the license to distribute the software to Adobe. At the time it was exclusive to Macintosh. It was ported for Windows in 1993 by Adobe chief architect Seetharaman Narayanan. Today, we are on version 21.0.1, and Photoshop is available in 26 languages and widely used by both professionals and hobbyists around the world.
The cultural impact of the software is massive. The word Photoshop today is not only a noun to describe the name of a software package, but also a verb - often shorted to just 'shopped' - to describe the action of retouching an image. Adobe is not a fan of this, it doesn't want the Photoshop brand to be associated with just any image manipulating program for fear of the trademark becoming too generic. But nobody can halt the evolution of language, and on its 30th birthday, Photoshop remains a byword for computerized image manipulation.
Can you think of any techniversaries that will be celebrated in 2020? Share your favorites in the comments section below.