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The hottest tech trends to watch in 2023

We’re just a few days away from a new year, and it can’t come soon enough for the tech industry. Unless you've been in hibernation and don't know, 2022 was a bit of a challenge. The problems? Slumping stock prices, slumping sales, supply chain bottlenecks and so much more.

But 2023 is just around the corner, and a new year brings new opportunities for the tech sector. To that end, we’re looking at some of the biggest trends we are expecting to take hold. Those include everything from new hardware from the likes of Apple (AAPL) to artificial intelligence becoming available to average consumers to tech-focused health care. And the gaming industry will be on the comeback trail as well.

So without further ado, these are the next big trends to watch for in tech in 2023.

An Apple headset and much more Metaverse

Later next year, Apple is expected to launch its most important product since it unveiled the Apple Watch way back in 2014: its first mixed reality headset. According to Bloomberg, the headset will be called either Reality One or Reality Pro, and feature a suite of cameras and a high-resolution display. Inside, there will be a high-powered Apple M2 chip, meaning the headset should out-muscle competitors like Meta's (META) Quest 2.

Speaking of which, the social media giant is expected to continue plowing billions of dollars into its AR and VR efforts. In 2021 alone, Meta spent $10 billion on new hardware and software as part of its effort to dominate the metaverse, a series of online interconnected worlds. And that spending isn't going to ease up anytime soon. Meta is already on track to throw more cash at CEO Mark Zuckerberg's quest to create the go-to metaverse company in 2022, and will increase that further in 2023.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visits the Apple Fifth Avenue store for the release of the iPhone 14 in Manhattan, New York City U.S., September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Here's to your health: Apple CEO Tim Cook visits the Apple Fifth Avenue store for the release of the iPhone 14 in Manhattan, New York City U.S., September 16, 2022. (Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

Sony (SONY) will also play a major role in the world of VR in 2023 with the launch of its PlayStation VR 2 headset in February. Available for pre-order for $529, the hardware includes an improved display and dedicated controllers.

More EVs in driveways

Electric vehicles, or EVs, have been a growth sector in recent years, and we’re expecting to see that further increase in 2023. EV sales hit a record-high in the middle of 2022, according to Cox Automotive, as they’ve become progressively more mainstream. Tesla (TSLA) has played a huge role in the increasing popularity of EVs, but so have the widening range of offerings coming from more traditional automakers like Chevrolet, Kia, and Ford.

“EVs will be an interesting continuing trend, because it has a very passionate retail following,” said Rishi Khanna, CEO of investor-focused social network Stocktwits. "I think in part that’s a function of the fact that Tesla has a cult-like retail following, and so many EV companies that went public through SPACs [which are usually of interest to retail investors]. People are so passionate about Mullen, Lucid, and so many of these EVs coming on to the market. It’ll be interesting to see that trend continue to mature.” 

AI goes mainstream

When ChatGPT dropped earlier this month, it made waves on social media. The Open AI-built chatbot is the most sophisticated conversational AI that’s ever been available to the general public—and people were equal parts excited and scared when it launched. A flurry of think pieces emerged in the direct aftermath detailing ChatGPT’s possibilities, hazards, and limitations. Regardless, folks showed up. More than 1 million people signed up to use ChatGPT when it hit the web.

This wasn’t the first time OpenAI was able to capture the public imagination. In April, the organization launched its latest version of the AI image generator DALL-E to widespread interest and encouragement from Wall Street investors. AI has become broad and exciting enough for the general public, and, as a result, we’re likely to see increased investments from Big Tech, startups, and perhaps even companies that aren’t traditionally involved in AI.

Apple continues its focus on health and safety

Next up for Apple? Watches and iPhones that could improve your health or even save your life. The tech giant made those aspirations clear at its “Far Out” event this fall. CEO Tim Cook began the event with a montage of stories about how the Apple Watch had saved users’ lives. Then there are new iPhone features like Emergency SOS, which allows consumer to send emergency messages via satellite if they are trapped in remote areas.

Apple has also been upping its focus on health-related features. The company’s new high-end Apple Watch Ultra has advanced women's health capabilities, including generating family planning data and a temperature sensor, building on the Apple Watch’s already robust health offerings. As for user privacy, Apple says users' health data is encrypted end-to-end and that users have "granular control" over how their data is shared.

Big name games will bring the game industry back

A man poses next to the Link, a game character for Nintendo's
More Zelda in 2023? Yup. A man poses next to the Link, a game character for Nintendo's 'The Legend of Zelda.' (Image: Behrouz MEHRI / AFP)

The video game industry took a step back in 2022, as companies from Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SONY) to Nintendo (NTDOY), EA (EA), and Take Two (TTWO) struggled to measure up to the their explosive pandemic-era sales. It didn't help that digital ad sales for mobile games slowed either.

On top of that, more than 100 games were delayed until at least 2023, while foreign exchange troubles ate into game companies’ bottom lines. To top it all off, Q3 global consumer spending on in-app purchases, premium apps, and subscriptions dropped some 4.8% to $31.6 billion, according to SensorTower.

But things should rebound in 2023. According to the Morgan Stanley Research analyst Seyon Park, the industry should start to see a return to growth in the new year as fresh titles hit the street—and consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X become more readily available after years of hardware shortages.

The year will also bring a slew of highly anticipated games including Nintendo’s sequel to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor,” and “Starfield.”

As IDC analyst Lewis Ward previously told Yahoo Finance: “Assuming recessionary concerns dissipate, and inflation gets back under a reasonable level of control...the baseline that the gaming industry was on before COVID will probably reassert itself.”

Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks.

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