I wanted to acknowledge today’s milestone by looking back at the state of consumer technology at the beginning of 2005:
APPLE: Still running on PowerPC processors, this meant Macs couldn’t run Windows natively. Boot Camp would have to wait until the 2006 switch to Intel processors. 2005 was the last year new models of “Power Mac,” “PowerBook,” and “iBook” would be released, before being replaced by “Mac Pro,” “MacBook Pro,” and “MacBook” (itself later replaced by the “MacBook Air”).
The 2005 iMac came in 17- and 20-inch models, and these G5 models were the first flat-screen iMacs where the entire computer was in the screen’s housing (unlike its immediate predecessor, where the “computer” part lived in a small white dome to which the screen was attached with a pivoting chrome arm.
“iPhone” was still years away; the only pocket-sized devices being made were the last black & white iPod with Click Wheel, iPod Mini, and iPod Shuffle. Also, iTunes was only selling music; no TV or movies until October 2005 and September 2006, respectively.
WINDOWS: The latest version was Windows XP. Vista was still nearly two years away, to say nothing of the return of the numbering system with versions 7, 8, or this year’s 10.
WIFI: The IEEE 802.11g standard for wireless was the state of the art, with a maximum speed of 54 megabits per second (Mbit/s). To contrast, today’s 802.11ac standard can deliver between 500 and 1000 Mbit/s. In 2005, most home internet providers were still only providing wired modems; wireless access would require a dedicated, separate (and expensive) router.
SMARTPHONES/TABLETS: RIM (BlackBerry) still ruled the roost, followed by Palm, and then Windows Mobile in a distant third place. Apple and Android wouldn’t enter the fray until January 2007 and October 2008, respectively. It’s kind of hard to imagine, at this point.
MONITORS: Flatscreen LCDs had been around for several years already, but 2005 marked the true death knell for their bulky CRT predecessors: for just one example, Sony would announce in 2005 that they would cease production of CRT computer monitors.
DVD: Netflix was still delivering these discs exclusively (their streaming service wouldn’t start until 2007). Movies wouldn’t come out on Blu-ray Disc (BD) until June 2006, and that new format would have to fight a “format war” with the competing HD-DVD standard, which released its own titles in April 2006. HD-DVD would fold in 2008.
VIDEO GAME CONSOLES: XBox was still in its first incarnation: the 360 would not launch until November 2005. Sony’s PlayStation 2 was in the prime of its life, with PlayStation 3 on track for a release at the end of 2006. Nintendo’s Wii wouldn’t hit the market until November 2006, with the GameCube still only about three years old.
SOCIAL NETWORKS: It’s only appropriate that I end this look back here, since it’s only thanks to social networks that you’re seeing this at all. Today (February 2) in 2005, Facebook wasn’t even a year old yet, and it wouldn’t expand service beyond university campuses until September 2006. Friendster (est. 2002) and MySpace (est. 2003) were the dominant social sites at the time. Twitter wouldn’t hit the scene until 2006. (Incidentally, WordPress launched in May of 2003).
Obviously, above was just a very small look back at the state of tech in 2005. Suffice to say, the future is now! One can only imagine what the next ten years will bring!