Technology to Look Forward to in 2016

PHOTO: A video gaming fan play games with a Oculus Rift Head-Mounted Display at the Gamefest during the International Games Week Berlin trade fair, April 23, 2015, in Berlin.Axel Schmidt/Getty Images
A video gaming fan play games with a Oculus Rift Head-Mounted Display at the Gamefest during the International Games Week Berlin trade fair, April 23, 2015, in Berlin.

The new year is bringing plenty to look forward to in the world of technology.

From virtual reality to new products and the next planet that NASA plans to explore, here are some of the things we're most looking forward to in 2016.

Oculus Rift

Will Facebook's $2 billion bet on Oculus pay off? We're about to find out with the release of the hotly anticipated Oculus Rift consumer headset.

The headset will ship with a wireless Xbox One controller and adapter to enhance the gaming experience, Brendan Iribe said earlier this year. It will work with Windows 10, making it easy for gamers to jump-start their experiences and stream their existing games to Oculus.

It's expected the headset will ship in early 2016, but it's unclear at what price point. For reference, Oculus has previously charged around $350 for its developer's kit.

PHOTO: Microsofts Joe Belfiore (L) smiles as he tries on a Hololens device with colleagues Alex Kipman (R) and Terry Myerson following an event demonstrating new features of Windows 10 at the companys headquarters on Jan. 21, 2015, in Redmond, Wash.Elaine Thompson/AP Photo
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore (L) smiles as he tries on a "Hololens" device with colleagues Alex Kipman (R) and Terry Myerson following an event demonstrating new features of Windows 10 at the company's headquarters on Jan. 21, 2015, in Redmond, Wash.

HoloLens

Ever since Microsoft's HoloLens was first shown off last January, the mixed reality headset has generated buzz and ideas for how the technology can be used. Developers will be able to get their hands on the futuristic glasses early next year for around $3,000.

So far, the software company has showed off a variety of ways the technology can be used, including NASA exploring the surface of Mars, using the glasses to virtually design a new product and a holographic video game in a world you're a part of, among others.

Next up, they're ready for developers to create experiences for the holographic headset before Microsoft ultimately releases a consumer version.

New iPhones

Ever since the iPhone was released, Apple has rolled out a new model -- or in the most recent cases -- models of its flagship phone. While the team in Cupertino isn't confirming anything, it's a safe bet we'll see a new iPhone next year.

The iPhone maker could be planning to nix the traditional 3.55 millimeter headphone jack on an upcoming iPhone model in favor of its lightning connector, according to the latest rumors on various technology blogs. Apple hasn't commented on the speculation -- so for now fans will have to let their imaginations run wild.

New Apple Watches

Apple released the Apple Watch, its first-ever wearable, in 2015. The company tends to follow a yearly cycle in releasing new its next generation of products, so it's possible 2016 could include a new edition of the popular wearable.

PHOTO: A person walks by an Apple Store on April 23, 2013 in San Francisco.Getty Images
A person walks by an Apple Store on April 23, 2013 in San Francisco.

Sensors

We've seen sensors in wearables and in our homes, but we're only just beginning to harness the use of them. Dr. Michael Bjorn from Ericsson said in the company's annual hot consumer trends report he expects sensors will be more integrated into homes in 2016. Imagine having tiny sensors in bricks that could monitor leaks, mold and other issues.

Connected Home

Speaking of sensors in the home, expect to see even more products equipped to work with the connected home and Apple's HomeKit, which acts as a dashboard for many connected home products, making it easy to control everything in one place.

So far we've seen smart locks, lights, plugs and entertainment systems. It's a safe bet we'll see even more integration in 2016.

Juno

NASA's Juno spacecraft is set to begin orbiting Jupiter next July, and the hope is that it will yield new insights about the largest planet in our solar system.

PHOTO: Elon Musk, Tesla Chairman, Product Architect and CEO, speaks at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Jan. 13, 2015. Paul Sancya/AP Photo
Elon Musk, Tesla Chairman, Product Architect and CEO, speaks at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Jan. 13, 2015.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3, a smaller version of the Model S without the sticker shock, could be unveiled as early as next March with production ramping up in late 2017.

While the date is tentative, it's enough to get Tesla admirers dreaming up what to expect from the car, which analysts predict will be priced around $35,000.