The last decade has produced an incredible line up of devices. Our world is forever changed by gadgets like the iPad, Raspberry Pi, and Amazon Echo, which helped transform how we think about technology’s impact on our lives.
This week, TIME magazine released a “10 Best Gadgets of the 2010s” list. The devices on the list highlight how far we’ve come, as well as hint at where we’re going in the future. Unsurprisingly, Apple dominated. Tesla, Google, and Microsoft also earned nods from the magazine.
Apple Leading the Way
Although Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, his impact and legacy are more alive than ever. Apple’s iPad, AirPods, and Apple Watch all made TIME’s top 10 list.
Apple released the original iPad in 2010. The device paved the way for tablet computing and portable electronics. With its multitouch display and software capabilities, the iPad enabled consumers to take massive processing power with them on the move. In 2019 alone, vendors sold more than 135 million tablets, thanks in large part to Apple’s influence.
Apple also changed the game with its smartwatch in 2015. The Apple Watch is no longer just for early adopters and fashion-ignorant nerds. It’s now an all-in-one fitness tracker, messaging device, and media player. Introduced one year later, the AirPods initiated a wave of innovation in the wireless audio world. With the AirPods Pro, Apple is likely to continue dominating in this area in the foreseeable future.
Surprising, Yet Worthy Inclusions
TIME made sure to recognize gadgets that impacted industries more broadly beyond their intended design.
For example, the Raspberry Pi helped create a massive culture around DIY electronics. Released in 2012, the small, primitive-looking Linux computer was built to promote coding in schools. Today, it remains a hot item for hobbyists and engineers who want to take on a vast array of projects. Linux has sold more than 25 million Raspberry Pi’s to date.
Tesla’s Model S made the list due to its impact on the trajectory of electric vehicle development. Elon Musk’s brainchild has encouraged long-time auto manufacturers to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into electric car technology. Heck, even Ford is getting into the game.
Additionally, Google had to make TIME’s list in some way. The company broke in with its Chromecast device, which set the tone for streaming in the latter half of the 2010s. Released in 2013, the Chromecast completely abolished the need for expensive streaming boxes with a 3-inch, $35 device. The technology is also foundational for Google Stadia, the company’s new gaming service.
Drones, Smart Speakers, and New Gaming Devices
TIME’s “10 Best Gadgets of the 2010s” list also gives a shoutout to drone technology, which exploded in the earlier part of the decade. The DJI Phantom enabled users to capture incredible aerial footage with an easy-to-pilot device. Now, drones are at the center of conversations involving next-gen surveillance, shipping, construction, and more.
Voice assistants are also no longer novelty devices in our households. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, showed the world how useful smart speakers could be in our everyday lives. Going into the 2020s, these gadgets will be front and center in discussions revolving around digital privacy and voice shopping.
The last two gadgets on TIME’s list changed video gaming forever. The Nintendo Switch allows players to take high-powered console gaming on the go, while Xbox’s Adaptive Controller opened up a world of possibility for gamers with limited mobility. Microsoft’s product is likely going to inspire similar moves from other console manufacturers.
Take a look at the video above for a full rundown of these impactful gadgets.