eSIM : Those tiny chips that go into your smartphone and link it to your billing details and phone number - known as subscriber identity modules, or SIMS - are going away.

So-called eSIM technology replaces physical chips with digital codes that can be zapped from an old handset to a new one.

The technology has been in phones since 2017, but Apple's decision to launch its iPhone 14 range in America as eSIM-only handsets will force millions of people to start using it in 2023.

As with mice and touchscreens, Apple's embrace of a technology will be the trigger for widespread adoption. It will push mobile operators around the world to move to eSIMS and make the process of transferring them between devices clunky.

The technology also makes it easier to roam between networks by installing multiple eSIMS - less fiddly than swapping tiny chips.

Post-quantum cryptography

Quantum computers exploit the weirdness of the subatomic realm to do things that ordinary computers cannot.

That includes cracking codes : a working quantum computer, if one can be built, could break the encryption that is currently used to secure communications and protect sensitive data.

To protect against this possibility, new ''post-quantum'' cryptography standards, designed to be invulnerable even to quantum computers, were approved in 2022, and preparations for their implementation will begin in earnest in 2023.

Mixed reality

Virtual reality [VR] is like wearing a digital blindfold - it blots out the real world and immerses you in an alternative, computer-generated  reality.

Augmented reality [AR], by contrast, superimposes computer-generated elements onto your view of the real world.

Mixed reality [XR or MR] goes a step further by allowing real and virtual items to interact. For example, you might play a game of table tennis in which the paddles are real, but the ball is computer generated.

It is also a less clunky term than augmented reality, and more likely to catch on.

A big question for 2023 is what Apple will choose to call the technology when it announces its first AR/VR/XR headset - which is rumoured to be powered by software called ''realityOS''.

The World Students Society thanks The Economist.


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