BBC Future

2012: The year in technology

  • Galactic empire?
    Has the iPhone met its match? Samsung’s Galaxy S III became the fastest-selling phone when it hit shops in May, with 20 million sold in the first 100 days. (Copyright: Getty)
  • Keep taking the tablets
    Apple introduced three new iPads; two full-size versions with retina display, and a smaller iPad Mini. Long lines of customers greeted the launches. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Solar flight
    In June, the sun-powered Solar Impulse completed its first intercontinental flight, flying a 19-hour trip from Madrid in Spain to Rabat in Morocco. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Gangnam Style over substance
    Surprise hit of the year was Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style, whose OTT video broke YouTube records. By December, it reached its billionth play. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Plastic parenthood
    Japan’s Fasotec lets prospective parents create a 3D resin model of their unborn baby – which they can then buy to show friends and family. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Wireless warrior
    The Northrop-Grumman’s X-47B is one of the latest pilotless US aircraft. This year it became the first unmanned aircraft to taxi on a carrier. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Google glasses
    Google's Project Glass is developing an augmented reality head-mounted display over clear glasses. They are expected to go on sale in 2014. (Copyright: Getty images)
  • Virtual Tupac
    The Coachella Festival saw long-dead rapper Tupac Shakur appear as a 3D hologram (right) – meaning deceased stars may still be able to tour. (Copyright: Getty Images/Coachella)
  • Game of drones
    One of the US military’s most sophisticated drones, the RQ-170, was captured by Iran, with replicas paraded in front of crowds in the capital Tehran. (Copyright: AFP/Getty Images)
  • Computing titan
    The world’s most powerful supercomputer, Titan, went live in October. The US-based number cruncher can perform 20 quadrillion calculations per second. (Copyright: ORNL)
This year saw Apple face its biggest rival to the iPhone yet from Korean tech giants Samsung, while the US military introduced a new generation of drones.

More amazing image galleries of the year:

A year in space

A year of discovery

People of the year

The year in weather

The year in wildlife

Weird and wonderful

Future visions


New frontiers

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