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Most anticipated products of 2018

The year is more than halfway over, and we've already seen plenty of marquee new gadgets like the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Apple HomePod and the Nintendo Labo. But 2018 is just getting warmed up.

Later this year and through the holiday season we expect new phones and watches from Apple, Samsung and Google, a new online service for Nintendo Switch and a whole lot more. And that's just in 2018 -- we'll also cover what we know about the future of gaming, including the next Xbox and PlayStation.

Click through to see what to expect.

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New iPhones

By now the rumors are well-developed. The new iPhone lineup will reportedly consist of three phones, two high-end models with OLED screens like the current iPhone X -- iPhone X Plus, anyone? -- and a third priced relatively lower with a traditional LCD screen. They might even feature a third rear camera or multiple colors

The official announcement is expected in September, along with (potentially) a new Apple Watch, iPad Pro and even MacBooks. More on those in a bit.

Read CNET's full iPhone 2018 rumor roundup.

Photo: iDrop News

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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

The successors to the excellent Pixel 2 and not-so-excellent Pixel 2 XL are anticipated even more hotly than Apple's phones in some circles, namely those who love the Android operating system. 

Google's forthcoming Android P will likely debut on the Pixel 3, and it brings some compelling new features that can't be found on any iPhone (yet). Rumored hardware features include wireless charging (finally) and dual-front-facing cameras on the XL. They're expected to launch in October.

Read CNET's full Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL rumor roundup.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The next Note is expected to be a larger, more feature-packed version of the S9 flagship phone, but you know, with a pen (er, stylus). The phone, nee "phablet," usually has a few step-up features of its own, fueling early speculation that the 2018 version could get a fingerprint reader under the screen -- although the latest scuttlebutt says this much-wanted feature will be a no-show. Not to worry, you can definitely expect a headphone jack, lack of a notch and a pen that helps you control photos and music.

The official Note 9 announcement will most likely take place on August 9 in Brooklyn, so we don't have long to wait.

Read CNET's full Galaxy Note 9 rumor roundup.

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Red Hydrogen phone

In addition to making cameras for Hollywood movies and shows, Red will release its first phone soon. Known as the Red Hydrogen One and highly anticipated by cinema and photography buffs alike, the Android device will feature a 5.7-inch screen with a holographic 3D display and a new network that allows sharing of holographic movies. But it'll come at a pretty penny: The Hydrogen will cost $1,595 (roughly £1,235 or AU$2,110) for the titanium variant or $1,195 (approximately £925, AU$1,580) for the aluminum alloy model.  

CNET's Patrick Holland went hands-on with the phone and its holographic display in June and came away impressed. We know it's coming to Verizon and AT&T, and is expected as early as August of this year.

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Nintendo Switch Online

Coming in September is Nintendo's long-awaited online service, allowing Switch owners online cooperative and competitive play for an expected subscription fee of $20 per year. Hot multiplayer games like Fortnite and Super Smash Brothers seem perfect for the portable platform's online service, but Nintendo didn't tell us anything new about it at E3. It's definitely coming however, and users in Japan will get access to a 90-day free trial with the purchase of Splatoon 2.

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Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple watch has been around since 2015, and the latest update included onboard cellular connectivity in Apple Watch Series 3. The next version could finally be where Apple makes some bigger changes in how it actually looks, with reports of a larger display, solid-state click-free buttons and perhaps better battery life or a dedicated watch face store. No matter what, we expect the official announcement to at the same time Apple debuts the new iPhones in September.

Read CNET's full Apple Watch Series 4 rumor roundup.

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Google Pixel Watch

Google's has confirmed there will be a revamp of Wear OS watches, starting with at least one product arriving this fall, maybe even as many as three. Will it be Google's own Pixel watch?

We don't know for sure whether it even exists, but that doesn't prevent a healthy dose of rumor-mongering. The line could consist of one watch or three, use a new Qualcomm chipset for better battery life, and will probably be always listing for you to say "Hey Google." Given the expected launch time of October for Pixel phones, it's only natural for the watch to come at the same time.

Read CNET's full Google Pixel Watch rumor roundup.

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Apple iPad Pro 2018

Hot off the release of the new non-Pro iPad in April, Apple's WWDC event in June came and went without mention of a new larger iPad Pro to go with it. A new 10.5-inch model could incorporate  changes found on the iPhone X, including Face ID unlock and no home button (here's hoping for no notch, as well). Less likely are wireless charging and an OLED display. If a new iPad Pro is in the works, expect it to be announced alongside the new iPhones in September.

Read CNET's full iPad Pro 2018 rumor roundup.

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New MacBooks

Will Apple update its aging, beloved, entry-level laptop, the MacBook Air? The current 13-inch MacBook Air, released in August 2017, got about the most modest makeover possible from its 2015 predecessor -- a tiny boost in the speed of its antiquated Intel CPU and a belated doubling of RAM. So yeah, a new one is due, and reportedly coming this year.

The best bet is now September after Apple declined to introduce any new hardware at WWDC in June. More than usual, our buying advice is to wait and see if Apple actually releases new laptops in 2018.

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Magic Leap One AR headset

The first product to come out of the Google-backed augmented-reality startup, the Magic Leap One Creator Edition AR headset looks like a pair of full-on goggles straight out of a steampunk universe. It includes a set of Lightwear smart glasses, a battery pack belt and a controller. Unlike other AR headsets, the Leap One projects a full 3D image onto your retinas, which can be focused on in the same way that real objects can. Pricing information hasn't been released yet, but it's due in 2018.

Read what we learned about the Magic Leap One's hardware.

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Microsoft HoloLens 2

Microsoft's original HoloLens VR / AR headset starts at $3,000. Sure it's intended for developers and other commercial applications, but the next generation, reportedly code-named Sydney, is rumored for early 2019. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but it should cost a lot less, thanks in part to competition from the likes of Oculus Go and a new Qualcomm chip.

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Nintendo 64 Mini

File under "patent applications that spur entirely plausible rumors." A trademark application by Nintendo that covers both the controllers and software for the Nintendo 64 popped up in May. 

The gaming company has seen plenty of success selling miniature "classic" versions of its NES and Super NES consoles to nostalgic gamers of a certain age, so why not give the N64 -- which debuted in 1996 -- the same treatment? 

No pricing or release date is official, and Nintendo has to deal with some sticky rights issues. As CNET's Sean Buckley points out: "Many of the game's most iconic titles -- GoldenEye, Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark -- were developed by Rare, a studio now owned by Microsoft, one of Nintendo's biggest competitors."

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Atari VCS

Tugging at every '80s kid's nostalgic strings, Atari is releasing a reboot of its popular Atari 2600 console. The refreshed console will run Linux, come in two designs (wood, black-and-red glass) and includes both classic and new games. It'll also have ports for USB, HDMI and SD connections. If it ever ships.

Although it was first teased last summer and preorders began in December 2017, they were quickly delayed because the company said it needed more time to work on the platform. As of GDC in March we'd seen only a mockup, and no word on official pricing or availability. The rumored price was around $299, for what it's worth.

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The next Xbox (as early as 2020)

File the next few under "future."

At its press event at E3 Microsoft kicked off by confirming it's going to release a new Xbox console at some point in the future. The reported code name is Scarlett, and it could appear as early as 2020.

That's pretty much all we know. In other words, game streaming won't replace consoles anytime soon. Or will it...?

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Xbox streaming service

Microsoft's E3 event also mentioned a new game streaming service, designed to "unlock console-quality gaming on any device." It didn't offer any other details, however, including when the service might launch or how much it might cost.

The idea of game streaming is to use a remote computer to play on a lower-power device, like a streaming box or stripped-down client console. Nvidia's GeForceNow is one example, playable on the $200 Nvidia Shield. Sony's version, called PlayStation Now, requires a PS4 or Window PC, having dropped support for older devices last year.

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PlayStation 5 (2021, or maybe never)

Speaking of Sony, the company's official word is that the next console is at least three years away -- so, sometime in 2021. But the company also says it wants to focus more on subscription services, which to our ears means, yes, PlayStation Now. Don't be surprised if the PS5 is simply a tiny box that streams games from the cloud.

That's it for the tech future, near and far. Looking for stuff you can actually buy today? Check out the best products of 2018 so far.

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