For those of us in the northern hemisphere, winter has ended, Daylight Savings Time (or summer time) has started, and the snow and ice is -- mostly -- behind us. That also means the second quarter tech schedule is about to kick into high gear.
Apple already kicked things off with a March 27 event in Chicago where the company unveiled a new entry-level iPad (shown here) that adds support for the Pencil stylus. Already available online, it should hit stores the week of April 2.
What follows is a list of the big tech (and nerdy culture touchstones) you can expect for the rest of the season.
As the debut season ended, things in Westworld -- the future resort where ultrarich guests get to play an anything-goes game of cowboy with robotic "hosts" -- were looking pretty dire. That's why we can't wait to mount up and head back in to the action when season 2 kicks off on April 22.
Last year's Microsoft Build was... interesting. The first day centered on the sort of high-level enterprise computing where the company increasingly makes its money -- Azure cloud-based services and concepts like edge computing. The second day had a more down-to-earth focus on Windows 10 and other consumer-facing products. Expect a similar breakdown this year when CEO Satya Nadella takes the stage in Seattle.
Google's 2017 developer conference was as sprawling as, well, Google. This year, expect the same scale of topics across the Google galaxy, including search, AI (Google Assistant), smart home and smart speakers (Google Home), mobile (Android P), wearables (the newly renamed Wear OS) and VR and AR. Oh, and we may also hear about new features in Gmail, Google Fi, YouTube, Google Translate, Google Music and Chrome OS, too. Expect Google CEO Sundar Pichai to address issues like privacy and news integrity that continue to bedevil it and its fellow tech giants, too. (Yes, I/O overlaps with Microsoft Build for at least one day.)
A little over 5 months since the release of The Last Jedi, and we're getting another Star Wars movie already. This origin story of Han Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich in the role originated by Harrison Ford. He's joined by Woody Harrelson, Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Ron Howard took over directing duties in mid-production, and fans are curious to see how this will compare to the earlier Star Wars "anthology" film, Rogue One.
Before Apple's new iPhones hit in September, the company telegraphs what's coming on the software and operating system front at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose. Expect updates on new features coming to iOS 12 (for iPhone and iPad), MacOS (computers), TV OS (Apple TV) and WatchOS (Apple Watch). And maybe we'll finally get the long-desired overhaul of Siri, which could also mean some much-needed upgrades to the new HomePod speaker.
On the hardware front, we'll be happy if this year's WWDC is even half as packed as last year's, which delivered the HomePod, new Macs and new iPad Pros.
As you might guess from the name, Computex -- which takes place every June in Taipei, Taiwan -- is all about PCs. The show is a springboard for all the big chip announcements and new laptops that we'll see in the summer and autumn. In addition to the local talent like Acer, Asus and Gigabyte, expect plenty of new gear from HP and Dell, just to name a few. CNET Australia will be there, covering the whole show in-depth.
No, CES Asia hasn't yet eclipsed its big brother, the giant consumer electronics trade show that takes over Las Vegas in January. But this Shanghai-based spinoff is the best place to get a cross-section of the CE market as it currently stands in the rapidly expanding China and wider Asia markets.
The world of video games revolves around E3, the annual gaming trade show that invades Los Angeles every June. In addition to the big three -- Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo -- megapublishers like EA, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard and Bethesda show their upcoming slate of titles to gamers on site and around the world. CNET and sister sites GameSpot and Giant Bomb will be delivering wall-to-wall coverage, starting with the preshow press conferences the previous weekend.
Those are some -- but not nearly all -- of the big items on the tech calendar between now and the beginning of summer on June 21. That will bring a whole new set of events -- Prime Day, San Diego Comic Con, Black Hat and Defcon, Gamescom and IFA -- just to name a few. And that doesn't even include the 2018 "coming soon" products that could hit at any time, like the Magic Leap One AR headset (pictured here).