The year in pictures

Here's a look at some of our favorite images from the past 12 months.

James Martin
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
James Martin
1 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook, surrounded by his court, after introducing the new MacBook Pro in Cupertino, California.

2 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Snapchat changed its name to Snap and unveiled brightly colored sunglasses with a built-in video camera. They're called Snapchat Spectacles and you can buy them only at vending machines that pop up somewhere at random (like the bottom of the Grand Canyon), and typically fold up shop at the end of the day.

Naturally, CNET got our hands on a pair.

3 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Lea Thompson, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd reunited for the 30th anniversary of "Back to the Future" at the inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, California.

4 of 27 James Martin/CNET

At CES 2016, we found Nixie, a prototype wrist-worn quadcopter drone equipped with a camera you can use to capture the ultimate selfies.

5 of 27 James Martin/CNET

While in Las Vegas for CES, CNET's Rich Nieva sat down with former Mafia hitman Frank Culotta to find out what the locals think when the tech show comes to town.

6 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Craig Federighi, head of software engineering at Apple, joined marketing chief Phil Schiller and top designer Jony Ive to explain in an exclusive interview why it took Apple four years to update the MacBook Pro -- and why we should care.

7 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Drone racing took off in 2016 as adrenaline seekers put on FPV (first person view) goggles that place them virtually inside the cockpits of drones flying through neon-lit obstacle courses at 60 mph.

8 of 27 James Martin/CNET

It was a bad year for cyberattacks, with high-profile data breaches, email thefts and companies held hostage by ransomware.

9 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told us he's on a "journey" from mobile to AI. It's a good thing he has an assistant.

10 of 27 James Martin/CNET

CNET's Roadshow got a rare look at Tesla's Fremont, California, factory, where every Model S and Model X is built. This link will you take you inside, too.

11 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Earlier this year, NASA gave the press a glimpse of the future of commercial air travel.

12 of 27 James Martin/CNET

The CNET News team traveled around the world to see firsthand the role tech plays in the global refugee crisis. They sent back dozens of dispatches from Australia, the US and Europe, including Greece, where more than a million people running for their lives first reached safety.

13 of 27 James Martin/CNET

We tasted an Impossible Foods veggie burger and learned about the secret sauce that makes it look, taste -- and bleed -- just like beef.

14 of 27 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Its excellent camera, a beast of a battery, expandable storage and a seductive design made the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge a star of 2016. We also happen to be partial to the photos we shot of it.

15 of 27 James Martin/CNET

CNET visited Facebook's data center in Prineville, Oregon, to see the engines that power the massive social network. It's also where Facebook tests roughly 2,000 out-of-date phones to make sure anyone, anywhere can use its mobile app.

16 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Scott Stein's fashion sense made AirPods-as-earrings the buzz of Apple's iPhone 7 event, but probably not the way Apple wanted.

17 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Robotic exoskeletons are giving paraplegics a new view of the world around them -- eye level with everyone else.

They're just one of the things we looked at in our "Tech Enabled" series, which explores how tech is improving accessibility in ways that can change lives.

18 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Developers attending Facebook's F8 conference saw CTO Mike Schroepfer demo how two people wearing Oculus Rift goggles can virtually visit London and even snap VR selfies with a selfie stick.

19 of 27 James Martin/CNET

This year, the charity led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged $3 billion to fund efforts helping to diagnose, prevent and cure all disease.

20 of 27 James Martin/CNET

The Empire's elite

Stormtroopers showed up in force at the first Silicon Valley Comic Con in San Jose, California.

21 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Nearly a million refugees crossed the dangerous waters to Lesvos, Greece, from Turkey, seen here in the distance. Now, thousands of lifejackets are piled together in a place the locals call the lifejacket memorial.

There's no one in this 360-degree photo, but we felt their presence just the same.

22 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Steve Wozniak stands next to his wax double, which Madame Tussauds unveiled at Silicon Valley Comic Con. Can you tell which one's the real Woz?

23 of 27 James Martin/CNET


CES 2016 had it all, including a demonstration of VR for the porn market. CNET's Max Taves got up close and personal with the newest in adult entertainment.

24 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

What's VR?

Are you ready for a VR world? Here's everything you need to know about how it will soon affect your life.

25 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Few teams can rival the Golden State Warriors in using tech to their on-court advantage. Sadly, it didn't help them win the NBA Finals.

26 of 27 James Martin/CNET

The symbolic founders of Silicon Valley

Bill Hewlett's office, now housed in HP Labs, looks just as it did in the 1960s. This slideshow almost feels like a trip through time.

27 of 27 James Martin/CNET

Blurred background 'bokeh'

Apple iPhone 7 Plus changed photography with its dual lens camera that delivers stunning quality. It also employs a duel-lens system that mimics the blurred background 'bokeh' effect of DSLRs.

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