Cheers to The Tech We Have to Look Forward to in 2017 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cheers to The Tech We Have to Look Forward to in 2017

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Visitors experience Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul on October 27, 2016. JUNG YEON-JE / AFP - Getty Images Visitors experience Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul on October 27, 2016. JUNG YEON-JE / AFP - Getty Images
(NBC) -

A new year brings new technological marvels and possibilities.

While we can't say for certain what 2017 will hold when it comes to tech, we know some of what we can look forward to in the new year.

From the 10th anniversary of the iPhone to a perilous plunge into Saturn, here's a look at some of the big moments, products, and trends to watch for in 2017.

SpaceX Returns to Flight

SpaceX is planning to return to flight in January — just four months after an anomaly destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and the satellite it had been set to carry into space.

Elon Musk's company is targeting a January launch, exact date to be determined, for Iridium's mobile communications fleet.

SpaceX's timeline is ambitious, but the company has pulled it off in the past. After its Dragon capsule exploded en route to the International Space Station, the company was sidelined for six months.

Orbital Sciences took a year to return to flight after its Antares rocket exploded in October 2014. NASA took years to resume shuttle flights after the Columbia explosion.

The 10th Anniversary of the iPhone

It's hard to believe we were first introduced to that bizarre flat phone without any physical buttons nearly 10 years ago.

The iPhone will celebrate its 10th birthday this year, so expect plenty of fanfare and, of course, a few extra surprises from Apple. Judging by Apple's pattern of launches, it's likely the iPhone 8 — or whatever they choose to call it — will be introduced to the world in September.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's newest gaming system, the Nintendo Switch, is being released in March. It's a console but also has a component perfect for taking with you on the go, harkening back to the glory days of the Game Boy.

We got our first glimpse of the Switch in October, but there are still plenty of unknowns gamers are patiently waiting to find out. We still don't know the exact launch date, what it costs, and which game titles will be available at the start, but Nintendo has promised to answer all of these questions sometime before March. (In the meantime, why not tide yourself over with Super Mario Run for the iPhone?)

Cassini's Fatal Plunge Into Saturn

Having spent nearly 20 years on the move in space, NASA's Cassini space probe will end its mission in September when it dives head-on into Saturn.

Scientists are planning one heck of a going away party for the probe, sending it as close as 1,012 miles above Saturn's clouds before it makes a fatal plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15.

The space probe launched in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004.

While we'll be sad to see Cassini go, it's worth remembering the good times.

During its 12 years and counting at Saturn, Cassini has discovered an "Earth-like" world on Titan, with rain, rivers, lakes, and seas. It also discovered molecules on Titan that NASA called the most "chemically complex" in the solar system.

Samsung Looks For Redemption After Note 7 Fiasco

Samsung has a track record of releasing a few smartphones every year, but their last one, the Galaxy Note 7, turned out to be a fire hazard that was recalled twice and resulted in production of the phone being scrapped.

The company has been pushing its Galaxy S7 line, which has received high reviews, in the interim. However, expect Samsung to be back at it with a new offering sometime this year — and some sort of assurance to let customers know they've got it right this time.

Samsung usually has a large presence at the Mobile World Congress in late February, so it's possible we could learn more in just a matter of months.

Drone Delivery

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said he believes drone deliveries will one day be as common as seeing a mail truck. While we're not there yet, largely due to regulations, expect more cool drone delivery tests and pilot programs to ramp up in the new year.

Google conducted a delicious delivery test in September when it used drones to deliver Chipotle to students at Virginia Tech. While it's probably the most stylish way to ever have a burrito delivered, Google was still required to adhere to FAA guidelines and keep the drones within an operator's line of sight.

Amazon, which has pioneered the idea, has been testing in the U.S. but also abroad, where local regulations make it easier to explore how the service would work on a larger scale.

Earlier this month, a man in Cambridge, England, who agreed to be part of the test program, received the first-ever Amazon Prime Air delivery, which took just 13 minutes from the warehouse to his front door.

Self-Driving Cars

We're moving full-speed toward an autonomous driving future.

In 2016, Tesla announced all production vehicles would come with fully autonomous capabilities. Self-driving Ubers are already on the road in Pittsburgh and Arizona.

While fully autonomous cars may not be mainstream yet, expect to see more testing by automakers as they prepare for the big shift in mobility that some have predicted will arrive as early as 2020.

In 2017, Volvo will give 100 customers in Sweden the chance to use a self-driving vehicle as their personal car.

Nissan hopes to have a fully autonomous car in production by 2020. And Ford says it plans to take the driver completely out of the equation when it launches a new line of high-tech vehicles in 2021.

The payoff could be huge. A 2015 report from McKinsey found autonomous vehicles may cut crashes by 90 percent and give people who would otherwise be driving as much as 50 minutes of their own time back, allowing them to be more productive during their commutes.

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