Cables have been interlinked with technology in the home for ages. Televisions, computers, and virtually every other electronic appliance in the home is backed by often numerous cables that transfer energy from one point to another. Recently, wireless technology has evolved to a point where many of these cables are no longer necessary. In some cases, even power cables are beginning to disappear as more devices adopt wireless charging and solar technologies. This begs the question: are cables becoming an obsolete technology?
There are so many audio and video cable standards that it often becomes difficult to tell them apart. Using the right cable to get audio and/or video data from one device to another shouldn’t have to be a complicated science. Bluetooth technology has created a method of transferring clear audio between devices without the need of cables. Wireless video transmitters and receivers are becoming more prevalent in the business market, and their prices are dropping to a point that is well within reach of consumers, as well. Still, in its current state, many audiophiles and video professionals would argue that wireless technology isn’t at a point yet to truly match the quality possible through digital (and some analog) audio/video cable solutions.
Charging mats and pads have made it possible to charge battery-powered electronics without needing to plug anything in. Using wireless energy transfer, these devices allow you to simply place your mobile phone or other portable device on a pad, and walk away. The need for proprietary charging cables and wires is virtually eliminated. In fact, the only cable needed to operate these devices is a single power cable used to send power from the wall to the pad. Several wireless Christmas lighting solutions also offer freedom from a tree needing to be physically tethered to the wall. A base station plugs into the outlet and transmits the power wirelessly to a receiver located within the branches of the tree. The power transferred is enough to light the string of tiny LED bulbs.
In many cases, the tangled mess of cables commonly associated with electronics is being reduced to one or two cables that serve multiple functions. Wireless printers, speakers, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals can greatly reduce the cabling that would otherwise clutter the back of any desk. For example, the iMac is capable of functioning out of the box without the need for a single cable outside of the power cable that attaches to the wall. Within five years, one might assume that even that cable could be replaced by a more advanced wireless energy transfer system.
So, are cables becoming an obsolete technology? Perhaps so, but there’s a good chance they may continue to stick around for a while longer. In five years, you might see them disappear from desks and entertainment centers as more capable wireless technologies emerge.