Ian’s favourite things of 2016

For me, 2016 was a mix of love of the usual dose of Tim Hortons, Taylor Swift, eBikes, exploding phones, Tesla, and trying to understand the hype of Pokémon Go.

Overall, thankfully, it was a tremendous year for tech in Canada, and one that laid the foundation for an exciting 2017. Here are five of my favourite things from this glorious year:

Best App: Netflix

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While not the newest app or streaming service in Canada, the selection of original content — House of Cards, Stranger Things, The Crown, Black Mirror — is far above others services in the country and well worth the $10 charge per month.

Just before Amazon Prime Video launched in Canada (which also has The Grand Tour available), Netflix brought offline viewing to the masses. This feature has proven to be a lifesaver for me while commuting on Toronto’s crowded streetcars and subways.

Best smartphone: iPhone 7

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The iPhone 7 was a safe play for Apple. While the smartphone generally kept the same design, Apple did improve its performance and also included a better camera. I have the Jet Black model, which for me, brings the iconic phone back to feeling like a higher quality smartphone when compared to other devices on the market.

However, the iPhone 7’s biggest pain is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, for a lightning adapter and lightning headphones. The headphone jack’s removal makes it impossible to charge the device and also watch a movie, unless you purchase a dongle.

Hopefully, we’ll see a curved iPhone in 2017.

Best quote: CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais commenting on Rogers/Shaw shuttering Shomi

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“It came as a shock, therefore, to hear in September that Rogers and Shaw were closing the doors on Shomi. Far be it for me to criticize the decisions taken by seasoned business people, but I can’t help but be surprised when major players throw in the towel on a platform that is the future of content — just two years after it launched. I have to wonder if they are too used to receiving rents from subscribers every month in a protected ecosystem, rather than rolling up their sleeves in order to build a business without regulatory intervention and protection.”

Enough said.

Best Canadian carrier mascot: Freddy the Freedom Bear

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Rogers has a cable swirl, Bell and Virgin have their name, Koodo ditched a Mexican wrestler for a slogan, and Fido has a dog. Wind Mobile shifted its brand to Freedom Mobile and thought the best way to bring this to life was to give birth to a cuddly bear named Freddy.

Freedom was also considering going with a bird or a fox, but decided on this adorable, furry creature. It will surely be interesting to see how Freedom Mobile, a new, but still established rookie in Canadian telecom space grows up into a bigger bear.

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