Bone conduction headphones, TV streaming devices and Bluetooth speakers are among the tech gadgets topping holiday wish lists this year. Other notable products – ahem, the new 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max – are near impossible to find.
But as the year comes to an end, the staff at CNN is reflecting on the most essential devices, services and apps we leaned on in 2022 — not just the most sought out products.
It was a busy and tumultuous year, filled with news of of international conflicts, rising inflation, a possible recession and a lingering pandemic. Here are the products that our anchors, correspondents, editors and reporters relied on most to get through the year and also find some comfort.
My sleep schedule turned upside down in 2022 when I went from covering the White House until late at night to waking up at 3 a.m. to anchor CNN’s new morning show. One of my favorite devices this year has been my Oura Ring (starts at $299), which tracks my sleep but I imagine [it] has been pretty disturbed that I went from regularly getting 7-8 hours a night to an average of 5 hours. Seeing my vital signs and how my sleep patterns developed has actually encouraged me to walk around more or get in bed earlier without that extra glass of wine. – Kaitlan Collins, co-host of “CNN This Morning”
BeReal – a photo sharing app where users are notified once a day at different times to share a photo of whatever they’re doing within a two-minute window – is a fun respite from all those filters and annoying videos on other platforms. Plus it’s comforting to see the mundane lives we all actually have. – Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business writer
My favorite piece of technology of the year is one I don’t own yet. I spend a lot of time on planes for work and have always thought it could be great if airplane TVs could be hooked up to your AirPods. Lo and behold the AirFly ($55). I’m ordering myself one for Christmas and suspect it’ll become one of my most used devices in 2023. – Donie O’Sullivan, CNN correspondent
I’m deliberate about patronizing black-owned businesses. Since my move to New York, I’ve had to find all new favorite spots for good food and drinks. EatOkra is like the Yelp for black-owned restaurants, bars, food trucks and the rest. I’ve hit up EatOkra plenty in 2022. – Victor Blackwell, co-anchor of CNN Newsroom
Now that I commute home at the ungodly hour of 1 a.m., I lean heavily on my HBO Max app (starts at $9.99 a month). At the risk of sounding like a giant suck-up to our parent company, “White Lotus” has been great company in the wee hours of the night when few other people are awake. Those characters became my companions and I was so sad when the season ended. But hey, there’s always Bill Maher! – Alisyn Camerota, co-host of “CNN Newsroom”
Between work and shuttling various children to basketball, guitar and taekwondo practice, finding time to make dinner is a constant struggle. Whisk lets me look in my fridge, type in what ingredients I have, select a 30-minute recipe max, and it will spit out dozens of recipes I can make quickly. It also lets me save my favorite recipes – whether I found it in Whisk or around the web. Whisk pulls out the ingredients list, lets you create a shopping list, and easily adjusts the recipe if you want to make more or less. It’s easily the app I use the most every week. Well, next to CNN, of course. – David Goldman, CNN Business executive editor
I’d like to say I spent $70 on a digital camera for my toddler because I believe in encouraging her hobbies and fostering her creative expression. Mostly, though, I bought it because I was tired of her stealing my phone and filling it up with dozens of pictures of pillows and feet. (Whoever invented burst mode on the iPhone, I’d like to have a word with you.) Yes, the Kidamento cameras are adorable and thoughtfully designed for young hands and minds. But really, it just buys me a few minutes of peace that I would otherwise spend deleting images from my phone. – Seth Fiegerman, CNN tech editor
Stories can come in at any time or I might just need to voice a report while I’m at home or out and about. A good mic is essential but they can be large and come with various cables and adapters. I started using these small cordless Rode mics ($299) for social videos on my phone and then realized the quality was as good as my big mic. Now I can just carry the cordless one in my pocket and can be ready to file at any point. I long for a cable-free future. – Max Foster, CNN International anchor
As a mom with a busy work schedule, I love being able to watch my kids play from my phone [via the corresponding smart home camera], while I get ready to anchor my show. It fills me with so much gratitude. – Zain Asher, CNN International anchor
I used to read books via the Kindle app on my iPad but recently switched back to a standalone e-reader. Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite ($139) holds thousands of books and features a longer-lasting battery, an adjustable backlit display and is as light as ever. (Plus, you can use the free Libby app to download e-books from your local library.) It’s a reminder of the beauty and simplicity of single-use digital devices, free from the distractions of the internet. it also shows how technology can disappear when you’re fully immersed in a good book. – Samantha Kelly, CNN senior tech writer
I remember being an intern over a decade ago logging half hour long interviews for producers. It was tedious and took double the time of the interview to log every word. Today, as a correspondent, I still log my own interviews but in record time. Rev.com – an automated transcription service that allows you to record interviews on the spot, or upload interview audio – spits out a transcription in minutes. I can see and hear what the subjects are saying and bounce to different points in the interview as I craft my story. It’s a modern marvel that has saved me so much time and has helped me become more accurate in my reporting. – Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN Business and Politics correspondent
A clear iPhone screen cover that prevents cracks has been my savior since having kids. Given how much my kids pick up my phone and throw it around, it has saved me! – Poppy Harlow, co-host “CNN This Morning”
I recently discovered She’s Birdie ($30), a personal safety alarm on a keychain made by women for women. It makes me feel much safer whenever I’m out and about running errands or headed to work. I’ve been so impressed by the alarm’s loud siren and strobe light that I bought one for all of the women in my life this year for Christmas. – Chloe Melas, CNN Entertainment correspondent
Is this the sexiest item on our list? Definitely not. Did I expect to spend a few hundred American dollars on air purifiers this year? Also no. But with the trifecta threat of Covid-RSV-flu looming via school germs, work germs, public transportation germs and germ-germs, I finally picked up my beloved Wirecutter’s top purifier pick. Thanks to great Black Friday deals I’ve outfitted most rooms in my home with a Coway Mighty (as low as $156 right now) or other model. While the jury’s still out about whether it’ll keep us healthy this winter, I do feel I’ve purchased some peace of mind — and whether it’s real or imagined, I’ll take it. – Julianne Pepitone, CNN Business senior desk editor