The Most Innovative New Tech Products Of 2014

Tim Cook looking at iMac Retina displayBusiness InsiderWhat is Apple CEO Tim Cook looking at? One of the most innovative tech products to launch this year!

What pushed technology forward in 2014?

Here’s a look at our picks for the most innovative gadgets, apps, services, and other tech things to launch this year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has the best screen ever put on a smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the best smartphone Samsung has ever made. It also has the best smartphone display ever put on a smartphone.

Don't believe us? The experts at Displaymate agree.

The iPhone 6 camera is the the best ever put in a smartphone.

The camera on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is the best we've ever used on a smartphone. In just about every head-to-head test, it performs better than the competition.

The Oculus Crescent Cove VR headset hints at the future of computing.

It's becoming clear why Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus for $US2 billion this year.

The company's latest prototype, the Crescent Cove, is closest to what that final consumer version of the headset will be like. The experience is simply mind blowing and nearly impossible to put into words.

But once you try it, it's hard to disagree with Mark Zuckerberg that this is the next step in personal computing.

Google Cardboard is another take on virtual reality.

What if you didn't have to spend thousands to get a virtual reality experience?

That's the promise of Google Cardboard, an open source project that lets you slot your smartphone into a headset and experience VR on-the-go.

The Moto 360 proved smartwatches can be pretty.

The Moto 360 may have problems like limited battery life, but it proved smartwatches don't have to look like chunky mini-smartphones strapped to your wrist. It even comes with a nice leather band.

Apple Pay is the first major step into making credit cards obsolete.

Many have promised to make your credit card obsolete by using your smartphone, but no one has pushed that promise forward as much as Apple with the launch of Apple Pay. Apple Pay lets you buy stuff in stores by tapping your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus against a special payment pad. It's available at more retailers than similar solutions from Google and PayPal, and it could become the dominant mobile payments platform.

The OnePlus One proved you don't have to spend a fortune for a great smartphone.

The OnePlus One may only cost about $US300, but it's just as powerful and capable as the best Android phones out there that cost at least twice as much.

The One is only available for purchase with an invitation from the company or a current owner, but expect wider availability with a new version of the device next year.

Lyft Line is a better way to think about ride sharing.

Lyft Line is a new service from ridesharing company Lyft that lets you carpool with other Lyft users.

The app automatically pairs you with another rider who is headed in the same general direction as you. The two of you then split the fare.

The result? Cheaper rides that are just as convenient as a regular Lyft ride.

However, Lyft Line is only available in San Francisco and Los Angeles for now.

Apple's new iMac with Retina display will melt your eyes.

We have never seen a computer with a screen as good as the one on Apple's new iMac with Retina display. It packs nearly 15 million pixels onto a 27-inch screen. Words don't do it justice. You have to see it to believe it.

The downside? It ain't cheap. The new iMac starts at $US2,500.

The new version of Android gives iOS a run for its money.

Lollipop, the newest version of Android, launched this fall to very positive reviews.

Google gave the new Android a complete redesign and improved everything from notifications to security. Some critics have even said it's better than iOS, the operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Microsoft made the right choice launching Office on iPhone and iPad.

After about a four-year wait, Microsoft finally released a version of Microsoft Office for iPad. This fall, it released a version for iPhone too.

It's a smart move for Microsoft as it becomes more open to developing productivity tools for rival platforms like iOS and Android. And it's a good first step to make sure Microsoft software is everywhere, not just Windows machines.

BONUS: Here's some stuff to look forward to in 2015...

There's still plenty more to come in 2015. Here are some cool gadgets and other tech products to look out for in the coming months:

Apple will release the Apple Watch in early 2015.

Apple may also release a bigger version of the iPad.

Windows 10 should launch launch by the end of the year. Based on an early version, it looks like it will fix a lot of gripes people have with Windows 8.

Samsung is expected to release a phone with a bendable screen.

Now check out how two rival devices that recently launched stack up...

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