Top tech stories 2013

Updated 11:45 AM ET, Fri December 27, 2013
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NSA snooping programs revealed: Leaks about top-secret NSA programs that track cellphone and Internet data have shaken up the tech industry, Washington and the world while raising awareness of privacy issues. The story will continue to have an impact in America and abroad in 2014.
A year of high-profile hacks: A series of hacks launched by groups like the Syrian Electronic Army and possibly the Chinese military made headlines throughout the year. They targeted news organizations like the New York Times and Washington Post as well as major tech companies including Twitter, Facebook and Apple. from
Apple releases iOS 7, two new iPhones: This year Apple's biggest move was to update its mobile operating system, iOS 7, which got new features and a fresh look. The company also released two new iPhones (the gold-colored, fingerprint-detecting 5S and the cheaper and more colorful 5C) and two speedier iPads. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Micro videos go mainstream: First Twitter, no stranger to combining arbitrary constraints with creativity, released Vine, a new social app for sharing six-second videos. Instagram quickly followed by allowing videos up to 15 seconds long. The new medium has already taken off with clips of breaking news, artsy creations and a new kind of selfie. From Twitter
Microsoft buys Nokia, says bye-bye to Ballmer : Microsoft made some major moves this year as it attempted to break into the mobile market. In addition to updates for its still-young desktop, tablet and mobile operating systems, the company bought Nokia's phone division and announced the departure of longtime CEO Steve Ballmer. Getty Images
Game console wars: After a long quiet period, two of the three major game-machine makers finally released new versions of their popular game consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One are battling it out for holiday consumers' dollars. When the dust settles in early 2014, we'll see if there's one clear victor. SONY/microsoft/bryan perry/cnn
Snapchat leads rise of messaging apps: It was dismissed as a simple app for sexting teens, but Snapchat, like other upstart messaging apps, has a fast-growing user base. It is seen as a threat to traditional social media like Facebook, as well as old-fashioned SMS text messaging. Stewart Scott-Curran/CNN
Wearable tech goes mainstream: The age of wearable technology is not here yet, but in 2013 a crop of protoypes took their first unsteady steps towards common use. Google spread its Glass eyewear to thousands of early testers, while companies launched various smartwatches and fitness trackers. Wearables could find their groove in the coming year. Ole Spata/AFP/Getty Images
Twitter's IPO: Twitter's initial public offering was the most anticipated tech IPO since Facebook's fumbled debut last year. It minted a new crop of tech millionaires and billionaires, but raised questions about the profitability of the social media company's young ad business.
The rise of Bitcoin: Virtual currency Bitcoin has been around since 2009, but this year it picked up serious steam. It rocketed in price and popularity while fighting for mainstream acceptance and against regulation. But is it just a bubble? George Frey/Getty Images/File