Siri will be the conductor of a suite of devices, all tracking your interactions and anticipating your next moves.
Apple Inc. will still sell an iPhone, but expect the device to morph into a suite of apps and services, enhanced with AI and AR, part of a ‘body area network’ of devices, batteries and sensors.
Christopher Mims writes: It’s 2027, and you’re walking down the street, confident you’ll arrive at your destination even though you don’t know where it is. You may not even remember why your device is telling you to go there.
There’s a voice in your ear giving you turn-by-turn directions and, in between, prepping you for this meeting. Oh, right, you’re supposed to be interviewing a dog whisperer for your pet-psychiatry business. You arrive at the coffee shop, look around quizzically, and a woman you don’t recognize approaches. A display only you can see highlights her face and prints her name next to it in crisp block lettering, Terminator-style. Afterward, you’ll get an automatically generated transcript of everything the two of you said.
As the iPhone this week marks the 10th anniversary of its first sale, it remains one of the most successful consumer products in history. But by the time it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the “phone” concept will be entirely uprooted: That dog-whisperer scenario will be brought to you even if you don’t have an iPhone in your pocket.
Sure, Apple AAPL 0.45% may still sell a glossy rectangle. (At that point, iPhones may also be thin and foldable, or roll up into scrolls like ancient papyri.) But the suite of apps and services that is today centered around the physical iPhone will have migrated to other, more convenient and equally capable devices—a “body area network” of computers, batteries and sensors residing on our wrists, in our ears, on our faces and who knows where else. We’ll find ourselves leaving the iPhone behind more and more often.
Trying to predict where technology will be in a decade may be a fool’s errand, but how often do we get to tie up so many emerging trends in a neat package?
National Geographic is releasing “Mars,” a six-part series that follows a dramatized mission to Mars while real scientists and thinkers discuss the challenges of such a journey.
It’s been around for decades, but virtual reality has been anything but real for most people. That’s about to change as a slew of new virtual-reality technologies get set to tempt your wallet. Some of them are even available in time for this year’s holidays.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute? Virtual reality started off as a way for scientists to visualize their research. Ken Perlin, a computer science professor and pioneer in the field of virtual reality, explains:
[Ken Perlin:] The first people who seriously developed virtual reality were Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull back in 1968. They built a very large device, which they nicknamed the “Sword of Damocles” because it was a very large contraption that hung over your head and carried the headset with it as it moved around on a giant boom arm.”
New gadgets expected to launch in 2016 will be a bit more sophisticated.
[Perlin:] “The major commercial releases of virtual reality that will appear in the first half of 2016 track your head, and they track your two hands.
[Perlin:] “In order to have a full social experience with other people of being in a world together, you also need to know where your feet are. Once you know your head and your hands and your feet, then you can build a computer graphic representation of everybody.”
This version promises to address a major problem the technology faced in the past.
[Perlin:] “Motion sickness was a problem when the delay between my head movement and the graphics that I saw exceeded a certain threshold, generally about a 10th of a second. Modern technologies that make use of these inertial trackers in the headsets have pretty much gotten rid of that.”
Virtual reality will first invade our homes offices and classroomsthrough games and educational tools. But Perlin thinks the technology will become much more than that over time. Read the rest of this entry »
For the first time ever, a virtual reality recording system will be flown in space. The project, announced by Deep Space Industries (DSI), will use a spherical video capture system to create a virtual reality float-through tour of the International Space Station‘s science lab.
Feeding into the exciting growth of VR systems created by Oculus Rift, Sony, and Samsung, this project, initiated by DSI, is a cooperative effort with Thrillbox, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), managers of the ISS U.S.
National Laboratory. This innovative partnership will allow, for the first time, anyone with a VR headset to have a fully immersive astronaut experience aboard the International Space Station. Additionally, CASIS will use the spherical video to familiarize potential researchers with the scientific facilities on the ISS National Lab.
“The space station is packed with equipment, literally in every direction. Gear is built into the walls, embedded in the floor, and tucked into the ceiling,” said
David Gump, DSI Vice-Chair. “The spherical video captured during a float through will enable people to look everywhere, as they would if they were up in the station themselves.”
Deep Space Industries began the project as an early step in developing VR systems to be used for exploring and mining asteroids, and brought in Thrillbox to focus on distributing the captured images to the greatest number of people.
The partnership between Thrillbox and DSI provides the right combination of expertise in space operations and virtual reality, creating a successful project that provides value for CASIS and offers a unique experience to consumers.
The ISS Floating Tour, in addition to being an amazing experience for high-end devices such as the upcoming retail Oculus Rift and PlayStation headsets, also will be viewable on high-resolution smartphones and tablets.
“As excitement about spherical video spreads to more people, Thrillbox is providing a universal player for web sites and personal computers that delivers a sophisticated way to handle this new format,” said Benjamin Durham, CEO of Thrillbox. “The partnership with DSI will allow us to distribute this unique space experience to consumers around the world.”
A video capture rig with multiple cameras covering a spherical field of view will provide a “you-are-there” experience never before available. In addition to entertaining consumers, this detailed video will be used by CASIS for educating potential researchers and potentially by NASA for familiarizing future ISS crews with the ever-changing internal arrangement of the station’s gear and supplies. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON – Brent Kendall reports: A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled Apple Inc. was entitled to an injunction barring rival Samsung Electronics Co. from incorporating features into its devices that infringe the iPhone maker’s patents.
A trial judge who previously denied Apple’s request “abused its discretion when it did not enjoin Samsung’s infringement,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said.
The decision is a notable win for Apple, which has argued that Samsung should have to do more than pay monetary damages for infringing upon Apple’s patented technology. Read the rest of this entry »
Jun Hongo reports:
…Japan’s internal affairs ministry on Tuesday released the results of its first survey regarding use of information tools by preschoolers, which showed that about one in 10 children had come in contact with devices such as smartphones before celebrating their first birthday.
“The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. “
The study surveyed 1,350 guardians who have preschool children and 400 with children in elementary schools. It asked them whether their child has used communication devices such as smartphones, computers and tablet PCs.
“Of those aged between zero to three using devices, about two-thirds were using a smartphone and more than one-third used a tablet computer.”
The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. The numbers included both cases in which the adult offered the device to the child and when the child chose on its own to use one. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple’s share of profits is remarkable given that it sells fewer than 20% of smartphones
“Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one reaps nearly all the profits.”
Acquisition of LinX deepens the Apple’s position in Israel
Apple confirmed the acquisition with its standard statement when it has bought a company. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said an Apple spokesman.
The companies had been discussing an acquisition price of about $20 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
LinX didn’t respond to requests for comment.
LinX develops and markets miniature cameras for tablets and smartphones. Using an array of sensors that capture multiple images at the same time and proprietary algorithms, LinX says its cameras can gauge depth and create three-dimensional image maps.
Last year, the company said its tiny camera modules allow for better-quality pictures in low light and faster exposure at standard indoor conditions. It said the technology offers single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera image quality without the need for a bulky device. Read the rest of this entry »
Christina Bonnington writes: For years, Gorilla Glass was the toughest material a mobile device could use to protect its delicate display components. A mix of silicon dioxide, aluminum, sodium, and magnesium, Corning’s scratch-resistant composite material was the gold standard in protecting a smartphone’s display against breakage. But starting around mid-2013, a new option became visible: sapphire.
“Even though sapphire never made it into the iPhone’s display, between interest in the new material and its maturation in the market, we’re now seeing sapphire on a growing number of mobile products.”
While more expensive to produce than Gorilla Glass, sapphire is significantly tougher. It’s up to three times stronger; diamond is the only material hard enough to nick it. Apple was widely rumored to be moving to sapphire displays in its mobile devices, particularly after the Cupertino company partnered with GT Advanced Technologies in the construction of a Mesa, Arizona sapphire production plant.
“Sapphire is also making its way into wearables. Apple, of course, has a big stake in the space with the upcoming, sapphire-fronted Apple Watch. But the material has been a staple in mid to high-end watches for many years now, and is a staple across the watch industry.”
That arrangement didn’t pan out. Sapphire didn’t make it into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as reported (other than in its camera lens), and the factory was repurposedafter GT Advanced filed for bankruptcy. It turns out it’s very challenging to build sapphire into larger devices like smartphones and tablets, according to DisplaySearch analyst Calvin Hseih, who I spoke with over email. First, it’s far more expensive, costing multiple dollars per square inch compared to roughly five cents per square inch for glass. It can still be chipped or cracked if dropped at the right angle. And, Hseih says, it has a lower optical transmission than glass, which necessitates greater backlight power consumption. Apple’s proposed solution to these challenges wasn’t actually a pure sapphire display cover glass, like we’d see on a watch: According to its sapphire-related patent filings, Apple’s phone displays would have a very thin sapphire layer coated or laminated onto the glass. This takes advantage of the material’s hardness without adding undue strain on battery life or making it too expensive for people to afford. But this design couldn’t be executed at a satisfactory quality level in time. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple and Google have taken steps recently to let users protect information stored on smartphones – even from law enforcement. It turns out there may be a fingerprint-sized gap in that plan.
A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that police officers cannot force criminal suspects to divulge cellphone passwords, but they can force them to unlock the phone with a fingerprint scanner.
If applied by other courts, the ruling could become important as more device makers incorporate fingerprint readers that can be used as alternatives to passwords. Apple introduced the technology last year in its iPhone 5S and Samsung included it in its Galaxy S5.
When those phones arrived, lawyers said users might be required to unlock the phones with their fingerprints. More recently, Apple and Google said they had changed the encryption scheme on the newest phones using their operating systems so that law enforcement can’t retrieve the data. FBI Director James Comey criticized the companies, saying were allowing users to “place themselves above the law.”
After months of leaks and speculation, Amazon unveiled its ‘Fire Phone’ smartphone. The new phone has a 4.7-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera and unlimited photo storage in cloud, as well as a 3-D like effect where the images move where you do.
The phone will be available July 25, and sells for $649 to $749 with no contract…(read more)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated Press
“My wife and I bought this after selling our daughter Amanda into white slavery. We actually got a refurbished. It’s missing the remote, but oh well– for $10K off, I can afford a universal, right? The picture is amazing. I’ve never seen the world with such clarity.
Amanda, if you’re reading this, hang in there, honey! We’ll see you in a year.”
[you know you want to buy this TV, as a bonus, it’ll really, really help support this site]
I just wanted to add an addendum to my review. Since posting it, we have received a flood of responses. People have said some pretty hurtful things–even questioning our values. Let me assure you, this was not an easy decision to make, and we made it as a family. Obviously, it’s very personal. But in light of all the second-guessing, I wanted to explain our thinking.
First and foremost, screen size. I really think you can’t go too big. 85″ may seem huge, but you get used to it fast. Second, resolution. Is 4K overkill? Please, that’s what they said about 1080P! More dots = better. Period. And as far as this being a $40,000 “dumb” TV, people need to re-read my initial post: WE BOUGHT IT REFURBISHED. It was only $30,000…
The long-awaited deal will see Apple sell its iPhones in the world’s largest smartphone market via China Mobile’s retail stores on January 17 for the first time
Rebecca Clancy writes: Apple has announced a long-awaited distribution deal with China Mobile, the world’s biggest phone carrier, which could generate billions in revenue for the world’s most valuable tech company.
Demand for iPhones, once hugely popular in China, have slumped there as lower-priced rival smartphones from Samsung and Chinese companies entered the market.
The financial terms of the deal were not announced, nor were the details of pricing and availability for its latest iPhone, the 5S and 5C lines, which Apple said would be available at a later date.
The phones will go on sale in China Mobile’s retail stores on January 17 for the first time, but customers will be able to pre-order from December 25.
Michael Horowitz writes: If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.
Recently IDC reported that 187 million Android phones were shipped in the second quarter of this year. That multiplies out to 748 million phones in 2013, a figure that does not include Android tablets.
Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords.
Sounds like a James Bond movie. Read the rest of this entry »
If you keep up with the tech news these days, you know that wearable computing is all the rage. Research firm Gartner projects that wearable smart electronics will be a $10 billion industry by 2016.
While Google’s Glass project is pretty cool, it’s not going to be a serious product for the mass consumer market anytime soon. In fact, most technologies like this get adopted within vertical business markets first and over time, as the technology gets perfected and costs come down, they eventually get the apps and prices that appeal to a more consumer-centric market. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.
Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.
The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.
Nobody cares what kind of smartphone you believe in. It’s not a religion.
It’s more like a sports team, for some.