In 10 Years, Your iPhone Won’t Be a Phone Anymore

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.

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?

Apple is busy putting ever more powerful microprocessors, and more wireless radios, in every one of its devices. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mars’: National Geographic Network’s Moonshot

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.

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WSJ‘s Lee Hawkins and John Jurgensen discuss “Mars” and the rise of the “premium nonfiction” genre on television. Read the rest of this entry »


OH NO THEY DIDN’T: Apple Has Dumped $100B in Market Value in Past Month 

Tim Cook

Apple Inc. AAPL, -4.22%   shares fell below $100 for the first time in 15 months, gripped by Thursday’s sharp market declines and signs of slowing growth in the two pillars of the company’s recent success: the iPhone and China.

“Signs of weakness in the iPhone, its best-selling and most profitable product, come after new, larger-screen models propelled Apple to record results in its fiscal year ended Sept. 26.”

The Cupertino, Calif., company’s 4.2% drop on the day was greater than the overall market’s slide and the 3% slump in the Nasdaq Composite, which closed down 10% from its May peak. Since early December, Apple has shed $100 billion in market value.

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Buoyed by China’s rising middle class, Apple’s Greater China sales in that period grew 84%, and the company overall posted revenue of $233 billion for the year. Now, both of those growth engines appear at risk.”

Signs of weakness in the iPhone, its best-selling and most profitable product, come after new, larger-screen models propelled Apple to record results in its fiscal year ended Sept. 26. Buoyed by China’s rising middle class, Apple’s Greater China sales in that period grew 84%, and the company overall posted revenue of $233 billion for the year.

[An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.]

Now, both of those growth engines appear at risk. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Apple has cut order forecasts to iPhone suppliers in recent months, according to people familiar with the matter. And China’s economy is slowing sharply, dramatized by plunging stock markets. Read the rest of this entry »


Virtual Reality Gets Real 

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 walletSome of them are even available in time for this year’s holidays.

[See the VIDEO here]

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.”

The latest generation of VR technology is a little different. Some new consumer headsets, including Samsung’s Gear VR and even Google’s very basic Cardboard visor rely on your smartphone.

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 »


Virtual Reality System to Fly in Space Brings Non-Astronauts Aboard ISS

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.

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.

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 »


Apple Wins Ruling in Patent Case Against Samsung

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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 »


Japan: Many Infants Use Smartphones, Tablets

baby-ipad

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.Japan-baby

“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 Smartphone Industry’s Profits Soars to 92%

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Apple’s share of profits is remarkable given that it sells fewer than 20% of smartphones

apple_tim_cook_money-580x418

“Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one reaps nearly all the profits.”

Read more…

WSJ


[BOOKS] ‘Losing the Signal’: The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry

blackberry-wsj

‘Losing the Signal’ examines Research In Motion’s efforts to take on Apple’s game-changing smartphone

broadcast-tower

[Read an excerpt here, at WSJ.com]

Shocked woman on telephone

[Order the book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and
Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”
 
from Amazon.com]

BN-IN985_bberry_JV_20150521163538

WSJ.com

 


Apple Buys Israeli Camera-Technology Company LinX

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Acquisition of LinX deepens the Apple’s position in Israel

Orr Hirschauge and Daisuke Wakabayashi report: Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli camera-technology company LinX Computational Imaging Ltd.

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.

LinX vs iPhone 5s

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.

linx_cameras

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 »


What’s the Apple Watch Good For?

watchmaker

Developers and designers debate whether the Apple Watch will find its purpose

John Pavlus  writes: When Apple unveiled the first iPad in 2010, many pundits scoffed. Among the gripes: tablet computers had been tried before without success; most people already had laptops; and wasn’t it just a giant iPod Touch?

 “A watch is a very covert object,” she says. “I could see a new kind of private language or low-level communication emerging from this kind of wearable, using pulses or squeezes.”

— Laura Seargeant Richardson, a user experience expert at Argodesign, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas

The market, as we know, reacted differently. Tablet computers are now a hit—thanks in no small part to Apple’s savvy design, which offered people something that was instantly comprehensible and easy to use, but also flexible enough to suggest thousands of new applications.+

With the upcoming release of the Apple Watch, the company seems poised to repeat the trick. Despite a raft of existing smart watches from companies including Samsung, Motorola, and Pebble, wearable technology has resisted mainstream appeal, partly because the devices don’t feel particularly useful (see “So Far, Smart Watches Are Pretty Dumb”).

apple watch humor

The advance marketing for the Apple Watch has done little to explain why this product will fare better, but the tools (WatchKit) and documentation (Human Interface Guidelines) released for app developers provides some clues. They suggest a simple, intuitive mode of interaction centered on streamlined alerts. If the market influence of the iPhone and iPad are any indication, the user experience patterns that Apple establishes may come to define what all smart watches are “for” in eyes of their users.

The Apple Watch might seem like a computer that resides on your wrist, but technically that isn’t the case. Apps that run on it are actually just extensions of iOS apps that run on an iPhone; they use the watch as an auxiliary display. This encourages developers to exploit the device as a kind of remote control for their existing iOS apps, and imagine the UX accordingly.

clocks

“You’re not allowed to run code on the watch at all,” says William Van Hecke, user experience lead at the Omni Group, a productivity software vendor that’s developing apps for the Apple Watch.

Nik Fletcher, product manager at Realmac Software, says his team “carefully reduced the core essence” of the company’s to-do list app, called Clear, in order to adapt it for the Apple Watch. Whereas the full iOS app lets users reorder tasks or mark off entire lists in one stroke, and includes animations and sound effects, the new version focuses on what Fletcher terms “recall and completion.” Upcoming reminders can be viewed using the watch’s (noninteractive) Glance view, and individual items can be crossed off. New entries must be input via the iPhone or Mac version of the software. Read the rest of this entry »


How an Apple Rumor Sparked a Sapphire Revolution

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 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 »


Judge Rules Suspect Can Be Required To Unlock Phone With Fingerprint

fingertip-severed-finger-tip

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.detached-digits

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.”

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to avoid self-incrimination. Read the rest of this entry »


Amazon Unveils ‘Fire Phone’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated PressAfter 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)

Digits – WSJ

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone Associated Press


Sell Your Kid into Slavery, Buy a TV

Best. Amazon. Review. Ever. From this morning’s G-File, Jonah Goldberg‘s browser history is a lot funnier than mine. This is an actual Amazon review. Hit the more button for more.

[Amazon.com: Samsung 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED UHDTV ]

awesomeHDTV

“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…

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple strikes multi-year deal with China Mobile

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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

 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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Apple Is in No Hurry to Release a Smartwatch

Pebble, MetaWatch, i'm Watch, Sony

Pebble, MetaWatch, i’m Watch, Sony

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.

Smartwatches started us down this path but it was the announcement of Google Glass that really caught the market’s attention and piqued people’s interest in this new category of wearable computers.

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? Do you like iPhone? SHUT UP!

REQUEST: PLEASE STOP FIGHTING ABOUT YOUR SMARTPHONE:

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.

via Instapundit