Tag Archives: Apple

How the Apple Watch compares to Android Wear and Pebble

Today was the big day: Apple announced its smartwatch, unimaginatively named “Apple Watch”- not iWatch or  iTime, simply “Apple Watch”. Perhaps that’s the best summary of Apple Watch: unimaginative. While the rest of the world is losing its mind over Apple’s new timepiece, let’s take a minute, step back from the hype, and see how Apple’s new competitor stacks up against the already saturated smartwatch playing field.

Features & Functionality

Apple Watch has a big grid of icons, tooWhen it comes to features and functionality, there are a few differences between what Apple offers and what everyone else does. Apple’s product includes two new input types: a twistable crown button for scrolling and zooming without blocking the display, and a touchscreen than can tell the difference between a tap and a press. Just how useful either of these features are will remain somewhat of a mystery until we get our hands on the device, but they’re worth mentioning, nonetheless.

As far as features go, it looks like Apple Watch is much more in-line with Samsung’s Gear lineup and devices powered by Google’s Android Wear. There are a few additions, of course, but their utility are hardly worth mentioning.

What does deserve recognition is the fluidity of the OS running on Apple Watch. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a fan of the “big grid of icons”, and a circular grid, as we’ve seen demonstrated here, doesn’t seem much more user friendly. Why Apple hasn’t abandoned this for something more useful, we may never know. The rest of the UI, however, looks amazing! It blows everything else away, hands down, no questions ask, no argument. Period. Google, Sony, and Pebble have their work cut out for them.

Apple Watch includes a feature that no other smartwatch currently has: mobile payments. Mobile payments via your watch certainly sounds like something the masses could get behind. No more credit cards. No more fishing your wallet or phone out of your pocket either! Just tap your watch and get on with life. Hopefully Android Wear will get some NFC support and enable this functionality through the Google Wallet and ISIS Softcard apps. Time will tell.

Size & Shape

Apple made the Apple Watch in two sizes, which is a bit interesting, but will attract more users, that’s for sure. Women and small-wristed men will flock to Apple’s watch over any other simply because it’s available in a smaller size. We assume, of course, that concessions had to be made, probably in the battery, to make up for the size difference, but until we see (and tear-down) the two in person, we’ll have to deduce.

What’s especially surprising is that if you want a round smartwatch you’ve got to go with either the Moto 360 (which is already available, if you can find it in stock) or the LG G Watch R (which is coming out next month). Prior to Apple’s announcement, almost every comment I read that was critical to the first round of Android Wear devices commented that Apple would never make a rectangular watch, they’d do it “right” and make it circular. Sorry to disappoint you, folks, but even the engineers at Apple couldn’t build a round smartwatch. They let you down. You can head back to those forums and post your apologies now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Form & Function

iwatch-goldThat leads us to the Apple Watch’s build. Here’s one area where literally every other smartwatch on the planet has just been lapped. Everything about the Apple Watch screams “high-end” and “attention to detail”.

Although all we’ve really seen is renders and a few samples, if Apple Watch lives up to its promises, it’s going to function very, very well.

Motorola and Pebble make smart watches out of metal, but Apple’s has a sapphire screen and various types of metal bodies – including gold. Yes, actual gold. Compare that to the LG G Watch and pretty much anything from Samsung and – well, there really isn’t any comparison, so we’ll just stop there.

Apple’s wristbands are very interesting as well! No, you can’t use a standard 22mm watch band like you can with many of the other smart watches. You have to buy Apple’s special bands. Looking at them, and the way they connect with the watch, makes me think this could be a feature rather than a drawback. I’m quite impressed with the several ways Apple has apparently reinvented the watch band!

Battery & Power

Apple Watch ChargerWe don’t know anything definite about battery life on Apple Watch, but we expect that it’ll last a day or so, just like everything powered by Android Wear , but it probably won’t come close to the 5+ days that Pebble users enjoy. Charging, on the other hand should be exciting! Similar to the Moto 360, Apple Watch will have wireless charging. Unlike the Moto 360, the charger looks like it uses a proprietary format, not the Qi-standard that Motorola opted for.

Limitations

Now for the bad news. In addition to starting at hundred dollars more than pretty much every other smartwatch available today (including the Moto 360), the Apple Watch is not available yet – and won’t be until next year. When exactly next year? We don’t know.

Like we mentioned before, charging the Apple Watch will require a proprietary charger, and is not compatible with the Qi or PowerMat standards. This doesn’t bode well for when Apple includes wireless charging in its phones and tablets, since it will likely go with the non-standard type of charger it will be using for Apple Watch.

What about compatibility? Android Wear is only compatible with Android-powered devices, and Apple Watch will only be compatible with the iPhone 5 and above. Pebble, on the other hand, works just fine with Android or iOS.

Although Apple Watch looks pretty neat, it’s going to have a hard time competing with the Moto 360, but Pebble and the rest of devices powered by Android Wear have some catching up to do.


Pocketnow

Apple Unveils iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Announces iOS 8 Availability

iphone 6 650At an event today in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, with the company calling the devices “the biggest advancements in iPhone history.” The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, respectively, and feature advanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, the Apple-designed A8 chip, improved wireless technologies, increased battery life, and Apple Pay, a new way to use one’s phone for making payments in-stores and online.

The devices will be available in gold, silver or space gray, and will launch in the US on September 19. The iPhone 6 will be available in three models: 16GB for $ 199, 64GB for $ 299 and 128GB for $ 399. The iPhone 6 Plus offers the same storage configurations, but at higher price points: 16GB for $ 299, 64GB for $ 399 and 128GB for $ 499 (all prices are on a two-year contract). Pre-orders for both models will be available starting September 12.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will include iOS 8, Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system, which will launch for existing iPhone users on September 17. With iOS 8, users can expect a variety of new features, including Apple’s QuickType keyboard, new features in the Messages and Photos apps, an entirely new Health app and much more.

To start, QuickType features predictive typing, and becomes more personalized over time. The keyboard takes context into account, including the recipient of the message and which app is being used while typing. In doing so, the keyboard may suggest favorite phrases, for one, with this information being kept private and encrypted on the device, never being sent to the cloud. The system supports third-party keyboards for additional layouts and input methods.

Elsewhere, the Photos app allows users to automatically straighten horizons, and smart editing tools offer controls for adjusting light and color with a swipe. Users can change individual image characteristics as well, with tools for exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more. “Developers can tap into the same robust framework as the built-in Photos app using PhotoKit, and with extensibility APIs, can make their own filters and editing tools available to users within the Photos app,” Apple said in a statement.ios 8 650As for Messages, users can use “Tap to Talk” to share their voice. Users can send multiple photos and videos to their contacts at once, while group messaging will give users the ability to add or remove contacts from a group, along with new options for leaving a conversation entirely or toggling an option to not be disturbed. Finally, users can choose to share their current location within the Messages app, for periods lasting an hour, a day, or longer.

iOS 8’s new Health app gathers a user’s information from multiple health and fitness apps to provide a one-stop-shop for monitoring one’s current health in a single place. HealthKit APIs will give developers the option of making health and fitness apps communicate with one another. With the user’s permission, each app can pick and choose information from other apps to form a more comprehensive view of a user’s personal fitness. For instance, healthcare professionals can view the data patients choose to share through apps like Mayo Clinic.

Other iOS 8 features include family sharing, for sharing photos and calendars with others in a family group, for locating family members and their devices, and the ability to share “eligible” iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases across each other’s accounts. iCloud Drive allows users to store and easily access any of their documents in the cloud, with any changes synced across devices. HomeKit connects to a user’s home accessories like lights and thermostats, interactive notifications will allow users to respond to notifications and prompts directly from their lock screen, and so on.apple Pay 650 2Finally, Apple Pay looks to revolutionize the way we make purchases online and in traditional retail stores. Available on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the secure platform turns an iPhone into a payment device, as users enter their credit and debit card information, and a unique Device Account Number is assigned and stored to the Secure Element within the iPhone or Apple Watch. When making a purchase in a real-world store, the phone’s NFC antenna, combined with the security of the Touch ID pad on the device, trigger the sale with Apple Pay creating a security code to validate each transaction securely. When making a purchase online, the process is similar, and revolves around the user’s Touch ID.

Apple’s retail locations will support such payments, alongside other major retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Disney Store (and Walt Disney World Resort), Macy’s, McDonald’s, Sephora, Subway, Staples and many others.

iOS 8 will be available as a free software update, while new iCloud pricing will start at $ 0.99 per month for 20GB of storage. Plans increase from there, to a maximum of $ 19.99 per month for 1TB of storage.

(All images courtesy of Apple)


Inside Mobile Apps

Strategy: The Apple way and the Samsung way

An interesting question came up on the Pocketnow Weekly last week from Patrick Webb, which was actually addressed on the air. All the same, it seemed a highly debatable topic, so let’s talk about it. The question basically addressed the fundamental difference between the product development philosophy between the two biggest OEMs on the planet – Apple and Samsung.

Apple has a grand total of 4 “New” devices that you can buy today. That number will change in a few days, but for now, if you were to walk into a store and ask for the latest Apple device, you would be presented with 4 options – an iPhone 5s, an iPhone 5c, an iPad Air, and an iPad Mini. So once you remove the iPhone 5c, because…why?… you’re left with three options. On the flip side, Samsung probably released three devices in the time it took you to eat breakfast. It will probably release another device by the time you’re done releasing this article. If there was a hard cap on the number of product press releases a company could issue, Samsung would reach it by January 3rd and it would only take that long because January 1 is a holiday.

apple-1_2667982bThe Apple way

So it begs the question. Between these two companies, which are virtually dominating the global smartphone space, who has it right? Apple’s philosophy which embraces the “Art of saying no” as Patrick describes it, indicates that Apple will do what Apple feels will solve the problem its customers have regardless of whether the customer knows they have those problems. Apple is typically slow to adopt major change. It took 4 generations of iPhone to increase the screen size. It took 4 generations of iPad before the iPad mini debuted.

This “slow and steady wins the race” approach has served Apple well. There’s no sense in just adding feature after feature if it’s not going to be a premium experience. Virtually every feature in iPhones and iOS feels like a complete experience that has undergone rigorous testing, testing, and more testing. Except for Maps. Maps were a pooch screw. But, anyway. This is a great approach because it ensures that no matter what you bring to the masses, the experience will be premium and will stand up to the toughest of scrutiny. No corners will be cut and everything will be top notch, which is what a discerning smartphone customer should be looking for.

And yet…

But is that approach the best one to take? Apple is building off of previous success with secure knowledge that no matter how long it takes to evolve, and no matter how controlling it all seems, iPhones will sell, and they’ll sell like crazy. Samsung’s approach has a ton of merit too.

The saying goes, you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. Samsung may just be proving that wrong. If you create a new phone to fill every niche imaginable in the market, you can please all of the people all of the time. Samsung does spit our device after device “like a baby on an all prune diet”. While discussing this issue, Stephen Schenck made a really solid argument. Samsung has released three generations of smartwatch on two different platforms in just under a year. But, each of those iterations has added some value to the previous generation, so there was little loss here.

samsung_note3_gs4The Samsung way

What about the Galaxy Note Edge? What will the wrap around screen add? We don’t know yet. Samsung’s reputation for pumping out phone after phone with features that are undercooked or just not ready for prime time makes me a little nervous for this wrap around screen concept. But Samsung has taken a lot of those features and made them better over time. Plus, someone in this world wants a phone with a screen that wraps over the side, so why not?

What quality does for Apple, saturation does for Samsung. And Samsung seems to be winning the race, at least in terms of market share, so maybe its way is the way to succeed. Then again, Apple’s way gives us all beautiful hardware and excellent software that doesn’t compromise and doesn’t fall short, as long as you don’t rely on it to get you from Mom’s house to the dry cleaner without a detour through Death Valley.

Your turn

So what do you think? Is Apple’s way the way for you? Or are you a believer of throwing it against the wall to see what sticks? If you could run a corporation like Apple or Samsung with a bottomless bank account, which direction would you go? Let’s start up a conversation in the comments and let’s see if we can figure this out.


Pocketnow

Apple considers beefing up scecurity after iBrute

May well introduce two-step authentication

After perceived negative reaction to the news that celebrity photos were stolen from its iCloud online storage service, it appears that Apple is considering beefing up the security measures that it offers to its customers. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal it appears that Apple boss Tim cook is toying with the idea two-step authentication. His company also plans to aggressively encourage people to use the very latest version of its mobile OS – iOS, when ever possible. GoMo News thinks Cook might be over-reacting to a drop in share price after announcements from the likes of Samsung and Motorola on the wearables front.

The Cupertino-based has yet to show its hand in the realms of wearable technologies – which may worry investors.

For example, the details of Apple’s September 9th [2014] product announcements have leaked like a sieve.

However, there’s been no mention of the iWatch finally appearing. Whereas its rivals have all been showing such products at the IFA Berlin show.

The use of a second security measure in addition to standard passwords – known as two-step authentication, is tried and tested.

But it may be something of an overkill for the consumer sector. Perhaps Apple would be better to institute obligatory password changes and block @weak’ passwords altogether.

Hackers were able to crack passwords and security questions to break into celebrity accounts – rather than using code-cracking methods.

So the rumours around the so-called iBrute attack – where nothing short of brute force was used to obtain passwords are completely unfounded.

Apple will alert users with email and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time, Apple chief Tim Cook told .

In his first public interview on the incident as Apple attempts to restore confidence ahead of next week’s launch event, Cook admitted the brand could have done more to alert people to the dangers posed by hackers and the importance of strong passwords.

“When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece. I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That’s not really an engineering thing.”

Cook said the tech company is also working with authorities to investigate the hack and identify the culprits.

Apple shares tumbled this week from a record high after nude pictures of celebrities, stolen from their iCloud accounts, were published online.

Hans Cett is an established freelance author and consultant specialising in the mobile communications industry. He also writes for Countdown2MWC – http://countdown2mwc.wordpress.com/


GoMo News

Apple considers beefing up scecurity after iBrute

May well introduce two-step authentication

After perceived negative reaction to the news that celebrity photos were stolen from its iCloud online storage service, it appears that Apple is considering beefing up the security measures that it offers to its customers. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal it appears that Apple boss Tim cook is toying with the idea two-step authentication. His company also plans to aggressively encourage people to use the very latest version of its mobile OS – iOS, when ever possible. GoMo News thinks Cook might be over-reacting to a drop in share price after announcements from the likes of Samsung and Motorola on the wearables front.

The Cupertino-based has yet to show its hand in the realms of wearable technologies – which may worry investors.

For example, the details of Apple’s September 9th [2014] product announcements have leaked like a sieve.

However, there’s been no mention of the iWatch finally appearing. Whereas its rivals have all been showing such products at the IFA Berlin show.

The use of a second security measure in addition to standard passwords – known as two-step authentication, is tried and tested.

But it may be something of an overkill for the consumer sector. Perhaps Apple would be better to institute obligatory password changes and block @weak’ passwords altogether.

Hackers were able to crack passwords and security questions to break into celebrity accounts – rather than using code-cracking methods.

So the rumours around the so-called iBrute attack – where nothing short of brute force was used to obtain passwords are completely unfounded.

Apple will alert users with email and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time, Apple chief Tim Cook told .

In his first public interview on the incident as Apple attempts to restore confidence ahead of next week’s launch event, Cook admitted the brand could have done more to alert people to the dangers posed by hackers and the importance of strong passwords.

“When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece. I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That’s not really an engineering thing.”

Cook said the tech company is also working with authorities to investigate the hack and identify the culprits.

Apple shares tumbled this week from a record high after nude pictures of celebrities, stolen from their iCloud accounts, were published online.

Hans Cett is an established freelance author and consultant specialising in the mobile communications industry. He also writes for Countdown2MWC – http://countdown2mwc.wordpress.com/


GoMo News

Apple considers beefing up scecurity after iBrute

May well introduce two-step authentication

After perceived negative reaction to the news that celebrity photos were stolen from its iCloud online storage service, it appears that Apple is considering beefing up the security measures that it offers to its customers. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal it appears that Apple boss Tim cook is toying with the idea two-step authentication. His company also plans to aggressively encourage people to use the very latest version of its mobile OS – iOS, when ever possible. GoMo News thinks Cook might be over-reacting to a drop in share price after announcements from the likes of Samsung and Motorola on the wearables front.

The Cupertino-based has yet to show its hand in the realms of wearable technologies – which may worry investors.

For example, the details of Apple’s September 9th [2014] product announcements have leaked like a sieve.

However, there’s been no mention of the iWatch finally appearing. Whereas its rivals have all been showing such products at the IFA Berlin show.

The use of a second security measure in addition to standard passwords – known as two-step authentication, is tried and tested.

But it may be something of an overkill for the consumer sector. Perhaps Apple would be better to institute obligatory password changes and block @weak’ passwords altogether.

Hackers were able to crack passwords and security questions to break into celebrity accounts – rather than using code-cracking methods.

So the rumours around the so-called iBrute attack – where nothing short of brute force was used to obtain passwords are completely unfounded.

Apple will alert users with email and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time, Apple chief Tim Cook told .

In his first public interview on the incident as Apple attempts to restore confidence ahead of next week’s launch event, Cook admitted the brand could have done more to alert people to the dangers posed by hackers and the importance of strong passwords.

“When I step back from this terrible scenario that happened and say what more could we have done, I think about the awareness piece. I think we have a responsibility to ratchet that up. That’s not really an engineering thing.”

Cook said the tech company is also working with authorities to investigate the hack and identify the culprits.

Apple shares tumbled this week from a record high after nude pictures of celebrities, stolen from their iCloud accounts, were published online.

Hans Cett is an established freelance author and consultant specialising in the mobile communications industry. He also writes for Countdown2MWC – http://countdown2mwc.wordpress.com/


GoMo News

Apple + IBM, Android 4.4.4 R2, Samsung Level products & more – Pocketnow Daily

Watch today’s Pocketnow Daily as we talk about Apple’s new partnership with IBM, and what this means for iOS software. Google is next as Android 4.4.4 Release 2 reaches the Nexus 5 for some interesting reasons. LG follows as we get some more rumors on the odd G3 Beat/S/Mini device in the works. Then we talk about smartphone unlocking in the United States, as new legislation might make this easier for you. We end today’s show talking about Samsung’s Level audio products launching in the US, and our thoughts about them.

All this and more after the break.

Stories:
Apple and IBM put past behind, team up for new iOS enterprise partnership
Android 4.4.4 Release 2 comes to Nexus 5 phones in certain markets
New LG G3 Beat/S/Mini photos emerge from China
Phone unlocking bill passes in Senate, moves closer to restoring consumer rights
Samsung announces US availability, pricing for Level premium audio products


Pocketnow

Brit high tech firm helping Apple with fuel cells

iPhones to run for days without recharging?

A Brit fuel cell firm company, Intelligent Energy is reportedly working with Cupertion-based Apple on a secret venture that could put the recently-floated company in the Big League. The partnership is already being compared with that of Imagination Technologies On flotation Intelligent Energy said that it bought a bundle of patents [known to be from Eveready] in conjunction with a “major international electronics company.” Now the UK’s Daily Mail has reported that it believes that company is actually Apple. Which makes sense because Apple likes to portray itself as having bleeding edge technology and putting fuel cells into electronic devices like smartphones and laptops makes a good deal of sense.

Fuel cells are able to convert chemical energy from fuel into electricity. It should mean that iPhones, Macbooks and iPads, could run without being charged for days or even weeks.

If the firm really has become Apple’s partner for energy-efficient devices, then the firm could be shot into the realms of global technology players.

Intelligent Energy has been compared to graphics chip provider, Imagination Technologies, which has enjoyed impressive growth from the use of its tech in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone.

Having recruited former Apple Computer’s product specialist, Joe O’Sullivan, to the Intelligent Energy board as COO, the company has known close links with the iPhone maker.

The British company recently opened an office in San Jose close to Apple’s own Silicon Valley HQ.

Dave Evans is a long established commentator on both the IT and cellular industries. His current focus is on share price trends within the sector. You can email him here


GoMo News

Brit high tech firm helping Apple with fuel cells

iPhones to run for days without recharging?

A Brit fuel cell firm company, Intelligent Energy is reportedly working with Cupertion-based Apple on a secret venture that could put the recently-floated company in the Big League. The partnership is already being compared with that of Imagination Technologies On flotation Intelligent Energy said that it bought a bundle of patents [known to be from Eveready] in conjunction with a “major international electronics company.” Now the UK’s Daily Mail has reported that it believes that company is actually Apple. Which makes sense because Apple likes to portray itself as having bleeding edge technology and putting fuel cells into electronic devices like smartphones and laptops makes a good deal of sense.

Fuel cells are able to convert chemical energy from fuel into electricity. It should mean that iPhones, Macbooks and iPads, could run without being charged for days or even weeks.

If the firm really has become Apple’s partner for energy-efficient devices, then the firm could be shot into the realms of global technology players.

Intelligent Energy has been compared to graphics chip provider, Imagination Technologies, which has enjoyed impressive growth from the use of its tech in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone.

Having recruited former Apple Computer’s product specialist, Joe O’Sullivan, to the Intelligent Energy board as COO, the company has known close links with the iPhone maker.

The British company recently opened an office in San Jose close to Apple’s own Silicon Valley HQ.

Dave Evans is a long established commentator on both the IT and cellular industries. His current focus is on share price trends within the sector. You can email him here


GoMo News

Brit high tech firm helping Apple with fuel cells

iPhones to run for days without recharging?

A Brit fuel cell firm company, Intelligent Energy is reportedly working with Cupertion-based Apple on a secret venture that could put the recently-floated company in the Big League. The partnership is already being compared with that of Imagination Technologies On flotation Intelligent Energy said that it bought a bundle of patents [known to be from Eveready] in conjunction with a “major international electronics company.” Now the UK’s Daily Mail has reported that it believes that company is actually Apple. Which makes sense because Apple likes to portray itself as having bleeding edge technology and putting fuel cells into electronic devices like smartphones and laptops makes a good deal of sense.

Fuel cells are able to convert chemical energy from fuel into electricity. It should mean that iPhones, Macbooks and iPads, could run without being charged for days or even weeks.

If the firm really has become Apple’s partner for energy-efficient devices, then the firm could be shot into the realms of global technology players.

Intelligent Energy has been compared to graphics chip provider, Imagination Technologies, which has enjoyed impressive growth from the use of its tech in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone.

Having recruited former Apple Computer’s product specialist, Joe O’Sullivan, to the Intelligent Energy board as COO, the company has known close links with the iPhone maker.

The British company recently opened an office in San Jose close to Apple’s own Silicon Valley HQ.

Dave Evans is a long established commentator on both the IT and cellular industries. His current focus is on share price trends within the sector. You can email him here


GoMo News