Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New iPhone 8 Rumors Emerge

Though Mobile World Congress headlines are currently dominating the smartphone news cycle, we continue to see more iPhone 8 rumors sprouting up. And the most dramatic of them suggests that Apple may be preparing to introduce multiple new iPhones in the next few weeks.

According to Japanese website Mac Otakara, Apple is planning an event for March during which it will unveil three new models based closely on existing iPhones; they would include an updated iPhone SE with 128GB of storage -- the current model tops out at 64GB -- and red editions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, possibly as part of the company's longstanding support of the (RED) charity. It's worth noting that Mac Otakara has sometimes, but not always, correctly predicted previous moves by Apple.

Another report currently making ripples in the rumor pool comes from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty (via Macrumors), bolstering the "kitchen sink" theory of a dramatically redesigned iPhone 8 that has tons of new features including an edge-to-edge OLED display, longer battery life, "more advanced AI software," and wireless charging.

The Morgan Stanley report also predicts that the iPhone 8 will come equipped with 3D sensors that could enable a host of new features ranging from augmented reality to facial or iris recognition as an alternative to Apple's current Touch ID security protocol. Veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also recently voiced support for the 3D sensor theory, adding that Apple will equip with the iPhone 8 with a new front-facing camera system equipped with an infrared transmitter and receiver. Finally, a patent recently filed by Apple sets the stage for a Touch ID-like technology that recognizes the acoustic, rather than visual, properties of your fingerprint.

The bottom line: we may see Apple release a few modestly upgraded iPhones very soon, leaving the truly breakthrough features in reserve for the tenth-anniversary edition expected in early September. We'll continue to track the iPhone 8 rumor frenzy below. Specs we might see on the iPhone 8 include: Apple's next-generation processor (perhaps the A10X or A11)
Glass and stainless steel body
Extended or edge-to-edge display
Wireless charging
Virtual home button (or perhaps no home button)
Enhanced water resistance
Dual-lens camera-enabled AR capabilities

Support for the Apple Pencil An alternative to Touch ID such as a face or iris scanner or acoustic fingerprint sensor (!)
3GB of RAM plus more storage, ranging from a 64GB base model and 256GB top tier model
New colors, including red A heftier price tag, which could exceed $1,000
Will it be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, iPhone 10, iPhone X -- or something else entirely?
For now, we're calling it the iPhone 8 -- but we don't know exactly what the company will call the next iPhone. Apple sometimes takes a haphazard approach to numbering, and with the possibility of multiple new models and price points, there are several names circulating that pass the smell test.

Certainly, the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus are realistic contenders for a midcycle "S" refresh in March. For a more significant release in the fall, however, anything is possible. Of course, the iPhone 8 would make sense. But Apple could always hit us with something from left field, like the iPhone 10, in a nod to the device's 10th birthday, or even the iPhone X in the tradition of Mac OS X (X being the Roman numeral for 10).
It could cost $1,000 or more

Fast Company reports that the 10th-anniversary edition of the iPhone could cost more than $1,000. That's likely if it includes the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink list of features that all the rumors suggest. If Apple ends up releasing the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus too, they could serve as cheaper flagship models with fewer premium materials.
Will the iPhone get wireless charging?

Lots of sources on this one. Reuters reports that there are multiple groups at Apple working on technology for an iPhone that supports wireless charging. Earlier in February, Apple joined the Wireless Power Consortium -- a potential harbinger. Last year, The Verge reported that Apple has been staffing up on wireless charging experts, and the Nikkei Asian Review reported that Foxconn, one of Apple's main manufacturing partners, was making wireless charging modules for the 2017 iPhone.

Veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that all new iPhone models will feature wireless charging, according to Macrumors. But other reports have predicted that that wireless charging will not be an integrated capability, but instead available through a separate accessory.

It's worth mentioning that Samsung's top-tier phones have supported wireless charging since 2015's Galaxy S6, and some Lumia phones (both under Nokia and Microsoft) had it back in the day, too.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 13' Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple really did think different about its new laptops.
The sheer number of big-picture changes to the iconic laptop line made my head spin during an exclusive hands-on preview of Apple's new MacBook Pro laptops at the company's Cupertino, California headquarters earlier this week. While Apple kept the MacBook Pro name it's used since 2006, nearly everything about the new generation of the high end notebook has changed.

The long-rumored "Magic Toolbar," an OLED-display strip for context-sensitive touch commands, is real. Apple calls it the Touch Bar, and it's worth all the hubbub. Just 60 pixels high (and 2,170 pixels wide), the Touch Bar could be a tool with the potential to be the Swiss Army knife of laptop input, changing itself on the fly to work across different apps, imitating a series of touch buttons, control sliders and even jog dials. This is Apple's answer to the touchscreens found on most Windows laptops.

"It provides all your system functions that you're used to up there," said Schiller, pointing to the Touch Bar. "But in a much more attractive, better, adaptable way." So, for example, you can adjust the brightness or the volume just by touching the bar. "It provides all your system functions," he said. "That alone replaces everything that the function keys were ever being used for anymore, but it does so much more."
He's right. I did see it do much more than the old function key row ever did, instantly transforming itself to fit to the task at hand. But before we can talk about that, we need to talk about all the other changes to the MacBook Pro. And that includes the cost.

Flip open the aluminum lids of these new laptops and almost everything -- including the keyboard and touchpad -- looks reinvented, too. On the outside, the physical design is just different enough to mark it as a new generation, without radically rewriting the DNA of the MacBook Pro.

These new laptops are thinner and lighter. That's no surprise, although they don't come close to competing with the slimmest high-end Windows laptops. The 13-inch model is 14.9 mm thick and weighs 3 pounds (about 1.36 kg), while the 15-inch model is 15.5 mm thick and 4 pounds (1.81 kg). That's compared to 18 mm for the previous 13- and 15-inch Pros, which were each about a half-pound (0.23 kg) heavier than their replacements.

The RAM is now a faster 2,133MHz version, while the built-in solid state storage can transfer data faster, at up to 3.1 gigabytes per second. According to Apple, the displays, while retaining the same Retina resolution, are both brighter and have a wider color range, and consume 30 percent less power. These are specs many users likely won't notice in everyday use, although faster storage is key for transferring large files (like videos) and a brighter screen is always welcome. Left off from my personal wish list is a full OLED display, a feature just starting to turn up in a handful of high-end Windows laptops.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 360Fly 4K Takes High-Res, Stitch-Free 360-Degree Videos For Live Streaming

I`m not sure about the advantages of single-lens systems for 360-degree video, but, at the least, it simplifies the content capture compared to multi-lens systems like the GoPro Omni or the Samsung Gear 360. If you prefer your spherical content stitch-free and instantly ready after shooting, then you’ll probably like the new 360Fly 4K.
A new version of the outfit’s popular 360-degree camera, this one boosts the resolution to ultra-HD, giving your spherical videos more detail without having to stitch individual clips after recording. It does that while retaining the same general design, too, so you get the same portable camera while recording better images.

The 360Fly 4K uses a new 16-megapixel image sensor, increasing the capture resolution to 2,880 x 2,880 pixels with no post-production stitching. Aside from the higher resolution, the camera comes with livestreaming capabilities via the Livit app, so your fans (all five of them) can enjoy your dizzying footage in real time.

Designed for rugged use, it’s shockproof, dustproof, and water-resistant, apart from coming with a first-person mode for nabbing POV action footage. It retains the original’s single-button operation, along with a 360-degree time lapse mode.

Onboard GPS, accelerometer, and altimeter records location, altitude, and speed for detailed action footage data, which it can overlay into the content via a third-party app. Features include 64GB of internal storage and a battery rated at 90 minutes of recording time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 Smarter Cam

Yesterday, Samsung announced the Family Hub, its fridge with a 21.5-inch tablet on the door. The screen can display your family calendar, the weather, recipes, or photos. There’s a camera inside the fridge that takes a picture when the door closes, but you probably don’t want to display those pics on the fridge. Instead, you’re supposed to check to see if you have milk when you’re at the store.

Of course, the Samsung fridge costs approximately $5,000, and maybe you already have a refrigerator that you’re not quite ready to part with. Smarter, the maker of connected coffee makers and kettles, has introduced its $100 Fridge Cam at CES 2016. Attach it to the interior of your fridge (either the front or back side) and it will take a photo every time you open the door. You can then check on your supply of string cheese via this photo the next time you’re in the dairy aisle, without having to buy a whole new appliance.