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.

2016 iPhone 7 (Plus) Prototype

The iPhone 7 Plus may come in a shade of blue, at least according to a mockup of the device displayed in an online video.

The mockup isn't a real iPhone but rather a body, designed by a developer of wireless headphones named Besound, that's supposedly based on the specs for the real thing. YouTube account Unbox Therapy received the mockup and took us on a video tour to highlight what are anticipated to be key changes from last year's iPhone 6S.

Reports have suggested that this year's iPhone lineup would sport only modest enhancements and that next year's model would be the one to introduce some killer new features. But in the face of shrinking iPhone sales the past two quarters, Apple still needs to jazz up the iPhone 7 with enough enticements to convince consumers to give it a shot.

The most striking feature is the blue tone for the iPhone 7 Plus mockup, a color choice that would be a first for Apple. We then get a peek at other potential changes that have been mentioned in previous reports.
The video shows dual-camera lenses, which reportedly would pop up in the iPhone 7 Plus but not the iPhone 7. From there we shift to the antenna lines, which have been moved from the back of the body to the sides where they would be much less obtrusive. Next on the tour are the three dots on the back that make up the Smart Connector, which can transfer data and power between the phone and such accessories as a Smart Keyboard.

The video then segues into a change that has been seen as both good and bad.

The mockup reveals a dual speaker, which would be a first for the iPhone. But the extra speaker would come at the expense of the standard 3.5mm audio port, which here is missing in action. If true, that means Apple would pump sound through the Lightning jack, requiring adapters for all the earphones, external speakers and other audio accessories that use the standard audio jack. Bluetooth earphones and speakers would still work.

As always, iPhone 7 mockups and other rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. The real thing should make an appearance next month when Apple is expected to hold its annual iPhone launch event.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 Light L16 Can Shoot DSLR-Quality Photos Using 16 Smartphone-Quality Lenses

Your DSLR may take exceptional pictures, but it’s large and bulky and isn’t particularly convenient to carry on a daily basis.   If someone offered a camera that provided the control and quality of a DSLR, while coming in a size not that much bigger than a smartphone, would you opt for one, instead? That’s what the folks behind the Light L16 are counting on.Described as “the world's first multi-aperture computational camera,” it’s able to trim down the size by ditching the lar
ge sensors used in traditional pro-quality cameras. Instead, it uses multiple smaller sensor and lens modules, whose individual captures are automatically combined to create a single 52-megapixel image.
The Light L16 uses a total of 16 of those modules, with lenses ranging from 35 to 110 mm, each one taking snaps at different focal lengths. All of these modules are installed in one side of the camera’s smartphone-like form factor, with a touchscreen display sitting on the other side that functions much like the screen on any other digital camera. Because the camera computationally stitches the different images, you can choose the depth of field, focus, and exposure for the picture right after you press the shutter, giving you even greater control of the final results.
Even better, it comes with built-in WiFi and runs Android, so you can use the camera in conjunction with a wide selection of apps and even post images online directly after each shot. It can also record 4K video (it uses just one module, so no stitching), at either 35mm, 70mm, or 150mm effective focal length for watching on your 4K smartphone.Slated for release in the summer of 2016, the Light L16 is priced at $1,700.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 OLO Turns Your Smartphone Into A 3D Printer

Our phones already do plenty of things well beyond making calls and sending messages. Seriously, it’s evolved into a much more versatile tool than anyone probably imagined. And it’s not finished yet. This time around, a product called OLO vows to turn any phone into a functional 3D printer.

While many 3D printers can interface with phones via apps, this one actually uses your phone to cure the resin. That’s right, your phone actually becomes an essential cog in the fabrication process, with the printer using the light from the phone's display to shape any object you’re producing.

Created by Solido3D, OLO is a portable 3D printer measuring 6.8 x 4.5 x 5.8 inches (w x d x h), making for, arguably, the first digital fabrication tool you can throw in a bag and carry everywhere (it's way smaller than the already compact M3D Micro). To use, you simply launch the app on your phone, choose the model you’re fabricating, and lay your phone down on a flat surface. From there, you place OLO’s lower component on top of the phone, pour the recommended amount of liquid resin, and place the top component (which holds the build plate and control electronics) to cover everything.

Printing will commence on its own, with the app making your phone’s screen light up with a specific pattern that corresponds with the model. A polarized glass on the bottom of the lower component takes this light and shines it outwardly, redirecting it to cause a layer of resin to harden. The build plate slowly rises as each layer of resin hardens until the whole model is finished. There are no details on how long printing takes, but we’re assuming it’s going to be time-consuming similar to traditional 3D printers.

A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for OLO. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $99.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2016 10 Siri Tricks in iOS 10

Siri will be a lot more useful in the next version of iOS.

The iPhone voice assistant will work with and control many non-Apple apps, get improved voice search and will even be baked into your MacBook or iMac. Siri will also have more predictive features, so you get the info you need without having to ask for it first.

Here are all the ways you can talk to Siri in iOS 10. If you haven't already, sign up for the beta that comes out in July to start using these features before the official launch.
Send cash to friends

Currently, the list of third-party apps that you can control through Siri is short, such as Twitter or Facebook. However, Apple is opening up Siri to third-party developers, meaning you might have access to Spotify or Evernote through Siri.

A nice example of how this could be very helpful is sending cash to someone using the Square Cash app. It would go something like this: "Hey Siri, pay Sharon 10 dollars with Square Cash."

This is a much faster and easier exchange than thumbing through the Square Cash app, selecting the person to send the money to and setting the dollar amount. And the same is true of any other Siri integration -- the idea is to keep you out of apps as much as possible.
Order an Uber or pizza

You'll also be able to call for an Uber or Lyft without ever needing to go into the app. Just queue up Siri and say, "Order a Lyft" or "Order me an Uber." This applies to any company that adds support for Siri, such as Dominos. You could say, "Order me a pizza from Dominos."

Send messages with third-party apps
At the moment, you can only send a message through Siri using the native Messages or Mail apps. However, with third-party support coming to Siri, you will be able to send messages to your friends and family using any application that adds Siri support. For example, you might say:
"Tell Melissa I'll be there in 5 minutes with WhatsApp."
"Send a WeChat to John saying 'Are we still on for tomorrow?'"
"Let John know I'm running a few minutes late in Skype."

The intelligence of Siri will also be available from your keyboard in iOS 10. What that means is Siri will parse your conversations in Messages to offer up contextual input when, say, you go to enter a calendar entry. Or if the person you are talking to asks for someone's email address, Siri might automatically suggest it so you don't have to go look it up.

This means the way you interact with Siri is getting a little more hands-off. It's working in the background, and you don't need to physically queue up the voice assistant to get suggestions.
Search YouTube on Apple TV

Siri is pretty great on Apple TV. It makes navigating and jumping to what you want quicker and easier than navigating with the trackpad on the included Apple TV remote. However, if you want to search something like YouTube, you have to open the YouTube app, scroll over to the Search tab, and press and hold the Siri button to dictate.

With the next update to Apple TV (later this month, according to Apple), you will be able to search YouTube from anywhere Siri is available. Just hold the Siri button and say, "Search YouTube for cat videos" or "Search Isaac Neill on YouTube."

The best part is that you will also be able to do this from your iPhone. Siri support is coming to the iOS Remote application this fall.

Jump to live television
There are many applications on Apple TV that allow you to watch live television, like CBS, FXNow, Discovery GO, and so on. And like with YouTube search on Apple TV, you have to open each individual application and locate the option to launch live TV.

After the update, however, you can simply say, "Watch ESPN" or "Watch CBS" to jump straight to the live feed of a channel.
Search for movies about specific topics

Siri also cannot search for certain types of movies currently. You can search for a genre, actor, title, director or decade, etc. That said, if you want a movie or show about something specific, such as baseball or hiking, Siri can't help.

After the update, you will be able to get more specific with your searches by saying, "Show me movies about technology" or "Find high school comedies from the '80s."
Siri on your Mac

Siri is also coming to the Mac. It will live in the menu bar, and you will be able to call upon it for any of the normal tasks you're used to, such as movie times, messaging and calling people, setting reminders or toggling settings like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

All of the newer Siri features will be available to you, as well. And you will be able to search for files using Siri. For example, you will be able to say, "Show me that spreadsheet I was working on last night" or "Find photos I took last week."
Easy multitasking

On the Mac, at least, Siri is set up to be a productivity machine. If you need to search for a specific document, you can. But you can also drag and drop items from Siri search results into documents you're working on, or pin certain results in Notification Center for future reference.

Again, these updates are less about queuing up Siri in the moment, and more about making Siri more useful in more places, and Siri on the Mac makes a ton of sense. What isn't clear at this time is whether Siri will have a hotkey or button combination. It's very likely, but still an unknown.
Control your home from new devices

With HomeKit, Apple added the ability to control any compatible smart home devices using Siri. However, these commands are currently limited to iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple Watches. The Apple TV can work as a remote hub for HomeKit, so you can control your compatible smart home devices from virtually anywhere using Siri. But if you tried to issue the same commands to Siri on your fourth-generation Apple TV, you would be met with a response that reads, "Sorry, I can't help you with HomeKit here."

Apple is taking the steps to unify the Siri experience across all its devices. With the next round of updates, you will be able to control all of your HomeKit devices from Siri on the Apple TV and Mac.

Just say, "Turn on the lights" or "Lock the front door" from any of your Siri-enabled Apple devices.
Change the station and turn on AC in the car

Siri for CarPlay is arguably the most useful implementation of the voice assistant. From your car, you can currently queue up Siri with a button on the steering wheel and issue commands to it just as you would from your phone or Mac. You can ask for directions to a location, send a message to your friend or even create reminders and calendar entries.

However, with the coming updates, CarPlay will receive all the same Siri updates as the other devices. What that means is third-party support, putting some of the control of CarPlay into the hands of the car manufacturers. In other words, you will be able adjust climate control and tune the radio with your voice, among other things, such as playing music with Spotify or sending a message through WhatsApp.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Bionic Bird

Sure, there were some exiting smartphone-operated drones at CES. For our money, though, the Bionic Bird takes the cake as the coolest of the lot. Forget rotors and propellers, this thing, which looks like a bird, flaps its wings like a real bird to catch air. We won’t be surprised if cats try to eat this or hunters try to shoot it down – the darn thing looks like a genuine small bird, rather than a radio-controlled flying toy. Do note, the toy doesn’t look like it’s the most durable flyer ever made (those plastic wings look like they’ll break on a hard crash), but having to spend on extra parts to put it back together sounds like a worthy undertaking for the kind of fun you can have flying a winged creature.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

2016-2021 Hyperloop One

Imagine that you live in San Francisco. Now imagine that your friend lives roughly 500 miles away in San Diego and you work in the next state over in Las Vegas. Sounds like a good way to waste a lot of time traveling, doesn't it? Concern over these kinds of distances will be a thing of the past if Hyperloop One has anything to say about it. On Wednesday, Hyperloop One showed off its propulsion system during an open-air test just outside Las Vegas. The propulsion system shot a metal sled along a short track at 2.4 Gs, the rough equivalent of accelerating from zero to 53 miles per hour in one second.

Hyperloop One is one company trying to bring to life the futuristic transportation idea of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, which was first detailed in 2013. Here's how the company envisions a hyperloop network: A series of tubes will connect metropolitan areas. Anywhere from 10 to 30 passengers will load into a pod located inside a given tube. The tube is depressurized to as close to a perfect vacuum as possible, eliminating most air resistance. Using the power of magnets, the pods will reach speeds of up to 700 miles per hour.

Essentially, one set of magnets will constantly be pushing away from each other, while another set will be pulling toward each other, allowing the pod to accelerate from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in about 1 second. While those kinds of G-forces are just fine for cargo, though, humans require a bit more subtlety. Hyper loop One engineers think any pods with passengers will accelerate at the same rate as a private plane, allowing those aboard to read, drink their coffee or have a conversation during trips. Hyperloop One hopes to be moving cargo as soon as 2019 and predicts that it will be ready for passengers by 2021. It expects to do a full-scale test of its system late in 2016. The company recently received over $80 million dollars in a second round of funding and also launched the Hyperloop One Global Challenge, a competition among individuals, companies and governments to be the first to host a hyperloop network. Hyper loop One provides the technology; the competitors submit a comprehensive case for how that technology should be used in their location. The deadline for entry is September 15, 2016, with the winner being announced in March 2017.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 Hover Camera Drone

Hover Camera is a consumer electronics brand focused on building smart robotics. Technology with Embedded AI creating a much more consumer friendly experience. Through the technology they have developed in our laboratory, they have been able to accomplish what no one else before has been able to with flying camera drones. The drone has a battery life of about 7-8 minutes and comes with multiple batteries. The camera can take 13 Megapixel images and 4K Videos. It has an autonomous mode where it can follow a certain object by face tracking technologies and take images and videos by itself.

There is an app for manual control that will let you fly the drone up to -- feet. So you can take photos and videos high up in the sky. The exact weight of the drone is still uncertain but Hover claims the drone is under 250 grams, and if that is true you will not have to register it with the FAA. Hover is currently gathering beta testers to test the drone if you want to beta test the drone you can go to For more info you can watch the video at the bottom of this post.