So it happened: Apple entered the wearables market (or at least they promised to, with a release date slated for ‘early 2015′). From the moment I heard it was a watch, I wanted to hate it. I was ready to hate it. I was ready to stand up tall and declare that I don’t wear watches and will never wear this watch. Not long afterward, I was left wondering how I lived without a device that I haven’t even held in my own hands yet. Yet.
It has three models: Apple Watch (available in stainless steel or space black with an array of stylish bands), Apple Watch Sport (with an aluminum case in silver or space grey and a selection of durable rubber bands), and Apple Watch Edition (for those of you who prefer an 18-karat yellow or rose gold case with exquisitely crafted bands and closures).
It comes in two sizes: meaning those of us with smaller wrists can choose the model that won’t overshadow us.
It has this incredible ‘Click Wheel': think of it like a mouse for your watch, giving you the ability to zoom or scroll or change your life in ways you hadn’t imagined possible.
It has a force-sensitive Retina display: meaning your new Apple Watch can tell the difference between tapping and clicking, making the user interface more diverse and feature-rich.
It can be customized in more ways than you can imagine, including interactive faces that will wow you.
It is the perfect companion to your iPhone (working with the 5C, 5S, 6, and 6+), delivering notifications and alerts (configurable by you) directly to your wrist.
It will gently tap your wrist when you receive an incoming message.
It will measure the quality and quantity of your movements, making it the perfect fitness companion (not to mention the built-in heart-rate sensor).
It functions as a walkie-talkie.
It’s exciting, it’s fun, and I want one (in case I hadn’t made that clear) –if you want to see the full-range of features and get a little giddy along with me, watch the promotional video released by Apple.
It’s probably a good thing that I have to wait a few months before getting my hands on one. It will let the excitement die down and make it less likely that I will end up twirl-hugging my new watch and looking like an idiot (okay, maybe not).
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
And so begins the longest 10 days of my life (at least so far this month).
Bringing an end to dueling industry expectations, Apple has announced the release of two new versions of the iPhone: the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. The screen size may be dimensionally larger, but both models are delightfully thinner than previous versions of the iPhone (coming in at 6.9mm and 7.1mm respectively).
So what else is new? Let’s review.
Aside from being bigger, yet thinner, the new iPhone remains enclosed in aluminum with the cover glass curving down slightly around the sides (with no gaps) –Apple promises that this design will give the illusion of a single, continuous surface.
The buttons on the phone have been redesigned: the sleep/wake button has been relocated to the side of the device and the volume buttons have been elongated, making all three even easier to use.
As with the iPhone 5S, the latest iteration is available in three colours (gold, silver, and space gray).
Promising higher-resolutions, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will deliver higher contrast, dial-domain pixels that offer more accurate colour at wider viewing angles. The iPhone 6 enjoys a resolution of 1334×750 and 326PPI, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus flaunts an impressive 1920×1080 and 401PPI.
For those who have squinted and head-tilted at their iPhone screen while wearing sunglasses, the good news is that an improved polarizer should make this behaviour into a thing of the past.
The most compelling reason to consider moving to the larger iPhone 6 Plus is the added functionality in landscape mode, including a more iPad-like keyboard.
Of course it’s faster (featuring an all-new A8 chip), but the battery is about the same as in previous models. Apple promises that the iPhone 6 makes better use of the battery life, but until I try it for myself I won’t believe the claims.
Also featured were the new barometer (sensing air pressure in an effort to determine your relative elevation, letting your smartphone measure hills and stairs climbed), updated accelerometer (that will more accurately measure your movement, including the ability calibrate for your running stride), and a gyroscope that can tell when you’re on the move instead of remaining stationary.
For those of you concerned about download and upload speeds, the iPhone 6 has faster LTE –up to 150Mbps. The new smartphone also supports Voice over LTE, offering high-quality calls with clear and crisp sound. Not to be left behind, WiFi is also 3x faster now using 802.11n.
Without going into too much detail, it is safe to say that the cameras on the iPhone 6 (both front and back) are improved, with improved sensors for Focus Pixels, face detection, and exposure control. Also updated are the video camera functions, with better video stabilization and increased fps.
Both versions of the iPhone will ship with iOS 8; seeing the two paired together in demos at the event today makes it abundantly clear they were designed in tandem.
Capacity and Price
iPhone 6*: 16GB ($199), 64GB ($299), 128GB ($399)
*/**: All prices assume purchase is being made along with a 2-year contract
Pre-order for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will begin on Friday, September 12 –with initial shipments arriving the following Friday, September 19. There is no word yet regarding how limited the supply of phones will be, but is does appear that indiviual carriers will also offer pre-order options.
Okay, it’s official –Apple not only knows how to generate hype for one of their signature product release events, they also know how to close out a keynote address: with a performance by a legendary rock band and the release of a major studio album… for free. As long as you are an iTunes subscriber (or become one), U2’s new album is ready and waiting for you to download. Titled ‘Songs of Innocence’, lead singer Bono claims that this is the group’s most personal collection to date.
If you were watching the keynote address live, your ears were already treated to a track from the album. If you missed it, there is little excuse not to grab your copy right now (I already have it downloaded into my collection, proving that the magic ‘make it free button’ that Tim Cook pressed on stage really did work)!
While it may have played out in an awkward and goofy way on stage, the release of music in this manner really punctuates the significance of online music services like iTunes –and I am very interested to see the statistics surrounding how many downloads and track-plays this schtick results in.
In an update that has been a very long time coming, Amazon has made their Prime Instant Video service available to Android users on-the-go! All you need to get started is the core Amazon shopping app, giving you instant access to the entirety of Amazon’s online retail catalog.
As an added incentive, users are also being offered 5GB of free photo storage using Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
Moves like this are extremely important (and timely) for Amazon, with Google Play making recent expansions to their Movies and TV offering, including a recent update to their iOS app that now allows for offline media streaming.
Barnes and Noble has just released their latest quarterly figures and things are looking fairly bleak. The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $70 million for the quarter, decreasing 54.3% from a year ago. Device and accessories sales were $18 million for the quarter, a decrease of 78.6% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume. Digital content sales were $52 million for the quarter, a decline of 24.2% compared to a year ago, due primarily to lower device unit sales.
One of the big reasons why Nook has declined so much over the last few months was primarily due to the summer months and people not making big investments in technology. Things may pickup for the seminal holiday season with he release of the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet.
Barnes and Noble is continuing its quest to officially separate the Nook division from their core bookstore business. This would make it easier for for an eventual sale. In a statement they said “In an effort to optimize the structure of the separation, the Company has been exploring various options and is in discussions with its NOOK Media partners to potentially restructure existing agreements; and with potential third-party partners. Such discussions could affect the structure and timing of the separation.”
|This month’s free Kindle ebook and audiobook combination is the classic Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. After you “purchase” the ebook copy for $0.00, the professionally-narrated audiobook of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea will magically drop from $11.95 to free. I noticed that Amazon brought back the option to get […]|
At the end of August, Luke Westaway from CNET’s Adventures in Tech came to visit us with a film crew. Here’s the resulting video. We are impressed that somehow the CNET team managed to avoid moiré fringing effects with Gordon’s shirt.