Tag Archives: Event

Google Pixel Devices, what to expect

This is what we’ve been waiting for for YEARS.  True Google devices, not necessarily labeled Nexus — but labeled as Google devices and to be sold as such.  Devices with marketing behind them to show the power of a true Google Android device that gets updates, is secure and puts user-experience (not bloatware or cookie cutter apps) at the forefront.  This is not only important to Google but paramount to users — at the end of the day, we (you) derserve a quality device that isn’t overrun with carrier software and will be secure and supplied with updates, which keep your device relevant, for years and in time.
Why does this matter?  Simple.  Everyone knows who Google is, having their name on the phone will be huge, rather than an OEM acting as if Android does not exist, when it’s actually powering the phone.
HTC made Google Pixel devices.
HTC made Google Pixel devices.

Device quality has skyrocketed over the past few years with better devices costing less and less.  This is doing two things, keeping device manufacturers competitive and making those that are producing high-quality devices on their toes.  Google understands the ramifications of creating a poor quality device, and the recent Nexus devices have shown that the company has commitment to creating devices that are solid in build quality.
Two reasons we buy a device from Google is to get a pure Android experience and receive timely updates.  When other major manufacturers put Android on a device the code is modified and differentiated so that it can look different from another.  Up front, most users think that this is a good thing; however, over the course of years we have seen that this has created the word that has haunted Google and Android — fragmentation.  Fragmentation occurs when a piece of software is different from one device to the next, since this phenomenon happened, Google is simply unable to get updates out to all of its users due to the many channels that it must go through.  First, Google releases the code to the latest version of Android (either a full version upgrade or a monthly security update).  Next, the OEM receives that update and merges the changes to the ROM that it is using — sometimes there can be issues because on the OEM side they’ve usually modified the stock Android code to look or behave in a certain way.  Finally, the carrier has to test and push it out to the devices.
When it comes to updates and keeping your device secure, it is in your best interest to buy a phone directly from Google, like the upcoming Pixel or Nexus devices.
The stock or “Google” Android experience is usually better than that of a manufacturer in many ways — primarily because it is simple and lightweight.  Lightweight in terms of how much space the software takes up on the device and the fact there are simply less processes on these devices that run, which in turn makes for a quicker operating system because less things are being held in memory.  When it all boils down, a user simply wants their device to work well and usually when carriers and manufacturers get their hands on a device, expect a performance degradation.

Bottom line:  We are expected to see the HTC made Google Pixel phones on October 4th — let’s hope that this spirals Android into the right direction and forces OEMs to do a better job.  Perhaps it is best if some of them get left behind by increased standards.  It is simply best practice to care about and protect those that support you with secure and high-performing devices rather than refusing to update phones and tablets.

2016 Apple iPhone Keynote, Recap

Tim Cook, Pharrell Williams and James Corden appear in a car singing their favorite tunes along with small talk about the new iPhone.  They arrive at a door and Tim gets out and walks onto stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium — and it begins.

Stats from Tim
Apple Music
Apple’s music service is noted to have reached 17 million total subscriptions and features numerous exclusives from various artists such as Drake and Frank Ocean.
App Store
Since it’s inception there have been 140 billion app downloads.  The catalog contains approximately 500,000 games, making up the largest category on the App Store.  This incredible figure makes the iPhone/iPad combination the largest gaming platform.  Due to these feats by the iOS devices, Mario — that’s right — Mario, our favorite plumber will be gracing iOS with a new game entitled Super Mario Run!
Super Mario Run
Super Mario Run
This is the first time that a Mario game has been pushed officially by Nintendo to a mobile operating system and I’d easily say that they made the right choice by pushing it to the App Store.  It is created with one-handed gaming in mind and features competitive features in the mode “Toad Rally”.
ConnectED is a national initiative to bring technology to underserved students.  With this Apple is working to donate iPads to 50K students.  Additionally, we’ve seen updates to iWork with improvements in collaboration similar to other applications like Google Docs where the user can see additions made by other collaborators.

New Products
Apple Watch
The Apple Watch was second only to Rolex in the world for sales revenue in the year 2015 and is the top selling smartwatch overall.
Introducing Apple Watch Series 2.
With these impressive stats Apple has worked to produce Apple Watch Series 2 that is completely redesigned on the inside to provide water resistance.  Additionally, the new wearable will be touting the Apple S2 processor, which garners faster app speeds on the device.  This new mobile processor will also make it’s way to the first-generation Apple Watch, which will still be sold by the company.  Furthermore, with the advent of the new Apple S2 processor, comes the new GPU that is 2x faster than the previous generation.
The display has been updated to be 2x brighter, blasting out pixel at 1000 nits (really bright, this is the brightest display that Apple has even put inside of one of it’s devices).  With new processors built for speed the new drove of Apple Watch devices are poised to be great for new adopters.
Sport and fitness have been some of the highlight features of the Apple Watch and these alone have made it be one of the premier fitness trackers in the industry and with the introduction of GPS things are only going to get better (if the GPS feature is not something that you long for, opting for Series One is still a good idea or even the first-generation without the new processor if you can handle a device that is a tad slower).  GPS tracking is a crucial feature for runners, cyclists and more who want a precise recap of the exact route that they followed.  Apple has also partnered with Nike to create the Apple Watch Nike+.  This specific model is similar to the Hermes Apple Watch that comes with a different band and a new watchface.   The Nike+ watchface will provide a sporty interface in addition the watch will remind the user to run and get active.
The Series 2 device with an additional finish of ceramic will start at $369 and the updated Series 1 (first-generation Apple Watch) will be sold at $269.

The Apple iPhone is the best selling product of it’s kind in the history of the world and has sold 1 billion units.  Changes coming to iOS 10 include a newly redesigned Maps app that includes the ability to book rides and more directly from the app, changes to HomeKit, which is supported by virtually every major home automation product manufacturer, that are throughout the Home app that truly integrates home automation unlike any portal integrated into any mobile OS, changes to iMessage for more expression and tweaks and improvements that make this the fastest and best version of iOS to date.  But with it has to come new hardware, right?
Introducing iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 is coming to us with a slew of new features, which are detailed below:
  • All new jet black and black colors (Apple notes that the Jet Black color option may scratch easily and promote the use of a case)
  • Home button is changed from a physical button to a Force-touch button, similar to the trackpad on the MacBook and MacBook Pro line that works based off of the patented Taptic engine (see below, the removal of the headphone jack allows for this innovation)
Apple home button Taptic engine placement.
Apple home button Taptic engine placement.
  • Water and dust resistant (IP67 certified) with gaskets throughout the housing
  • Camera features OIS on both 7 and 7 Plus models (additional camera features below)
    • F 1.8 aperture
    • 6 element lens
    • 12 MP sensor that is 60% faster than the previous model
    • Quad-LED true tone flash
    • Wide color gamut photos
    • RAW image capture
    • 7 MP facetime HD camera
    • 7 Plus features two 12 MP cameras, one wide-angle and another is telephoto so that the focal length can be manipulated and achieve the bokeh effect — these features will come as an update to iPhone 7 Plus users
iPhone 7 camera details.
iPhone 7 camera details.
  • Stereo speakers (one on top another on bottom)
  • Improvements to the Retina HD display that make it 25% brighter and support for a wide color gamut
  • No headphone jack, lightning ear pods are included (additionally a lightning to 3.5mm adapater comes with every iPhone 7 device)
  • Wireless AirPods, which feature the Apple W1 chip, are wireless buds that require one time setup and sync across all devices through iCloud
Apple's new AirPods, starting at $159
Apple’s new AirPods, starting at $159
  • Apple Pay support in Japan
  • Performance improvements through the newly design A10 Fusion chip, which is a 4 core 64-bit CPU that contains 2 high performance and 2 high efficiency cores (these can help save battery life when doing less intense tasks such as Email, calculator, light web-browsing and more)
A10 Fusion chip details.
A10 Fusion chip details.
All of these features for the same price as the previous generation, with the addition of more storage.  So, starting at $649 you will get the iPhone 7 models that come in either 32, 128 or 256GB configurations with these options replicating down to the existing iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.  The iPhone 7 will be available for preorder on 9/9 and will ship on 9/16.
iPhone Storage Configurations
iPhone Storage Configurations

Bottom line and takeaways:  This is a very solid announcement for Apple and a leap forward for the iPhone and Watch lines.  The camera is certainly the biggest selling feature on this device and with pictures becoming more and more important in our lives — it should be a focalpoint.  The removal of the headphone jack may make some upset, but it’s 2016 — get over it and use wireless devices.  Why tether yourself to a device that is meant to be mobile?  One note is that the AirPods are absolutely disgraceful — they are hideous, if you don’t get the point.  One of the newly released pairs of Beats wireless headphones seem to be a better choice here.  Additionally, revamping the home button is something much needed as that is the primary button on the device and it is known for collecting dust and sometimes becoming inoperable on older devices — this is huge.

Apple Watch Series 2 simply builds on the great foundation that was laid out by the first-generation device.  Now with better waterproofing, a new ceramic case and a faster processor — these updates bring it into 2016 with a bang.

Of course with any update, this is the best iPhone to date, with better storage options, same pricing scheme, snappy A10 Fusion chip — what more could we ask for?

Let’s end with a quick hands on of the newly announced iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices below, Enjoy.

iPhone 7 Hands on.

Apple Watch Series 2 Hands on.

Apple Event 3/21, “Let us loop you in.”

“Let us loop you in”, the event hosted by Apple on today, March 21st brought some great news, affirmations and a few gut punches.

Here’s what you need to know:
Who steps on stage first?  You guessed it, our buddy Tim Cook who started off the day with an introduction and words of affirmation letting us know that our iPhones are personal, private devices that Apple will be committed to keeping it that way.  Cook noted, “owes it to our customers and we owe it to our country”, furthermore nothing, “This is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”  For those of you following the Apple v FBI case, this is certainly something you want to hear and should be proud to hear from Apple’s CEO, he knows how pivotal our devices are in our daily lives.
Apple Renew
Since there are so many iPhones in use all over the world, as well as many other smartphones, there is no real standard of recycling them.  In comes, Apple Renew where project “Liam” will automatically disassemble old iPhone components for potential re-use in an effort to reduce waste.
Apple Watch
Apple is giving us new bands made of woven nylon and dropping the price down to $299 for the entry level Apple Watch Sport device.  This will put it on par with the Moto 360 2nd generation, which is highly regarding as the best option for Android Wear.
Apple TV
With the Apple TV currently having support for over 5000 focused apps, there comes a need for a few additional features:
  • Folders for app grouping just like on iPhone and iPad
  • Voice dictation throughout the OS (entering text and more)
  • Access iCloud Photo library on tvOS
iPhone SE, something we all knew about, has finally showed it’s 4-inch face today.  This device is essentially the iPhone 6S in a smaller body.  The device will include the A9 processor, M9 chip for the always-on “Hey Siri”, NFC and Live Photo support.  This is followed up with a flurry of updates coming in the form of iOS 9.3 which includes:
  • Nightshift
  • Notes protection
  • Health app upgrades
  • More education focused apps for the classroom
iPad Pro has given users a pencil with enhanced drawing capabilities that replicate drawing using an actual pencil and paper; however, some feel that the iPad Pro coming in at 12.9 inches a little to unwieldy.  This has sparked the created of a 9.7-inch iPad Pro model starting out at $599 that is easier to hold, carry and work with and should provide a boost in sales to the line.  This new device also pushes the price drop of the iPad Air 2, which will now start at $399.

Bottom line and takeaways: Incremental; yet, focused and much needed upgrades and product introductions.  The iPhone is now available in a flavor for everyone in a very classy move by bringing back the 4-inch form factor and bringing the specs up to 2016 standards. While I feel like 4 inches is entirely too small for a device, some love it.  Apple is also touting the iPad pro as a PC replacement (which is a bold statement that I believe is reaching a bit), is this now possible in 2016?  Many feel that the tablet is a companion device that should stay in it’s place — we will see how this plays out.
For the complete keynote video please go here.

September 9th Apple Event, The Rundown

The crowds are gathered, with Apple devices clinched in hands, to await word from Tim Cook and other important members from Apple.  This was quite the impressive event, due to the fact that there were many new things introduced, updated and unveiled.

First, we got down to business with new innovation on Watch OS 2, shown proudly on the Apple Watch.  Health is the focus here, with doctors having the ability to help pregnant moms, to viewing the health stats of a patient that he is currently in transit to — big help and a good innovation here.  (These are likely enterprise only features that would not be used by the general public.)  Innovation is innovation, nonetheless.

Next, we get into Apple TV and the new iPad Pro.  Let’s start off by saying, the re-imagined Apple TV is just what Apple needed.  The previous generation was nothing short of horrific.  No apps, no apps and no apps.  If it couldn’t be cast by Air Play or use one of the built in features for the Apple TV, you were not going to watch it.  The new Apple TV features a curated version of the iOS App Store that has room for fun games and excellent interactive apps.  Then you have the new Siri enabled remote, which allows you to ask questions regarding movie titles and more and essentially guide you through your experience on the device.  Some question the amount of talking you are going to do with the remote in hand; however, the way it is designed — you may almost be forced into using the voice features.  The remote does not include a directional pad as the previous iteration did, it includes a swipepad.  However, the App Store addition alone is enough for owners of the previous generation to automatically upgrade.  Yes, do it.

Refreshed Apple TV.
Refreshed Apple TV.

Let’s talk about the iPad Pro.  Apple’s new 12.9″ behemoth of a tablet, starting off at $799 at the lowest storage option, is seemingly the company’s answer to the Microsoft Surface tablet.  “The most powerful iPad yet” and they are not lying, this thing is a monster, paired with the optional keyboard cover and Apple Pen and you have quite the creation tool.  The Apple Pen will allow for intensive graphics creation from supporting Adobe apps, in addition to more creation inside of the Microsoft Office suite.  This tablet will certainly only appeal to a select audience due to it’s price tag and large size.  As we know the iPad Mini is the best selling Apple tablet, and it appears that it will stay that way, even with the introduction of a larger sibling.  Note that in order for you to have the full experience that Apple was touting, this setup with cost you a little over $1000, even at it’s lowest storage option (remember the mention of a select audience?).  Let’s not forget to mention that this guy is packing 4 speakers, making for a better stereo sound experience.

iPad Pro lineup.
iPad Pro lineup.

The part of the presentation that we were all waiting for, iPhone.  As we have come to expect, the S lineup is usually a small iteration on the lineup that came before it; however, this time is different for Apple.  This time, Apple has actually made big under the hood changes (that is, instead of making one new change and making you shell out more cash for something trivial).

  • New A9 processor which should be much improved from the previous generation
  • 2 GB of RAM, increased from 1 GB
  • 5 MP iSight camera
  • 12 MP rear camera with 4K video
  • 3D touch (Apple’s new take on a long press, deals with pressing the screen with variable pressure to initiate and can bring up different context menus on apps)

[Source: CNet, Everything you need to know about the iPhone 6S]

Is this “S” iteration worth the upgrade?  As with any S upgrade, it’s up to you, as history shows itself, the S is always better than the previous, it is hard for me to understand why you would buy any Apple phone that’s not the second generation, as you don’t have to have every iteration.  Users of the iPhone 6 may not wish to upgrade so soon, but if you are carrying around a 5S, this is almost a must buy.

Overall, this was the best press event of the year (to date) in regard to releases and news from from the presentation.