Category Archives: Inventions
The first time I got lost in San Francisco I stood on a street corner for 30 minutes throwing my hands up and talking wildly as bus after bus passed me by, heading the wrong direction. The next day I was still loudly fuming over the woes of public transportation when my roommate said those five little words: “There’s an app for that.” The second time I got lost in San Francisco I was ready. I whipped out my navigation app and found the closest line. It took me a record four minutes to figure out which side of the street to stand on, then I was on it, flying over the slopes of Nob Hill.
Fast-forward 6 months and I had mastered some routes, could navigate a few neighborhoods without relying on Google Maps, and no longer noticed the stench of MUNI, which had become like the familiar scent of a good friend. Everything was easier. “Thank you, app,” I said to myself on my way to the office, the park, the store. I couldn’t comprehend how San Franciscans lived before smartphones. “Are they wizards?” I wondered. (Spoiler: they’re probably not.)
Like many other daily routines, once transportation went mobile, most of us forgot how we did it before. This can be as troubling as it is exciting. Troubling because we wonder where technology is taking us and how it’s affecting our minds as it steadily becomes an extension of us. Exciting because you can do things faster, better, and while juggling several other things in a way that wasn’t possible just 10 years ago. It’s no mystery that big cities welcome new technology before the rest. Chaos begs creative solutions, and with “Internet of Things” becoming our new reality, we’re on the brink of technological advances unlike any in history.
Regardless of your opinions on the tech-ification of society, it’s already inescapable. Giants like Amazon and newer players like Withings are pioneering inventions that help you live smarter. By 2016, 19 billion “things” will be connected to the internet. You can buy in like me and the many other San Franciscans expressing gratitude to their apps each day, or you can take to the backstreets where there are no sensors (yet) detecting road weather conditions or monitoring traffic. Either way, here are some of the “things” that are already among us, and a few you can expect to see soon enough.
- Wearables that track and analyze your movement, heartbeat, and more.
- Smart home technology that learns your behavior and adjusts to your preferences.
- Automated lunchrooms at Fortune 500 companies that stock and serve without human help.
- Bluetooth health meters that monitor patients’ vitals remotely.
- Scales that analyze your BMI and the air quality in your home.
- 3D printers that can print in chocolate, magnetic material, and who knows what else.
On The Horizon
- Smart fridges & dishes that track expiration dates, build your shopping list, and monitor your diet.
- Smart cars that will drive to you and park themselves (already here, just not yet legal).
- Smart cities where everything connects to everything, basically.
Now and tomorrow, we prioritize connections. Connecting with your home, with your body, with your city in new ways. The Internet of Things isn’t just about the next invention you probably don’t need—it allows our environment to adapt to us so we can better engage, learn, and live within it. Apps are units of this progress, putting connections in our pockets and paving the way to a tomorrow where you never worry about the bus. There’s an app for that.
iPhone 6: Everything you need to know
The iPhone 6 is finally official. After months of leaks and near endless rumours, Apple’s latest smartphone has been unveiled ahead of a September 19 iPhone 6 release date.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 rival is not alone either. As many had predicted, the iPhone 5S follow-on has landed alongside a big brother – the iPhone 6 Plus. While the iPhone 6 runs a 4.7-inch display, the 6 Plus packs an LG G3 rivalling 5.5-inch screen.
What’s more, the new iPhone had to share the stage with Apple’s first wearable. The Apple Watch will not hit retailers until ‘early 2015’ but it already looks set to stomp over rivals such as the Samsung Gear Live and Motorola’s Moto 360.
Packing a completely new design, iOS 8 operating system, a faster processor and improved camera optics, the iPhone 6 is a sizeable improvement.
Read on for everything you need to know about the iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Release Date: When can I buy the iPhone?
Keeping with tradition, the iPhone 6 release date will be held just 10 days after the phone’s formal unveiling. That means the device will hit retailers on September 19.
Coming as something of a double act, the iPhone 6 Plus release date has been confirmed for the same day.
The September 19 iPhone 6 release date will see the phone hit 10 territories on day one. As well as the UK, the new Apple phone will hit the US, Australia, Canada and France next week. Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore will also be among the first to get the iPhone 6.
Heading for a more comprehensive release later in year, Apple has confirmed that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year.
For those who just can’t wait until September 19 to secure their own iPhone 6, Apple has revealed that iPhone 6 pre-orders will open this Friday, September 12. iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders will be held at the same time.
iPhone 6 Design: What’s new?
Visually, the iPhone 6 is a whole new beast. Slimmer than its predecessor, the phone packs a refined, rounded edged design. Both new Apple phone’s follow this design principle.
However, while the iPhone 6 is just 6.9mm thin, the iPhone 6 Plus is a slightly beefier 7.1mm thick. This, though, is still slimmer than the 7.6mm iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 lines up at 129g in weight, the 6 Plus weighs 172g.
“Today, we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of the iPhone,” Apple CEO Tim said in unveiling the device.
As well as shaving off millimetres, the iPhone 6 looks totally different. The phone’s rounded corner look has been finished with an anodized aluminium back. The Apple logo, although not illuminated like some had suggested it might be, is made from a stainless steel inlay.
There will be three iPhone 6 colours available at launch. These echo those of last year’s phone, with silver, space grey and gold hues set to be available. The same colour options will be available on the iPhone 6 Plus.
Another design difference sees the phone’s power button relocated. Unlike past iPhone’s which have hosted this physical control up top, the iPhone 6 moves the button to the device’s side. This sees the phone closer mimic some of its leading Android-based rivals.
The biggest iPhone 6 design change, however, is the arrival of two handset sizes. This move had long been expected though.
Months before launch, Topeka Capital analyst Brian White stated: “The next iPhone will offer customers more choice in terms of screen size.”
He added: “The Company has never offered multiple screen sizes for a single model, we believe this is about to change with the next iPhone offering different screen sizes that we believe will allow Apple to better bifurcate the market and expand its reach.”
iPhone 6 Specs: The Screen and Processor
The iPhone 6 isn’t just about looks. The phone features improvements under the hood, too.
Up first, display. While the phone had been tipped to feature a Quantum Dot display coated in scratch resistant Sapphire Glass, neither point came to fruition. Instead the iPhone 6 packs a 4.7-inch LCD Retina HD display with an Ion-strengthened glass layer.
Although falling a little short of the rumour mill expectation, the iPhone 6 screen looks set to be capable of more than holding its own against the competition.
While the traditional iPhone 6 screen benefits from a 1334 x 750 pixels resolution, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is a little more detailed. It adds a more traditional 1920 x 1080p Full HD panel. Both displays offer fingerprint-resistant oleophoblic coatings, wide viewing angles and 500 candela brightness levels.
Things have been rejigged beneath the surface too.
Despite also boosting the iPhone’s graphical abilities, the A8 is not alone. The CPU is partnered with Apple’s new M8 ‘motion coprocessor’.
This is a chip dedicated to health and motion tracking. Packing the usual array of sensors (accelerometer, altimeter, barometer, digital compass, gyroscope), the iPhone 6 – thanks to the M8 – is capable of accurately turning your movements into reliable fitness data.
Combine this with the iOS 8 introduced HealthKit apps and the iPhone 6 is shaping up to be a personal trainer in your pocket. With relative elevation measurements, it can even let you know how many stairs you’ve climbed.
The iPhone 6 packs the same Touch ID sensor as the iPhone 5S. Thanks to a few software tweaks, however, the applications of this are now far more expansive. The iPhone 6 will now offer biometric authentication on third-party apps.
This fingerprint scanner will also come in handy when using Apple’s new in-store mobile payment service, Apple Pay.
Battery wise, Apple is claiming the iPhone 6 offers staying power equal, if not better than, the iPhone 5S. It is being tipped to offer 14 hours of 3G talk time so those nightly trips to the charger will still be required. The exact capacity of the phone’s battery, however, is still unclear.
The same can be said for the iPhone 6 Plus, a device which is tipped to run 24 hours of 3G talk time on a single charge.
Apple has mixed things up on the capacity front with the iPhone 6. With microSD card expansion missing as always, the company has confirmed it will introduce a 128GB iPhone for the first time. This oversize option has come at the expense of the 32GB offering though. Bizarrely, the phone will be available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities.
On a connectivity front, as you would expect, the iPhone 6 is 4G, LTE compatible. Supporting 20 LTE bands, the iPhone 6 will also offer Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calling. EE will support this in the UK. For the first time on an Apple phone, NFC has made the cut.
The phone will come bundled with a pair of Apple EarPods headphones, and a Lightning charger. The handset requires a Nano-SIM.
For those snap-happy smartphone owners out there, the iPhone 6 camera has also been on the receiving end of some updates.
The phone retains the 8-megapixel iSight sensor of its predecessor and pairs this with a TrueTone flash and a f/2.2 aperture. There are significant improvements on the camera’s performance though.
Apple has claimed that a new autofocus mechanic is faster and more accurate than on previous models. The phone using something the company calls Focus Pixels, a different name for phase detection focussing.
The two iPhone 6 models differ slightly in their camera options. White the larger iPhone 6 Plus benefits from optical image stabilisation – like devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – the standard iPhone 6 only features digital stabilisation.
There is the usual array of all-encompassing camera modes on both devices. Panorama shots have also been boosted to up to 43-megapixel in size.
For those who want their smartphones to tackle more than stills, the iPhone 6 has some pretty impressive video recording capabilities too.
Overlooking unnecessary 4K credentials, the iPhone 6 is capable of shooting 1080p, Full HD video at both 30fps and 60fps. Apple’s Slo-Mo mode makes a welcome reappearance with footage able to be captured at 240fps before being slowed down.
Selfie lovers, you’re covered too. A new 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera features around front. It boasts a f/2.2 aperture and can shoot 720p HD video in its own right. With improve dace detection it is ideal for video calls or, more likely, those Facebook-bound vanity shots.
Although existing iPhone and iPads will be running the software two days before the iPhone 6 lands, Apple’s latest phone will be the first to host iOS 8 direct from the box.
An iOS 8 update has been confirmed for September 17, with all Apple phone from the iPhone 4S up, and tablets from the iPad 2 onwards, all set to benefit from the patch.
Back to the iPhone 6 though, and some bespoke software additions are being thrown in.
The larger phones feature a new ‘reachability’ mode to aid single-handed use. These are being introduced through iOS 8 to both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. They compress on-screen content down for easier access with a single hand.
Further addressing ease of use, iOS 8 introduces an improved Notifications menu, as well as Mail improvements and new Safari features.
As Apple looks to offer solutions for monitoring your life and your home, the software brings HealthKit and HomeKit to the fore for the first time.
These software packages are set to collate data from all manner of third-party devices to offer a comprehensive understanding of your most intimate data in one location.
According to Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi: “HealthKit provides a single place where applications can create a comprehensive wellbeing and health.”
He added HealthKit will allow users to do “everything from monitoring your activity level, your heart rate, to your weight and chronic medical conditions like diabetes.”
As with most things Apple, the iPhone 6 isn’t cheap. Prices for the phone kick off at a premium £539 for the 16GB model.
While the 64GB and 128GB capability handsets will set wannabe owners back £619 and £699 respectively, the larger iPhone 6 Plus will be even more expensive.
The three storage options on the 5.5-inch handset will be priced at £619, £699 and a whopping £789.