Apple Watch Battery Life 'About A Day'

11 September 2014

Re/code:

Sources tell me that Apple isn’t yet happy with the watch’s battery life, which isn’t going to break any industry standards. “It’s about a day right now,” said one, adding that Apple is working on various modifications ahead of the device’s 2015 launch to improve it. Reached for comment, Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris declined to provide an estimate on expected battery life, but said the company expects users will charge their Apple Watches once daily. “There’s a lot of new technology packed into Apple Watch and we think people will love using it throughout the day,” Kerris said. “We anticipate that people will charge nightly which is why we designed an innovative charging solution that combines our MagSafe technology and inductive charging.”

It goes without saying that higher battery life is always better. However, in most instances, one day battery life is all you need. Use through the day … charge at night. Apple clearly scrapped its sleep tracking features for this version because otherwise there would be no good time to charge it. You don’t want to unstrap something at midday just to ensure it can track your sleep patterns in the evening. There’s a natural cycle of how human beings live and the Watch mirrors that. I think 24 hours of longevity is perfectly acceptable.

Engadget Reviews The Neptune Pine Smartwatch

8 September 2014

Engadget:

All the social networks I tried didn’t feel terrible. In fact, some of them were very positive experiences. In particular, Twitter and Instagram worked really well.

Granted, I haven’t used one of these things personally, but there is no way I could described that Instagram interface as a “positive experience”. It’s horrid. This is the definition of a phone on your wrist — a conceptual disaster.

Smartwatches succeed when they do enough things that phones can’t do or are bad at doing. I always come back to how Jobs introduced the iPad, clearly placing the iPad as better than both a phone and a laptop in several key areas. The same thing applies to the watch. The obvious example is the health sensor tracking — phones don’t have contact to the skin so they can’t do that stuff.

That’s what I’m most looking for on Tuesday; what else has Apple done to make the iWatch superior to an iPhone. Health tracking alone isn’t enough.

TwitPic Shutting Down

5 September 2014

TwitPic:

Twitpic will be shutting down September 25th. You will be able to export all your photos and videos. We’ll let everyone know when this feature is live in the next few days.

This is an unexpected and hard announcement for us to make and we want to lay out what led us to this decision.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

I think there is an ulterior motive here. If Twitpic was a booming success, the owners could change the name and carry on as normal. I have to believe that the real reason for the shutdown is that pic.twitter.com has sucked TwitPic out of the market.1 The trademark dispute was simply the last nail in the coffin, and gives TwitPic a face-saving way of giving up.

1 TwitPic’s owners must have known that Twitter would integrate photos natively, eventually. It was only a matter of time.

Samsung Gear S

3 September 2014

TechCrunch:

Samsung announced its new curved-display smartwatch last week, but today we were able to get up-close and personal with the new wearable. Unlike most smartwatches, the Gear S has two very special features. The first is a curved 2-inch, AMOLED display, and the second is 3G connectivity, allowing the smart watch to be used independent of a smartphone.

The curved display measures in at a 260×480 resolution, and under the hood you’ll find a GPS sensor, an accelerometer, gyroscope, UV detector, barometer, and heart rate monitor, alongside 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM. It’s all powered by a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor and Tizen, Samsung’s own mobile operating system.

The Gear S has a 3G radio in it, so it can actually operate without a tethered phone giving it network access. This cuts battery life significantly of course, but as I was speculating on Twitter, smartwatches might be able to get away with ‘only’ one-day battery.

I like the conceptual design of this watch as well. My hypothetical iWatch is basically a band that has an integrated — seamless — curved display. The Gear S’s face is not too far off what I imagine. The main difference here is that the screen is still separated from the band — I think the iWatch would be made such that it look like all one part, with the screen inline to the body.

Recode Reports iWatch Likely Not Shipping Until 2015

29 August 2014

Re/code:

So that new wearable device Apple is introducing on September 9? It’s going to be a while before anyone is actually wearing it. Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months. “It’s not shipping anytime soon,” said one. So when does Apple plan to ship its eagerly anticipated wearable? That’s not clear, but my understanding is that we’re unlikely to see it at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015. Disappointing news for anyone hoping to put the device in a stocking come Christmas, but not unprecedented. Remember, Apple didn’t ship the first iPhone until six months after its January unveiling. Which is not to say that the gap between announcement and ship date will be that long, just that it would be unwise to expect preorders for the device to begin on the Friday following its unveiling. Apple declined to comment.

My ‘sneak peek’ theory just got a lot more weight behind it. I was modelling for a late November launch, in limited quantities, however. ‘Early 2015’ sounds more like January. This sort of breaches Tim Cook’s famous proclamation, but it’s definitely ambiguous enough for Apple to claim they still met their self-imposed deadline.1

1 By conflating an announcement with a release.

iWatch Likely To Be Shown Off On September 9th

28 August 2014

Re/code:

Remember back in June when I said Apple hoped to schedule a special event in October to show off a new wearable device? Remember how I also said this: “Could things change between now and fall? That’s certainly possible.” Turns out that was a prescient hedge, because things have changed. Apple now plans to unveil a new wearable alongside the two next-generation iPhones we told you the company will debut on September 9th.

There is no way this watch/band/thing is being released in September, although that’s not what is surprising. If you look at history, the iPad was announced in January and released in April. The iPhone was announced in January and released in June.

What’s surprising is the announcement in September, alongside the new (big deal) iPhones. Apple has no clear motivation to rush an announcement — they could easily wait until October (just like their original plan that Packzwoski reported on a few weeks ago).

You could argue that coupling the products at the event is a sign that the iPhone and iWatch are meant to go together, like the iWatch is some ‘minor’ accessory. I just can’t get behind that, though. The whole community has been hyping this product for a long time now. If expectations were inflated, I think Apple’s PR team would have got the word out by now. They haven’t. This product is a big deal.

So, here is my guess, the iWatch is demoed in September but only briefly. The star of the show will be the phones. Needless to say, release information for the watch will also not be available. (Think how the Mac Pro was a sneak peek at WWDC). Then, in October, Apple can finalise details and really get the marketing train pushing for the watch’s public debut — I’m guessing late November. This gives people a taste of Apple’s trump card1, but September is still firmly cemented as iPhone month.

1 Announcing early does not affect Apple financially. There is nothing to cannibalise.

Nintendo Announces DLC For Mario Kart 8

27 August 2014

Nintendo:

Includes 3 characters; Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Link. 4 vehicles including the Blue Falcon kart representing the F-Zero franchise. 8 course packs including classics like Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii,as well as the world of The Legend of Zelda.

Is this a sign of Nintendo modernising with the times?

USA Today App Release Notes It Will Soon Support CarPlay

27 August 2014

9to5Mac:

USA Today has revealed that it will soon be added to Apple’s list of supported third party apps with support for CarPlay. The mention slipped into the release notes of the USA Today’s latest iPhone app update mentioning that the app would no longer feature audio versions of articles as it prepares to add integration with CarPlay.

What’s funny is that any app can integrate with the CarPlay API’s in their code today. Everything’s fully documented.1 However, Apple must then add the app to its golden whitelist for it to actually show up in the CarPlay UI.

1 The API is also abstract enough such that it could apply to any type of external media controller — when I first saw this with iOS 7.1, my first thought was iWatch.

Mario Kart 8 Update Coming 27th August

25 August 2014

Eurogamer:

Mario Kart 8 will now save your most-recent kart settings between play sessions – so there’s no more setting up your racer every time you load the game.

The menu options for “Next Race” and “Watch Highlight Reel” will be switched – a much-requested change by fans – and you’ll be able to alter options for other user’s highlight reels to watch different characters or events.

Thank the lord. It felt like Mario Kart’s menu designer was the same person who made iOS 7’s Shift key.

IKEA Uses 3D Rendering, Not Photography, For Its Brochure Pictures

23 August 2014

CGSociety:

The most expensive and complicated things we have to create and shoot are kitchens. From both an environmental and time point of view, we don’t want to have to ship in all those white-goods from everywhere, shoot them and then ship them all back again. And unfortunately, kitchens are one of those rooms that differ very much depending on where you are in the world. A kitchen in the US will look very different to a kitchen in Japan, for example, or in Germany. So you need lots of different layouts in order to localise the kitchen area in brochures. Very early on we created around 200 CG exchanges versions for 50 photographed kitchens in 2008, with the products we had – and I think everyone began to understand the real possibilities.

IKEA trained its photographers in 3D modelling and its 3D artists in photography. This was something I didn’t expect from a flatpack furniture company.

Reuters On iPhone 6 Production Issues

22 August 2014

Reuters:

Two supply chain sources said display panel production suffered a setback after the backlight that helps illuminate the screen had to be revised, putting screen assembly on hold for part of June and July. One said Apple, aiming for the thinnest phone possible, initially wanted to cut back to a single layer of backlight film, instead of the standard two layers, for the 4.7-inch screen, which went into mass production ahead of the 5.5-inch version.

Every year, it is reported that Apple is facing production problems with new products. With Apple’s relentless push to adopt new technologies at immense scales, like the single-layer backlight mentioned in this case, it’s not really that surprising that they frequently have issues. However, as long as Apple is equipped to deal with such problems (that they must expect), there isn’t really a “problem” at all. Given the iPhone’s consistent release cycle, I think you can say that it is true.

Best Buy Listing Suggests Moto 360 Will Cost $250

17 August 2014

Droid Life:

According to a listing on Best Buy’s site for the Moto 360, we could end up paying $249. The device is also listed as having a 1.5-inch backlit LCD touch screen, with a 320×290 resolution, 205ppi, and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Matching up to what we learned from a leak a week ago, we are also seeing mentions of a heart rate monitor, water resistance (up to 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes), and an ambient light sensor. On a specs tab, the listing suggests that there is 512MB of RAM, Wireless N connectivity, and a Texas Instruments processor inside.

Just because this article prompted me to think about it, if you asked me today to guess how much the iWatch will cost1 I would say $299. $350 at most.

1 Assuming it is as ‘smart’ as most people expect it to be, including a touchscreen and such.

New Doctor Who Title Sequence Created By YouTube Fan

15 August 2014

The Guardian:

That’s exactly what’s happened to Billy Hanshaw, a motion graphics specialist from Leeds. He created his own title sequence for the new series of Doctor Who, complete with Peter Capaldi, a spinning Tardis, intergalactic vistas, and an eye-catching swoop through the gears of a clock. It became a viral hit on YouTube, notching over 700,000 views.

Now Moffat has acknowledged it as inspiring the actual opening credits sequence in the finished series. “Hanshaw created this title sequence, put it up on YouTube. I happened to cross it, and it was the only new title idea I’d seen since 1963,” he told a New York fan event. “We got in touch with him, and said, OK, we’re going to do that one.”

That’s pretty cool. You can find Hanshaw’s original on Vimeo. The finished version (which will air on the 23rd August) is similar in concept, although some of the rough edges (like the cheesy Capaldi-in-timepiece shot) have been removed.

Thailand Approval Reveals New iPhone Model Numbers

14 August 2014

9to5Mac:

Ahead of Apple’s new iPhone event on September 9th, Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (that nation’s version of what we know in the U.S. as the FCC) has approved two new iPhone models for sale in the country. The approval was confirmed on Twitter by the country’s Secretary General for these matters, and a local report indicates the model numbers for two new devices: A1524 & A1586.

The model identifiers are puzzling. The current 5s and 5c goes up to A1533 and A1532. It would make sense for the the device labelled ‘A1586’ to be somehow next-generation (as it is significantly beyond the 5s and 5c identifiers). The specification of the A1524 model number is much less obvious. Painting by numbers, as it were, the A1524 should closely resemble an iPhone 5c.

Gurman speculates that the model number could represent variants of the iPhone 5s and 5c, such as antenna tweaks, which probably makes the most sense.

Two-Thirds Of Windows Laptop Sold In The US Have 15 Inch Displays

11 August 2014

The Verge:

In the first six months of 2014, 15-inch laptops accounted for 69 percent of consumer Windows laptop sales in the US, according to NPD data provided to The Verge. (17-inch laptops take another 12 percent of sales.) Forty-eight percent of those 15-inch laptops were priced between $300 and $500, right in the sweet spot (or just above) where the best Chromebooks are already priced.

Comparatively, MacBook sales are predominantly 13 inch notebooks, the 13 inch MacBook Air and the entry-level Retina MacBook Pro. I suppose a lot of this disparity can be explained by the difference in product variety between OS X and Windows machines1, but it’s an interesting comparison nonetheless.

1 As in, Windows manufacturers have acquiesced towards using fifteen-inch panels, so consumers’ wallets follow suit.

Apple And Samsung Abandon All Lawsuits Outside The US

6 August 2014

Bloomberg:

“Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” the companies said in the statement. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”

A bit random timing for this to come about, but I suppose it is a good thing for all this to end. It’s slightly strange to me how the two companies continue to fight in the US though. Assumedly, the US is the market with the highest number of affected devices, making it worthwhile to continue chasing royalties and such.

Let’s hope this doesn’t flare up again in two months, when Samsung and Apple inevitably steal from each other for their wearable products. From what I can see, this agreement doesn’t preclude that from happening.

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