Link

chejado:

As I’ve done hundreds of times before I was inspired to watch the Matrix again. Except after going through a period of transformation recently I watched with a fresh pair of eyes. If you choose not to read this let me summarize what I discovered in the next few sentences. I immediately saw…

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The iWatch Concept Apple Should Be Making


Finally, someone created the exact “iWatch” concept I’ve had in mind for months. Instead of the unimaginative “watch” metaphor most concepts and real products (hello Galaxy Gear) are using, German designer  Thomas Bogner decided to go more Nike FuelBand. 

The concept looks almost exactly like a Nike FuelBand but has a curved glass touchscreen and Home button. The UI is fluid and seems to move both horizontal and vertical through apps and functions. This seems like the perfect device for notifications, fitness tracking, music controls while still being able to get multiple days of battery life, sport a gender-neutral look and be water resistant. 

After checking out the concept, take a look at some of my old posts describing my perfect iWatch and lets hope Apple is paying attention. 

For the record I don’t expect to hear anything about an Apple wearable at tomorrow’s event. But you never know…

Link

parislemon:

Clever iOS 7 launch day graph from Mixpanel. Amazingly, iOS 7 is already past 10 percent penetration — and growing fast.

(via kskobac)

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How To Use The New Features In iOS 7


Today Apple is releasing it’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7, the biggest overhaul to the OS since it’s inception. Visually iOS 7 is a lot different than it’s predecessors. They got rid of the faux wood textures, green felt and beveled glossy buttons and replaced it with a much cleaner, whiter, and visually lighter interface. One of the new cool features that you’ll find all throughout iOS 7 is called parallax. It’s used on the home screen, in Safari’s browser tabs and on certain on screen prompts. If you tilt your phone it’ll appear as if there is a layer floating above the phone, giving it a 3D effect. It’s not particularly useful but it adds another dimension to the iPhone that makes it appear as if there’s a whole world inside of it and the screen is your window. After you get pass the new look and three-dimensional parallax effect there are a lot of new features that make iOS easier to get things done in and a joy to use. 

Let’s take a look at some of the new features in iOS 7 and how to use them.


Notification Center:

This menu will appear when you swipe down from the top of the screen.




Today - Shows your schedule for the day (from your calendar), weather, stocks, traffic time to home/work, reminders

All - Shows all of your Notifications (Choose which notifications appear in Settings)

Missed - Notifications that have appeared that you may have missed


Control Center:


Control Center gives you quick access to often used settings such as Airplane mode, Wifi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Screen lock orientation. Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen no matter where you are in the phone to bring up the menu.


Screen brightness control and music controls are also available. The settings for the new sharing feature, AirDrop is also in Control Center that allows you to quickly make yourself available, or unavailable to everyone, contacts or turn it off. 

Shortcuts to Airplay, Flashlight, Clock, Calculator and the camera are also available. 


Share Menu:

The new share menu in iOS 7 is a bit different than before. The new icon is a box with an arrow pointing up. Press the button to share websites, photos, videos, documents etc. When the button is pressed a share menu will pop-up and allow you to share to AirDrop, iMessage, Mail, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr by default. Some apps will let you share to other apps that can use the piece of content you’re trying to share. 


AirDrop



AirDrop is a new feature that lets any compatible iOS device (iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPad Mini, iPad 4 and iPod Touch 5th-gen) share photos, videos, documents, map info, app content , and more between each other with a tap of a button.

1. To use AirDrop the sender and receiver must have AirDrop enabled

2. Make sure your Wi-fi and Bluetooth is turned on. (Note: Neither person has to actually be connected to a Wi-fi network)

3. Go into your Control Center is make sure AirDrop is enabled either for Contacts Only or Everyone. 

4. When you enter the Sharing Menu you will see the face and name of anyone near you that you are able to AirDrop something to.

5. Touch the face and the content will instantly be shared with that person. They will receive a prompt asking them to accept.

AirDrop makes it incredibly easier to share things like photos, contact info, directions or websites instantly and to multiple people at the same time.


Multi-Tasking

In iOS 6 you could double-tap the Home Button and an app drawer would appear at the bottom of the screen to show all of the previous apps you were running. This was useful because it provided a faster way to get to apps you were recently using. The problem was the apps weren’t actually running in the background (expect for music, navigation and few other exceptions), iOS would automatically disable apps after you opened another to save battery life. In iOS 7 Apple has implemented an elegant solution to that problem. Instead of automatically disabling apps, your device will learn when and how often you use particular apps and automatically update their content so when you’re ready to use them you don’t have to wait for them to download information. 

While improving multi-tasking, they’ve improved the look of the app drawer as well. Now you will see large images of the apps that are running in the background and you can scroll through them either by the app icon or by the app image itself (Scrolling via the image is faster than using the app icon). If you want to make sure an app isn’t running in the background you can with flick of a finger close the app by swiping up.



iTunes Radio

Inside the Music app there is now a new button called Radio. If you’re familiar with the radio app Pandora, it’s basically Apple’s version. Create and customize your own radio stations to your particular taste. Using the star button you can suggest more songs be played like the current song or tell iTunes Radio to never play that song again. Like Pandora there are ads which are audio clips that play every few songs. You can however pay $25 a year to get rid of the ads and it’ll also include iTunes Match service that allows you to stream your iTunes library over your phone without actually putting the songs on your phone. Definitely worth the price of admission for music lovers. 


New Sounds & Wallpapers (Dynamic)

In iOS 7 Apple has included all new sounds for ringtones and alerts. (Yes!) If you’re tired of the same old iPhone sounds there are plenty of cool new sounds to chose from. You still have access to the old sounds though if you begin to miss Marimba. Right next to Sounds in Settings you’ll notice “Wallpapers & Brightness”. Here you can choose a new dynamic wallpaper that actually moves as you move your phone. Not a big deal but kind of fun. There are also some new static wallpapers that are rather nice as well.



Siri



In the past Apple digital assistant, Siri has been hit or miss for most people. With iOS 7 Apple has not only improved how Siri displays information and sounds but they’ve made Siri a little bit smarter. You’re now able to search Wikipedia, photos and video from the internet. You can even search Twitter via Siri, all without opening a single app. Siri can also control settings in your phone like Wi-fi or Bluetooth by just asking it to turn it off/on. Screen too bright? Ask Siri to lower the brightness of your screen. Magic. However the best thing about the “new” Siri is that it’s much, much faster and responds more frequently than before. Prior to iOS 7 I was pretty frustrated with how fast Siri worked and would usually use Google’s voice search app instead. Since iOS 7 I’ve returned to my digital friend and our relationship has never been better.


Privacy

This area isn’t new to iOS 7 per say, but I thought I would go over it considering all of the privacy and security stories in the news lately. If you go into Settings and scroll down just a little you will see a menu labeled “Privacy”. This gives you a list of functions like Contacts, Photos and Microphone and lets you see which apps you’ve given permission to use each function. If you don’t want a particular app to use a certain feature than you can disable it. Just remember, disabling certain apps will limit the ability of that app. For example if you don’t want Facebook to have access to your Photos, you won’t be able to upload photos to your Facebook app. 

The next section shows you which apps have access to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook). Again if you disable an app you wont be able to share within that app with the particular social network. There’s an Advertising section at the bottom that allows you to turn of Ad Tracking as well.



Turn Of Motion In iOS 7

For most people the parallax effects in iOS 7 is fun and adds a three-dimensional perspective to their iPhone/iPad. For others, especially with vision problems it could be distracting or worse. So if you want to shut off all of the motion effects in iOS 7 here’s how. 

1. Go to Settings and select General > Accessibility

2. Scroll down and turn Reduce Motion OFF

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Why Apple Calls The iPhone 5s ‘The Most Forward-Thinking iPhone Yet’


A lot of speculation and assumptions are being made about Apple’s new A7 and M7 chips in the iPhone 5s and it’s jump to 64-bit. Some say its pointless to have a 64-bit chip in a mobile device at this point because it’ll be years before iDevices need more than 4GB’s of RAM. They suggest Apple only did this for marketing purposes, nonsense. While there are other advantages of a 64-bit processor I believe the ultimate reason Apple made the leap has yet to be revealed. It’s no accident Apple calls the iPhone 5s, “The most forward-thinking iPhone yet”.

Apple has rarely, if ever played the “speeds and feeds” game when it comes to the specs of their hardware. Sure they’ll give you the basics but they typically don’t spend a lot of time telling you about technicalities unless it relates to a specific feature. So when Apple does announce they’re moving to a 64-bit chip architecture, I have to believe it’s for a reason, even if it’s not immediately apparent. 

A7 Processor (64-bit)

There are two possible areas where I believe Apple may have reason to move their mobile chips to 64-bit so soon. 



MacBook Airs


If Apple were looking to move the MacBook Air line to their own custom ARM chips (instead of Intel) they would have to be 64-bit. Of course today’s Arm chips aren’t as powerful as the I5 Intel chips currently used in MacBook Airs but Apple could be preemptively preparing for the change. It’ll be interesting to see how the A7 performs in benchmark test next week. In the past, ARM chips haven’t even come close to matching the power of Intel’s chips but perhaps in a couple more generations and a faster clock speed they could come close. While ARM is trying to become more powerful, Intel is trying to become more power efficient. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll reach the sweet spot first. Intel’s recent chip architecture, Haswell has increased current Macbook Air battery life about 20-30% (12hrs). Moving to an ARM chip could provide multiple days of battery life and an even thinner and lighter design for an entry level Macbook Air. There’s still at lot of things that need to be considered besides the power of the chip before Apple could make the switch, but it’s an interesting idea to consider. 

Apple TV


When Apple releases a new chip it usually gets used across all of their iOS devices (iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs). The current Apple TV is using the A5 chip which was first released in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. If Apple is truly gearing up to release an updated Apple TV set-top box or an actual TV that may be reason enough to convert to 64-bit now. An all new Apple TV with 4GB+ of RAM, A7 processor combined with some type of TV subscription service or App Store could be an interesting proposition. The blog CannyVision makes a great case why Apple may want a powerful Apple TV to better compete with the upcoming Playstation 4 and Xbox One. While I can’t imagine Apple aggressively going after the relatively small hardcore gaming market, I can see them making a play at a more casual gaming audience. Let’s also not forget the game controller APIs that were added in iOS 7. While the games won’t directly compete with the latest consoles, Infinity Blade 3 (shown on the iPhone 5s) is approaching Xbox 360/PS3 level of graphical fidelity. 

But like the iPhone and iPad, gaming would just be an added bonus to Apple’s primary target, disrupting the television. While they’ve recently added a lot more channels to the Apple TV, I don’t expect any new hardware until they have the proper content deals in place. Without content, the fancy hardware and software is ultimately meaningless. However they decided to approach the content problem (IPTV service or an App Store), a 64-bit A7 processor with 4GB+ RAM and storage would make for a compelling media/gaming device.

M7 Processor 


Announced with the iPhone 5s, the M7 chip will be a low-energy coprocessor that’s designed to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. It’ll take over these responsibilities from the primary chip but do it constantly, using much less battery power. It’ll be able to tell when you’re walking, running, or even driving and 3rd party apps will be able to access that information for a number of types of apps. The obvious use care for this type of data is in the health and fitness category. In the short-term it seems like a great way to introduce iPhone users to quantified-self apps. In the long-term it seems like the first step into the wearable computing device Apple is rumored to be working on. I can imagine the M7 being implemented into Apple’s wearable product the same way they leverage their ARM chips across multiple devices to drive down cost. 

Fingerprint Reader



Apple announced during their event that only about 50% of iPhone users have pass codes on their phones. More and more our entire lives are being stored on our smartphones and security will continue to be of an upmost importance. As Apple continues to build features into iOS that will require you store even more sensitive information about you, it’s important that iPhones have an incredibly easy way for everyone to secure their devices and authenticate themselves. Robert Scoble talks about how we’ll all have a “personal cloud" soon in which our personal data is stored and is intertwined with our smartphones, wearable computers and Low Power Bluetooth sensors around the world. I believe Apple is marching to this future with iCloud, iWatch/iBand, iBeacon, Siri, Passbook etc. All of the groundwork is being laid now.

Horace Dediu of Asymco.com said something about the Touch ID that makes a lot of sense when think of Apple moving into this “personal cloud” space. “….they want to make it easy [security], but preserve the trust. This method is going to boost the usage of secure log-ins…thus increasing trust fundamentally in the data, the cloud and every other asset you’re going to unlock with this device.”

Both the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 seem to hint at what Apple has planned for the future. Eighteen months from now, we may look back at the iPhone 5s announcement in hindsight as the real start of Tim Cook’s vision for Apple.

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Why Apple Calls The iPhone 5s ‘The Most Forward-Thinking iPhone Yet’


A lot of speculation and assumptions are being made about Apple’s new A7 and M7 chips in the iPhone 5s and it’s jump to 64-bit. Some say its pointless to have a 64-bit chip in a mobile device at this point because it’ll be years before iDevices need more than 4GB’s of RAM. They suggest Apple only did this for marketing purposes, nonsense. While there are other advantages of a 64-bit processor I believe the ultimate reason Apple made the leap has yet to be revealed. It’s no accident Apple calls the iPhone 5s, “The most forward-thinking iPhone yet”.

Apple has rarely, if ever played the “speeds and feeds” game when it comes to the specs of their hardware. Sure they’ll give you the basics but they typically don’t spend a lot of time telling you about technicalities unless it relates to a specific feature. So when Apple does announce they’re moving to a 64-bit chip architecture, I have to believe it’s for a reason, even if it’s not immediately apparent. 

A7 Processor (64-bit)

There are two possible areas where I believe Apple may have reason to move their mobile chips to 64-bit so soon. 



MacBook Airs


If Apple were looking to move the MacBook Air line to their own custom ARM chips (instead of Intel) they would have to be 64-bit. Of course today’s Arm chips aren’t as powerful as the I5 Intel chips currently used in MacBook Airs but Apple could be preemptively preparing for the change. It’ll be interesting to see how the A7 performs in benchmark test next week. In the past, ARM chips haven’t even come close to matching the power of Intel’s chips but perhaps in a couple more generations and a faster clock speed they could come close. While ARM is trying to become more powerful, Intel is trying to become more power efficient. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll reach the sweet spot first. Intel’s recent chip architecture, Haswell has increased current Macbook Air battery life about 20-30% (12hrs). Moving to an ARM chip could provide multiple days of battery life and an even thinner and lighter design for an entry level Macbook Air. There’s still at lot of things that need to be considered besides the power of the chip before Apple could make the switch, but it’s an interesting idea to consider. 

Apple TV


When Apple releases a new chip it usually gets used across all of their iOS devices (iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs). The current Apple TV is using the A5 chip which was first released in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. If Apple is truly gearing up to release an updated Apple TV set-top box or an actual TV that may be reason enough to convert to 64-bit now. An all new Apple TV with 4GB+ of RAM, A7 processor combined with some type of TV subscription service or App Store could be an interesting proposition. The blog CannyVision makes a great case why Apple may want a powerful Apple TV to better compete with the upcoming Playstation 4 and Xbox One. While I can’t imagine Apple aggressively going after the relatively small hardcore gaming market, I can see them making a play at a more casual gaming audience. Let’s also not forget the game controller APIs that were added in iOS 7. While the games won’t directly compete with the latest consoles, Infinity Blade 3 (shown on the iPhone 5s) is approaching Xbox 360/PS3 level of graphical fidelity. 

But like the iPhone and iPad, gaming would just be an added bonus to Apple’s primary target, disrupting the television. While they’ve recently added a lot more channels to the Apple TV, I don’t expect any new hardware until they have the proper content deals in place. Without content, the fancy hardware and software is ultimately meaningless. However they decided to approach the content problem (IPTV service or an App Store), a 64-bit A7 processor with 4GB+ RAM and storage would make for a compelling media/gaming device.

M7 Processor 


Announced with the iPhone 5s, the M7 chip will be a low-energy coprocessor that’s designed to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. It’ll take over these responsibilities from the primary chip but do it constantly, using much less battery power. It’ll be able to tell when you’re walking, running, or even driving and 3rd party apps will be able to access that information for a number of types of apps. The obvious use care for this type of data is in the health and fitness category. In the short-term it seems like a great way to introduce iPhone users to quantified-self apps. In the long-term it seems like the first step into the wearable computing device Apple is rumored to be working on. I can imagine the M7 being implemented into Apple’s wearable product the same way they leverage their ARM chips across multiple devices to drive down cost. 

Fingerprint Reader



Apple announced during their event that only about 50% of iPhone users have pass codes on their phones. More and more our entire lives are being stored on our smartphones and security will continue to be of an upmost importance. As Apple continues to build features into iOS that will require you store even more sensitive information about you, it’s important that iPhones have an incredibly easy way for everyone to secure their devices and authenticate themselves. Robert Scoble talks about how we’ll all have a “personal cloud" soon in which our personal data is stored and is intertwined with our smartphones, wearable computers and Low Power Bluetooth sensors around the world. I believe Apple is marching to this future with iCloud, iWatch/iBand, iBeacon, Siri, Passbook etc. All of the groundwork is being laid now.

Both the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 seem to hint at what Apple has planned for the future. Eighteen months from now, we may look back at the iPhone 5s announcement in hindsight as the real start of Tim Cook’s vision for Apple.

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Thoughts On The Apple Event


iPhone 5c

Nearly everyone was wrong about the purpose of this phone. Most speculated that it was going to be a cheaper version for China and other markets without carrier subsidies. I as wrote last week, Apple has never chased the bottom of any market, they’re bringing in a large share of the profits in mobile. It’s more beneficial to Apple to increase share in the mid to high-end market. It allows them to maintain the iPhone’s semi-luxury image without compromising of the features that helped build that image. 


With the iPhone 5c they aren’t selling a year old phone, they are releasing a “new” version of the iPhone 5 in multiple colors. It’s a similar strategy used with the iPod line when they released the iPod Mini, which later became the most popular version of the iPod. It’s basically an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell. It’s also probably better margins manufacturing the iPhone 5c while giving more variety to consumers. Priced at $99 (on contract) I can easily see the iPhone 5c becoming the mass market iPhone this time next year. 


iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is now positioned as the premium model, sort of like the MacBook Pro of the iPhone line. New features would be introduced at this price point and later trickle down to the $99 and Free models. The differentiating features are the camera, the new A7 processor and the fingerprint reader. The camera is better is nearly every way. Better flash, larger sensor, 120 FPS video recording for slow motion, and a multi-photo feature that allows you take 10 photos a second and chooses the best one. The processor is about twice as fast and has moved to a 64-bit architecture, the first for a mobile phone. The finger-print reader (Touch ID) is built into the home button and allows the user to scan their finger instead of using a pass code to unlock their phone and authenticate iTunes purchases. There will also be a new gold colored iPhone, the white/silver from the iPhone 5 and a new “Space Grey” that replaces the black/slate model. 


From all accounts the fingerprint reader works really well. It appears easy to setup and reads your finger fairly quickly. Of course the true test will be after millions of them are in the wild. Apple also made it a point to note that your fingerprint will be stored locally on the phone and they will not store them in the cloud or collect them. I think with all of the recent NSA revelations people are understandably a bit suspicious about everything so clearing up the FUD from the start is smart. 


iOS 7

Apple breezed through iOS 7 yesterday, just touching on some of the highlights of the new operating system. I’ve said it a number of times. iOS 7 is great and one of the biggest change to the iPhone since it’s release. However some people will not like the changes after they update on September 18th and there will be some complaining. I think this will be mostly by people who haven’t been paying attention. There’s an usual amount of people that know about and/or were using the beta. I’ve never seen so many non-techie people willingly running a piece of beta software in my life. Teenagers seem to love it, which is good news for Apple. 


Apple also announced that iWorks for iOS (iMovie, iPhoto, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) will now be available for free to everyone that buys a new device starting September 20. I think this is a big deal and is Apple’s answer to Google’s free productivity software in Google Drive. Apple now provides a substantial amount of software for free out of the box with the iPhone, similar to the Mac experience. 


Overall this event was straight forward with few surprises. It’s getting incredibly hard for Apple to keep any hardware announcements secret these days. With the scale and how early they have to begin manufacturing these products it’s nearly impossible to prevent leaks. I think the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will sale like gangbusters and hold them over till next year when they’ll probably release a larger version of the iPhone. What I find really strange is that the iPhone 4S is still being sold as the “free” model. My big question is what will they call the next iPhone? If the “C” class of iPhone is for color and fits in the middle they probably won’t sale the premium brand for a discount anymore. What happens to the iPhone 5s next year? Are those features just absorbed into the “C” models? Interesting.

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Why Did Google Choose To Call Android 4.4 Kit Kat?


Yesterday Google rocked the Internet by announcing its next version of Android (4.4) would be changed from it’s generic dessert name Key Lime Pie to Kit Kat. Yes, the candy bar with 4 sticks of chocolate that cover 3 layers of wafers. Wait…4 sticks, 4 layers….4.4. Sure that’s a cute coincidence but I think there may be an even deeper meaning to why Google decided to link their mobile OS to a candy bar. Beyond the obvious marketing benefit of having Android plastered over 50 million candy wrappers, what Google says about the focus of Android 4.4 seems more interesting. 

"It’s our goal with Android Kit Kat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." - Google


Since the beginning, Google has had a problem with getting updates of Android out to phones in a timely manner. One reason is because they never established the type of leverage over the carriers like Apple did with the iPhone. The other major factor was due to Samsung, HTC, LG and other manufacturers have custom software on top of stock Android that they have to test before sending updates to customers. To overcome that obstacle, Google announced Google Play Services that allows them to add features individually to apps via the store. Updating key Google services like Maps, Gmail, Search, YouTube, etc. provides new features to older devices who may still be on a version of Android that is years out of date. The down side to this work around is that it doesn’t allow for new system-wide API’s to be added for developers to take advantage of. Which is why certain apps still require Android 4.0 or higher to be able to use, hence the “fragmentation” argument living on, for now at least.

However Android 4.4 could bring a way to further update key elements of the OS via Google Play Services. Google saying the goal of Kit Kat is to make amazing Android experiences to everyone seems to hint this could be a possibility. There has also been talk of 4.4 optimizing Android to run better on more modest, lower-end hardware. It would definitely tie into the 4 pieces of the (4 layered) Kit Kat bar that can be broken apart. Just a thought. 

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Samsung Doesn’t Get It…


Last year the rumors began that Apple was working on a wearable device, which the media started calling the “iWatch”. Since then, nearly every major hardware company has claimed to be releasing one as well. Samsung, Microsoft, Google, and Sony all enthusiastically told or leaked to the press that they too were working on a smart watch. It all seemed like a knee-jerk response to a product Apple has never officially acknowledged. Even more foolish, everyone seems to think Apple is going to make a literal smart watch. A device and form factor that has continuously failed to catch on. Sony even released a smart watch last year that received little to no attention mainly because it didn’t solve a problem.



Information on Samsung’s first attempt at wearable computing, the Galaxy Gear have leaked before their official release Sept. 4th and it appears to be incredibly predictable. If the leaked image and specs are accurate Samsung basically made a small smartphone for your wrist. Which, at first blush sound great but in practical use this vision of the future completely falls apart. In typical Samsung fashion they crammed everything they could squeeze inside this relatively large (ugly) device as they could. A 2.5 inch OLED (320x320) touch screen, dual core processor 1.5GHz, 4 Megapixel camera, a speaker, microphone, accelerometer, bluetooth 4.0 LE, and a partridge and a pear tree.   To top it all off the device is rumored to have 10 hours battery life. Sigh.


Instead of asking what should the function of a wearable computer be and how can we best facilitate that, samsung made what seemed like a logical next step (to those without much vision), a smartphone for the wrist! I wrote about this before and I continue to believe the wearable device that will truly be a mainstream product will be: 

  • Unobtrusive and stylish
  • Focus on a few narrow tasks that benefit from being on your wrist and perform them well
  • Long battery life
  • Probably won’t resemble a tradition watch in any way. 

Think more Nike Fuel Band and less Dick Tracy. The fundamental flaws of a large touch screen on your wrist is battery life, heat, it’s appearance, and user interface.

  



I believe if any company is going to pull this off, Apple has the best shot. I’m basing that assumption on their prior history of recognizing the problems existing MP3 players, smartphones and tablet computers and addressing them. Not to mention they’ve made a number of hires and acquisitions in the past year that seem to indicate they get it. The product needs to have a reason to exist and people have to want to wear it. 

Looking at the success of Nike Fuel Bands (which Tim Cook wears), Fitbits and other fitness oriented devices is a good place to start. Including more sophisticated sensors like a heartbeat monitor, blood sugar reader, and integrating it with features in iOS 7 like notifications, iBeacons and security could create a compelling device. 



Using any of these functions doesn’t require a large, battery killing screen either. A thin, flexible LCD screen, possibly 128x640 pixels would perfectly fit iOS 7 sized notifications, small enough to be discreet but large enough to display glanceable information. A modified version of iOS could be used for simplified functionality using basic left and right swiping gestures, similar to how the Google Glass OS works.



I’ll wait to see what Samsung shows off tomorrow before I claim the Galaxy gear a complete failure, but so far it appears to be exactly what we saw happen right before the iPad was announced. Companies hurrying out their ungainly, clunky tablet computers before Apple announced the iPad, trying to get a jump on them. Not realizing that their idea of how a tablet computer should look and function was completely off-base, and rooted in ideas from the past. Samsung still seems to not understand that removing features is as much a part of design as adding features.

  

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Samsung Doesn’t Get It


Last year the rumors began that Apple was working on a wearable device, which the media started calling the “iWatch”. Since then, nearly every major hardware company has claimed to be releasing one as well. Samsung, Microsoft, Google, and Sony all enthusiastically told or leaked to the press that they too were working on a smart watch. It all seemed like a knee-jerk response to a product Apple has never officially acknowledged. Even more foolish, everyone seems to think Apple is going to make a literal smart watch. A device and form factor that has continuously failed to catch on. Sony even released a smart watch last year that received little to no attention mainly because it didn’t solve a problem.



Information on Samsung’s first attempt at wearable computing, the Galaxy Gear have leaked before their official release Sept. 4th and it appears to be incredibly predictable. If the leaked image and specs are accurate Samsung basically made a small smartphone for your wrist. Which, at first blush sound great but in practical use this vision of the future completely falls apart. In typical Samsung fashion they crammed everything they could squeeze inside this relatively large (ugly) device as they could. A 2.5 inch OLED (320x320) touch screen, dual core processor 1.5GHz, 4 Megapixel camera, a speaker, microphone, accelerometer, bluetooth 4.0 LE, and a partridge and a pear tree.   To top it all off the device is rumored to have 10 hours battery life. Sigh.


Instead of asking what should the function of a wearable computer be and how can we best facilitate that, samsung made what seemed like a logical next step (to those without much vision), a smartphone for the wrist! I wrote about this before and I continue to believe the wearable device that will truly be a mainstream product will be: 

  • Unobtrusive and stylish
  • Focus on a few narrow tasks that benefit from being on your wrist and perform them well
  • Long battery life
  • Probably won’t resemble a tradition watch in any way. 

Think more Nike Fuel Band and less Dick Tracy. The fundamental flaws of a large touch screen on your wrist is battery life, heat, it’s appearance, and user interface.

  



I believe if any company is going to pull this off, Apple has the best shot. I’m basing that assumption on their prior history of recognizing the problems existing MP3 players, smartphones and tablet computers and addressing them. Not to mention they’ve made a number of hires and acquisitions in the past year that seem to indicate they get it. The product needs to have a reason to exist and people have to want to wear it. 

Looking at the success of Nike Fuel Bands (which Tim Cook wears), Fitbits and other fitness oriented devices is a good place to start. Including more sophisticated sensors like a heartbeat monitor, blood sugar reader, and integrating it with features in iOS 7 like notifications, iBeacons and security could create a compelling device. 



Using any of these functions doesn’t require a large, battery killing screen either. A thin, flexible LCD screen, possibly 128x640 pixels would perfectly fit iOS 7 sized notifications, small enough to be discreet but large enough to display glanceable information. A modified version of iOS could be used for simplified functionality using basic left and right swiping gestures, similar to how the Google Glass OS works.



I’ll wait to see what Samsung shows off tomorrow before I claim the Galaxy gear a complete failure, but so far it appears to be exactly what we saw happen right before the iPad was announced. Companies hurrying out their ungainly, clunky tablet computers before Apple announced the iPad, trying to get a jump on them. Not realizing that their idea of how a tablet computer should look and function was completely off-base, and rooted in ideas from the past. Samsung still seems to not understand that removing features is as much a part of design as adding features.