Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple Invests In Laser Chipmaker

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Great news for Sherman, Texas!

CNBC is reporting Apple is investing $390 million into Finisar, a company that makes chips used by Apple products for depth and proximity sensing.

The company will use the money to reopen a shuttered plant in Sherman, Texas, and create 500 jobs.

More details here:

Finisar will transform a shuttered, 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, into a high-tech facility developing VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) chips. These chips enable depth and proximity sensing, helping to power some of Apple’s new features, including Face ID, Animoji, and ARKit, which is the set of tools that allow developers to create augmented reality apps. There are three VCSELs in every iPhone X. VCSEL chips also are used in Apple’s AirPods, but those chips are not made by Finisar.
– via CNBC

And as to how Finisar’s products are used…

Finisar’s primary products are transceivers and transponders that enable high-speed voice, video and data communications for networking, storage, wireless and cable TV applications. The company, founded in 1988, is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and employs 14,000 people. In addition to Apple, its customers include Cisco, Huawei, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise
– via CNBC

Sounds to me like a ramp up for Apple’s aggressive augmented reality strategy!

Written by turbotodd

December 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Need a New iPad?

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Are you in need of a new and improved iPad?

Well, even if you aren’t, Apple’s apparently working on one, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The company is said to be working on a redesigned, high-end iPad for as early as 2019 that incorporates some of the nifty new features from the iPhone X, including slimmer edges and facial recognition.

Bloomberg’s story suggests at least one new iPad model with a screen size similar to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is planned to include Face ID for unlocking the device, making payments, and sending animated emojis.

Because at work, it’s imperative that we be able to send animated facially-driven emojis.

And yes, the “home” button would go away on these new iPads, so you might as well just go ahead and get over it.

Written by turbotodd

November 9, 2017 at 9:54 am

The iPhone X Files

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Some notable funding rounds…TechCrunch reports that Seattle-based international remittance provider Remitly is raising a Series D round of $115 million led by PayU. The company lets people in the U.S., U.K., and Canada send money electronically to friends and family in developing countries across Africa, South America, and Asia.

And Berlin-based Ada Health, which is an AI-driven app that “works a little like an ‘Alexa for health,'” has raised a $47M round led by Access Industries. Also according to TechCrunch, the the funds will be used to improve the product, hire staff and open a new office in the U.S.

Ada has become one of the world’s fastest-growing medical apps in 2017. In a chat interface, it helps people decipher their ailments, but then also connects them with real doctors.

In the meantime, reviews of the iPhone X are starting roll off the presses…

Mashable: “Holding the iPhone X in my hand triggers a distinct memory of the the moment I first cradled the original iPhone…There is no home button, just a stunning 5.8-inch screen that hugs the edge, reaching for the silver band that’s just millimeters away. All of it is so beautiful, save for that peninsula of darkness at the top.”

BuzzFeed: “The iPhone X might be a huge step forward in terms of hardware, but it runs iOS 11 just the same as other recent iPhones, and you won’t really be missing out on anything except Animoji. Face ID seems like it’s off to a good start, but it’s definitely inconsistent in certain lighting conditions. And until your favorite apps are updated, you won’t be able to make use of that entire beautiful display.”

Engadget: “Once my face was enrolled in Face ID — a process that took less than 20 seconds — unlocking the phone worked damn near perfectly every time. You still have to swipe up to view your home screen after you’ve unlocked the X with your mug, but the whole process is very nearly as fast as using a Touch ID sensor in a recent iPhone.”

Last I checked, my iPhone SE — despite being oh-so-2016 — still works fine and does pretty much everything the X does (except for FaceID), so I’m good. But nice to hear the (mostly) positive X reviews after all that buildup!

Written by turbotodd

October 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Posted in 2017, apple, iphone x, Uncategorized

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You Don’t Know Me

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Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is having production problems for the new iPhone X due to the sophisticated requirements of its new facial recognition technology, and is said to have told suppliers they could reduce the accuracy of the face recognition technology to make it easier to manufacture.

The iPhone X is set to debut on November 3.

Also on the Apple Beat…Apple has acquired ten-year-old Auckland-based wireless charging company, PowerbyProxi, for an undisclosed sum, and according to Stuff Technology, plans on keeping the company powered up in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, if you’re not confused yet about the continuing evolution of bitcoin, there’s a new fork of forks. Blockchain firm Bloq (see what they did there with the name?) indicated it has created a rival to bitcoin called “Metronome” that will go on sale in December, according to Fortune.

Today, bitcoin faces existential threats from forks, developer drama and so on. Knowing what we know and having a clean sheet of paper, we asked what what would we build and the answer is this. Jeff Garzik, CEO of Bloq and a longtime bitcoin developer.

Written by turbotodd

October 25, 2017 at 10:47 am

Tweet More, iPhone Less

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Having trouble writing everything you want to write on Twitter in 140 characters or less?

Well, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen feels your pain and wrote that “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).”

This feature will be available to only a small number of users for now (and it wasn’t clear at press time if President Donald J. Trump would be included in the pilot).

For my money, Twitter has always been about less being more. I have to “cram” all the time, and I avoid sending episodic Tweets at all cost. Call me old school.

In the meanwhile, over on the sidelines, Facebook has just inked a multiyear deal with NFL to distribute game highlights and other content, and in return, NFL Films will produce content packages for Facebook Watch.

It was unclear at press time whether Mark Zuckerberg would be standing or kneeling.

If you just feel like hitting the open road with not a care in the world, you might want to keep an eye on Ford and Lyft’s new partnership to develop and test autonomous vehicle designs and technology. The destination: To put Ford’s cars on Lyft’s networks. No comment yet from G.M., one of Lyft’s biggest investors and partners.

Could be very awkward out there on the autonomous Route 66!

And as if Apple needed any more production headaches after their recent and marvelous launch shindig? First there was a software issue with the Apple Watch Series 3 which caused the Watch to connect to unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks instead of handing off to LTE.

Then there was news that there have been production issues with the new Face ID componentry that has something to do with manufacturing yields for the “Romeo” modules (the “Juliet” modules are producing just fine, but hey, you can’t have a Juliet without a Romeo. That’s just bad Shakespeare…and juju!)

And now, the iPhone 8 has a “crackling” earpiece that’s disrupting the audio experience when people try to make phone calls.

To which I ask, who makes phone calls using an iPhone anymore??

 

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

The New iOS 11 is Here!

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Well, the day has finally arrived. Apple is set to release iOS 11 later today.

I’m reminded of that scene with Steve Martin’s character Navin from that age-old classic film, “The Jerk.”

“The new phonebook’s here, the new phonebook’s here!!!!”

No, I’m not excited because my name’s going to be in the phone book. But I am glad to check out some of the new capabilities of iOS 11.

Like what?

Well, the new Dock for the iPad, for starters. The new Dock will be available from any screen with a quick swipe, and will allow myself, and Navin, to easily add more app shortcuts.

Next, the QuickType keyboard improvements for the iPad, which will allow you to see letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation all on the same keyboard! What a concept! With the current iteration, you have to switch back and forth between keyboards to use many of those characters.

Third, Drag and Drop for the iPad, which allows you to more easily move text, photos, and files between apps. From what I’ve gathered, generally speaking, if you can see it, you can move it.

Fourth, the new Control Center, which is now customizable and les you set up shortcuts for preferred settings and apps.

And…one more thing…the ability to mark up documents and th elike using Apple Pencil (that includes signing documents!). The Apple Pencil has been a great innovation but has had limited capabilities, in my opinion. Adding the ability to markup documents will greatly expand its utility beyond its existing artistic capabilties.

What I hope all of these features and more add up to is expanding the potential for the iPad to become a desktop and/or laptop replacement.

While that doesn’t mean I’ll stop using my MacBook Pro anytime soon, I do think it could expand the horizons of utility for the iPad, something that’s been now seven years in the making.

The new phone book’s here!

P.S. I just discovered this in-depth Ars Technica review of iOS 11, and the word on the new iPad capabilities seems bullish:

Today, the good news for the iPad continues with the public release of iOS 11. There’s a lot of stuff in this update, and a bunch of it benefits iPhone owners, too. But Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad-related parts of the operating system this year—the tablet still exists somewhere in between the iPhone and the Mac, but the changes to the UI and to the underpinnings of iOS 11 help iPads move further toward the Mac than they’ve ever been before. The upgrade is even more significant for tablets than iOS 9, both because the changes are bigger and because more iPads can actually take advantage of all these fancy productivity features now.
– via Ars Technica

Written by turbotodd

September 19, 2017 at 9:20 am

All You Need is Love…and $999

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Well, I was able to make my way through the entire Apple keynote today LIVE (via streaming video) from the new Steve Jobs Theater on the also new Apple Park spaceship-like campus.

The opening video was clever, as it showed people walking into the new theater for the first time ever. Accompanying the walk-in video was The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.”

Yes, all you need is love, and $999, if you wish to purchase the new Apple X (pronounced “ten,” not “ex”) 64GB iPhone, whose new features include an A11 Bionic neural engine chip, a first-of-its-kind OLED screen, and a new Facial ID security feature that makes Touch ID obsolete and has a 1 in a million (according to Apple) chance of being hacked.

No doubt, it’s a gorgeous new smartphone, and yes, it’s being released in the 10th anniversary year of the original iPhone’s introduction. But unless you’re really excited by the novelty of the Face ID authentication or the “Super Retina Display” or the increased speeds and feeds of the A11 bionic neural networking chip, then this particular “one more thing” may just be that.

Apple also introduced the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which also come with the A11 chip, which is optimized for 3D games and Metal 2, paving the way for Apple’s coming Augmented Reality onslaught. Both the iPhone 8 devices and the X will now be charged via Qi-standards based wireless chargers, which apparently will create a new cottage industry of 3rd party opportunities for the likes of Mophie.

For me, the upside surprise came with the new Apple Watch Series 3, one which has built-in LTE and gets us closer than ever to Dick Tracy-land. In fact, the demo involved the presenter making a live Watch-to-Watch call to another Apple employee who was out on a body of water somewhere paddle boarding. Thankfully, she didn’t fall in while on camera, but the new Apple Watch working as a phone with no iPhone in sight was, well, a welcome sight. Too bad I just bought a Series 1 earlier this year!

In terms of software, I should have known better — there wasn’t much on offer for what clearly was an Apple fall hardware announcement. There were some cute new animated emojis using the Face ID tech: “animojis.” The Apple Watch includes some new heart monitoring capabilities, including the ability to monitor for atrial fibrillation (if your heart is fibrillating, put down your Apple Watch and call your doctor, FAST!).

My favorite was what looks to be a killer new AR game called “The Machines” where you can point your iPhone 8 (but what about my SE??) and shoot stuff with your friends.

And if you *were* awaiting news about the new iOS 11, Apple indicated it would be available for download starting a week from today (September 19th).

As for buying new stuff, I’ll stick with my year-old Apple iPhone SE for now — it still has a headphone jack I can actually plug stuff into, even if I do have to … first world deep sigh … plug it in as well every night to charge the thing. Oh, the horror….

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm

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