Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘apple

It’s Been Awhile…Happy VR New Year!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted…enjoyed a much needed holiday respite away from technology.

Well, not ALL technology. While I was away, I dusted off my Oculus Go and really went to town with the thing, in a way that I hadn’t the prior 7 months.

My follow-up verdict: I’m more bullish on VR now that I’ve spent more time with the thing.

Mostly, I’ve been playing games (“End Space,” “Rush,” “Void Race,” and “Gunjack” are some standouts).  I also bought a Bluetooth gamepad so that I move beyond depending just on the OG controller that comes with and use something a little more user friendly.

The game pad made a big difference in gmaes like “Gunjack” where one is shooting alien spacecraft and needs great agility (and, yet, subtlety, at the same time). 

I’ve also used OG for more mundane tasks like watching “Netflix,” which appears as a big movie screen in front of one’s eyes.

Despite the heavy lift of getting someone to put these VR goggles on, the opportunity for transcendent experiences, I believe, is quite palpable.

And the use cases beyond games seem endless…military training…pilot training…high end commercial and residential real estate…real-time collaboration and working..I could go on and on.

And apparently I’m not alone. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen recently said the following in an episode of the a a16z podcast: 

I think AR has tons of potential applications, both at work and at home. [But] I think VR is going to be about 1,000 times bigger. In the Valley right now, this is a very contrarian view. The general theme that you hear is that AR will be bigger than VR, and obviously it should be. If you can do things overlaid over the real world, that should be inherently more interesting than having to construct a synthetic world.

I just think that’s only true for people who live in a really interesting place in the real world. But only something like .1 percent and 1 percent of people on Earth live in a place where they wake up every morning and think, Wow, there are so many interesting things to see. So for everyone who doesn’t already live on a college campus or in Silicon Valley or in a major other city, the new environments we’re going to be able to create in VR will inherently be much more interesting. And there will be a lot more of them.

Using the “Gala360” app, I was able to do just that, see something new (to me).

For a mere $3.99, I bought and downloaded the app and the next thing I know I was walking around and checking out the Taj Mahal in 3D, a place I’d never visited but had always wanted to see.

VR replaces long distance: It’s the next best thing to (really) being there. 

Whether it becomes 1,000 times bigger than augmented reality, I’ll leave that to others to argue.

But at a time when the tech industry and key players like Apple are struggling — in terms of both perception and innovation, there are much worse investments one could make than alternate realities, virtual or otherwise.

Written by turbotodd

January 8, 2019 at 10:36 am

Posted in 2019, virtual reality, VR

Tagged with ,

Apple a Day

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Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is “experimenting” with iPhone marketing strategies it rarely uses, including discount promotions with generous device buyback terms, to help bolster sales of its new line of smartphones.

Apparently they were selling below expectations, and not coincidentally Apple has lost about a fifth of market value since the start of October. And iPhone supplier Cirrus Logic cut its holiday quarter sales forecast 16 percent due to slack demand.

You can visit apple.com if you want to see whether or not your older iPhone is eligible for the trade-in, one which is lowering the cost of an XR model by up to $300.

 

Written by turbotodd

December 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm

Posted in 2018, apple, iPhone

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Happy Holiday AirPods

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Happy Monday.

If you’ve been wondering what’s on folks’ list for Santa this year, don’t rule out the Apple AirPods.

I’ve written before about how useful and user friendly I’ve personally found the AirPods to be, and how it’s nice to once and for all be rid of any cord emanating from a pair of earbuds.

Apparently I’m not alone.

9to5 Mac wrote earlier that AirPods are on track to be Apple’s best growth product for the foreseeable future, this according to a forecast from Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo is forecasting growth from 16 million units in 2017 to over 100 million by 2021, calling them Apple’s most popular accessory ever, and pointing out that existing iPhone users “are more likely to buy AirPods than upgrade their phone itself.”

Kuo also suggested Apple would release an upgraded model in the first quarter of 2019 that would provide wireless charging support.

But I wouldn’t let waiting for that feature, or future ones, prevent you from offering the current AirPods to someone you love for the holidays. 

They’re great just the way they are and hey, look Ma, no wires!

Written by turbotodd

December 3, 2018 at 11:41 am

Posted in 2018, airpods

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Apple’s Golden Eggs

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Good morning and Happy Tuesday.

Here’s hoping you got everything you wished for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

I bought some coffee, which isn’t very cyber, I know, but hey, a man’s gotta have his caffeine.

You know who else might need some caffeine soon?

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

Yesterday, justices of the U.S. Supreme Court (hereafter referred to as “SCOTUS”) appeared open to letting a lawsuit proceed against Apple that accused it of breaking federal antitrust laws by monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications and causing consumers to overpay.

According to a report from Reuters:

The nine justices heard an hour of arguments in an appeal by the Cupertino, California-based technology company of a lower court’s decision to revive the proposed class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in California in 2011 by a group of iPhone users seeking monetary damages.

The lawsuit said Apple violated federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold through the company’s App Store and then taking a 30 percent commission from the purchases.

Reuters points out that while developers set the prices of their apps, Apple collects the payments from iPhone users and keeps 30 percent commission on each purchase. Developers earned more than $26 billion from the store in 2017, a 30 percent increase from the year before.

Goose. 

Golden.

Eggs.

Don’t.

Kill.

Written by turbotodd

November 27, 2018 at 9:49 am

Posted in 2018, app store, apple, developers

Tagged with , ,

Apple’s Price Hike, China’s DRAM Scam

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This week’s was the first Apple event I haven’t watched in quite some time.  Maybe years.

Is my love affair with Apple products over?

No, if anything, quite the opposite.

I use quite a number of Apple products.  

I just tend to hang on to them.

My 2011 Apple MacBook Air still works fine, albeit a little more slowly.

I love my AirPods (how’d we ever live without those!?)

And a few months ago I bought a used iPhone 7 Plus on Gazelle, and that was a big upgrade in terms of screen size and storage from my SE.

No, I just don’t need any more Apple stuff (new or otherwise), and I’m not the only one.

People aren’t upgrading as much as they used to, and that’s been particularly the case for the iPhone.

Which is likely why as part of this week’s announcement, the prices rose for both the new MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air (to $1,299 and $1,199 respectively).

Not outrageous hikes, and considering that a high-end iPhone can now cost as much or more as the MacBook Air…I guess it all depends on how you view it and what you need. Apple reports its latest earnings today after market close.

Meanwhile, there’s another story that appeared on the horizon, which was that a Chinese state-owned company was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets of U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. 

According a report from Bloomberg, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. and Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. were indicted in California along with three individuals.

These indictments come just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently “plans to announce Thursday a new initiative to respond to Chinese efforts to obtain American technology and trade secrets.”

Bloomberg writes that Micron is the only U.S.-based company that manufactures dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, and that China didn’t possess DRAM technology before the alleged theft.

Written by turbotodd

November 1, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Posted in 2018, china

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Tim Cook and the Data Industrial Complex

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TechCrunch is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook has begun to basically throw down the gauntlet with respect to the global trade in digital data, suggesting that it has exploded into a “data industrial complex.”

“Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” warned Cook. “These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.

“Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm.”

This discussion came about as a result of a keynote speech Cook was giving to the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels.

Cook also addressed the issue of artificial intelligence, saying that “at its core this technology promises to learn from people individually to benefit us all. But advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency.”

“For artificial intelligence to be truly smart it must respect human values — including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound. We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It is not only a possibility — it is a responsibility.”

I find it fascinating that Cook tied up AI and privacy. He’s clearly looking well ahead to where some of the next major digital battlegroups are likely to take place, and the raw horsepower AI could bring to privacy violations.

Cook went on to say that Apple is “in full support of a comprehensive, federal privacy law in the United States.

He argued that a U.S. privacy law should prioritize four things:

  1. Data minimization — “the right to have personal data minimized”, saying companies should “challenge themselves” to de-identify customer data or not collect it in the first place
  2. Transparency — “the right to knowledge”, saying users should “always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for, saying it’s the only way to “empower users to decide what collection is legitimate and what isn’t”. “Anything less is a shame,” he added
  3. The right to access — saying companies should recognize that “data belongs to users”, and it should be made easy for users to get a copy of, correct and delete their personal data
  4. The right to security — saying “security is foundational to trust and all other privacy rights”

Over the past several years, Apple has positioned itself as a protector of digital privacy rights. However, it should be noted that  Apple is also far less dependent on digital advertising revenue as are other key players in the tech space (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.)

Written by turbotodd

October 24, 2018 at 11:49 am

Apple Chips

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How about that rough stock market ride yesterday?

All I have to say about that is that it’s October (check your stock market history).

But yesterday’s steep selloff hasn’t stopped deals from happening.

TechCrunch is reporting that Apple will buy a part of Dialog Semiconductor, a chipmaker based out of unit, for $300 million in cash and a commitment of another $300 in further purchases from the company.

While Dialog is describing this as an asset transfer and licensing deal, it will be Apple’s biggest acquisition by far in terms of people: 300 people will be joining Apple as part of it, or about 16 percent of Dialog’s total workforce. From what we understand, those who are joining have already been working tightly with Apple up to now. The teams joining are based across Livorno in Italy, Swindon in England, and Nabern and Neuaubing in Germany, near Munich, where Apple already has an operation.

TechCrunch suggests this deal is part of a continued emphasis on Apple’s "putting considerable effort into building faster and more efficient chips that can help differentiate its hardware from the rest of the consumer Electronics pack….and comes at a time when many expect Apple to release a VR headset in the future."

Dialog says post the acquisition, the remaining part of the business will focus more on IoT, as well as mobile, automotive, computing and storage markets, specifically as a provider of custom and configurable mixed-signal integrated circuit chips.

Written by turbotodd

October 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

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