Apple

  • January 30, 2021

    Wearable Tech Trends

    With the recent acquisition of Fitbit by Google (for $2.1 billion!), in order to break into the highly lucrative “wearables” market, I thought it might be interesting to explore this topic a bit here. However, since we’re talking about Google attempting to compete directly with Apple, Xiaomi, Garmin, Huawei, and Samsung, this is a tough nut to crack. Here are some quick stats* from Statista: Connected wearables worldwide (2019): 722 million Wristband wearables (2020): 67.7 million Marketshare of wearables (Q3, 2020): Apple 33.1%, Xiaomi 13.6%, Fitbit 2%, Hauwei 11%, Samsung 9% (Other, such as Garmin 28.2%) Apple and Samsung hold the highest percentage of most recognizable smartwatches (2020): 47.9% and 13% respectively Wearables, from fitness trackers (like the Fitbit Charge 4) to smartwatches, are no longer the stuff of science‐fiction. They have evolved even quicker than smartphones. Up until 2006 when the LG Prada first appeared on the market (followed by the iPhone in 2007) there was virtually nothing like modern wearables available. Though it took a confluence of technologies from touchscreens, 3G/4G/LTE cellular service, and Bluetooth to name a scant few to make wearables a reality, they quickly evolved into what we are seeing today. And these are not only connected extensions of our smartphones on our wrists or other parts of the body (e.g. Google Glass for Enterprise AR), but also as stand alone devices that house whole operating systems, UIs, and bio‐feedback sensors on their own. The Apple Watch is obviously the go‐to example but more and more diverse devices are beginning to flood the market. Devices such as: implantables (from biosensors, super small pacemakers, to birth‐control), smart jewelry (to discreetly take calls and texts, or track menstrual cycles), smart clothing (with sensors that monitor everything from footfalls for runners to providing haptic feedback for yoga poses),...
  • This is a cute little post I wrote about the science behind Santa’s Enchantment. There are fictional interviews with three of the world’s leading experts on Christmas Magic.
  • November 5, 2020

    Emojis for Life😀

    With Apple, Inc. adding 117 new emojis for iOS 14.2 update, I thought it might be interesting to look at some cool emoji facts for a change:🎉 Fact 1: World Emoji Day is Saturday July 17, 2021🌎 Fact 2: Emojis were created in 1998👍🏻 Fact 3: Emojis originated in Japan🇯🇵 Fact 4: Over 48% of adults use emojis👫 Fact 5: Most tweeted emoji is Tears of Joy (14.5 billion mentions)😂 Fact 6: Number of emojis sent by brands – 145 million messages📱 Fact 7: Number of people/smiley emojis – >2000😎 Fact 8: Number of animals & nature emojis – 212🐕 Fact 9: Average number of emojis sent on Facebook each day – >60 million🦄 Fact 10: Amount of money earned at the box office for The Emoji Movie ‐ $217 million😐 Fact 11: Apple’s iOS 14.2 update now supports 3,292 emojis, including one with a medical mask (appropriate in this time of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic)😷 Fact 12: Emoji 13.0 is the set of emojis approved for release in 2020 (3,304 emojis supported all or in part on iOS 14.2, Android 11, Samsung, and soon Windows)👏 Fact 13: There is an entire website dedicated to tracking and cataloguing everything there is to know about emojis: The Emojipedia📔 Now we just need an emoji of 2020 and Satan, that’d be great way to convey via text how everyone feels right now!😱
  • When you think of what $52,000 can buy, you probably think of things like a high-end luxury car (like a Tesla), a boat, or maybe a 5-star trip around the world. Regardless, the last thing you’d probably want to spend $52K on is a computer! Well, Apple Inc. is back in the news with it newest—and most expensive—product yet. The all new Mac Pro is set to be available for pre-order starting next Tuesday. However, this machine might not enjoy the same “early adopter” success that say a new iPhone does. Don’t get me wrong, the specs on this machine are astounding*: Up to a 28-Core Intel Xeon W processors Up to 1.5TB (that’s TERABYTES!) of DIMM RAM, running at 2933MHz AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphic cards (configurable with up to four GPUs) Up to 8TB of SSD storage Tons of the latest, most powerful PCI expansion slots and others Tons of USB 3, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet ports And the most powerful WiFi (A/C) and Bluetooth (5.0) available *Note: These specs are based on the most expensive configuration options. This machine is a monster! But that’s not all… If you want THE most powerful monitor to go with this Macintosh behemoth, you’ll be looking at the Pro Display XDR. And it too is a monster! It’s a 32-inch Retina 6K display capable of presenting over a billion (that’s BILLION with a B) colors! Now given the fact that human beings can only perceive an estimated 10 million colors, what would the remaining 990,000,000 colors be used for? Oh, and let’s not forget the $1000 dollar monitor stand that caused quite a stir at the WWDC (i.e. World Wide Developers Conference where Apple announces all its new products) earlier this year. All told, this system (and we haven’t even...
  • November 15, 2019

    Digital Powerhouse of The Mouse

    You know, people spend a lot of time at work talking about what they watched the night before on their favorite video streaming service. But what they don’t do is talk much about is how the digital video streaming services out there are really changing the media and entertainment landscape of our digital world. And then there are events that really put a fine point on that last observation. Like what you ask? Well, this past Tuesday (11/12/2019) Disney+, the newest and probably most hyped video/movie/TV streaming service from the “House of The Mouse” just launched what it hopes to be a serious market‐disruptor! My little digital batkid was very happy when we signed up for Disney+, and so was Disney! Here’s why: Disney bought Fox for $60B, that’s BILLION with a B! All of their content will now go onto Disney+. Disney spent $2.5B on an ESPN service to stream major sports to customers like the MLB. Disney spent $4B on Star Wars (i.e. Lucasfilm) and wants to recoup every bit of that both with new Star Wars theatrical films and exclusive Star Wars original streaming programs like The Mandalorian. Disney+ will feature over 500 films from the Disney library, and over 7000 episodes of Disney TV shows. Disney+ will cost on $7 a month compared to $13 for Netflix’s base program. Disney has invested over $2B in developing its video streaming platform, Disney+, while Apple is playing catchup investing nearly $15B for AppleTV+. Disney plans on having over 20 million subscribers in its first 3 – 5 years. Netflix currently has over 140 million subscribers! Disney wants some of that lucrative market share. HBO GO/NOW will be rebranded into HBO MAX with a planned subscriber fee almost twice that of Disney+! Yet, it boasts such powerful and popular...
  • In the battle of the Virtual Assistants (VA), it seems like everything else, there are too many choices. Alexa, SIRI, Google Assistant, and Cortana are practically household names at this point. While each has their particular set of benefits, no one AI (i.e. Artificial Intelligence, because that’s what we’re really talking about here) can fulfill every request made of it. With next year’s pending launch of my company’s (PTC) flagship PLM platform, Windchill (integrated with Microsoft Azure’s cloud solution)—facilitating manufacturers’ efforts to rollout NPIs (i.e. new product introductions)—I thought it would be interesting to explore some aspects of where VAs/AIs are these days in a practical sense from home to business. I’d venture to guess that most homes feature more than one VA. The Digtal Batman household runs both SIRI on our iPhones/iPod and AppleTV 4K, and we run an Echo Dot featuring Alexa. It’s interesting to note the significant differences for our needs. For example: Alexa comes in handy when playing music from Amazon Music Unlimited and radio broadcasts over IHeartRadio. Whereas, SIRI dials our phone numbers, reads our texts, provides us with navigation, and helps us search/navigate our Apple TV 4K streaming device. Conversely, like most PTC employees running Windows 10 on their laptops, Cortana can easily be enabled. But I think it would be a little weird if everyone in the open seating at Seaport HQ started talking into their computers all at once! Though I haven’t used “Okay Google” in a while, it does come in handy for general searches and navigating the plethora of online/cloud‐based productivity, calendar, and meeting tools available—especially if you’re using Google Chrome. And what’s really interesting is now each of these separate VA platforms are starting to work together: organizing calendars across different devices (like cell phones), providing email from multiple...
  • For all the flack that Apple gets for its proprietary and closed ecosystem of hardware, software, and cloud-based services, there’s a lot of good that comes out of it as well. This article will look on the “bright-side” of why having and using an Apple ID over your Macs and iPhones/iPads/iPods, and AppleTV can be not only a robust tool to help you get things done, and do cool stuff with, but also can be a real life saver—digitally speaking of course! What is an Apple ID? To put is succinctly, an Apple ID is an email address that you give to Apple when you set up a new Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or a Mac computer running the latest Mac OS. Your Apple ID is also linked to your iCloud account, which allows you to integrate all your “Apple i” devices into a single place. Linking your Mac and iPhone macOS (as of this writing: April 2017, OS X, version 10.12, a.k.a. Sierra) just loves your Apple ID! What’s even better is when you get a shinny new iPhone (say the iPhone 7) running iOS 10 (as of this writing, 10.3.1), and you set it up with that same Apple ID, all kinds of good stuff happens! For example: say you’re working on an article for your employer (like an online tech tip and tutorial blog), and you’re working on a Mac mini running Sierra. Your iPhone is currently recharging in the next room. However, you get a phone call (yes, people still do that sort of thing). Whatever do you do? Fear thee not! Let your Mac do the talking… Yes, as long as everything is set up correctly, and you have audio capabilities with your Mac (who wouldn’t?), then when you get a call, a...
  • Mobile communications such as text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messaging, SnapChat, Skype, and FaceTime are all seeking to supplant Email these days as the preferred form of digital communications. Not so for business or for professionals where Email still reigns supreme. Email access essentially comes in two forms: Email Software, or Client-based Email – E.g. Microsoft Outlook (costly subscription fees), Mac Mail (comes with Mac OS X), and Thunderbird (free open-source download) to name a few. Cloud Email – E.g. Google Mail (GMail), Yahoo Email, or AOL Email (yes, it still exists)—all free and accessible via a web browser Let’s delve into the key differences between them with an eye on how each form manages Email in their own unique ways. It should be noted that regardless of what method of accessing your Email is used, all Email actually sits on a server somewhere in “The Cloud” and simply waits for you to get it one way or another. Email Software Client-based (meaning: on your computer) Email still has many years of unparalleled usefulness that other services can’t match—the main advantage being security. Say you’re an employee at Company X and check your email like everyone else does everyday. You can rest assured that the Email sitting behind your company’s firewall is as secure as it gets. Even when logging in from home, you are usually using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to establish a secure connection between your laptop and your company’s Email servers. There’s very little chance of your Email being hijacked as you send your messages to your fellow employees or out to your clients. Microsoft Outlook allows a massive amount of Email filtering features, rich text (like HTML) messages, Email organization into shared and group folders across the entire organization, remote Email access via a Web-Outlook interface, and comes in cross-platform versions for Mac OS X and Windows (all versions). And the final advantage is group organization capabilities like employee calendars, scheduling...