Rosy Improvements

Rosy Improvements

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Apple A9

Intel’s battle against physics may not be going according to plan with setbacks and less than spectacular performance increases but that doesn’t mean CPU performance increases in other areas have stagnated. The newly released Apple A9 SoC looks like another one of those jumps in performance that we’ve come to expect from the tech giant.

The CPU and GPU improvements are impressive but were known. The significant jump storage though? That was a pleasant surprise. The inclusion of NVMe over the industry standard eMMC gave the iPhone 6S nearly double the storage performance over last year’s iPhone 6.

Well done, Apple. Well done.

PS4 System Software 3.0

Speaking of incremental updates, PlayStation 4 System Software 3.0 arrives tomorrow and if you’re a fan of socializing and streaming, it seems to be a wonderful update. I’m hoping for some hidden surprises because only the PNG screenshot feature is appetizing to me. If I stream, I’ll likely switch to YouTube but that’s an “if”. Everything else seems like extra fluff and I’m not seeing the immediate appeal.

 

 

Apple’s Fall 2015 Announcements

Apple’s Fall 2015 Announcements

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It’s Apple Fall 2015 media day. Here are some of my thoughts on the newest products. It was a solid lineup of new products that I doubt I’ll partake but it’s nice to see Apple march on.

iPad Pro

It’s a larger, faster and more productivity oriented tablet. You want a keyboard cover? It’s got one. You want a digital pen? Apple Pencil has you covered. It sounds a lot like a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. So why would one choose one over the other?

The Surface has a wider array of support thanks to its x86 Intel processors but the iPad Pro has the edge on portability with its thinner and lighter profile. Microsoft’s on-stage support of the iPad Pro is a nice gesture but the Surface Pro still has the edge for full Office suite support.

The starting price of $799 USD for the 32GB model was a legitimate surprise to me. This places it right there with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3’s cheapest model. I doubt anyone would actually live with the 32GB model if they’re trying to be productive but it’s nice to see a relatively affordable model.

Oh and they squeezed in the existence of the iPad Mini 4 as well.

Apple TV

The new Apple TV with its touch and voice enabled remote reminds me of Kinect and the Xbox One. As expected, it has robust Siri integration and all the small luxury touches that Apple is known for. It’s essentially all the niceties of iOS brought to the Apple TV which includes iOS apps such as games like Crossy Road to the big screen. But thanks to the more capable hardware, previously console and PC oriented titles like the new Guitar Hero and Disney Infinity 3.0 are making its way to the new Apple TV as well.

The ability to pair a game controller will also enable light but more sophisticated games akin to the console. Games like Transistor will be playable on the new Apple TV which makes it quite an attractive proposition for Indie games. Curiously, it only sports an A8 processor unlike the iPad Pro and iPhone 6S.

It’ll be available in late October for $149 USD for the 32GB and $199 USD for the 64GB.

iPhone 6S & 6S Plus

An improved 12MP camera with 4K capabilities, improved LTE Advanced support and the new A9 processor were to be expected but what’s the hook? Well apparently that’s 3D Touch.

3D Touch enables the pressure sensitivity that was found in the Force Touch trackpad on the iPhone 6S. Unfortunately for Apple, demonstrating 3D Touch is difficult. From the viewer’s perspective, 3D Touch (like Force Touch) is best experienced in person. 3D Touch demonstrations simply look like people are holding their finger on something for a brief period of time which is already something that multi-touch displays already do.

Other little Apple touches like using the Retina display as a giant flash for selfies and the “Live Photos” (aka animated GIFs) for their cameras.

It’s an S revision. Solid but not Earth shattering.

Apple this & Apple that: A new era begins?

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apple-logo.pngToday’s iPhone 6 Keynote was full of new Apple products new and updated. They touted new features and ideal usage scenarios with Apple’s tight integration of hardware, software and services. It all looked so beautiful and harmonious.

But as the announcements and confirmations rolled in, I was left disappointed. In many ways, this is still the Apple that I appreciate but at the same time, the products announced today were not as I hoped they would be.

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iOS 8 & OS X Yosemite Bring Continuity

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apple-logo.pngOf all the features announced during today’s WWDC event, the iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite “Continuity” features were easily the most impressive to me. It’s such a small detail but the ability to answer phone calls and non-iMessage texts on my iPad and Macbook Air is an absolute game changer for me.

It makes sense.

When I get home, it’s iPad time. I leave my iPhone charging by my bed and carry the iPad around with me for web browsing purposes. Why browse on a tiny screen when I have an iPad? And whenever I want to do some word processing (like right now), I put down the iPad and pick up my Macbook Air. It’s great to know that with iOS 8 and Yosemite, I don’t have to worry about missing a phone call or text message from non-iPhone users.

OS X Yosemite will also bring other noteworthy features like a new look, refined Safari and a more useful Notification Center. iOS 8 already had its facelift so most of its new changes were functionality oriented. I look forward to trying out the new keyboard and I’m glad to see TouchID receive third party support. Now I just need TouchID capable devices.

It’s going to be some time before we see these new features in production ready states. Apple is saying Fall 2014 but I cannot wait so I’ve thrown my name into Yosemite beta program. Let’s just hope it isn’t a complete disaster in its beta state.

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