Apple's newly unveiled Augmented Reality Kit (ARKit) has developers diving in and thinking about the possibilities. Apple provided a presentation of the technology at their World Wide Developers Conference earlier this month and it did not disappoint. Virtual objects were shown on a table, taking into account the surface size, camera movement and lighting solutions, all in real-time. Needless to say it was an impressive demonstration.
During the unveiling of ARKit, Apple had John Knoll of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) provide a Star Wars VR presentation. John introduced Lauren Ridge of EPIC Games, who was backstage, complete with green screen and her VR goggles ready to go. John and Lauren showed off a Star Wars experience and some quick programming, adding in tie-fighters and Darth Vader for what played out as a pretty close call with the Dark Lord. It was cool stuff, but I started revisiting the presentation again. As Darth Vader came towards Lauren, what if she had a physical lightsaber that integrated into the game? ILM and EPIC Games could deliver the holy grail where VR and reality completely blur. But it could go much further.
Lately, Apple has been adding to their space exploration team. Not only does Apple have their sights set on your mobile life, but evidently they look up at night and think about how to reach for the stars. Apple recently added two of Google's satellite executives to some vaguely understood hardware team. In April an inside-the-satellite-beltway blog site talked of Apple working with Boeing regarding Low Earth Orbit (LEO) multi-thousand satellite deployment. Sounds cool, but when it comes to Apple, the age old question remains; What's in it for me?
Have you ever been on a cruise or taken a flight? How about visiting another country far away or hiking to parts unknown? In each scenario internet access often costs far too much to justify, or simply isn't available. If you've ever attended a college football game good luck getting anything in or out of your iPhone, as the towers are typically jammed solid with traffic. Now envision all these places, or virtually everywhere, providing strong signal with amazing speeds for any task, anywhere, any time. That's what's in it for you.
For those wondering when Apple will hold their first event in Steve Jobs theater on their newly minted campus called Apple Park, the odds on favorite goes to a September/October special event. iPhone 8, or iPhone X – whatever it may be called – roughly represents the 10-year anniversary of iPhone. With such a significan Apple milestone, one would think the event would be targeted to take place in Steve Jobs theater, but will it be ready in time?
Project Titan, Apple's not-so-secret car program, has apparently been all over the map. But just when the Titan finally appeared to have legs, former Ford executive, Steve Zadesky, who was heading up Apple's automotive project, left the company in September, 2016. Filling Zadesky's vacuum, veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield promptly took over the reigns. According to the New York Times, Mansfield immediately slashed the Titan workforce, whittling the program down to autonomous-only driving solutions. Earlier this week Apple CEO, Tim Cook, just revealed publicly that autonomous driving is indeed Apple's direction. But I've never bought into any Apple CEO's public comments (only delivering part of a picture they want us to see), nor do I buy into the "paper of record" rumors, nor should you.
Mansfield has saved many fledging programs at Apple, working with shoestring teams while delivering remarkable results. Project Titan had become a program losing it's Apple culture, while gaining a bloated staff with far too many Detroit executives running the show. Mansfield was tasked to bring the program back to Apple's roots with a lean and focused team. Evidence continues to mount an Apple car has always been – and still is – on it's way.
Apple's all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro's are being prepared for shipping. According to this information (see below), the new iPad Pro's will ship on Monday, arriving by Next Day Shipping to customers on Tuesday, June 13.
NOTE: AppleCare for iPad runs $99 and not only extends the warranty to 2 years, but now includes two (2) customer incidents for damage. A $45 fee may be applied by Apple upon the repair, but $144 for a new iPad Pro (Apple usually replaces iPad's rather than repair them) that can cost over $1,000, yah, this is an AppleCare that looks more than worth it!
It's a curious thing, that Apple. To have all but ignored the Mac for years made going into the Apple retail stores seem like a walk through a computing history museum. "...and here is the MacBook Air. Launched in 2008 and still does not have a Retina display, Thunderbolt, or any other port for that matter." At least it is – slowly – getting harder to point out how slow Apple has been to getting Mac's updated. Cook and crew clearly took their eye off the Mac ball for years, but things have changed in Cupertino, and much needed updates are on their way. Does this mean Apple's leadership is listening to customers, or does it merely explain the pivot due to iPad's constant and decreasing sales since 2014?...
Out of the myriad of announcements Apple put forth on Monday during their 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference, one new technology continues to come back around in my mind time and time again. And yet, I'm not sure if I'm as excited as I am relieved – It's a close call. Files App in iOS for iPad is a game changer. Essentially, Files App is the macOS Finder for iOS. A native file directory shipping with iOS 11 for iPads. Yes! And about time!
T-GAAP's been clamoring for an "AirFinder" (or some form of native Finder for iOS) for years. After all, iOS is a slimed down version of macOS. Apple's mobile operating system has always had a file directory, it's just been hidden from the GUI. Files App for iPad that Apple has, bafflingly so, been holding back for years, may greatly tilt the trajectory of iPad forever.
The endless amount of talk regarding Apple's forthcoming iPhone 8 has been nothing short of rumor-staggering. A fair amount of the information seems quite likely, and has given way to any number of new ideas Apple could incorporate. The amazing feat of building the home button with Touch ID directly into the glass is looking more like one iPhone's new realities. But in doing so, it presents a basic problem. How does a user quickly and easily locate the home button on an all-glass, sleep mode display?
Forget about iPhone 8's edge-to-edge OLED display, 3D camera, IP68 waterproof rating, Touch ID built into the glass, or, or, or... The killer feature for iPhone 8 will be AirPods that ship with the phone as a standard feature. Will this happen? Sorry kids, I don't work on Apple's iPhone product marketing team, nor am I close personal friends with Phil Schiller (although "Uncle Phil" has always seemed pretty cool), so I have no idea if this will actually happen – but it most certainly should.
Analysts have been beating the drum that iPhone 8 will cost over a $1,000 in certain configurations, with starting prices nearing $900. If that's the case, I highly question where the massively increased costs for iPhone 8 are hidden? OLED display vs LCD? No. There is no longer a massive cost delta between the two technologies with Apple's volume. New sensors and Touch ID built into the glass will cost more than Apple's current Touch ID implementation. But when Touch ID was launched in iPhone 5s it was also a costly new feature and Apple didn't jack up the prices for iPhone 5s with Touch ID, rather, Apple held prices and focused on selling more iPhones.
FitBit was all the darling in 2015, with a strong IPO showing and staggering sales topping 21 million devices. Fast forward to today, and in just over 20 months FitBit's stock is down nearly 60% from it's all-time high. More or less, FitBit provides decent, singular focused devices. While this has been good for FitBit in terms of volume sales, the Mark Cuban question has raised it's ugly head – Are you a viable business or just a clever one-off product?
Simple, low-priced fitness trackers have been an easy, low-risk purchase decision for many, but over time devices like this tend to fall out of favor with consumers, as they gravitate towards multi-functional solutions, even if that requires a higher spend. Enter Apple Watch.