THIS IS GONNA BE EPIC!

 

Who’d have thought that epic “Slide to Unlock” would have brought all us here, Tim (Steve) must be thinking!

Wow! One must follow the Apple case. It is going to be one of the very historic tech cases after the MS Anti-Trust case. Unlikely the MS case with much corporate dirt, Apple here holds true to, and close to the heart and it’s customers safety, privacy and dignity, on top of it the very core of the business principle with a hope for a sound strategy where they could have simply obey the court order. US government and FBI on the other hand got hands all over. I personally think it is history’s one of the boldest decisions made by a corporate executive (Tim Cook, CEO) to stand up to an evil dressed up in Government, National Security and FBI angel disguise clothes.

Even Apple backs down over the politics too much to bear, the case is a goldmine for future of human interactions with machines, that will probably be autonomous and AI driven in a future date on an evaporated cloud!

This is gonna be epic!

Watch Makers’ Dilemma!

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Traditional Watch Industry is fast facing disruption. It is all transforming into a Smartwatch Industry.

There is a new hush in tech circles. Merger of the Classic Watch Industry and Tech Industry in cross roads as discussions go on. Triggered by countless Android wearable initiatives and smartwatch efforts fueled by the latest Apple Watch rumors. Probably this will be on lesser extent but Watch will probably disrupt the Watch Industry the same way iPhone revolutionized the mobile industry, or just as iPod disrupted the portable music player and music label industry back in the 20s. Apple Spring Forward watch even will be held on Monday.

If “Mobile First” was the success story of the iPhone and follow up wannabies. I have little doubt on the smartwatch and the Internet of Things (IoT) future. What do we gonna call it when things emerge in the wearables first? It’s already mobile so what it would be “Personal or Intimate First” User eXperience has in store for us?

The watch industry will never looked the same after Monday

Here Apple’s legendary execution and scale of Integrated Systems will have an upper hand. Specially HomeKit/CarKit/HealthKit and the extensions of them probably with iPhone and Touch ID integration. Touch ID is Apple’s hidden absolute innovation on the privecy and security issues we faced as the tech industry since the legendary UNIX username and password protocol came in. Watch already seem to make the strongest case for many things to come after the smartphone revolution.

When most seem to doubt why would anyone want to carry a secondary device, when BYOD is in full swing, do we have to carry another? I speculate why would anyone NOT want one if Watch supposed to get us the promised of the following?

Presumably, Watch (all smartwatches someday) can resolve

1. All our access worries (Home, Car, Door Keys, proximity cards, etc.)
2. All our wallet worries (Credit, Cash, Reward Cards, Clubs, Memberships, etc.)
3. Identity worries (National ID, Driver License, Logins, Social Security, Insurance, Health etc.)
US government has just endorse Apple Pay I heard. *Please read the footnote.
4. It will probably do some of the smartphone functions better than imagined (Fitness, Music, Location, etc)
5. Possible emerge of the HomeKit/CarKit/HealthKit related IoT sub-ecosystems to boost

The first 4 points alone itself is more than enough for Watch to be another game changer device. If things fall well in place as Apple planned, I think Apple Watch V1.0 can trigger all that as it is proposed right now. From Apple Watch V2.0 and beyond we will see the new user cases of the WatchKit that we are unable to see clearly right now, but I am sure we will be taking about “Intimate First” UX in no time!

First WATCH ads appeared on Vogue Magazine, not anywhere near in any Tech Magazine. No surprise. Apple’s message is clear. Not many tech brands can get away with spending near $200,000 grand per page and simply having WATCH on a blank page to give the message. This is where tech circles don’t understand and underestimate Apple. Apple knows how to make technology common place.

It may be specific, For example my dad all he needs will ONLY be the watch, for the first 3 points he will probably LOVE it, We tried but he never wanted or carries a mobile phone, doesn’t need one. Only worry is Mom’s not knowing where the hell he is in the town, the watch probably can resolve that too by ping back in the future which I would love to have on my kids too: -D. This is just two user cases I see for Watch to sell in millions.

Then the question of how do we address the intimacy UX now with already phablet sized and growing phones? Viola! Suddenly the watch makes far more impressive wearable for me than the original iPhone ever did in 2007! or the vaporware Google Glass which kille the intimacy in 2014!: -D

Meanwhile Swiss watch makers like TAG Heuer, the biggest brand in luxury goods group LVMH’s watch portfolio, had until recently largely dismissed the threat of these “smart” gadgets or Watch saying it was not a threat to them. Then suddenly changed the tone to rush up smartwatch projects to rival this such as TAG Heuer. It also seems that TAG Heuer might be starting to realise that making a smartwatch isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s borne out by the attitude of Biver to the Apple Watch. In September last year, he said Apple’s smartwatch was “too feminine” and “looks like it was designed by a student in their first semester.”

But later LVMH watch chief Jean-Claude Biver says he had changed his mind on the subject. In his Bloomberg interview, Biver is now all for the Watch, claiming that “it’s a fantastic product, an incredible achievement.”

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UK Style Magazine runs Watch featured.

“Smartwatches represent a challenge to the Swiss watch industry that is comparable to the appearance of quartz technology. We cannot ignore this tsunami that is coming closer,” Semon said.

Biver, who had already outlined plans for a smartwatch, said he had struck several partnerships and was mulling purchases to help come up with an original upmarket offering.

“We started on the project about four months ago. We have done several partnerships and might also do acquisitions,” Biver, head of LVMH watches and TAG Heuer interim chief executive, told journalists at the brand’s headquarters at La Chaux-de-Fonds in western Switzerland.

But the problem is whatever they come up with TAG Heuer’s smart watch will not sell. There’s no market for it.

As an industry observer as I can see now, be warned. There is a real problem in luxury watch maker industry trying to imitate the smart-watch market yet to be blossomed. Even if smart watch is not poised to break smartphone scale revolution, there will be sufficient clues gathering that watch industry will seriously be disrupted.

There is a technical reason why Apple Watch requires pairing with an iPhone, and TAG Heuer’s or any to be smart watch will need to pair with a smartphone to even have a chance of being as feature-rich as Watch. Technology isn’t there for them to be standalone yet. If you ask Apple why Watch has to pair with iPhone while it can be standalone, Tim would say underline technologies have not emerged yet. There is no chance Tim can have GSM/ GPS receiver and Apple A8 chip in Watch with sustainable battery life even if he wished. So for a foreseeable future Watch will off-load battery and cellular heavy functions to an iPhone.

So no TAG Heuer or Rolex smartwatch has the luxury to off-load its functions to its owner’s iPhone, but an Android.

A Tsunami is coming for the luxury brands

That’s where the problem begins. Android copied iPhone and could sell it to the developing world for a cheaper price to gain momentum. But if a la carte TAG Heuer pairs with Android, can they make it cheaper falling in to the Casio and Citizen level? or a Chinese made level? Or else can they engineer it higher than Apple (or Google) would do? Also Apple isn’t going to re-engineer iOS for TAG’s specific benefit, so TAG’s smart watch won’t pair with an iPhone the way Watch does.

In order to have even a remote chance of being as feature-rich as Watch, then, TAG’s smart watch will sure have to pair with an Android phone. However, TAG Heuer wearers aren’t Android fans. Rich people buy TAG watches, but rich people don’t buy Android phones. They buy iPhones, Alas!

Watch Edition edition would be as premium as any Swiss made gold.

Ultimately, this is the basic dynamic of the entire luxury watch industry. Replace TAG Heuer with Rolex or any other high-end Swiss watchmaker, and you see the problem is exactly the same.

A Rolex smartwatch need to pair with an Android phone to be anywhere near as feature-rich as Watch, but Rolex users don’t buy Android phones. So on and so forth. None of their smart watches would sell. There are no rich-people-who-use-Android-but-buy-luxury-watches to wear.

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Korean LG Web OS Smartwatch

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Chinese unrivelled Huawei Smartwatch

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Beautiful Withings Activité Smartwatch

Over the next decade with few versions of Watch becomes more powerful, Google and the China have time to catch up. Almost all watches will become smart watches, just as how all cell phones have become iPhone clone smartphones. The luxury watchmakers who tires to make smart watches will fail because they don’t know the tech, there won’t be a niche market for their already niche luxury products. Even the luxury watchmakers who don’t try to make smart watches will still see their market continuously shrink.

They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I would call this as “Watch Makers’ Dilemma!” The watch industry will never look the same after Monday, 9, 2015.

Jony Eve has subtly put this in to context in an interview with his mellow words because he doesn’t want to be too dramatic on this, but the message is now very well written.

“Switzerland is fucked”.

NOTE *Apple have mentioned the usability of Apple Pay with the watch, but I failed to see how Touch ID get used here with Apple Watch, Do we have to pull iPhone to OK a payment with Touch ID? Then the purpose is probably lost so how would Apple will implement this? Also in the long run I wish there is a Touch ID in the back of the watch strap. Because I sense we are in a “Peak iPhone/ Smartphone” era as speculated that still has to carry over the burden of legacy. A Touch ID Sensor for authentication, or a secondary method. On March 9th Apple’s Spring Forward Watch event we may see how Apple actually would implement this if they launch Apple Pay along with Apple Watch.

INTERNET OF THINGS – WWDC 2014

APPLE WWDC 2014 PREDICTIONS!

I am just day dreaming this, but I have seen this all, it all repeatedly happened before. Apple did revolutionize the industries as chronological order as follows.

1. Once (Mac/ GUI) for PC and Desktop Publishing Industry
2. Twice (iTunes/ iPod) for Music and Labels Industry
3. Thrice (iPhone) for Mobile and Telecoms Industry
4. 4th (AppStore) for Software and Content Industry
5. 5th (iPad) for Post PC Industry

I think Apple will unveil the 6th iteration of this today @ WWDC 2014. It’s gonna be all about connected devices future I hope. iPhone (iOS) will be the long promised Digital Hub of Things which ultimately drives our all interconnected devices, smart homes and beyond.

The bellow picture shows how the Internet of Things (IP Connected devices, sensors, gadgets) as they looks today. Isolated, not really have a shared intelligence as such. Pretty bizarre picture right?

inot

This is where exactly Samsung Gear, Google Glass, Nest and many other fitness-ware, medical and home automation sensors fits in, and just like Android fragmented ecosystem this is a chaotic picture even for the savvy consumer. There’s is hardly a chance that anyone in particularly stand out, or play a significant role as Apple iPod did in 2001 in music industry or as iPhone did in 2007 in mobile industry.

This is where exactly I guess Apple will drive next wave of small small things (Wearable or Internet of Things) revolution’s future.

Remember where there were a thousands of MP3 players in the market in the year 2000? (Creative Nomad, Walkman, Countless Chinese and Winamp and Napster music). Apple launched the iTunes, iPod and then “Made for iPod” initiatives with criticism much what’s the use of 300 grand MP3 player when few bucks Chinese exists?

Today, the history is written as iTunes Music Store plus iPod was label music industry’s biggest digital transition success story. Wearing that white earphone became overnight hit hip-hop a sub-culture itself.

I hope Apple will announce something similar which it tern will make and shape the future of wearable devices and connected smart home, they may start it with Healthbook fitness healthcare app and combined “Made for iPhone” connected devices initiative that this INTERNET OF THINGS will kick start to flourish.

healt

Rumored Apple Healthbook.

I am sure in few years 90% of these shown things in the picture will have “Made for iPhone” badge and will work natural with iPhones. People will say there were all there Apple just connected them. Android clan also will follow suite me too, me too slogan initiative. For the reasons that once the system is in place with marketing and political battles fought by Apple, it’s just a few matter of hours for other device makers and Android developers to make a similar API to connect to those and work almost the same.

It’s an irony that if it is either hardware or software, the world always instinctively follow on Apple. Soon, no one will remember then what Apple did to the industry!

Will see this in a year or two!

APPLE IPHONE SECURITY

Apple iCloud, Find My Phone, Activation Lock, Remote Wipe, its Benefits and After Market Complications!

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This has been largely undiscussed subject. I have often seen the real benefits of Apple’s Find My Phone and Activation Lock feature and their implications. So I though of clearing up bit of a haystack to find the needle.

Since the release of Apples iOS 7, the Cupertino company added many changes both aesthetically and internally to the world’s foremost mobile operating system. The new luminous candy UI overhaul and Touch ID bio-metric scanner which works well on top of the leading 64bit processor hardware enhancements in iPhone 5S is ground breaking. Also the new iPhone security enhancements with iCould and Keychain management clearly shows Apples emphasis on security.

Specially, Apples Find My Phone and iCloud Activation Lock. These features were very effectively implemented to detour thieves from stealing your Apple devices.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.19.49 AM

Apple iCloud and Find My Phone

The user simply needs to create an iCloud iTunes account upon purchasing their iPhone, thereafter should promptly enable Find-My-iPhone. If an iCloud account already exists then the process is fairly quick, otherwise the user can create a new iCloud account directly from the iPhone or through iTunes. In a case where an iPhone has been unlawfully taken (Stolen) or lost, the owner of the iPhone is able to track the device, send custom notifications and remotely wipe/erase the iPhone. These security measures go one step further, if you restore the iPhone completely you will be asked for the original owners iCloud credentials. If you cannot obtain the correct iCloud information, then the iPhone is essentially a useless paperweight and considered as dead phone.

I would like to state here that Apple iCloud Activation Lock by far the most effective gadget theft deterrent system to date, and we should give recognition to Apple for its powerful innovation and rapid global implementation. It actually really works! There are many incidents people have lost and found their devices thanks to the service.

Everyone with an iPhone should get an iCould Account!

1. So when you get an iPhone get register with an free iTunes Account
2. Sign in to iCould and enable Find My Phone & Activation Lock as shown
3. If your device is ever lost, login to http://www.icloud.com and take control of the lost device.

iCloud-Settings_zps6913cd46

So what’s the problem?

With my experience in the area I have seen that there is a major downside to this Apple iCloud Activation Security Checkpoint. One of the biggest issues people are having is buying an iPhone second hand from a legitimate source and later notice that the “Find My iPhone” and “Activation Lock” feature is set ON. If set this option can be viewed by simply accessing the phones settings and selecting iCloud in the menu options as shown.

Here is where the problem lies; the second hand owner cannot remove the existing iCloud account, reset the iPhone, modify the software or gain any administrative rights. The same restrictions apply even if the user attempts to do a HARD RESET/ RESTORE or complete recovery, once reset and completely wiped the user is again asked for the original iCloud credentials. Currently, a large percentage of iPhone users do not even know that they have “Find My iPhone” turned ON, these people unknowingly sell their authorized devices with iCloud ON resulting in an eventual “bricked” or non-working device for the new buyers. This can also go unnoticed by a second hand owners until an iOS update is installed since the phone works perfect fine. Once an update has been installed the new owner MUST re-input the previous owners iCloud information, if the owner does not have the proper information the iPhone will be rendered “bricked” and useless. This is really a major problem and has greatly effected the legitimate market for second hand iPhones and instilled a fear among buyers. Specially online buyers of famous second hand portals. I have had real-world personal experience with this problem from several people who brought phones from an online source. These people legitimately bought their iPhone online, loose the contact who actually sold it since it seemingly works fine for months unless he triggers an iOS update and get stuck with a totally nonfunctional device.

Please be aware of this

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Apple really needs to start supporting these types of issues, and as of now Apple has a zero tolerance approach and no alternative for iCloud activation problems.  The only type of support Apple is really offering is NONE and ONLY suggest  obtaining the original credentials from the previous owner.

So people has to be vigilant and extra cautionary if you buy Apple products online or seriously forget your password without the ability to reset password (forget security question or the secondary email). You MUST ask the person who is selling the iPhone to remove the Activation Lock if set from his iCould Account or you have to hard-reset the device in person and reactivate it with your SIM card to 100% make sure that the device is not set up with Find My Phone Activation Lock with someone else’s iCould Account. If it cannot be done, don’t buy that iPhone. There is no real official way yet to make that phone working again as by March 2014.

WHY BIGGER ISN’T NECESSARILY BETTER!

Debate over bigger is always better and Apple’s stance on iPhone screen size has I think a reason to stay the same.

Samsung-Galaxy-S4-vs-Apple-iPhone-5-01

As a designer I always liked bigger flagship displays since the nineties, like this SONY Trinitron Sun Microsystem monitor which I used for many years. Fast forward a decade and what you get on Samsung Galaxy S4 handheld (Is it really a mobile?) which display I love is almost the same pixels crammed up to 5 inch of that 21′ SONY behemoth of the past. On contrast still Apple’s latest iPhone 5s have lesser pixels and smaller 4 inch size regardless of critics but it doesn’t really mean any less usability for practical reasons. So here is the facts.

PLEASE NOTE: I tinker every OS, explorer most gadgets I get just for fun, but the only practical use I get from any of these smartphones is making calls and browsing web other than occasionally play a game. That’s it. So this may differ with your actual usage. But smartphone’s sheer success was due to desktop class mobile browser before the App era. And this isn’t necessarily a technical rundown, rather a routine I observe everyday from early Android Froyo days to today 4.2 Jelly Bean. On iPhone front this has been almost the same from iOS 1.0 to iOS 7 now from 320X480 3GS to today’s iPhone 5 retina display. Rendering size is always the same while retina bump-up the crispiness of the text. There is a significant way Apple handles the screen in iOS and Mac OS X. iPhone screen size still remains in the 4 inch region without any practical usability hindrance.

So millions of millions iPhonions have seen everyday bigger screens doesn’t necessarily yield any usability breakthroughs on a mobile. So if you filter the critics, it’s always Android fans who complains iPhone has a small screens. Not iPhone users. This differ when you move up from phone to a phablet or tablet and that is a different use case.

I have picked up http://www.redmondpie.com and http://www.androidpit.com blogs to showcase this

DEVICES TESTED
iPhone 5 Galaxy S4
640 x 1136 px 4 Inches 326 ppi 1080 x 1920 px 5 Inches 441 ppi
IPS LCD AMOLED
iOS 6.1 with Safari 6 Android 4.2.2 with Chrome 31.0

Check out the real captures.
IMG_3974

Native rendering of http://www.redmondpie.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Actually native loading size of fonts are more readable on the iPhone. Both phones can bump up font size as accessibility feature.

IMG_3973
Single double tap zoom to fit-to-screen. This is where the beauty. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Single double tab on iPhone makes the site text quite readable and fill the whole full screen in iPhone you just have to scroll down to keep on reading. Where as on S4  you have to fiddle with pinch, zoom, find a fit, loose your read location and make it readable size and then scroll side-ways and up and down side ways to find your location back. This is a pain. For me, this makes a whole world of difference. Of cause you get used to the for both scenarios over the time, but can Android claim this IS better usability? This is worse with the famous Android Screen Lag even with the latest Samsungs flagship S4 and Note 3. Google is trying to fix this with Nexus new 4.4 ART runtime.

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Native rendering of http://www.androidpit.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4?

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Double tap zoom-to-fit the screen. For my aging eyes iPhone is still “MORE” readable. Anyone?

IMG_3975

The whole point is here there is no point you seeing more (more lines or content) if you really can’t make use of it. It only helps when you do view pictures or videos on a mobile but never with text. You read one line per round. Perhaps Apple will go 5 inch in the next year iPhone. But it is still a long way from iPhonions clamming to a bigger screen yet. For me Samsung S4 5 inch draws the upper limit of a mobile. Note is out, Next Samsung S5 should get the S Pen. Or what if Apple too will join with my decade older famous Wacom Tablet (S Pen maker) which I have been using since 1998?

TECHNOLOGICAL BARRIER OF OUR TIME – THE BATTERY!

Today’s iFixit tear down of newly released iPad Mini reminds me the technological barrier of our time. The power hungry devices without never in sight of a technological breakthrough to juice them continuously.
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More than 80% of the internal of new iPad Mini is consumed by the Goliath Battery, the sheer beauty brain is merely an inch of a logic board! This is no ordinary feat, even by the desktop PC terminology, the board has a 64bit desktop class oomph powering up air gasoline 2048X1536 pixel 326 dpi LCD Retina Display.
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Even my three times bigger 22″ desktop still doesn’t go this far, Just even to think of crunching this many pixels it would have needed an air cooled dedicated graphics board to do that. This tiny ARM board does it all effortlessly. This is also something Intel doesn’t have a clue what to do with. (So recently INTEL joined the club too.)

But the real dilemma of our everything now should go wireless concept is the juice that powers the very things. The battery is the only thing that holds our fancy hardware like these new iPads from getting the feathery flying wings through the thin air.

Gosh this is when? It’s being nearly stark 250 years since the Benjamin Franklin found out the electricity, if I remembered it correctly.

iPad is just 3 years old, the PC industry itself is just 25 years young. The electricity is in the stone age!

Oh, What an irony!

INTEL’S IDENTITY CRISIS!

Intel still Inside – ARM Outside, that’s where the fun is!

arm

Intel originally was the original DRAM manufacturer. Intel reaped the benefit of their chip designs due to the success of their 386 architecture. Those were the foundation of the PC era, and while they faced nominal competition from AMD, they gained many of the economic benefits of a monopolist more than Microsoft. But for a brief spell around the turn of the century, a “good” computer required an Intel chip.

Throughout the PC period, Intel invested heavily in their chip design. They learned the lesson of DRAM becoming cheap, and were determined to never be second class; their microprocessors would always be superior performers.

The problem with setting such ambitious goals, of course, is that you are usually successful. Intel chips have no rival when it comes to PC performance; unfortunately for Intel, PCs are in decline. Mobile devices, such as iPhones, Androids and tablets, are in ascendance, and there Intel’s core strength in ALL-OUT PERFORMANCE is a 2nd-class citizen in mobiles, until now.

Power consumption is critical, as well as custom logic for specific functions such as graphics, motion, GPS, radios and media decoding. General purpose performance is nice-to-have.

Intel’s identity as a chip designer is increasingly irrelevant.

THE COMMODIFICATION OF CHIP DESIGN

AppleTownHall-869

This is not a marketing gimmick, the only person who believed that already got fired.

After all, nearly all mobile chips are centered on the ARM architecture, from a accidental billionaire small British company due to Steve Jobs fell in love with their energy efficient ARM chips who have been designing chips for old Psion and Palm PDAs. For the cost of a license fee, companies, such as AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Apple can create their own modifications, and hire a foundry to manufacture the resultant chip. The designs are unique in small ways, but design in mobile will never be dominated by one player the way Intel dominated in x86 PCs.

THE RISE OF MANUFACTURING

It is manufacturing capability, on the other hand, that is increasingly rare, and thus, increasingly valuable. In fact, today there are only four major foundries: Samsung, GlobalFoundries, TSMC, and Intel. Only four companies have the capacity to build the chips that are in every mobile device today, and in everything tomorrow.

Massive demand, limited suppliers, huge barriers to entry. It’s a good time to be a manufacturing company. It is, potentially, ironically a good time to be Intel. After all, of those four companies, the most advanced, by a significant margin, is Intel.

The only problem is that Intel sees themselves as a design company, due to the huge success of Pentiums.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Today Intel is increasingly under duress. And, once again, the only way out may require a remaking of their identity. So they have just announced the only logical way forward. Ok, me too. Hell breaks loose, Intel will start making those ARM chip, let it be for Apple, Samsung or anyone. Intel is already the best microprocessor manufacturing company in the world. They needed to accept and embrace their new destiny and I think they just did.

From DRAM to Core Processors Design transformation was from a low margin volume business to a high margin one; Investors love that. To go in the opposite direction may take incredible turns, but for Intel, right now it’s the only way forward where the money is.