HoloLens – transforming who’s world?

Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens – a revolutionary way to interact and consume content via a virtual reality headset. The demo you seen above is impressive and really something which inevitably will happen in our future. But the question is who’s future?

hololens-singleguy

However, when you look at the video, one thing that strikes me is how anti-social using HoloLens was. The first instance when HoloLens appeared is the what I would call the stereotypical HoloLens user – the well-off geeky bachelor who lives in a pretty decent apartment and the first thing that he does is watch football. Then skip forward you see probably the same guy playing Minecraft…alone. Jump to the end, the part where you see him sit down to watch Netflix…alone. Even his pet dog, is virtual. Is that the future of the new world as envisage by Microsoft?

Even his pet dog is virtual.

Even his pet dog is virtual.

When there is some form of socialising, it is through video conferencing. The wearer of HoloLens get to view the calling party on a virtual screen, but what I’m wondering is what does the caller see on his side – a virtual-blobber head version of you – or do you have to carry the wand of narcissism with a remote camera for them to see you…wearing the HoloLens headset? And if more people were to view attachments via HoloLens while on a video call, expect to see people stopping in mid-stride and bobbling their head up and down.

Oh look - we are the perfect specimens for the HoloLens.

Oh look – we are the perfect specimens for the HoloLens.

I still feel Microsoft’s HoloLens is a revolutionary technology and destine for some form of use – like how one can use it to remotely view the surface of Mars from the comfort of being on Earth or how one can manipulate in real-time 3D visuals over a physical prototype. But beyond that – will it be for mass market and become a ubiquitous way of interacting with content in the future? I seriously doubt that…unless we become singletons or something catastrophic happened and human physical interaction is not possible.

Concept Macintosh Design

Curved/labs Macintosh 2015

Curved/labs Macintosh 2015

German tech portal Curved got 3D designer Martin Hajek to splice together components from an 11-inch MacBook Air, design cues from the original Macintosh to come up with a concept design of a touched-enabled Macintosh that embraces the technology of the present and future, and also designs from Apple’s history.

The Macintosh is a computer with history: with its first desktop computer “Lisa” Apple showed more than 30 years ago not only what was technically possible – the design of the iMac & Co. regularly causes stir. For CURVED/labs a good reason to develop a pioneering anniversary model for Apple that can not deny its origin.

The result is a sleek iMac-lookalike that resembles the original Macintosh, but in the silver skin we are all familiar with. Absolutely useless with its small 11″ screen but gorgeous and definitely something I’d want in my home.

Martin Hajek does gorgeous 3D renderings of gadgets and concepts – like the 12-inch MacBook Air or the iBeats Concept headphones. Go to his site to see more 3D-renderings.

(via Gizmodo)

See more of the concept Macintosh here:

The cloner is worried about the clones

Xiaomi CEO doing his best to not look like someone.

Xiaomi CEO doing his best to not look like someone.

The irony is thick in this – Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun on faked Xiaomi-branded retail stores in China:

Jun on his Weibo account, has publicly declared that they actually have no physical stores themselves and instead rely on their online stores for sales. As such, potential buyers are being heavily warned that any device picked up from any of these imitation stores are almost certainly going to be fake devices. So, you might want to make sure the next Xiaomi device you buy from, is from an online store and one directly affiliated with Xiaomi.

Would be interesting if Goophone meets Xiaomi.

(via AndroidHeadlines)

Most popular cameras on Flickr in 2014

Up-to-date Flickr users camera usage statistic

Up-to-date Flickr users camera usage statistic

Flickr has released their 2014 findings on which cameras their users are taking photos with and the results probably send shivers down camera companies – smartphone camera usage is overtaking traditional cameras and the trend will remain in 2015.

The top camera brands used by Flickr users are Canon, Apple, Nikon, Samsung and Sony respectively while Apple’s iPhones took up top 3 of the individual cameras owned by Flickr users. iPhone 5 remains the device most Flickr users shoot their photographs with in 2014 – which isn’t a surprise as most iPhone 5 users wouldn’t have updated to iPhone 5s while iPhone 6 only came out at the tail end of 2014.

Comparing 2013 and 2014 camera usage - mobile phone usage increasing

Comparing 2013 and 2014 camera usage – mobile phone usage increasing

One main reason why camera usage are declining is the lack of connectivity to the internet where the current generation of users expect instant gratification from their photography – ie. posting and getting likes on social media (eg. Instagram) as soon as the photo was taken – hence the overtaking of the stats by smartphones. Took them years to react but we are starting to see more Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity on more cameras in the market.

If you don’t own a camera now, do you still plan to buy one or will you rely on your smartphone instead?

(via PetaPixel)

App Store Rings in 2015 with New Records

new_year_large2015 is looking to be another great year for Apple. Within days since New Year, they’ve already hit record billings from the App Store with customers worldwide spending nearly half a billion US dollars on apps and in-app purchases and New Year’s Day 2015 was the single biggest day ever in App Store history.

“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over US $25 billion.”

Guess the fall launches of the new iPhones, followed by iPad Air a month later definitely help increase the numbers of customers heading to the App Store.

For developers, the introduction of iOS 8 and Swift, a new programming language that allows faster development of great apps and games also contributed to the growth of the App Store. To date, developers have earned more than US$25 billion in revenue from the sales of apps and games in the App Store – and that will definitely grow in 2015.

Read the full press release here.

Speaking of fakes gadgets – remember Goophone?

Speaking of fakes, remember Goophone? They are still at it and is out with their Goophone i6 Plus phones.

Silver, Gold and Space Grey too.

Silver, Gold and Space Grey too.

Goophone has always been forward thinking . With new design, this new Goophone i6 Plus you have never seen it. Goophone i6 Plus is super slim body, Because of the better processor and flash, so Goophone i6 Plus feels solid and smooth operating experience by your hand.

They even have a corporate video showing their dust-free workshop and “fully automatic production assembly line with modern equipment”. Definitely putting lots more effort in legitimising their work.

Who said Apple wasn’t at CES?

Anti-Lost ... to keep your wrist from wandering off?

Anti-Lost … to keep your wrist from wandering off?

Well not Apple but an Apple Watch look-alike that hailed from China. Karissa Bell from Mashable managed to get her hand on one for the princely price of US$27.

The watch’s screen only displays when it’s turned on, and many of its icons are blatant ripoffs of Apple designs. The pairing process took a few tries, but once connected to my iPhone 6, I was able to make phone calls and play music through the watch. It even vibrates when I get a call.

Say what you will about China’s fake-good industry, but these people are quick to produce these gadgets with aplomb. With China’s smartphone market to reach an estimated size of 422 million in 2014, it is not surprising that companies are quick to churn out look-alikes with much lower specs and prices. Even if they reach only just 1% of the market, that’s already more than 4 million of sales.

Bring in the copiers!

First Apple leak of 2015: new 12-inch MacBook Air?

9to5 Mac's exclusive rendering of the leaked 12-inch MacBook Air design

9to5 Mac’s exclusive rendering of the leaked 12-inch MacBook Air design

We are just seven days into 2015 when we see possibly the first product leak from Apple. According to Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac, they have reliable sources to share Apple’s upcoming redesign of the MacBook Air, including exclusive renderings that show the new designs.

Their sources revealed that for the 2015 MacBook Air, there will be a new 12-inch model with an even slimmer design that is even thinner, lighter and sports almost edge-to-edge keyboard but for it to shave off those extra centimetres, they had to omit full-size USB ports, MagSafe connectors and SD card slots that are prominent in all the current MacBook family. Replacing these is the use of the next generation USB port – USB Type-C that is able to power the laptop and external display – allowing Apple to replace two ports for one. If this is the only port available on the MacBook Air, for current iPhone owners, it might mean buying a new cable just to connect your iOS devices.

There will be a slightly bigger display and perhaps finally getting Retina display as well like the MacBook Pro. It is expected to run Intel’s new Broadwell chips and looking likely for a mid-2015 launch, possibly at WWDC.

A side-to-side comparison of how the leaked 12-inch design and the current 13-inch MacBook Air

A side-to-side comparison of how the leaked 12-inch design and the current 13-inch MacBook Air

I’ve put the rendering of the 12-inch against the current 13-inch MacBook Air and you can see the difference in the bezel, keyboard and position of the speakers and touchpad.

Although the details can still change from now till the launch of the product, it is clear to see how Apple’s constantly willing to sacrifice the norm (full-size USB port, SD card etc) and go for newer technology (USB Type-C specification) just to keep device smaller, lighter and yet doesn’t sacrifice performance.

Do check out 9to5 Mac’s post to see more renderings and more details on what can be found and what was sacrificed to get this new design. This might also be a good time to update your New Year resolution to save for the new MacBook Air Retina…

Apple Japan – Fukubukuro Lucky Bag 2015

Photo from Macotakara

Photo from Macotakara

This is one retail tradition that I’d be overjoyed if we have it here – Fukubukuro Lucky Bag – is a Japanese New Year tradition where retailers will fill bags with random goodies and sell them at a substantial discount.

Apple Japan has been running this tradition ever since their retail stores are opened and this year isn’t any different. Selling at 36,000 yen (about S$400), these Lucky Bags contains products with a total value ranging from S$850 to S$1,700.

Photo from Twitter user @rudoga3

Photo from Twitter user @rudoga3

Each bag comes with an Apple TV, a pair of Beats PowerBeats2 wireless in-ear headphones, a special New Year’s edition Mophie power station and a 1,000 yen iTunes Card. For the surprise item, it varies between these four options:

  • an 11-inch MacBook Air with 128GB SDD, a limited edition Power Support Air Jacket and a Twelve South’s PlugBug World power adaptor
  • a 16GB iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi
  • a 16GB iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi
  • a 16GB iPod touch

Watch the action at the Apple Store Nagoya Sakae below:

I would definitely queue up early just to have a chance to get one of the goodie bags.

Photos from Macotakara and twitter.com/rudoga3

The Song

Apple’s ad for this year’s holiday season is called The Song – a follow-up to last year’s video Misunderstood. A simple, heartfelt video where the focus is on the people, the music and not the products.