Apple may enter the smart home business
Forget those rumors of an Apple smartwatch for now — home automation may be where it’s at. The Financial Times hears from sources that the crew in Cupertino is going to unveil a smart home platform at its Worldwide Developer Conference kicking off next week. While there aren’t many details, proximity will reportedly play a big role; your house lights would switch on as soon as you come home with your iPhone in your pocket. Apple would also have a Made For iPhone-style program to guarantee that devices work with its system, and it would put a strong emphasis on privacy to counter fears about both its ad-driven competition and government surveillance.
The FT is quick to note that Apple is known for scrapping announcements at the last minute, so don’t be shocked if the tech giant is mum on the subject at WWDC’s June 2nd keynote. However, a smart home strategy would make sense. Apple may want a platform of its own now that Google owns Nest, and it already sells home automation tech like Philips’ Hue lighting at its retail stores. Assuming the claims are true in the first place, we’ll get the full scoop next week.
Filed under: Household, Mobile, Apple
Source: Financial Times
Apple to Launch New ‘Smart Home’ Platform at WWDC
Apple will launch a new software platform that will let the iPhone directly control lights, security systems and other household gadgets at WWDC next week, according to a report from The Financial Times.
The piece claims Apple will make a “big play” in smart home technology by working with device makers give them official approval, like the “Made for iPhone” program does for some accessories like headphones and speaker docks, and software support in iOS 8.
The scheme will be similar to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” label, given to compatible headphones, speakers and other accessories, but with a new brand and logo. Apple may also provide additional checks and assurances that certified products are not vulnerable to hackers.
The Cupertino-based company was likely to emphasise the privacy protections built into its smart home system, one person familiar with Apple’s plans told the FT, given heightened sensitivity about technology companies’ access to personal information amid revelations about US intelligence agencies’ online surveillance programmes.
The piece notes that plans can always change, but that Apple has launched a number of initiatives over the past year or two, including CarPlay and iBeacon, to expand the reach of the iPhone and have it interact more with the real world and other electronic devices in it.
Apple’s retail stores sell a number of different components of the so-called “Internet of Things”, including the Google-owned Nest Thermostat (pictured above), Philips Hue lightbulbs and Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switches.
LG G3 wireless charging dock leaks
After months of rumors, the LG G3 announcement is due tomorrow, May 27. Thus far we’ve had a lot of leaks and we (think we) know basically everything about the phone – how it will look, its specifications and even what one of G3′s accessories will be.
This time around we have another of LG G3′s accessories that have leaked ahead of time, its charging dock. This dock is kind of different from the rest in that it is a wireless charging dock that also serves as a multiple angle stand. You can use it to prop-up your phone in portrait and landscape mode. The dock has leaked in white color but that doesn’t mean it won’t be available in multiple colors. No pricing or availability just yet but hopefully we’ll hear more tomorrow at the official announcement of LG’s new flagship.
Are you excited for tomorrow’s big event? Do you like this dock?
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Watch an artist bring cartoons to the real world using his phone
If you think that plain reality is boring, you’re not alone. Storyboard artist Marty Cooper (aka Hombre McSteez) has been bringing cartoons into the real world through a clever technique that draws on both his iPhone and the transparent plastic cells used by old-school animators. When he finds an interesting location, he both draws dozens of frames to match the scene and captures it all with an equal number of photos; from there, he stitches together short videos that bring everything to life.
The stop-motion technique leads to animations that are best described as an analog take on augmented reality, with interactions that you couldn’t reproduce after the fact without digital effects. An imaginary monster will cough up a real cat, for instance, while a mailbox will eat its own letters. Cooper hasn’t said how long he’ll keep producing these clips, but you can always check out both his social feeds and the highlight video below to see what he has been up to so far.
Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile
Source: Marty Cooper (Tumblr), (Instagram), (YouTube)
Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime (SM-906S) gets shipped to India for Testing
One of the most elusive devices of the last few weeks has been the Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, a rumoured device that allegedly updates the original Galaxy S5 with a 5.2-inch 2K resolution display and possibly a new processor. Despite a leaked video, nothing about the leaks surrounding the device seems to be particularly conclusive, and the latest news isn’t likely to clear anything up specification-wise. According to Zauba’s database, a SM-906S, apparently the S5 Prime in South Korea, has been shipped to India for testing.
It’s also notable in this listing that the screen size is quoted as 5.1-inches, again going against the rumours of a 5.2-inch screen. The only other detail we can glean from this listing is the price attached to this test unit, which is apparently Rs. 21,245, or about $362 USD. Is this the real market price? Probably not, but at least we know that there is a new Galaxy S5 device coming to us soon. And with the LG G3 release coming up in just a few days, it’s likely we’ll be hearing more about Samsung‘s answer in the near future.
Are you interested in getting a Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime? Let us know what you think.
Human ‘suspended animation’ trials to start this month
The researchers behind it don’t want to call it suspended animation, but it’s the most conventional way to explain it. The world’s first humans trials will start at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, with 10 patients whose injuries would otherwise be fatal to operate on. A team of surgeons will remove the patient’s blood, replacing it with a chilled saline solution that would cool the body, slowing down bodily functions and delaying death from blood loss. According to Dr. Samuel Tisherman, talking to New Scientist: “We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction… we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”
Successful tests on pigs were achieved in 2000. After inducing fatal cuts, scientists were able to drop the body temperatures by around 10 degrees celsius. All the control pigs died, while those ‘preserved” had a 90 percent survival rate – after some heart restarts. Like these trials, the technique is currently only useful for emergency procedures after severe injuries, situations with a survival rate of only seven percent. Funding for part of the project has come from the US Army, and the idea apparently came from the Vietnam War, where military surgeons noted that the leading cause of death was blood loss in the first 5 to 20 minutes after injury, even though roughly a third of the soldiers had wounds that would have been survivable in a typical emergency room. Science fiction-like suspended animation is still a way off: this preservation state can apparently only be prolonged for around four hours. Not nearly enough for an intergalactic journey, but possibly enough to save lives.
Schedule for Android 4.4.3 update to Samsung devices is Leaked
We’ve heard quite a lot about the upcoming Android software build, Android 4.4.3, with a partial bug fix list having been already leaked out. After a alleged dogfooding build was apparently spotted being released to Google employees, we’ve been eagerly waiting for word on when we can expect this new build which is plague quite a few users, mainly Nexus 5 owners. Well, the puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place as an internal document from Samsung which lays out the Android 4.4.3 update to Samsung devices and suggests that they are already integrating Android 4.4.3 into the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 (no Note 3 yet it seems).
Additionally, a list of devices that have been planned to get the current build of software, Android 4.4.2, was also leaked out and suggests Samsung is still diligently working to update most of its mid-to-high end devices. Most notable on this list, unfortunately, is the Galaxy S3 (3G version) which appears to have no estimated released date due to the software being unstable. Hopefully it does come through at some point as it would be a shame if 2012′s flagship were to be left by the wayside.
It looks like Android 4.4.3 is well on its way to devices already, though it could be a little while longer thanks to manufacturer and carrier integration. What do you think about the schedule in the leaked documents? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Source: SamMobile via Phones Review
Marbel’s electric skateboard doesn’t look like an electric skateboard
Big wheels, heavy motors and enormous batteries: electric skateboards certainly have a type. It doesn’t have to be that way — the latest motorized deck to hit Kickstarter almost looks like a normal longboard. The Marbel Board claims to be the world’s lightest electric skateboard, weighing in at 9.9 pounds. That’s lighter than the Boosted Board or ZBoard for sure, but its weight loss cuts into the vehicle’s battery life: Marbel slows down after 10 miles of city travel, about half the range of its nearest competitors.
It may not take you as far on a charge, but the board promises to shine in other ways: it’s capable of exceeding 20 mph, and its top speed can be customized (via a companion app) to a level the rider is comfortable with. It’s made of strong stuff, too — the deck is a unibody construction built from carbon fiber and Kevlar layers; it’s waterproof. A new ride will set you back $1,199, unless you score an early bird model. Check out the board’s Kickstarter page for more details.
Filed under: Misc, Transportation
Mystery tablet shows up on Google I/O website; is this the Nexus 8?
One of the most highly anticipated devices of 2014 is the Google Nexus 8 tablet, which is expected to supersede the oft-criticized 2013 Nexus 7. While so far only existing thanks to countless rumours, including code snippets and production leaks, the case for a Nexus 8 grows dimmer with every mention of the Android Silver line of devices replacing the Nexus line. Even so, when a mystery device pops up on the Google I/O website one month ahead of the actual event, we can’t help but wonder if this is a sneak peek of the Nexus 8.
As you can see above, there is an unmarked tablet shown being used as part of an exhibit, though which manufacturer it comes from is up for discussion. It’s notable that the device seems to be running an older version of Android, given away by the coloured Wi-Fi and battery icons, so it’s not a perfect fit for the latest and greatest from Google just yet. Still, if it’s not the Nexus 8, we’d love to know what tablet that is if somebody can identify it.
What do you think about the mystery tablet in the photo? Do you think it is the Nexus 8? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.
Source: Google via Phone Arena
LG posts video teasing LG G3′s grip ability
LG have today released a video teasing the upcoming LG G3 and more specifically its grip ability given the very small bezel the device is expected to feature.
One of the LG G2′s design showcases was the very slim bezel it featured, and it seems LG are expected to take it a step further with the upcoming LG G3 by reducing the bezel even more.
The video, although a teaser, looks at how the small bezels will actually contribute to improving the gripping ability of the device, and how you “might forget you’re holding a 5.5-inch smartphone”.
LG is expected to unveil the LG G3 tomorrow on May 27th in a series of three events around the world.
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