Intel’s compact computer-on-a-stick is now available for pre-order and will be shipping later this month. Announced back at CES, the Intel Compute Stick is essentially a computer on a USB stick. All that’s required is a monitor with HDMI, some peripherals and you’re good to go.
Fhotoroom for Windows Phone has received an update, bumping the app to version 14.16. This latest release adds a handful of new border color options, as well as packing in the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.
The Apple Watch could be the first mainstream wearable computer, but you’ll need an iPhone to use it.
In a recent survey, thirteen percent of respondents who didn’t own an iPhone said they’d consider buying one just to get an Apple Watch. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, also recently said that more Android owners were switching to iPhone than ever before. Combine them together, and that’s potentially millions of first-time smartphone buyers and Android converts ready to put Apple products in their pockets and on their wrists this month. Are you one of them?
Logging. Controlling. Authenticating. Alerting. Communicating. These are all important things. They’re things we need and want. But they’re also brief things. They’re intermittent and unpredictable things. They’re things that the Apple watch will be able to do more efficiently — maybe even better — than our phones. By taking these things out of our pockets or purses and putting them on our wrists, the result is faster, more efficient, more subtle, and more socially acceptable interactions. In other words, less stressful and more enjoyable lives.
There have been numerous fitness bands and trackers over the years, but Apple has taken health and fitness to a new level with the watch. It doesn’t just track activity and heart rate to measure walking, running, and stair climbing; it logs rowing machines and exercise bikes; it reminds you to stand up and move around, and rewards you for it. It makes the Apple Watch especially compelling. It can not only help quantify your life; it can become your virtual personal trainer.
The watch as remote control is something Apple hasn’t shown off as much, but something that’s incredibly interesting. With the Apple Watch, you can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone’s iSight camera. It can also control your iPhone’s music playback, both locally stored music and from iTunes Match. If your iPhone is streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers, whether you’re in your office or at the lake, you can control all of that as well, right from your wrist. Similar to the Remote app for iOS, the Remote app for the Apple Watch lets you connect to any Apple TV you own, at home or at work, along with any iTunes library on your Mac or Windows PC. As cool as media remotes could to be, the bigger promise is home automation. With Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant, and HomeKit, the company’s accessory interface framework, you’ll be able to do everything from opening and closing doors to setting lights to changing the temperature and more. And all with a word.
Digital wallet and keychain
Something else that will be compelling to many is Apple Watch as digital wallet and keychain. We’ve seen Apple Pay already, but when it comes to authentication, there’s a lot more to see. The Alarm.com app, for example, will not only let you monitor a live feed of your home from your Apple Watch but also do things like open or close your garage door, even when you’re far from home. The Starwood Hotel & Resorts app — think W and Aloft — will not only lets you check in and find your room, right from the Apple Watch, but it lets you open the door as well. And there’s a lot more to come.
Before and after
If you look at phones before the iPhone, and then look again after, you can see the divide as clearly as any great extinction layer in the earth. Nothing was the same. Whether the Apple Watch can do that for wearable we’ll have to wait and see. If it can, you can be in on the ground floor of the next big step forward in mobile computing. You can help discover it. All that, and you get an iPhone as well. Great hardware and great software, both working together in a way no other manufacturer has managed to duplicate, not when it comes to both operating system and apps.
Time to switch
We’ve been getting a lot of questions from people considering switching to the iPhone just to get the Apple Watch. (That’s part of the reason we made the Apple Watch FAQ and Apple Watch buyers guide, after all.) If you’re one of those people, let me know — are an Apple Watch and iPhone in your future? And if you’re still on the fence, what are you looking for to help you decide?
Google is reportedly in talks with Hutchison Whampoa, owner of UK mobile operator Three, to allow consumers to use their smartphones abroad at no extra cost.
Other networks are also reported to be in talks with Google. According to the Telegraph:
The two giants are discussing a wholesale access agreement that would become an important part of Google’s planned attempt to shake-up the US mobile market with its own network. It is understood that Google aims to create a global network that will cost the same to use for calls, texts and data no matter where a customer is located.
Google aims to team up with Hutchison to provide a gateway into the UK, Ireland, Italy and other markets the company operates in. It makes sense for Google to select the Hong Kong company as a potential partner as Hutchison is actively pushing free roaming across Europe with Three UK (currently supports select countries).
Sources said Hutchison was a natural partner for Google in the plan, because it has also sought to eliminate roaming charges for Three customers.
Google announced its plans to launch a mobile network last month. It will not build mobile masts but rely on wholesale deals to use existing infrastructure both at home and abroad.
It’s expected Google will launch its own virtual network to pile pressure on America’s mobile operators, much like the search giant is attempting with Google Fiber. The European Union is also working to abolish expensive roaming across the region, but should Google and partners be able to achieve free global roaming, it could shake up the mobile industry.
Foxconn offers a glimpse of how workers live inside one of company’s factories in China, where over 140,000 employees help to make products for Apple.
The tour of Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory in the south China province of Guangdon was given to Re/code, but with some restrictions. The actual factory floor where iPads and Macs are made was not part of the tour but it did show where workers lived while on the campus, along with its 24/7 support system. The company is still dealing from fallout after a number of Foxconn workers committed suicide in 2010 due in part to poor working conditions. From Re/code:
For workers who suffer from clinical depression, Foxconn offers mental health counseling and a 24-hour hotline at its care center. This support system was put in place years after a consulting group, Business for Social Responsibility, originally proposed setting up worker hotlines in 2006 so that employees could report abusive working conditions or seek help, the New York Times reported.
A look at one of the worker’s dormitories, which can have up to eight people per room, is also part of the tour:
We entered one first-floor room (without obtaining the occupants’ permission, according to our translator) where four roommates occupy identical metal bunk beds, with thin mattress and mosquito netting on top, and a desk and storage underneath. A handful of garments hung from a rod suspended between the beds as a makeshift closet. It’s hardly ornate, but it didn’t give off a scent of rot, either.
The campus also has amenities such as a swimming pool, an outdoor track, and a main street with fast food restaurants, banks and an Internet cafe where Foxconn workers can play PC games and even watch pornography in private areas.
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LG Display, one of Apple’s primary display suppliers, has said that Apple has announced an 8K iMac, which, of course, they have not.
Apple released an iMac with 5K Retina display late last year, but has said nothing publicly about any plans for an iMac with an 8K display. However, in detailing plans for 8K displays, LG said that such a device was coming later this year.
From the LG Display blog:
It has become clear that Japan is planning to launch an 8K SHV test broadcast and then promptly restructure the UHD service. Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year.
It seems highly unlikely that Apple would release a new model of iMac with an 8K display just a year after debuting the 5K model. It’s always possible that Apple placed orders for 8K displays with LG, and the company just let something slip that they shouldn’t have.
It’s also possible that Apple is indeed working on an 8K product of some kind, such as a new standalone monitor. However, none of Apple’s current devices support 8K output, and devices will require DisplayPort 1.4a in order to do so. Additionally, LG’s only current 8K display is actually just four 4K displays, bundled as a single, 98-inch display.
It seems likely that LG simply made a mistake in the blog post. It’s probable that Apple will simply update the existing iMac 5K later this year, but 8K is probably not in the cards.