Apple Event #FarOut – Sep 22

Techtober has officially begun – in late September! Apple kicked off tech season with the unveil of the Apple Watch 8, Watch SE, Watch Ultra, AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), iPhone 14/14+, iPhone 14 Pro/Pro+. All minor iterations and improvements of previous products – except for the Watch Ultra.

1st up, Apple Watch 8 (not worth the money)

  • Temperature Sensing
  • Low Power Mode to get 36 Hours Battery Life
  • ECG
  • Crash Detection
  • Better Fall Detection
  • Better running, swim & sleep tracking
Apple Watch Series SE

2nd, Apple Watch SE (the watch to buy if you need one)

  • 20% faster than the previous SE
  • Larger Display
  • Also, crash detection & fall detection

Finally some innovation, the Watch Ultra (just take my money!)

  • Built for athletes, extreme sports – Extreme Desert, Snow, Dive, Hiking capable
  • Improved Compass, Pro running, depth gauge
  • Customizable Action Button
  • WR100 – 40m depth – EN13319
  • MIL-STD 810 – 49mmTitanium casing covering the edges of the cover sapphire crystal display
  • Precision Dual Frequency GPS
  • Night Mode
  • 60 Hours Battery Life on low power setting
  • Track back, put map markers for key locations when hiking
Apple Watch Ultra
AirPods Pro 2nd Gen

Next up, the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) (Not worth upgrading from 1st Gen)

  • Precision finding, alert speakers in case
  • Touch/Swipe controls
  • 6 Hours listening time, 30 hours with case charge
  • Better Transparency modes
  • Better Noise Cancellation
  • Lanyard Loop
  • Apple Watch charger compatible

Apple iPhone 14 & 14 Plus (Not worth the upgrade)

  • Photonic Engine – better photo capture, better night mode
  • Autofocus Front Camera
  • Crash Detection
  • Emergency SOS via Sattelite
  • Better camera
  • Brighter flash
  • Action Mode & Cinematic Mode
iPhone 14 & 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Pro & 14 Pro Max

Last but never the least, iPhone 14 Pro & Pro Max (Again, just take my money!)

  • Dynamic Island, a pill shaped notch that opens up with quick app info – pretty creative!
  • 48MP camera, Pro camera system
  • Promotion Display
  • Always On Display!
  • 12MP UltraWide
  • A16 Bionic
  • Plus everything that the iPhone 14 has

All in, a very iterative event apart from the Watch Ultra, good iterations of course – but they have settled into the iPhone users upgrade every 3 to 4 years or more philosophy. Very far behind on the innovations compared to the Samsungs & Huawei’s on hardware and far behind Android on software – but because of the Apple EcoSystem lock-in and doing things the refined ‘Apple Way’, they always seem to stay in the game better and longer than most.

Link to the Apple Event: https://www.apple.com/ae/apple-events/

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Let’s talk about USB-C, & e-Waste – Jul 22

The EU this year finally ruled on USB-C being the charging standard for all Smartphones going forward from Fall 2024. The rule will also apply to other electronic devices including tablets, digital cameras, headphones, handheld video game consoles, and e-readers. Laptops will have to comply with the rule at a later date. Source: Verge Article – USB-C will be mandatory for phones sold in the EU β€˜by autumn 2024’

This would bring about such an amazing development in the Apple Ecosystem where we do not need a separate cable to charge the iPhones and Airpods we own; if only this applied to smart watches as well and the single cable for all tech dream would be finally true. But why does apple just not want to fully commit to USB-C, even though they have already seriously committed to it on the Laptop’s and iPads, something that perplexes most people; most think it is backward compatibility with existing cables that users already own, however that does not hold as true today as it did 3 to 4 years ago as almost all other devices have already standardized to USB-C or have committed to it.

There is a caveat here tho – in specific the EU’s press release says the new legislation applies to devices β€œthat are rechargeable via a wired cable.” This means the previously mentioned dream of Apple Devices going portless is a possibility as well, which would be extremely unfortunate.

  • Why did the EU do this?
  • Will the world follow suite?
    • The EU is a usual stalwart when it comes to making sensible rules that supports the well being of consumers and the world in general and hence is a good standard to follow. For example their rules on GDPR and on CyberSecurity are rules that have pushed the industry in general to hold better standards toward privacy and security of data and people. It is also worth considering for tech companies in particular that making a region specific product creates production problems and logistics issues for them and their customers as well – hence it follows that if the EU rule is a sensible one with a positive global goal, might as well follow them for the longer positive impact on the companies image as all we the bottom line.
  • Will Apple follow suite as the largest smartphone maker?
    • This however is a trickier question, as the motivations at Apple are obviously very Apple specific and not very widely known to the public. Would apple rather go the wireless way 2 years down the line rather than put in a USB-C. Was MagSafe cases and chargers for the phone and the new MacBook Air with M2 signal the move to the MagSafe strategy rather than a USB-C. Only time will tell and USB-C is not a given by any means. And Apple fans are loyal enough and tied to the ecosystem enough to follow suite.

Apple has taken positive steps such as active recycling and recycled parts and no chargers in the box which have been successful steps to reduce e-waste and also successful due to others following suite. And logic would dictate that USB-C is the best way forward for all, but is it for Apple – that remains to be seen.

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WWDC 2022 & the ‘Meta’verse

This year’s WWDC was not a game changing one, it was a rather iterative update on all things Apple, and probably the way Apple likes it. Post the M1 in-house customer silicon and the upgrades of M1 Pro and M1 Max, they did come up with the M2 which is more powerful and helps a battery last longer – can’t wait for the time my MacBook Pro gets old and I can upgrade to the latest at the time; kinda sad that I got the most powerful 13″ of the intel generation with all the bells and whistles just before they switched to M1 – that is what I would call unfortunate timing. Still love all my Apple gadgets.

Source: Apple.com

All of this only gets me thinking of what’s the next big step, is the update only iterative or is it a piece of a bigger puzzle that we do not yet see. Think about it, all that power in a little chip with the efficiency & battery life in that small form factor – could it be to power some other experience apart from just being an efficient video & photo editor. And that brings us to the next big thing on the horizon, the Metaverse – Virtual and Augmented worlds of the future which will be the next iteration of Social Media and bring it to a whole new digital level.

The way I see it the overall journey is a long way away –

  • first the world builds virtual worlds, as that is a lot easier first step as I understand it
  • then we get better at building those worlds in terms of resolution, quality and our interaction with the virtual world
  • all this buys us some time to develop the augmented tech that would better understand how to place digital objects in real life i.e. are we projecting into the world or into our eyes so we see it in the world or is there a 3rd option we haven’t even thought of? The answer is very unclear as we have a lot more to develop in order to get there
  • next with augmented tech comes new challenges to overcome such as interaction, how to better understand depth perception, interaction of the digital with the real
Source: Facebook.com

Such exciting things to look forward to and some people betting their companies on the promise of such a massive business case that the risk is worth the reward to be the first mover in this technology and industry. And the industry that makes the first foray successfully ends up defining the market. And that really bothers me some days, our entire virtual worlds formed and defined by a company that makes money currently via social media and selling our personal information – shudder at the thought. Talking about Facebook (now Meta) incase you are still left wondering. They are a software company that are making the biggest push in hardware ever in a ‘bet the company’ moment their CEO is having.

On the other hand we also have a contender in Apple, that says it is all about privacy which ensures some scrutiny on them ensuring they follow that path. It is a company that builds good technology and believes in privacy, if these two are my only choices then I of course choose the latter. However, it still feels the world is quite helpless that we have only the big juggernauts that can take a crack at this problem and even if smaller disruptors enter the market with an actual feasible challenge, they most probably get bought up and absorbed by the big players. It’ll of course be unbearably expensive, but any product that Apple makes in the Virtual or Augmented reality space will be an amazing contender based on their track record of hardware, software and their integration.

As my first foray into testing this technology out I am looking forward to the Playstation VR2, a new and improved version of the Playstation VR that promises a higher resolution, eye tracking and better interaction capabilities via new design of controllers. Might seem like a small insignificant step in gaming but it is the best use case as of today for Virtual Reality and its success propels the success of the industry.

As glued as we are to our screens, this technology will probably have the biggest impact on our lives as this will be the next screen we use to meet friends, watch movies, play games, work and experience new places and things. Looking forward to what happens next!

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DJI Mavic 3’s are out! – Travel Tech – Nov 21

The weather’s improving, a good time to start traveling plans locally and globally – a key part of travel tech? Those awesome drone shots that just zoom out and around you. Let’s see how the DJI’s new drones help us novice’s become pro videographers!

What got launched?

  • DJI Mavic 3 @ $ 2,199 (Fly More Combo)
  • DJI Mavic 3 Cine @ $ 4,999 (Cine Premium Combo)

Whoa! Expensive – Yup, this lineup is definitely not for the casual traveller but rather the enthusiast and the travel vloggers amongst us that are rather increasing in numbers of late due to the influencer ‘epidemic’ so to speak. Haha.

What do we get for that price?

DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3 Cine

  • 4/3 CMOS Sensor Dual Hasselblad Camera System
  • 4K at up to 120FPS
  • 20MP Photos
  • Hybrid Zoom 28X Digital
  • 162mm at F/4.4
  • 46 Min Flight Time compared to 31 min of Mavic 2 & Air 2
  • Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ Footage at 5.1K uptown 50FPS
  • 1 TB SDD Inbuilt
  • Plus everything on the Mavic 3

The new drones have some great camera improvements and also an improved omnidirectional object avoidance that can detect objects 200m away. This enables some incredible features such as advanced RTH (Return to Hand) that finds a better route back, better active tracking to follow and chart a path around you, APAS 5.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) that help guide it effectively past complex path’s as it follows and an Explore Mode that uses the tele camera to effortlessly scout and plan your shots.

This coupled with Wi-Fi 6 quick transfer and a great accessories ecosystem makes this the drone to beat. The combo’s packs provided for the price mentioned above also make it a complete package in one for travel.

The DJI RC also helps make it as effortless as possible to maneuver the drone, the portable charger, wide angle lens and the cellular transmission dongle help make it more portable and travel further than before.

If you are considering a drone and have the money to spend, you cannot go wrong with this one!

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One Phone to rule them all? – Pixel 6 Launch – Oct 21

Google finally did it! They launched an actual smartphone worthy of competing with the big shots in the industry. Though their focus is on their technologies – AI-based – it shows some actual interest in competing, which should excite all of us. Read on for more.

We should not mistake this for a full-blown competition with the smartphone market leader, not yet at least, as the iPhone has an ecosystem backing it which makes it sticky i.e. makes it difficult for someone to leave the iPhone behind. The way it works with the AirPods, the Apple Watch, the Mac. There is evidence for this to actually happen though as there are products in the market and all we need is software to make it all work together – which might very well be the next most logical set for Google to pursue. Which in all honesty is exciting! The Pixel Slate, the Pixel Book, the acquisition of FitBit, Google Buds – it all makes sense now! Let’s get back to the topic du jour for now – the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro – Google’s new flagship phones that have dedicated large scale marketing dollars promoting it, something rather rare for Google to do.

The Pixel 6 & Pixel 6 Pro

Launched mid-month in October, this is what they look like …

Pixel 6

Pixel 6 Pro

The difference between them is quite minimal, to be honest for the price difference – both of these are still are compelling buys:

Pixel 6 from $599

Pixel 6 Pro from $899

  • Screen
  • 6.4″, FHD+ OLED, 90 Hz
  • 6.7″ , QHD+ OLED w LTPO, 120 Hz
  • Battery
  • 4614 mAH with fast charge, fast wireless charge, battery share
  • 5003 mAH with fast charge, fast wireless charge, battery share
  • Camera’s
  • Rear: 50MP Main, 12MP Ultrawide
  • Front: 8MP
  • Night Sight, Portrait, Super Res Zoom, Motion Autofocus, Motion Mode, Magic Eraser, Face Unblur and more
  • Rear: 50MP Main, 12MP Ultrawide, 48MP Telephoto
  • Front: 11.1MP Ultrawide
  • Night Sight, Portrait, Super Res Zoom, Motion Autofocus, Motion Mode, Magic Eraser, Face Unblur and more

The Good?

The big announcement here isn’t even the phones – it’s a custom SOC (System on Chip) – called Tensor, similar to how Apple has the A-Series chips for its iPhones. And this chip will help make this a pure ‘Google’ phone – faster processing for AI-enabled features such as image and video processing, Live Translate for conversations, Dictation, Google Assistant, faster performance, and better gaming.

Google already had one of the best camera’s since the Pixel launched with a frankly bad image sensor which hadn’t changed for the past 4+ generations of the phone, this time around they have updated this sensor so expect much better photos and videos – though this is a work in progress as the software still needs to be tweaked further a little bit to take better advantage of the new sensor. It still has tough competition from the iPhone as it hasn’t necessarily competed in the market for a while and had been absent from the premium phones lineup completely for a while.

There is a new motion mode to have objects in the background with long exposures and a magic eraser in the edit mode to remove subjects from the photo that you do not want there. Both of these features alone are going to make the Pixel 6 series the standout phone for photos.

The more google features, however, work better than ever – you can now have flawless and fast transcription with good grammar too without effort; you can also speak much more fluently with someone whose language you do not speak. Live translate via the camera works blisteringly fast too.

The screen has a 90 Hz display for the Pixel 6 and 120 Hz for the 6 Pro now too for that smooth scrolling action and gaming. This coupled with a fast charge (50% in 30 min), Adaptive Battery, Underscreen Fingerprint Unlock, Extreme Battery Saver Mode, IP68 Water & Dust Resistance, Titan M2 Chip for security, battery sharing, and higher peak brightness only make the case to buy this more compelling at the price.

The Bad?

This would be an empty section if not for Google’s claim that this is the new smartphone king contender – well, not in those exact words, but almost that.

The expectation from Google’s photography capabilities are some of the highest there are – due to the benchmark that the Pixel 2 set. However, now with the new image sensor, they are still auto compensating for the images as they would with the old sensor; this needs to be improved upon and something that can be done with just software and hopefully soon.

The Material UI feels unpolished and needs to be improved upon to feel cohesive with the overall capabilities of the phone to make the OS simpler to use. The default assistant features when you slide to the side need to show more useful information.

The Ecosystem is lacking overall – however, with the Pixel Buds, Slate, PixelBook, FitBit – there is an obvious and real opportunity to make a real contender against the Apple Juggernaut.

The Verdict?

If you are looking to switch from an Apple Ecosystem and have the money to do it – the case hasn’t been made as of yet. But if you are in the market for an Android Phone – this is the best there is, hand’s down. It’s the most Googley Google phone out there and you simply could not do better. We just need to see some long-term commitment and investment from Google to make it all work cohesively and also that this isn’t one of those side projects that Google is just trying out as it has with Pixel in the past.

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Return Of the Mac! – Apple Event – Oct 21

Techtober is in full swing as of mid October as we had long awaited product reveals from Apple and Google, all of this in one week too. First up, we look at the long awaited MacBook Pro event where Apple announced their new lineup of M1 MacBook Pro’s and the new generation of AirPods (3rd Gen).

What did they announce?

  • MacBook Pro 14″ & 16″ with the M1 Pro & Max Chips
  • AirPods 3rd Generation

Though the event was for the MacBook Pro’s the real stars were the new M1 Chips designed for the Pro’s – the M1 Pro and the M1 Max – WHY? Because these chips beat the already industry leading M1 MacBook Air’s which in turn leave almost all laptops in the same price range in the dust. And not to mention Mac’s last you twice or thrice as long as Windows Laptop’s on average.

Oh and yes, they brought the ports back .. the new Pro’s come with HDMI and SD Card Ports – apart from Thunderbolt and MagSafe Ports. Yup, MagSafe charging for Laptop’s is back too now.

Overall, these laptop’s are amazing value for money if you are someone who already have an older MacBook Pro and do a lot of video editing or programming that needs performance. The only thing missing now is gaming and games compatibility for AAA Titles for these laptops.

They also announced new AirPods – and try not to confuse this one. If you remember the original AirPods then these are the next (3rd Gen) of those. Yes, they look like the AirPods Pro and you could also call them cheaper Pro versions too, sure.

The main thing about these is the improvement in battery life as well as the introduction of Spatial Audio – which is awesome I tell ya. The only thing missing is the Transparency and Noise Cancelling modes which are still a Pro feature.

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Tesla in the Middle East? – Oct 21

Have always been a techie at heart and one of the things I have been pondering on lately is a wish list item – A Tesla. I always push myself to have goals for fear of being bored by life in general – be it a skill, spiritual or materialistic. And now that my Mustang is about 5+ years old and I think about my next goal – my love of technology, cars and want for being sustainable – a tesla seems to check a lot of boxes for a worthy goal.

After a bit of research, here’s a summary of findings that you might find useful to either satiate your curiosity or if you, like me, are also pondering such things.

Tesla at a Glance : S3XY (Oct 21)

Tesla At A Glance, Data courtesy Tesla.com UAE, summarized by @robinbmac

Which one should you get?

  • Budget Conscious?
    • If you are budget conscious first and foremost, this car is probably not for you as even the cheapest of the lot is quite so very expensive. But if you still do want to get one, then I’d recommend sticking to the Model 3 or the Model Y.
      • The Model 3 if you are either single or have a small family and do not need to carry around too much when shopping.
      • The Model Y if you have a regular size family and also do need space when traveling or shopping. Waiting for a 7 seater model to be available in UAE however, which isn’t the case as of now.
  • Tech Savvy?
    • If you are Tech Savvy, any of these machines would actually do depending on the space you need for yourself or your family. It is completely stocked with tech from a mobile app, self-parking, sentry mode to other cool things. Maybe even spring some extra money for the full self-driving.
  • Traveler?
    • If you love to travel, then definitely consider the long range models of the car that you prefer as it would most definitely come in handy in the ‘long-run’ (get it, haha – sorry I had to).
  • Best of the Best?
    • If you only want the best of the best, you have to consider the Plaid versions seriously – why you ask?:
      • Quickest accelerating and highest torque
      • 3 High Performance Motors
      • Torque vectoring (Torque vectoring is a technology employed in automobile differentials that has the ability to vary the torque to each half-shaft with an electronic system. This method of power transfer has recently become popular in all-wheel drive vehicles.)

Other things to keep in mind?

  • Firstly, the Tesla isn’t cheap (even the cheapest of the lot) and to be able to use it regularly you definitely need to know when and where you can charge your car. So if you do not have a house where you can overnight charge or an area where you have multiple fast chargers you can access – this is not the car for you.
  • If you can wait, please consider that the deliveries take up to 2 quarters (4-6 months) on average; also check out the competition from Ford, Porsche and others. Tesla definitely is a tech company before anything else and they are learning how to manufacture cars and consider ranges etc., however, car companies producing electric cars have much more experience with what car owners expect. So expect a bit of a shock on how a car functions when buying from Tesla. One example of such a case is – when Tesla is approaching 0 km in distance to empty, consider fueling up asap as zero is actually zero and sometimes earlier; whereas a Ford Mustang Mach-E even at zero has some way to go before it stops fully.
  • If you have a place of your own, consider getting a Tesla Powerwall and also some Solar Panels – consider going fully green, this would be great for your bills (car & home) in the long run and the planet. πŸ™‚

Go to Tesla.com to learn more and maybe order one for yourself if you are the impulsive type.

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Cheers! πŸ™‚

The Surface that could – Microsoft Sep 21 Event

The market is in such bad a state that it is currently only a monopoly that could aspire to break up another monopoly. Microsoft took a well deserved hiatus from mobile hardware to focus on the cloud but now that their cloud act is at the top of it’s game they have been focusing on the Mobile Products division with the help of Panos Panay. And so the Surface Strategy is back with a new line of up of products to tempt you away from the iOS or Android Monopolies that you are already a part of and these are the products they announced.

The Surface Duo 2

Yup, Duo 2’s the name and it isn’t Deja-Vu. The second iteration of the Surface Folding Phone – all improved with a curved center edge, a thinner and lighter form factor, a slimmer pen and a new camera line up. Better specifications to boot as well. A pure ‘workaholic’s’ & Multitasker’s delight in my opinion. The only thing I would consider to replace my iPhone but only during work hours and not anything else.

Link to Technical Specifications here

The Refreshed Surface Laptops Line-Up

Next up is the refreshed line-up of Laptops and at first glance all you see is that they have upped the specifications and not much else for all except the Surface Laptop Studio which apart from the specs also had a new form factor to go with it.

Surface Laptop Studio

The screen is quite an amazing achievement, it also folds from it’s center back position to lay flat over the entire body so you can use the pen that hides under it’s mouse pad to write, draw and more. However, an overall bulky device with a box underneath for ventilation via fans and vents. Unsure how this performs in the market with better value for money options that are more powerful.

Link to the Technical Specifications here

The rest of the devices are nothing to write too much about, we have the Surface Pro 8, which is probably the best of the lot for its power for form factor ratio and also the detachable keyboard with the hidden pen slot. If you need a windows laptop + tablet for portability and work – this is the device for you. Well worth the spend just for the portability alone. The upgrades on this are nothing more than the spec’s tho.

You also have the Surface Go 3 if you need a budget friendly device, however the sacrifices it makes ensures it isn’t a great value for money. For this price range there are definitely better deals from other manufacturers out there. An new iPad would be a much better value for money with lower cost in this case.

Oh and yes, just to tick the box of being environmentally conscious, they also released a mouse made of recycled ocean plastic. So there’s that. Awesome, I guess.

Would you recommend buying one?

At this time, the only one worth recommending is the Surface Pro 8 in case you are looking for a portable windows machine with the emphasis on portable. The Surface Duo 2 can also be recommended if your work productivity is front and center in your list of priorities especially if tied into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Apart from that the rest are not ready for prime time and do not justify the price for the value they deliver.

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How do we perfect perfection? The Apple Sep 21 Event

So we just went through a whole week where we had anticipation before the event and then disappointment after, and this brought me to think over the weekend about why Apple took this route – and most of this might be glaringly obvious and some of it might not at all. But here’s my thoughts on why Apple had the product launch it did. Read on.

So .. What happened?

Apple launched iterative updates for all its products in a sense implying their products are quite perfect already and they could just get away with improving on the things that matter such as the display, camera and the battery – some would say this is the right way to go but as always there are also quite a few that disagree and call this a slowdown in the pace of innovation as compared to their Android competitors. Below summary details on the products launched and the updates made on these products:

  • iPhone 13 / 13 Mini / 13 Pro / 13 Pro Max – With improvements in the processor, camera and the battery life for the 13 & Mini + the additional telephoto camera and the 120 Hz Display for the Pro versions

  • iPad / iPad Mini – An updated standard iPad for a relatively cheap option with an Apple Pencil, an updated Mini that is just an iPad Air in a smaller form factor for those who prefer it

  • Apple Watch – A slightly bigger + brighter screen, more durable and faster charging (with a USB-C connector now)

  • Apple TV+ & Apple Fitness+ – New shows and seasons for the TV and new + better workouts for the Fitness App

Why would Apple do this?

So why does Apple think they can get away with only iteration and a lack of innovation. So many theories, such short attention span’s to contend with.

  • 5G – Let’s start with the biggest incentive of all to have an event in the first place, sell product+service. With carrier partnerships all across who want to promote their 5G networks and are ready to subsidize your old iPhones to give you new ones – there’s no better time than the present to launch a shiny new phone, iPad and Watch even if the updates are only iterative.

  • Why mess with perfection? – The phones and the ecosystem as they are, are pretty amazing and at the #1 charts across the world in Phone sales. So why take risks by putting in an innovation that might not be well received. Which is why it makes sense to just make the safest of updates to improve products that are already good.

  • The Supply Chain? – There is a robust supply chain that has parts sourced for the massive demand for Apple products worldwide. So it makes sense to stretch out the parts for more years which results in price optimization and more importantly profit optimization.

  • Legacy – There is a whole world of legacy, Apple approved accessories that have to pay Apple for the usage rights to be apple certified; all of which goes away then they switch away to more open technologies such as USB-C. There are also other devices in the eco system that still have to switch over such as the iPad and the AirPods. This creates a kind of lock in as well for the accessories ecosystem of Apple’s most popular product, the iPhone. Revenues for which it needs to find ways to compensate for.

Would you recommend buying one?

This is subjective and relatively straight forward – if you own one of these products from 2 to 3 + generations ago, this is an amazing upgrade to get and well worth the money. If however you have all the latest from last year – definitely do not spend and either spend it on something else you might need or save for next year.

What next?

There is of course innovation in Apple’s future, purely because the market forces would enforce innovation lest they perish similar to the likes of Nokia and Blackberry. What can and will they do next? Thoughts below:

  • Competition – Apple is currently a market leader despite the lack of innovation it seems to display. If you hear the experts discussing this you would mostly hear that Apple usually implements innovations after they have been tested and proven in the market, and they they innovate on top. There are innovations and technologies that are still in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generations that still need to prove themselves, a few to name as below:
    • Foldable Screens
    • Underscreen Fingerprint Scanner
    • Underscreen Selfie Camera’s
    • USB-C for the iPhone’s
    • Stylus for the iPhone

  • Augmented Reality – One of the big focuses for Apple post the Services push (Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+) has been augmented reality. Current speculation is that this would result in a Mixed Reality Headset that incorporates both Virtual and Augmented Reality; however very little is known on the final product they plan to release as well as when they plan to release it. However, they have started working on this with the Lidar sensors added to the phone and AR apple such as Pokemon Go etc.

  • Apple Car – the edge of the rumor mill is always the Apple Car, speculation stating that Apple will eventually get into Tesla’s business using its design philosophy and computing chops. However, we are still to see proof on how this shakes out eventually since this isn’t something the company will take lightly and would want to refine and get approvals for before they roll a product out.

Looking forward to the next Apple Event for the MacBooks and who know’s what else which might happen in the October/November timeframe of the year.

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Cheers! πŸ™‚

Pictures courtesy Apple from the Apple Event on 15 Sep 21

So Much Hype @ Playstation Showcase Sep 2021

After all the XBox acquisition announcements over the past year it was quite certain that the Microsoft Console had an amazing future ahead of it and that it would give Sony Console a worthy competition. That followed by a rather lackluster Playstation 5 Game lineup put in question the Dominance post the PS4’s reign. But the showcase last week ensured the future is bright for PS5 and still a worth competitor in its own right!

What was announced?

  • Insomniac Games pretty much carried the bulk of the weight in terms of heavy weight announcements with:
    • Marvel’s Spiderman 2 as a PS5 exclusive in 2023 – a followup to the critically acclaimed Spiderman and Spiderman Miles Morales where you get to play as both and now have a new villain in Venom and we are sure others
    • Marvel’s Wolverine as a PS5 exclusive with no release date and no details, though this has gotten all Marvel fans and playstation gamers very excited
  • Developer Santa Monica Studios put up an exciting showcase with the God Of War: Ragnarok first look and the followup to the amazing God Of War Saga surely has many excited for the continuation of the storyline of Kratos and Loki in 2022.
  • Square Enix announced an original IP in Forspoken which is an interesting take on magical powers and taking bands due to release in Spring 2022.
Forspoken courtesy Square Enix
  • Next up are the PS5 remakes of old with:
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) by Aspyr for PS5 with no release date confirmed
    • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Lost Legacy by Naughty Dog for PS5 in early 2022
    • GTA 5 & GTA Online for PS5 by Rockstar Games in March 2022
  • Other games announced in the showcase:
    • Project Eve sometime between 2022 and 2023
    • Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands on March 25, 2022
    • Alan Wake Remastered on October 5, 2021
    • Gran Turismo 7 on March 22, 2022
  • Other announcements in the showcase:
    • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction gameplay that releases on September 16, 2021
    • New Ghostwire: Tokyo Trailer and it looks rad
    • Another Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer
    • Another Deathloop Trailer
    • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt coming to the PS5

And some others that I’m not as excited to mention. What do you think about the showcase and if you don’t have a PS5 yet does, this make it a good ..

.. Time to get a PS5?

Hope you enjoyed the read. Do like and subscribe for more.

Cheers! πŸ™‚

Essential Travel Tech!

In this post we talk about the Tech essentials when it comes to travel .. mostly cos I love tech – the actual and only essential is the smartphone everything else is an aid to up your photography and videography game. Since the smartphone season has begun, kicked off officially by the Samsung Galaxy & Fold , this is as best a time as any ..

  • The Smartphone
  • The Action Cam
  • The Gimmick Cam
  • The Drone

What we do not talk about here is the basics i.e. the cables, power banks and selfie sticks since I believe those are usually taken care of in general anyhow. Something I can cover in a later post about interesting basic tech that up the travel experience.

First up, The Smartphone has come a long way since the days of the popular Nokia’s and the age of the Blackberry. Today’s smartphone can do almost anything that you used to need cameras as well as laptops to do. Excellent photos and videos can be taken, edited, stored and posted as well directly from the little metal slab in your palm.

Samsung Galaxy S10+

The ‘best smartphone’ is an extremely subjective term these days with so many options. There are expensive all rounders (One Plus 8T) but there’s also a phone for note taking powerusers (Galaxy Note 10+), one photographers (upcoming Pixel 6 or Huawei P50 Pro), another for videographers (iPhone 12 or 12 Pro Max), for gamers (Asus ROG 5S) and so on. Ultimately it’s all about the budget – if you are someone who wants the best but for the least, then the One Plus is your best bet; if money is not such a concern then spend some time figuring out which phone fits your need the best.

The key point to note is that if you have a good phone you don’t need much else and the rest of the gadgets below are just minor increments in the wow factor of your captures.

Next up, are the add-on gadgets, you don’t need em, but it is pretty great if they are around.

To start with, the Action Cam, a rough and tough photo and video capture buddy that can take a beating, handle the heat, snow, water and still not complain. Pretty necessary especially if you love activity and sport in general. The Go Pro 9 series or the DJI Osmo Action for this one and you can’t go wrong. Whats more important are the accessories that go along with. Something to strap the gadget to your arm, head, chest or just to make sure it doesn’t sink and you should be covered for all occasions.

Next up, the Gimmick Cam, keep in mind though, today’s gimmick is tomorrow’s main stream device; trouble is you never know which gimmick succeeds.

Insta360 One X

Some great options if you’d like to start with are the Insta 360 One X2, Go Pro Max and Ricoh Theta Z1. This enables some great quality 360 video with a mobile editor to support point of view video editing and you end up looking like a professional videographer. Not to mention some VR support and you can come as close as possible to reliving the experience without stepping out of the comfort of your home. Needs some serious commitment though towards continuous use, photo/video editing and store or else it gets added to the gimmick gadget drawer that we all have (though we don’t want to admit it).

Drones, the more hyped about gimmick gadget than most, especially now. It definitely seems a lot more fun than it actually is and takes a bit of effort currently to set up and use. But real good capture once you learn to use it well. My recommendation would be to start small (depending on budget – the DJI Tello or the DJI Mavic Air or just borrow if that’s possible) – practice with this, get the feel for the gadget and once you understand that this is your thing then you can go out and get a proper drone.

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What is Cryptocurrency? (As in ‘Bitcoin’)

(The Original article is posted by me on LinkedIn on September, 2017: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-robin-machado/

Been curious about this myself for a while, did some research, and thought I’d do a knowledge share for all who would like to know more about this topic like me.

This is an article for all who have questions such as:

  • What is Crypto Currency? (Or ‘Bitcoin’ if you are more familiar with that)
  • What do I do with Crypto Currency?
  • What does the future hold for Crypto Currency?

While learning about it myself, I will do my best to answer these questions in as short and sweet a method as possible.

What is it?

Well, to put it simply, someone somewhere said I’ve had enough with these localized, government-controlled currencies that could really mess up sometimes and that it’s time to create a global currency that would work in a more meaningful, non-biased, and secure way. If you are one of the few that hasn’t faced such a challenge – congratulations; but if you are somewhat of a global citizen or even someone who travels and understand things like exchange rates (& Forex), you kind of understand how a currency that doesn’t get affected by ‘where’ you spend it has its benefits.

Pros:

  • Global,
  • Encrypted,
  • Self-monitored,
  • Open ledger (transparent)

Cons:

  • Still hasn’t taken off yet (so you can’t use it in most places),
  • prone to hackers (but so is banking),
  • prone to fluctuations (since it still has that new smell),
  • the world hasn’t finalized on one cryptocurrency .. so exchange rate between crypto’s might eventually be a problem (..something to think about)

By the way, that someone I mentioned before was a person or group named Satoshi Nakamotoand they created Bitcoin in 2009 – some good Netflix documentaries on that if you are interested, such as Banking on BitcoinSince this is the first it gets the privilege of being considered primary, such as with Xerox.

Bitcoin – CryptoCurrency Fluctuations – Feb 2017 to Sep 2017

The value of Cryptocurrencies is certainly prone to fluctuations, value rapidly changing based on demand (& supply). Like all valuable materials, the overall supply is eventually limited i.e. production would gradually decrease. As for how this currency is supplied, for example, like Bitcoin, it’s via Bitcoin Miners – People who use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of Bitcoins in exchange (still learning this side of things myself TBH).

What do you do with it?

Simply put it is a currency, so you can do with it what you would with a currency – buy, sell, trade. The only difference is, it isn’t widely accepted yet so there aren’t too many places to use it .. and more importantly, you can’t use it for the everyday requirement .. yet. It is rapidly gaining popularity though and could very well soon go mainstream, once a popular global standard eventually rises.

Another option that many are going for is to invest in it .. buy it, store it, forget about it for a couple of months or years. Many early investors seem to find that just doing that has helped them multiply their investment. Disclaimer here though, do your research before you invest in any cryptocurrency and especially research on how you plan to buy it and store it .. those need to be dependable too. Can reach out to me as well for help, will do the best I can. Ethereum, in case you haven’t heard of it, is a cryptocurrency that has by far the most gains due to being backed by major corporations such as Microsoft, Samsung, JPMorgan Chase, and others in what’s being called the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Though when corporations get involved, things start going wrong in the long run; for now, it’s just a wait and watch.

There are multiple options to buy Cryptocurrencies, the most popular are app-based wallets such as Coinbase. There are multiple ways to bet for and against Cryptocurrencies too, such as IQ Option Europe. Once again, disclaimer here, do the research, evaluate your risks, and then start. Always start small, learn the ropes, and then you can gradually go bigger as you gain a better understanding of how things work. 

Where adoption of Cryptocurrency is high, there are ATMs being installed too. For example, in the US there are 1000’s ATMs installed in many states where they use a scanner for authenticating your identity, and then you can transact.

What does the future hold?

Everything has to get a lot worse before it gets better. What we are talking about here is the impact on the national and global currency-based economy. There is currently a massive system in place put forward by governments and financial institutions to manage currency as we know it .. the supply of it, credit rates, interest rates, exchange rates, and so on. This global unregulated cryptocurrency system evades all that for a person-to-person exchange like the barter system of the old days but is available globally via an app – which basically means that governments are no longer involved in regulating or manipulating. Also means that governments now need to find a way to be involved or be left out of the conversation altogether.

The sum it all up, keeping the financial crashes in mind, the cryptocurrency option seems like a better way to go but that’s mostly because we do not fully comprehend how much of the government and financial regulation system most of us actually depend on till this goes mainstream. Good governments however will find a way to adapt, bad governments will find a way to profit, all the institutions in between will rise, fall, change, and slowly things will fall in place to the new reality. All in all, cryptocurrencies are in fact a new reality that we are not fully aware of and we are learning on the go. We can probably have a great guess on what the future holds, but ultimately as the current times have taught us, anything is possible.

This article represents info based on my research and also my opinion on the subject.

Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I enjoyed writing it, feel free to share, leave a comment, question, or otherwise. Thanks!