IPhone 7: All I Want Is…

HP iPaq 210
iPaq 210 - first PDA with fingerprint access

I gave up asking the question “What more could they possibly put in a phone?” in about 2005. When I was still playing with the Compaq iPaq. And to be fair, I'm not exactly sure what new HW device manufacturers could add to a smartphone.

No doubt Apple will improve the performance of the processor, resolution of the screen, quality of the camera, life of the battery, speed of the WiFi, amount of storage, the thinness, weight, yada, yada, yada. They may add inductive charging, 3D stereoscopic or even depth sensing cameras, but we must we be getting close to what can be stuffed into the shell.

Even for the regular slew of improvements they'll have to invest in some seriously innovative engineering. Predictably a cynical press will file copy on their iPhones lamenting how Apple has 'lost its way.' The result of diminishing returns from an entitled marketplace.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

For me, I'm loving my 6s+ right now. (Well apart from the name – WTF! Come on Apple) I can honestly say there is nothing on Android or Windows devices that I lack.

Well, maybe one thing.

There is one area that is revolutionary enough for me to seriously consider switching to Android, specifically Samsung, for my next phone…

…VR

Fantasy world of Samsung GearVR
Limitless

The Samsung GearVR is genius. Nowhere near perfect. But genius nonetheless.

Yes there's Personal Cinema. And immersive games. Meh!

Being able to share experiences with remote loved ones, a birth, a bedtime story, a motorbike ride. That's cool.

But I'm thinking about unfettered VR.

For education, research, analysis, sales… …the options are endless. And although I can use the cheap Google Cardboard, or Chinese Plastic VR headsets with my iPhone; they simply aren't as comfortable, functional or elegant as the GearVR.

So come on Apple. Up your game. If the 7 doesn't have an elegant, Ive inspired, VR option, I'll be switching to Samsung.

There, I said it.

I may even consider the Samsung Gear S3 watch too.

 

Do You Need a Camcorder Anymore?

Project 2012: Day 325

Back in 2000, a year after moving to Australia, I bought my first digital camcorder. It was (is) a Panasonic device that records to Mini-DV tape. I needed to hack the camcorder to record my edited video back onto the device. Then there was the investment in a Canopus Real-Time editing card (about $5000), not to mention the NLE software, and thousands of hours learning the craft to make somewhat better than “home” movies. Most of my distribution was to VHS tape, as most of my audience (family and church) didn’t over a DVD player back then.

Over the years I upgraded both camera, and editing machine, up to a Canon HF-100 HD Camcorder that records to SDHC card.

But I can’t remember the last time I used it. Definitely over a year ago.

And I’m shooting (way) more video.

At the end of the day, my iPhone shoots 1080p High-Def video, that I can edit well enough for my purposes on my iPad. I always have my phone with me. I distribute direct to YouTube & Vimeo. So here’s my question:

Do You Need a Camcorder Anymore? 

Tomorrow’s Technology Today – Beta

Project 2012: Day 73

How to create your own Post-PC world – Tablets

The second device, and of course the catalyst for the whole “Post-PC” world, that you’ll want to get, is a tablet. Actually not a tablet, an iPad. An iPad 3.

Here’s how the iPad will rock your world…

1. Tools for travel

With 10 hours of battery life, 3G and (in some countries) 4G coverage, this is perfect device to leave the heavy lump that is your laptop at the office.

Before leaving on the trip, ensure you’ve downloaded the latest episodes of your favourite TV shows, movies, music, and podcasts. TEDTalks are great to keep you inspired. This is for the flight.

At the airport, download the updated copy of your local rag. Most of them (SMH, London Times, NYT, WPost) have apps. Also, if you spot a book or a mag that you want to catch whilst away, you can download that via iBooks or Kindle at the gate.

Now it’s time to triage and respond to your email. I do recommed getting a Bluetooth keyboard, which will ratchet up your typing speed. I have a Zagmate case, but recommend the Zagg Folio. If you don’t have one, it’s still better to take your iPad than the laptop.

Once you’re away from home, you have the perfect Skype (or Facetime) device. Whether in Melbourne or Shanghai, video conferencing on the iPad is great.

You do know that there is a built-in VPN client, so you can connect securely to your work network, and access the intranet as well.

Apps & Tools:
  • Mail, Calendar, Reminders
  • TripIt
  • FlightTrack Pro
  • Skype / Facetime
  • SMH, NYT, Washington Post, BBC, ABC
  • Kindle & iBooks
  • TED
  • iTunes for Podcasts, iTunesU, TV Shows, Movies, & Music
  • Built in VPN Client to tunnel to work
  • Safari
  • GoodReader

 

2. Tools for Family Time

There was that school concert that you shot on your smartphone, the pictures of your trip, and that funny video you found on YouTube.

Back in the day we used to develop films, print photos and then buy albums to share them with our friends and family. We used to lug around a shoulder mounted 8mm or VHS Camcorder. We used to bore the pants off of family and close (enough) friends with holiday slides (remember them?)

Today you can take out the iPad and in great detail show the latest photos of your new puppy, or getting wasted at the company party.

Also, remember when you used to play games with your family and friends? Problem is it’s a bit ungainly to unpack Scrabble, or even Chess, at your local Cafe. Enter the iPad. If your friends have got iPhones or iPod Touches, you can even use these as letter racks for Scrabble. But if not, just pass the iPad around.

Apps & Tools:

  • Photos + Flickr & SmugMug
  • Videos + YouTube & Vimeo
  • Sharing games like Scrabble, Chess, BackGammon, Monopoly
  • Camera Connection kit to import photos (note iPAd3 allows you to beam photos)
  • Apple TV to stream movies & photos straight to HD TV

3. Tools for Creating

It turns out that having the iPad to hand is great for all of the “on the road” type creating I want and need to do.

If you need to deliver a presentation, then at $12 Keynote is your friend. This app is easy to use, and quick to put a powerful (visual) presentation together, as well as deliver it.

GarageBand will allow you to record those riffs and tunes you have in your head, and put together really compelling tracks. No, not as good as the Mac version, but good enough to remember those riffs when you’re inspired away from home. Now with iOS 5.1 and the new GarageBand update, you can actually jam with a number of people and record simultaneously.

You’ll find that more and more videos will fall into the “throw together on iPad” genre. School concerts, birthdays, prize-givings, holidays.

Planning a speech, or article. There are great mind mapping tools, and the big screen touch interface is ideal. Unlike the laptop, this isn’t intrusive, so you can easily use it at church, in an interview, at a cafe.

Taking notes to share on all your devices. And putting together a Story Board. Even explaining something to someone in lieu of a whiteboard.

Then of course there’s blogging and more serious writing.

Apps & Tools
  • Keynote (& Pages & Numbers)
  • GarageBand + VocalLive Recorder, Avid Scorch, Recorder HD
  • iRig Guitar, iRig Mic, iKlip Mic Stand Holder
  • iMovie + Vimeo
  • iThoughtsHD
  • Moodboard
  • Chalkboard
  • Evernote
  • WordPress + BlogPress
  • IndexCard

4. Tools for Connecting and Collaborating

We can’t get away from SocialMedia, and the iPad is much better than even your lightest laptop for connecting with people online. It’s lighter, easier to keep with you, the apps are better than online tools, and the big screen gives more context than the Smartphone versions of the same apps.

Also this is a great device to share any type of file with others:

Apps & Tools
  • Facebook, Hootsuite, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Dropbox, Box.Net

5. Gaming

Speak to all of the big game development houses, and you’ll see a shift of investment into Tablets. Oh, this is still a small part of the budget, but the growth is easily double that for console and PC games.

It’s no surprise either. iPads outsold PC’s last quarter. Now with 1 million more pixels than an HD TV, at a fraction of the price, with true mobility, many, many more people will be playing games, at many more times, than on PC’s and consoles. Not tomorrow maybe, but soon.

So developers will go where the money is.

There’s everything from retro games, through arcade games, to board games (as mentioned above) to strategy and first person action games. Then of course there are the iPad (Tablet) specific touch based (and jolly annoying) games like Angry Birds and Flight Control HD

I won’t list these. Suffice to say, your gaming preference is different to mine.

Conclusion

As you can see, the tablet really is the device that frees us from the constraints of PC’s, even laptops. Contraints such as:

  • Price
  • Poor battery life
  • Weight
  • Tether to desk (desktop PC’s)

It isn’t a replacement. Many people are opting for Ultrabooks today, and that’s great. For me the iPad won’t be a PC replacement for some time. Editing 1080p video really is better on a 24” monitor with a quad core processor. But as you can see, this is the ideal device for travelling, for incidental use around the home, and for sharing with friends and family.

Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface here. The iPad is great for story time, for X-rays, for stargazing. Great for navigation, recipes, and homework.

It’s not for everyone. Actually, I think it could be. If you want to be empowered and free’d from your desk. I couldn’t recommend the iPad highly enough.

Tomorrow’s Technology Today – Alpha

Project 2012: Day 66

Shortly before he died, when launching the iPad 2, Steve Jobs famously commented that we are in a “Post-PC” world. The comment, despite it’s ramifications for OS companies like Microsoft & even Apple themselves, struck me as incongruous. It’s almost as if we’ve really just arrived at the PC world. How many of us use PC’s at work, at home, when we travel?

The PC when it came out in the 80’s revolutionised the way we do things. Because of two characteristics.

  1. Affordability – which gave access to computing power to everyone rather than just corporations and the mega-rich
  2. The magic of software – this made the PC into a wordprocessor, filing system, photo editor, scoring device, video editor, and much, much more

So, just when we’ve come to rely on this amazing technology, how do we move beyond the PC?

In this series about Tomorrow’s Technology, we’re going to discuss how to create your own Post-PC world. Today, we’ll talk about Smartphones.

Credit: CBSi

Credit: CBSi

How to Create a Post-PC World – Smartphones

Most people touch their phones more than their partners. Since the mid-90’s digital mobile phones have exploded into our lives. There are over 2 billion mobile phones in the world.

The smartphone then brings the computing power of the PC, to the portability of the mobile phone. It means you no longer have to be at home or work to check Facebook, or buy something online.

The platform is of little relevance. Leave the arguments to Internet trolls, and ideological purists. Like anything, the best smartphone is the one that is best for you. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry. They all do largely the same things.

Personally, I’ve had PDA’s (the precursor to the Smartphone) since 1996, started with the Palm, and had Windows devices for over a decade. Since 2009, however, my device of choice has been the iPhone.

Note: My device of choice.

Untethering

There are a bunch of things you use your PC for, that the Smartphone is ideal for. Things like:

  • Reading emails wherever you are, and replying to the important ones
  • Shopping online – eBay, Amazon, even Woolworths and Coles
  • Your calendar makes more sense on a device in your pocket than one on your desk
  • Same again for your task list
  • Checking in for flights without the need to print a boarding pass in the cab on the way to the airport
  • Commuter Timetables pretty helpful when you’re in the city and need to get somewhere
  • Social media again makes more sense throughout the day when you’re engaging in Social Media 1.0 – the conversation
  • Communications. Skype video conferencing from anywhere in the world.
  • Games. It’s unlikely you’ll replace a hardcore console or PC game with one on a phone, but everything from social word games to arcade style games are just as much fun on the bus, or at lunch.
  • Basic Video Editing
  • Basic Music arranging
  • Basic Photo Editing
  • Listening to music & podcasts, and even watching your favourite TV series
  • Catching up on your favourite novel
  • Taking notes

As much as you can shift those tasks to your phone. Leave the large screen real-estate and powerful processor of your PC for more demanding tasks like professional video editing or music arranging, programming and compiling code. If you don’t do any of those, do you really need a PC?

Replacing

I’ve always been known as a bit of a gadget freak. But the Smartphone has finally consolidated all of the devices I used to carry. Either daily, or when I travelled:

  • At 8 MPx the camera has 10X the resolution of my first digital camera
  • 1080p video is as good resolution as my latest camcorder
  • With 64GB of memory, the phone holds all of my music and more than my Zune, Samsung, or previous iPods
  • The GPS means I no longer need a Garmin when I’m navigating
  • The microphone negates the need any more for a digital recorder

Exploring

Then there’s the things that you can do with the phone, just not possible on other devices like:

  • Augmented Reality – everything from seeing a Widipedia entry about a landmark when travelling, to seeing the history of a house you’re thinking of buying, to seeing where & when the sun will set in the winter. The combination of a GPS, camera, gyroscope, compass, and broadband Internet connection enables an experience like never before
  • Location tracking – with the GPS, Internet Connection, accelerometer, and sw you can let people know just where you are

Wrap up

The first device that moves you away from being tethered to your desk, is a good smartphone. This powerful technology is changing the world.

What do you think?

If you could buy just one device today, what would it be? A good smartphone, or a similarly priced PC?

What is the best phone for you, and why?

Please share

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If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic further, feel free to leave a comment below, via social media, or contact me directly