Archive for the ‘Smart Watch’ Category

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So, iOS10 has finally dropped, it has bricked some iPhones but the majority have got away unscathed. We are still trying to decide what we think, but here are the changes this shiny new firmware will bring you;

iMessage – This is probably the biggest update in iOS10 with the ability to be able to draw messages with your finger and send the animation to someone else. You’ll be able to use rich links in Messages. Share a link and, as it would in Slack or Twitter, artwork and a precis of the article may be pulled in, so your friends can get an idea of what they are about to click on.

Bad news for the emoji haters as iMessage will now add emojis into predictive text giving you the option to swap full words for pictures. The death of the English language is nigh.

It has also been opened up to third party developers, meaning that there will soon be apps in the messaging service that can be used to order food, shop, book tickets and send people money within a chat. We are loving the iMessage Super Mario App.

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Voicemail Transcription – iOS is apparently going to put your voicemail into text so that you can glance at it without having to listen to it. It will be interesting to see how accurate this is.

Home App (HomeKit) – Finally the launch of the hotly anticipated HomeKit. Those of you with automated homes will be able to link most devices under one app which has always been an annoying thing with automation. HomeKit will allow you to quickly dim lights, tell Siri to turn up the heating and have access from the lock screen to do all of these. We are especially looking forward to seeing how this feature handles scenes which will allow at a click of a button or a few words to Siri and your room will be ready for movie night with a raft of set processes starting ie lights going off, Apple TV turning on and blinds closing.

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News – Redesigned and now looking simpler, the News app is the go-to for any news. Subscriptions have now been allowed so we assume Newstand will soon disappear. There is also a ‘Breaking news’ notifications from the app. You can toggle the feature from settings and even custom-tune the publications you wish to see pushed to your device.

Photos – Apple says it will use deep learning techniques to analyse faces, places and objects. The app can now draw together photos and videos that are linked by place, people and time and then automatically create reels and trip customisable short clips which Apple is calling ‘Memories’.

Siri – We have seen a deeper involvement with Siri in iOS10 with HomeKit making full use of voice control. But more interestingly it has been opened up to third party developers meaning that soon you will be able to ask Siri to check other apps other than Apple ones. A great step forward.

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Feature Changes; 

•’Slide to Unlock’ has been removed, and instead you’ll see ‘Press home to open’. This will prompt you to enter your pass-code or will unlock the phone if you use Touch ID.

• Deleting Stock apps has been a real issue for some people and now you can delete as you wish. Enjoy the power!

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• Apple will now keep track of where you park your car so you don’t have to bother. Apple maps will detect when you park and automatically drop a pin so that you can find it later.

• Bedtime is the new clock feature which you tell what time you want to get to bed on a given night of the week, and your phone will let you know when the clock strikes that hour to remind you to get some shut eye.

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• The update will bring with it more than a hundred new and redesigned emoji characters with multicultural and gender types.

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Agent

 

Well, just when we thought that the likes of Pebble were taking over the world of smart watches and all we had to look forward to were the super powers of Google and Apple stamping out the competition, there’s a new kid in town.

Agent, a Kickstarter collaboration from Secret Labs & House of Horology is a real smart watch which I think has hit the nail on the head in terms of design. Let’s leave the techie stuff for now, this watch will not look out of place in the gym, out at the shops or even at the office, which is rare in a smartwatch like this. The solid, almost industrial design looks superb and so different to anything we have seen so far.

Now, the stuff you have been waiting for, what’s inside the dinky little case….Firstly, let’s talk about the dual processor. This is one of the first times this has been used, one processor looking after the bulk of power hungry apps ( ARM Cortex M4) and the other, a smaller chip which takes care of business in sleep mode, making sure power consumption is kept to a real minimum (11% of last years processor consumption).

Inside, the watch also houses a bluetooth chip which like all other smart watches connects to your phone to pull data or even control it. It will work with iPhone 4S and higher, Android 2.3+ and Windows Phone 8, so most of us will not have issues with compatibility. One of my favourite things about these smart watches is notifications in the form of vibration. Imagine sitting in a meeting and your phone is ringing, a quick glance of your watch face tells you whether it is important or not, enabling you to divert the call or get up and take it.

The watch is water resistant and most importantly has a rechargeable battery with a 7 day life span (with Bluetooth on)which is wirelessly charged via the Qi pad supplied. Interestingly if you have a Qi pad by other manufacturers this will still charge. The watch also includes an accelerometer for use with step counting and anything else developers wish to do with it and 2 light sensors to control the brightness of the anti glare screen.

To sum up, this watch isn’t a million miles away from the devices out there, but where we do see a massive difference is in the design, and this is where you can see the impact of getting an outside designer (House of Horology) who have given a different aspect on creating a smart watch.

For the first time, here is a watch that I would consider leaving my designer watch at home. Order yours now for $199 with $15 delivery to the UK with an expected delivery in Jan 2014.

 

 

 

Earlier this week we wrote a blog on Apple and Samsung working on a smart watch for release in 2013, a few days later we have LG and now Google lining up to create their own models.

From a report in the Financial Times, Google are apparently working on a Smart Watch to rival the current rumoured offerings. In the FT report they say they have a “person briefed on the project” who suggests the watch is not being made by Google X Labs (creators of Google glass) but instead by the Google Android unit.

“While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project, to act as an extension to the smartphones using that operating system. The project is separate from Samsung’s efforts, the source said, although there is no indication of when it might launch.” – FT

Looks like the smart watch wars could be heating up nicely.

Apple Smart Watch Concept

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Earlier this morning Bloomberg reported that Samsung have now confirmed they are working on a Smart Watch.

In a Bloomberg interview with Executive Vice President of Mobile at Samsung, Lee Young confirmed “We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them”. Amid rumours that Apple are working on the iWatch, Samsung’s Lee states “the issue here is who will first commercialize it so consumers can use it meaningfully”.

Samsung are not new to the Smart Watch territory, back in 2009 they released the S9110 which was a flop as it tried to cram an entire phone into a 11.89mm thick watch sacrificing a lot of features. The difference between then and now, is that the general theme that these companies are following is having a watch which doesn’t replicate the Dick Tracy or Michael Knight style, using the watch to talk through, but merely using the watch as a portal to the phone, showing notifications from Facebook, Twitter and email and being able to read text messages or control the volume of your phone.

The one thing that is certain, is that both Apple & Samsung will come up against some serious competition in the form of the immensely successful Kickstarter project, Pebble, and also the likes of Cookoo which both offer low powered Bluetooth connectivity to your mobile with multiple notifications at a glance, geofencing and both are open sourced with access to API’s.

The problem with Apple and Samsung, is that they will probably lock the watch down to iOS or Android, where as the Cookoo and Pebble both allow the user to use any phone they wish.

The biggest issue is not what the phone will do, or if Apple produce a better product than Samsung, it’s how these companies will displace the major players in the watch market off of your wrist. I am sure The Watch Spy will agree that it will be unlikely that we will see somebody wearing a Breitling on one wrist and an Apple iWatch on the other.

We look forward to seeing how this race pans out as both are rumoured to be out in 2013….

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