Friday, May 12, 2017

Apple publishes how-to videos for shooting on iPhone →

Apple has published 16 video guides on shooting pictures and video on iPhone. Some of the sixteen guides were posted on YouTube, with the rest on a dedicated Apple page. With the exception of Portrait Mode only being available on iPhone 7 Plus, a majority of these tips can benefit any iPhone user. Videos include topics from shooting a great selfie, to capturing a unique angle. I’m glad to see Apple doing more of this kind of thing, as interactions with the iPhone’s interface become a little less obvious over time with new mechanisms like 3D Touch.

Microsoft announces new Fluent Design System

Microsoft unveiled its new Fluent Design System today at its annual Build conference. Fluent Design is Microsoft’s next-generation design language that more closely resembles Apple’s iOS aesthetic and Google’s Material Design. With blurred effects, shadows, transparency, and more, this is more of the UI design trend we’ve become accustomed to in recent years. In fact, Apple is expected to introduce UI changes for iOS 11 at their upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5, and Google is working on a new smartphone Operating System called Fuchsia, with a new UI.

Elements of the Fluent Design System will be rolled out in phases among Windows, iOS, and Android apps. Some existing Windows apps have already received elements of the Fluent Design System via update, and Windows itself will be receiving larger elements and more in the [Fall Creators Update later this year][4].

I like what we’ve seen of Fluent Design so far. It hearkens back to the Aero glass days with Windows Vista, but as a more matured and better utilized aesthetic. Looking forward to seeing how beneficial it is on the desktop.

Fluent Design Email

Fluent Design for Email – Credit: Microsoft

[4]: TDU8XttQQkGyim7k.97

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tesla Reveals Solar Roof Pricing →

Tesla Solar Roof tiles

Tom Randall for Bloomberg:

Tesla will begin with production of two of the four styles it unveiled in October: a smooth glass and a textured glass tile. 1 Roofing a 2,000 square-foot home in New York state—with 40 percent coverage of active solar tiles and battery backup for night-time use—would cost about $50,000 after federal tax credits and generate $64,000 in energy over 30 years, according to Tesla’s website calculator.

If you haven’t heard about Tesla’s Solar Roof (and tiles), you really should check them out. They’re made with tempered glass and claimed to be three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. Tesla continues to be the Apple of the car/energy industry, with this blend of design and engineering.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Net Neutrality and You

Save the Internet

Credit: Joseph Gruber License

You’ve probably heard the term “Net Neutrality” before, but what is it, really? It’s a highly important topic that should be on everyone’s radar, because it affects us all. It should be a non-partisan issue, but President Trump has already repealed FCC privacy rules, in addition to the GOP passing legislation to allow the sale of private Internet data. Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced plans to roll back regulations that classify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as utilities. Read on for a breakdown of Net Neutrality and what we can do to fight for it.

Read on

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CNET: Voice call functionality coming to Echo devices and Alexa app today

Hot on the heels of Amazon’s Echo Show announcement, CNET has confirmed Amazon will be introducing voice calling features for existing Alexa users today.

Existing Echo devices and the Alexa app will be updated to receive this functionality, which has the opportunity to truly change the dynamic in which these smart speakers are used.

This is truly an ‘Amazon’ way to do this, since their Fire Phone was a flop. I expect Apple’s ‘Siri Speaker’ to handle calls as well, but in a much different way. Either way, taking calls from the comfort of the couch without reaching for your phone will be nice.

Amazon introduces Echo Show smart speaker with touchscreen for $229 →

After multiple leaks this past Friday, May 5, and a Wall Street Journal report, Amazon introduced the Echo Show this morning. You can buy one for $229 or two for $358 (saving $100) for a June delivery. This is a very compelling move by Amazon and something Apple would never do (highlights the stark contrast between the two). I own an Echo Dot to mostly control our smart lights, and it is a pretty amazing little device. I’m curious what it would be like with a touchscreen. The Echo Show looks promising, as the features below highlight. I don’t care much for the design, though, with its sharp edges and blockiness in an age of sleek and soft corners.

Apple is also rumored to be working on a Siri-enabled smart speaker themselves, to be announced as early as June.

Pricing and Availability

$229 or two for $358 (save $100)
Colors: White, Black
Releases June 28, 2017


  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Talk to family and friends who have an Echo or the Alexa App.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response.
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing

Update 5/9 at 4:27pm: added intro video from Amazon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Google is working on a new smartphone Operating System dubbed Fuchsia →

Ron Amadeo for ArsTechnica:

Google, never one to compete in a market with a single product, is apparently hard at work on a third operating system after Android and Chrome OS. This one is an open source, real-time OS called “Fuchsia.” The OS first popped up in August last year, but back then it was just a command line. Now the mysterious project has a crazy new UI we can look at, so let’s dive in.


Source: Ars Technica

This work is obviously rough and early-on, but it’s always nice to see what might be coming next. Check out the Ars Technica article for more info and images.

Report: 'No Delay' for launch of iPhone 7s and 8 →

Steve Shen for DigiTimes this morning:

There will be no delay for the launch of the next generation iPhone devices, with the new devices to be unveiled in September, and Apple will begin selling the products in October, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

This report runs contrary to recent claims of this year’s iPhones being delayed by longtime analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. These rumors are very predictable with most Apple’s new product launches. Apple has yet to miss a predicted launch of a new iPhone (with exception to the white iPhone 4, which missed its debut by about a year), so this is par for the course.

However, given Apple’s recent extreme stock shortages with launching new products (Apple Watch, AirPods, iPhone 7), my money says you probably won’t be able to pick up an iPhone 7s/8 right away.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

iPhone 8 Rumors: screen, Touch ID, and Augmented Reality

It’s iPhone rumor season, and leaks have been coming out of the woodwork the past couple weeks. Apple is highly thought to be releasing two iPhone models this year–an iPhone 7S, with modest upgrades from the iPhone 7, and a special iPhone 8 to commemorate the iPhone’s 10th year anniversary.

Aside from an upgraded processor (A11), more memory, and better battery life, here’s a breakdown of a few more exciting features the current leaks are pointing to for the iPhone 8.

Read on