Watches have been around for centuries and have evolved over the years in terms of its mechanism and its design. With the entrance of smartwatches, tech companies are hoping that their new wearables will pave the way for a new standard. Of course there are some who believe that regular watches will remain separate from smartwatches.
After all not everyone needs to be connected all the time, right? However there are some who believe that this could be the future, such as Elmar Mock who was the co-inventor of the Swatch watch. In a recent interview, Mock seems to think that smartwatches could be the future and that Swiss watchmakers should pay more attention.
Speaking about the Apple Watch, Mock seems to think that the device is the most attractive of the bunch so far. “The Apple Watch is by far the most attractive of the smartwatches. I would definitely wear it. Don’t forget that the early smartphones did not immediately replace conventional mobile phones.”
He also seems to agree with Jony Ive’s alleged statement in which Ive claims that Swiss watchmakers are in trouble. In fact he seems to think that Swiss watchmakers have sort of lost the wrist war already when they underestimated the competition from Japanese quartz watches, claiming that only 1 in 200 watches produced are Swiss watches.
With the amount of money that Apple is making and the pile of cash they are sitting on, it is no surprise that they are constantly being targeted by patent trolls who are hoping to make a quick buck by forcing Apple to settle patent infringement lawsuits. So far we’ve seen one or two patent trolls succeed, while others have failed.
However it seems that this has not stopped Secure Web Conference Corporation from trying their luck anyway. The company which is based out of Melville, New York, has recently filed a complaint against Apple, claiming that the Cupertino company had infringed upon a patent that they are using in their FaceTime technology.
The patent in question is to do with portable communication devices that offer secure peer-to-peer communication to other devices over a network. The Apple devices that allegedly infringed upon the patent include all of Apple’s Mac computers running on an Intel Core i5 or i7, Mac OS X 10.6.6, all iPhone models running on A7 or A8 processors with iOS 7, and all cellular iPads with A7 or A8 chipsets with iOS 7.
As NVIDIA launched its new Geforce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 graphics processors (GPUs), its “Demo team” has taken a stab at solving one of the big controversial stories of the century: was the lunar landing real or fake? There is ample literature on the subject and there is no shortage of reasons why some people think that the lunar landing and mission was shot in a studio.
One of the main arguments of conspiracy theorists was that the lighting seemed wrong in the scene where Armstrong comes out of the lunar module. It was suggested that there was a light next to the camera, which would mean that it was shot in a studio, since no such equipment was brought to the moon.
Because the sun’s light comes from the opposite side, the argument was that no other light source could justify the illumination of Armstrong’s right side. David Groves was one of the people making this argument, based on “science”: he had used Ray-Tracing (a well-known 3D rendering technique) to build his theory and approximate a light source’s position somewhere close to the camera.
To dig into this, NVIDIA engineers reconstructed the scene as precisely as they could, with as much data as they could gather on the reflectivity and other light-related properties of the objects in the scene (on or off-screen) and used a physically-based lighting model along with their own global illumination algorithm to see what a more accurate “light simulation” would yield. Watch their whole explanation here:
To shed some context, Physically-based lighting is the notion of measuring how light reacts to different types of materials and use this data for real-time rendering. In the past, the industry has used arbitrary values that were more “art-based” than “physics-based”.
Global illumination means that light that bounces from one surface to another is taken into account. This is a recent evolution of real-time rendering which is critical because large areas can reflect/emit a significant amount of light, which will be noticeable to the user.
When the NVIDIA team started to run the simulation, they realized that there was a significant amount of light being reflected from the suit of the second astronaut (who was filming) onto Armstrong’s suit. This explained precisely where the extra light was coming from, and debunked the notion that spotlights were used during the filming.
"THE EXTRA LIGHT WAS CONTRIBUTED AS A SECONDARY BOUNCE FROM A SPACE SUIT" David Groves was right in saying that there was a light source near the camera, but he was wrong in interpreting that as being a spotlight. Instead, the extra light was contributed as a secondary bounce from a space suit. The physically-based rendering scientifically proves that the lighting is possible and that it is consistent with the original photo. NVIDIA rests its case, and I think that this convincing enough to debunk that conspiracy theory.
I’m amazed that no-one has done this using pre-computed rendering before (at least, that I know of). NVIDIA should get a lot of credit for coming up with the idea, which is one of the best demo idea that NVIDIA has had – I can certainly appreciate the work.
Being able to do this in real-time is a great way to demonstrate how far lighting has come in the past 5 years. It also shows that every detail counts, and things that don’t seem to contribute to the scene can actually make a noticeable difference. Even the NVIDIA folks were not 100% sure that the suit could cast that much light on Armstrong, but it does. Sometime you just have to see it to believe it.
As we’re sure most of you guys are aware by now, but both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been released. However given that both phones are of different sizes and different prices, is there a particular model that might be more appealing than the other? Well according to an early report from MixPanel (via TechCrunch), it looks like the iPhone 6 is outselling the iPhone 6 Plus.
As you can see in the graph above, it looks like the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model is clearly and very much so in the lead. In fact towards the end of the graph you can actually see that there is a slight dip in iPhone 6 Plus sales. However like we said, this is an early report and is by no means indicative of the future sales of both units.
It should also be noted that the reason the 4.7-inch model is in the lead is because there is extremely limited supply of iPhone 6 Plus models at the moment. In fact last we checked, pre-orders of the iPhone 6 Plus had an estimated shipping time of 3-4 weeks, and just yesterday there were reports that stock of the iPhone 6 Plus would be severely constrained.
The Apple Watch has been pegged for a release in 2015 and one of the advantages that the device has over most smartwatches is that it charges by connecting a charger to the back of it that sticks to the device via a magnet, much like the MagSafe adapters used in the MacBooks. This makes it easier to charge the device versus more traditional chargers that need to be plugged in.
Now if you had plans to get your hands on an Apple Watch when it is released next year, you might be interested to learn that the folks at Dodocase have created a dock for the Apple Watch that you can sort of pre-order already. Customers who are interested can leave a $5 deposit at Dodocase’s website and can expect it to begin shipping in 2015 alongside the device.
The full retail price of the charging stand is estimated to be around $50-$60 and we have to admit that it looks pretty good. We should point out that this is just a charging stand and will not come with a charger itself – that will be supplied by Apple with the Apple Watch. However the design is sleek and classy and is made from California Orchard Walnut.
Apple Pay is Apple’s latest service in which they will allow iPhone 6 and Apple Watch owners pay for their purchases at retail stores using their phone or their watch. Apple is definitely not the first to the scene with a mobile payment solution, but apparently Apple’s entrance has managed to stir up a lot of interest in the industry.
According to a report from Reuters, it seems that many companies and banks out there are rushing to try and out-do each other in terms of promoting their support for Apple Pay. When the service was announced, Apple revealed that they had managed to get several big names on board, but now according to the report, more companies are rushing to the table so as not to be left behind.
Nathalie Reinelt, a payments expert with banking consultancy Aite Group says that the reason behind it is because Apple’s method is not as disruptive as the other payment options available at the moment. “Apple’s approach appears to be collaborative with traditional payment networks, instead of competitive, and it’s much less disruptive.”
Given Apple and Samsung’s relationship, many had speculated that for the A8 processor that Apple could be turning to TSMC to help manufacture the chips as opposed to Samsung, who used to be Apple’s go-to manufacturer for their A-series chipsets. Well thanks to the folks at Chipworks, it looks like the rumors were true after all.
Chipworks has found that TSMC was indeed the manufacturer of the A8 chipset used inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. TSMC is said to have used a 20nm CMOS process to help fabricate the A8 SoC, and that the A8’s contacted gate pitch of around 90nm is consistent with Qualcomm’s MDM9235, which is another chip fabricated by the company.
The report also found an NFC chip in the iPhone that was made by NXP way back in 2012. However if you were thinking that Apple is using old technology, apparently this is a chip designed by NXP that was made exclusively for Apple, which means that Apple had plans for NFC since at least 2012.
There have been persistent rumors that Microsoft could be getting ready to drop the Nokia and Windows Phone branding. In fact recently an upcoming Windows Phone handset was spotted with just a “Windows” branding on the back versus “Windows Phone”. This seems to be in line with Microsoft’s plans to unify the Windows RT and Windows Phone platforms.
Well if you’re looking for further proof that this is the case, Microsoft has recently released two new ads that talk about the apps available on their Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 platforms, however interestingly enough not once during the ad did Microsoft refer to Windows Phone by name, instead choosing to refer to it as Windows.
You can check out the ads in the videos above and below to see it yourself. Microsoft has also been rumored to rebrand their handsets to “Microsoft”, losing the Nokia name in the process. In a way this is expected as Microsoft was not expected to hold onto the Nokia name forever.
As you might have heard by now, Microsoft has started sending out invites to an event on the 30th of September. It has been largely speculated that the event could be the announcement and possible release of the Windows 9 technical preview. However if you were hoping that would be the case, you might be disappointed.
According to the folks at WinBeta, they claim to have heard from their sources that the Windows Technical Preview might not be released on that day. Instead it is expected to be released several days later in the month of October. Instead the event will be more of an announcement and will probably just give the press a first look at what to expect.
In fact it seems that the event will also focus more on Windows for the enterprise, as opposed to Windows for regular consumers, which we guess is fair given the wording of the invite. It was not mentioned if the event will see Microsoft unveil the next version of Office whose screenshots have leaked recently.
With all the rumors flying around prior to the Apple Watch being announced, safe to say that it was probably one of the more hyped up wearables in 2014. While the device has finally been unveiled, was it everything that fans or the tech pundits had expected it to be? Some say yes, some say no, but it seems that the majority appear to be saying no.
In a recent survey conducted by Canadian investment bank, RBC Capital Markets, it was found that out of 6,000 people surveyed, only 11% of them said that they had plans to buy the Apple Watch. 24% went on to state that they are uncertain, meaning that assuming all 24% do end up buying it, that means only 35% of 6,000 participants would actually buy it. Those are some pretty low numbers.
There are many reasons as to why many are still reserved about the Apple Watch. It could be that the wearables market is still in its infancy stages and that the reasons for getting a wearable aren’t very compelling at the moment. It could also be that the price of the Apple Watch has put some off as there are alternatives that are much cheaper.
Monster is an audio company known for their cables and their headphones. If you’re in the market for the latter, you might be interested to learn that the company has recently announced a new pairs of headphones in the form of the Inspiration Lite which according to Monster, is a slimmed down version of the Inspiration headphones.
The new Inspiration Lite headphones are of the on-ear variety meaning that they will rest on your ears as opposed to cupping them completely. The headphones will also feature brushed metal accents. The headbands are interchangeable so you can switch them up to suit your style if you wish, and will also come with a protective travel pouch.
Apart from those slight design changes, the Inspiration Lite headphones will have the same hardware specs as the original Inspiration headphones. This means that if you thought that the Inspiration was a bit too big and you wanted something more portable, perhaps the Inspiration Lite could be worth checking out.
It looks like a piece of software which has captured the imagination of the masses will also be able to fuel a corresponding spike in hardware sales. Apart from that, another hugely popular tactic by hardware manufacturers would be to roll out what they call “limited edition” bundles, since everyone loves to be exclusive, or at least have that sense of being “above the masses”. Well, Sony has recently announced another two more DriveClub PS4 bundles before the racer is released to the market in October, and one of these two bundles would include a Glacier White PS4.
The Glacier White PS4 bundle will feature a copy of DriveClub in addition to a 500GB Glacier White PS4 console alongside a white DualShock 4 (what else did you expect?) for €439.99 a pop.
Do you happen to live in an area where you are able to let your drone roam the skies without having the authorities to clamp down on your drone activities? If that is the case, then another risk factor ought to be taken into consideration – that there is a very real possibility of your drone actually flying free before it gets lost in the thicket that is full of trees, bushes, and other kinds of unknown horrors. Perhaps a locating device would come in handy, and this is where the Kickstarter project known as Screamy comes in handy.
Screamy arrives in an extremely small box which will connect to your drone through the control module, where it will then enable you to signal just when the drone happens to be down, turning this into some sort of alerting device for your drone.
Hitachi of Japan has recently unveiled not one, two, or even three, but nine (yes, nine!) different models of air conditioners for the masses, where these happen to be the ‘Stainless Clean Shirokuma-kun X series’ that will also see a “living camera 3D” installed. These days, when we talk about a 3D camera, we might think of something that has to do with movie making or the equivalent, but this particular air conditioner line from Hitachi is far removed from such an idea.
In fact, the living camera 3D will comprise of three different parts, where there will be an “image camera” that is capable of knowing a particular position in the room where a person is sitting down at, while a “thermal camera” is smart enough to make an estimate of the temperature of the person as well as surrounding ambience, while a newly included “things camera” is capable of figuring out floor plan, position and shape of furniture within the room.
The world of health and medicine is big business regardless of where you are, and this is why pharmaceutical companies do take their patents seriously – otherwise a generic drug would mean plenty of money going down the drain after all the R&D that was put in before they are able to turn a profit. Well, on the flipside, those seeking good health or to recover from a disease can be particularly vulnerable and gullible – which leads to the rise of fake or counterfeit medication. How can the layperson figure out which is which? Apparently, a brand new plastic label might allow one to tell whether the medicine or some other product is the real McCoy.
All that is required is to breathe on this plastic label, and if the clear label happens to be genuine, then a hidden image will appear like magic. In other words, this is one of the more advanced versions of a watermark that right now is used to identify selected paper documents, pointing them out as authentic.
It does look like bookies might want to take a closer look at Microsoft’s Bing, especially when Bing managed yet once again to predict the results of the Scottish referendum correctly – stating that Scotland will continue to be part of the United Kingdom. This is despite the fact that polling data in the weeks that led up to the referendum pointed to an extremely tight race, making it way too close to call, where there was even a near 50-50 split even when the day of the vote drew nearer.
After all of the voted were tallied last night, the results pointed to 55% of Scots having voted ‘no’, which meant that they would prefer to remain as part of the U.K. This is far from being an overwhelming majority, but it definitely is a decisive win over those who voted ‘yes’, having picked up the remainder of the 45% share of the votes.
While Square Enix is busy preparing some of the finalizations for upcoming Final Fantasy titles, does this mean that the game studio is not looking elsewhere to deliver some stunning products? Apparently, at the Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix has lifted the veil concerning Shinra Technologies. Shinra Technologies happen to be a new cloud gaming business that will be helmed by Yoichi Wada, who so happens to be the former president of Square Enix.
Shinra Technologies would definitely sound extremely familiar to those who live and breathe Final Fantasy 7, as it was named after a similar organization from that particular game, having its headquarters in New York City, coupled with offices that are located in Tokyo and Montreal. Having worked alongside Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios, who so happens to have offices in New York, they intend to develop games and technology together.
So you have been smitten by the iPhone 6, and simply cannot wait to get your hands on it. In fact, you are even thinking about busting the monthly budget in order to bring home the new smartphone from Apple. However, would you do what this Chinese man did – by actually advertising that he was willing to “rent” his girlfriend out to other men, in order to raise the relevant amount of funds so that he can get his iPhone 6 fix? This is one disillusioned casanova for sure.
25-year-old Wei Chu does not show any hesitation in “renting” out his love interest just like an object, making me make a quick calendar check to make sure we’re living in the 21st century, and are all for equal rights as human beings. It seems that Wei actually stood outside of Songjiang University in Shanghai, holding a ‘Girlfriend Sharing’ placard that pointed interested parties to log on to a nearby WiFi network in order to see how beautiful his other half is.
On Monday September 22 in Paris, I will host a session with three of the most innovative companies in the wearable world, and we will try to answer the one billion dollar question: Is the Technology Industry ready to embrace the Fashion World?
The event is part of the Fashion & Tech Week hosted by Numa Sept 22-28.
For this conversation I have selected companies that are paying a lot of attention to the design quality of their wearable devices, to make them as fashionable and smart as they can be.
The door will open at Numa, 39 rue du Caire in Paris at 6.30 pm on Sept 22 and we will welcome the following participants on stage – information to register here, we just have opened more seats soon and you can tweet me @elianefiolet if you are interested:
Amy Puliafito, Director of Communications, Misfit Wearable ;
Raphaelle Raymond, VP Marketing Netatmo
Pierre Garner, Designer Co-founder & Partner, Elium Studio
Frederic Lintz, Designer Co-founder & Partner, Elium Studio
Each participant will present his/her company or product or both for 10 minutes in his/her preferred language and then we will start the panel session to answer the question. A networking cocktail will follow.
Netatmo recently launched June, a connected jewelry designed by Camille Toupet who regularly works for the top jewelry brands. Unlike most wearable devices, June is targeted to the female audience and monitors daily UV exposure. The Misfit Shine is till my favorite activity tracker because it is the most elegant one and the most comfortable one to wear for a long period of time. Additionally its very long battery life is a key differentiator. Elium Studio is a very innovative design firm that has designed all Withings products, including the Withings Activité smartwatch, which features an elegant and traditional look with its real watch hands.
We all know that NVIDIA made waves yesterday with their spanking new GeForce GTX980 graphics card, and here we are with SYBER being first off the blocks to deliver the Vapor Xtreme gaming console. SYBER is a division of custom computer manufacturer CYBERPOWERPC, and their Vapor Xtreme gaming console will be dead fast – thanks to the all-new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. In fact, by virtue of having this highly advanced graphics card alone working alongside high-end hardware, the Vapor Xtreme would end up as the fastest PC gaming console right now on the market.
With the Vapor Xtreme, you will find the GeForce GTX 980 paving the road for seamless gaming at ultra-high 4K resolution, which is four times the resolution of typical Full HD (1080p) TVs. Apart from that, the Vapor Xtreme has another advantage over the other standard consoles in the market by virtue of it being able to be upgraded accordingly, as and when required.