Some things to expect at Apples WWDC Conference

Apples biggest conference, WWDC, or Worldwide Developers Conference, is almost here, just next month!

It’ll be the 27th WWDC, it starts on June 13th, very ominous, and ends on June 17th, and will be hosted in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. But what can we expect from Apples biggest conference? Lets take a look at all the rumors and predictions.

Apple Music

We can expect to see something for Apple Music, its music service that was launched in 2015. The service did not meet Apples expectations or ours. Apple reportedly has an estimated 13 million subscribers but even then the service can’t compete with Spotify, which has an estimated 30 million subscribers and recently modified its family plan to match Apples. And while the service did grow there were reports and complaints about its user interface and integration issues.

So we might see an upgrade to the service such as new artists, new functionality and features, better and improved user interface, better streaming, and an expansion in its radio service. If Apple wants to get into the top it’ll also have to make a better royalty fee policy. 

OS X

This year’s OS X will definitely be showcased at the conference, as Apple recently came out with beta updates for developers. The new beta of OS X El Capitan  includes an update for tvOS and iOS 9.3.3. We might also see an integration of Siri for Mac, much like Cortana on Windows 10. MaRumours recently reported on a possible  Mac dock icon and menu bar icon for Siri. If you want to jump into the beta you download it from the Apple Developer Center, but be careful it’ll be riddled with bugs so use a backup device just to be sure.

iOS 10

ioS 10 will most likely also make an appearance, it’s pretty much expected. We might see user interface changes, performance improvements, new features, and new apps in the App Store. We’ve seen new iOS released at past WWDC conferences so it might follow suit.

Macs!

WWDC is mostly oriented at software although we have seen hardware showcased at the conference. So don’t be surprised if you see a new Mac. There have been many rumors about the possibility of a new MacBook Pro this year.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was released in April of 2015, so we demand to see another release. Well hopefully we’ll see something new. It has tough competition with the Samsung Gear S2, especially now that the company is in the works to introduce iPhone compatibility. There’s also the much coveted Sony Smartwatch 3, Asus ZenWatch 2, Moto 360 2, Huawei Watch, even Garmin and Pebble have smart watches. There are a lot of second generation and 3rd generation smart watches. If Apple wants to compete it’ll have to come out with a new watch that’ll outshine the rest.

WWDC will be a conference to see all kinds of new things from Apple. The conference will be held on June 13 – June 17 and you stream the event live on their WWDC App or at the website.

The newest features in Android N

The beta for the latest version of Android has been released and here are some of the biggest changes.

Multitasking

MultiTasking

Androids lack of multitasking has been an annoyance considering other companies such as Apple have come out with the ability to multitask, but now with the Android N you finally get multitasking on phones. The split-screen feature works on phones and tablets by holding down the task-switching button. Not all apps are available for split-screen for example Instagram though other work just fine, you can use YouTube and hangouts with no problem.

You can also double tap the task-switching button to open up the most recently used app, Google calls it Quick Switch. You also get the Clear All button located at the top right, so you can close all your apps at once.

Notifications

Notifications

The notifications bar and shading have changed. Icons are much tighter, make better use of space, and offer more functionality such as being able to see more information or expand notifications.You can also control how you can receive alerts from apps in the future by long pressing on each notification. So users can block notifications that are constantly sent out to them. You can also customize the top 5 icons that are shown in the notification bar.

Settings

The settings menu has changed, the first thing you will notice is suggestions at the very top. Suggestions offers settings changes for things you might not have setup such as email linking or voice commands. Each option also gives you relevant information so you don’t need to open up the option, you can see number of apps installed, storage capacity, battery life, and more right from the main menu.

Keyboard Themes

With Android N you also get stock keyboard themes for Google keyboard. You can choose various colors, or add custom backgrounds from your images, and you can add or remove borders between keys. It might not seem like a big update but its pretty fun.

Performance

Android N is adopting a new graphics API called Vulkan, which is used in PC gaming. Vulkan helps deliver better visual performance so you’ll likely notice a change in graphics. Android N also has a new JIT compiler, which Google says will improve battery life. It will make apps 50 percent smaller and increase installation speed by 75 percent.

New Emojis!

EmojisGoogle is updating its set of emoji for Android N. They’ve also proposed including 13 new emoji to represent professional women in the Unicode Consortium.

Virtual Reality

Android N has been built to be completely compatible with Google’s new Android powered VR platform called Daydream. As of now there’s only speculations based off the design specs and information we received from the first day of Google I/O.

Easter Egg

Easter EggGoogle has always traditionally put an Easter egg in the latest releases of Android. These Easter eggs are hidden and can be accessed by tapping the version number of Android in system settings. Android M had a new M logo and a Flappy Bird style game where you try to save a green android from marshmallows and its now followed suit in Android N. Though this is just the beta and a name has not been picked for Android N, Google is looking at you for help in naming it. You can go here #NameAndroidN, and submit your own name, just make sure it starts with the letter N and its sweet and sugary.

Daydream: Google’s new VR headset

We’ve all heard of Google Cardboard, the cheap and affordable solution to virtual reality, though compared to the powerhouses such as Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, it really falls short. Though it looks like the rumors were true and Google finally announced their next, official, VR platform: Daydream.

While the company did not show off a physical headset, they showed sketches of a headset and controller for developers. The controller is very simple and comes in an ovular design with a few buttons, a clickable and touchable touchpad. As of now there’s not alot to go on though the company states that the latest version of Android: Android N, is made to work completely with Daydream. So we’ll be seeing a lot of new apps and integration with Googles VR platform. Currently the company is partnered with Hulu, HBO, IMAX, and Netflix, along with game studios Ubisoft and EA.

Google might be making a high end VR

Virtual Reality is becoming a thing of the present with many companies including tech giants Microsoft and Facebook coming out with their virtual reality devices. Google also jumped into this market with their Cardboard, though for a company that innovates and creates technology such as self driving cars and enhanced glasses, cardboard seems out of date and almost irrelevant. Which is why it was big news when entrepreneur and tech journalist Peter Rojas tweeted that Google will be announcing Android VR.

 

Rojas also states that Android VR will be less powerful than the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.

Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive cost around $300 and are bulky this is one of the reasons why Cardboard was so popular, you can get one for $15, insert your phone and start using it. In the past Google has spent more efforts in getting developers to produce VR content. The price and the ease of use with the Cardboard is what it seems like Google is following.

Samsung is currently one of the cheapest and best options for Smartphone VRs coming in at $99, though the only problem is that you have to have a Galaxy or Note device to use the Gear VR headset. Though that did not stop the popularity of the VR headset, Samsung had more than one million users on the Gear VR last month.

We’ll have to wait and see at Google I/O just how Google will make an affordable yet powerful VR that can deliver high end optics.

Apples iPad Pro succeeds iPad Air and offers Office 365.

Apple releases the iPad Pro, not Air, to succeed the iPad Air 2, which was released in October 2014. Much like the iPhone SE this newest iPad Pro is smaller than the rest at 9.7 inches.

There are two options for the Pro: a 9.7 inch with 2048 X 1536 resolution and 12.9 inch with 2732 x 2048 resolution. The smaller 9.7 inch iPad Pro features a 25 percent brighter display than the Air 2, 500 nits of light, and reduced display reflectivity by 40 percent. It also comes with the newest iOS 9.3 feature Night Shift that shifts the display yellow for when the sun begins to set. It can also adjust white balance using two four channel ambient light sensors, which can measure the ambient light with more accuracy.

It has an M9 processor, up to 10 hrs of battery lift, 4 speakers, faster LTE with its A9X chip, and 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. It comes with a 12 megapixel camera that can shoot 4k video, the same camera on the iPhone 6s. The only downside is the bump on the back due to the camera, which might only result in as a nuisance rather than a concern. You can also use the Apple Pencil, which is a plus for the users that prefer to use the pencil. The 9.7 inc iPad Pro comes with a built in Apple Sim so that you can subscribe to a data plan and no it did not replace the nan Sim card, its still there.

The lower end iPad Pro starts at $599 with 32GB of storage, $749 with 128 GB, and $899 for 256 GB. Its more expensive than the Air 2, which right now goes for $399 but it does pack more performance. It will be available in silver, black, gold, and rose gold colors. Its 6.1 mm thick and weighs under a pound.

iPad Pro PC

“We believe that iPad is the perfect expression of the future of computing,” Said Tim Cook. Just from the keynote it looks like Apple is trying to bring back the iPad and have a vision for it to replace computers in the future. So much so that Apple wants the iPad Pro to replace windows and offers a Microsoft Office 365 subscription option with the purchase of the Pro. Office 365 is a subscription service that offers productivity software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, mobile apps, and has home, personal, and university versions with different features. Apple has also added this subscription offer on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, and iPad Mini 4.

Apples newest smartphone: The iPhone SE

Apple unveiled the iPhone SE, the newest model in its iPhone line.

The SE looks almost identical to the iPhone 5s with a 4 inch display. We can already tell that this phone is for the people who want to go back o the smaller version of high performance iPhones. Compared to a 6s, the SE is definitely smaller so it may feel like a toy when your holding it.

The SE has matte finished edges, something different than the iPhone 5s, which had sharper edges. In design its not much different, though iPhones don’t tend to sway from a basic design. The hardware, though, is different.

The smaller model has a faster A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor. It will also include an NFC chip for Apple Pay and “Hey Siri” will always be on. The phone has similar performance to the iPhone 6s with its smaller size. It will have an upgraded 12 megapixel iSight camera and the capacity to capture 4k video, similar to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It will also have a front facing camera with flash capability with the ability to use the phones screen to take selfies using the LED functionality in poorly lit areas.

Apple Iphone.jpg

The phone will come with the latest iOS 9.2, which includes TouchID, password protected Notes, customized articles and news, and Night Mode, which allows the user to change the brightness and color to better adjust your eyes. It won’t have 3D touch, which was introduced in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

It comes in two models a 16GB at $399 and 64GB at $499. The phone comes in space grey, silver, gold, and rose gold colors. The phone will be available on March 31.

SuitX is creating affordable exoskeletons to help the disabled walk again

Exoskeletons might seem like an invention from the future but would it interest you to know that exoskeletons have been used for years in most cases in military or industrial applications.

SuitX, created by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory Director, makes exoskeletons. In many cases exoskeletons are used to help people with motor or muscular disabilities and paraplegia regain their mobility. Their suit is called the Phoenix.

The Phoenix weighs 27lbs and consists of modules for two knees, feet, and the hip, 5 total. Depending on which modules are needed, users able to pick depending on their disability or use. It also comes with an app that can be used to set movement parameters. Batteries can last 8 hours if used sparingly or 4 hours of continuous use.

The only downside is the price, which puts it at $40 thousand, though the company is working on created affordable exoskeletons for the general population, shifting its focus from just military and industrial use.

While the suit might be costly as of now it might jump own in price considerably, enough to at least marginally afford one. These suits can be life changing and can be used in many different applications, which makes exoskeletons a very interesting technology of the future.