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.

Firebase: Googles unified mobile developers platform

Google has a reputation for persuading developers to work on their platform, so its no surprise when the company announced Firebase, that gave a dedicated platform and SDK for building mobile apps. Today the company announced the expansion of these services through new features and integration with cloud tools.

Firebase was akin to Facebooks parse, offering a database service and hosting tools. The newest version of Firebase takes existing developer tools and combines them with Firebase services, turning it into a single unified app platform.

It features deep analytic services, much like Google Analytics, there’s a connection to the platform or in this case the app that you want to get data from. Developes can link apps with Firebase and see how often and whenever a button is pressed. This allows developers to anaylze app performance and user behavior. Developers also have access to make remote configuration changes in apps to allow for  a variety of things such as A/B testing, changes in apps to allow for more interaction with users, changes in games to make them easier, and engage with your users.

Another new feature is Firebase’s new notifications system, which is based on Google Cloud Messaging, now known as Firebase Cloud Messaging. Firebase now supports iOS, Android, and the Web, and users get free unlimited notifications.

Google is also integrating Cloud Test Lab into Firebase for testing mobile apps on real hardware, which is no known as the Firebase Test lab. Developers also get crash reporting, the ability to create dynamic deep links in apps, Firebase invites to allow users to share referral codes, Firebase App indexing to integrate app content into Google Search, and integration with Google AdWords and AdMob, Googles advertising platforms.

Along with a new pricing plan developers can also get access to a free but limited version.

Instant Apps for Android by Google

Mobile apps have become a part of the user experience culture, there’s almost an app for everything and anything. Though to get the apps you have to search them, download them, and then install them. This can be daunting for some but mostly is an already convenient approach, but Google wants to take it a step further and redefine what apps are and how users interact with them. Googles solution Instant Apps.

Instant Apps were announced today during Google I/O developer conference. Its a new Android feature that will allow users to use native apps instantly. This new feature allows developers to partition their apps into small parts that are able to start within seconds. The apps are meant to also replace mobile sites. Google demonstrated this by giving an example of paying for parking. You place your phone near the parking meter, the phones built-in NFC chip read the info, and the native app pops up speedily. If you close the instant app it disappears and stays in the cache for a few hours. For developers Instant Apps are built using existing apps, so users can download only necessary parts of the app instead of the entire app. Developers will need to use Android M or Android N permissions to make these apps and they cannot exceed 4MB.

One interesting thing is that Instant Apps will work on Android Jelly Bean devices and up, it’s not specifically for Android N. Google wants most of their users to be able to take advantage of Instant Apps. They are also compatible with Android app links to be able to launch Instant Apps through existing links, using Google Play services. So those devices that don’t have Google Play wont be able to use Instant Apps.

 

 

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.

Goodbye Siri, Welcome Viv.

Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer the creators of Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, have created the next generation artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called Viv.

Kittlaus and Cheyer have been developing this AI for the last four years and today, May 9th 2016, they debuted Viv for everyone to see. Viv functions differently by connecting to various services, at Disrupt NYC the AI handled multiple complex requests by connecting with third-party merchants to buy goods and even book reservations for its user. Viv will also be capable of learning and teach itself, allowing for more personalization and growth through more usage.

Viv is considered the next gen Siri though Viv looks and behaves entirely different. With Siri you had queries sent off to a search engine to display results and requests, and could only handle a small number of tasks. Viv behaves more like Amazon’s Alexa by connecting to different platforms, devices, and services. Viv is in an essence more social than Siri, it also handles natural language comprehension better than Siri.

Currently Facebook and Microsoft have their own AI that handle multiple complex requests and can connect to third party services. Microsoft recently announced their bot engine and showed Cortana connecting with different apps and Facebook has their open platform that allows developers to build bots for Messenger. Though Viv feels more like Hound. Hound is more of a underground AI that hasn’t taken off with general consumers. It has an incredible ability to understand natural language and boasts its dominance through speedy results.

Viv’s creators also showed “Dynamic Program Generation,” which shows the codes used by Viv after a verbal request and giving a view into how it understands and handles requests.

Viv and other AI like it could change the way we interact with services. In the future you may no longer be required to call or look online to purchase good or services, you could just tell your AI what you want and it could do it for you. Ordering food, booking flights, rooms, or renting cars may all be done through AI assistants.

Chinese company develops Graphene e-Paper

A Chinese company, Guangzhou OED technologies, has created a graphene electronic paper, which would revolution screen displays for smartphones and e-readers.

Graphene electronic paper is the world’s lightest and strongest material, it comes at 0.335 nano-meters thick, and can be used to create hard or flexible graphene displays. It has the ability to conduct heat and electricity, and it could be able to enhance optical displays.

Graphene is made by tightly packing a layer of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice, in essence its a very thin layer of pure carbon. It was discovered in 2004 and has become heavily used in many industries. The material is also very durable, its 150 times stronger then steel and very flexible.

This new breakthrough in graphene technology may be used to create better displays for smartphone touchscreens and e-readers. And since they are made from carbon the displays may be cost-effective as traditional e-paper is made from the rare metal indium. These screens might be able to allow for displays that could be folded and manipulated for various uses.

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.