Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

Apple Is Giving Us The Finger

As I always say, I love Apple–and they still have the best darn Smartphone on the market–but they continue to disappoint with anything new.

This week, with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, Apple had the opportunity to introduce something new and exciting, but instead what did we get?

– A faster processor and Touch ID fingerprint reader.

In nutshell, since Steve Jobs untimely passing, Siri was a bombshell, actually just a big consumer product bomb.

And now with the fingerprint reader as the big newcomer add-on to the iPhone, it’s as if (sorry to say), Apple is giving us all the proverbial finger.

While the fingerprint reader is cute and a faster logon, it is really not a must-have or a game-changer.

The only thing less exciting than Touch ID is the new Yahoo logo.

In the last two years, Apple has taken a mighty innovation lead and squandered it.

Still, no one can touch their highly integrated iPhone product.

However, if much more time goes by without something meaningfully new and innovative, they will be in trouble.

Rumors of an iPhablet (iPhone/tablet) with a significantly larger screen (ranging from 4.8 to 6 inches) will be more like the Samsung Galaxy S4 with 5-inch screen rather than than iPhone 5S 4-inch screen, and would have attraction for people who like to read or watch on a larger, better display.

Of course a significantly better camera would be helpful too–need I say more?

Some interaction with wearable technology, like a Google Glass with augmented reality would also be a winner.

And a fully ruggedized smartphone, similar in concept to a Panasonic Toughbook–and up to military grade specs–that withstands drops, spills, dust, and lots of everyday field use punishment, would be way cool for the action-adventurer in all of us–and maybe then we wouldn’t need all the silly looking cases.

In the meantime, put your index finger on the home bottom, while Apple puts their middle finger up at you, the consumer.

Steve Jobs, where the heck are you? 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CNET)

Apple Designers Lost In The Imagination Orchid

Apple Designers Lost In The Imagination Orchid

Apple which is under competitive pressure to come up with something new—since Steve Jobs, their chief and master innovator passed away—seems like a deer in the headlights, where they can’t sprint forward to the next innovation and instead, they just sit paralyzed in fear and stair dumbly into the oncoming Mac truck called Google and Samsung.

Apple, the pioneer of the mobile icons on your smartphone and tablet that look like what they are, has lost their way—big time.

Their new iOS 7 abandons this intuitive, user-centric architecture approach of skeuomorphism for instead a more amorphous look and feel—where the user has to guess what an icon is supposed to be (check out the unintelligible icons for Newstand or Passbook mobile wallet).

In other cases, there is virtually no significant perceptible change at all (see Messages and iTunes that are just a little bigger) or other changes that are actually detracting from what was in iOS 6 (see Reminders without the check marks, Notes without a notepad look, Settings without the gears, and the addition of clouds to the Weather icon).

I love Apple products—but just like they are flailing with a new backwards-leaning graphical user interface and Siri, the useless automated personal assistant, they are behind in the wearable technology arena, where Google Glass in almost off and running.

There is a reason Apple stock has tanked from over $700 to hovering in the low to mid $400 range,–without the brilliance of Job’s imagination, a laser-focus on perfecting their products, future-thinking functionality, and sleek elegant design–Apple is in trouble.

Will an Apple watch or television be unveiled soon and save the day?

It will extend Apple’s successful running streak, but their distinctive culture of creativity and excellence had better emerge in more ways than an iWatch or iTV for Apple to hold their crown of technology glory. 😉

(Source Photo: Facebook Fan’s of Apple)

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Ray Kurzweil the famous futurist is an amazing person, but like everyone he has his good and bad days.

When it comes to the Singularity–Kurzweil had a very good day.

With the accelerating speed of technology change, the advent of super intelligence and superhuman powers is already here (and continuing to advance) with:

Smartphones all-in-one devices give us the power of the old mainframe along with the communication capabilities to inform and share by phone, text, photo, video, and everything social media.

Google Glass is bringing us wearable IT and augmented reality right in front of our very eyes.

Exoskeletons and bioengineering is giving us superhuman strength and ability to lift more, run faster and further, see and hear better, and more.

Embedded chips right into our brains are going to give us “access to all the world’s information” at the tip of our neural synapses whenever we need it (Wall Street Journal).

In a sense, we are headed toward the melding of man and machine, as opposed to theme of the Terminator movie vision of man versus machine–where man is feared to lose in a big way.

In man melded with machine–we will have augmentations in body and brain–and will have strength, endurance, and intelligence beyond our wildest dreams.

However, Kurzweil has a bad day is when it comes to his prediction of our immortality.

Indeed, Kurzweil himself, according to the Journal “takes more than 150 pills and supplements a day” believing that we can “outrun our own deaths.”

Kurzweil mistakenly believes that the speed of medical evolution will soon be “adding a year of life expectancy every year,” so if only we can live until then, we can “Live long enough to live forever.”

But, just as our super intelligence will not make us omniscient, and our superhuman powers will not make us omnipotent or omnipresent, our super advances in medicine will not make us, as we are, immortal.

Actually, I cannot even imagine why Kurzweil would want to live forever given his fear-inspiring Singularity, where advances in machine and artificial intelligence outpaces man’s own evolutionary journey.

Kurzweil should knock off some of the pills and get back to humankind’s learning and growth and stop his false professing that humans will become like G-d, instead of like a better humans. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Action Video Extravaganza

Action Video Extravaganza

This is an awesome action video–5 minutes and totally worth it.

It feels like being inside a single player shooting game.

I first saw this video on Facebook posted by a colleague as a interesting advertisement for Go Pro wearable helmet cameras, often used for capturing extreme sports activities.

Now we are going from helmet cams to Google glasses.

With the new Google Glass coming out this year for $1,500–that mimics most smartphone functions including taking pictures and videos just by a simple verbal command such as “Okay Glass, record a video” or “Okay Glass, take a picture,”– things are going to get a lot dicier.

While this type of James Bond action doesn’t happen everyday for most of us, if we can capture every day events like these –it will be both awesome from a recall, sharing, entertainment, study and scientific perspectives and scary from a privacy one.

If Google Glass really works as it’s envisioned, it is going to revolutionize how we interact with the world and each other–get ready augmented reality, here we come. 😉

From Adventure Photography to Lifelogging

Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium-filled balloon lifted space capsule, one week ago today, to set a skydiving record from 24 miles up and reaching the speed of 834 miles per hour.

On Felix’s helmet was a GoPro video camera to capture this memorable event.

GoPro is the leader in wearable, waterproof, shockproof videocameras and has an especially strong market in action and extreme sports.

Their newest helmet-mounted camera is the HD HERO3 (available 17 October 2012), and it continues the significant trend to ever smaller, lighter, and more powerful cameras technology.

I like this video they put out showing the high resolution and exciting video taken while doing activities from surfing to mountain climbing, deep sea diving, flying, kayaking, and more.

I have a feeling that these cameras are going to make a leap from capturing adventure photography to being used for lifelogging and lifejournaling–where people capture major life events on a wearable camera, and in some extreme cases–they try to capture virtually their whole life!

As someone who has blogged now, thank G-d, for 5 1/4 years, I greatly value the ability to capture important events, share, and potentially influence–and lifelogging with discrete, wearable camera technology can take this even further. 

Of course, with this technology, we need the ability to search, discover, and access the truly memorable moment–those that are meaningful to you and can have a deep and lasting impact on others–and let’s face it, despite the rise of Reality TV, most of life is not quite a Kardashian moment. 😉

It sort of reminds me of the Wendy’s commercial, where the old lady asks from a fictitious competitor, “where’s the beef?” With lifelogging, blogging, or other capture and sharing technologies, the beef had better be there (people’s time is valuable)!

There are billions of people to reach–capture, reflect, share…in writing and with pictures–then truly, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Realizing Bubble Boy

Bubble_boy

Cool innovation out of Sweden, as an alternative to regular bike helmets, there is now the Hovding.

An “invisible” nylon air bag helmet that is worn stylishly around the neck and inflates only when the it detects a pending accident.

The wearable device has a rechargeable accelerometer and gyroscope for sensing accidents, and it can inflate with helium in just a tenth of a second.

It also has a “black box” that records that last 10 seconds of the accident, so that investigators can analyze what happened.

The helmet shell for around the neck comes in a variety of styles and colors, and it costs between $450 and $600 dollars, but  is not usable after a single inflatable event.

While many people don’t want to wear crash helmets because they are either unattractive or uncomfortable, this new inflatable helmet provides style and comfort, and most importantly head protection.

The developers see other potential uses for skiing, horseback riding, epileptics, and the elderly.

I wonder about future applications for even more extreme sports and activities like motocycle riding, sky diving, and even race-car driving–people could do the things they enjoy, more naturally, without the clunky helmet, but still have the protection they need.

Also, I believe that the inflatable helmet has potential to be expanded into a more complete body guard package–like an invisible protective shield ready and waiting to be deployed all around a person in case of an accident, attack, or other disaster scenario.

Like the idea of Bubble Boy, who lives in a sterilized dome to protect him because of a compromised immune system, people of all types may one day be able to have a protective bubble that keeps them out of harm’s way.

Technology, such as the smartphone, is moving from mobile to wearable, and high-tech helmets too have the potential for a big lift–stay tuned for yours. 😉

(Source Photo: herewith attribution to Geoffery Kehrig)