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tech in the spotlight

Unimpressed: Luxury Watch Makers, Analysts Aren't Sold on Apple Watch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 11, 2014 12:37 PM

Apple’s innovations over the years have changed the music and smartphone industries, but its newest category—wearables—may not see the same success.

According to Business Insider, the Swiss watch industry gave a collective shrug over the debut of the long-awaited Apple Watch. “They are essentially transient products rather than items of enduring value,” one Swiss watch industry expert told the site.

Traditional watchmakers aren't impressed, and see zero competition from the Apple Watch, and the impending wearable trend as a whole, despite the fact that Apple released not one, but three collections of the watch that vary in price and materials, including the luxury Edition collection, which features 18-karat gold.  

“I think the Apple Watch will be successful. But it’s not competition for the classic Swiss watch industry,” Franz Tuerler, owner of a luxury watch store in Zurich, told the site.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple Naming Evolves With Move From iThings to Things

Posted by Claire Falloon on September 9, 2014 07:08 PM

Forget the iWatch. In the much-anticipated unveiling of Apple’s latest and greatest products and offerings, another more subtle but no less significant game-changer was revealed: the brand's new—or at least evolving—naming convention.

Previously the owner of all things “i,” Apple today moved the needle towards its masterbrand by announcing the new Pay mobile payments platform and Watch smartwatch. While still keeping "i" as part of its iPhone line, with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus revealed today, Apple's naming evolution is interesting on a number of levels.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Time's Up: Apple Unveils Larger iPhones, Wows with Apple Watch and Payments

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2014 05:15 PM

Today, at what seemed like its largest press event ever, Apple unveiled the future of communication—and it's beautiful. 

CEO Tim Cook took the stage after countless brand fans and media kept their eye on a countdown clock on Apple's website, effortlessly building anticipation for a product launch that many have been counting on for the last year. And in true Apple fashion—minimalist introductory video and slideshow presentations, live demos and a parade of Apple executives not to mention U2—the brand introduced what everyone had been waiting for: two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus; a new payment platform, Apple Pay; and the highly-anticipated Apple Watch

After years—decades, really, in tech time—of shunning the "bigger is better" trend in mobile, Apple unveiled not one, but two new iPhones, both of which offer a larger screen experience. But the two new phones turned out to be perhaps the least ground-breaking announcement of the day.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

With the World Watching, Will Apple's iPhone Event Disappoint?

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on September 8, 2014 05:38 PM

The countdown is on as Apple watchers are at the ready for the next big thing: its product reveal taking place Tuesday morning at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. As the "What to Expect" headlines keep rolling in, Apple, as usual, will do its best to keep leaks at bay, so as to unveil its latest products in the typical, dramatic, Apple fashion we all have come to know so well

Perhaps the only certainty regarding the launch is that Apple will unveil a new iPhone, in line with its fall mobile announcements. But how many, and more importantly, how big? And will we finally see the so-called "iWatch" after months of rumors and sketches?

Major news outlets think so, and if Apple wants to stay on top of its game, it had better. This past week alone saw major wearable tech announcements from Samsung and Intel, and while none of them (arguably) hold the fascination that Apple does, there's no doubt that Apple acolytes are getting impatient waiting for CEO Tim Cook to unveil his first big product post-Jobs.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Ahead of Apple Event, Samsung Unpacks Phablets, VR Headset and Smartwatch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 4, 2014 01:39 PM

The fight for mobile dominance will reignite next week when Apple launches the next generation of its iPhone. Samsung, of course, isn't waiting until the launch to try and get ahead of its biggest competitor. 

Yesterday, the global smartphone leader introduced two new Note phones, a VR headset as well as an expansion of its music-streaming service, Milk Music. The timing couldn't be better, as Android has gained ground on Apple's iOS while both face steep competition from manufacturers out of China. 

The new Samsung products were introduced at simultaneous "Unpacked" events in New York City, Berlin and Tokyo where it debuted two new iterations of its Note phablets, including the Galaxy Note 4 and the futuristic Galaxy Note Edge, which has a curved display that stretches over the edges of the smartphone. The content on the edge of the phone is customizable; users can choose from a current weather report, stopwatch,  a bedside clock, or a list of trending topics. The edge can also serve as a ruler, whether the consumer needs it to be centimeters or inches. Samsung will release an API for the Edge so that outside developers can create apps for it as well.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Say Hello to Mr. Roboto: SoftBank's Pepper Will Be Sold in US Sprint Stores

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 3, 2014 05:24 PM

Asian telecom giant SoftBank claims that its robot, Pepper, which was developed by SoftBank's Aldebaran robotics division, is the first robot “with a heart.” Americans will soon be able to judge for themselves, as Bloomberg reports that the robot could be on sale in SoftBank-owned Sprint stores as soon as next summer. 

Whatever the future holds, the company has already “received between 300 and 400 inquiries about Pepper from companies in finance, food service and education,” for the 4-foot-tall dancing, joke-making, emotion-reading robot. When SoftBank debuted Pepper back in June, the initial market was thought to be for families and the elderly, but businesses apparently came calling.

“We will sell Pepper in the United States within a year after gathering information in Japan,” Fumihide Tomizawa, president of SoftBank Robotics, told Bloomberg. “I won’t be surprised if Pepper sales will be half to business and half to consumers.” Japanese consumers willing to spend around $1,900 will get the first crack at Pepper in February.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Days Before Big Event, Apple Dispels Doubts Cast by iCloud Hack Allegation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 2, 2014 02:24 PM

Ahead of what will be a crucial week for the brand, Apple is under scrutiny after its iCloud reportedly played a big part in the massive leak of scandalous celebrity photos by hackers who gained access to personal iCloud accounts.

Originally suspected to have enabled the hack via a bug in its “Find My iPhone” app, Apple has denied it's at fault following an internal investigation. Earlier, a company spokesperson responded to the allegation by stating, “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” while the FBI has also launched its own probe into the leak. 

The #iCloudHack doubts cast on its ability to protect user data and privacy are poor timing, as Apple is preparing for its Sept. 9 iPhone event, where the brand is also expected to reveal its much anticipated "iWatch" (or iTime?) wearable.

But the iCloud leak also spells trouble for the brand's just-announced partnership with Visa, MasterCard and American Express on a mobile wallet, reportedly a cornerstone of its upcoming iPhone 6. If photos can be hacked from iCloud, what does that say for personal information and banking data?Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Can Facial-Mapping Take the Beauty Industry to a New Level?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 10:40 AM

The days of excruciating hours spent in a makeup chair to transform into a character like Mrs. Doubtfire or the Joker are waning, thanks to Nobumichi Asai’s Omote.

A mash-up of real-time facetracking and projection mapping, artists can layer malleable makeup on subjects that are moving. Asai has previously used projection mapping to apply CGI to cars and to buildings before taking on the human face.

Asai's iteration still has some kinks to work out, but the face-mapping technology behind the project is actually at work in several other branded products in the beauty industry that are currently on the market.Continue reading...

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