Airport Inspectors Can't Believe MacBook Air is a Real Computer, Acceleration at Work

March 11 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 10

Chalk this one up to accelerating change. Engadget reports that the owner of a super-thin Macbook Air laptop was held up by disbelieving TSA inspectors for such a long time that he wound up missing his flight.

Certainly the Air is a cool, nearly mind-blowing product, but don’t you think these folks should’ve grabbed another computer, hopped on the Mac site and confirmed that yes, this impossible consumer technology is actually real? That would’ve taken all of what, 3 minutes?

I’m already starting to feel bad for the airport screeners of 5 years from now. Imagine the new products and micro-technologies they’ll be required to identify and guard against. No longer will $8/hour (even if it is mostly for show nowadays) for an airport screener suffice, unless of course the scanning devices they employ improve very quickly.

The Race to Connect Africa: Apple vs. Microsoft

May 19 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Economics   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

With the rapid rise of the iPhone and Microsoft’s announcement that it will back the One Laptop per Child initiative, a massive battle for the African computer market may be shaping up sooner than expected.

The AP reports a new deal between Apple and cell provider Orange that will bring the iPhone to “Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland and African markets later this year.”

At the same time, Microsoft has finally agreed to provide Windows to the now promising OLPC initiative after years of ridiculing the then far-fetched project.

Though the iPhone presently costs more than a OLPC PC, $399 vs. $100, that price is due to sharply drop (perhaps to the $100 -$200 range) with the imminent release of the new 3G iPhone, which itself may be priced at just $199 if rumors about a hefty AT&T subsidy prove correct.

While lack of comm infrastructure and politics will certainly remain the primary barriers to diffusion, it looks as though these low-cost yet high-value products, driven by large companies getting accustomed to rapidly exploding markets in which first-mover advantage is critical, may catalyze a perfect storm for connectivity in under-developed nations, most notably African countries. (cont.)

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New Devices, Apps Will Change Public Interaction

June 16 2008 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 9 Hot

The release of the 3G Iphone last week (which featured GPS function and encouraged 3rd party application development) and the first prominent commercial installation of the Microsoft Surface table at Rio’s in Las Vegas signals a shift in the way we are going to interact in public spaces. It also marks the beginning of a dramatic increase in device and location driven 3rd party application development. Take a look at the Surface promo video below (warning – it’s a little cheesy).

Future iPhones Will Be Solar-Powered

May 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

I’m already big on the future of the iPhone, particularly its potential for underdeveloped regions like the African continent, so Apple’s latest patent filing for a solar-powered iPhone only serves to further my belief that the device will not only go big, but also spread very broadly.

According to Mac Rumours who first discovered the patent application:

The most interesting technique described by Apple … is the integration of the solar panels behind the actual LCD screen of a portable device. The solar panel would absorb ambient light that passes through the LCD screen of the device. ... If successfully implemented, Apple’s iPhone, iPod and laptops, could require no outward changes in design to add solar power.

As the price of both iPhone components and photovoltaic (PV) cells comes down steadily, this will add to the appeal of the increasingly coveted device, especially in resource-strapped areas as rising oil prices gradually push up the cost of manufacturing, transportation and electricity.

Adding solar cells beneath LCD screens is such an elegant no-brainer that it’s difficult to imagine a period in the near future when all mobile phones/computers aren’t forced to integrate solar. The main plausible alternative I can see is the prevalence of small plug-in PV power stations (either based at home, mounted on the car or worn) that can directly or indirectly charge mobile devices. But even then, just knowing that your device can charge autonomously still seems quite desirable.

In what year will a solar-powered iPhone hit the market?

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$100 Million Development "iFund" Launched, iPhone's Future Looking Massive

March 07 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Entertainment   Year: 2008   Rating: 7

Is this just the beginning for the iPhone?

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) yesterday announced the launch of the iFund with $100 million in venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and services for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. The iFund, managed by KPCB, will be invest in companies with “market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform.”

By establishing a $100 million fund dedicated exclusively to iPhone applications, KPCB is letting us know it expects ongoing iPhone market penetration to be massive, resulting in a multi-billion $ industry.

“A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch,” said John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to realize their full potential.”

By “significant”, Doerr most likely means companies in $50-200 million range, which reveals an expectation that the mass of iPhone app developers could in and of themselves claim $1 billion in valuation sometime in the next few years. Just imagine how many iPhone users there will have to be to pump revenue into these new companies.

“Developers are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they have the chance to turn those ideas into great companies with the help of world-class venture capitalists,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they fund through this new initiative.”

Of course they can’t wait. This is going to be huge for the spread of their platform and for their stock price, which may well pop when the market opens Friday.

So, when will you buy your first Apple iPhone? KPCB is betting it will be soon, if you don’t already have one.

When will you buy your first iPhone?

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Here Comes Video-to-Video Mobile Chat (Update: or does it?)

June 08 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Leaked photos of the new 3G Apple iPhone reveal that it’s very sleek and, best of all, supports video-to-video calling. If rumors of serious subsidies in the neighborhood of the -$200 range prove correct, then we could have a mobile video-to-video revolution on our hands the second half of this year, certainly by the holiday season.

Although it’s gotten increasing silly to wait for next-gen technologies, I sure am psyched that I bypassed the first iteration(s) of the iPhone for the 3G version, which is widely expected to be released June 9th.

Update: It looks as though this 3G iPhone photo may well be a FAKE, in which case we’ll have to wait a few more months or even a year before we get video-to-video. I dig the joke and feel thoroughly sheeeepish at having taken the bait. It did seem plausible, though I did pause, for a split second, when considering the bandwidth requirements.

Prediction: Such believable fake-outs, in the tradition of google’s April Fool’s jokes, will become far more prevalent as we enter the knee of the curve and crafty designers take advantage of the viral opportunities.

Apple's Looking Glass

May 23 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

In a paper released yesterday, AJ.P. Gownder and James L. McQuivey at Forrester predict that by 2013 Apple will become the hub of the digital home. They support this contention by imagining eight future Apple products including “wall-mountable digital picture frames with small high-definition screens and speakers that wirelessly play media”, “an Apple ‘clock radio’ that pipes in music and other media across a home network”, and “an ‘AppleSound’ universal remote control, also with a touch-sensitive screen, that lets users browse their music collections and change the songs playing through their stereo as they stroll around the house.”

I tend to concur with the rest of the blogosphere in that this is quite the tame list and that we’ll probably see significantly more advanced products from the likes of Apple circa 2013. With dropping component costs (hi-rez screens, processors, graphics cards, etc.), rising data transfer speeds (Internet2, a possible re-allocation of analog TV spectrum) new competition from proliferating design & interface companies, and the fact that most of these concepts already in prototype, I believe such products are more likely to hit mass-markets inside of 3 years rather than 5 long years away.

In particular I find the “wall-mountable digital picture frames” prediction a bit weak. If former Xerox PARC Director John Seely Brown is accurate in his estimation that Apple CEO Steve Jobs “is positioning himself to take over completely the living room,” then by 2013 I see the company developing radically cooler products such as a slick telepresence interface that future blogger Dick Pelletier expects by 2015 or before .

Being that such devices, albeit clunky and expensive versions, are already being sold by the likes of Cisco and VisBox, and that holographic and projection technologies could eliminate the expensive screen altogether, it’s unlikely that Steve Jobs and his crack team of agile researchers and designers haven’t yet realized the trumping value of rich multi-purpose, telepresence-enabling interfaces. (cont.)

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Linux Kernal on the iPhone — Does Android Dominate the Mobile Future?

December 01 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 2

AndroidThe Linux community could be described as a group of people across the globe with the best of intentions, but even within the Linux community there are still splits and divisions.

While the idea is to create community-based software that is free to everyone, getting quality software can be hard since instead of working on one program which can, let's say, edit video, there are multiple programs out there to perform this function.  This has always surprised me about the Linux community.  I always figured there would be just one program developers would work on to make the best instead of wasting their resources by working on multiple programs that perform the same function.

Why are there tons of media players when there should just be one?  Why are there various operating systems when there should be just one?  Even Ubuntu has multiple off-shoots which is understandable since people want to gear their computer towards gaming or speed specifically.  But a media player?

But now it seems we might be seeing one platform dominating a field where previously there had been over 50 varieties.

Android has made Linux users happy with their Open Source Operating System.  You can tell by looking through many of the different forums or sites Linux users use.  Just about anytime you see a reference to a mobile phone operating system, Android is referenced in spades.  A team of developers recently put the Linux kernal onto the iPhone.  The reaction?  People couldn't wait to try and put Android onto the iPhone.  And while Apple has tried its best to keep the iPhone from being re-programmed, it may prove futile in the end.

The only hope Apple has now of avoiding the loss of its operating system (and becoming only a hardware manufacturer) is if it too opens up its programming to users and generates support from the community.  As of now the iPhone is a novelty that, once Android is able to replicate or exceed, will eventually wear off.  Then again, it may already be too late for Apple.

 

Apple Aplies for Mysterious Patent, OLED Touchscreen On The Way?

December 05 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

A while back I reported on Microsoft's prototype called the SideSight, a cellphone which uses infrared sensors to determine your hand movement.  Now it turns out Apple has applied for a patent on just that.

apple.jpg

Sure, the image isn't too clear, but what you see is a possible infrared sensor array using LEDs or OLEDs as the sensor.  You'll be able to rotate displays with just a wave of your hand if you bring it close to the screen.  It doesn't stop there too.  Apparently they're looking into the same technology for a possible OLED iPhone that will feature these sensors.  Now THAT would be awesome.

via OLED-display.net