Monthly Archives: November 2016

Is Apple Losing Its Dominance?

Posted by Jacob Date: November 29, 2016

Is Apple Losing its Dominance?

The Apple Craze: historically defined by long serpentining lines of fanatics anxiously awaiting the release of the highly-anticipated newest generation device to replace the one they currently own that will soon become obsolete. For many years in a row, Apple led the web traffic oniOS over its rival Android, recording an impressive number of sales even in countries where Android devices were considered to be more popular. Apple’s high-end usability and exclusive prices bestowed on it the brand of a status symbol, making it a direct indicator of fashion and wealth. But since the death of Steve Jobs, the landscape seems to be changing, and not in a positive manner for this behemoth company.

There seems to be a dearth of the same product vision, business model creation approach, and consumer passion inducement that Jobs possessed, which led Apple to outshine all others in the gizmo world. The Silicon Valley giant has rejoiced its position as the most valuable company in the world for a span of almost five years but it incurred a huge blow this year as its revenue in the second fiscal quarter dropped by 13%, according to the reports. So, was the current Chief Executive Tim Cook accurate in his defense that  ‘Apple is going through a ‘pause’? or is the company’s best days behind them? Let’s take a look at some recent developments:

  • Apple has suffered a huge setback in its key global markets such as China. The finicky customer base in China is getting increasingly attracted to try options from competitors such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and Meizu. Not only do these companies offer their models at a cheaper price, their specifications are also at par with that of iPhone.
  • One of the major challenges for Apple is that although their new products captivate and create new customers, there is an immense lack of innovation and outstanding features in the subsequent iterations of the once-cool models. After the launch of 6th generation iPhone, Apple failed to reinvent itself with the launch of 6s that came with only marginal changes. At the same time, tech giants like Google are emerging with their own stellar line-ups of futuristic products like Pixel to threaten the Apple ecosystem. With attractive options such as unlimited storage and powerhouse specifications, Google is surely expected to shake up the market and raise the bar of competition.
  • It is true that artificial intelligence on phones was a brainchild of Apple, in the form of virtual assistant Siri, but not much progress has been made since then. While Google Now has emerged as a clear leader in AI department; firms such as Facebook, Nuance and Amazon have entered the space as well and are beginning to dominate it.
  • The majority of businesses have been using Microsoft Windows-based PCs over the years and when it’s time for replacement, they simply continue with the system that has the least deviation from the current one as employees are more accustomed to using it. Also, they generally stay away from Macs due to the lack of business program and application availability/cost as compared to the ones available on Windows platforms.
  • When it comes to capturing the home automation industry, Apple also seems to struggle as firms are required to go through a cumbersome procedure in order to collaborate on product development. Interested companies need to be accepted by their licensing application program called Made for iPod (MFi) that regulates overabundance of third party accessories for all i-devices. This certification process not only requires over a year for completion, but the companies also have to pay licensing and certification testing fees at each successive level. This is in stark contrast to Amazon’s, open-ended community driven approach, giving it an edge in the race for home automation dominance.
  • The iPad is a significant device in the tablet marketplace but over time cheaper Android tablets have been launched and are gnawing at its iPad’s market share increasingly. Microsoft’s Surface Pro range boasting of features like powerful Intel core processor, full Office, detachable keyboard with a trackpad, pen, touchscreen and external ports is offering a stiff competition to iPad Pro.

Concludingly, Apple has been a victim of sluggish growth in the smartphone marketplace. Apple’s key markets like Europe and the United States, haven’t demonstrated a lot of interest in upgrading their current phone with newer versions of iPhone or any other high tech smartphone, due to lack of new innovative features. There is still a great chance for Apple to hold its ground by cashing in on the brand’s popularity and the niche it has created for itself over the years. It is high time for the power of simplicity that Steve Jobs brought to the table, pioneering the way for Apple to become the world’s most … Read full article

Virtual Reality: The Gift of Choice for Christmas This Year

Posted by Jacob Date: November 21, 2016

Get your wallets ready. According to consumer electronic forecasters, the 2016 holiday season is all about Virtual Reality domination in the Christmas gifting market. Virtual Reality, with its cutting edge technology, has taken a huge leap this year with the introduction of full-blown simulated reality experiences encapsulating audiences. So, it is time to keep up with the tide and get your loved ones the perfect gift of modern Virtual Reality this holiday season. But first, let’s take a look at the journey this groundbreaking invention has made over the years and why it has finally earned a spot under the tree this year:

The crude concept of creating Virtual Reality experience for users has been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that Morton Heilig, a cinematographer envisioned this experience as a means to stimulate audiences’ senses and to entice them to interact more effectively to the stories being narrated. Many of Heilig’s dreams and visions paved way for the future of VR technology, and what it has become to be known as. In the 80’s, Sega’s Master System 3D glasses were launched, a headset that recreated a 3D effect in a more personalized user setup. Around 1995, Nintendo tried its hand in this arena with the introduction of a 3D red-and-black based headset, called the Virtual Boy and various 3D games like Mario’s Tennis, Wario Land Series, Teleroboxer etc. In the late 90’s, a company named Virtuality Group, began introducing players to a one of its kind arcade experience called ‘the Virtuality cabinets’ which put them in a 3D polygonal world. They introduced several fast paced games such as the Zone Hunter as well as a special version of Pac-Man. It was only after the company Oculus VR jumped in, that the VR technology got a major uplift. Their first device, Oculus Rift, launched a kick starter campaign and played a key role in making VR experience wildly popular among the masses.

Be it the high-end PlayStation player or the softly seasoned VR vet, there are a plethora of options available that won’t break the bank, and let your loved ones enjoy the experience of engaging in virtual reality at any time and place of their choice.

  • Ideal for the kids, Mattel View-Master at $20, is an advanced version of the classic Mattel and is amazingly durable and fun to keep them indulged.
  • Google Cardboard, compatible with most phones in the market, comes at a reasonable price of $30 and is the closest gateway to VR.
  • For Samsung phone owners, the Samsung Gear VR, priced at a modest $99 and boasts of some of the best quality reality content combined with Oculus touch.
  • The Figment VR iPhone Case doubles up as a virtual reality viewer. Available at $55, this is compatible with the iPhone 6 generation and later and makes Virtual Reality more accessible by letting you load up your Youtube 360 VR video or Google Cardboard.
  • The PlayStation VR, Sony’s PS4-high end headset, essentially pitched as the ‘must-have’ Christmas gift of this season, avows 50 superior quality games for core console customers and comes well under $800 coupled with a console, headset, and camera.
  • Oculus Rift, the poster child of VR technology provides the revolutionary gaming experience with full 3D immersion to the user; also priced at $800, this device is powered by developmental tools that give freedom to anyone to build their own game from scratch!
  • If you have a photography enthusiast friend, the Samsung Gear 360 camera is hands down the best spherical panorama camera available in the market for them. This comes with fisheye lenses that can capture an impressive 30 MP images and also shoot time-lapse high-resolution videos.

The dawn of Virtual Reality gaming has created a lot of buzz and excitement about the future prospects of this sector. With tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Sony are showing a groundswell of interest in this space, something extraordinary is definitely anticipated. The GameFace labs, claims to have developed a 2.5K prototype with its own lens technology and promises to make the VR experience more conventional and accessible with its content distribution platform uniting game developers. There is also some buzz regarding the use of nanotechnology to push the boundaries of Virtual Reality and literally allow images and/or scans of the human brain to be uploaded into a computer system. Virtual Reality can also emerge as a powerful teaching tool; enabling people to be fully present in a different world, exploring the foreign countries and reaching the depths of the oceans. In the long run, it is expected to enrich the way we socialize and network with people around the world, by providing a platform to collaborate, share moments, sing karaoke or simply hang around in a virtual environment … Read full article

What Will The Next iphone Do?

Posted by Jacob Date: November 18, 2016

While most people either hate Apple or love them, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the company. I was a huge PC fan until I discovered the Macbook Pro. And I was a Google Android fan until I discovered the iPhone 4s. I loved the customization options of Google’s OS but hated having to deal with constant crashes, bugs, and freezes. After initially writing the iPhone off as the one-size-fits-all, boring-people smartphone, I soon learned of the immense stability and reliability the simpler iOS had to offer. Eventually, the utilitarian in me won over, and I converted entirely to Team Apple shortly after.

Next year marks a decade since Apple unveiled its (at the time) signature mobile device that could play music AND make calls.

The next few iterations made huge strides, pushing the forefront of technology and the standard to ever-increasing levels. The more recent iterations…not so much. With Steve Jobs gone, and the most recent annual update being an improved camera and an eliminated headphone jack, many of us are left wondering, is the iPhone really a big deal anymore? Well, the boys over at Silicon Valley have about a year to prove to us that it is.

Let’s take a look at what may be possible in next years’ iPhone 8.… Read full article