Category Archives: General

Alexa: To Trust or Not to Trust

Posted by Jacob Date: February 15, 2017

It seems that Amazon’s Alexa is all the rage and new fad for the middle-to-upper-class American, who can’t afford a human personal assistant and/or butler/maid. We have seen the various commercials at how convenient Alexa is. She can purchase household necessities via Amazon for you, look up movie times, play music; she can also hook up to the array of smart electronics you have in your home like TV or lights. All you have to do is give Alexa the command and it is done.

Alexa truly makes life a little easier for the family of 4 with both parents working and children active at school and in their community. She also provides nice perks like turning on and off the smart TV and dimming the lights to certain rooms. Alexa is better than Siri and the modern day technological advancement that is shaking up the mainstream, open to the public artificial intelligence (AI) community. With all of this convenience, who would not want Alexa in their homes?

The caveat, and probably the most crucial deterrent to getting Alexa… She is always listening. If you are paying attention to the tech world, you must have stumbled across the picture of Mark Zuckerberg with his MacBook camera covered and microphone port obstructed by now. What does Mark know that we do not? That is, someone is always listening and/or watching. Thus, leading us to Alexa, a device that is seemingly always listening.

Although her activation word is her name, Alexa, what is the device doing in the between “activations”. Does she go into a sleep mode? No. Her seven microphones are picking up every word that is said, whether you are across the room or right next to you, even while music is playing, in hopes that you drop her name to direct her to do something. So, where does all of this captured audio go? It goes into the infamous depths of “the cloud”. What is this cloud? It is a place in which data gathered by Amazon, in this case, is stored and kept at the ready to be recalled at any time.

So, with all of this in mind. Should you Alexa or not? Is this artificial intelligence device that is designed to adapt to me truly worth the $150? We here at TekiFeed definitely cannot answer that for you. However, we can provide you with the facts and allow you to make the decision for yourself. Whether “you have nothing to hide” or not, do you really want someone or something listening to every word you speak, every click of your mouse, or every time you scratch your butt?… Read full article

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