Here is another exciting Kickstarter project that is clearly a harbinger of things to come. As you can see in this little video, CamFind's concept is "mobile visual search". Google already introduced this concept with Google Goggles, but the people behind CamFind say their technology is at least 4 times more accurate.

It is however easy to imagine what would happen if you combined this sort of tech with something like Google Glass. In essence the entire process you see here taking place on an iPhone would actually happen right in your field of vision. People around you wouldn't even be aware of the fact that you are busy researching them or checking out how much they paid for their furniture or new outfit. 

Just as exciting as it is creepy, no ?

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AuthorJehuda Saar

You have to admire the creativity of the people involved with these two spoof videos about the iPhone 5. The point is that the "real" Apple video introducing the iPhone 5 actually felt like a spoof in and of itself. See for yourself. Watch the two funny ones and compare it to the "serious" one. If you have been watching these 'intro" video every time Apple comes out with a new product, you know it is impossible to take them seriously anymore. I love the company, but time to "innovate" on the intro-video front.

And finally the "real" one.

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AuthorJehuda Saar

Just like last year, when Apple introduced the iPhone 4S and a great number of people expressed their disappointment at the "underwhelming" new arrival, this time too cries of disillusionment are being heard from every corner with regards to the iPhone 5. And just like last year all these naysayers were proven wrong, I predict that once again we will see the iPhone 5 break sales records but also turn into an amazing success with users worldwide. 

There are some basic misunderstandings about the iPhone that still linger in the marketplace and cause these enormous miscalculations both by observers of the industry as well as potential customers:

  • There are those who "get" the iPhone and those who don't. What I mean by that is, there are people who buy the iPhone because they buy into the entire ecosystem. They realize that the iPhone is only one part of a whole. They "grok" iCloud, iTunes, the app environment, connections between iOS and OSX, maybe even AppleTV. They stand in direct opposition of people who are looking to buy a gadget, the latest fad, some new exciting feature for that feature's sake. Looking for feature parity between the iPhone and some new Android device of the week is a total waste of time. So what if some new phone as NFC (near field communication) if nobody uses it ? Apple won't include a feature in their phone if that feature is half-baked. The first iPhone did not have 3G. The reason was that, back in 2007, there was no way to run 3G without running out of battery power within dozens of minutes. People could be heard complaining about that up and down the street, but the decision made by Jobs at the time was sound. There are so many Android phone models out there, from so many manufacturers, that there is no cohesive system in place. App usage on Android, beyond some percentage of savvy users, is minimal at best, whereas iOS users who understand their environment tend to acquire more apps and use them much more often. In many case Android users would have been "feature phone" buyers rather than smartphone customers. Many may not have known walking into the store what model they were going to walk out with on the day of the new acquisition. So a lot of the noise following the iPhone 5 intro of yesterday comes from that camp.
  • It used to be that Apple, as a company, was able to keep a tight lid on new products. The bigger the company became, the more successful they were, the harder keeping secrets turned out to be. There were almost no features of the iPhone 5 that were unknown to anyone paying attention these past few weeks. Pretty much every detail about the phone had been leaked, mostly by Chinese manufacturers looking to profit from the prestige of being an Apple OEM. As a result there was very little announced yesterday that elicited real surprise. Since people like a good surprise, a great number of pundits, journalists and cognoscenti cried foul yesterday since there were almost none.

  • For a while people got the idea that every time Steve Jobs took the stage, he would create a new revolution. People have come to expect dramatic, industry altering announcements from Apple as a result of some of the changes we have seen the company bring about this last decade. But if Apple does one thing well, it is to improve on something they have introduced in the past, without necessarily trying to disrupt it at every turn. The iPhone 4/4S was an amazing improvements over the original iPhone form factor. So Apple decided to basically stick to it, however make improvements to the phone's innards, without changing the overall look too much. No, the iPhone 5 doesn't hover in the air and it doesn't make me coffee. But that's not what I want my iPhone to do. Most people haven't yet realized that some of the revolutions we will see in the field are already baked into the product. We have not yet scratched the surface of what Siri will one day become. There is a reason Apple still calls it a "Beta". But by next week, with the release of iOS 6, Siri will come to the iPad. And in the not too distant feature I am convinced it will be on the Mac as well. Ultimately it will dramatically change how we use our electronic devices.

A mere five years ago there was no such thing as the "App economy". Three years ago there was no "tablet-PC" market to speak of. Apple will continue to disrupt entire industries and I hope that one day, THEY will be the ones to disrupt the iPhone itself. Hopefully, deep inside some secret Apple lab, there are people even now working on that next big thing: the product that will unseat the iPhone. But for now I am very happy that they have decided to improve on a good thing without trying to change it too much. Evolution rather then revolution, just what the doctor ordered.

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AuthorJehuda Saar

So now we know for a fact that the next iPhone is being introduced on September 12. But what about the people who claimed it was going to be called the "New iPhone" rather than the iPhone 5 ? Check out the shadow in the announcement graphic. Either they are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, or else this is it: the iPhone 5.

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AuthorJehuda Saar
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On July 30 iMore.com came out with the scoop that Apple will be introducing a new iPhone ("iPhone 5" ? "New iPhone" ?) on September 12 and that the new phones would be available in stores on September 21. He also stated that the new rumored iPad mini would come out on the same day. The iPad mini is supposed to be a smaller model of the most successful tablet-computer in history, somewhere between 7 and 8 inches, with a non-retina screen and rumoured to have a base model priced anywhere between $199 and $299. 

Knowing how Apple like to focus their product introductions on hot items and would not want any one category to cannibalize on the attention of another, the idea of introducing two important products such as these in one event sounded somewhat strange to me, but better informed people than me were writing those pieces and they seemed to know of what they spoke. Enter John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame who wrote this piece on August 23. He posited that with the iPhone alone being the "single most profitable product in the world today" (the iPhone business alone is bigger than all of Microsoft's businesses combined), why would Apple want to share the iPhone's spotlight with the announcement of another new product. 

This was soon followed by what appeared to be a very brief, innocent comment by Jim Dalrymple of loopinsight.com. Except that when it comes to Mr Dalrymple, when he writes about Apple, his comments are rarely innocent. He has proven to be very much in the know of the secret goings-on at Apple in the past and the tech-media always pay extra special attention to his apparently off-the cuff remarks.

And finally word came down from what is considered the most reliable source about Apple these days: John Paczkowski of AllThingsD.com. In a piece dated August 25 he "confirms" there will be two events: one introducing the iPhone on September 12 and another event in October for the iPad mini. As he says in his article:

"With a new iPhone and a new, diminutive iPad in the pipeline, Apple has two opportunities to commandeer the tech news cycle ahead of the annual holiday shopping binge, and it's going to take them both."

You will notice that the headline of his piece states "Confirmed", however the last line of the piece states clearly "Apple declined to comment on its plans". And yet the tech world accepts that if AllThingsD says it is so, it will be so. That only leaves one more little item in question. What about the new rumored iPod nano ? We have heard anything from a WiFi enabled nano, to rumours of a nano that would work with an iPhone as a wristwatch or other wearable "satellite" for your phone. When will that be introduced ? 

Personally I believe that if the nano is being repositioned as something that extends your iPhone's functionality, it makes sense to introduce it the same day the new iPhone comes out. In the meantime all we can do is wait and speculate some more.

Posted
AuthorJehuda Saar

Imagine attending an event with a few friends. All of you have iPhones. You all take them out and fire up a free app called Vyclone. You all start shooting video of the event from different angles. All the footage together is gathered into one clip that switches between the cameras, in sync. You can later remix anyone's clip and use the raw footage to your heart's content. Finally, you can share the final version. Minor piece of trivia: one of the founders of Vyclone happens to be Sting's son. Yes, THAT Sting.

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AuthorJehuda Saar

I am not yet sure why I did this, but the second I heard that Chrome was available on the iTunes App Store, I went for it. I am almost exclusively a Safari user, but for some reason I felt the need to add Google's browser to my machines. I'll let you know when I figure out why that was so important, but in the meantime I did feel that the little ad Google prepared for this intro was worth watching. Enjoy.

Posted
AuthorJehuda Saar
CategoriesiPad, iphone

For Mac and iPhone users who have been looking for a great Mail alternative, check out Sparrow. This is an elegant, simple, straightforward email program that I have been using concurrently to Mail for a while now and love dearly. Version 1.3 for the iPhone now adds POP email support (originally it was IMAP only and at first was just a Gmail client but has evolved since) which, from that perspective, brings it to parity with the Mac version. The site's iPhone page has a cute "emulator" that shows you what happens when you apply specific clicks or swipes to the app. If you integrate it with your FaceBook account it will pick up your friend's profile pictures into your mail messages. Definitely worth the detour.

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AuthorJehuda Saar
iphoneinvite-255590.png

I am going to do something I never have before: make predictions about tomorrow's iPhone event. Judging by the invitation Apple sent out last week (appearing above) here are my own conclusions. First the obvious stuff: the Calendar icon shows Tuesday the 4th. Simple enough: the event takes place tomorrow, October 4th. The Clock icon shows 10 o'clock. No problem there either. The Maps icon shows the location which is inside the Apple campus. And finally the Phone icon shows a "1". This is where the confusion starts. We have heard so many rumours of two new iPhones coming out: an iPhone 5 and a "cheap(er)" model, maybe called the 4s. Case manufacturers have gone so far as to create cases using a brand new form factor that does not correspond to the iPhone 4 size, simply based on rumours and inuendos, and all so that they can be first to market with a product and hope to cash in that way. Quite a gamble if you ask me.

Personally I don't think we are going to see two models, and I have a feeling that the number 1 in the phone icon is exactly that: 1 model. Furthermore I believe that the form factor will be identical, externally at least, to the iPhone 4. There is really nothing wrong with that form factor. We can surmise that one or maybe both cameras will get an upgrade, most likely to 8 megapixels for the outward-facing camera. And chances are the processor will be the A5 dual core chip we know from the iPad 2. It is also possible that this new model will work on both GSM and CDMA networks. The fact that the event is taking place at Apple's campus also points, in my opinion, to the fact that this is not viewed by Apple as a "revolutionary" event but rather an evolutionary one. Hence my thought about the form factor again. And maybe low key enough that the name of the new product will actually not be the iPhone 5 but something like an iPhone 4S or 4GS.

But maybe most importantly we should read a lot into that little line of text at the bottom: Let's talk iPhone. It would appear that the biggest news about this particular new iPhone will be the Nuance technology built in. They might as well have written: Let's talk TO the iPhone. Rumours are rife with news of advanced tech built into the phone that might turn it into the first phone people talk to regularly. We had seen some of it a while ago when some other Nuance software was announced. But this time it looks as though Apple may have gone all out, and we might not be far from those images seen anywhere from  "2001 A Space Odyssey" to shows like "Star Trek", however for now we shouldn't expect our phone to talk back to us much...yet.

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AuthorJehuda Saar
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Two anouncements will surround the Jewish New Year: tomorrow morning, hours before the start of festivities, Amazon will anounce their new touchscreen media consuming iPad competitor believed to be called the Kindle Fire, and a couple of days after the holiday, Apple are set to anounce on October 4 what is expected to be the next iPhone, believed by some to be called the iPhone 5 and others the 4s (or will it be both ?). A great number of tech luminaries feel very strongly that if there ever was a company capable, and well enough positioned, to give Apple a run for its money, it is Amazon. And I tend to agree with that opinion. Both companies will have the hardware and the content, and in essence will control their entire eco-system, which is exactly what HP, RIM and countless other tablet manufacturers, be they android-based or otherwise, were not bringing to the table.

Our inclination would be to believe that Apple and Amazon are going to butt heads in this business. Interestingly enough their approaches are diametrically opposed. Of course both companies are looking to make this a succesful business, but each of them are looking to sell something else entirely. Amazon will in fact sell a tablet, but they are not looking to make money on the tablet. Amazon are in the business of selling content, of driving customers to their online store for stuff, be they bits or widgets. Their tablet(s) are just a means to an end. Apple, however, do sell content, but only as a means to sell more tablets. They offer the content as an enticement, to justify laying out the big bucks for the iPad, the iPod touch, the iPhone. I would not be surprised if at some point certain Kindle models are given out for free. As is, the current Kindle3 is sold at slightly over $100. Apple regularly offer free stuff on the iTunes store. Why not, if it means you'll be more eager to buy their hardware.

And so it is clear that things are about to get a lot more interesting in the world of Tech. Which leads me to wish us all a happy, sweet New Year.

Posted
AuthorJehuda Saar

I had previously posted a story about Kickstarter and how it acts as a funding platform for creative projects. Here is a new one. The saying goes that the best camera you own is the one you have with you when you need to take a picture. For iPhone 4 users there now is a new way to carry your phone around: as a camera. The video explains it best and details are available on the Kickstarter website. Still about one month to go to get in on this one so if taking pictures on your iPhone 4 is your "thing", go for it.

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AuthorJehuda Saar

An Antwerp-based advertising agency has just come up with a cool and innovative way to advertise an insurance company by combining iAd and newspaper print. For those who are not familiar with iAd, this is a mobile advertising service provided by Apple on their iPhone. I am not familiar with any other iAd that has taken advantage of this method to both (1) advertise and (2) install a free app on the iPhone. I did leave Antwerp some 24 years ago, but I guess it's kind of cool that the idea originated there. 

Posted
AuthorJehuda Saar
Categoriesiphone

I had left her behind. I had turned my back on her. It was January of 1986, we had been close for a couple of years, and the day I left Belgium I simply walked away without giving her another thought. It took almost 25 years for me to start remembering those long ago years, to once again think about the times we had spent together. To remember how she felt to the touch, to imagine her luscious curves and the unique sound she made when my fingers would touch her just so. Yes, you guessed it: I finally dug out my old bass guitar left behind in a locked case in Antwerp a quarter century ago.

It's been two weeks now since I got her back, twenty five years since I last attempted to play bass. It's safe to say that this time around my approach is a little more methodical. I probably learned more about playing the bass in the last two weeks than I had those couple of years way back when. I still sound like crap, but I have hope that one day I might even sound halfway decent. 

But this time around I was able to marry my love of music with my love of tech like never before. One of the reasons the bass guitar came back into my mind was the introduction of one of the coolest apps I have yet discovered on the iPad. Actually it is a combination of hardware and software. The hardware part is the iRig and the software is AmpliTube, both made by a company called IK Multimedia. iRig is an adapter that allows you to hook up a musical instrument to your iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch) and get sound output. AmpliTube for iPad is a collection of software based amps, effects and other musical tools that previously would have meant carrying tons of gear around with you. 

Rather than write some sort of review I shot and uploaded a short video that shows this gear in action. I have seen a lot of videos online showing mostly guitar players putting the iRig/Amplitube combi through its paces, but so far no bass players doing their "thing". I have however heard of at least one electric violin player using it as well, so I am sure we are only in the very first stages of a modest revolution in the way musicians perform.

Forgive all the screeching though. Remember, for all intents and purposes I am really still a newbie.

 

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AuthorJehuda Saar
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