Archive for the ‘iphone’ Category

By Alistair Fairweather

Of all tech companies Apple Inc is the champion of playing hard-to-get. For 18 months it has had geeks and journalists salivating over rumours of another revolutionary product.

Finally, on January 5 the Wall Street Journal broke the (sort of) official news – Apple will be revealing a “multimedia tablet device” in January, and may begin shipping as early March.

Before you get too excited, that’s tablet as in Ten Commandments, not as in Panado. Essentially it’s a touch screen device around 11 inches (28cm) across which is rumoured to be named the iSlate. Imagine an iPhone or iPod touch, but with four times the screen area and you’re pretty close to Apple’s new device.

So why would Apple want to launch a giant iPod? Their seminal application strategy has made its small-form devices (iPhone and iPod touch) incredibly versatile and useful. But no one would willingly edit an entire document on an iPhone, or watch a whole movie on an iPod touch.

That’s where the iSlate comes in – it’s an entire laptop squashed into something the size and weight of a laptop screen. And because of the touch screen there is no need for peripherals like a mouse or keyboard – you do everything with the device itself.

But to think of it in those terms is to miss the potential game-changing genius that made the iPhone such a huge hit. The revolutionary thing about the iPhone interface is that it’s “gestural” – it understands what you want to do by the gestures you use. Swipe both fingers across the screen and it slides to the next image in a slideshow.

Tap your finger on an area and it “activates” (like a link being clicked). Stretch your fingers across the screen to zoom in and pinch them back to zoom out. When people first experienced this it was like something out of a sci-fi movie – Minority Report had come to life. Now imagine what Apple’s engineers will do with four times more screen area to play with. One thing is certain – the iSlate won’t simply be the iPhone interface blown up to scale.

Market-defining interfaces have long been Apple’s trademark, and the iSlate should be no exception. No one is watching the launch of the iSlate more keenly than magazine and newspaper publishers. Tablet devices may prove their saviour, allowing them to reach their readers cheaper and quicker while still providing all the visual appeal of their paper editions.

Reading on a laptop is clumsy, but flipping virtual pages on the iSlate will be as close to a “real” magazine as you can currently get. Of course this model is predicated on the iSlate having built-in internet capabilities (in order to seamlessly deliver new editions) but that looks to be a near certainty.

There’s a lot of debate around the pricing of the device. Apple’s cheapest laptop retails at $1 000 and the iSlate will probably cost the same amount, at least at first. Which begs the question – who would buy a tablet when you can get a laptop for the same amount?

Then again we said the same thing about the iPhone when it launched with a $600 price tag – and Apple have sold over 40 million of them. Will the iSlate live up to the hype? Or will it, like the MacBook Air, be one of Apple’s rare missteps?

On January 6 Hewlett Packard and Microsoft announced their collaboration on their own tablet, which should be on sale around the middle of 2010. The touch screen revolution clearly in full swing, so if Apple don’t succeed someone else will.

– News24

Advertisements

Augmented reality (AR) is a view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with  virtual computer-generated imagery . AR, originally coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. This post will explore the applications and possibilities of such a (AR) reality.

Augmented Reality

The internet is now going to be smeared all over everything, everywhere you go information  is turned inside out and in the very near future it’ll be worse.  Augmented Reality is in some ways just another version of the web; a web applied, through novel interfaces.

How AR works

Emerging AR applications use two basic approaches:

In one, users hold up a specially coded sheet (which they can print) in front of a webcam or video camera and computer monitor.

Digital encoding is translated and displayed in a moving, 3D holographic form that can be rotated and otherwise manipulated.

The second, and perhaps hotter, way uses an iPhone 3GS, Google Android or similar new smart device to view the physical environment, say a city street or subway station.

Multiple layers of information are then overlaid on the phone’s screen, providing specific information about everything from available real estate, nearby bars and restaurants – even the identity and background of passersby.

augmented reality

Current uses of AR

1. Magazine cover/tech explainer: Popular Science and GE

Last month, PopSci and partner GE claimed to publish the first interactive 3D cover magazine cover. Three windmills pop off the page, build themselves and start twirling.

2. Interactive card and Website: Topps

Every kid’s dream – favorite stars come to life right on the card! Collector giant Topps does just that, using AR on select Topps 2009 baseball cards. Stars pitch, field and bat in 3D – like a mini video game on your desk.

3. e-tail: Zugara

For all its convenience, online clothes shopping frustrates in one key area: seeing how merchandise looks being worn. Similarly, online merchants fret about low browser/buyer ratios.

Enter online retailer Zugara, whose “Webcam Social Shopper” app lets users select clothes, print a special ”marker” app and “hold” up articles of clothing up in front of themselves as it tracks their movements.

I found a website that has 35 AR examples. I think these examples which I have given can be used in SA, especially since the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held here.

Future uses

In the near future marketers may consider using AR to promote a new product via an interactive, web-based AR application. In the medical field AR may assist in complex tasks such as surgery.

For example, labels can be displayed on parts of a system to clarify operating instructions for a mechanic who is performing maintenance on the system.  A doctor could observe the fetus inside the mother’s womb. This is to be characterised as Mixed reality.

In the architecture industry AR can augment be employed to virtually resurrect destroyed historic buildings as well as simulate planned construction projects.

With AR, users can rebuild ruins, buildings, or even landscapes as they previously existed. Combined with a wireless network, the amount of data displayed is limitless.

The effectiveness of navigation devices and enhance for the purpose of maintaining industrial plants for a variety of applications. These types of devices can also be useful for airplane pilots, too.

AR can be applied to military and emergency services as wearable systems to provide information such as instructions, maps, enemy locations, and fire cells. In the fields of hydrology, ecology, and geology, AR can be used to display an interactive analysis of terrain characteristics.

Game Changer

AR Game Changer

Game Changer

In centuries past, the ability to conjure moving, talking 3D objects and people in thin air was exactly the sort of showboating sure to get you named court magician.

Now AR allows you to conjure similar dazzling and useful results, with decidedly less risk.

The notion of layering digital images and sounds is like creating a physical world in a new computer-enhanced experience.

All of this is a complete game changer for any industry, 3D technology will capitalise on everything. What future holds is unknown but extremely exciting… keep your eyes and ears open for things happening in the new media era.  This is futureye  signing out.

Post updated and corrected on the 9th of Nov 2009