Apple’s Live Photos are not really GIFs. Instead, they’re animations made up separate 12 MP high-quality still images. (GIFs, meanwhile, are usually low-res things.) Apple explains that the images, which feature efficient frame-to-frame technology, are meant to extend the captured moment in a new way.
1. On recent rumors of an Apple MVNO: two thoughts, from John Gruber and Jean-Louis Gassée, sum up the reality perfectly, in my view:
Apple is a partner with all the carriers around the world that support iPhone. They can’t compete against them while partnering with them. (link to Gruber’s post)
“[Apple’s] one and only goal is selling devices. Everything else is in support of that goal. Would [an Apple wireless carrier] sell twice as many iPhones? Probably not.” (link to Gassée’s post)
2. Samsung Invents another Round of Concepts for future Smartphones with Multiple Displays. Exciting. Glad to see someone tackling this problem. This is one of many patents Samsung has filed. The specifics of this one don’t matter as much as the notion that Samsung (and others) are working to make this a reality. Someday.
3. Xiaomi ties up with Taiwan’s Foxconn to assemble smartphones in India. This aligns with Xiaomi’s focus on cost reduction (because it sells at razor thin gross margins) and helps it pursue the hearts and minds of consumers.
4. HTC stored user fingerprints as image file in unencrypted folder. Lovely. Reminds me of one of the six reasons I’ve used an iPhone since the 3GS: industrial design, ease of use, camera, apps, software updates, and … security.
6. Back to the future: Nokia prepares for mobile comeback. Increase in hiring / activity, in preparation for 2016/17 brand-licensing comeback.
6. Graava is a new action camera that does the editing for you. Watch the two minute video. I like the idea of it. I don’t need the actual product, though. Will we ever see something comparable in a smartphone? It reminds me of HTC’s “Zoes”.
1. Almost all smartphones sold today have the same two flaws — and the cases you’re buying prove it. Durability and battery life. Battery life is always in the news. This is a good reminder that durability is important too.
The question is, for the next $1 of R&D to spend, do you allocate it to optimizing durability? Tough call, but most might answer “no”.
(Correction: I don’t think I should have framed it that way. It really depends on what other features you’ve developed and what parts of the product you’re able to control. And, crucially, the degree of improvement you’re able to make.)
2. Why 8 and 10 CPU cores in smartphones are a good idea – a lesson from the kitchen. (Remember, not every company is in a position to optimize its own CPU.) The main point:
The clusters of cores have different performance and power characteristics. With clever scheduling the mobile OS is able to use the best core for the best job […] more cores equals […] better power efficiency, but not necessarily more performance.
3. How Smartphones Have Changed Photography, In Three Numbers. And add to that the simple ability to share them.
4. Samsung answers the Apple Watch Digital Crown with a rotating, round bezel. What they need to avoid is this.
5. Why the Verizon-AOL deal just might work: Mobile video ads are worth a lot. “Verizon didn’t buy AOL, a dying ISP—it bought AOL, a digital ad company.” Maybe because of this.
The week’s most important headlines. (Except for earnings coverage; plenty of that elsewhere.) Sign up here.
- Nest CEO Tony Fadell on the Future of the Internet (WSJ)
- Google Now becomes a more robust platform with 70 new partner apps (ZDNet)
- iPhone trade-ins eroding Chinese Android sales: Report (ZDNet)
- Cyanogen looking to work with Chinese vendors to load its software on more smartphones (Android Central)
- Apple: Future iPhones may sport both telephoto and wide angle cameras, patent application suggests (AppleInsider)
- Apple: iPhone’s New Growth Engine Illustrated: China’s Middle Class (Mobile Forward)
- More than Half of Apple’s China Levers are Unique to Apple (Mobile Forward)
- Samsung Pay scheduled to launch in the second half of 2015 (GSMArena)
- Xiaomi tries to end waiting period for phone buyers, amid complaints (PC World)
This acquisition is firstly a confirmation of the industry’s interest in using multiple cameras to solve the dilemma of getting high-quality images from a constrained space […]. […]
Purchasing an imaging software company in this region is another part of the worldwide puzzle that is the camera module supply chain of Apple. All of the necessary technology could have come from a single country. Japan, for example, is the source of Sony’s sensor, and Alps’ and Mizumi’s autofocus and optical image stabilization technology. Instead, Apple is deliberately bringing its module assembly to Korean LG Innotek, getting the key 5 lens optical module from Taiwanese Largan, and now probably future computational software from Israel. This really looks like ‘divide and rule’ to us. […]
Apple’s snatching up of such an early-stage startup is also a sign of the times. […] The latest capital investments suggest software is also getting increasing attention and is gradually moving the center of gravity of the entire imaging industry. 3D integration techniques at the chip level have indeed liberated a lot of “space” for computation. Moving software inside the sensor is yet to be seen as heat is usually detrimental to image quality.
Peruse the whole thing here (it’s easy). Some highlights, with my comments.
1. The real way to tell whether Google’s wireless service is a success (BGR)
2. Why Apple has purchased camera technology company LinX and what will happen now? (i-Micronews)
- Good read RE computational imaging, dual cameras
3. Xiaomi Boosts Its Business In India With Strategic Investment From Tata Sons Head (TechCrunch)
- Dollar value not clear. PR value very clear
4. Xiaomi’s $205 Mi 4i mirrors the iPhone 5C design, claims 1.5-day battery (Ars Technica)
- High performance to price ratio. Profitable? TBD
5. Full video of Vogue interview with Apple designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson posted to Web (AppleInsider)
- Always worth it to hear the thoughts of subject matter expert or influential leader
6. Apple: First Look: Apple Watch Apps & Stats (App Annie)
- Top category (so far) is Utility; 12% of all apps
7. Google: Android Wear’s Low-Power Ambient Mode (Daring Fireball)
8. Samsung filed for “Glastyle” and other Key Trademarks this Week (Patently Mobile)
9. Imaging: Yole on Image Sensor Future (Image Sensors World)
10. Microsoft CEO thinks there’s one BIG reason you’ll love Windows 10: Cortana (Business Insider)
- Voice recognition
- Image recognition
- Machine learning
2. Justine Musk, previously wife of Elon Musk, writes good words about how to become an ‘extreme success’. I highly recommend this. Must-read.
3. Yole on Image Sensor Future. Especially relevant to machine sensing and learning, one of Google’s ‘three most important things’.
Peruse the whole thing here (it’s easy). Some highlights, with my comments.
1. Microsoft will bundle its apps on Cyanogen’s Android OS (The Verge)
- Raises Cyanogen’s credibility, visibility, and viability. Seems like low risk for Microsoft… no?
2. Apple Acquires Array Camera Developer LinX (Image Sensors World)
- Neat improvement in quality (see link). Looks like Samsung and LG couldn’t afford the price. Apple doing more and more with Israeli co’s. Amazing high tech density.
3. Apple Invents a Simple Voice Command to unlock your iPhone (Patently Apple)
- Yes, it’s just a patent. But more and more dots point toward “always on voice” coming to Apple products. At least that’s what Amazon Echo tells me.
4. Apple to equip next iPhone with Force Touch technology (DigiTimes)
- You’d heard that, I know. But the article mentions other vendors using the technology, in 2016.
5. Samsung “will focus its efforts on flexible smartphone units” in 2015 (DigiTimes)
- Just good to watch this topic.
6. Xiaomi Finds Themselves On The Receiving End Of Counterfeit Products (Ubergizmo)
- Oh, the irony.
It’s not clear how Apple will apply this technology, but as TechCrunch reports:
Apple has acquired LinX, an Israeli camera tech company whose most recent offerings include multi-aperture camera models which can enable effects like background focus blur, parallax images and 3D picture capture. […]
The Israeli startup’s hardware was targeted at tablets and smartphones specifically, and could not only offer the kinds of background defocus that’s popular on low aperture lenses paired with DSLRs, but could also help achieve better low-light performance, ideal for taking pictures indoors or at night without using flash.
Today, the iPhone’s camera is by far one its biggest advantages, relative to nearly all other smartphones except, perhaps, the Galaxy S. Having worked in the industry (Motorola), I’ve grown tired of comparisons to DSLRs, since no smartphone camera has delivered performance anywhere near that level. But that’s also what makes this exciting: the wide margin left for improvement, and the fact that Apple is one of the companies that can engineer such an advance (with help, in this case).