Gaps- Time for a Watch Boost

In Autumn 2017 Apple introduced Apple Watch 3. A revolutionary way to receive emails and texts on the move, with a cellular watch on your wrist. Only issue? It never reached Ireland. In fact it has never really expanded outside the original countries announced at the start. It is only available through one carrier in the UK and other countries have not been added in the numbers that we see for the iPhone. Too many gaps for what looked like an exciting product with big potential.

This for me has been one of the major disappointments of the year since WWDC 2017, and I hope that this year’s event, starting on Monday, will see the Apple Watch 4 or watchOS 4 alongside a bevy of new carriers and countries. I’m sure that Apple wanted to roll out the Watch to other regions and have been hampered by carrier resistance or lack of interest due to lower volumes. There may also have been an unwillingness to provide the service at a low fee. Is it worth the effort for Vodafone and Three etc to support the Watch, when the number of buyers seems to be low compared to bigger products like the iPhone and iPad? I can’t help but feel this would be short-sighted as the potential for the Watch and wearable devices is huge. But the main stumbling block may have been price. For an iPhone owner with an existing contract, paying another fee for the Watch, which would use the same contract and allowance as the phone, seems unfair. So Apple had sought low fees- an extra €5 per month seems right to me but you can see €10 being the norm, and it is possible the carriers sought more.

I hope that we see new software for the Watch and a big push to make the cellular version more available and widespread.

But for me personally, it is the health potential which intrigiues me most... The possibility of the Apple Watch being able to read blood glucose would be life changing. I have tweeted about this in the past, but if Apple could turn the Apple Watch into a glucose monitor, this would be life-changing. I am a type-1 diabetic who tests my glucose levels about 10 times per day. This is done with lancets, drops of blood and testing sensors, a painful, messy and cumbersome part of my life. It is also retro-active as I regularly test after I start to feel unwell and play catch up to bring my sugar levels back in line with glucose or with insulin injections.

The possibility that a wrist Watch would inform me as my sugars slide low or high, so I can react earlier, would be life-changing. I’m not sure that Apple can get this into a Watch alone- it may involve agadget on the body which transmits signals to the Watch, but I still live in hope of the simplicity of glucose monitoring on par with the heart rate monitor today.

Here’s hoping...

Event Update: iPhone 8, iPhone X, Watch 3 & Apple TV

Apple held an event this evening to launch a number of new products. Here is a quick update on what was announced:

iPhone:
The biggest news came with the iPhone. There will be two new ranges of iPhone-


iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus:
These new models will be the successors to the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. The main changes are the better camera, faster A11 chip and more storage included, starting at 64GB. The iPhone 8 can also be charged wirelessly- where you can place the phone on a mat-type device and it charges through the back of the phone. The new retina displays are "true-tone", which means they adjust depending on the light, which should help to make them easier to read in the sun!
Other changes include the new glass-back design and a new gold colour.

Overall the iPhone 8 is a steady, yearly improvement over the 7, if not revolutionary. The main selling points are the better camera and the extra speed.
Prices start at €829 / $699 (|iPhone 8) or €939 / $799 (iPhone 8 Plus)

iPhone X:
The very revolutionary iPhone X (“ten”) comes on the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. This is a very different design, with the screen almost covering the entire front surface of the phone. There is no home button either, and the device unlocks using the new Face ID, which will scan the contours of your face when you look at it. According to Apple, Touch ID (fingerprint) has unique security of 1 in 50,000 people, whereas Face ID is at 1 in 1,000,000. Face ID projects 30,000 dots onto the surface of your face to ensure a high level of security and accuracy.

The facial recognition technology also extends to emojis! You can make a facial expression and turn it into your own emoji, called an animoji!
The new OLED screen is what Apple calls Super Retina, with better colours and more pixels per inch, making it the highest resolution screen Apple have produced.
The camera is also improved, with portrait mode photos available on both the front and rear cameras.The camera is also Augmented-Reality-ready, something Apple has bene pushing for new games and apps.
Overall a very new look for an iPhone and, combined with Face ID, it has many cutting-edge technologies packed in here.
Prices start at €1179 / $999 (this phone is not intended to be cheap- this is the flagship model)

Apple Watch:
The big change to this year’s Apple Watch Series 3 is a version which comes with a mobile/cellular chip, meaning you could take a Watch out and still get calls, texts, use Maps and Siri. Apple announced that you can use Apple Music on the cellular Watch, so combined with Bluetooth headphones, the Watch will be a streaming music device. Great for people who like to go for long walks, run or cycle. No need to take your iPhone out to play music!

Only catch- the cellular version will not launch in Ireland just yet. Apple are likely to have to agree deals with local mobile companies, so expect this to arrive in the next few months. Adding your Watch to your data package is likely to add around €10 / $10 extra per month to your bill.




Apple TV:
With what may seem to be a minor change to the Apple TV lineup, Apple announced the new Apple TV 4K, which can play high quality 4K movies. If you have a 4K TV this is big news as the quality will be quite dramatic. But you will need a 4K TV to get the most out of this.

Apple have got the major studios on board and they will be selling and renting 4K movies. Amazon Prime is also coming to the Apple TV in the next few weeks.


Software:
A couple of dates for the diary:
September 19th: iOS 11 will be released for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
September 25th: macOS High Sierra will be released for the Mac
Both are free downloads- please backup your data first!


Apple Event- What Happened Last Week...

The Apple press event last week brought in new products, a new version of iOS and watchOS, plus some interesting headphone news...

iPhone 7:
The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced:

- iPhone 7 (smaller 4.7” screen)
- iPhone 7 Plus (larger 5.5” screen)
Photos: The iPhone 7 comes with a new A10 chip for faster speed and graphics but the big news is the new internal cameras. The standard 7 comes with a new camera capable of capturing a wider range of colours, plus a new LED flash, meaning that low-light photos are much clearer than in previous iPhones. The new 7 Plus (big iPhone) comes with a zoom lens. Although a small zoom amount compared to pro-cameras (2x optical or 10x digital), it is the first iPhone to come with any real zoom feature. Even the front camera, used mostly for FaceTime (and selfies!!), goes up to a 7 megapixel resolution (previously 5).

READ MORE ->

Apple Watch 2- Here's Hoping...

We are probably only two weeks away from the next Apple press event. I believe that there will be a new model of Watch launched in time for the Christmas season, but what can we expect in the next version?

If we look to the iPhone for the typical pattern of upgrades, it is very likely that we would see a faster chip inside the new Watch. The first version of the Watch was slow, although the release of watchOS 3.0 promises a significant speed boost. But there is still plenty of room for improvement here as the Watch, more than any other Apple device, demands speed. No one wants to spend too long looking for what they need on the Watch- it is all about quick glances and fast, short interactions.

One of the unique aspects of the Watch is its sensors, positioned under the Watch which track your heart rate. There is huge potential for expanding the fitness and health aspects of the Watch. One example is blood glucose- there are companies looking at chips which communicate with the Watch to monitor blood glucose levels. These types of live trackers for health combined with notifications to warn the user of changes can transform health.

READ MORE ->

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