Friday, June 24, 2016

If Fujitsu Can Create A Supercomputer with ARM Chips, Apple Can/Should Create A Superdupercomputer

Call it the superdupercomputer from Apple - or the Mac S as in super or the Super Mac.  See, Fujitsu decided to use ARM chips over SPARC to design its next supercomputer (Source:  Duckduckgo).  The Japanese tech company is looking to use ARMv8 architecture to be the brain behind its next computing machine, dubbed the Post-K, due to exceed the K Supercomputer in 2020. 

So, given that Apple also use the ARM design as the basis for its iOS devices and with rumors that Apple has been spending time and effort to put its A-series chips as a potential replacement of Intel chips for its Mac computers, I wonder if Apple had considered designing its own supercomputer and perhaps even make it easier to link iOS devices and Macs together to share processing power. This would be especially useful and quite possibly necessary as mobile computing becomes smaller and even more portable as wearable devices begin to populate the mobile market.

First, let's speculate a bit about the Apple superdupercomputer (SDC) a bit.  Faster, more efficient, and scalable than anything on the market, the SDC can be build deep within the new Apple campus, allow it to power and process everything that Apple needs for its R&D.  After all, supercomputers are not build to display as many 4K frames of the next hottest computer game.  It's use for research. 

With Apple getting more and more into designing its own tech and making sure it can stay ahead of its competitors, it makes sense for Apple to build and own the SDC.  It create simulations for its car designs, create models, and even test algorithms that can make Siri smarter. 

Imagine banks of Macs or Apple TV-like devices that are faster and more efficient than anything else on the market, not to mention that it requires much less power than anything else on the market and that it operates at a much power temperature. 

And as with tech and features Apple create, they can trickle down from one product to another.  While we do not need a 10.5 petaflops of computing power the Fujitsu Post-K is capable of, just imagine a bank of A-series chips for the home that can process your mobile and home needs.  On top of that, this could be just the key that Apple delivers as far as privacy is concerned and making Siri even smarter and faster.  All the processes and learning is done right in your home and office. 

Forget wanting a separate answer to Google or Amazon's Echo.  A redesigned Apple TV or ARM-based Mac that serves as your home's central nervous system and Siri's own backbone.  And then suppose you can link a box filled with Apple designed chip or another Mac and create a device with more processing power. 

Of course, this is mostly wishful thinking on my part.  I'm sure smarter folks at Apple have through this through and probably dismissed it as impractical and/or create a better solution.   Make no mistake, our homes and offices will need and require this type of computer, one that does not sit necessarily sit on a desk but, perhaps, by the TV.  The Echo, Apple TV, our phones, and other hubs are only the beginning. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

iOS 10 Feature: Picture-In-Picture Would Rock!

Here is a 9to5Mac post on what they like to see and conceptualized the features for iOS 10 for the high-end iPhone 7.  One that I would love to see is the picture-in-picture feature that is only available on the iPad.  The iPhone 7 Plus would like have the same screen size at 5.5" as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S Plus.  There is more than enough room on there for a diminutive screen for streaming my Youtube, Amazon Prime, and iTunes videos.

Why not the 4.7" iPhone?  Well, given Apple's past on making features exclusive for newer and bigger devices, it would not be surprising if Apple makes certain features available on select devices if only to up-sell them - resulting in higher profit and revenue.  It's not to say that this is always the case but I reckon features like PIP would be available only on the bigger screen iPhones because they would allow more room for operating an app while still have a small windowed video going on.  If anything, Apple might also make it available on the newer iPhone 7 with the justification that it will have newer, faster, and more efficient CPU and other internal upgrades.

How would this affect play or workflow?  These days, my iPhone 6S Plus has been relegated to the prominent role of an iPad nano while the SE has taken up duty as the main daily phone driver and my workout machine with the Apple Watch attached to it.  And while I'm in a coffee shot or whenever the opportunity arise, the 6S Plus would serve as my writing machine, game playing, and video watching.

Of course, if you have a very small screen like the 5.5", let's face it, you're gonna be missing a lot of action.  And if you're like me who has word captions on, you're not going to be able to read anything.  Even now, I can't make out the words when I'm in PIP mode on the iPad mini.  But a lot of time, if I'm playing Star Trek, Stargate, or a movie that I've seen before or a video that the image quality is that important, I would not mind.  A lot of time, I just like that it's playing in the background.

The issue that comes to mind is the battery life, another reason why if the PIP feature is ever made available to the 5.5" iPhone, it would only be on newer and efficient iPhones.  I'm guess at the very least, the iPhone 6 Plus would be out.  Maybe the 6S Plus but I highly doubt it.  If you want the PIP feature, you'll probably have options:  get the newer iPhone 7 Plus or hope that that someone in the jailbreak community will find a way to enable PIP in older iPhones including smaller screen ones. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Leaning Towards Against Apple Watch With A Camera

If you're on the Internet today, who isn't these days, you probably heard a thing or two about the next Apple Watch.  But one thing no one seemed to have mentioned about it today is whether the next Apple Watch will have a camera for take pictures or Facetime calls.  Personally, I'm leaning against Apple adding one but, at the end of the same, it will not affect me too much.

The main reason I am leaning against Apple putting a camera on the Apple Watch is mostly due to privacy issues.  I'm a guy and as far as looks, well, no one will be clamoring for me to be on the cover of the next issue of GC or anything public.  No, no risk of anyone taking pictures of me and violating my privacy.  I can't say that is going to be the case for a lot of what society considers to be good-looking or attractive.  I can see folks getting uncomfortable in gyms for starters.  Or showers.  Or changing rooms.

While I'm not less likely to wear my Apple Watch if it had a camera on it, I can see some people getting uncomfortable if they see someone wearing a watch with a camera.  Of course, people these days are entirely comfortable with carrying phones into gyms, maybe this is not as big of an issue as I expect. 

Still, most people would not deny privacy to be an issue with a wearable capable of taking pictures or videos.  It was an issue with Google Glass after all.  And it will be an issue with other wearables including the Apple Watch.

Another reason why having a camera on the Apple Watch will not affect me is that I don't answer FaceTime or phone calls now because it is heard to hear for one thing and holding my wrist up to my ear looks silly.  So, even if Apple does install a camera and if only for FaceTime video chats, I'm still not gonna use it much if at all.

Should Apple find the space for a camera, I rather have them add new sensors and/or battery instead.  What do you think?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Macbook Refresh Coming Up - Best Guess is Mid-April [feedly]

Looks like my predictions may be more accurate this time around than "trusted sources" many Apple rumor sites have and whatever Wall Street analysts are using to feed and manipulate Apple's stock.  The Retina Macbook and Macbook Airs could be closer to a refresh than June as many of them expects. 

While a quick check of Apple's website shows up shortage of Macbooks available for sales, retailers, both online and off, are showing dwindling stocks if not outright discontinuations of current models. 

So, if you're in the market for a new Macbook like I am, hold, hold, hold...

More at Macbook Refresh Coming Up - Best Guess is Mid-April at On Apple

Looks like more stores are seeing low stock of the 2015 Macbooks of various lines including the Air and the 12" Retina one.  Good deals can be found on Best Buy while the 12" Macbook is no...

Macbook Refresh Coming Up - Best Guess is Mid-April

Looks like more stores are seeing low stock of the 2015 Macbooks of various lines including the Air and the 12" Retina one.  Good deals can be found on Best Buy while the 12" Macbook is no longer available.  As far as last week, sales in the stores have stopped.  So this does mean updates are coming.  Best guess is April.

And the refresh will happen without an event like Apple traditionally have for the iPhone, iPads, and the Apple Watches.  Mac sales have been strong and despite what many in the Apple community, specifically Mac users, fear, Apple will not be abandoning the "trucks" of the computing world as long as there are tens of billions in profit to be made. 

Many considered the PC war to be long over and Microsoft's Windows dominance firmly established, but there are still areas around Microsoft's turf that Apple can nibble around - specifically, the segment of the market where PC costs more than $1000.  And even as deals have pushed Macbook Airs down to around $800, it looks like Apple has relegated PC makers to a vast but largely unprofitable piece of the PC market.

More and more folks are abandoning PCs for mobile devices as their primary mobile weapons of choice - phones and tablets.  Even here, Apple's iPads dominates those that cost more than $400. 

We will continue to see Apple churn out high-end Macs for years if not decades to come.  And the last refresh should be available in April.  Keep in mind that Apple may not update all the Macbooks but it does appear that the Air and 12" versions should see the light of day while there are talks that Apple could hold off the Macbook Pro until June when it holds its annual World Wide Developer Conference.