Gary Saggu's Tech Blog

Latest trends in mobile technology, tech startups and coding

2013 key technology retrospective

Here are some of the developments in technology that caught my attention in 2013.

iOS 7

Featured fantastic advances that brought iOS to the forefront of mobile OS market. (Can you tell that I am an iOS developer:)?). The design aesthetic, the ability to easily and reliably (finally!) integrate with iCloud especially for developers, Airdrop to share with data with people around you, iTunes radio, a more advanced Siri, Core Motion advances including M7 and camera advances including face and smile detection.

iPhone 5S and iPad Mini Retina

This phone rocked with its 64bit capable A7 processor and the M7 motion co-processor with fast networking and LTE along with a better camera. The Touch ID was a bold attempt in finally bringing fingerprint based technology to the mass market and it works quite well. With the iPad Mini Retina, Apple did the impossible - pack the same processor and power as an iPad Air with the Retina display into the mini iPad footprint. Need I say more?

M7 Motion Coprocessor

The M7 deserves separate mention because of its step counting features and activity monitoring in the iPhone 5S without burdening the A7 and draining too much battery. No additional devices to purchase for these features. New iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina have the M7 but only Activity monitoring is enabled in them.

If you own an iPhone 5S, you may support the author(me) by checking out these 2 cool new apps designed exclusively for the iPhone 5S utilizing the M7 motion coprocessor. They track your steps indoors and outdoors without GPS, record your walking history and enable you to reach your daily step goals with no other devices to buy other than your iPhone 5S. Read about them by clicking the links below

BeWalking

10k Steps

Glass from Google and wearable technology

It is undeniable that the Google Glass is a fantastic technology and will be more available to the masses in 2014 and beyond. Sure, there will be privacy concerns etc. but wearable technology is IN! Lets also get more bags with solar panels and jackets with lightning connectors and start using them, really!. I worry a lot about the EM fields that these devices(phones, computers) generate and look forward to innovative devices that provide protection from these fields like the Pong cases for iPhone.

Pebble

Pebble did it ! They started as a Kickstarter project and they were able to mass produce a full-featured smart watch for a reasonable price. Sure, there are more apps and upgrades desired but nevertheless it is a fresh and innovative product. The last release of the Pebble OS supports iOS7 notifications and more features.

4k Displays

With the new (and powerful) Mac Pro supporting upto 4 4k displays, this is quickly becoming the new standard for advanced graphics displays. 4k tvs from Sony, Samsung and LG were out there and personally, I am waiting for their prices to come down a bit in 2014 and beyond. 8k displays soon? Believe me there is a spec out there.

Full frame DSLR within the reach of the prosumer

With the Canon 6D and Nikon D610 priced as low as in the 1500s (body only), there is hope that this was the year these cameras are putting this technology within the grasp of the consumer. 2014 may usher a sub $1000 full frame DSLR? Maybe:)

Mac Pro

Amazing features like compact design, graphics, 4k display support out of the box. Pricey but worth it if you need the graphics and processing features that this machine uniquely offers in a durable, compact design backed by Apple.

Voice Recognition becomes standard and more useful

Google voice and Siri as well as Xbox One all deserve a mention.

Other notable tech events/happenings in 2013

First lab grown meat burger was "produced" and eaten. 3D printers became more mainstream and cheaper.(esp. when a Makerbot store openend near my apartment). Crypto currencies like BitCoin accompanied with all the advanced mining hardware and volatility were certainly more in the public eye. Smart gadgets including the Nest learning thermostat, Jawbone speakers and Philips app enabled bulbs etc. More devices with built in smarts coming our way in 2014. Sony Playstation PS4 and Microsft Xbox One put gaming on a new level but with limited available games. I played Call of Duty: Ghosts on PS4 and it was quite an experience. On a 4k display (note PS4 does not support 4k yet) it would be out of this world. Maybe in 2016:). Ouya Android based gaming console(another Kickstarter project) broke into a market dominated by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Lastly, crowd funding stood out (again) as a force in 2013 and will continue too in 2014 and beyond.

Happy holidays and a happy new year!

And thank you for your support! See you in 2014!

--Gary Saggu

iPhone 5S - the skinny

Following are some of the top features of the new iPhone5S :-

  • New Gold finish in addition to Silver and "Space Gray".  Gold looks great and is my choice of iPhone.
  • New fingerprint identity sensor built into the home button.  Fantastic technology that enables no more annoying passcodes to remember.  Where do the fingerprints go?  They are saved in a secure place in the CPU(more on this later).  This topic is so vast that I will publish a new article for it in the future.
  • Memory 16GB, 32GB or 64GB.  I am suggesting the 64GB option for developers and hard-core users for the HD movies and 64bit code that carry a larger footprint.
  • Dimensions are pretty much the same as the iPhone 5.
  • New A7 64 bit CPU for running 32 bit and 64 bit applications.  HD Movie editing on an iPhone, any takers? Apps that use floating point arithmetic like 3D and graphics (memory) intense applications will benefit immensely.  Games too (especially from the Open GL-ES 3.0 support)
  • New M7 Motion coprocessor aids in all the motion related activity monitoring (including gyroscope, GPS, accelerometer, compass etc.) unburdening the powerful 64 bit A7 with more meaningful tasks and saving power thereby.
  • Supports all the major 802.11 a/b/g/n for WiFi.  I was hoping for 802.11ac support but I knew that was asking a lot. Maybe next release iPhone 6? Definitely going on my wishlist.
  • Apps:  Lots of new 64 bit apps.  iTunes has a radio option.  Pages, Keynote and Numbers are free now! (for new buyers of iPhones)
  • Display: Same retina display as iPhone 5.
  • Camera: Enhanced with 8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels.  So much larger pixels thereby resulting in better photos.  Also, aperture of f/2.2 means more light control and again better low light shots as well.  The try-tone flash is a big improvement over the iPhone 5.  I will present some photos soon to compare and contrast.  
  • Front-side Camera features 720p HD and 1.2MP photos with video stabilization.
  • Video features for HD 1920p, 30fps and cool features like slow-motion.

In short, it is a great phone.  64GB Gold is my choice.

Enjoy,

Gary Saggu

http://www.garysaggu.net http://www.garysaggu.com

Samsung Galaxy S4 features are finally out

Here are the key features of the latest and greatest Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4

  • 5 inch Super AMOLED display 
    • 1920 x 1080 resolution 
    • Full HD 1080p capability
    • 441 ppi pixel density not edge to edge though
  • Processor 1.9GHz Quad-core or 1.6 GHz Octa-core(wow)
  • Memory: 64GB with microSD 64GB max
  • Camera
    • Rear facing camera an amazing 13 Mega pixels
    • Front facing camera is 2 Mega pixels
  • Lighter and thinner than the S3 but slightly larger and same look as S3
  • Battery capacity higher than S3 at 2600mAh
  • OS: Android Jellybean 4.2.2
  • Extras
    • Tiny IR blaster on phone turns the phone to a TV remote control
    • Voice assistant and something called Voice drive (navigation etc. while on the road)
    • Smart Pause and Smart Scroll are 2 features controlled by the eye.  One pauses the video etc. when you look away and the other allows scrolling by tilting the phone while looking at it.
    • Hovering features (Air view) for gestures. 
  • And many more features that I will cover later (once I get my hands on this phone even though I love my iPhone 5)

More later as I am tired (but this post was important!)

Good Night!

- Gary Saggu

(My other blog)

iPhone next release most wanted hardware features and wish list

As an developer, and a big fan of Apple toys, IMHO, the next release of the iPhone is probably coming up later this year.  As I already gave my opinion on the Samsung Galaxy S4.  Read article here.

Here are the top hardware features one can expect with iPhone 5S or iPhone 6.  I think there shall be iPhone 5S before the 6!

- Display:I think the next version will not improve the widescreen which is still being adopted by the many apps on the AppStore.  And the Apple Retina display rocks - even though Samsung is raising the bar on expectations.

- Processing: Major boost expected - more cores, faster. 

- Sensors: Currently the iPhone 5 has a 3 axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor.  There's room to grow here. Especially with the Samsung S4 rumored to have eye tracking features.  I think some biometric security additions could also come, or facial recognition, facial gestures - wow.  Sounds like an exciting graduate school Computer Science project.

- Camera enhancements: Samsung S4 is rumored to have a 13M pixels rear camera so maybe in the same range or even better.  One thing I personally want is an improvement in front facing camera definitely more resolution and lens.  I think I use the front facing camera a lot more than I thought I would.

- Networking: Faster more reliable; LTE++

I will update this post as more things come to mind. Happy wishing to all Apple mobile hardware fans!

 

- Gary Saggu

 

(My other blog)