Saturday, December 12, 2015

iOS 9.2 Update Targets Apple Music Improvements, Bug Fixes

iOS 9.2
Apple has released a new software update for all its devices ranging from iPhone, iPad to iPod touch. This software update brings some great features and removal of a number of bugs, which has undermined the ultimate use of the Apple devices. This iOS 9.2 update majorly concentrates on bringing some incredible improvement to Apple Music and Apple News as well as other minor changes and improvements in variety of OS features. Apple users can easily download this update by going to their Setting followed by clicking on General and giving a click on Software Update.

Improvements made to Apple Music

A number of users had complained about the inability to create new playlists and other small glitches in the Apple Music in the past. Now Apple has brought some considerable improvements to its Apple Music with this software update. Users can now create new playlist when adding a song to the playlist. Recently changes playlist will now list at the top when adding new songs to the playlists. Download indicator will be placed to next to each song in the My Music and Playlist to show which songs have been downloaded recently. Users can download albums and playlist from their iCloud Music Library just by tapping on the iCloud download button.

New features brought in this update

A new Top Stories is integrated in the News section to keep the users up to date with all important news. Mail Drop features is brought in Mail, which will help in sending large attachments with ease. iBooks get the support for 3D touch and listening to an audiobook while browsing or reading other books. iPhone gets support for the USB Camera adapter which will allow users to import photos and videos with ease and simplicity.

Improvement in Accessibility

VoiceOver issues when using Camera face detection, issues related with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls and speech rate of Speak Screen were fixed in this update. Apple has improved the functionality for the Switch Control users while using the 3D Touch feature. Apple has brought the Siri support for Arabic language for the users residing in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Other smaller software updates released for Apple device ecosystem

Apple has also released some smaller but commendable updates for its Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac OS X operating system. The Apple Watch will be updated to latest watchOS 2.0, which brings new improved language support along with a number of bug fixes. Apple TV users can find the software update in the Setting channel. The tvOS 9.1 updates bring the support for the Apple’s Remote app, which will transform any iPhone or iPad as a remote for controlling Apple TV.

The OS X10.11.2 update focuses on bringing better stability, compatibility as well as security for the Mac and Macbook devices. This update brings minor bug fixes along with the improvement in the Wi-Fi, Handoff and Airdrop reliability of the Mac devices.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tiny Robots Inspired by Pine Cones


Future of Bio-inspired Robotics Lesson Learned from Plants

According to a group of Seoul National University researchers, the future of bio-inspired engineering or robotics would be greatly beneficial from lesson learned from plants. At the time of the 68th Annual Meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics, of American Physical Society held on Nov 22-24, 2015, in Boston, they shared details regarding how studying plants enabled them to develop tiny robots powered solely through changes in humidity.

The simplicity of the method by which the pine cones as well as seeds tend to respond to changes in an environmental humidity with motion, is the focus of work of the group. Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Seoul National University, Ho-Young Kim has explained that some seeds comprise of a head which contains all its genetic information together with a long appendage known as `awn’ which is responsible for locomotion like an animals’ sperm.

Awns are composed of two layers of tissue, one that swells with humidity – active, and the other that is insensitive to humidity changes – inactive. If the humidity in the environment tends to increase, the bilayer bends from changes in length-wise swelling. The bilayer tends to bend and unbend repeatedly due to periodic humidity changes which mean that changes in environmental humidity could be converted to mechanical work. Kim states that we imitate the bilayer structure in making an actuator which can generate motion on utilising environmental humidity changes.

Legs Attached to Actuator Known as `Ratchets’

Plants tend to move slowly, one cycle of bending and unbending could take a whole day. In order to increase the response speed of bilayer, it was essential to develop a new way of fabricating the active layer. The response speed tends to increase with the surface-area-to-volume ration of the layer since humidity is absorbed quickly and so active nanoscale fibres are deposited onto an inactive layer.

While the main step in the development of a robot, repeated bending as well as unbending does not produce net locomotion, Kim states that `this motion of cycle needs to be converted into directional motion in order to create a robot which moves.

Hence legs were attached to the actuator which enables only one-directional locomotion and the legs are called `ratchets’, and are combined with an actuator to build the bio-inspired robot’. The work of the group seems to be significant since it tends to open the door for tiny robots with the potential of locomotion based mainly on changes in environmental humidity, where no electrical power supplies seems to be involved.

One can imagine a robot operating in the field where no electricity is available, since they operate on changes in humidity levels just the way seeds do. Kim states that making a bilayer for the robots is not difficult but making a fast one needs technical expertise.

The group had also created a mathematical model to discover the optimum design for the robot in achieving the fastest speed for any given robot size. The reason for envisaging a bright future for humidity change-powered micro robots by the groups was because humidity changes seem to be all around us. Kim pointed out that for the group’s future plans, human skin seems to be more humid than the atmosphere and this is the main humidity gradient which was essential to tap into.

The team would be exploring the option of placing a tiny robot on human skin directly, one which bends due to its humid near skin. He commented that the concept is that on bending, some part of the robot would move away from the skin to meet with the dry atmospheric air. When it dries, the robot would return to an upright position near the skin and the cycle begins again with the robot continuing to move based on the skin’s humidity changes.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Apple Could Remove Headphone Jack from iPhone 7

iPhone 7
Reports coming from a number of reliable sources had indicated that Apple will be removing the headphone jack completely in order to make next generation iPhone slimmer. This means users wouldn’t be able to plug their ear pods in iPhone though the Lightening port. Now users will have to rely on using the Bluetooth wireless headphones, which have become quite popular in the last few years.

Apple is known to make some drastic changes in the iPhone after each ‘S’ year cycle. This time Apple is looking forward making next generation iPhone 7 much slimmer than the earlier models. Apple had simply stayed away from making comments on these rumors.

iPhone has a history of fiddling with headphones jack

Apple has made a number of experimentation with frequently changing the headphone jacks. In 2007 iPhone possesses a recessed headphone jack which required an adapter in order to work with other headphones. After facing the ire of the consumer, Apple switched to the standard headphone port in 2008 with its iPhone 3G. As of now Apple is using the standard Lightening port since the launch of iPhone 5. Though it didn’t found much appreciation from the consumer but accessories were rather quick to adapt with this change.

Wireless headphones reason for ditching headphone jack

It should be noted that headphone jack happens to be widest external port on the iPhone. In order to make iPhone slimmer it has to go away and Apple will be able to make next iPhone about 1mm much thinner than iPhone 6s.

This doesn’t mean that iPhone users can use headphones with their iPhone. Apple is planning to sell Lightening compatible range of ear pod together with the iPhone along with allowing other accessories manufacturers to develop headphones. But there is a catch the headphone manufacture has to also provide the users with Lightening cables in order to make their headphones compatible with the iPhone.

Wireless headphone will become quite common 

Apple has show quite an interest towards the wireless headphones such as Lightening headphones manufacturers. It is also looking at the opportunity to start the Made-for-iPhone licensing program, which will allow headphone manufacturer to develop exclusive iPhone headphones. A prime Lightening connected headphone made its debut in the Consumer Electronics Show in the Las Vegas under the name Harm’s JBL Reflect Aware headphones.

More rumors surrounding iPhone 7

Lightening headphones offers a greatest advantage of drawing power directly from the iPhone without the need of possessing any internal battery. Other wireless headphones need to be charged for listening purposes but this simply uses the energy from the iPhone to render the sound. This move will certainly help in making slimmer and thinner iPhone and it might even result in other manufacturers to follow the suit. Another rumor has erupted regarding the iPhone 7, which states that Apple has patented a technology which will allow the phones to be used even with the glove and Apple has also got a patent to make its phone water resistant.

Apple Launches Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock


Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock – New Larger Pad

Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock, a new larger pad based with the same design like its inductive charging puck was launched by Apple enabling it to charge on its side and lying flat. The dock is designed to be used for both 38mm as well as 42mm models and tends to charge the Watch lying flat on the surface or on its side while in Nightstand mode.

Since its update of the operating software in September, the Nightstand feature meant that plugging the Watch in overnight could turn on a special screen wherein the time is displayed in such a manner that when the Watch is placed sideways, one could still read the time. Moreover, it also gives Snooze and Dismiss functions to the side buttons which are convenient on top in night time positioning.

Embedded in the centre of the dock is a charging pad which can be flipped up to charge a Watch placed on its side. It is accompanied with a lightning to USB cable though a power adaptor has not been included. Taking into consideration where some docks have been of uncertain built quality, Apple Watch is perfect with a white polyurethane circle holding a central chrome ring inside that is the Apple magnetic charging puck.

First Venture in Wearable Technology

This can be placed flat so that the Watch can lie on top with the strap open. It also effortlessly folds up for side-on-use purpose. The underside tends to have a soft, fuzzy surface which does not scratch whenever anything stands on it. Besides this, there are cheaper models though this one has simplicity of design together with elegance.

 It is the first time that Apple has come up with a Watch charging dock following several third party accessories. The latest dock can be purchased from Apple’s website at a price of £65 and would be available in Apple retail stores. The Apple Watch is said to be the first venture into wearable technology of Apple and is offered in three versions namely Sport in anodized aluminum, Standard in stainless steel and Luxury in 18 carat yellow or Rose gold.

Front-Facing Camera for FaceTime Calls/Inbuilt Wi-Fi

According to a report released earlier this month it claims that the device is believed to have sold about 7m units, since its launch earlier this year, which is more than its rival vendors combined together. Apple does not tend to release official sale figures for the Watch; however Canalys, the report by independent analyst company, claims that Apple seems to be the only smartwatch manufacturer to deliver over 300,000 units in the third quarter of this year.

As per Canalys, Pebble, its nearest rival saw deliveries reaching 200,000 in the third quarter due to the launch of its Time Steel smartwatch manufactured from stainless steel together with a colour e-paper display. Apple had released the latest software upgrade watchOS2, lending support for the third party native apps, new watch-faces as well as improvement to Siri.

 It is said that the second generation of Apple Watch is in progress for release next year with rumours featuring a front-facing camera for FaceTime calls as well as inbuilt Wi-Fi together with new superior models

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Future iPhones could Contain Eye Tracking Software

Eye Tracking

Eye-Tracking Software – Future iPhone/Other Products

Software for eye tracking may now be a feature for the future iPhones and the other Apple products after the tech giant company has been granted a patent for the technology. According to latest patent it has been revealed that the next generation of iPhone could comprise of software which can track the path of one’s gaze and show notifications when the eyes tend to focus on certain section of display.

 The newly granted patent which was filed by Apple in September 2012, outlines how a gaze detection device can delay the automated auto correct of a misspelled word if it tends to know the user’s eye was not focused on the word, it asserts could be more instinctive. It recommends that this could be more applicable to notifications, delaying delivery of a message notification till the user tends to pay attention to the display, reducing the risk of missing the message completely.

The patent recommended that other instances could be for voice mail pop-up notifications, news alerts or app updates or software. Utilisation of biometric technology comprising of voice as well as facial recognition together with fingerprint and retina scanning has become a commonplace for payment and identification systems.

Eye-Tracking System for Unlocking

Biometric authentication utilising fingerprint recognition or retinal scan tends to offer an appropriate solution together with unique security as well as ease of use. Since products are available online, integrated with these features, multiple passwords are seen, as the industry standard tends to decline.

The iPhone 5s and 6s generations of Apple all seem to comprise of Touch ID fingerprint scanners inserted in their home buttons in order to unlock and make swift verified purchases.Google had patented the use of an eye-tracking system for unlocking devices by following the flight path of a bird or on reading a line of text, back in July 2013. The inbuilt iris-scanning smartphone authentication system had been unveiled by Fujitsu at this year’s Mobile World Congress – MWC, which was said to be applied to security systems.

The eye tracking system, a form of wearable technology enabled the user wearing the device to look at moving object on the projected screen of the glass in order to unlock the display. The picture of the product portrays how the moving object will be same to a screen saver with a bird flying back and forth used as an example. The user had to follow the movement of the bird with their eyes in order to unlock the display screen.

Panic Button – Fingerprint Sensor

However, in some of the cases, there seems to be no guarantees explored in patents ever making it into the future products. Several of the companies tend to run through patenting certain functions or materials to keenly refrain their rivals from utilising the technologies.

Apple had recently been granted a patent for the implementation of a `panic button’ functions in its fingerprint sensor that could be applied in different ways inclusive of disabling certain set of functions on the device, denying access to contact information, emails and photos or even activating the handset’s camera or microphone to documents with those making attempt to use it. The recordings could thereafter be forwarded to the law enforcement in case of certain situations.