Friday, 30 May 2014

5 Things To Know About Apple Buying Beats

It emerged this week that Apple have finally put an end to all the rumours,  capping off a month-long debate by purchasing Beats.

Apple made the purchase official yesterday with sources claiming the deal has cost around £1.79 billion, which means a very big payday indeed for Dr.Dre and Jimmy Lovine.

This blockbuster deal does mean a few changes though and five of the things you should know include:

1. iTunes and iTunes Radio will be staying
Many people were worried that Beats Music would be replacing the iTunes Store and/or iTunes Radio but for the time being, that’s not going to happen. Beats Music will continue to be a subscription service but iTunes will live as a free option.

2. Love them or Hate them, there’s going to be more of them
Beats headphones have been met with a mixed reaction over the years with people either loving them or calling them ‘overpriced’ or ‘overrated’, but one thing is for sure, they’re going to be in more Apple stores than ever before. Good news for some at least.

3. Dr.Dre and Jimmy Lovine will become Apple Employees
It is not entirely set in stone what these two will be doing at Apple, but we pretty sure it’s not going to be a ‘genius’ in one of their stores. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, Dr.Dre will be doing as much as possible to help Apple during his spare time, whatever that means.

4. This is Apple’s 27th purchase over the last 12 months
Apple has been busy added a string of companies to its cart over the last 12 months and Beats is up there with the biggest. In fact, this is the biggest buy Apple have ever made. A number of the other purchases are much smaller in stature and in price tag, but this does show us that Apple knows what it wants and knows it will pay what it can to make it happen.

5. Although it’s ‘Official’, it’s not a done deal
Although everything seems signed, sealed and delivered, the deal is far from done yet. There is a number of regulatory bodies that will have to pass the purchase before the deal can be finalised but the deal should be completed very soon.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Its Wristy Business

We’re not one to shy away from the wearable battle.  We’re back in the hunt to find the best wearable and Microsoft might be seeking their moment to strike.

After surrendering the smartphone race with just 5% market share in both the US and Western Europe, Microsoft could look to wearable’s as their future foothold in consumer tech.

Microsoft have produced an under par performance when it comes to their other markets, but will be likely to try and find a save from grace with a high-tech wearable device. With more people moving away from desktop PCs to smartphones and tablets, it could be a bold move.

There is no clear winner in the smart watch race and it is continuing to be more difficult to distinguish a front-runner. Samsung are standing tall with the Galaxy Gear, Nike are happy with the Gear Fit and Apple seem smug with their iWatch concepts, so Microsoft will definitely be interested in joining the battle.

In fact, Microsoft has already begun filing a patent that will allow a wearable device to display information and can be taken out of its strap and placed into a docking station. Microsoft’s tiling interface could fit perfectly on your wrist and rumours emerged that they will be looking to include a number of features like a clock app, maps and a notification centre.

After the recent $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia, this could prove to be hugely influential in the wearable they create. Nokia have already toyed with the idea of creating a wearable so with this exploration combined with Microsoft’s knowledge, we could expect a well-designed smart watch that comes in a number of vibrant colours by the end of 2015.

Although, it won’t be entirely plain sailing to the finish line as Motorola are looking to steal the show with their Moto 360, as are LG with their G watch and likewise Google with their own take on the wearables.

All we know is, being able to look at your wrist and telling the time could become a lot more technical. Hoorah!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Your Smartphone Could Get Even Smarter

At the moment, your phone knows where you are and the direction you’re facing, but it could soon know about context.

This means that not only will your smartphone know where you are, but it will also know what you’re doing, who you are with and what you are likely to do next. There’s a name for this too; contextual computing.

Contextual computing will mean that our smartphones and other mobile devices will become great personal assistants, even better than they are now.

This clever piece of technology will be able to anticipate our every need, so if we needed to find a hotel, for example, our next smartphones will already know what hotel to look for based on our previous picks. So, if we have been to 3 hotels in the past and each of them had a swimming pool, our mobile device will search for hotels that also have a swimming pool; that’s the context.

Kevin Curran, senior member at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said, “Contextual computing is the ability for a device to be aware of its user’s surroundings as well as their views, interests and behaviours.”

Although contextual computing seems like something completely new to us, there are already a number of apps around that try to use different sensors in order to calculate some context but these are nowhere near as advanced. CallWho is an app that gathers information from your call history so when you get your phone out of your pocket, your daily phone conversations will appear top.

SickWeather is an app that monitors Facebook statuses about people’s illnesses and their GPS location so you know when you’re near someone with an illness who is likely to pass it on. Strange, but wise!

These apps give us an indication of what sort of technology we can expect to be in our next smartphones. We are told to forget our current devices though and focus more on the future devices as these will be the ones that will feature contextual computing.

So, we will have to wait just that little bit longer!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Could It Be The End For Tablets?

Just as we get an influx of tablets from all of the biggest names in technology including Google, Samsung and Apple, there is news surrounding a possible demise of the tablet.

The reason this news has surfaced is because Apple, the company that has dominated the tablet market for a while now, is now selling much fewer iPads, which could mean they may be making a six-inch phablet. This has therefore led to exaggerations that tablets are dead – far from the truth.

There have been rumours for months about Apple adding a bigger phone to its collection and these rumours won’t be going away any time soon. The phablet market is huge in Asia and Samsung have already begun preparations for releasing a seven-inch phablet there.

News of living in a post-iPad era are not quite accurate, but this could happen sooner than we thought. Although the iPad no longer dominates the market, it is still a high quality piece of technology, that is beautifully created and ahead of its time.

Apple has a knack at being adaptive and one example of this is the iPhone 5 turning into the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in order to cater for consumer behaviour. So, don’t rule the iPad out, especially when there has been an increase of 25% in the number consumers that are 65 years old or older, which is a relatively new market.

It is not only the over 65’s that are into tablets, once people have a tablet, they are much less likely to trade it in unlike they would with their smartphone, which means people hold onto them much longer before replacing them.

But, the future could very well belong to the phablet – a smartphone with a big screen of between 5.6.9 inches. According to statistics, 25 million phablets were sold in China and South Korea alone, with sales doubling each quarter. In 2014, it is predicted that phablets will make up 25% of all smartphones sold, equating to 300 million, so claims that the future could belong to the phablet could be true.

Friday, 2 May 2014

What To Expect From Google IO 2014

Google has already had a very busy 2014 but the search engine giant has had an equally productive last 12 months, snapping up several companies.

Google has also unveiled a whole host of products over the last 12 months and has dropped subtle hints at tons more. So, it’s only fair that we look at some of the rumours for the Google IO Keynote that is scheduled to kick off on June 25.

With plenty of discussion revolving around intimidating-looking robots, smart watches and impressive home technology, it could be a very exciting occasion, although if you wanted to go to see the technology first-hand you have missed out on the registration date.  Fear not though, you can watch the Google IO through a live stream on both the 25th and 26th June.

So, what can we get our hopes up for?

It could be time for a Google watch. We’re unsure of whether we will see an official Google watch but we could get a sniff at smartwatches powered by Google’s Android Wear platform – close enough. These watches could come in the form of the LG G Watch and the Motorola Moto 360.

For people attending the event, they could get a glimpse at the latest Google Glass edition after plenty of beta versions sampled at a wild £892, that could boast some more apps and a new demo of the Android KitKat software. For us guys that aren’t fortunate enough to go down for the day, we may just have to read about how good it is.

We spoke about Apple CarPlay a few weeks ago and given that Google are still yet to unveil their infotainment system yet, the Keynote seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. With Google Maps continually updated and improving, this could be an impressive piece of software that could make driving an even better experience.

We could also get a look at the Project Era ‘LEGO’ type phone, a modular phone that consists of upgradable parts in the hope of helping to save its users money and reduce cell phone waste.  The most exciting about this is that it could to pave the way for customisable tablets, smartwatches and even laptops in the future, which could be incredible.