Friday, 26 September 2014

5 Gadgets That Didn't Live Up To Their Hype

A lot of iPhone 6 owners have been complaining this week that their new gadgets are becoming ‘bendy’ when they’ve been in their pockets for a long period of time.

With a lot of hype revolving around the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, this news is surely going to have a negative effect on the sales of the device, which experts were predicting would go through the roof. With this news, we thought it’d be good to look at four other gadgets that might not have lived up to their full potential.

The Segway

The Segway was one of the most anticipated gadgets of its time (2001) and had been called the ‘new-age scooter’ and although there are still a number of celebrities spotted on these around their homes, very few ‘normal’ people can afford the $5,000 price tag. Not only was the Segway overpriced, but when the President George Bush fell off one in 2004, it was the end of the road.

Blackberry Playbook

Blackberry were living the high-life for a few years with their mobile phones aimed at the business market, but as the years rolled on, more people opted for the iPhone and less for the Blackberry. So, when Blackberry introduced the Playbook in 2011, they thought this could be their way back to the top … they were wrong. They released this tablet but a lot of its features only worked if you owned a Blackberry phone, so its market was limited.

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia are another company that have fallen by the wayside recently, and although they dominated the mobile phone market for a few years before Apple got involved, one of their nails in the coffin was the Nokia N-Gage. This half phone, half game controller was released in 2003 and cost $299 at the time. They even ended up releasing an N-Gage 2, but that didn’t do too well either.

Google Nexus Q

Google make the list too. Usually, they’re a company that get things right, but when they introduced the Nexus Q in 2012, it was a bit of a disaster. Despite looking like something out of Star Wars, it was overpriced ($299) and wasn’t all that useful. The idea was to make media consumption more social, but in theory all it could access was Google’s content.

Friday, 19 September 2014

iOS 8 - What's Changed?

Apple have been dominating the headlines over the last fortnight and this week has witnessed the new iOS 8 update, just days before the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are to be launched. 

If you have an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad Mini or iPod touch 5th generation or newer, you can download it today if you don’t already have it. If you have an iPhone 4 or older generation iPads or iPods, you will have to get an upgrade as it is not accessible for you - sorry. 

So, what’s new?

With news of Apple Pay surfacing during the WWDC last week, the new iOS 8 software has changed to allow app developers to get access to the five-digit login tool which could mean we will be saying ‘goodbye’ to pesky passcodes and accessing all sorts of apps with our fingerprints. 

As the iPhone still stands at the most used camera in the world, it’s no surprise that the camera app has improved allowing you to capture extended moments and be able to speed up video with the ‘time-lapse camera mode’.

Text messages and calls will be able to be answered and replied to on Macs and iPads and are not just restricted to the iPhones. iMessage was a great cross-compatible tool for chatting across iOS devices and Macs but now the experience has just got a whole lot more convenient. 

Interactive notifications are another convenience too and will mean users can respond to texts and calendar reminders from the lock screen.  There is no need to unlock your phone to reply to a friend and lie that you’re ‘on your way’ because now you can do it with just a few clicks. 

The keyboard has had an upgrade to, and Apple claim their new iOS 8 keyboard is the ‘smartest ever’. The Quicktype feature adds a highly-requested predictive texting capability and will automatically offer you choices based on the conversation. Simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options can appear when a friend asks you a question. 

As well as these useful features, there are a whole host of new apps to make your iPhone, iPad or iPod turn into a usability genius too - too many to mention in fact. But, Apple is confident that this is the best update they have had, so let’s hope they’re right!

Friday, 12 September 2014

iPhone6 - Apple Thinks Bigger Is Better

All eyes have been on Apple this week as they unveil the new iPhones as well as welcoming the new Apple Watch to their ranks.

The Apple Watch is Apple’s first new product line since the introduction of the first iPad, and the passing of its co-founder Steve Jobs.

The Apple Watch will run apps, act as a health and fitness tracker and will be able to communicate with the iPhone. Although a number of rival smartwatches are already available on the market, experts have highlighted a number of sectors that Apple have entered late and have subsequently helped to change their direction.

So, even though Apple might be joining the smartwatch battle a bit later than expected, they are no means out of the race. The device, which is expected to launch in early 2015, is simple in its design which has opened up a big debate among tech experts, and 11 different watch faces will be on offer with the ability to change the straps.

That’s not all though as Apple also gave spectators a glimpse of their two new handsets. The Apple Watch may have been the most anticipated product of the day, but their new larger iPhones are likely to be their bigger earners.

The iPhone 6 has a screen that measures 4.7in and the iPhone 6 Plus will be fitted with a 5.5in screen. The main reason for the move towards a ‘bigger is better’ notion is to stop the likes of Samsung prizing away its customers. Since the market for ‘phablets’ has opened up, more companies are moving towards a larger screen.

Steve Jobs was very much behind the smaller screen and was known to say “no-one is going to buy a phone that they could not get a single hand around” but these days seem to be long-gone for Apple.

Another feature, new to the iPhone 6 models, is Apple Pay. This is Apple’s take on contactless paying and depends on an NFC (near field communication) chip and a NFC reader at the shop till. Although Apple has ensured users that this will be ‘secure’ because it worked without having to store credit card details or needing to share any details with the cashier.

The new iPhone 6 models will be available to buy on 19th September, so we won’t have to wait as long to get our hands on these.

Friday, 5 September 2014

You Could Be Taking The Wheel Of Technology

As you know, we’re not one to shy away from some new gadgets in the office (in fact, we love our Google Glasses) and this new piece of technology could make getting around the office very interesting.

The AirWheel is a new personal transport vehicle that helps one person get from A to B on a single wheel. The vehicle is half Segway and half unicycle and it has definitely got us interested.

It uses a gyroscope and attitude control stabilisation in order to stay upright on its single wheel and doesn’t use any other support. It’s clever but it is going to set you back quite a bit. Priced at £799, the AirWheel Q3 will be at the top of the range, but if you can’t afford that, the cheapest will be around £510.

If that hasn’t quite convinced you to replace your bicycle yet, then maybe the 800w motor and the 340 battery that will help you travel 24 miles of about-town, will help change your mind? On a good downhill slope the AirWheel can also reach speeds of around 16kph, so it’s no slouch.

Similar to the Segway, it has a platform for you to stand on, only the AirWheel is on two separate platforms either side of the one wheel. This can affect the stableness of it though, and as there are no handlebars you will have to make sure you keep moving or you could end up falling off.

Learning to ride a bike is something you did when you were a child but now it seems you will have to restart a similar learning curve with this piece of kit, but that will all be part of the excitement. One thing that will definitely take time getting used to is the way you turn a corner – you do this by leaning to one side – as this is much different to the Segway.

These models are fairly bulky, weighing up to 13kg. But, if you’re looking for a quicker way to get to work and would rather carry the AirWheel with you inside the office instead of leaving your bike locked outside, then we could be seeing a lot of these around city centres very soon.