#379 Sep 15, 2014 – Apples New Product Line

This week’s headline story: Apple’s New Product Line

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.41.11 AMApple’s media event to launch its new products has dominated the news this week. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the details of what Apple is now offering, here they are in a nutshell.

The iPhone 6 and 6 plus.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7″ display, larger than the previous 4″ displays. The 6 plus is even bigger at 5.5″. Apple is behind its competitors in releasing a larger handset, or phablet as some in the industry call it. The displays aren’t just bigger, they are also better offering a higher resolution. Both phones are also thiner than previous versions. The new iPhones have a new processor that is 25 percent faster than previous iPhone processors. They include a better camera, an NFC chip for wireless payments, and fingerprint authentication for secure access and secure one-touch payments. The iPhone plus quickly sold on in pre-orders and is now will take several weeks for delivery. The iPhone 6, as of now, is still scheduled for delivery Sept 19.

iOS8

The new phones are powered by an upgraded operating system. iOS8 offers an improved messages app, improved camera and video features, over 1 million apps, and continuity that allows smooth transitions between working on iPhone, iPad and Macs.

Apple Watch

The biggest new release is Apple’s Watch – not named the iWatch as anticipated, just Watch. Watch works with the iPhone to provide access to the Internet and phone functions. On top of that access Apple’s Watch provides a platform on which to develop apps for the small 1″ display. Many apps are already available. Apps include, as you might guess, a watch – which apple claims is the most accurate watch ever, various forms of messaging, maps, calendar, music and TV controls, weather, and a health monitor. You interact with your watch by tapping icons dictating through Siri, and zooming with the digital bezel. The watch is only limited by its size and lack of keyboard and speakers. Apple Watch will be released in early 2015.

Apple Pay

The new iPhones and Watch come equipped for Apple Pay, the ability to maintain a digital wallet and make wireless payments online and at check out. Apple has partnered with a handful of stores to accept Apple Pay including Walgreens, Staples, Whole Foods and Macy’s. Apple charges banks a fee for each transaction paid with Apple Pay. The success of the technology will depend on many more stores buying in. Wireless payment systems have been around for 7 years, but so far, stores have resisted the systems due to the cost of implementation. Wal-Mart and Best Buy just removed contactless payment systems from their stores. Apple may have to offer some incentives to get stores on board. Some are saying that if broadly adopted, Apple Pay, or a similar technology, could dramatically reduce the amount of costly data breaches. If true, this alone could motivate stores to adopt the technology.

Ups and Downs

So without a doubt, Apple has raised the bar for mobile technologies. The Apple Watch outshines any of the competitors currently on the market. On the downside, if you decide to purchase one of the new Apple gadgets you should plan on buying into the entire Apple ecosystem. Apple products work best with other Apple products. If you want an Apple Watch, you’ll need an iPhone to connect it to. Likewise, Messages and Continuity only work across Apple products, so you’ll need a Macbook and iPad. Forget about using the Messages to communicate with your best friend’s Android phone, you’ll have to find new friends that all use Apple products. You’ll also need to use Apple iCloud, which will make Apple Calendar, Mail, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, Pages, Numbers and Keynote the most logical apps to adopt.

Perhaps the biggest service Apple has provided, is motivating competition in the market. It will be interesting to see what Google’s next upgrade brings.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • 5 Million Gmail Usernames, Passwords Stolen [NewsFactor]

    5 million gmail usernames and passwords were compromised and leaked online. The credentials are reportedly three years old, but still gmail users are advised to update their password, and incorporate two-factor authentication, that verifies accounts acceed from a new computer by sending a text message to your phone.

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally…

  • Google Glass Can Now Track Your Stress Level [technology Review]

    Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed a new method of tracking heart rate and breathing data using Google Glass by monitoring a Glass wearer’s head movements with the gyroscope . In a study of 12 people, the researchers were able to estimate heart and breathing rates nearly as accurately as they could with FDA-approved sensors for tracking the same signals. The work suggests a new way for wearable devices to track a person’s stress level and provide instant fitness feedback.

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