A new patent application by Apple hints at RF-based long-range wireless charging, along the lines of the Energous system recently granted FCC approval.
As is usual with Apple patent applications, the wording is as general as possible – encompassing both wired and wireless charging – but the problem it aims to solve does appear to be one that arises primarily with long-range wireless charging …
Looking to equal or beat Apple in the aftermath of its iPhone battery apology, iFixit has dropped the price of its do-it-yourself battery swap kits to $29 or less. More significantly this includes kits for the iPhone 4S, 5, 5s, and 5c, which are excluded from Apple’s discounted battery replacements.
Apple’s HomeKit is a user-friendly platform for anyone who owns an iOS device and is interested in a simple, reliable DIY smart-home system. With a couple of HomeKit-compatible devices and a recent iPhone or iPad, it’s realistic to start from scratch and have an integrated system up and running in a few minutes. Apple doesn’t yet offer a voice-controlled speaker like the Google Home or Amazon Echo (the HomePod should be available in early 2018), but you can control your HomeKit system via the Siri voice assistant built into Apple phones, tablets, computers, and watches, or through smartphone and tablet apps.
Apple might start to converge iOS and macOS in a big way next year by letting developers create a single app that runs across both platforms. Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning to let developers create apps that will adjust to whichever platform they’re running on, so that they’ll support touch input on an iPhone or an iPad and mouse and trackpad input on a Mac.
The report notes that plans could always change, but it sounds like the combined apps could become available next year. If so, they’d likely be announced in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and then introduced in the fall, when new versions of iOS and macOS typically ship.
Though Apple is far from the first to attempt such a crossover, the move would still be a very big deal. While the Mac has its share of very good apps, iOS is by far the more vibrant ecosystem. By letting developers create for two platforms at once, Apple can potentially make it easier and faster for updates and new apps to arrive on the Mac.
The really big open question is how all of this will work. It isn’t clear whether this means that macOS will emulate portions of iOS, or if developers will still largely have to code two separate apps. The closer the two platforms are, the easier it’ll be for developers — but the bigger the risk of users on one platform getting an interface that feels like it was designed for other types of input.
Microsoft has been trying this exact same thing with Universal Windows Platform apps for a while now, allowing developers to create apps that run across Windows, Windows phones, the Xbox, HoloLens, and even the Surface Hub. This has had limited success, in part because there’s always going to be one or more platforms that developers just don’t care to serve. Google has started going down the same road, bringing Android apps over to Chrome OS.
We spent more than two months testing 15 indoor Wi-Fi home security cameras, evaluating motion and sound sensitivity, alert types and frequency, speaker and microphone sound quality, smartphone apps, storage options, placement flexibility, and image quality, and the Logitech Logi Circle is the best choice for most people. The Logitech Logi Circle camera was the easiest to set up, the most flexible to place, and the most intuitive to use of all the cameras we tested.
Two more iMac Pro impressions have been posted, with benchmarks from both showing massive gains in processing power in the iMac Pro over older models — plus the inclusion of AVX-512 vector processing optimization in the W-series Xeon processor giving an added push to properly optimized apps.
Airbnb is developing virtual and augmented reality features to help guests find and navigate rental listings, the company announced on its blog today. Three-dimensional scans and 360-degree photos would allow users to get a better sense of a listing, and augmented reality overlays could help guests better understand the homes on a smaller scale once they’re in it. The company has been looking into VR to build trust between guests and hosts since last year, and this announcement confirming experiments and prototypes could mean a feature is coming soon.
It makes sense to take a look around a listing in VR before booking, but Airbnb also lists a few instances where augmented reality might be helpful during your trip. If you’re staying overseas and everything’s in a foreign language, it could be difficult to unlock the door, or figure out the thermostat or the hot water in the shower. It also lists a fun example of AR usefulness like “pulling up a mobile device to get directions to the coffee mugs … first thing in the morning.” This is a problem that could easily be solved by just opening up a few cupboards and figuring it out, but I get what they’re saying.
Virtual tours have been around in the real estate industry for a while, and Airbnb hosts have been asking for a feature to integrate them into their own listings. While the VR technologies could be implemented by providing Airbnb hosts with 360-degree cameras, it might be harder to integrate the AR concept for individual listings. Since ARKit was released on iOS 11, we’ve seen some concepts of what an AR overlay for Airbnb listings might look like. It seems like a useful and worthwhile idea, but it might be a more difficult challenge for Airbnb to take on.
But until this is a reality, I’ll still be satisfied with charming hand-written binders with tips on the local sights and illustrations on how to figure out the thermostat.