Category: Technology

Apple Unveils Bigger iPhones at Higher Prices, and a Heart-Tracking Watch

appleApple has long had a playbook for iPhones, its most important product: Keep rolling out bigger, faster and more expensive models.

On Wednesday, it repeated that strategy by introducing another round of iPhones that are — you guessed it — bigger, faster and more expensive. The model with a 6.5-inch screen, the iPhone XS Max, is Apple’s biggest iPhone ever and will start at $1,100. (And, yes, its name is a mouthful.) Last year when Apple debuted its iPhone X, the starting price was $1,000.

More notable, perhaps, was how much Apple is now evolving its smart watch into a clearly health-related device. The company showed off a new Apple Watch with an electronic heart sensor approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That could lead to new implications for health care — and prove to be a major selling point for a device that has played second fiddle to the iPhone.Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPhone XS, a premium model with a 5.8-inch screen, and the iPhone XS Max, with a 6.5-inch screen, its biggest-ever smartphone. The company also showed the iPhone XR, an entry-level model with a 6.1-inch screen.

The XS models are generally sped-up versions of last year’s iPhone X. Apple emphasized the phones’ advanced processor, durable glass and so-called Super Retina OLED display with a wide color gamut.

The iPhone XR will come in white, black, red, blue and yellow, and is just as fast as the XS models. It has a single-lens camera, unlike the XS models, which have dual-lens camera systems. And it uses LCD, a less expensive screen technology than the OLED used for the XS, and the casing is made of aluminum, unlike the stainless steel that the premium phones are composed of.

It’s obvious why Apple and other phone makers like Samsung keep enlarging their phones: Phones with bigger screens are selling well. When presented with the choice between a small phone and a bigger one, most people will go with the latter. That’s similar to how just about everyone wants a big-screen TV.But for mobile phones, there are trade-offs. For one, the larger phones are more difficult to use with one hand. With last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone X, it was difficult to reach your thumb across the screen to type a keystroke or hit a button inside an app.

The larger screens raise an important question about design. Will Apple do much in the near future to improve one-handed use?

When Apple’s screen sizes started growing with the iPhone 6 in 2014, the company released a software shortcut, called Reachability, through which users can tap the home button twice to lower the top of the screen and make it easier to reach buttons up there. That feature still exists for the new iPhones, but the lack of a home button makes it more difficult to use — instead of double tapping the home button, now you swipe down from the bottom of the screen.

READ MORE:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/12/technology/apple-event-live-iphone-watch-ios12.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs

27STATE1-superJumboWhen Microsoft unveiled the first Surface tablet five years ago, it was a spectacular failure. At the time, the Apple iPhone was well on its way to conquering the technology industry, and the iPad appeared set to lead an even more devastating invasion of Microsoft’s office-worker kingdom. Microsoft conceived of Surface, an innovative laptop-tablet hybrid, as a way to show off the versatility of its software. Windows machines, it argued, could work as phones, personal computers and tablets. And didn’t everyone love Windows?

Nope. Microsoft soon took a $900 million write-off for unsold Surfaces. Another effort to break into the hardware business, its acquisition of the limping phone-maker Nokia, dug a deeper river of red ink — a $7.6 billion write-off. By the summer of 2015, Microsoft’s hardware dreams looked crushed. Even today, the Xbox One, Microsoft’s latest gaming console, is losing to the Sony PlayStation 4.

Still, Microsoft persisted — and today, the company is making the most visionary computers in the industry, if not the best machines, period. In the last two years, while Apple has focused mainly on mobile devices, Microsoft has put out a series of computers that reimagine the future of PCs in thrilling ways.

Yes, Apple loyalists, that’s just my subjective view. And yes, Microsoft’s latest financial results aren’t exactly on my side here — the company announced last week that though its cloud software business is growing rapidly, revenue for its Surface division declined by 2 percent over the last year (because of changes it made in its launch schedule).

Microsoft, of course, makes most of its money from the PC business by licensing Windows to other computer makers, and it says that part of its goal in building hardware is to inspire and guide those companies’ designs. But it also wants the Surface line to sell — and although the division has grown enormously in the last few years, becoming a critical part of Microsoft’s overall business, Surface is still far smaller than Apple’s Mac or iPad line.

‘Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation’ Pushes the PS Vita to its Limits (Review)

ImageThe PS Vita’s hardware is impressive, but tons of gamers are nevertheless still waiting for a must-have game to justify the purchase of Sony’s latest handheld. Today, I must regretfully report that Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation is probably not that game.

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: Oct. 30
Price: $39.99

✭✭✭✭✭✭✭✩✩✩ Score: 7/10

I wanted to love it. I really did. I already love the way the PS Vita feels and looks, the way its dual sticks allow for decent controls, and the way its touch mechanics can be subtly integrated with traditional controls. And I love the Assassin’s Creed series—including Assassin’s Creed 3, my review of which is coming later this week. Liberation isn’t a bad game. Aesthetically, it’s superb, for a portable. And it’s got plenty of good ideas. But many of them, like the “personas” system, are marred by major flaws. As a result, it’s just not the best game that it could have been. Continue Reading…