Is Apple about to be a Bank??

Yesterday, on the 25th March 2019, Apple held its “Apple Special Event”. This was an event where Apple announced many of its new products, such as Apple Arcade, and innovative changes, such as with Apple TV. However, the biggest product, by far, has to be the Apple Card…

Apple Card
Apple Card – https://www.apple.com/apple-card/

 

Apple already had “Apple Pay” which was a hit with many Apple users due to its ease of use and the fact that you did not have to carry around a card with you; you could simply touch your iPhone or Apple watch onto the payment machine.

Thus, it would seem that Apple card is a step in the wrong direction…

 

Apple Pay
Apple Pay – https://www.apple.com/apple-card/

 

To be clear, Apple will still have Apple Pay and you would still be able to use it as normal. The point of this card is not to simply give us another way to pay, but I see it as a shift to something that usually traditional banks would do.

It has created disruption to an old institution.

Of course, many small companies, have tried to cause disruption in banking but none have the power and influence that Apple has. The idea of tracking your funds is not new, but the use of technology to give you exact and meaningful information, in real time about your purchases is something I know consumers have yearned for, for many years.

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Apple says that the Apple Card will be available to users in the United States in the summer of this year. Though it has not announced when it will be available in other countries, I am looking forward to how this disruption will change the way we think and interact with money.

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Foldable phones? Do we really need them?

It has long been portrayed in science fiction that we would be carrying around mobile phones that could be folded into small packages when in our pockets and then, simply, unfolded like a map into something more usable. This was previously not possible to fold our phones mainly due to the fact that the screens would snap and/or the seam on which the phone would be folded would be of no practical use (not usable screen space).

That is up until now…

TCL/CNET
Foldable Phone Designs – https://www.cnet.com/news/tcl-is-working-on-a-foldable-phone-that-transforms-into-a-smartwatch/

 

The company TCL, mostly known for their televisions and displays, have recently patented the design for a foldable phone which is able to turn into a wristband; though TCL is not the unique pioneers of the first design and the notion of attaching two separate screens with no bezel {“a ring with a cut around the inside used to hold something such as the face of a watch in place” – Cambridge Dictionary} has long been pondered.

However, the final design (first on the right) is quite unique. The phone seems to bend at two, rather large and long, seams which are quite the opposite to what other companies do; the usual thing to do is to use as little space as possible for the seams, reducing the possibility of a fault.

But…

Don’t get your hopes up just yet. There is still a lot of work to do in terms of the engineering of the design. Thus, TCL has no current plans to release any foldable phone before early 2020. My opinion is that these will be somewhat of a gimmick for a few years after that until the designs become more practical and less bulky.

What’s happening with 5G?

Was there any better way to start off 2019 than with a showcase of the latest and greatest technology?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CES, it is “The Global Stage for Innovation” (according to  https://www.ces.tech/ ). Though many would see this as simply another marketing gimmick and an absurd hyperbole, I would say that it is fairly accurate. This is because CES is where every company, big or small, comes to showcase their newest innovations. In this blog, I want to explore one which I believe will have the greatest improvement in our life’s: 5G mobile technology.

antenna clouds equipment frequency
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5G has been mostly overshadowed by a lot of controversies in terms of Huawei and the US government but I want to stick to the technology itself…

I remember hearing about 5G a couple of years ago and how it was projected for 2020 but it was nothing more than experimental technology which had a long way before it would be able to revolutionise the mobile network industry. Nevertheless, here we are, in 2019 (a year early!), with phones that are now capable of utilising this great technology, but what even is 5G?

Well, 5G is exactly what 4G was to 3G, a newer and faster way of transmitting data on mobile technologies. The reason why I use the term “mobile technologies” is that I am not only talking about your phone…

black huawei android smartphone
Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

 

“Adding 5G […] will increase reliability, increase speeds,” says Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division

Yes, it will be great that your cat video on YouTube will load faster, but 5G will allow us to move forward in fields such as VR and Autonomous Vehicles. This is thanks to it having a high-frequency band of the wireless spectrum (between 30 GHz and 300 GHz).

All of this does mean that you kind of have to buy a new phone to take advantage of 5G and even though EE is planning to launch 5G in major cities across the UK, many of you still have some waiting to do…

Drones? What’s all the fuss about???

Before we start, what are “drones” exactly?

Well, in this article, I am referring to the commercial quadcopter and octocopters such as those available for around £100-£500, usually piloted by someone who is no more than a few kilometres away from the drone. However, the term “drone” can refer to many other flying devices ranging from those used by the military to those used by professional camera crews.

For those of you who are not aware, last week, between the 19th and 21st of December 2018, numerous drone sightings were reported near to the 2nd busiest airport in the UK: Gatwick Airport (also known as London Gatwick). In total, around 1,000 flights, affecting approximately 140,000 passengers, through cancelled or delayed flights across the three-day long incident. This could not have happened at a worse time: only a few days away from Christmas, it ruined many family’s annual traditions. Understandably, those affected feel anger towards drones, calling for stricter and more stringent laws. Some even demanding on a ban on drones altogether.

condor airplane on grey concrete airport
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But was there any real danger?

Anything that weighs a significant amount, in the air, can cause damage to a plane. For example, flocks of birds were the most prominent problem for planes, in previous years. Despite the manufacturing of engines with birds in mind, drones seem to pose a more significant threat. Birds are made of flesh and feathers whereas drone is made of metal and many other harder composites. Thus, it could be argued that drones can cause much more damage than a stray bird- though we need more testing and research before any certain notions can be drawn. However, when it comes to aviation and the lives of thousands, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“So can I still fly a drone?”

For now, yes. Despite a licence not being required to operate a drone, there are some rules you must follow. Here are the main things you should know (taken from an official government statement- British Government):

“There are several other things to think about – what is your drone going to do if it runs out of power or fails? Is it going to land/fall somewhere safe? Are you far enough away from people, buildings and more importantly airfields if you lose control of your drone? Also bear in mind that you can be several miles away from an airfield and still be a hazard to manned aviation. Height is very difficult to judge from the ground, you might still be able to see your drone, just, and yet be well above 400ft. You should also consider that many military helicopters will often return to an airfield from all directions at 500ft and fixed wing aircraft can start descending from 1000ft about 3 miles away. So the message is this – if you are going to use drones, have a really good think about where you are, keep your drone in sight, consider what aircraft might be flying about and keep clear – it is your responsibility.” [source: Minister of Defence and Military Aviation Authority  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drones-are-you-flying-yours-safely-and-legally ]

In conclusion, though drones have been put in a negative light in recent days, I would still recommend getting one if you are a technology enthusiast or want to play with them with your friends; they are great fun either way!

 

[Btw, I wish everyone reading this a happy new year, and I hope 2019 will bring prosperities and success!!!]

 

Is your username that important?

We have all been there. Just got your new PlayStation. Now it is time to create your PlayStation Network (PSN) account, and you get to choose your name. However, be careful once you have made it there is no going back.

Or is there…

PlayStation has just announced that it will allow users to change their PSN* account name! This is said to happen in early 2019, so only a few more months.

blur close up device display

“Finally” – a quote from all my console gamers

This is excellent news for many people who have been burdened by choice, they made when they were in their early teens, and have been humiliated ever since; so that is the lives of many console gamers.

But is it really a big deal…

Too many people who are gazing in on the world of console gaming, such an amendment may seem pathetic due to many reasons. One of such is the question of why don’t they make a new PSN*: well that would result in them losing their level, status, XP (or any other word for achievements) and in the gaming world players with the most achievements rule over their game. Additionally, many players use real-life currencies such as USD or GBP to purchase in-game items (items that enhance the experience of the user for that game at an extra cost). Moreover, most importantly of all, we are talking about gamers: they are too lazy.

Like a retro game, an old username can hold great nostalgia.
Like a retro game, an old username can hold great nostalgia.

[Some problems: not all games made for all PlayStation systems are guaranteed to support the username change; therefore, gamers may find some errors in certain games]

Despite this, I personally will not change my username, like many others, I wish to keep the nostalgia of a childish, silly and absurd username.

RTX 2080 Ti: New series! New name! But is it worth it…

It is finally here! After two years of eager waiting, Nvidia has finally announced, at an event in Cologne (Germany), that it will release a whole new series of graphics cards on September 20th 2018.

However, this is no ordinary improvement like cards before! Previously, Nvidia named its graphics cards with “GTX” beginning with the first of the 10 series cards which were the GTX 1080 on May 27th 2016. Since then, graphics cards released had less power and were targeted towards mid-range gamers. That was until March 10th 2017 when Nvidia released the 1080Ti which were more powerful but also more expensive…
Towards the beginning of 2018, there had been rumours of a new series of graphics cards, and many (such as myself) believed it would be called the 11 series: “GTX 1180” and “GTX 1180Ti”. Nevertheless, the rumours began gaining momentum, and at its peak hype (excitement) Nvidia suddenly hit us with promising benchmarks of the new 20 series.

RTX 2080 vs GTX 1080

As you can see there are many new upgrades and feature compared to the GTX 1080: Firstly, the RTX 2080 (and its complementary Founders Edition card) feature a new GPU architecture called Turing – replacing the old Pascal architecture – which points towards a more efficient GPU. Secondly, the memory speed for both cards has increased by 4 Gbps, and they now feature the new GDDR6 memory (seen next to “Frame Buffer”). Overall, this leads to higher frame rates, but of course, that was expected.

RTX 2080 Ti Specs

Here are the prices:
• GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition: $1,199
• GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Reference*: $999
• GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition: $799
• GeForce RTX 2080 Reference*: $699
*Reference is another way of saying normal

RTX 2080 Ti

In conclusion, I feel that the prices of these graphics cards are quite high and would suggest buying a 10 series card if you are not gaming in 4k. This is because a GTX 1080 is still a great GPU and will be suitable for any 1080p gaming. Additionally, many popular games (such as CSGO, Fortnite and many, many more) will run at frame rates above 120fps using a GTX 1080; after 120 fps extra frames are almost negligible to the average gamer. I would only recommend buying an RTX 2080 Ti if you are an enthusiast and you have plenty of money to spend on the latest and greatest hardware.

Apple Glasses? iGlass? What’s really going on…

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about Apple and new products is, of course, secrecy and it is for a good reason: Apple is one of the best companies at guarding its new products against the prying eyes of the media and the general public. They do so by ensuring nothing enters and leaves Apple’s buildings and factories without them knowing; for example, they employ former government intelligence agents and carry out meticulous searches on factory employees that would put the TSA to shame.

abstract barbed wire black white black and white
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

All of this, however, cannot shroud all their activities in secrecy and we, the eager customers who are just waiting to throw away our money on another one of Apple’s over-priced “innovations”, get a glimpse of what is yet to come.

If we look closely at the companies Apple has acquired over the past years we can see that they stand out from what other technology giants are doing. Google and Microsoft, for example, buy many small start-up companies in hopes of make it profitable and they do so regularly; subsequently, many of these companies purchased usually do not make any profit, and it is common that many may fail.

Conversely, Apple only buys companies once they are sure of its use and are confident that it will be implemented in a future product. For example, Apple brought Siri which naturally became Siri (Apple’s voice assistant). However, now, within recent years, Apple began to buy companies related to Augmented Reality, eye tracking and small, yet powerful, screens.

All leading to the idea of glasses made by Apple!

turned on silver imac with might mouse and keyboard
Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

In conclusion, this is only speculation at the moment nevertheless it doesn’t stop us from eagerly jumping to conclusions, and this is only fuelled by the fact that Apple will never admit to this. Personally, I do not doubt in my mind that we will soon see Apple releasing its glasses in years to come. Mainly due to the fact that Apple is the only company that can push us to buy its innovations and- unlike the Google glasses which failed miserably due to its high price (higher than iPhone prices!) and its bulky design- Apple will undoubtedly have a much better design; even if the price is high. After all, what do we expect from Apple!

The only question left is what will it be called?