This is the Apple Watch

apple watch logo

In addition to launching the iPhone 6, Apple also introduced its brand new product line – the Apple Watch.

apple watch

The Apple watch is a wearable device which comes in 2 sizes – 38mm and 42mm. The crown, or as apple calls it – digital crown, is the new way of interacting with the watch without blocking the screen. The watch also offers a touch screen – so don’t worry, you are covered there. The touch screen is an advanced capacitive & resistive screen which can differentiate between a tap and a press. So you can use different modes for different actions.

apple watch straps

In addition to offering various watch faces, the watch will be capable of making and receiving phone calls, Sending and receiving text messages & providing some Siri functions. Apple has also built in an intelligent algorithm that can figure out the message context and give you pre-populated replies to tap onto instead of having to type them in – which is really cool.

The watch also features something called as Digital Touch which allows you to communicate with your selective friends in weird new ways. You can read more about them here.

apple watch sensors

The watch is also an always on fitness monitor with various sensors on the back that monitor your heartbeat. Coupled with the inbuilt accelerometer and GPS and WiFi from an iPhone, it can record various types of physical activity data that you can use to track your fitness activities. There are various fitness apps that will be available on the watch for all kinds of users.

The watch will also be able to give you a tactile feedback similar to a tap on your wrist. And there can be different types of taps for different types of notifications. This is going to be great as we definitely need some filtering when notifications are coming to our wrists.

In addition to the above features, the watch will also support the Apple Pay features and you can do merchant transactions by brining your watch closer to the mobile enabled merchant terminals.

The Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 at a starting price of $349. At this entry price, it is certainly going to be a premium product, however, it does look like the first smart watch which seems to have understood the concept of how smart watches should work. In Tim Cook’s words – we have not shrunk an iPhone into a watch. This is really important as no one wants to interact with their watches (or fitness trackers) the way they interact with their phones. A new, innovative way to interact with such devices was needed and the digital crown coupled with the advanced touchscreen seems to be the right way to do it. 

Apple Launches the iPhone 6

iphone 6

Apple launched the next generation of iPhone(s) today at their press event in Cupertino. The event was held at the Flint Center where Steve Jobs revealed the Macintosh 30 years back. There were two new iPhones reveled – The iPhone 6 with a 4.7 inch display and the iPhone 6 plus with a 5.5 inch display.

Both the phones feature:

  • 64 bit A8 chip with M8 motion coprocessor
  • 8 megapixel iSight camera with f/2.2 aperture with an advanced auto focussing system called Focus Pixels
  • up to 60 fps 1080p video recording
  • 240 fps slow motion video recording
  • Advanced cinematic video stabilization
  • Apple Pay – Apple’s take on the mobile wallet

iphone 6 and 6 plus

The biggest visible differences are the large screen sizes and the overall thinner & sleeker body design. There are no chamfered edges this time. The screen just blends in to the aluminum body of the phone and a first glance will remind you of the very first iPhone the company revealed back in 2007.

The iPhone 6 plus is going to be the flagship device with the massive screen offering 1920×1080 pixels and a much longer battery life thanks to the bigger size. It also features optical image stabilization (which is far better) as opposed to only digital image stabilization in the iPhone 6.

Both the phones have the required hardware to enable Apple Pay which is Apple’s effort to simplify the payment process – both online and at merchant outlets. The phones will work with the credit card saved on file in your iTunes account out of the box. You can also add your other cards by just capturing a photo with your phone’s camera.

apple pay

The phone does not store the credit card number or any security code. Instead, it only stores a unique device account number on a secure elements chip inside the phone. None of this info is stored on Apple’s servers. Even when you do a transaction, the credit card number is not sent to the merchant. Everything is done using the device account number and a unique transaction code generated in real time.

In order to pay at a terminal supporting mobile payments, you don’t need to open an app or even wake your phone. Just bring your phone close to the terminal and the passbook with your credit cards will pop up. All transactions will require your fingerprint using the touch ID sensor on the phone’s home button, so only you can authorize a payment.

iPhone 6 & 6 plus will be available on September 19th with pre orders starting on September 12th. The contract free prices will be as follows:

iPhone 6:

  • 16GB: $649
  • 64GB: $749
  • 128GB: $849

iPhone 6 plus:

  • 16GB: $749
  • 64GB: $849
  • 128GB: $949

Thats right No 32GB version this time. You get 64GB for the price you paid for 32GB in the previous versions.

Apple says that the new iPhones will be launched in 115 countries by the end of 2014. No word or pricing info for Indian market yet. Stay tuned.

How to set the Home and Work Location in Google Now Accurately.

Google Maps allows us to select a Home and Work location for quick use to determine Directions and for use in Google Now too .

Here’s how to set the location.

  1. Open Google Maps on your Android or iOS device
  2. Click on the “Person” icon on the top right
    image
  3. You’ll be displayed a screen to enter/edit the Home and Work address
    image
  4. Long press the Home/Work fields to open the edit page and type in the building name or the complete address.
  5. Select the suggestion provided by Google and Voila! you have selected a Home address..

(more…)

PickParcel.com Will Pick up Your Parcels From Your Home

pickparcel logo

PickParcel.com is a new startup which lets you schedule pick up from your home for a shipment you want to send across India. They also offer discounted rates from major courier services in India. The process is simple – You specify where you want to ship from, where you want to ship to and the weight of the parcel. Pickparcel will display various available rates from major courier services which service that sector. They divide the rates into sections based on shipping speeds. From here, you can make a choice and fill in the remaining details & schedule a free pickup of the shipment from your home/office.

The concept is not new and there have been sites which have offered this service in the past. Most courier companies are beginning to offer scheduling of home pick up through their websites. However, it is very difficult to compare the rates from different vendors for various shipping speeds. This is where pickparcel offers the most value to consumers. The business model probably relies on having bulk shipment deals set up with the courier companies with considerably lower rates than a standard shipment from the outlet. Even after including their profit margin, if pickparcel is able to offer home pick up at no additional cost, it should have a sustainable business model. 

All About Amazon’s Fire Phone

amazon fire phone

Amazon has announced the much rumored fire phone in the US. It will be available at a price of USD 199 with an at&t service plan for 2 years. The unlocked version of the phone is priced at USD 649. Note that these prices are for the 32 GB variants of the phone. This pricing is part of amazon’s aggressive campaign to drive sales of the phone. In addition to the above pricing, amazon is also offering a full year of amazon prime membership when you purchase the phone (existing prime users get their membership extended by one year).
 
amazon fire phone
 
The phone runs on Amazon’s android based Fire OS version 3.5 and offers some really innovative features which will surely entice a lot of users:

Dynamic Perspective

This feature gives an immersive user experience to the user enabling them to tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. For example – When you are reading a long email, just tilt the phone to automatically scroll the content. Precise sensors will help you control the scroll speed & direction.

Firefly

This is like Google Goggles. This feature uses the phone’s camera to identify text, music, pictures & products sold on amazon.com. Just point your phone and press the firefly button to let the phone give you options about the object you are seeing.

Mayday

This is going to be a big hit. The dedicated Mayday button on the phone lets you connect with an amazon expert via live video (one sided – they won’t be able to see you). This service is totally free 24×7 365 days a year. Amazon’s goal is to respond to a Mayday request within 15 seconds. In addition to troubleshooting your issues, the amazon expert will also be remotely able to control your phone to do the task for you. They will also have the ability to draw on your screen to guide you what to do. If this feature works as promised, it might just bring a revolution to customer care.
 
amazon fire phone mayday
 
In addition to the above features, the phone boasts of 4.7’’ HD LCD display & a 13MP advanced camera system with 1080p video recording, optical image stabilization and free unlimited photo storage in the amazon cloud. The phone is powered by a 2.2 Ghz quad core processor and comes with a Dolby powered audio engine & flat cable magnetic tangle free ear buds.
 
The fire phone is available for pre order on amazon.com in 32GB and 64GB variants and ships on July 25 in the US.

Flipkart Launches Android Based Tablet in India

digiflip pro logo

flipkart logo

Mega online retailer Flipkart has launched an Android tablet in India. Launched under the Flipkart owned Digiflip Pro brand, the XT712 tablet, priced at INR 9,999 comes in two colors – black & white and offers comparable specs to tablets fro HP, Lenovo & Samsung. Here is a quick list of the tablet’s configuration:

  • 1.3 Ghz QuadCore Processor
  • 3G Dual Sim with voice calling support
  • 1280 X 800 7 inch IPS screen
  • 5MP rear camera with LED flash
  • 2MP front camera
  • 16GB internal storage, microSD upto 32 GB
  • Dimensions: 113.7 x 185.3 x 9.2 mm
  • Weight: 285g

flipkart tablet XT 712

Flipkart is offering the following offers in order to promote the tablet’s sale in India:

  • Discounts worth INR 5000 when shopping on flipkart using the app on the tablet (Conditions apply)
  • Free eBooks worth INR 2300 (The eBooks are pre-selected by flipkart)
  • 20% off on tablet’s book case

The tablet seems like a good alternative to people looking for an affordable stock Android tablet. However, be aware that this tablet comes with Android Jellybean 4.2.2 which is super outdated (introduced in Feb 2013). Furthermore, the discount offers seem to have a big catch and might not be useful for most customers.

[via Flipkart.com]

Uber Launches Low Cost Uber X in India

uber logo

Premium on call cab service Uber has launched its (relatively) cheaper service Uber X in 3 cities in India. The service is available in New Delhi, Bangalore & Hyderabad and offers a cheaper alternative with the same benefits that the Uber black service offers. The only noticeable difference is the type of car that you will ride in. While Uber black offers a premium fleet of cars, Uber X uses economy to premium economy cars. Here is the rate for Uber X in India:

  uberX
Base Fare
start with this fare
INR 50
Per Kilometre
distance covered
INR 15
Per Minute
time taken in minutes
INR 2
Minimum Fare INR 150

And here are some sample fares:

Safdarjung Enclave to Khan Market  INR 181 – 213
Vasant Vihar to Cyber City INR 343 – 395
Airport Terminal 3 to New Friends Colony INR 531 – 612

*Actual fares may vary due to traffic, weather, and other factors.

As you can see, Uber X is considerable cheaper than Uber black and should be a nice option for a more broader target audience. In order to book an Uber, you will need the Uber app.

[via Uber Blog]

 

IRCTC Improves Site Performance

NextBigWhat is reporting that IRCTC seem to have improved its site’s performance making it usable during peak ticketing hours. They seem to have added servers and/or optimized the site’s software performance in order to give a smoother ticketing experience to users during peak hours.

The site seems to have gone lightweight in UI design thereby reducing the load times of the web pages. Given that the site is a transactional site which needs to be secure & efficient enough to handle millions of hits during peak hours, any optimization & hardware upgrade needs to be thoroughly tested before deployment. IRCTC made an announcement about this improvement last year.

This change should help a lot of users to book tickets (relatively) faster during peak hours.

[via NextBigWhat]

Review: Nomad Chargekey for Lightning Devices

nomad logo

All of us have faced a situation where we ran out of battery on our iPhone and looked around for a charger and never found one. At such a time we wonder if there can be a charger that we can always have. There are the two things that we mostly never forget – our wallet and our keys. Nomad has come up with these innovative USB chargers which can fit in your wallet (the chargecard) and in your keychain (the chargekey). Nomad sent us a chargekey to review. Read on to find out how we found it.

Design

nomad chargekey

The chargekey is made of 2 hard plastic parts joined together by a flexible yet robust stem in the middle. One part has a slot which you can use to put it in the keychain. It also houses  the lightning connector which goes in your phone. The other part has a naked USB port which goes into a USB charger or your laptop’s USB port. The flexible stem in the middle makes this product really unique and awesome. The flexible stem is so robust, that no matter what way you bend it, it never snaps!

The design is minimalistic in terms of volume and weight. The chargekey weighs much less that an actual key and will not add any bulk to your keychain. The only issue one might have is with the angled lightning connector which will force you to keep your phone at an angle which is not very ideal for using it simultaneously. Unfortunately, USB port connectors are not reversible. So uou might have to use it on the USB ports to the left of the keyboard on your laptop to keep it at a usable angle.

As far as durability is concerned, this is by far the most durable iPhone charger I have seen till date.

Usage

chargekey in a keyring

I took the chargekey on a trip with me. The trip involved traveling by road and train. During the whole trip, I always had the chargekey on me to be able to charge my phone anywhere. During travel, the phone discharges much faster due to lack of signal strength. I used the chargekey on almost every leg of my journey and at various places that I stayed, and it performed pretty well everywhere.

I even used it with a USB charger on the power sockets provided in the Indian Railways train compartments with my iPhone hanging out. And the bending stem did not give up!

The chargekey is not just a charger. It is a USB 2.0 sync cable as well. Although you will most likely be using it as just a charging device. That is perfectly fine as we seldom sync our iPhones with our computers these days.

Packaging

The packaging of the product impressed me a lot. Nomad has gone really above and beyond to design a super awesome packaging for their products.

nomad packing envelope closed

The product comes in an intelligently designed envelope which is really simple to open.

nomad packing envelope opened

When you open the envelope, you will find the product glued to the envelope using a sticky gel (which does not stick to the product after its removed). You will also find ways to earn free products from them. Nomad also accepts barter as a payment mechanism. So you can actually tell them what you want to barter for any of their products and if they like it, they might make the exchange!

Conclusion

The chargekey is a super useful little tool that will surely give you your money’s worth. Its priced at $29 a piece and if you order two or more of them, you get free international shipping! I found the product to be a very robust item with an intelligent and thought through design.  I will recommend this product to anyone who faces the dire need of a charger and can’t find one in the vicinity. And at $29 a piece, it is very reasonable priced.

Here is How You Can Edit Your Facebook Lookback Movie

facebook-logo

So you loved your facebook lookback movie? But are there some photos or posts in there which you would rather replace with something else? Now you can. Facebook is letting you edit your lookback movie in a few clicks. And you don’t need to have any video editing skills in order to do that.

Head on to https://www.facebook.com/lookback/edit/ and you will see your current movie on top of the page followed by posts/photo options for the 3 sections of the movie. All you need to do is select/de-select based on your preference. Note that you cannot select more than the permitted number of items in each section. So, if you have reached the full selection limit, you need to de-select a few items in order to select new ones. Make sure to use the forward & backward buttons on the top right corner of each section to look at more posts or photos eligible for each section.

Once done, scroll up and click play. The movie should play with your new content (some content might load slowly). And if you want to share your edited movie, click on the share button on the top right of the page.

[via BGR.in]

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