Apple has sprung!

A group of co-workers and were able to sit in a large conference room and watch hesterday’s Apple event.  I typed furiously to capture my notes and thoughts, while still doing day job activities at the same time.  I am wondering how much the U.S. Economy was impacted by the anticipation of Apple’s announcement,  anyway, a quic recap (that you’ve probably seen on other blogs by now):
  • HBO announced their HBO Now offering –  Apple is the exclusive launch partner, and it appears they have a 3 month exclusivity.  This allows customers to pay $14.99 per month (first month free) to get access to all of HBO’s custom content.  This includes The Sopranos, VEEP, and the most important title Game of Thrones.  Personally I think the three month exclusive gives Apple a great boost as it coincides with the latest season of Game of Thrones. 
  • Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV To $69 to coincide with the launch.  I believe this is two fold: first, many others have provided credible tv devices (chromcast, fire tv just to name two) and second, Apple is probably clearing the supply chain before they announce a newer product that includes the ability to run apps and games.  That would make a ton of sense to me.
  • Apple announced ReseachKit – this open source project will allow researches to collect data from wide groups of people (opt in) and to push surveys, etc. to them greatly exapanding the amount of data that they get for medical and health research.  Key projects have been announced for – Parkinson, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, breast Cancer.  This will change the scale of data collection for researchers and hopefully dramatically improve research.  Partnerships include Stanford university, Sage Bionetworks, Massachusetts General hospital, and Ichan School of Medicine.
  • Then Apple surprised me, and many of us in the room with a new MacBook accouncement.  The new 12″ MacBook is using edge to edge screen, a new trackpad, new battery tech, and a new CPu layout.  At only 2lbs, I am looking forward to getting my hands on this device.  The downside is that Apple has continued their all out assault on our wallet with a new adapter, that will required a dongle so that you can extend beyond just the power port.  We joked in the room that you would have an octopus dongle to have all the ports you need.  There are many things to like about this new laptop, but it appears it can only be expanded to 8gb of ram and 500gb SSD.  Not really something that can be used to run VM’s that I need at work, nor the storage I need for my primary machine.


  • We then got to the main event – the Apple Watch, to be honest not much new hear from the announcement back in Sept.  The key points for me were: 18 hours battery (under normal usage) and pricing:

  • So watch has wifi- and bluetooth so features all work at home without carying the phone… 

Sport – Space Grey  or Silver, 5 color bands $349 / $399
Watch – Space Black or Traditional – Stainless Steel – $$549-$1049 / $599 – $1099
Edition – Gold $10,000+
Pre-orders 4/10/2015 
Availability 4/24/2015

Spring Forward in Anticipation

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Today is Apple’s big “Spring Forward” event. It will start at 1pm EDT (10am PDT if you are nearer Apple’s campus). I am looking forward to replacing my old “Apple Watch” – (AKA iPod Nanon on a 3D Printed watch band). I’ve been looking at the WatchKit SDK, but have not yet written any meaningful code. I will as soon as I have a watch to play with. What is your most anticipated aspect of the Apple Watch? What version will you order?

CES 2015 Day 4 – And it’s a wrap!

It's a Wrap

Wow, the final day is over and today I spent half the day in customer meetings… To put it mildly, they went well.  A huge thank you to my teammates at this year’s CES!

The rest of the day I spent on the show floor just looking to catch up on some cool tech I knew about and didn’t have time to go thru.  First the ones I missed: 3D Printing with fibers that allow for printing of wood, and metal objects with a standard Makerbot!  I will have to read up on this and probably order some wood fiber for my full size brain print.  Toshiba’s robot, which I heard cool thing about on the bus ride back to the hotel… How’d I miss this one?

While waiting in line for the Oculus demo (amazing! especially the Unreal 4 engine demo with tons of reflective surfaces and amazing particle emitters!) I spoke with a DLP developer from TI.  They are doing some amazing things with DLP in Displays, but the part that was much more exciting to me was how they see this technology being used in next gen 3D printers.  The fidelity that they will be able to achieve sounds amazing!    I also spoke with a person from Samsung’s demand gen team and discussed the wearables and their implementation of Oculus rift with Galaxy Wear.  Pretty cool, and to be a bit cynical (how can I not) their new VR headset partnership with Oculus is a lot like the Google Cardboard box, but with a high end cell phone and well designed mount.  This can truly allow many more people to get into the VR.  (ABOUT TIME!)

I also made it to the IEEE both to see my friends from Emotiv.  They had the Emotiv Insight connected to a Drag racing game.. I ran the run in 4.21 seconds, not shabby!  I can now say I’ve had my hands on the new unit and CAN’T wait to get it at home.  I supported the Kickstarter and have been waiting for the new unit.  They also had the version 2 of the original headset and it does seem to be much more robust.  I can’t wait to see how people hack this together.

Overall, CES 2015 was very much incremental from 2014.  Wearables were certainly king this year, followed by next generation TV’s and Connected products.  I didn’t see much representation of the AllScene Alliance (A bit of a shock), but I am sure that my buddy Joe Speed will fix that for 2016, (I only saw 2 booths that had the alliance logo on their booth).  In all fairness I didn’t go to ever booth on the show floor.  Connected Vehicle is certainly maturing. Ever OEM had their story and their spin.  Google and Apple have booth quickly caused the OEM to support their platforms, and they are mostly hedging their bets with both platforms available in many vehicles.  Security was talked about by many, but I didn’t not really see any tangible security plays for the Internet of Things.  This space is ripe for help!

And now for a batch of pics :)
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BMW with cool Doors

BMW with cool Doors

Me and my brain getting ready to race!

Me and my brain getting ready to race!

The Omni from Virtuix

The Omni from Virtuix

Where are the 4 stars!!

Where are the 4 stars!!

For my Friend Bryan

For my Friend Bryan

The Final Bus ride to the Hotel

The Final Bus ride to the Hotel

Loved this from Lenovo

Loved this from Lenovo

Day 3 – Meetings and a few cool ideas

Wow, as long as this week is at CES it also seems to run by very fast.  Today I went back to a few of the interesting booths I was at before, and added a few new ones.  The repeats were at some of the auto companies – Mercedes-Benz had removed their really cool self driving car, but did have a cool scale model:

It's a model

It’s a model

I looked a QNX to see what they were doing with Connected Car – and while I don’t like that term, I prefer Connected Vehicle – they are showing a stack like many other companies, the big difference – it’s called Blackberry…

QNX Connected Car Platform

QNX Connected Car Platform

Audi’s self driving car was still in their booth, and it was a pretty sexy vehicle:

Audi's Self Driving Car

Audi’s Self Driving Car

I then went to two booths that I had not spent much time at before – iHealth and Lowes Home Improvement.  Both of these companies were showcasing connected solutions.  iHealth has many of the same solutions as Withings, Connected blood pressure cuffs, connected scales, connected fitness trackers, but they also go into blood glucose monitors.  They also leverage Apple’s HealthKit – like Withings.  I think many of their devices looked pedestrian, while in my opinion Withings devices look cool.

Lowes was showcasing how to do a connected home with their platform (IRIS).  I saw this as a very closed platform, but I am not sure about that… will have to learn more here.

CES Day 2 – (Few Exciting Items)

I really don’t see how people can go to CES year after year.  The level of small incremental changes, followed by the  number of “me too” copy cats is crazy!  Today more than half my day was in customer meetings and customer specific actions, so I did not get to see much, however, I don’t feel like I missed much either.  I am a bit exhausted so today I will just post a bunch of pictures that I hope remind me of things I should talk about in a later post.  Ask questions in the comments if you have them.  Thanks

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CES Day 1 (for realz!)

Today was amazing and busy.  I began with 7am meetings and customers meetings starting at 7:30.  I won’t go into any of these (for obvious reasons); however since I have an exhibitor badge, I got onto the show floor at 9am (it opened at 10am) to do my 1st pass rapid pass to scout out where I want to go to the rest of the week.  I went thru the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (last year this was the Connected Home and 3D Printing Space), this year it was crowed with a lot of my favorites, but it was different.  There was a whole section on Gaming, with a Gigantic Oculus display. I hope to get some time to check it out on Thursday.  Parrot (the drone and quadracopter company) was there and had what appears to be a new flagship consumer quadrocopter, along with a new Connected Plant device).  The IEEE display included our friends from Emotiv with a racing game using their headset (given they were still in setup mode as a did may quick run I hope again to see them later this week).  Last year I really enjoyed the Robotic window cleaner, they were there but with a much smaller booth, and (spoiler) there was a new company that won  the innovation award for a window cleaning robot.

Qualcomm had a mini-booth in South Hall showing off robots and quadracopters, but their main booth was in central hall.   Next to the robot qualcomm booth, I saw a company called Vedams that was the only one that I saw promoting their AllSeen Alliance membership (this was a big surprise, I do expect to see more later this week).  Drones, drones, and more drones were all in the South Hall.  I hope to be able to spend some time there and understand the differences between the various models and companies.   There was Zano, Ghost, Parrot, and many others.

The Smart watch was all over the halls.  So many, and so many just looked the same.  The number that looked like what the Apple Watch may look like was also high.  I am hoping that we will see what happened with the smart phone, many try and then Apple sets a new standards which forces the entire industry to mature.  Time will tell.

I’ve seen the telepresence robots for years, but this year Beam had a GIANT one, that looked like it had a 40 inch TV on the top of it. :)

Connected Home did make some presence in the South Hall including WeMo, but the real Connected Home content was in the Sands Conference center (more to come on that).

By the time I left the South Hall the show floor was officially open and I quickly zoomed thru the central hall to look at Intel and Qualcomm’s booths.  Intel had some interesting spider robots, but they were being controlled by a person with a tablet.  They also showed partner work on a head up display with eye tracking in the vehicle (using the same JLR car I think we used at Innovate – it sure looked the same, need to check the infotainment screen later).  Intel was also going NUTS on wearables… and their sensing displays. Qualcomm had a bunch of Auto content and was using Internet of Everything (everywhere).  They showed a google glass type device  (ODG R-6S using the Snapdragon 805 processor).  It was also the first space where I saw Glasses Free 3D display on a 4k TV.  They showed off a bunch of gaming displays with some great graphics and processing using tablets sending the games to the TVs.

I then quickly ran to the North hall for a quick run thru to check out the connected Auto displays.  I somewhat missed Chrysler display, will have to check it out later.  So, the biggest thing was that it appears that most of the car manufactures are supporting both CarPlay and Android’s Car protocol, with some also supporting their own third protocol.  Pioneer showed their Apple CarPlay demonstrator in a a Smart Car. They also showed a cool rear view mirror that also showed social and other content.  Very cool!

Denso had a much smaller display than last year, the part I enjoyed was a very small EV that they built for the Japan market.  It doesn’t use keys, but instead of using a smart phone app, they are using a NFC enabled credit card like device, that allows you to tap on the dash and then drive off.   They then monitor where the vehicle is so they can move them closer to the next person who wants it… it was called the Picomobi and sits one person.  Seemed cool but the execution and adoption is very light so far.  They continue their Home to Car connection idea.. with integrations between the thermostat and your car, so as you get close to home it will change the thermostat to an appropriate setting.  They have systems for home energy efficiencies.

Toyota’s booth was all about their hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.  Toyota has announced that they are opening up their patents for license in order to drive adoption of this technology.  I saw a great article pitting Toyota and Tesla against each other based on their recent announcements.  The Mirai (Toyota’s vehicle) does look pretty cool.

Volkswagen was showing gesture based controls in the vehicle, along with a lot of cell phone integration with the vehicle.  My personal opinion is that gesture may not be the way to go, but I didn’t get a good chance to see it in action, so perhaps it won’t be as wild as I imagine it.  Volkswagen was one of the companies that showed three different supported platforms for infotainment – CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

Audi’s booth was just as insanely full as last year.  I did not get to see their self driving car that I heard about on twitter.  Maybe later this week.  Their RS-7 did look nice…

Ford showed off three things Sync-3, using Voice-Activted Technology.. This seems much more natural to me then what I can imagine with a gesture system.  They also had two great looking vehicles – the latest Mustang, and a their new F150. The coolest thing I saw; however, was an engine cutaway that actually showed the circuit boards inside of the engine.  For some reason I knew this existed mentally, but not in actuality.  The heat and oils I figured would break down a board.  But here’s a cool picture!

Hyundai was busy but not extremely.  My memories from last year, meant that I didn’t see anything new.

Mercedes-Benz!  My favorite car, had an amazing new AMG GTS 9  very sleek!  But the star of their display was their self driving vehicle (prototype- F015) with swizzle seats so that all four passengers could face each other and interact.I got one great picture, but someone had their stupid selfie stick in the way.  Note that the windows are tinted to look like metal.

At this point I had to zip over to the Sands for the afternoon. The Sands has connected home, connected health, 3d Printing, and the startup zone.  Right out side of the entrance with a company showing off their (yet another Google Glass like device) head-worn computer.  The ODG had both consumer and commercial versions.  Commercial model were about $5000 vs sub $1000 for the consumer model.  Pretty good specs, and interesting way of changing lens, etc.

Withings showed off their new Activité Pop activity tracking device.  While it didn’t do the pulse of my favorite WiThings Pulse, it has a cool analog display and supports sleep, steps and swimming! Pricing is listed at $150, and has an 8 month battery life.  I think this is a great way of looking at the fitness tracker and smart watch in a unique way.  I may have to get one when they become available.

An interesting booth was the Innovzen chair.  It looked a lot like a massage chair, but they went out of their way to say, no it is NOT a massage chair.  It is designed to reduce your stress and provide a sanctuary and get you to breath.  Not sure I can afford between $9,500 and $16,000 for a chair, but would be interesting to try it if I can get into it later this week.

A kickstarter from last year from Finsix – the Dart – was their with a big booth, but I still don’t have the charger I bought from them.   Cubic Robotics was an interesting booth, showing off what they did on Indigogo.  Obelab was a device that monitors brain function and tries to show abnormal brain function, depression, etc.  Oviku ULTI claimed to have the only un-pickable home door lock.

There was so much more and I will write up more.. but wanted to get this post up… (Updated with pictures)

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CES Day 0

Wow.. for a day of setup and a few quick meetings, I logged over 15,000 steps on my Withings Pulse device today.  I can honestly say that the excitement for what to see tomorrow is palatable.  IoT is everywhere!  As an exhibiter I am able to peak around on the various show floors, but this time I only went into the Sands Convention center space.  It includes Connected Home, Connected Health, and 3D Printing! I also know that I am going to spend significant amount of time in the North Hall at the main convention center which includes all the Connected Vehicle content.

Also got a ton of time working on our own demo, and ensuring that it’s multiple locations are all good for the rest of the week.

IMG_2529Here’s a quick peak of how the show floor looks like before it is a real show.. enjoy!

 

CES 2015 – Day -1

Finally in the room!

Finally in the room!

I am back at CES this year with my day job, but for the followers of this blog I will try and post an entry each day to talk about what I’ve seen.  Today I flew from RDU to Las Vegas via Atlanta, and after a 2 hour delay to get my luggage at the airport in Las Vegas, I finally made it to the hotel.

I ordered a quick room service, and got ready to crash.  A little secret (not so little and not a secret to anyone who knows me), I hate Las Vegas.  I don’t drink a lot, I don’t gamble, and I don’t smoke.  So this week will be dedicated to cool tech instead of the usual vices that people like about vegas.

Happy New Year – 2015

While I’ve not been as productive over the holidays as I had planned, I am looking forward to 2015.  As of today, I have taken a new day job, and will be talking about it more over the next month or so.  2014 was a crazy year of transitions, technology, and turmoil:  We’ve seen a bunch of security problems, hacks, leaks, and threats; We have seen new releases of Operating Systems, Wearables, and Applications; My podcast over at GamesAtWork.Biz finally hit episode 100 (about half a year late due to missing shows); and My participation in the local app development scene suffered due to work commitments.

This year I am hoping to increase the amount of time I spend on learning new technologies, the Apple Watch, Raspberry Pi, Internet of Things, and security. I am also hoping to get more time to hang out with other developers.. We shall see :)  Happy new year!!!

Friday coding

During my day job I am a product manager. This job does not encourage or provide time to write code. As I was getting ready to take some time off for the thanksgiving holiday, I worked to clear my calendar, clean my inbox and set a few actions in motion so I could really take some down time. Imagine my surprise when I had a few hours at the end of the day where I could do some coding on a demo we’ve been using for some time. The demo consists of a python application that emulates a car, a set of cloud services which process mqtt enabled devices, and an iOS app that represents a key fob that sends messages to the “car” simulator via the cloud. The initial iOS app was designed for one size screen and one orientation. I’ve always wanted the iOS app to be responsive to the orientation of the phone and to resize based on the various screen sizes, so I took the time late Friday to go back and add auto layout to the app.

I didn’t write the initial app, so completely redoing the interface was not an option. I had to go back and deal with auto layout within interface builder. I personally enjoy doing auto layout completely in code, so this was going to be a new experience for me.

After completing all the fixes, checking it into the repo for others on the team to take advantage of I discovered a new setting in Xcode for iOS8 – Adaptive Layout. I plan on doing some looking at that next!