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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Apple patent shows camera system that helps you take better selfies

19 Jul

A newly granted Apple patent details a new type of camera system that aims to produce higher-quality selfies. The patent, first filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2015, describes using a wider field-of-view with the iPhone’s front-facing camera when taking selfies in landscape mode. The wider FOV wouldn’t be fixed, however, with the camera reverting to a narrower FOV when a selfie is taken in portrait mode.

These field-of-view effects are designed to improve selfies when taken both in groups of people and alone. In the case of groups, the patent explains that turning the phone sideways would expand the camera’s field-of-view to cover a wider angle, ensuring everyone in the group is featured in the selfie. A self-only selfie taken in portrait mode, though, would feature a more traditional aspect ratio such as 4:3 and a narrower FOV.

The camera system in this patent would also be able to intelligently prod the user to take better selfies by selectively narrowing the FOV in portrait mode, requiring the user to extend their arm further away. The system could also adjust the previewed image in such a way that the user will need to change the camera’s angle, the end result being an overall better selfie with a more natural look, reduced distortion, and other improvements.

Explaining that latter point, the patent says the camera system may ‘crop/scale/zoom/shift the image window to coax the user to hold the camera device in a more optimal ‘self-taking’ position.’ As with any patent, it is possible Apple will never implement this technology into a consumer product, but it’s good to know so much technical thought is being put into… selfies.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Laptop/Rooftop: Chicago Apple Store is Crowned with a Giant MacBook

29 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Construction is in full swing on Chicago’s new Apple store by Foster + Partners, revealing a surprise design feature that wasn’t visible in the firm’s early renderings: a gigantic MacBook for a roof. When the project was initially unveiled in 2015, the drawings depicted a sleek two-story structure with river views, glass walls and a slimline roof canopy that looks like it’s precariously balancing on slender supports. But construction crews recently added a shiny metallic silver finish to that canopy – and a familiar white Apple logo.

The store is a relocation of Apple’s Chicago flagship, and will measure about 20,000 square feet. The glass walls range from 14 to 32 feet in height, but there’s little danger of breakage, as they consist of four layers of half-inch-thick glass melded with additional layers of thicker laminated glass. The carbon fiber roof is made of a similar material as yacht hulls, which is what gives it that iconic sheen. It’s four feet thick in the center and just four inches thick at its tapered edges.

You can see this unexpected addition in action in the video above. DNA Chicago reports that crews affixed the logo and left it in place for no more than 60 minutes before removing it again, but it seems likely that it’ll return, especially since the Chicago Tribune reported back in March that the logo would be part of the design. The Tribune has more photos of the construction process.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

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New IKEA Smart Home Fixtures Compatible with Google, Apple & Amazon

26 Jun

[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

Furniture giant IKEA is making its new low-cost smart home fixtures voice-controllable can connect with ease to systems including Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa.

The company has been pushing in the direction of making homes smarter for some time, with furnishings able to wirelessly charge phones, for instance. But with TRADFRI, they are taking the next step, providing low-cost options that can be operated through a variety existing connected-home systems.

“With IKEA Home Smart we challenge everything that is complicated and expensive with the connected home. Making our products work with others on the market takes us one step closer to meet people’s needs, making it easier to interact with your smart home products,” says Björn Block, Business Leader for IKEA Home Smart.

Smart lights, motion sensors, dimmers, door locks, all with additional layers of remote control, are slowly transforming everyday interiors into interactive design spaces. The barrier to entry is also intentionally low: the cost is one factor, but the solutions are also plug-and-play, requiring no complex knowledge or specialized coding. Their latest releases are set to be in stores later this summer or early this fall.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Fixtures & Interiors. ]

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A Taste of New York is a stunning Big Apple time-lapse

19 May

A Taste of New York is the third installment of the popular “A Taste of…” series of time-lapses by Film Spektakel. To produce this breathtaking video the team around Peter Jablonowski, Thomas Pöcksteiner, and Lorenz Pritz spent 10 days in New York in 2016, shooting 65,000 photos and accumulating 2.6TB of image data on their hard drives.

‘In September 2016 we visited this awesome city to try out some new time-lapse stuff.
It took us 10 days, a lot of burgers and one helicopter ride to produce this video. 10 days is very little time to discover this city of endless opportunities, so we hardly slept anything and shot day and night for this time lapse film. The city that never sleeps indeed!’

The team used a variety of equipment including a Sony a7R II, Sony a6300 and two Canon 6Ds. The final three minute long video took 36 hours to render on a high-end Apple iMac. The stunning imagery is perfectly complemented by Alex Clement’s sound design. 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Apple ad hints that its Portrait mode is so good it will save your family business

16 May

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. But in a tongue-in-cheek new Apple ad, a picture turns out to be worth hundreds of new customers, thanks to the iPhone 7’s Portrait mode. The minute-long spot features a quiet family barbershop that sees its business boom after posting photos of its clients and their sleek new haircuts in the window. The photos, of course, are taken with the iPhone 7’s bokeh-imitating Portrait mode. 

Photographers will likely find the premise a little tiresome, as they’ve heard for ages how easy it is to replace their experience and skill set with an incredible new camera/auto mode/photo app. But as much as we want to dislike this ad, it’s just too darn upbeat and clever to hate. See what you think.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Apple is releasing its Live Photos API, which means more moving photos in more places

21 Apr

Apple has revealed the API for its Live Photos feature, meaning more app and web developers will be able to support the company’s short 1.5 second video ‘moving photo’ video clips. Apps like Facebook are already able to display Live Photos for users running iOS 9, but making the API available will allow any developer who wants to put a Live Photos viewer on their website or in their iOS app to do so.

Live Photos debuted in 2015 with the iPhone 6S. Owners of recent iPhones including the 7 and 7 Plus can capture the moving images in the stock camera app, and anyone running iOS 9 or later can play the video clip by pressing and holding the image.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Apple is working on a reimagined Mac Pro, apologizes for lack of updates

05 Apr
Image via Apple

In a conversation with several media outlets, Apple has reportedly apologized for disappointing customers of its Mac Pro desktop, and says that a re-imagined version is on the way. The company is also working on a new pro display and higher-end iMacs.

The unusually-shaped Mac Pro was introduced in 2013 and hasn’t seen an update since then. Depending on your viewpoint, that changed today when the company announced a change in pricing that upgrades the $ 3000 entry-level models specs. But the hardware essentially remains the same, and Apple says that an updated version wouldn’t be available anytime this year, at least.

According to reports from Buzzfeed and TechCrunch, Apple execs cited the Mac Pro’s unusual design as a contributor to its problems. The company has been unable to upgrade its hardware to keep pace with the needs of pro users. A design that was touted for its ability to dissipate heat evenly turned out to be its downfall when the industry began embracing large, single GPUs rather than the Mac Pro’s approach using two smaller chips.

Mac Pro users aren’t alone in their frustration with Apple – the latest Macbook Pro refresh brought rounds of criticism from photographers and other professionals unhappy with the the lack of an SD card slot and traditional USB ports.

Is this a step in the right direction for Apple? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Apple launches new 9.7″ iPad and limited edition iPhone 7 in red

21 Mar

Apple has today announced a new 9.7″ iPad model that is simply called the iPad and replaces the iPad Air 2. Compared to the latter, the A8X processor has been replaced with the A9 chip that is also being used in the iPhone 6s. Due to a larger 8610 mAh battery the new model is at 7.5mm also 1.4mm thicker than the iPad Air 2. The rest of the specifications, including the 9.7″ display with a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels, the 8MP/F2.4 rear camera and the 1.2MP front camera remain unchanged. TouchID with Apple Pay is on board as well. 

In an unusual move, Apple has lowered prices. In the past 9.7″ iPads started at $ 499. The 32GB base version of the new model is only $ 329. The 128GB variant will set you back $ 429. An additional $ 130 gets you the cellular version of the respective models. The new iPad will be available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold starting March 24 in the US and 20 other countries. Apple also reduced the price of the iPad mini 4 which now comes in only one storage version with 128GB at $ 399. The cellular version is $ 529.

In addition to the iPad, Apple also launched the (Product) Red edition of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Proceeds of the (Product) Red line go towards charitable causes – in this case, they go to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs.

The new models only come as 128GB and 256GB storage versions. The red iPhone 7 starts at $ 750, the Plus version is $ 870. In both cases an additional $ 100 gets you the 256GB model. The devices will be available from March 24.

Also new is a video sharing app called Clips. It lets you treat your videos with a large variety of transformations, overlays and filters and also offers a number of more conventional video editing features. Final results can be shared to any app but Clip lacks some of the social networking features of apps like Vine or Snapchat. 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Fruitless: 10 Closed & Abandoned Apple Stores

20 Mar

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned-apple-store-1a

Apple Stores and Apple authorized resellers are about as sure a thing as can be in business but even these b&m goldmines close shop and are left abandoned.

abandoned-apple-store-1d

There weren’t any official Apple Stores before May 19th of 2001, only authorized Apple resellers ranging from Mom & Pop computer shops to big box retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City. The sign above hales from the 1980s (the “rainbow” Apple logo was used from 1977 to 1998) and towers over the Roberts Court strip mall on Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, Georgia. According to Rebrn.com, the sign advertised Rick’s Educational Products and although that store moved many years ago, the sign lingered on for decades. The images above date from April 8th of 2011 and April 10th of 2011 respectively.

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Later that month, something – most likely a weather-related event – twisted the top of the sign 180-degrees and shattered the plastic on both sides. A Reddit user who lives nearby fortuitously picked up some of the pieces as seen above. Not sure what his plans for them are but we hear pretty much anything sells on eBay these days.

Dublin Down

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abandoned-apple-store-2b

The number of Mac authorized resellers dropped by almost half between 1997 and 2000. Around that time Tim Cook, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations since 1998, announced the company would “cut some channel partners that may not be providing the buying experience (Apple expects). We’re not happy with everybody.” Perhaps the late and lamented Apple Centre on Kildare Street in Dublin, Ireland was one such partner that aroused Cook’s ire – no pun intended. Flickr user Fintan Palmer (fintanp) snapped the shuttered shop in October of 2008; fellow Flickrer twrbl noted no change in its abandoned status five months later.

Simply Closed

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abandoned-apple-store-3b

Simply Mac may have referred to itself as “the greatest Apple partner in North America” but according to a January 2017 announcement by the West Acres mall in Fargo, North Dakota, “Apple Corporation (is) ending its national agreement with Simply Mac to sell them Apple product, making it impossible for them to continue.” The Fargo store and the other depicted store in Billings, Montana are not the only Simply Mac stores closing and no doubt the signage pictured above will be coming down sooner than later.

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Fruitless 10 Closed Abandoned Apple Stores

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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Apple captures 79 percent of global smartphone profits with 14.5 percent market share

09 Mar

According to Flickr the iPhone is the most popular camera(s) in the world and even 10 years after the original model was launched, iPhone continues to generate enormous profits for Apple. According to research from Strategy Analytics, that was obtained by The Korea Herald, in 2016 the iPhone captured 79 percent of profits in the global smartphone market, at a market share of only 14.5 percent. In absolute numbers that is $ 44.9 billion out of a $ 53.7 billion total profit.

Apple’s biggest rival Samsung leads the market share ranking in front of Apple at 20.7 percent but only grabs 14.6 percent of the profit, amounting to $ 8.3 billion. This is a similar picture to previous years when, thanks to very high margins, Apple was able to claim a much bigger proportion of smartphone profits than its market share would suggest. 

With the upcoming iPhone 8 models expected to bring a range of innovative features at what are projected to be high price points, the situation is unlikely to change in 2017. If Apple continues to invest profits into camera development, we could all benefit from its success.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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