Apple’s Smart Home falls behind Amazon and Google and the tech giant is planning to change that. 

Apple is gearing up and hiring a team of skilled individuals working on new smart-home software and devices to catch up against its competition. The team is headed by Andreas Gal, former Mozilla Chief Technology Officer. He joined Apple after his Silk Labs was acquired by the company. The team also has new managers and engineers from several companies including Amazon, Qualcomm. The hiring process is still undergoing over 15 new jobs postings since September this year. 

The team’s goal is to make the new platform more attractive to device manufacturers. Amazon is also making some changes to its smart home speakers and offers other devices such as headphones and microwaves with built-in Alexa support. 

The fall of Apple’s smart home

Apple’s success in its Homekit initiative depends on the success of smart homes. The system has been around since 2014, while the HomePod speaker was launched last year after many delays with a price tag that’s way above the competition. It’s no surprise that Apple’s smart home fell behind when compared to other smart speaker systems. 

The cost disappointed the consumers and makers, thus they shifted their attention to building the Alexa-enabled devices instead. Aside from that, it only lists 450 compatible devices as opposed to Google’s 10,000 devices and Amazon’s 85,000 devices. 

Apple also set strict specifications for its smart home platform while both Google and Amazon have fewer restrictions. It’s still unknown whether Apple will adopt lesser restrictions in the new devices. As of now, Apple only has 5% of market share while Google has 20% and Amazon has 70%. 

Apple’s brewing up new products

Aside from smart devices, Apple is also working on self-driving cars, AR headsets that are to launch next year, iPhone that supports 5g technology, and Mac computers that run on Apple chips instead of Intel processors. 

What does this mean for you?

Marketers are looking for ways to seep into the growing market of smart speakers. By 2022, it’s expected that half of the American homes will have at least one smart speaker according to Juniper Research. As of now, brands can’t advertise directly on smart speakers but they can, however, advertise on music streaming services and podcasts. Many brands are now jumping into promoting their products and services on Amazon Echo and Google Nest Hub. With the Apple smart home device coming into the market, it may be another avenue for brands to reach out to a wider audience. 

Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund gives a grant to Company in Harrodsburg, KY

Corning Incorporated a company, based out of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, receives a $250 Million grant from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund after receiving a $200 million grant from the company in 2017.  Corning Incorporated serves as the “supplier of precision glass for iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad.”  

The Advanced Manufacturing Fund is intending to ”foster and support the innovative production and high-skill jobs that will fuel a new ear of technology-driven manufacturing in the US.”

These investments from Apple support the innovative work the company is doing when it comes to new glass manufacturing techniques and research and development.  

Since the first generation of iPhone, Corning has been there to create parts for our pocket computers. In an earlier statement from Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams stated that Corning is a great example of a long-standing supplier that is making a point to innovate in their industry.   

Apple’s press release stated “Apple and Corning’s rich history dates back more than a decade, and our partnership revolutionized glass and transformed the technology industry with the first iPhone,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “This award underscores Apple and Corning’s shared belief in the vital role that ingenuity plays in creating industry-leading products, and the pride that both companies take in applying American innovation and advanced manufacturing to solve some of the world’s toughest technology challenges.”

Apple adds that this iPhone glass is the strongest smartphone glass ever. Which is fantastic because Apple’s new iPhone 11 is created with one-piece of glass making wireless charging more efficient. 

In 2018 Apple spent $60 billion funding American suppliers and additionally helped to support 450,000 jobs. This is important because the core of the Apple product line contains materials that were created in the US.  

By the end of 2023, the company is set to create 20,000 jobs and add $350 billion to the US economy.  

It’s the biggest day of the year for Apple and everyone in the tech world knows it. 

Apple held it’s annual fall launch at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA. Tim Cook along with the other big faces of Apple came to play and brought some new toys with them.

What’s new at Apple?

  • iPhone 11

One of the biggest announcements is the iPhone 11, its new iPhone model and a successor to the iPhone XR with an upgraded camera. The new iPhone 11 comes at a hefty price of $699. 

The iPhone 11 Pro comes with a 5.8-inch OLED display and not to be outdone the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch OLED display. These two new models come with telephoto cameras and sell for $999 and $1,099, respectively. iPhone 11 will be available for pre-order on September 13 but it will officially launch on September 20. 

Apple clearly invested much in the camera system on this new line of iPhones and as since they’ve been lagging behind other smartphone brands. Specifically their phones have come up short when compared to the camera capabilities of phones like the Google Pixel 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S10+. With the new iPhone 11, they are hoping to turn the table in their favor. 

Features 

The iPhone 11 comes in six colors – green, red, black, white, yellow, and purple. The cameras have two options like the wide and ultra-wide mode that you can switch while capturing your best moments. The video supports 4K to 60fps and it has an improved low-light picture via the Night Mode. 

The triple camera of the iPhone 11 Pro is a scene-stealer. It has wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto camera which is perfect for photographers and videographers. 

  • Apple arcade

The Apple arcade will have more than 100 exclusive games that users can play on their iPad, iPhone, and Mac. There will be a subscription fee should you want to access all the games in the library. The Apple arcade will be in the App Store on September 19. 

The tech giant’s streaming service Apple TV+ will cost $4.99 monthly and will be launched on November 1. This will consist of some big names in the industry including Oprah, Steve Carell, Jason Momoa, and more. 

  • New iPad

Apple also revealed its seventh-generation iPad that comes with a 10.2-inch retina display. It’s fast and is comparable to a laptop when it comes to efficiency. Apple said that it has 10 hours of battery life. The enclosure is made up of recycled materials. The new iPad costs $329 and the iPad for education costs $299. You can pre-order yours now and get your own by the end of September. 

Apple has always been known for its product innovation and while many are skeptical to the point pessimistic of their approach in their events, it can’t be denied that they make some major changes in the history of modern technology and it seems they intend to help promote these innovations through industry advancements.

Apple took its sweet time in the annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference giving all the new things coming to Apple devices next year. 

TVOS 

People have been waiting for this multi-user support feature for a long time and now it’s here. Similar to Google Chrome, AppleTV now supports multiple accounts on a single unit. Each user has the freedom to create their accounts without dealing with the recommendations from other family members/users. It can also now support Xbox and PS4 DualShock controllers. 

WatchOS

WatchOS 6 is welcoming a reimagined Audiobooks. A fresher Voice Memo app, Calculator, and App Store are also coming to the watch next year. Another upgrade is the Activity Trends which will now have arrows and notifications to motivate users to get off the couch. 

There’s also the new noise App, a decibel meter that protects the wearer from the loud environment. It displays warnings when users are in places that can impact your music experience. Another feature coming to watchOS 6 is the cycle Tracker which allows women to log their menstrual cycles, and their fertile windows month after month. 

iOs

Probably the most interesting feature coming to Apple devices is the dark mode. This isn’t new at all because dark mode has been coming to other services as well. Another good thing is the time-synced lyrics while listening to your music. Apps that have been rebuilt and changed includes Reminders and Maps. 

Apple users will also have a new privacy feature like ‘Allow just once’ which allows apps to have extended privacy permissions once. Users can now also organize your photos in the Photos Apps. With advanced machine learning, duplicate photos are automatically removed thus ensuring a much cleaner photo album. 

Siri 

By next year, your Siri can start reading your incoming messages and reply to them instantly. This feature is called announce messages and will be coming out in iOS13. Users can also share information to fellow iPhone users may it be a message, a song, contact details, or others with just a tap. 

SwiftUI

Swift was designed to promote productivity. It is simple and it allows developers to make apps with fewer codes. It will now be easier to make apps for tablets, watches, phones, desktop, and TV. 

Several other additions and features are available in our previous article. It is both exciting and exhilarating to know all the new things coming to the Apple devices by 2020. 

Green screen editing and 80 soundtracks in Apple’s iMovie for iOS.

Apple is constantly working to improve their software with the aim of giving its users the best experience there is. Another one of their many developments is their video editing application iMovie that was initially released back in 2010. Since then, there have been many new features added, with the recent one the version 2.2.7.

What’s new in iMovie 2.2.7.

The most notable additions are the green screen editing, the 80 new soundtracks for trailers and other videos, and the simplified project screens.

The new green screen allows users to do the editing that required third-party apps previously. You can now do detect and remove either the green or blue background, enable the remaining people and objects to be superimposed on other video clips. Along with these, there’s also a four-point mask and a strength slider that you can use to adjust the effects applied.

The 80 new soundtracks in iMovie 2.2.7 come varying genres, there action, playful, retro, pop, sentimental, and basically anything under the sun. You also have soundtracks specific for holidays and events. Similar to how it works in the previous version, you can choose your music from the selection and match it to your video.

The simplified project screen makes it easier to view, open, or share your video projects. You can just tap the setting tab to view your saved videos to the iMovie Theater.

More features in version 2.2.7.

Users can now add logos and custom graphics to their videos using still images with transparent background. You can also overlay photos for the split-screen and picture-in-picture effects.

The new features are now available for free on the iOS App Store for iPhones and iPads. No difference is noted between the two devices.

While larger marketing firms typically have an in-house team of video editors, or outsource video projects, smaller projects can be completed on a user friendly platform that doesn’t require the skill set of pro series programs.  Using IMovie for short social media clips and promotional material is now even easier.

New Apple Advancements

WWDDC came and ended with a bang. For this year, Apple had two and a half hours of unveiling updates and intriguing developments one after another. In this post, we will be giving you some of the highlights of Apple’s WWDC.

Updated Apps and Dark mode for iOS 13

An audible squeal was heard from the audience when the dark mode for iOS was officially announced. Among the exciting updates coming in the new iOS includes the lyrics mode in the music apps. Users can now sing along as they play their songs in their devices. Another thing is the swipeable texting in Messages where you can share things with your frequent contacts. Memojis are also getting more personalization tools such as accessories, hairstyles, and make-up options.

Maps are also getting a more detailed map and shortcut. In your map’s launchpad, it can show your favourite spots and the places that you have saved. A street view photo is made available when you tap a place, the photo can be stretched and can be looked via 360-degree view. For easier photo browsing, the photos are now categorized into days, months, and years. Long gone are the endless scrolling just looking for that one photo from time immemorial. All these updates will be made available in July.

Siri’s Natural Voice

Siri also got a revamp with a new voice. Siri is now generated via a neutral text-to-speech technology instead of the human-based recording. When you are using your AirPod, Siri can read your incoming messages and allow you to respond right away. You can also split your Airpod and share it with a friend when listening to music or streaming a video.

iPad’s Own OS

The iPad is now a different entity with its own iPad-specific system. The file view of your iPad will look similar to macOS, you can browse your files using the column view and share your folders and files via iCloud. It can also support USB thumb drives, a new text editing gesture, the three-finger pinch, and three-finger swipe left and right to undo or redo your previous activities.

Welcome, New Mac Pro

Apple included a hardware launched in their presentation which is the new Mac Pro, a redesigned Mac from 2013. The new Mac Pro supports Intel Xeon processor to up to 28 cores and 1.5TB memory. It has 8 slots for PCI, 6 slots for memory expansion, three Thunderbolt ports, two USB type A ports, and two USB type C ports. That’s a lot of ports!

The Mac Pro comes in a 32-inch LCD monitor and boasting a Retina 6K display with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It’s what Apple refers to as the Extreme Dynamic Range or XDR. It can connect up to six displays and the graphics won’t be affected at all.

But just so you know, this power comes with great price tag as the Mac Pro 8-core Intel Xeon with 32 GB memory and 512 GB SSD amounts $5,999 while the Mac Pro with the XDR Display amounts to $4, 999. The stand is sold at $999 and you can get this by the fall.

Apple’s lengthy presentation in the recent WWDC proved to be worth it. The sheer number of updates and new features in Apple and their devices is overwhelming – as an Apple user, what’s your favorite?  

Democracy in Apple store is non-existent.

All the decisions in the App Store are made by one entity alone – that is Apple. It makes the rules and has the final say on the apps that users can purchase, download, and use on their Apple gadgets. This set-up has existed from the very beginning but it’s just now facing several scrutinies.

“Either they run the platform or they play in the actual store,” said Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Even the Supreme Court is fed up with the issue that it allowed an antitrust lawsuit to proceed against the company.

What’s the issue?

With too much freedom and power given to Apple, one of the downsides is that Apple can make changes anytime they deem fit. Apps can disappear without further notice and Apple can promote their own apps regardless if the competitor loses their business.

As per the lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that buyers can sue the company for allegedly driving up prices. Apple countered these issues with its Principles and Practices which was released last week. Apple argued that the App Store gives ‘equal opportunities to developers.’

According to the store review guidelines, it said that the competition is welcomed as it promotes a healthy environment for developers and helps in getting better results.  They further this by saying that users trust Apple and that trust is at the core of their business.

The company even stated examples of the healthy competition happening in the store such as Spotify versus Apple Music and Google Maps versus Apple Maps.

But this didn’t serve its purpose as many are finding holes in their defence. The recent example is the banning of apps that let parents control and monitor the things that kids can do on their gadgets. The banning was at the same time Apple launched their iOS 12. Although the company said it was just business as usual.

With the WDDC coming, Apple is on the run to convince developers that they’re given fair treatment in the App Store.