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Four industries Apple is set to disrupt

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Apple’s event this week was all about its new iPhones, which go on sale Sept. 21, and the Apple Watch Series 4. The focus, as is usually the case with Apple, centered largely around consumer uses – health tracking, photography, performance, incredible new OLED screens and the “Liquid Retina” display of the less-expensive iPhone Xr. The on-stage demos centered on audio, still images, video and gaming. 

Though the improved hardware will no doubt be important to business users, there was essentially no discussion of enterprise use cases for the devices. And yet they will disrupt multiple industries. In some cases, this disruption will be a continuation of the impact that Apple has already had or re-disruption of industries Apple has already significantly transformed. 

Here are four industries likely to see their processes, focus and business models dramatically changed as Apple presses forward.

Healthcare

Apple has disrupted healthcare repeatedly during the past decade, beginning with the introduction of the iPad (which is expected to get a refresh later this year). Almost immediately, doctors, surgeons and other healthcare professionals saw value in the tablet as an ideal tool for helping them communicate information to patients and colleagues. 

Apple has very clearly focused on healthcare, steadily building an in-house team of experts, most notably around medical devices who know how to work with regulators, researchers and IT. With the introduction of HealthKit, ResearchKit and CareKit, Apple has been at the forefront of unlocking personal health data and allowing users to share it with care teams, researchers and even first responders. 

Some of the broadest health studies ever conducted have relied on ResearchKit. iPhones and Apple Watches make it possible to contact emergency services and care-givers in seconds, and they provide key information about us using the emergency medical information card that can be accessed on an iPhone – even when the phone is locked. And increasingly, they alert us to signs of danger and disease that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Apple is not slowing its efforts; in fact, it’s just getting started. The announcement this week of fall detection, complete with an understanding of different types of falls, is a major improvement aimed directly at older users. 

Athletics / health / fitness > ECG / heartrate / sinus rhythm” width=”700″ height=”467″ data-imageid=”100772072″> Apple

Much more significant is the revamped heart sensor that can not only alert users to danger that might be missed by doctors – something I personally experienced this summer – but now the device can perform a 1-lead ECG in a matter of seconds. This is an incredible advance for any device and it will be able to provide important information to cardiologists, primary care doctors, and emergency care. Even more notable: Apple was able to thread the needle of regulatory approval in the U.S. Companies like AliveCor have been working to bring similar solutions to market. (AliveCor’s original breakthrough product was an iPhone case that offered similar capabilities, but it needed to be placed on a patient’s chest). 

Apple is also known to be investigating other abilities in this area, including blood pressure and non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that Apple will ever displace medical equipment in hospitals or other care venues – the Apple Watch can’t do a multi-lead ECG – but the company is looking to augment those abilities by enabling tracking in non-clinical settings. This will provide a lot of information that today isn’t possible to capture easily over the long term.

That doesn’t just mean more data, but more real-world data, an important distinction because studies have shown that about one quarter of patients have elevated markers like heart rate and blood pressure in a doctor’s office or hospital due to anxiety about being in a clinic. 

Apple is intent on providing this data to users and doctors and incorporating key contextual data such as time, location and activity information. In terms of getting this data into the hands of doctors, Apple has already taken on that challenge with the ability to interact with healthcare provider information systems.

Graphics, media and marketing

One point Apple continues to drive home is the power of the iPhone camera. The company highlights a great variety of photos captured on the iPhone as part of its overall marketing message about the device. Beginning last year, the company also began hammering home the power of not just the hardware of its cameras, but also the power of its processors and machine-learning capabilities to get a perfect shot. Apple touts the iPhone as being equal to pro-level DSLRs while remaining simple to use.

iphone camera pixabay StockSnap (CC0)

This approach pairs with iOS becoming an image- and video-editing platform in its own right. Adobe, long considered the leading name in digital photography and design, has brought over an increasing chunk of its pro apps to iOS, including Illustrator and Photoshop. This means graphics and media professionals can accomplish an ever-growing amount of work on Apple’s high-end phones as well as with the iPad Pro.

This trend, combined with the realization that the best camera for any job is the one you have with you, opens up the power of mobile photography, videography and design. With editing options once the purview of studios with powerful devices and desktops now in the palm of your hand, shooting, editing and posting – or preparing photos for print – can happen in the field in near-real time.

This has big implications for these creative fields, and great potential for marketing. As marketing moves from its print roots to online social media, brand management, events and even live streaming, the iPhone supports this evolution by allowing complex workflows to be done in seconds in the field. It allows marketing teams to engage with events, social trends and an array of slice-of-life moments that can open new markets, clients, and the public in new ways. It allows crisp and polished results to be made from photos and video in minutes, or even seconds – and that means generating tons of new content at a moment’s notice.

Combining those new abilities with social media means a marketing pro can nurture a campaign from anywhere, generate leads from any event, and engage with customers wherever they may be. 

This gives marketing agencies and departments the leanness of a startup – and it allows startups to deliver highly professional results on the fly. This flattening of the playing field will have an enormous impact, allowing for great content, live and matched with the right message or hashtag to be spread widely, all from the exhibit floor so to speak. It also means being able to catch and catapult organic trends in viral ways that has often been more art and luck than science and intention. 

As with healthcare, we’re still in the first or second inning of where this disruption will lead. Unlike healthcare, where there is a somewhat steady goal line, the evolving nature of these professions and technology means this will be an ongoing experiment in disruption.

Journalism and real-time reporting

The same power the iPhone puts in the hands of marketing professionals also arrives for reporters who can now shoot, edit and publish news in minutes. The Internet, smartphones, and blogging and social media have been powerful forces in the media world for years now. But in many cases, those resources have remained siloed. Video from a mobile phone has been available to journalists for ages now, but it has also been considered less valuable than footage shot with a crew and producer. Until recently, this made perfect sense; video,and sound quality were clearly sub-par. Connectivity posed challenges. And editing was relegated to home base under the watchful eye of a producer. 

This formula and the workflow it requires has begun to shift in recent years, but the limitations of hardware and software on mobile devices left it in place. The easy-to-use editing capabilities that iPhones (and mobile devices in general) provide and increasingly professional tools now allow journalists and bloggers to take power into their own hands. This allows difficult-to-access raw information to become polished reports that can be posted, streamed and delivered right away as news unfolds. Not only is this explosive in terms of timeliness and quality, but the iPhone’s low cost (when compared to the high-end gear traditionally used) puts these abilities in many more hands. 

Retail

One of the first augmented reality (AR) companies highlighted by Apple with the introduction of ARKit last year was IKEA. The furniture retailer made use of the technology to allow customers to visualize how pieces of furniture would look in their homes. As retail has moved online, the ability to accurately place products in the home has become paramount. This is particularly true since many people find it difficult to judge objects based solely on their dimensions or accurately assess color. 

ikea ar app Ikea

AR provides a solution, especially when its pared with smart color displays such as those used in iOS devices. Apple makes that solution easy. While redecorating a room is an obvious application, it barely scratches the surface of how AR can be used in retail. 

One of the biggest trends today in retail involves subscription services that deliver a monthly package containing items a company thinks will delight or be of use to consumers. Although these services started with companies like Blue Apron that make it easier to make meals at home, the approach now runs the gamut from outerwear to razors to undergarments and even home decor. All of these companies rely on data and analytics to recognize trends and decide what to send out each month. Being highly data driven, the new iPhones allow users to share detailed measurements, aesthetics, and other information back to companies. 

A handy AR-compatible device (and the right algorithms) can help tailor what people receive beginning when they sign up for a service. That could include anything from the measurements of our homes, our bodies, or anything else. Beyond simply picturing how an IKEA chair will look in our living room, for example, we can send over room measurements, details about our furniture and the colors of the walls, carpet and artwork in a room; a company can then pull items tailored for our spaces or suggest pieces we’re “missing” in a way no catalog can offer. One photo of our bathroom counter can yield suggestions for towels, bath mats, soaps, skin lotion, toothbrush holders, or shower curtains.

it’s like having a virtual designer working with us at every step of the way. 

Similarly, the same photo – along with a selfie – can allow a company to offer up  specific razors, shaving cream, cologne, or even a suggested haircut or beard trim. A photo of our closet can return clothing suggestions and even closet-organizing systems.

What we’re really talking about here is the ability to turn our phone into a personal shopper by allowing an app, or collection of apps, to peek inside our home. We get an integrated set of items that are much more likely to fit us than something found while browsing a website or visiting a store. 

Although these are only four industries, the volume of disruption across them touches virtually every part of our lives. Where many people wondered if Apple could remain a potent and disruptive force after the death of CEO Steve Jobs, Apple in 2018 has proved that it can – and will – remain a technological disruptor for years to come. 

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Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience

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  1. Google Pixel 3 review: raising the bar for the Android experience  The Guardian
  2. Teardown confirms Samsung makes the Google Pixel 3 XL display (Update: LG makes the Pixel 3’s)  Android Authority (blog)
  3. Decoding the Google Titan, Titan, and Titan M – that last one is the Pixel 3’s security chip  The Register
  4. Google Pixel 3 XL Teardown – iFixit  iFixit
  5. Here’s how to get a Google Pixel 3 (or two) without paying full price  PCWorld
  6. Full coverage



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Huawei Mate 20 Pro, LG V40, Galaxy A9: Multiple rear camera smartphones are mainstream

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Launched back in March, the Huawei P20 Pro was the first smartphone to feature a triple-camera setup. Since then, we have seen many brands try their hand at launching smartphones with multiple rear camera setups. In fact, Samsung seems to have launched two in the last couple of weeks itself. There are only a handful of smartphones so far which offer the novelty of switching between lenses, but they all do it differently, which automatically results in visually different images.

Each of these smartphones has different setups, each suited to serve different purposes. It also caters to a different group of buyers, because of the price the smartphones are being offered at.

So here’s a guide for you, detailing some of the multiple rear-camera setup sporting smartphones we have seen the launch in the last few months. By multiple rear-camera setup, I mean smartphones having more than two rear cameras. I will also try decoding which phone is better suited for which type of photography, given the choice of lenses.

The camera setup on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Image: Huawei

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

On paper, the just-launched Huawei Mate 20 Pro features a camera setup which is identical to the P20 Pro when it comes to “megapixelage”. The Mate 20 Pro features a 20 MP camera for super wide shots, one 40 MP shooter in a conventional wide-angle and one 8 MP telephoto camera. What has changed though, is that Huawei ditches the monochrome sensor for larger regular sensors compared to the P20 Pro.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the maker's second phone with a triple camera already. Image: Huawei

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the maker’s second phone with a triple camera already. Image: Huawei

The primary 40 MP sensor features an aperture of f/1.8, while the ultra-wide lens has an aperture of f/2.2. The telephoto lens is capable of 3x optical zoom and a 5x hybrid zoom. The telephoto lens also gets OIS which should help you use it better in low-light.

Huawei also claims to have improved its Master AI 2.0 image processing which is now capable of segmenting elements in an image. This should result in better processing but there’s very little we can say without actually seeing that for ourselves.

Samsung Galaxy A7

Samsung’s highlight for one of their newest additions to their mid-premium A Series — the Galaxy A7 — range is that it sports three cameras at the rear. This comprises an 8 MP shooter with an ultra-wide 120-degree lens, a 24 MP primary camera and a 5 MP “depth” camera.

The primary 24 MP sensor which does the work of capturing light, features a f/1.7 aperture which allows it to capture more light in low-lit scenarios. The 8 MP ultra-wide camera meanwhile features an aperture of f/2.4 which means that taking shots in poorly lit areas will be a struggle. The depth sensor meanwhile features an aperture of f/2.2.

Samsung Galaxy A7. Image: tech2/Amrita Rajput

Samsung Galaxy A7. Image: tech2/Amrita Rajput

The cameras here also use Samsung’s Intelligent Scene Optimiser, which figures out what you’re shooting and adjusts the contrast, brightness and colour to optimise image quality.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 is selling in India from Rs 23,990 onwards.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

Samsung announced the 2018 edition of the Galaxy A9 recently with four rear-facing cameras, the first phone in the world to have one. While four camera can be better as they offer versatility, the fourth camera on the A9, similar to the A7, is only a depth sensor.

The topmost lens in the module is a 120-degrees ultra-wide lens with an 8 MP sensor and an f/2.4 aperture. This lens is said to make capturing panoramic shots easier for users. Samsung says that this lens captures whole scenes with less panning. There’s also a telephoto lens here which was missing on the A7. This is a 10 MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture, offering 2x optical zoom. This lets you capture more detailed images even when you are farther away from their subject.

Camera array on the Galaxy A9 (2018). Image: Samsung Newsroom

Camera array on the Galaxy A9 (2018). Image: Samsung Newsroom

The Galaxy A9’s third camera (from the top) is the main snapper. It features a 24 MP sensor and aperture of f/1.7, identical to the one on the A7 (at least on paper). Samsung mentions in a blog post that the lens here uses an algorithm (fancily named “pixel re-mosaic”) that is capable of maintaining peak performance even in low light conditions, which should effectively reduce noise in images.

The fourth camera is a 5 MP depth sensor with an f/2.2 aperture.

LG V40 ThinQ

LG was one of the first smartphone makers to feature a dual-camera setup on a phone when they launched the Optimus 3D back in 2011. Fast forward to 2018 and the Korean manufacturer recently announced its final flagship for the year with three cameras on the back.

To talk numbers, the primary camera is a 12 MP unit with an aperture of f/1.5 and a 1.4-micron pixel size. Apart from the larger pixel size and a lower aperture, the lens also features three-axis OIS as well as dual-pixel autofocus. In theory, this should let you take great low-light shots without breaking much of a sweat.

LG V40 ThinQ. Image: YouTube/LG

LG V40 ThinQ. Image: YouTube/LG

As for the other two lenses, one is a 12 MP telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture with phase-detection autofocus as well as OIS. The wide-angle lens is a 16 MP unit with an aperture of f/1.9. In fact, the wide-angle module has been borrowed directly from the LG G7 ThinQ we recently reviewed.

Unlike the Galaxy smartphones, you get a choice of three lenses, each offering you a completely different output of what you intend to shoot.

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei might not have been the first smartphone brand to slap two cameras onto the back of a smartphone, but they definitely were the first to feature three. While it does sound like a game of numbers, the P20 Pro is by far the best implementation I’ve seen. That statement does come with a few caveats though and that’s because I’m yet to get my hands on most of the phones in this list. This includes the LG V40 ThinQ, the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) and the just-announced Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

On the P20 Pro, you get a 20 MP monochrome camera, a 40 MP RGB camera and an 8 MP camera which provides the 3x optical zoom support. Now, while the 40 MP sensor comes with a f/1.8 aperture and the 20 MP monochrome sensor comes with a f/1.6 aperture, the telephoto lens in front of the 8 MP camera comes with a f/2.4 aperture. While that in itself sounds quite nice when seen on a poster or an advert, what do they each do?

The triple rear camera setup is the highlight of the Huawei P20 Pro. Image: tech2/Rehan Hooda

The triple rear camera setup is the highlight of the Huawei P20 Pro. Image: tech2/Rehan Hooda

The 40 MP sensor is the primary camera and captures the colours. Huawei employs pixel-binning which gives you a 10 MP image, which lets you zoom up to 3x optical and 5x digital. You can also select the 40 MP format, but that will not allow you the zoom feature. The 20 MP monochrome camera simultaneously captures detail, assisting the primary camera in improving sharpness. The 8 MP camera meanwhile provides the optical zoom and additional focal length, therefore functioning as a separate lens unit.

Here is the Huawei P20 Pro photo album on Flickr, which will give you a good idea of how the P20 Pro camera performs.

We will be adding on to this list as and when more multiple rear camera setup smartphones launch in the market. So do keep checking back for this one-stop destination for all things with multi-camera smartphones.

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Now Loading – Are You Going to Change Your PSN Name?

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After a long wait, players demanding it for years, and rumors swirling around the issue, Sony finally announced that they will be allowing PSN name changes, starting with a beta of the program for a limited selection of users in November 2018, and a full rollout of the program in 2019. Players will be given one free name change, and each subsequent change will cost $9.99 (or $4.99 for PlayStation Plus subscribers).

It appears that players will still retain their original PSN name as an underlying ID, with the PSN name change simply being an overlay or nickname of sorts. All games published after April of 2018 will support PSN name changes, but Sony can’t make any guarantees for any before that date.

Now that people can get rid of their embarrassing or outdated usernames, or even just create a username without numbers in it, it had us curious how many people would actually use the feature. With the first name change being free for everyone, that’s a golden ticket to restarting your online gaming reputation, at least to some extent. Will we be redeeming that golden ticket and changing our PSN name? Here’s what the PlayStation LifeStyle staff had to say.

Will you be changing your PSN name, or are you okay with the name you chose? Let us know in the comments below if you’re planning to, and why or why not.

Make sure you check out our past Now Loading topics and let us know if there is a specific topic you would like us to tackle for future Now Loading posts in the comments below or by sending an email to [email protected]

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