Apple, Google and Microsoft face off in the battle for your bucks! – News

Apple held a special event on September 9th 2015.  This event encompassed Apple Watch, Apple iPad, Apple TV and new operating system for both phone and computer.  OS X El Capitan has launched and has improved the experience of the user by launching apps faster and boot time is cut in half.  It offers more polish on the apps and more integration with iOS devices than ever before.  Truly a big improvement over Yosemite.

CaptureApple watch promises new features with its new OS 2 including features such as “time travel” and increased customization with the user.  Siri responds faster and better than ever with Apple Watch. There are two new finishes coming to the Apple Watch including rose gold and gold.  There will be new bands added to their line up giving options for new tones and colors.

Apple iPad – Apple unveiled the “biggest news in iPad since iPad.”  The iPad Pro was given Apple’s usual “demo video” showing off it’s slick curves and screen.  Some of the features include:

  • 3 new finishes silver, gold and space grey
  • iPad Pro $799 (32gb wifi only), $949 (128gb wifi only) and $1079 (128gb wifi + cellular)
  • iPad Pencil $99
  • iPad Pro Smart Keyboard $169
  • 12.9 inch Display
  • 3rd Generation 64-bit chip
  • 10 hour battery life
  • 8MP front facing camera
  • Touch ID
  • AC wifi
  • four speakers instead of just the one or two that are usually included.

iPad mini 4 was launched at the same time and was simply explained as being smaller than iPad mini 2 at .65 pounds.  So basically the same thing, just smaller.

Apple TV has been overhauled with a new version of iOS which now includes Siri to search through all of your streaming content, including Netflix, iTunes and.  They have announced a new remote which features a dedicated Siri button, touch gestures and the ability to control your TV through HDMI CEC.  This opens up the possibilities for new games on the Apple TV.  They have thickened it up a bit adding a new 64 bit chip with Bluetooth, AC wifi and a built in ethernet port.  They start at $149 (32gb Model) and $199 (64gb Model).

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iPhone 6s and 6s Plus claimed to have changed everything.  They appear to be the same as the iPhone 6 but the difference is underneath the hood.  They announced that multi-touch’s next evolution is 3D Touch.  This 3D touch features responses to finger pressure and allows you to stay in the current app that you are in and only “peeks” at other apps with the pressure of your finger.  I have experienced this first hand and it is indeed very cool.  When you hold the phone and put pressure on the phone app it will come up with options for you to call your contacts directly from the home screen instead of going into your contracts and selecting them from there.  There is a new feature with “hey Siri” allowing you to just call out to her instead pushing and holding on the home button. (sound familiar to Android?)  Apple demoed the new 12MP iSight camera and the 5MP front facing camera.  A good thing to mention is that the front camera will now feature a retina flash for good selfies.

Apple closed the event with One Republic playing one of their hit singles.  This event was packed full of demo videos of the new hardware and software that has most likely already made it to your device.  Apple continues to innovate in some forums but seems to have taken a play or two out of Android’s playbook with other features that have been present on that platform for years such as “hey Siri.”  With that we’ll jump right into the Google event.

Google held an event on September 29th which was titled the “Nexus” event.  A Nexus is a phone/tablet/Android TV line that gets Google’s latest updates.  What comes from this event is the announcement of Android Marshmallow.  Google also included the announcement of Nexus 5X and 6P.

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The Nexus 6P packs in these features:

  • Operating System
    • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Display
    • 5.7 inches
    • WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED display at 518 ppi
    • 16:9 aspect ratio
    • Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4
    • Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating
    Rear Camera
    • 12.3 MP¹
    • 1.55 µm pixels
    • f/2.0 aperture
    • IR Laser assisted autofocus
    • 4K (30 fps) video capture
    • Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash
    Front Camera
    • 8MP camera
    • 1.4 µm pixels
    • f/2.4 aperture
    • HD video capture (30 fps)
    Processors
    • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 v2.1, 2.0 GHz Octa-core 64-bit
    • Adreno 430 GPU
    Memory & Storage²
    • RAM: 3 GB LPDDR4
    • Internal storage: 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB
    Dimensions³
    • 159.3 X 77.8 X 7.3 mm
    Weight
    • 178 g
    Color
    • Aluminium
    • Graphite
    • Frost
    Media
    • Dual front-facing stereo speakers
    • 3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation
    Battery⁴
    • 3,450 mAh battery
    • Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 10 minutes of charging
    Wireless & Location
    • LTE cat. 6
    • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
    • Bluetooth 4.2
    • NFC
    • GPS, GLONASS
    • Digital compass
    • Wi-Fi use requires 802.11a/b/g/n/ac access point (router). Syncing services, such as backup, require a Google Account.
    Network
    • GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
    • UMTS/WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8
    • CDMA: BC0/1/10
    • LTE (FDD): B2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/30
    • LTE (TDD): B41
    • CA DL: B2-B2, B2-B4, B2-B5, B2-B12, B2-B13, B2-B17, B2-B29, B4-B4, B4-B5, B4-B13, B4-B17, B4-B29, B41-B41
    • Phone is carrier-unlocked with wide-range band support for service providers worldwide. Check with your service provider for more information.
    Sensors
    • Fingerprint sensor
    • Accelerometer
    • Gyroscope
    • Barometer
    • Proximity sensor
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Hall sensor
    • Android Sensor Hub
    Ports
    • Single USB Type-C
    • Single Nano SIM slot
    • 3.5 mm audio jack
    Material
    • Anodized aluminum
    Other
    • RGB LED notification light

    CaptureObviously taking a couple of plays from Apple’s playbook they have now included a fingerprint scanner.  I am excited about the migration to USB type-c as most phones can now get at least 50% of their charge in as little as 30 minutes.   The Nexus 5x model offers the same features but made by LG and in a 5.2 inch screen.

Google Chromecast is now a dongle type of device.  It is launching with improved WIFI AC and also in 3 new colors. It is still $35 and offers all of these new features.  Chromecast audio is another device that has launched that plugs into your existing home speaker.  It allows you to control music from your Android watch.

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Lastly Pixel C is brought to the stage with a starting price of $499 for the tablet and $149 for the keyboard attachment.  This will run Android Marshmellow and is expected before the holidays.

The final event and what is said to be the “best showcase” was the Microsoft event that was held on October 6th 2015.  This event showcased Redmond’s new Lumia 950 and 950XL, the HoloLens and a new line of Surface products.

Microsoft will launch their flagship devices, the Lumia 950 and 950XL in November of 2015.  While these two devices don’t drop any jaws with their specs, perhaps their use of resources may be where they shine.  They will carry USB-C and be able to get 50% of their charge in just as little as 30 minutes and with that same connector they will be able to dock and make themselves into fully fledged desktop computers.  They demoed this in the event and it appears to be very nice to carry your computer in your pocket and it doubles as your phone.  Even while the desktop computer is running your phone is available to make and receive calls.  It will be interesting to see if this actually works in the real world.

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The much anticipated HoloLens gets another demo and a release date to developers.  They will release to developers Q1 of 2016 with a hefty price tag of 3,000 US dollars.  The demo on stage included a gauntlet type game where robots were coming out of the walls and the demonstrator was taking care of business with his augmented reality gauntlet.  This was promised to be released with Windows 10 in July but now we are seeing it finally coming to developers Q1 2016 so I imagine it won’t be available to consumers until Q4 2016.

They also talked a brief moment about the new Microsoft band which will track steps and activity but is in a market full of competition worthy of being called such and with a price tag of $249 I don’t see much success in this.

Lastly they introduced the new Surface lineup.  This includes the Surface Pro 4 which is the same as the 3 in dimensions but has upgraded guts inside with the latest Skylake processors from Intel.  The only real change that was made and can be seen is the new keyboard that promises best in class keys and is still backlit!

CaptureAs a part of the Surface lineup Microsoft introduced their 1st ever laptop called the Surface Book.  This retails for 1499 and houses the latest Skylake processors.  The screen is a massive 13.2 inches which may be a little big for the detached “tablet” use.  They keyboard is backlit and comes with a discrete unknown Nvidia GPU for casual gaming and processing of Photoshop etc..  The hinges on this thing are beautiful with a flex-like hinge allowing for any degree of usability.  The pen promises to run for an entire year and is magnetized with the sides of both computers.

In conclusion is there anything from these 3 events that really “took the show?”  I would say that the Microsoft event was the one with innovation and wins best in class.  They are promises a lot in the coming future and this techie is hoping that they can make good on those promises.  I am excited for all of these products to enter the market and see how they react in the real world.  Until next time….

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