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Friday, September 12, 2014

Apple hosts its 'Special event'

by Mark Ollig

“I’m backstage and this is my first tweet from my iPhone 6. It’s amazing. You’re going to love it,” read Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s message to Twitter, just before his presentation began.

Last Tuesday, Apple held its much anticipated special event inside the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA.

Once the livestream broadcast started, I heard thunderous, hearty applause from the large number of people greeting Cook as he took the stage.

He waved his hand, and while smiling broadly said, “Good morning!”

As this event was being streamed live over the Internet from Apple’s website – a problem occurred.

Frustration: Apple’s livestream stopped working, which left many of us who were watching, scrambling onto Twitter and social media blogs to learn what was happening from those reporting directly inside the Flint Center.

The livestream eventually began working again, and the information about Apple’s new products made it out to the masses.

The next iPhone is, unsurprisingly, named the iPhone 6.

The smaller iPhone 6 model has a 4.7-inch display screen, while the iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch display screen.

Both come in a silver, gold, or space gray finish case.

There are three storage size configurations: 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

The new iPhones have Retina HD (high-definition) screens featuring greater display resolutions.

There was no mention about the much rumored Sapphire display screen for the new iPhones.

I went to Apple’s website, wanting to “look under the hood” so to speak, to see more details of the technology used.

The new iPhones are using the A8 processor chip, which is built on their second-generation 64-bit desktop architecture. They are also using the M8 motion coprocessor.

The A8 is small. This chip is produced using 20-nanometer process technology, which, incredibly, allows it to contain some 2 billion transistors.

This design also reduces power consumption.

One of the feature enhancements on the iPhone 6’s video camera is cinematic video stabilization – it’s like having a steady-cam built into your phone.

A time-lapse video shot allows one to use a quick “tap” to capture a long period of time, while focused on a subject.

Apple’s presentation showed the new iPhone’s video “slow-mo” playback mode, which I thought was pretty cool.

Also, continuous camera autofocus shot using Focus Pixels means the focus changes are automatic and almost undetectable.

A new health app (application) which the Mayo Clinic assisted with, can record and measure a person’s physical activities, and will host other third-party applications.

The new Apple operating system, iOS 8, will be available as a free download Sept. 17 for the new, and most of the previous, iPhones, iPods, and iPad smart devices.

Having the iOS 8 on one’s Apple smart device will allow folks to use Siri (Apple’s voiced personal assistant app) to control smart devices in the home, and assist in using health and fitness apps.

Towards the end of this Apple special event, a brand-new Apple product was introduced.

The audience stood and erupted with cheers as Cook announced there was “one more thing.”

This was reminiscent of what Steve Jobs would say at the close of a keynote address, before revealing a new product or technology.

I think most of us watching, and those in attendance, knew what was coming.

Yes, it was the announcement of Apple’s wearable smart-watch.

And no, Apple didn’t call it the iWatch.

It’s simply called: Apple Watch.

Personally, I would have preferred “iWatch.”

Of course, this ergonomically-fashionable Apple Watch has all sorts of cool bells and whistles; including the way one navigates within the apps with the user interface, via manipulation of the “digital crown,” which resembles the metal turning-wheel used to set the time on a regular watch.

During the presentation, it was noted how the user interface for the original Macintosh computer was a mouse, the first iPod used a click wheel, and the first iPhone used a multi-touch interface on its screen.

For Apple’s brand-new smart watch, we will need to learn how to operate a very small mechanical metal turning-wheel, in order to control and use the apps.

Alright, I am not so thrilled about this, but I suppose trying to navigate, zoom in on, and open individual apps using finger “tap and swipe” on the small surface of a glass watch is not very practical.

Apple smartly explained this digital crown “answers the fundamental challenge of how to magnify content on a small display.”

The Apple Watch will be tethered to, and will communicate with the iPhone, allowing it to send and receive messages, and answer phone calls.

The sensors under the watch will send muscle-vibration haptic feedback signals to the user for various notifications. They will also be used for gathering information by Apple’s health app, such as the wearer’s heart beat and pulse.

The Apple Watch allows one to customize its screen appearance, and a person can choose from a variety of stylish, interchangeable wrist bands.

Oh, and this new smart watch tells the time, too.

It was disclosed we will need to wait until early 2015 to get the Apple Watch.

Apple’s YouTube channel includes videos on their new iPhones, Apple Watch, and more:

 Apple fans inside the Flint Center