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OnePlus 6 and the Bullets Wireless: Can they provide all the speed you need?

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Yes, it’s an example of the figure of speech, climax. But here, it also signifies the actions of Carl Pei, CEO, and Co-Founder- OnePlus. Having worked with Oppo for a long time, Carl Pei had understood what it means to be a smartphone brand in today’s world.

He came, he saw, he captured

He understood that along with making a good final product, you need to also be able to push it out in the market in a way that people remember. And OnePlus has always been doing that. They were the first company to do an all-VR launch. The build-up to this year’s launch event needs no justification. Along with the events, the pop-ups provided the mass with an opportunity to buy the smartphone before anyone else and also getting their hands on it.

Image result for oneplus 5 and 5t

2017 had been a significant year for the company. Earlier in the year, they launched the  OnePlus 5 which became the bestselling smartphone on Amazon, selling more than 7000 units per minute. And then, just a couple of months before their 4th anniversary, they launched the OnePlus 5T which also got a huge response. They went back to the old ways, meeting with their fans and users and creating together. OnePlus also became the most recommended brand in 2017.

OnePlus launched the much anticipated OnePlus 6 and also the Bullets Wireless, of which the rumors had been doing rounds for more than 2 years now. Justifying the time OnePlus took to join the wireless headphones race Carl Pei said, ”We don’t launch a product that’s already in trend until we think that it’s better than our competitor’s product out there in the market.”

Let’s talk about the Bullets Wireless.

Image result for bullets wireless

image source The Verge

We did a post on how the wireless earphones could be like, a month back, and believe me it’s nothing like we all anticipated. It’s a lot better.

The Highlights,

  • 9.2mm drivers
  • Sweat and Rain Resistant
  • Magnetic Control
  • Enabled with Google Assistant
  • Dash Charge

Yes, they support USB-C fast charging(you can use any USB type-C cable), are Google Assistant-integrated, weather-resistant, and use the AptX codec for better Bluetooth audio quality, but they’re not the “truly wireless” in-ear wireless buds you might’ve been expecting.

Regardless, they have specs that might make them great wireless headphones. On paper, OnePlus claims you can get five hours of usage from ten minutes of charging or top it off for five hours of battery.

The buds themselves are milled from aluminum, but more importantly, OnePlus ensured you can magnetically snap them to each other to avoid tangles. Also to add to the overall 2018 look 😉

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Apple

The Peaks and Valleys of WWDC 2018

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Today Apple held WWDC 2018 to announce their much anticipated software updates. iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS all got new features, and despite being smaller in features there’s still much to talk about.

Apple from the very beginning setting the stage with iOS claiming that the focus was performance and stability improvements. So, although there might not be as many user features as prior updates, the new features here are meaningful. However, some don’t quite meet that standard.

In my opinion, here the peaks and valleys of WWDC. First the positives…

Peaks

1. Porting iOS Apps to Mac

Looking back, we might see this as the most important feature announced today. At the tail-end of the macOS announcements, Craig Federighi gave us a sneak peak of Universal Apps now incorporating iPhone, iPad, and for the first time Mac.

The Mac App Store has had issues with Mac developer retention for some time now. Getting iOS developers to come over has been a whole other issue. iPad apps were quickly adopted by developers because it shared so much in common with iPhone development. All that a developer really had to do was update the UI. Mac, on the other hand, currently requires a whole new app be written.

This transition to Universal Apps across OSes comes in two phases. Phase 1 we saw today. It starts with Apple porting some of their own apps to Mac, which include: News, Stocks, Home, and Voice Memos. Phase 2 comes next year and will open up tools to developers allowing them to port their own iOS apps.

Hopefully these new additions, plus the new Mac App Store design, create greater incentive for developers to bring their apps to Mac. From where I’m standing, these tools could make a big difference.

2. Screen Time and Digital Health Features

Last month Google showed off their bevy of “Digital Wellness” features, and while they might have gone farther, it’s great seeing Apple take steps to make your time spent with your phone healthier.

All these Digital Health features show up in a few different ways. First were some additions to Do Not Disturb. Now in Control Center you’re able to associate Do Not Disturb functionality with a particular location (where you work) or a calendar event (a specific meeting at work). Even when using the Bed Time function added last year, Do Not Disturb will automatically turn on.

Screen Time is the biggest Digital Health feature added. In settings right under Do Not Disturb a new tab dubbed Screen Time will show you how long you used your phone, how many notifications you received, how many times you picked up your phone, and your most used apps. From here that data can be broken down by current day or week. There are also options to set timers per application or type of app determined by its category in the App Store.

3. macOS Dark Mode

The most immediately apparent update to macOS Mojave is the new Dark Mode. First off, it’s gorgeous. Holding back from using the developer beta of Mojave just for Dark Mode has been a trying effort. I’ll manage, somehow. There’s not much to say other than to look at these beautiful stills.

4. Siri Notification Suggestions

We’ll talk about some of the other Siri features later, but a smaller addition comes in form of task suggestions seen in Notification Center. Let say that you missed a call from someone and you haven’t called them back yet, Siri will add a notification suggesting you call that person.

I’ve already had experience with this on my phone can already see it has a useful tool to remind me of smaller important items I might have forgotten otherwise. These suggestions also show up in the Search Field. The idea is that after Siri has learned some of your routines she’ll send you handy tidbits when you need them most.

5. Third Party Support For Siri Watch Face

Another small, but potentially big feature here. Last year watchOS 4 introduced the Siri Watch Face with contextually relevant cards in place of the standard complications. This year the watch face gains support for third party apps via the new Siri Shortcut API. Third party integration makes this watch face infinitely more practical with the potential of seeing transportation times, news updates, and whatever else third party developers cook up.

Valleys

1. Increased Animoji Support

Flag this one as highly subjective and very much my own opinion. Many people are going to love these new Animoji and they’ll love FaceTiming their friends as their very own Memoji. Not me. Animoji has always hit a sour note for me and with iOS 12 I’m finding their inclusion that much more frustrating. Beyond FaceTime invites in Messages, Animoji was the only new addition to Messages.

It’s not the inclusion of new Animoji that upsets me, if there were other features to discuss among Animoji I’d have no problem. But it was the only update, and Apple spent a lot of time on it. Which leads me to…

2. No RCS

RCS is the spiritual successor to SMS and includes many practical additions such as read receipts, typing indicators, and rich links. It has been adopted by all the major carriers, and would make texting someone on Android (aka a non-iPhone user) a far more pleasant experience. It’s also far more practical and necessary of an update than additional Animoji.

To me, not including RCS would be like not including Bluetooth 5.0 or a new WiFi standard. Why exactly wasn’t this included? I’m very curious. It can’t be because of security, because SMS already lacks end to end encryption.

3. No iOS Dark Mode

When video leaked of macOS and the included Dark Mode a few days ago, I became hopeful we’d see the feature come to iOS as well. Alas, I was wrong. Maybe there are challenges bringing Dark Mode to iOS and that don’t exist for Mac. iPhone X and future OLED devices would benefit greatly from a Dark Mode. OLED screens don’t have to power black pixels, which could have resulted in a lot of power saving goodness if there were an iOS Dark Mode. I’m sure it’ll come eventually, just would’ve been nice to have seen it released in parity with macOS.

4. tvOS

What is there to talk about, really? Dolby Atmos support. A single new screen saver. And an admittedly cool Zero Sign-In feature for TV passwords let down by support from only one provider. None of this warranted being featured in a keynote that already ran too long, Apple shouldn’t have dedicated time to tvOS on stage. They could’ve left it out.

5. Siri Shortcuts Aren’t Enough

For me this is one of the biggest letdowns of WWDC. Siri has fallen behind competition with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana; and she really needed this year to catch up. Siri Shortcuts seems to be trying to catch up on third party app support seen on other assistants. At a quick glance it would appear Apple has done so, but a second thought changes that outlook.

Essentially the feature takes advantage of available deep links into apps allowing you to go somewhere specific in an app. By going to a deep linked area of an app you’ll be able to tell Siri you want to create a command for that specific information you’re seeing in the app and create your own command to reach it.

Here lies the problem. For starters Google Assistant already has similar functionality, the difference being that the user doesn’t have to point Google Assistant where to go, it just know to go. Siri has to be trained per function, per app. A lot of voice activated requests are thought of on a whim and aren’t initiated preemptively. Who thinks they’ll have a question in a few hours and sets it up ahead of time? Seems like the user is doing work that Siri should be doing instead.

Even though requests can accomplish more complex tasks thanks to the integrated Shortcuts app, they all still require the user come up with a command and consistently use that command verbatim. Stray from the command and you’ll get a different result. Notably Siri falls behind competition on voice recognition as well, and there was no word about and update there.

It’s not a terrible feature, but it certainly doesn’t help Siri catch up to competition.

More to Come

iOS 12, macOS Mojave, watchOS 5, and tvOS had many other features that couldn’t all be talked about here. Increased privacy while browsing, Group FaceTime, grouped notifications in iOS, Camera Continuity, among others were also highlighted during Apple’s event. Stay tuned for more updates and a look at unannounced iOS 12 beta features and overall impressions in the coming days while we get our hands on the software.

 

 

 

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Apple

WWDC 2018 Liveblog: Get on the Hype train!

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WWDC 2018 is in a few hours and we’re here committed, more like excited to share live updates with you. There’s a lot to take home today, with iOS 12 up to the brink, launching with a lot of purported features; macOS– with a dark mode, a news app, and a revamped macOS store, and some basic upgrades to watchOS and tvOS.

Unfortunately, we wouldn’t expect hardware announcements, owing to previous reports but isn’t WWDC a warehouse of software goodies more than hardware ones? Tune in, for a ride in the hype train!

 

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Apple

How to livestream Apple’s WWDC 2018?

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WWDC 18 is today. And the hype is stronger than ever. However, there’s a high chance that you might’ve not been able to grab a ticket– probably due to sky high prices or limited seat availability.

Thanks to Apple, you can watch the announcements live. Although, there are some prerequisites as Apple is usually very circumspective of certain stuff related to its events.

First and foremost; the keynote kicks off at 10 am PT (10:30 pm IST). It’s going to be conducted at the McEnery Convention Center. So make sure you’re on your devices in time. Secondly, you can watch the keynote only on selected devices. According to Apple:

This stream is best experienced on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using Safari on iOS 10 or later; a Mac using Safari on macOS Sierra 10.12 or later; or a PC using Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge. Streaming to Apple TV via AirPlay requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later) with the latest Apple TV software or tvOS. Other platforms may also be able to access the stream using recent versions of Chrome or Firefox (MSE, H.264, and AAC required).

This is the first time Apple has allowed users on platforms other than its own (and Windows’) to be able to watch the live stream. The World Wide Developer Conference is a way for Apple enthusiasts to fulfill their software fantasies. And usually, a hype follows around that stays as long as the official versions of Apple’s operating systems aren’t released to the users.

For this year, there isn’t much on the plate, though; much like every year. But we’re gonna get a peek at iOS 12, macOS 10.14, new versions of wearOS and tvOS, and new advancements to its augmented reality bundle dubbed ARKit.

iOS 12

For starters, iOS 12 is expected to be just a plain revision of its previous firmwares, instead of a complete revamp. In turn, bug fixes and stability is probably going to be the prima focii of Apple this year. And this decision is a result of a series of aberrations discharged by Apple in its previous operating systems. iOS 13, however, is gonna be where the party’s at. And it’s gonna release in 2019.

Well, not everything’s under the water. You’re probably still getting some design tweaks, if not all. On top of that, better parental controls, new health features, a revamped approach at AR and a tad bit more could be packed in with iOS 12 as well. At the hardware side of things when combined with the software, better NFC features could be unlocked allowing users to authenticate hotel doors that require NFC chips and do much more beyond just mobile payments. The iBooks app is also purported to sport a design revamp while adding extra tabs helping curate books in a more simple manner than ever.

iOS and macOS apps could join forces together!

Earlier this year, rumors suggested that Apple might be planning for a cross-platform app support for iOS and macOS. What this means is that you’ll be able to use the same app on your Mac that you’ve installed on your iOS device, seamlessly. Google has been doing this for a while and it was long due for Apple. So, hopefully, today we’ll be able to notice that.

macOS 10.14

It’s not a great year for macOS either. You’re gonna see a revamped macOS Store, a dark theme, and a news app. Nothing much. However, it’s the little perks that make the huge difference when it comes to Apple and OS upgrades. So, keep your eyes out in the wild.

watchOS and tvOS

watchOS 5, according to previous reports; gets new health and fitness features. And a for tvOS, we can expect Apple to announce stuff related to original content strategy.

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