Out of the Box

20 11 2014

Apple’s packaging is brilliant and a lesson for packaging design. The boxes are about as small as they can get and all the parts are very thoughfully placed and pieced together in the box in the most efficent and space-saving way possible.

IMG_3057.PNG

Apple’s products and packaging is mass produced. The company sells millions of products but even though they are mass produced they don’t look like packaging just needed to protect a product on its way to customers. You feel like you’re holding a quality product, hand-made for you even when you open the box. If you take out an iPhone or an iPad the packaging then seems to be the perfect lid line of your purchase.

Unboxing …

Unboxing is the unpacking of new products, especially high tech consumer products. The product’s owner captures the process on video and later uploads it to the web. No wonder the phenomenon’s principal exponent, Andru Edwards – chief executive of the specialist, Seattle-based website unboxing.com – calls it geek porn.

Indeed, his website’s dedicated unboxing video channel, Unboxing Live!, boasts the tagline “Vicarious thrills from opening new gear.” (“It’s similar to an experience you’d have in a strip club,” Edwards said. “It’s stuff that you’re lusting over – you can’t have it, but you want it.”)

See an example of a fanboy who just got his brand new iPhone 5S Gold from an Apple Store in St. Louis. The video was published on September 20, 2013 and had about 2.5 million views until September 2014.

(3:33 min)

Some consider the popularity of this practice is due to the ability of showing the product exactly for what it is without any adulteration advertises usually make around the product. Being able to see what you are getting can contribute to the decisional process. So unboxing is a very special kind of advertisement done by many fanboys each time a new Apple product comes to life.

IMG_3059.PNG

Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology, How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy Is Wrong, is an expert in neuro-marketing, “where science and marketing meet”. He claims the unboxing phenomenon is a result of so-called mirror neurons.
“Mirror neurons mean, in principle, that when I observe other people doing things, I feel that I am doing the same,” he explains. “When I scratch my head, and you watch me doing it, the same regions in your brain will be activated as would be if you were actually scratching your head.”

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (published October 2008)
is a bestselling book by Martin Lindstrom, in which he analyzes what makes people buy.

Apple’s packaging …

Apple’s classic packaging design makes it the unboxing market leader, but Lindstrom cautions against crediting the company with originating the trend. “Let’s not be fooled here – the concept of the portable player came from the Walkman, and the MP3 player was around for six years before the iPod arrived. The iPod wheel was invented by Bang and Olufsen in 1986, but it forgot to put a patent on it.

“Apple adapts a message very cleverly, about five minutes before it breaks through, and I have great respect for that. They’ve done it with packaging design, too, but in Japan you could have seen beautiful concept packaging design as long ago as the Seventies. It also appeared in the fashion and perfume industries long before Apple went into it.”

Apple and its rivals have made unboxing a mainstream pursuit, but they’ll have to be careful: if too many of us discover that we can just stay in and watch a video, will we still bother to buy the company’s beautiful gadgets?

The environment ….

Since 2008 Apple publishes environmental reports for all its products. Is there any competitor doing so? No, and sorry for the dig at Samsung.

IMG_3060.PNG

Smaller packaging means smarter packing.
Making thinner, lighter, and more material-efficient products not only reduces their carbon footprint and conserves resources, but also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced during transportation. Apple ships more and more products per trip, and the savings is adding up. Along with designing the iPhone 5s box to be 41 percent smaller in volume than the first iPhone box, Apple also redesigned the iMac packaging. The slanted shape of the iMac box makes it easier to stack more on each shipping pallet. So more products can be shipped in one trip, resulting in fewer emissions.

IMG_3058.PNG

60 % more iPhone 5s boxes in each airline shipping container saves one 747 flight for every 416,667 units Apple ships.

Climate change …

Optimizing the packaging is one side of the coin. The product itself plays the more essential role in the fight against pollution of any kind.

There are still climate change deniers.
This is what Tim Cook told them at the annual shareholder meeting 2014 in Cupertino:

If you only want me to make things, make decisions that have a clear ROI, then you should get out of the stock.

Greenhouse gas emissions have an impact on the planet’s balance of land, ocean, and air temperature. Most of Apple’s corporate greenhouse gas emissions come from the production, transport, use, and recycling of its products.

IMG_3061.PNG

Apple seeks to minimize greenhouse gas emissions by setting stringent design-related goals for material and energy efficiency. The charts (source Apple) above provide the estimated greenhouse gas emissions for the iPhone 3G and the 5S over its life cycle. Apple put the focus on reducing emissions during customer use which usually is a quite long time of 3 years according to Apple.

Summary …

No one spends more time with an Apple product than an Apple customer. By minimizing or outright eliminating many harmful toxins, Apple ensures that each product is safe to use, year after year. Power cords are PVC- and phthalate-free, touch screens are arsenic-free, cases and enclosures are BFR-free. No other company does more to keep its products free of so many toxins like Apple and the company does it already since decades.

So it’s not only better for the people who use the products but also better for the people who make them and better for the environment.

Related links …

Publications on Apple’s website …

Apple’s Environmental Responsibility

Articles on iNotes4You’s blog …

The Hidden Price

Apple’s Supplier Responsibility

About the iPhone

About the iPad

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Fatty Touch Screens

11 11 2014

Touch screens like to forward our commands to the operating system but sadly they also like to get dirty.

I hate this kind of oily coating compromising your identity with every tap and swipe and coming back in a jiffy after an intense cleaning procedure.

20140806-203544-74144071.jpg

That’s why Apple adds a lipophobic coating to the touch screens of iPhones since the 3GS launched in 2009 and their iPads, to repel fingerprint oil. It aids in preventing and cleaning fingerprint marks. Most “oleophobic” coatings used on mobile devices are fluoropolymer-based solids (similar to Teflon which usage is well-known for pans) and are both lipophobic and hydrophobic.

See applications of oleophobic coating in this video

or this video about super hydrophobic surfaces the Slo Mo Guys made at GE

Apple’s patent …

In 2011 Apple filed a patent application to apply an oleophobic coating to the surface of a material and to improve its effectiveness. In particular, this is directed to using a direct liquid application in a Physical Vapor Deposition (“PVD”) chamber to apply the coating to the material.

Apple states that as the user touches the surface of a device such as an iOS device, oils and other particles from the user’s fingers could be deposited on the surface. This may adversely affect the appearance of the surface, especially if information is being displayed. One way to limit the amount of oils and particles deposited on the surface of portable devices is to apply an oleophobic treatment to the surface. However, this approach could be difficult to accomplish.

Apple states that to prevent the deposition of oils on an electronic device surface, an oleophobic ingredient could be bonded to the electronic device surface. The oleophobic ingredient could be provided as part of a raw liquid material in one or more concentrations. To avoid adverse reactions due to exposure to air, heat, or humidity, the raw liquid material can be placed in a bottle purged with an inert gas during the manufacturing process.

20140806-203728-74248778.jpg

The bottle could be placed in a liquid supply system having a mechanism for controlling the amount of raw liquid material that passes through the liquid supply system. Upon reaching the vaporizing unit, the liquid could be vaporized and the oleophobic ingredient within the liquid can then be deposited on the electronic device component surface. As the liquid supply is drained from the bottle, additional inert gas is supplied in its place to further prevent contamination.

The reality …

I purchased my iPhone 4S in November 2011. iPhones’ touch screens are made of a highly resistant material, Gorilla Glass, which lets the device look beautiful even after heavy usage over years.

Gorilla Glass is the registered trademark for an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet toughened glass manufactured by U.S. glassmaker Corning Inc. Engineered for a combination of thinness, lightness, and damage-resistance, it is used primarily as the cover glass for portable electronic devices including mobile phones, portable media players, laptop computer displays, and some television screens. It is manufactured through immersion in a molten alkaline salt bath using ion exchange to produce compressive residual stress at the surface. This prevents cracks from propagating – for a crack to start, it will first have to overcome this compressive stress.
(Source Wikipedia)

I don’t really understand the discussion about Sapphire Glass for touch screens because Gorilla Glass does it all for the majority of users. If the device hits the ground in an adverse angle Sapphire Glass doesn’t prevent the touch screen to get damaged.

A really innovative feature would be an oleophobic coating which upholds its properties for a much longer time than the actual coating.

My experiences with an iPhone 3GS and a 4S showed that the effectiveness of the coating decreases dramatically after about a year of intense usage. It’s increasingly difficult to clean the screen and you need a very, very clean cloth to get rid of the biological evaporations. It’s like a vicious circle, to clean the screen you press harder and harder and as a result the coating becomes thinner and thinner.

Here is what Apple published about cleaning the touch screen …

Clean iPhone immediately if it comes into contact with contaminants that may cause stains, such as ink, dyes, makeup, dirt, food, oils, and lotions. To clean iPhone, unplug all cables and turn it off. Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Avoid getting moisture in openings. Don’t use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, or abrasives to clean iPhone. The front glass surfaces have an oleophobic coating. To remove fingerprints, wipe these surfaces with a soft, lint-free cloth. The ability of this coating to repel oil will diminish over time with normal use, and rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will further diminish its effect and may scratch the glass.

To clean the Home button (allowing Touch ID to work optimally), wipe it with a soft lint-free cloth.

I thought about a replacement of my 4S’ screen but after reading this on iFixit I immediately cancelled my ambitious project:

iPhone 4S Display Assembly Replacement
Author: Walter Galan
Time required: 1 hour
Difficulty: Difficult

If you let a specialized company replace the touch screen it costs between €70 and €100 in Germany which is equivalent to $90-$130.

But there is an alternative. iFixit explains the technique of “How to apply anti-fingerprint oleophobic coating” on its website.

20140806-203816-74296761.jpg

This is an easy and cheap way to refurbish an iOS device. But don’t ask me whether it works or not. I didn’t try it out because the original process is much more complicated and don’t believe that this simplified method fulfills my personal quality requirements.

Climate conditions …

Clammy fingers are like brakes when using gestures like drag, flick or pinch. This is what I painfully recognized when visiting Thailand, my second residence, shortly after purchasing my iPhone 4S in 2011. Although the oleophobic coating was straight from the factory it hampered the usage by a ฝรั่ง (phonetic spelling: FARANG, that’s the term Thai people use for foreigners) drastically. Subtropical countries are hostile environments for touch screens of Apple’s mobile devices.

Because even Apple cannot redesign the way our body works I personally need an innovative feature implemented in an iPhone, which works like a wiper, a sweat-sensing wiper.

Summary …

I would like to see an innovative approach to the problem of cleaning touch screens but I don’t think that we will see a perfect solution because this feature is not promotionally effective.

Related links …

Apple: How to clean Apple products

iFixit: iPhone Display Replacement

Apple Patent: Direct Liquid Vaporization For Oleophobic Coatings

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
Before you leave please remove your fingerprints from my website.





Saying Goodbye

30 10 2014

If it’s time to say Goodbye to one of your Apple devices because you are impressed by an innovative new model and cannot wait to order, here is what you should know and what you should do with your old device if you plan to sell it.

20140731-081720-29840253.jpg

In my example I talk about an iPhone 5 running on iOS 7 and temporarily used by my wife. This version of Apple’s mobile operating system turns ‘Find my iPhone’ and ‘Activation Lock’ automatically on. Additionally the Apple ID is secured with 2-Step-Verification.

Activation Lock
Loosing a device with sensitive data may compromise your identity in the digital world followed by severe problems with law. At WWDC 2013, Apple unveiled Activation Lock, a new feature in iOS 7 that locks stolen phones even after thieves wipe them.
Apple’s Craig Federighi
“We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent.”
The company on its website
“Losing your iPhone feels lousy. Thankfully, Find My iPhone can help you get it back. But if it looks like that’s not going to happen, new security features in iOS 7 make it harder for anyone who’s not you to use or sell your device. Now turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password. Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased. And your Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it. Which means your iPhone is still your iPhone. No matter where it is.”

If activated, 2-Step-Verification needs a SMS capable device. Every time you want to have access to your Apple account you need a verification code Apple will send to one of your trusted device. So, selling a device should always be followed by removing the device from the list of trusted devices. But don’t worry, if you didn’t go the recommended way you can manually remove a device from this list.

Your Apple account …

Apple’s mobile devices are connected with the Apple ID you used during setup. If you go to your support profile you will see all devices connected to this ID.

20140731-081813-29893625.jpg

Sold devices or devices you do not own any longer (giveaway or theft) must be removed from your account to avoid abuse.

Backup your device …

If you want to purchase a new iPhone or iPad backup your old device to iCloud (and/or iTunes) to use this backup for configuring to predecessor. Keep in mind that account and other personal data are only included in an iOS backup if you use an Unlock Key on your device. If you later run through the setup process of your new device you can restore the backup from iCloud and there is nothing more to do.

You can use an iOS backup of an iPhone to configure an iPad and vice versa.

The only thing you have to do is to install apps that are designed for just one of the two devices.

Two cases …

Distinguish between these two cases:

If you still have access to your iOS device …

Follow these steps to protect your data and get your device to its factory default state for the new owner:

Go to Settings – General – Reset, then tap
Erase All Content and Settings.
This will completely erase your device and turn off iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, Game Center, and other services.
If you’re using iOS 7 and have Find My iPhone turned on, your Apple ID and password will be required. After you provide your password, the device will be erased and removed from your account so that the next owner can activate it. If you don’t remove you device from your account, Activation Lock will prevent other users to activate the device.

When the device is turned on for the first time by the new owner, Setup Assistant will guide them through the setup process.

Important …

Do not manually delete contacts, calendars, reminders, documents, photo streams, or any other iCloud data while signed in to your iCloud account.

The content would also be deleted from the iCloud servers and all of your other iCloud devices.

20140731-081914-29954047.jpg

Apple will send you an E-Mail which confirms that you erased your device and that it’s removed from your device list and the list of trusted devices defined for an account with 2-Step-Verification. You now can say Goodbye and sell it or shed love and give it to your wife or your child.

If you no longer have access to your iOS device …

If you didn’t follow the steps above before selling or giving away your iOS device:

Ask the new owner to erase all content and settings as described above.
If you’re using iCloud and Find My iPhone on the device, you can erase the device remotely and remove it from your account by signing in to icloud.com/find, selecting the device, and clicking Erase.

Erasing a device remotely is only possible if it’s still connected to the internet (via cellular network or WiFi and turned on). If this is not the case then the device will be erased when it connects to the internet again.

When the device has been erased, click Remove from Account.

If you’re unable to complete either of the above steps, you should change your Apple ID password. Changing your password won’t remove any personal information that is cached on the device, but it will make sure that the new owner can’t delete your information from iCloud.

I removed the SIM card from the iPhone to simulate a SIM, deactivated by the carrier and turned the phone off. On my iPhone 4S I opened ‘Find my iPhone’, signed in with the Apple ID used on the iPhone 5 and started the process of erasing the device.

20140731-082013-30013251.jpg

Because the iPhone 5 was turned off, it couldn’t receive anything and so ‘Erase’ couldn’t be executed. After turning the device on it connected to the internet via my WLAN which basically simulates the insert of a new SIM card with which the device can connect to the internet via cellular connection.

20140731-082058-30058102.jpg

It’s over now.

20140731-082135-30095942.jpg

A new liaison is waiting. What should be said is that the whole procedure is incapable for being used in human relations.

Troubleshooting …

After erasing the iPhone and removing it from the account via the app ‘Find my iPhone’ something went wrong. The device couldn’t be activated any longer. The iOS setup procedure stopped with the message ‘… activation server temporarily unavailable …’. Several further attempts to activate the device weren’t successful.

20140801-181743-65863625.jpg

It turned out that there is just one way to fix the problem, doing a RECOVERY. It needs a computer with an installation of the latest version of iTunes. There is no need to do more than just a recovery. Follow these steps to make your device ready for a new activation:

  • Turn off your device.
    If you can’t turn it off, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time and wait a few seconds for it to turn off.
  • Plug the device’s USB cable into your computer only.
  • Hold down the device’s Home button as you connect the USB cable to it.
  • When you see the ‘Connect to iTunes’ screen, release the Home button.
  • Follow the instructions in iTunes after clicking on ‘Recover’.

Summary …

This concept map (created with the app INSPIRATION for the iPad) summarizes the steps to sell an iOS device.

20140803-210815-76095142.jpg

If you have to say Goodbye, do not cry. I’m quite sure that each iteration of an iOS device and the operating system will let you forget your former darling in a jiffy.

Related links …

iOS Device Backup

Recovery

The Apple ID

2-Step-Verification

Inspiration

Thanks for surfing by.





About the iPad

8 10 2014

People once marveled at the interactive tablets carried around by characters in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, or the touch screens in Spielberg’s Minority Report – dream futures that have become reality.
In 1983 Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated that his ultimate ambition was

“to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes…”.

That vision would take him 27 years to realize. With the launch of the iPad in 2010 Apple’s engineers again demonstrated their formidable skills.

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Within a few years the early idea of Steve Jobs hit the computer industry to the core and the list of MUST-HAVE-Devices was complemented by a tablet and analysts started talking about the Post-PC-Era.

20140721-063722-23842489.jpg

With the release of the iPad, mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size and the possibility to operate them just with the fingers, without any peripherals. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

20140721-092919-34159876.jpg

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

20140721-095054-35454443.jpg

Apple’s been kicking around the idea of a tablet since at least 1983. From real, physical prototypes to out-there ideas such as the Knowledge Navigator – the company has, somewhat unsurprisingly, seen fit to investigate the possibility for almost as long as it’s been around. For one reason or another, though, they’ve never actually produced a device which saw the light of retail day (besides the Newton). Perhaps that’s part of the fascination that Apple fans have with the product a it’s been rumored so long, and seemed on the verge of actual arrival so many times that it’s become a Holy Grail of sorts for the tech community.

Optimizing the workflow …

On the go, in the air, simply everywhere an iPad may help to optimize workflows in all areas of our lives. Apple published tons of information about the application of it’s jack-of-all-trades. You can find some interesting documents when you open the iBooks app and search for ‘ipad at work’.

20140721-063829-23909076.jpg

In 2011 the Federal Aviation Administration approved the iPad for in-cockpit use and many airlines, starting with Alaska Airlines, began to optimize their pilots workflow.

20140721-091355-33235477.jpg

At United for example, the iPad became standard equipment on the flight deck, providing pilots with one-touch access to charts, maps, and other crucial navigation tools.

In a business where extra weight translates directly into extra costs, choosing iPad means fewer pounds on every route United flies—not to mention less baggage for United pilots to lug through the airport.

“A pilot’s flight bag weighs about 45 pounds,” says Captain David Sambrano, who has flown United planes for 22 years. “With iPad, we get rid of that big 45-pound bag. Being able to take all those books and charts and bring it down to about a pound and a half is incredible.”

Eliminating all that paper translates into serious savings, says Captain Joe Burns, Managing Director of Technology and Flight Test, another 20-year United veteran. “With iPad we’re able to save 16 million sheets of paper a year. Just removing the weight of that paper works out to 326,000 gallons of fuel saved per year.”

But replacing traditional flight charts with electronic documents on iPad does more than merely lighten the load. It also helps United pilots pinpoint essential flight information the moment they need it.

“In the past we’d have to pull a binder out, find the airport and the approach code, pull the paper out, clip it onto a chart holder somewhere, then enter that data into the flight control computer on the aircraft,” Burns recalls. “We view iPad as a big safety and time saver.”

“The iPad display allows us to see the chart very clearly,” Sambrano adds, “and it’s readable in different types of lighting, which is extremely important. And you can get to that particular chart or that particular piece of information so quickly.”
(Source Apple)

iPad in education …

The iPad can be a transformative tool in education as it can house all resources (books, readings, video, audio), connects to the internet for doing research, provides a vehicle for maintaining communication, replaces ‘dead tree’ paper versions of resources and does it all in an easy to carry around, quick starting, and simple interface.

20140721-070831-25711364.jpg

Using an iPad in classrooms is a paradigm shift from didactic models of ‘Teaching’ to constructivist models of ‘Learning’. Technology has always been good that and that’s one reason schools began investing in computers in the 70s and 80s. But the iPad brought that engagement to a very personal level.

It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device or textbook could be.

What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things.

Creating artworks, modeling new devices or writing down all the ideas leading to the E=m c c equation on a sheet of paper while walking through the room and reflecting our thoughts is almost always done by hand.

Apple-IBM …

In July 2014 Apple published a press info about

Apple and IBM Forge Global Partnership to Transform Enterprise Mobility

What does this mean?

IT departments and tech purchasers will now enjoy

  • the reliability of IBM’s enterprise solutions on Apple’s platform
  • powerful mobile device management
  • tailored services and support
  • the most secure mobile operating system
  • easy to use devices with lots of new tailored business applications
  • an incredible lifetime cycle because of high build-quality and less fragmentation of the OS

Apple’s devices were already in use in many enterprises but now the footprint is institutionalized.

Some tidbits …

Call it innovation, evolution, improvement or whatever you like, the first iPad is quite different from the actual model, the iPad Air, if you take a look at the details.

1st Gen iPad Air
Power 25 Wh 32 Wh
Memory 256 MB 1000 MB
Display 132 ppi 264 ppi
Weight 730 g 478 g
Storage 16,32,64 16,32,64,128

The most impressive developments of Apple’s engineers are the Retina display and the 64-Bit-Processor which opens the door to high-performance software applications.

20140721-063917-23957966.jpg

Build-quality, performance, and the operating system show us what Steve Jobs had in mind when saying “to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes.”

Summary …

A shining example for disruptive technology developed by a company with a strong focus on high-quality products serving people and enriching their lives.

Related links …

iPad @ Universities

iPad @ School

iPad in education

iPad in cockpits

Thanks for dropping by.





Windows on the iPad

20 05 2014

Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on

November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUI).

20140217-084305.jpg

Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world’s personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984. As of October 2013, the most recent versions of Windows for personal computers, mobile devices, server computers and embedded devices are respectively Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.

Tablets …

Touch screen technology has brought about a revolution in the new-age and broadcast media industries and is now widely adopted by Television, Computer, Mobile Phones and Camera manufacturers. Tablet computers are among the most visible manifestations of this technology and are seen as a possible replacement for regular desktops and laptops in the foreseeable future.

The majority of tablets are available in 2 sizes, 7 and 10 inch.

Note
Some tablet manufacturers make also 8 and 9 inch tablets. Few models can be found with large than 10 inch display sizes, in majority these are Windows based tablet computers.
There are several aspects about tablet displays which a discerning customer should consider before considering one of the manufacturers for the final purchase.

There were already early beginnings in finding out the right screen size.

20140218-073438.jpg

There are many requirements for suitable tablets which basically remain the same independent of the screen size. So let’s have a look on some technical specifications.

1 Display resolution …

Screen resolutions vary according to the manufacturer and the price range in which the tablet is sold. From the QXGA resolution on the new iPad to the WVGA resolution that is found in the most basic models, there is a wide choice available for the consumer depending on his or her personal needs.

Typically, the screen resolution can be categorized as follows:

QXGA 2048 x 1536
WXGA 1366 x 768 or 1280 x 800
XGA 1024 x 768
WSVGA 1024 x 600
WVGA 800 x 600

Tablets of smaller sizes such as the 7 inch can do well with a lower resolution screen. Higher screen resolution becomes relevant as the tablet size increases.

2 Screen coating, Brightness and Protection …

Since tablets are highly portable devices, they are widely used indoors and outdoors. While screen brightness is not really an issue when used indoors, these tablets can become highly reflective in outdoor daylight conditions and therefore needs the screen brightness to offset the ambient brightness. Most manufacturers have overcome the problem by using a coating that prevents glare while also protecting the glass from scratches and dirt. If your tablet display is protected using a toughened glass such as Gorilla Glass, the chances of screen cracking due to the tablet accidentally falling on the ground is minimized.

3 Screen Viewing Angles …

While this may not be a major concern if you are using the tablet as a hand held device, screen dimming and colour change can be an irritant if you are placing the tablet on a stand or keeping it on a table for people around you to see. This problem is normally found in LCD displays made using TN technology. Colours like red, blue or green become darker and the screen becomes dimmer as you move away from the centre of the screen. Make sure that you get to test this out on a demo piece at the retailer before you choose your tablet. Most modern tablets do not use the TN technology in their LCD display.

4 Screen Technology …

There are 2 prominent TFT (Thin Film Transistor) LCD Screen technologies available today.

In Plane Switching technology or IPS was developed in Japan in response to the viewing angle problems caused by LCDs based on twisted nematic display technology. IPS LCD screens have almost no viewing angle colour changes.

Plain Line Switching or PLS is a relatively new LCD technology and was developed by Samsung in Korea and has lower manufacturing costs as compared to other LCD technologies. With improved image quality, viewing angles and screen brightness, PLS is expected to address several of the issues faced by tablet manufacturers.

Samsung’s way …

On 12.2-inch models, you can also split the screen into four, to run four visible apps at the same time. You might display your email app, next to your browser, next to a video, while editing an iWork document.

Samsung already refreshed the traditional Android interface. Instead of grids of icons for a home screen, the tablets show a magazine-like layout that separates apps and content into different tiles and pages.

Samsung’s emphasis on professional users for tablets is a direct effort to compete with Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which are marketed as a more viable replacement for a laptop suitable for work. But it is also an effort to take on Apple, whose iPads are widely used by workers in various fields, like construction, medicine and food service.

20140217-084416.jpg

Apple, it’s your turn now to say Good Bye to the One-Window technique.

Increased screen size …

There are rumors about an iPad coming in 2014 with an increased screen size. The actual screen size is 9.7″ and sources speculate about a screen size up to 13″.

If this will come true what would the intention of Apple be?
Would the customers benefit from a larger screen size?

To answer these questions we should look at the motivation of users when buying a tablet. Well-known daily tasks are mailing, shopping, and banking and stats of Apple’s App Store say that nearly all of the top ten downloaded apps are games.

20140217-085455.jpg

For this kind of usage an increased screen size is dispensable. This is also validated by increasing sales of the iPad Mini.

So the only reason for launching a bigger screen size could be to use a tablet for professional tasks like editing documents, e.g. spreadsheets, presentations, and letters with Apple’s iWork suite while accessing sources shown in other apps, e.g. websites in Safari.

  • 1 With the actual operating system iOS 7 for mobiles an increased screen size will not solve the following problems:

    - Files still remain in a fragmented file system followed by redundancy.

    ( see my post http://iNotes4You.com/2012/10/11/the-ios-filesystem )

    - The One-Window-Technique is the main disadvantage when working with more than one application. It’s a daily task to retrieve information from one window and use it in a window of another application.

  • 2 Embryonic clipboard
    Working a bit more effectively affords an advanced clipboard with multiple entries.
  • 3 Mobility is slightly decreased.
    Weight and energy consumption could hamper the usage of a tablet with a larger screen size. The size of the device depends on the bezel which is actually about 0.79″ (2cm) for the actual iPad Air. A minimum bezel width of half of this value would be acceptable and the total size of the device would’t really decrease the mobility.
  • 4 Stats for the iPad Mini show us that many customers seem to go the reverse way regarding screen size. This decreases the number of potential customers for an iPad Pro. An overview of all actually available tablets show us that all manufacturers see the perfect screen size within a range of 7 to 10 inch.
  • 5 With the iPad Air Apple developed a tablet with an incredibly reduced weight and a battery life which lets you use the device a whole day. A bigger screen and improved multitasking will possibly roll these advantages back.

Windows and the operating system …

To enable a tablet for a more professional use it should offer

  • application windows
  • real multitasking
  • an increased memory
    to handle different tasks and to not let more complex applications fall into the suspended state

I’m no iOS developer so I cannot estimate whether iOS 7 already was designed for important changes in the near future.

So my presumption is that Apple will not just increase the screen size. The new iPad Pro (if there will be one) will show us application windows with an improved iOS 8 or an operating system named Mavericks for mobiles.

It needs some innovative power to organize windows on a touchscreen and find intuitive gestures to use them.

A workspace for innovation, right? And with that a case for Apple.

Suggestions …

My suggestions are based on a Two-Windows technique following the KISS principle.

A UI for the following tasks has to be developed …

  • Open two or more windows
  • Switch between windows
  • Maximize one of the windows
  • Return to ‘Two/Multiple-Windows’ display

(Tap on an image to zoom.)

Increased size doesn’t matter …

Actually tablets are used mainly because of their mobility and a more relaxed usage when reading information. Here is what Ben Bajarin wrote on TabTimes:

People see this device and realize that it is in fact a computer. This fundamental point is where the paradigm shift to tablet computing is about to happen.

The amazing thing about a tablet, that sets it apart from every device I have and use it that has more computing capabilities than my phone and is more portable/mobile than my notebook.

I can sit reclined on my couch or bed and learn, work, or play. I can take it to the office and work. I can use it as portable TV or DVD player. I can use it to make home movies. I can use it to make music. I can take it to the lake and capture video of my family water skiing and edit and create the video right there on the lake.

I can keep going with these scenarios but you get the picture.

This is why, I believe it has the most potential of any form factor out there with regard to the future of computing.

We can read statements like this quite often and I never read any suggestions for a bigger screen size. So the question is:

Is there a market for tablets with screen sizes near to 13″?

Sam Beckets concept …

Sam Becket published a concept video in December 2013 showing multitasking on an iPad.

(1:06 min)

Summary …

A bigger screen size for an upcoming iPad makes no sense without improvements of the operating system. Even then mobility decreases and there are only a few applications where an iPad with a screen size near to 13″ could make sense.

Related links …

The Post PC era

Thanks for paying attention.





Ap(pl)es

1 04 2014

It’s easy to forget that people once marveled at the interactive tablets carried around by characters in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, or the touch screens in Spielberg’s Minority Report – dream futures that have become reality.
In 1983 Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated that his ultimate ambition was

“to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes…”.

That vision would take him 27 years to realize.

With the release of the iPad mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size and the possibility to operate them just with the fingers and without any peripherals. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

20131223-100235.jpg

It wasn’t the first tablet computer by any means, and the iPad faced significant criticism when it was first announced – most pointedly the accusation that it was trying to fulfill a demand that didn’t exist. But the iPad surprised everyone, instantly spawning a market for a new form of computer that made the internet touchable and found its way into the hands of 170-million customers in its first three-and-a-half years.

There are some quite astonishing engineering feats behind the iPad. The iPad Air (launched in 2013), for example, weighs twenty times less than an Apple Mac from ten years ago, but packs four times the memory and four times the processing power. The glass that covers the screen is manufactured via a process which makes it harder than sapphire, and is coated with an invisible oil-repellant to reduce fingerprint staining.

20140329-121852.jpg

But most incredible of all is the fact that Jobs succeeded in coming up with a portable – and connected – computer that even orangutans in the Smithsonian National Zoo have worked out how to use, forever altering the future of digital media in the process.

A tablet …

When Steve Jobs ended years of speculation in 2010 by announcing the iPad tablet device, he helped launch a new era in computer hardware. Though tablet PCs have been around for years, the iPad was the first device to use the form factor successfully in the consumer market.

So what exactly is a tablet?

At its most basic level, a tablet PC is a mobile computing device that’s larger than a smartphone or personal digital assistant. In general, if the computing device uses an on-screen interface it’s a tablet.
To confuse matters, some manufacturers produce hybrid devices that are part tablet, part laptop computer. The device might come with an attached keyboard — the screen swivels or folds down to cover the keyboard and voila, you have a tablet!

In 2010, Lenovo introduced a prototype device called the IdeaPad U1 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev. At first glance, it looked like a normal laptop computer. But if you detached the screen from the base, the laptop converted to a tablet computer with its own, independent operating system. Lenovo rebranded the device, naming it the Lenovo LePad and launching it in China in 2011.

The touch screen …

Thousands of scientists, their researches and inventions, the ongoing miniaturization, and improvements in sensor technology made a smartphone and a tablet ready for use.

All tablets have a touch screen interface and an operating system capable of running small programs and interpreting gestures. Further sensors are used to automatically change the orientation from portrait to landscape mode.

Summarized, it was the touch screen first introduced with the iPhone in 2007 and it’s multi-touch capable operating system iOS which made the iPad to a device capable to replace computers for an increasing number of people.

The development of the Touch Screen Technology started in the 1960s although there are many results of basic scientific researches in physics starting hundreds of years earlier.

1960s

Historians consider the first touch screen to be a capacitive touch screen invented by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK, around 1965 – 1967. The inventor published a full description of touch screen technology for air traffic control in an article published in 1968.

1970s

In 1971, a “touch sensor” was developed by Doctor Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) while he was an instructor at the University of Kentucky. This sensor called the “Elograph” was patented by The University of Kentucky Research Foundation. The “Elograph” was not transparent like modern touch screens, however, it was a significant milestone in touch screen technology. The Elograph was selected by Industrial Research as one of the 100 Most Significant New Technical Products of the Year 1973.
In 1974, the first true touch screen incorporating a transparent surface came on the scene developed by Sam Hurst and Elographics. In 1977, Elographics developed and patented a resistive touch screen technology, the most popular touch screen technology in use today.

In 1977, Siemens Corporation financed an effort by Elographics to produce the first curved glass touch sensor interface, which became the first device to have the name “touch screen” attached to it. On February 24, 1994, the company officially changed its name from Elographics to Elo TouchSystems.

1980s

In 1983, the computer manufacturing company, Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-150, a home computer with touch screen technology. The HP-150 had a built in grid of infrared beams across the front of the monitor which detected finger movements. However, the infrared sensors would collect dust and require frequent cleanings.

1990s

The nineties introduced smart phones and handhelds with touch screen technology. In 1993, Apple released the Newton PDA, equipped with handwriting recognition; and IBM released the first smart phone called Simon, which featured a calendar, note pad, and fax function, and a touch screen interface that allowed users to dial phone numbers. In 1996, Palm entered the PDA market and advanced touch screen technology with its Pilot series.

2000s

In 2002, Microsoft introduced the Windows XP Tablet edition and started its entry into touch technology.

Note
Until today I use a Siemens T4010 Convertible running on the XP Tablet edition with a stylus and an incredible weight of 2.5 kg.
It just works, but it works more like a heater if you place it on your lap and because it’s running XP you have to take care of it’s health with an antibiotic therapy each week.

However, you could say that the increase in the popularity of touch screen smart phones defined the 2000s. In 2001 Mitsubishi launched the DiamondTouch (a human interface device that has the capability of allowing multiple people to interact simultaneously while identifying which person is touching where).

Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 1999 and 2005, including Touchstream keyboards and the iGesture Pad. Several studies of this technology were published in the early 2000s by Alan Hedge, professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University. Apple acquired Fingerworks and its multi-touch technology in 2005. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone still seen as the king of smartphones with nothing but touch screen technology follwed by the iPad in 2010.

There are basically three components used in touch screen technology …

  • 1 The touch sensor is a panel with a touch responsive surface. Systems are built based on different types of sensors: resistive (most common), surface acoustic wave, and capacitive (most smart phones). However, in general sensors have an electrical current running through them and touching the screen causes a voltage change. The voltage change signals the location of the finger.
  • 2 The controller, is the hardware that converts the voltage changes on the sensor into signals the device can receive.
  • 3 Software tells the device what’s happening on the sensor and the information coming from the controller. Who is touching what and where; and allows the operating system and apps to react accordingly.
    To improve the features multi-touch was introduced to recognize the presence of two or more points of contact with the surface. This plural-point awareness is used to implement advanced functionality such as pinch to zoom.

Summary …

The iPad is in the line of disruptive innovations. It seems to become a tool supporting all areas of life, household, education, science, health, communication, etc. It’s for primates but still not for apes who grant preferences to other activities.

Related links …

Sensitiveness

The Post PC era

iPad attends meetings

iPad @ Universities

Troubleshooting touchscreen response

Thanks for stopping by.





Two running systems

16 02 2014

There are some similarities between an iOS device and a human being. Here is a simplified explanation of a computer-like device by using some well-known facts about human beings. Which of them is more complicated cannot be assessed. But it’s obvious that humans learn during their whole life whereas the basic skills of a device are fixed when the production process ends. Adding further skills means installing apps but even features of apps are already clearly defined by the developers.

There is a one way connection between the owner and his device because the owner has access to uncountable information saved on internet servers, can improve his skills and personality, and can be creative when using his brain and e.g. a mind mapping tool or an iWork app.

The comparison …

Basics of the two systems are summarized in this mind map.

20131120-144435.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The differences …

Comparing the two systems might be useful for those who are not deeply involved in computer technology. So first of all let’s see where the differences are to avoid misconceptions (Source, modified). Keep in mind that these differences are not valid for supercomputers with hundreds of processors or implemented artificial intelligence. We are just talking about an iOS device with a single processor.

  • 01 Brains are analogue; computers are digital
  • 02 Brains uses content-addressable memory
  • 03 Brains are massively parallel machines; computers are modular and serial
  • 04 Processing speed is not fixed in the brain; there is no system clock
  • 05 Short-term memory is not like RAM
  • 06 Brains cannot be divided in hardware/software
  • 07 Synapses are far more complex than electrical logic gates
  • 08 Processing and memory are performed by the same components in the brain
  • 09 The brain is a self-organizing system
  • 10 Processors only can handle commands predefined by the operating system
  • 11 Brains can learn
    As far as I know there are two areas where even iOS devices improve their capabilities over time. When writing words iOS saves frequently written words in an individual dictionary. Power management adapts to usage over time.
  • Bonus Difference
    The brain is much, much bigger than any [current] computer.
    Accurate biological models of the brain would have to include some 225,000,000,000,000,000 (225 million billion) interactions between cell types, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, axonal branches and dendritic spines, and that doesn’t include the influences of dendritic geometry, or the approximately 1 trillion glial cells which may or may not be important for neural information processing. Because the brain is nonlinear, and because it is so much larger than all current computers, it seems likely that it functions in a completely different fashion. The brain-computer metaphor obscures this important, though perhaps obvious, difference in raw computational power.

Source

Processor and apps …

The mind map shows that the kernel of an iOS device has to be divided into processor, operating system, and memory.

The Memory

During installation of a new app, the installer code creates a home directory for the app, places the app in that directory ( /AppName .app) and creates several other key directories. These directories constitute the app’s primary view of the file system located in the memory of your device and represents the universe for that app. It contains everything the app can access directly.

20131120-150432.jpg

If you create a document (e.g. with Apple’s Keynote) or receive one via E-Mail you possibly want to further work with it in another app. In Apple’s filesystem this is not possible by default.Interactions of an iOS app are limited mostly to the folders associated with it. This limitation is labeled Sandbox-Mode and was designed to increase the security of the filesystem. Unfortunately it also decreases the usability in many cases.

Note …
One exception to this rule occurs when an app uses public system interfaces to access things such as the user’s contacts or music. In those cases, the system frameworks handle any file-related operations needed to read from or modify the appropriate data stores.

The Operating System

If you tap on a control within an app (or you generally touch the screen), the app (the touchscreen) sends a specific command to the processor which communicates with the operating system to retrieve the necessary further tasks. The processor only can handle commands which have been defined by Apple (implemented in the operating system), the developer of the operating system. Programmers (companies where you het your app from) use these commands to let you interact with their app.

The Processor

A central processing unit (CPU), also referred to as a central processor unit, is the hardware within a computer that carries out the commands of an app by performing the basic

  • arithmetical
    counting the number of mails
  • logical
    setting WiFi on or off
  • input/output
    playing music, or asking Siri via microphone

operations of the system.

The fundamental task of a CPU is to execute a sequence of stored instructions (a program). The instructions are kept in the memory. Usually CPUs work in 4 steps:

  • FETCH
    Fetch involves retrieving an instruction (a sequence of numbers) from the program memory. The location in program memory is determined by a program counter (PC), which stores a number that identifies the current position in the program.
    The instruction that the CPU fetches from memory is used to determine what the CPU has to do.
  • DECODE
    In the decode step, the instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other portions of the CPU. The way in which the numerical instruction value is interpreted is defined by the CPU’s instruction set architecture (ISA). Often, one group of numbers in the instruction, called the opcode, indicates which operation to perform. The remaining parts of the number usually provide information required for that instruction, such as operands for an addition operation. Such operands may be given as a constant value (called an immediate value), or as a place to locate a value: a register or a memory address, as determined by some addressing mode.
  • EXECUTE
    During execution, various portions of the CPU are connected so they can perform the desired operation. If, for instance, an addition operation was requested, the arithmetic logic unit will be connected to a set of inputs and a set of outputs. The inputs provide the numbers to be added, and the outputs will contain the final sum.
  • WRITEBACK
    The final step, writeback, simply “writes back” the results of the execution to the memory. Some types of instructions manipulate the program counter rather than directly produce result data. These are generally called “jumps” and facilitate behavior like loops, conditional program execution (through the use of a conditional jump), and functions in programs. Many instructions will also change the state of digits in a “flags” register. These flags can be used to influence how a program behaves, since they often indicate the outcome of various operations. For example, one type of “compare” instruction considers two values and sets a number in the flags register according to which one is greater. This flag could then be used by a later jump instruction to determine program flow.

After the execution of the instruction and writeback of the resulting data, the entire process repeats, with the next instruction.
Scientists found out that a brain can also be divided into areas with special functionalities. But don’t ask me how this all works together within a human being and whether parallel execution of tasks is possible or not. Fact is that the processor cannot work on two different tasks as long as their is no companion processor which is designed to offload work from the main processor. The introduction of the M7 Motion processor in Apple’s iPhone 5S in October 2013 allows to aggregate all the data from different sensors of the device and deliver necessary data to the CPU if needed. So the device gets faster because work is partially done by two ‘brains’.

20131120-143425.jpg

The Sensors

In the skin, there are at least five different types of nerve endings:

  • heat sensitive
  • cold sensitive
  • pain sensitive
  • itch sensitive
  • pressure sensitive

All these senses submit reactions controlled by the brain, the many experiences stored there, and patterns which initiate reactions.

Your iOS device also needs the help of many sensors to work properly. For example, if you turn your device from portrait to landscape mode the operating system will also turn the screen of an app (if the developer implemented this feature). In contrast to human sensors, the device’s sensors always initiate the same actions if the input data are the same whereas a human being is able to react in different ways up to the actual needs, e.g. hearing a voice (the sound waves) but not processing the content.

Summary …

There are similarities but only in a figurative meaning. Human beings learn many additional skills and can change their reactions even if causes remain the same. An iOS device gets its skill when manufacturing is finished and can only expand them with the installation of an update of the operating system. Advantage human being. So keep control over yourself and do not delegate essential task to your device. Just use it for what it is intended for, show you the way with the app Maps, connect you to the giant sources of knowledge, and help you being creative by using a mind mapping tool.

Related links …

Science Blog

Every App is an i(s)Land

Sensitiveness

Thanks for stopping by.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 218 other followers

%d bloggers like this: