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Today, the tablet is a niche device, caught between being your laptop replacement and a casual computing device. But, despite its fall from prominence, there is still plenty of innovation left in this category.Read More
The Raspberry Pi was the first credit card sized computer board to take the world by storm, and the third iteration is the most important release yet.
According to Aaron Tilley, writing for Forbes, the Raspberry Pi has historically had one major drawback. It lacked WiFi and Bluetooth.
The Raspberry Pi is more out-of-the-box ready for the Internet of Things,” said Claire Doyle, global head of Raspberry Pi at Element14, an authorized maker and seller of the computers. “Users no longer need to add on a WiFi dongle or accessory. It’s ready to go.
In earlier versions of the device, users had to use the Pi’s scarce USB ports for third-part wireless attachments if they didn’t want to be tied to a router (or string a long Ethernet cable through their home). The inclusion of wireless makes the Pi 3 ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) out of the box.
The first Pi was popular among education institutions and electronics tinkerers. The Pi 2 was the first to be marketed for the IoT. Even Microsoft made its Windows 10 Core IoT platform available for the micro computer. But, while the Pi 2 only dipped its toe in the IoT pool, the Pi 3 is jumping right in. The best part? It’s just $35, which reduces the barrier to entry for IoT developers.
The Pi 3 also get’s a nice processor upgrade and moves into the realm of 64 bit computing, making it a more serious competitor to mainstream computer manufactures. Jacob Kastrenakes, from The Verge, interviewed Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading.
There is a weird thing," Upton says, where people view the Pi 2 as slightly too slow to be a real PC. "I'm really quite hopeful that this time we might come across that line that we've been trying to cross for a long time," he says. "That we've made a thing where you can really say, 'Yes, this is a PC.'"
The Raspberry Pi 3 is both incremental and ground-breaking. This seemingly minor upgrade could mark a major shift for the advancement of IoT by bringing in hobbyists and companies
It’s weird to talk about a slump in global smartphone sales after Apple has reported another record quarter. Apple pulled in $75.9 billion in revenue and $18.4 billion in profit. That is the biggest profit of any company ever, as stated in an Engadget article by Chris Velazco. Apple reported selling 74.8 million iPhones in its first quarter results.
By comparison, Samsung widened its lead over Apply and shipped 81.3 million smartphones in the same quarter, making it the largest global smartphone manufacturer by volume.
Based on these numbers, one might conclude that all is fine and dandy in the smartphone industry. However, Apple CEO Time Cook has predicted that its next quarter will see the first ever decline in iPhone sales. Cook referred to current economic conditions as dire, largely due to declining currency values in Canada, the U.K., Brazil, and Russia.
We're seeing extreme conditions unlike anything we've experienced before just about everywhere we look
Velazco notes that both Apple and Samsung have a similar strategy – “build relentlessly in search of capturing more lighting in a bottle.” This means shipping lower and mid-range devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy A9 or Apple’s rumoured update to the iPhone 5s.
In previous years, high-end devices dominated the mobile news. But, perhaps those times are over. As good times turn to bad, an increasing percentage of users will be searching for cheaper alternatives to their flagship devices. Such economic conditions will most certainly put pressure on manufacturers to deliver innovative products at a lower price point.
It’s possible that Apple’s next “big hit” will be a budget phone.
Apple made headlines last week by announcing it’s iOS 9.3 update, which included some fairly notable features.
Typically, major new features are only introduced with new versions of iOS - announced during Apple's annual developer conference - while smaller updates generally address bugs. However, it's possible that Apple might be experimenting with a new upgrade cycle. Dan Moren, writing for Macworld, outlines the downside of the “once a year” update.
The thing about major OS releases every year is that they’re predictable. That’s both good and bad: good because there’s a clear, if unspoken, target for Apple and third-party developers alike; bad because of the sheer nature of predictability: we know when new features are going to drop, and we often have a decent idea of what some of those features will be. More to the point, we know that during the rest of the year, new features and capabilities are unlikely to materialize. Christmas only comes once a year.
Sustaining users seems to be Apple’s strategy, according to Moren. He notes that earlier releases of iOS addressed the “low hanging functionality” like cut, copy, and paste (which amazingly was not introduced until iOS 3). Today, however, the smartphone is a mature product category and an essential part of our daily lives. Perhaps it’s time for a more frequent software upgrade cycle. Moren uses game developer Bungie to outline how this iterative approach can be advantageous.
I’m thinking in particular of the path I’ve watched game developer Bungie take with its massively multiplayer online game Destiny. The company has said in the past that it has a ten-year plan for the game... Bungie has spoken of its plan to change from releasing downloadable expansions to instead focusing on having in-game events occur from time to time. Rather than simply adding new story content or items to the existing game, these events take more offbeat forms… While those updates may be ancillary to the main thrust of the game, they keep players engaged and—more importantly—coming back.
Getting users to continue to see value in a platform is key. With a yearly upgrade cycle, there is a lot of down time for the user consider alternatives. In an annual release cycle, users might get tired of their device and starting looking at other platforms. It gives users time to think about switching to other platforms that seem more exciting.
iOS 9.3 has bucked that trend. Moren posed the possibility that Apple could announce iOS 9.5 (instead of iOS 10) at the next developer conference. While it’s possible that Apple will stick to it’s current release schedule, such a strategy would allow the company to focus on software reliability.
The last few years have been a game of catch-up for Apple, as Android had surpassed iOS on many fronts. However, in the process of adding major features, iOS has lost some of its reputation as the more reliable mobile OS. A more steady release schedule could restore that faith in users by focusing on quality, while also bringing new features in a piecemeal fashion.