Journal #160 – New Apple Products

On 12 September 2017 (13 September @ 0100hrs, Singapore time), Apple hosted a keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple Park Campus.

I actually stayed up from 0100hrs to 0330hrs Singapore to watch the whole event live on my MacBook Pro.

At that event, they announced new products spanning four product categories: Apple Retail Store, Apple TV, iPhone and Apple Watch.

For Apple retail store, SVP for retail, Angela, announced that many stores will be upgraded to become lifestyle centers or town plazas in various part of the world for people to gather. New concept designs will also be introduced and implemented at the stores with around 100 planned by the end of the year. She also promoted the Today at Apple events, and the stores will be increasing number of seats, improving the audio, and 50,000 beacons will be installed at 400 stores across 30 countries. If you are wondering about what I mean by beacons, you can read more here.

WatchOS 4 was next to be announced and it features new watch faces, and existing functionalities are expanded. One such functionality is the heart rate monitor. It will be better at detecting issues such as atrial filtration, a potential deadly condition. Activity tracking is also improved to allow better switching of workouts, can download gym equipment data. Apple Music on the watch is also getting an upgrade, featuring automatic recommendations, multiple playlists, and a better UI.

Remember the rumor about LTE-enabled Watch? Turns out it’s true. Apple announced Watch series 3. The LTE-enabled watch is now able to handle phone calls, and stream music without the need for the iPhone. Other upgrades include ability to connect to the AirPods to listen to music. Instead of using an actual SIM card, the Watch uses e-SIM.

I am personally very excited about the LTE-version because it will allow me to go for workouts and listen to music without bringing my iPhone 7 plus out.

Apple TV now finally supports both HDR and 4K with its A10X processor. As part of the announcement, Apple also announced the expansion of the TV app for countries like Canada and Australia to include local television programs. Last but not least, 4K Contents from Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix will be included.

The biggest announcement was actually about the iPhones. Apple first announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus that use glass for phones’ bodies with color-matched, aerospace-grade aluminum band, featured True Tone display, and HDR. The cameras are also specially calibrated for augmented reality. The portrait mode is also upgraded with new lighting capabilities. The phones also come with better stereo speakers, and wireless charging. To power these phones, they use the new A11 Bionic processor with Apple designed 3-core GPU, Neural Engine for machine learning purpose and the M11 motion co-processor. These phones will be available for pre-order on 15 September at 1501pm GMT8 with iPhone 8 starting at SG$1148 and iPhone 8 Plus starting at SG$1308.

After that, Apple also announced the more “advanced”, more expensive iPhone X to mark the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone. As the rumors indicated, home button has been removed, uses Face ID instead of Touch ID, and rely more on 3D touch and gestures for most of the interaction with the phone. iPhone X also featured Super Retina display with HDR using OLED screen. The iPhone X also featured a wider display at 5.8 inches. SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, demoed how easy it is to use the iPhone X with iOS 11. Face ID is also demonstrated to be very fast. The phone will be available for pre-order from 1501hrs GMT8 with the phone starting at SG$1648.

Personally, I don’t see the need for me to buy the new iPhones because my current ones can serve me rather well for a foreseeable future. That’s the minimalist me talking and a part of me however desire to own the iPhone x.

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Daily Journal – Jun 28, 2017

This is my 88th journal.

For a moment there, I didn’t quite know how I want to start. My personal life has gotten pretty boring in my view as of late. So maybe let me just share some thoughts instead and see how it goes.

There are two kinds of content which I feel need to be improved on, which are necessary to improve readership. On a personal level, I prefer textual stuff. It allows my imagination to run wild. Art works and drawings kind of take that away because you are seeing what the artist want you to see. Get my drift? Though I got to admit that graphical stuff are important when you want to explain a concept or idea.

Sorry about the digression.

So, the first kind of content involves my own daily journal. After all, this my personal blog. I know I need to increase the number of graphical or video-based content instead of textual content. But I think in order to do that, I would need to take more pictures, maybe even take videos. A friend of mine invited me to a musical/performance event. I’m still trying to decide if I want to go or not. Get out of my comfort zone again??? That might be a good chance to practice my photography skills and get some content for this.

Another kind of content is those involving teaching. I mean I have a stronger background in programming, software development and design compare to other skills which I am currently exploring and attempting to learn, namely drawing, cooking, and copywriting. So I suppose I should start doing more content on those.

Anyway, I just want to add that writing a daily journal is about establishing some kind of discipline and routine. Even if just writing a single line saying, “I’m busy”, is as important as writing a multi-paragraph entry.

But these days, I suppose youngsters don’t read. They prefer cat pictures.

Now now, just like that, I have multi-paragraphs and I mentioned that I wasn’t sure how to start in my first paragraph.

For work today, I went to the customer office and conducted SIT. Spent the whole day there. Had lunch by myself, which I usually do on weekends anyway. Though it can be quite a sad thing.

Something of note is that my boss removed me from many of the slack channels that I was on. Kind of a relief in a way. That means that I didn’t need to care so much anymore. I can devote more brain power to other stuff and just do whatever task that’s left.

Remember yesterday I mentioned that I signed up for a drawing course? I forgot to include the link to what I was talking about. So here it is.

The drawing course by Rich Graysonn. I came across it through the Singapore’s SkillsFuture platform where you can sign up for courses to upgrade yourself. It was an initiative by the Singapore government so that Singaporeans are ready to take on the future work.

In my personal opinion, it is a good attempt but in light of a world that will be highly driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), whatever skills Singaporeans in general will acquire will fall short.

My questions to Singaporeans and the government are very simple: What problem will there be that an extremely advanced AI or robotics can’t solve? What do Singaporeans in general have to offer that people from nations where they are leaders in AI and Robotics don’t have?

The world order will change. United States and China will be the leaders in AI. Their economies will be increasingly driven by that.

In my opinion, seeing how small Singapore is, the lack of local specialists, and that the people here are all about “management”, “outsourcing”, and our population is falling due to low birth-rate, I doubt we can even survive. Smart-nation probably can free up some human resource to do “intelligent” work but there just isn’t enough of us (locals).

Here I conclude my journal for today.