Augmented Reality on the Apple iPhone

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="450" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This video, showing the use of the new Nearest Tube app for the Apple iPhone 3GS, really brings home the point that augmented reality applications are starting to make their way into every day life.

“Augmented reality” is a term you’ll hear for technology that adds extra information into your view of an area around you. In the example above, the app uses the GPS and magnetic compass in the iPhone 3GS to determine where you’re at and what you’re looking at to lookup useful information about the London subway system, then takes the current image from the camera and adds the relevant information on top of it.

Yet again, a little bit of “science fiction” that has become “science now”.

Should Apple Continue to Advertise Apps?

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="450" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

There seems to be some debate going on over Apple’s iPhone more recent commercials. Some critics, such as Macworld’s David Chartier believe that Apple should go back to advertising the core iPhone features, while Dan Moren believes that apps are what generate the most iPhone buzz.

Personally, I agree with Dan Moren. While the iPhone is a great piece of hardware with a slick interface, I’ve found that the user experience is most served with the rich supply of apps available. The tag line of “There’s an app for that” is simple, but also effective because it’s true.

Sure, the competition are putting in place their own app stores, but I think that the rich world of iPhone apps will always be the biggest draw to the platform for consumers.

Apple Abandons Macworld Expo

The tech news sites are all abuzz with news that Steve Jobs will not be making the opening keynote address, along with the announcement that Apple will not be taking part in Macworld Expo after this year.

I understand that companies like Apple, Adobe and Belkin would decide to skip the large amount of money that the average convention costs them in terms of marketing dollars, but at the same time, I have to wonder if it’s possible for companies to be losing out in the long run with these short term savings.

Mac OS X 10.5.6 and Safari Updates Available

I’ve seen that Apple now has updates for both OS X and Safari available now, so that’s currently what my Macbook is downloading.

Reading through the release notes, there’s the usual “improves performance and reliability” bullet points, though I’ll be interested to see how well their claim that MobileMe will update within a minute of any changes being made pans out.

10 Years of the Apple iMac

August marks a very special anniversary for Apple in that ten years ago it introduced the first iMac to the PC market.

Walking through the PC aisle today with all the different and colorful design choices available might make it easy to underestimate the impact the “Bondi Blue” iMac made. However, 1998 was time where most computers were designed as boring beige boxes more at home under a company desk than in your home.

The idea of a simple to setup all-in-one home PC had been attempted before, but the iMac really cemented the idea that a personal computer could be an experience versus a simple device.

Beyond the outward design, the iMac turned heads with a number of technology decisions that were controversial at the time, but are now standards. Some, for example, balked at the lack of floppy drive, but now many see the iMac as one of the death knells of those drives. The iMac also dropped several common Macintosh ports in lieu of utilizing USB connections, which at the time were very uncommon.

The release of the iMac also signaled a revitalized Apple. Steve Jobs had just returned to the company, which had been dealing with years of poor sales and struggling stock prices. However, the release of the iMac, designed by a team led by Johnathan Ive, sold nearly 800,000 units in the last half of 1998 and brought Apple back to profitability.

In the decade that followed, Johnathan Ive and his team continued to innovate with the Apple line, including iPods and iPhones, but the iMac in particular went through some of the most striking changes.

Those changes also swept through the rest of the PC industry and consumers responded positively by basing buying decisions on design as much as performance and functionality. It’s precisely because of those striking designs that consumers can walk through the PC aisle and find a computer that not only fits their lifestyle needs, but their fashion tastes as well.