iPhone X: 10 key moments leading up to the new handset

iPhone X: 10 key moments leading up to the new handset

Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone launch is expected to be the biggest single upgrade the handset has seen since its launch.

A revamped design with an edge-to-edge display, facial recognition ID system and advanced augmented reality features is expected.

Several analysts have predicted the asking price for the top-end models will hit new heights too.

In a world in which the smartphone has become ubiquitous, it’s easy to forget how much of a surprise Steve Jobs’s unveiling of the original was a decade ago, and how divided opinion was about whether it was truly a game-changer.

To mark the occasion, we have picked 10 key moments from its past.

 

1. 2004: The birth of Project Purple

After the success of first the iMac and then the iPod, Apple began developing a tablet as its next breakthrough product.

But around 2004, ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall recalls having a critical conversation over lunch with chief executive Steve Jobs.

“We were both using our phones and hated them,” he told an audience earlier this year.

“We looked around, and like everyone around us has a phone, and everyone looks very angsty as they’re using them.

“And Steve said, ‘Do you think we can take that demo we are doing with the tablet and multi-touch and shrink it down to something… small enough to fit in your pocket?'”

This prompted Apple’s engineers to create a basic contacts app that was constrained to a corner of the prototype tablet’s display.

“The second [Steve Jobs] saw this demo, he knew this was it,” Mr Forstall said. “There was no question. This was the way a phone had to behave.”

As a legal filing would later reveal, by August 2005 Apple’s industrial designers had already created a concept form factor – codenamed Purple – that is recognisable as the basis for the iPhone that followed.

 

2. July 2008: First iOS App Store apps released

 

There are now well over two million native apps available for the iPhone’s iOS operating system, and most owners have several pages and folders worth of the programs.

But for a while, after the first iPhone launched, there weren’t enough to fill even a single screen.

That’s because third-party developers were initially limited to creating software that ran within the device’s web browser. Steve Jobs reportedly believed policing a native app marketplace would be too complicated.

It wasn’t until more than a year after the handset went on sale that the App Store was launched.

And history was made on 9 July when Apple made a handful of native apps live in advance of the marketplace opening its virtual doors.

Among them was Moo – a cow sound simulator – from Denver-based developer Erica Sadun.

“I had come from the jailbreak community [in which developers modify smartphones to add capabilities], which put a lot of pressure on Apple to have its own store,” Ms Sadun said.

“The App Store completely revolutionised how independent developers could create businesses, monetise their product and present it to a community of people that was larger than anybody had ever dreamed of.

“It created a gold rush that I don’t think we are ever going to see again.”

3. September 2008: HTC Dream unveiled

 

It sounds fanciful now, but once upon a time Google’s chief executive was a member of Apple’s board of directors.

Eric Schmidt did not resign from the post until 2009, but his days were numbered as soon as the first commercial Android phone was announced.

The HTC Dream offered features the iPhone still lacked, including copy and paste, Street View and multimedia messaging.

And while reviews were tepid – suggesting it was “best suited for early adopters” – they recognised the potential of a more open smartphone platform to iOS.

Curiously, the Dream was theoretically capable of supporting “multi-touch” gestures – recognising how many fingers were in contact with the screen – but the feature was disabled.

That was probably because Apple had patented the technology.

When HTC added the feature to a follow-up handset in 2010, Steve Jobs was infuriated.

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product,” he subsequently told his biographer Walter Isaacson.

“I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.”

4. February 2010: Siri app released by SRI

These days, Apple spends millions making adverts starring Siri and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among other celebrity co-stars.

But when the virtual assistant was first released on iOS, it was a relatively low-profile app from a fairly obscure Californian research institute, which had been part-funded by the Pentagon.

Its business model was to charge restaurants and event promoters a fee for any voice-controlled bookings made for their businesses, and the plan was to release follow-up versions for Android and Blackberry.

But that changed two months after its launch, when Apple bought the technology, reportedly for more than $200m (£150m).

The app remained live on the App Store until October 2011, at which point an upgraded version became an exclusive feature for the newly launched iPhone 4S.

5. June 2010: The first selfie iPhone

 

When the iPhone 4 was released, reviews highlighting its addition of a front camera focused on its use for video calls rather than self-portraits.

Perhaps that was understandable. Although the word “selfie” had already been coined, it had yet to become commonplace.

And while the iPhone 4 was not the first handset to feature a camera on both its sides – Sony Ericsson did so in 2003 – it can claim to have been a driving force in the rise of selfie culture.

“The iPhone 4 was important as you had a device that was very easy to use, a big teen demographic with access to it, and an explosion of mobile apps,” said Charles Arthur, author of Digital Wars.

“It’s a classic example of unintended consequences.

“Now, the selfie has taken over from the autograph.

“Watch people at any public event where they are meeting stars, and they’re always trying to get a selfie with them.”

6. October 2011: The death of Steve Jobs

 

When Tim Cook – rather than Steve Jobs – unveiled the 4S on 4 October 2011, he faced criticism for his performance. The BBC even accused him of appearing “dull”.

What wasn’t apparent at the time was that Mr Cook must have been aware that his mentor and friend Steve Jobs was close to death.

He died the next day.

It is likely that Apple would have collapsed had Mr Jobs not returned in 1997 to the company he had co-founded, meaning there would never have been an iPhone.

Or had he not subsequently stayed at Apple, it’s possible the company’s engineers might have pursued a rival mobile phone design based around the iPod’s click wheel.

Certainly, since his death, Apple has yet to launch a product that has come anywhere close to achieving the iPhone’s level of success, and some question whether it ever will.

Mr Jobs’s last public appearance was at Cupertino City Council in June 2011, where he sought permission for Apple to build a new headquarters.

The new iPhone will be the first product to be launched at the new campus, within an event space called the Steve Jobs Theater.

 

7. April 2012: Facebook’s $1bn takeover of Instagram

 

If ever proof were needed of the disruptive economic impact of the iPhone, the takeover of Instagram provided it.

The app had been in existence only 18 months when the deal was announced. It had just 13 employees and had been an iOS-exclusive until the week before the revelation.

Its takeover provided a bonanza to both Instagram’s investors as well as to other smartphone-related start-ups seeking venture capital cash.

At the time, many thought Facebook had wildly overpaid. Now, as Instagram sucks in ever more advertising dollars while offline media’s funding struggles worsen, it seems like a bargain.

Other apps that debuted on the iPhone – including Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb – have shaken up industry in other ways.

And by one estimate, the total value of the global app economy – including software sales, advertising and mobile commerce – was $1.3tn (£993bn) for last year.

8. July 2012: Apple buys AuthenTec

Apple’s $356m takeover of a fingerprint sensor chip-maker in 2012 caused a particular problem for Samsung.The South Korean company was already using the Florida-based company’s components in its laptops and had just announced a deal to add another of its security products to its Android phones.

But while the idea of frustrating its arch-rival probably had some appeal, the biggest benefit to Apple was the ability to launch its Touch ID system in 2013’s iPhone 5S.

As reviews noted, previous attempts to introduce fingerprint scanning to phones had proven “unreliable, often causing more aggravation than they’re worth” but the new system worked “pretty much flawlessly”.

Initially, the feature was limited to being used to unlock the phone and make digital purchases from Apple.

But it later made it possible for the company to introduce Apple Pay and add security to third-party apps without requiring the hassle of typing in a password each time.

One side-effect of the sensor’s success is it may have prolonged the life of a physical home button on the iPhone.

If rumours are to be believed, Apple has struggled to replace it with a part that could be hidden beneath the screen and may be about to replace it altogether with facial recognition scans on the iPhone X.

9. August 2013: Steve Ballmer says he is stepping down as Microsoft chief

In 1997, Microsoft threw Apple a lifeline by taking a $150m stake in the failing company.

Apple returned the favour by launching a product that Microsoft first failed to properly understand and then struggled to match.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer famously laughed at the iPhone’s prospects after he first heard about it.

“That is the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard,” he said in 2007.

Six years later, he announced the takeover of Nokia’s phone business for 5.4bn euros ($6.5bn; £5bn) in an attempt to catch up, only for the sum to be written off in 2015 after he had departed and his successor finally accepted Windows Phone was a flop.

The irony is that if Microsoft’s stake in Apple had not been sold off under Mr Ballmer, it would now be worth more than $40bn and he might have shared in its success.

“Like so many other people, Steve Ballmer completely underestimated the impact of the iPhone,” said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy.

“His arrogant dismissal has certainly come back to haunt him.”

10. July 2016: Pokemon Go released

 

Pokemon Go fever is now well past its peak, and the app more likely to make headlines for botched              events than rare monster sightings.

But its legacy has been to prove that augmented reality (AR) apps – in which graphics are mixed with            real-world views – can have mass appeal.

AR actually dates back to 2009 on the iPhone, when a French developer created an app that shows               nearby shops and other points of interest in Paris.

But it’s set to come of age with the imminent release of iOS 11, which includes ARKit – software that              makes it easier for developers to anchor graphics to the world beyond and take account of its lighting           conditions.

Several demos released in advance have looked impressive, not least a version of PacMan where you           walk through the maze.

The question remains whether users will be satisfied experiencing the action on their iPhones, or whether       Apple will feel compelled to release an accompanying headset to let them go hands-free.

Best laptop for programming 2017

Best laptop for programming 2017

If you’re looking for the best laptop for programming and coding on, then you’ll be looking for laptops that meet a certain criteria.

First of all, you’re going to need plenty of processing power in a laptop for programming, so that it can compile and run your code as fast as possible. The good news is that modern laptop processors come with plenty of cores and high clock speeds, which certainly makes looking for the best laptop for programming easier.

You’ll also want plenty of RAM – 8GB at the minimum – if you’re running complex code, and you’ll need a large hard drive. If a laptop also comes with a solid state drive (SSD), that’s even better, as it will help with the overall speed of your programming and coding – especially if you regularly rebuild the code you write with minor changes.

Having a dedicated graphics card isn’t essential for a laptop for programming, unless you are coding graphically-intensive games that you then want to test out. Modern Intel processors come with integrated graphics capabilities that are powerful enough for pretty much all programming tasks.

So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best laptops for programming in 2017.

APPLE MACBOOK PRO MF839LL/A

 

Apple is one of the most well-known companies in the world, and some consumers prefer Apple products over the alternative. The Apple MacBook Pro MF839LL/A is another top laptop for programming.

The 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 processor delivers superior performance, and it offers a turbo speed up to 3.1 GHz. It has a 3MB shared L3 cache and has no trouble computing millions of instructions. It comes with 8GB of DDR3L RAM, which is important for multitasking.

It has 128GB of PCIE flash storage, so it’s able to load files very efficiently. Since programming involves the constant opening of files and folders, an efficient storage device will make your life much easier.

The Apple MacBook Pro MF839LL/A features a 13.3-inch IPS Retina display, and the screen resolution is 2560×1600. It has Intel Iris graphics and offers up to nine hours of battery life. With such high-end components, this laptop is one of the best products for coders and programmers.

ASUS K501UW-AB78 15.6-INCH FULL-HD GAMING LAPTOP

 

Since they tend to be optimized for performance, gaming laptops double as some of the best options for programming. At the heart of the ASUS K501UW-AB78, an Intel Core i7-6500U processor handles millions of computations.

It has a base clock speed of 2.5GHz, but once the turbo boost kicks in, the base clock speed can run up to 3.1GHz. For easier programming, this laptop has a 15.6-inch display, which delivers full HD resolution.

It comes with the Windows 10 operating system, and the graphics are powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, which offers a staggering 8GB of dedicated video RAM.

The ASUS K501UW-AB78 has a 512GB SSD, so it can quickly store and retrieve important information, and it offers some of the fastest Wi-Fi available. Although it’s quite expensive, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is one of the best high-end laptops for coders.

APPLE MMGF2LL/A MACBOOK AIR 13.3-INCH LAPTOP

 

The Apple MMGF2LL/A is one of the best Apple laptops for coding. It comes equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, which features Turbo Boost technology. When an application requires a boost in processing power, the Intel Core i5 CPU can turbo boost up to 2.7GHz.

The fast processor is excellent for programming, but the Apple MMGF2LL/A also offers plenty of RAM. It comes with 8GB of RAM and allows you to run several applications at once.

When coding software applications, RAM is important because it stores the computational instructions that the software needs to function correctly. This laptop has great memory and processing power, but it’s also easy on the eyes.

It features a 13.3-inch display that is illuminated by LED backlighting. The 1440×900 resolution gives you plenty of screen real estate to code complex applications and prevents the need to constantly scroll. It has Intel HD 6000 graphics and can run for 12 hours on a full battery charge.

5 Ways to Give E-Commerce Shopping That Personal Touch

5 Ways to Give E-Commerce Shopping That Personal Touch

Shopping online can feel a bit impersonal. It’s all about looking at screens and filling virtual carts, and not so much about having a rich experience. Many consumers long for just that kind of experience — one that’s similar to walking into a store, looking at products, talking with an associate, and perhaps ultimately making a purchase.

This is where e-commerce personalization technologies come in, with the goal of delivering an online shopping experience that’s at least as interactive as a bricks-and-mortar one.

“Personalized customer experiences should be at the top of every etailer’s priority list,” said Ed Burek, director for SiteSpect.

“By tailoring their digital properties to meet individual customer needs, brands not only create happier customers, they drive more sales,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Following are five strategies for providing the personalized experience online shoppers crave.

1. Learn About Your Customers

Understanding your clientele seems pretty basic, but it’s sometimes forgotten when designing online shopping experiences. It means using all digital means available to track, research, and interpret the desires and behavior of people who might buy from you.

“Businesses need to dig into their digital audiences,” said Burek.

“This effort entails understanding how behavioral and contextual attributes differ among different segments of their audience, as well as how different demographics of consumers impact the business’ bottom line differently,” he explained.

“Leveraging machine learning technologies, businesses can efficiently take in this data and extract insights, examine trends, and understand how customer experience strategies truly impact their business,” Burek said.

2. Conduct Experiments

You won’t know exactly what will work — and when — for your customers until you try things out. Experiment with a variety of approaches to see which ones are most effective in delivering the kind of shopping experience your customers want.

“Once brands have a better understanding of who their customers are and a basic background on what they’re interested in, the next step is deploying targeted experiments,” suggested Burek.

“Specifically, by putting out different ‘tests’ across the audience segments, businesses can see how customers react — and, most importantly, whether the experiment drives conversions,” he said.

Be flexible, since as your customers change, your personalizing strategies will need to change as well, Burek advised.

3. Think Omnichannel

In an online space, personalization means being wherever the customers are — and using whatever technologies they’re using. Consider using a variety of technologies — live chat, social media and chatbots, for example — to make sure you’re always there, always available, and always ready to engage.

“Traditional CRM systems are being augmented or replaced with more intelligent omnichannel engagement solutions that provide everything from live chat to social support, to artificial intelligence tools like chatbots,” said Dave Campbell, vice president of product marketing, customer engagement and support with LogMeIn.

“Each of these is effective in their own right when it comes to e-commerce — or any industry, for that matter,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “It’s all about being where your customer is.”

An omnichannel approach is also effective when resolving problems that shoppers might encounter.

It’s not just about “being available through that channel,” said Campbell, “but also being able to resolve issues there as well. The effectiveness of any channel is based around whether customers can quickly get what they are looking for by using them.”

4. Tailor the Experience

Tailored recommendations can be a key component of a personalized e-commerce strategy. It’s the e-commerce version of a sales associate suggesting a customer try a particular product — and when done well, it can make a shopper’s experience feel genuinely personal.

“One of the most important technologies retailers can incorporate into their digital properties is data analytics,” said SiteSpect’s Burek.

“By strategically placing this technology within the flow of traffic, etailers will be able to gain a real-time picture of who their shoppers are and how they interact with the website, mobile app, or other digital property,” he pointed out.

“From here, businesses are presented with actionable insights that can be used to personalize the customer experience with smart, tailored recommendations — understanding preferences and anticipating needs to drive sales and loyalty,” Burek added.

5. Be Chatty

Chatbots have become more intelligent, predictive and effective in recent years, and many e-commerce businesses find that they drive sales and give customers a sense of connectedness with the companies they’re buying from.

“Chatbots are an attractive option for today’s socially empowered customers who prefer one-stop online shopping experiences,” said Gordon White, general manager of The Social Client.

“Chatbots, powered through social media platforms like Facebook Messenger, allow consumers to browse, pay for items, and share their favorite finds and purchases with friends without having to leave the Facebook app,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Live chat also can be an important component of a personalized shopping experience.

“Live chats with human agents are a great option for customers who need a little more handholding during their online shopping experience, or for those customers with more complex questions,” said White.

“While there is no denying that AI has made tools like chatbots and messaging apps more sophisticated and dynamic than ever before,” he noted, “there is still a learning curve when it comes to providing an authentic and empathic human touch, which is where live agents step in.”

Galaxy Note 8 review: Samsung throws down the gauntlet to Apple in style

Galaxy Note 8 review: Samsung throws down the gauntlet to Apple in style

An explosive return to form? Back with a bang? A blisteringly good phone? 12 months after the doomed launch of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is still the butt of plenty of jokes.

Last year, after the company was forced to recall millions of hazardous Note 7s, many people thought the Note brand was finished. But Samsung has bounced back recently (and put a lot of work into making its batteries safe).

First it released the excellent Galaxy S8 and has not skipped a beat in bringing out the Galaxy Note 8, the S8’s bigger, squarer and stylus-packing cousin.

With Apple’s iPhone 8 just around the corner, Samsung has to impress with this one. So thankfully for them, the Note 8 doesn’t disappoint.

What’s new

In truth, the Note 8 has little that is revolutionary. It looks like a cross between last year’s Note 7, with its boxy glass design, and the Galaxy S8’s edge-to-edge infinity screen design, which dominates the front of the phone and leaves no room for a physical home button or Samsung logo.

Instead there’s a touch-sensitive virtual home button and the fingerprint scanner sits at the back of the phone, to the left of the camera. This is a slightly irritating placement (especially for the left-handed) but the Note boasts alternatives in the form of facial recognition and iris scanning.

It has a dedicated button for Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant, below the volume buttons on the left hand side, and mod-cons like wireless charging, water resistance and fast charging that are now standard on high-end Samsung phones.

iPhone 8: Release date, price, news and everything you need to know

iPhone 8: Release date, price, news and everything you need to know

Apple is preparing for the launch of the iPhone 8 in September. The upcoming smartphone is anticipated to be a radical change for the company, which will seek to wow users for the 10th anniversary of the device.

The iPhone 8 has been rumoured to include wireless charging, facial recognition, an edge-to-edge display and – for the first time – no home button. Apple is expected to release it alongside two other phones, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, which will be upgrades on its current offering. 

When will it be released?

Tim Cook is expected to unveil the iPhone 8 at an event in California on September 12. In August the company sent invitations out to journalists inviting them to an event at its new Apple Park headquarters at 10am Eastern Time (6pm UK time).

Tradition dictates the devices will go on sale a week after their announcement, making it likely the iPhone 8 will hit stores on Friday September 22.

Apple has dismissed rumours that production delays could affect the release of the phone, predicting strong sales in the coming months – above expectations and presumably driven by an iPhone launch.

There could be a limited supply of the iPhone 8 for the first few months of sales. 

What will Apple unveil in September?

Apple is planning to break with tradition and release three phones in September: the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

The company normally releases a new design one year and follows with a slight upgrade the year after. Following this logic, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus are anticipated to feature minor upgrades to the iPhone 7, such as a faster chip and longer battery life.

The iPhone 8, as it will probably called, will feature a radical redesign in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone. It could give the device a new name in honour of the splash,

The company is also expected to unveil a third generation of the Apple Watch and a 4K Apple TV.

How much will it cost?

The iPhone 8 will probably be Apple’s most expensive handset year, with estimates suggesting it could cost $1,000 in the US and £800 in the UK.

An executive at Apple manufacturer Foxconn has suggested the device will “not be cheap”.

What colours will it come in?

Analysts and leaks suggest the iPhone 8 will come in at least three colours: white, black and copper or gold. The white and black colours are fairly standard, but a third colour is thought to be coming in either a copper or a champagne gold hue.

Reports from iPhone leaker Benjamin Geskin have also indicated the iPhone 8 will come in what is being called “Blush Gold”, while it is rumoured to only come in three colours, dropping the pinkish “rose gold” that had come on previous models.

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Versions have evolved over the years

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