i’m 98% sure that the text selection algorithm used in the ipad version of papers by these guys is NOT the native code in apple’s API. It just feels way more accurate and sensitive. If this is the case, apple needs to incorporate a similar method. Text handling in general in iOS was exciting when new 5 years ago, but its starting to feel old and less accurate as we try to use it for more complex tasks. And apple has never updated it since. Its high time they did.
The phone seems like the next ideal point in the evolution of transactions technologies. There are lots of advantages to digital wallets, such as ease of use, security, and contextual intelligence. A smartphone knows a lot of things about the user than any magnetic strip could ever hope to. it knows where the user is, whats on his calendar, who his friends are, his shopping habits, and finally, how much money he has and where. This knowledge base, usually known as passive intelligence or contextual awareness, is infinitely expandable. In the ideal limit, your phone could know you as well as you know yourself. This is a very impressive data set to have if you’re trying to help a user make purchases with as little friction as possible.
One key technological question is that of identification.
How does your phone know that it really you?
If its stolen, will the thief have easy unfettered access to your finances?
Technologically speaking, there are a few ways to ascertain the identity of the account holder. The simplest one is what we use today - username/password combos. This is also the least secure. The second one is a token system, whereby the user is handed some sort of token such as a digital certificate or a physical key fob that grants him access to certain accounts. Today we mostly use what’s called two-factor authentication, which is a combination of the above two methods. But the holy grail is of course is biometric ID. This uses the user’s biological features to ascertain his identity. Implementations could use the following:
Iris scans - straightforward scan of the iris. This is effective but awkward from a usability stand point, unless it gets so good as to become truly effortless (think iris scan system from minority report).
DNA scans - this would be the ultimate, in a way. DNA is absolutely unique to a person. However, DNA samples are easy to obtain, so I don’t know how foolproof this system would be. There is also a technological barrier as to how and how fast a system could scan a users DNA.
Phenotypic recognition - the phone would either use its camera to look at the user’s face, or use its microphone to listen to the users voice, or use a fingerprint scanner to scan the user’s fingerprints. This is the one that seems doable right now with a a reasonable level of accuracy. So i’ll discuss it in more detail here.
The current iPhone already has an HD front camera and 2 or 3 microphones with respectable signal processing hardware and software in the A6 CPU. In a generation or two, these things can get to a point where they’re good enough to be used to ID the user. Siri could come into play here to deliver that apple panache. Imagine saying this to Siri:
Siri, buy me two tickets to see Django Unchained when I get to the movie theater and prepay for two sodas and popcorn.
Siri would immediately set up a geofence around the movie theater and purchase those things for you when you get there, and put your tickets in passbook. Since she knows your voice ID, every command you give her is itself an authentication method that she can use to perform transactions. If you chose to open a banking app, the phone might ask to your face and make sure that it really is you. But the user can’t always use his voice (bad cold, quiet room,etc) or show his face to the phone (bad lighting, movie theater, etc). This is where the fingerprint tech comes in.
There are 3 user interaction models for fingerprints IDing:
Rollers - the user rolls his finger in a sensor. This is old school.
Swipe - the user swipes his finger past a strip of sensor. This is the most common type. It saves money and space, because it has the least area possible dedicated to sensing.
Area - this is based on a big flat surface with embedded sensor networks that the user can rest his fingers on, and the print would be read everywhere on the surface. This is expensive.
That last option, though expensive, is the most apple-like solution because it is the easiest and most elegant from a user standpoint. Area sensors are based on a grid of capacitive sensing pixels. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s how capacitive touch-screens on iPhones detect multi-touch inputs. For the iPhone 5, apple moved to in-cell sensors for touch, which means that each display pixel also acts as a touch sensor pixel. This means that the current generation iPhone has a capacitive touch sensor with a density of 326 pixels per inch (326 PPI). I had a chat the other day with professor Barry Johnson here at UVA (Bio sketch here), who is also the founder of privaris (a biometric security firm), and he told me that in order for area sensors to be accurate enough, they need to have a sensor with something like 500 PPI. And lo and behold, we recently hear news that apple is in talks with (and may even make investments in) Sharp. Sharp, of course, is the pioneer in IGZO technology, which allows for the shrinking of the backplane circuitry that powers LCD screens, allowing them to create LCD displays with… Wait for it… 498 PPI (source). Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe not.
If IGZO is the real deal, apple could find itself with LCDs that have in-cell sensors at a resolution of ~500 PPI in the next year or two. This will let the iPhone do finger print ID on the fly as the user is using the phone. A possible scenario is that every time the user taps the icon for a banking app, that patch of screen where the icon currently resides will automatically and seamlessly take a fingerprint snapshot. The ID is then performed and the app will only open IF the user is recognized. Another high security scenario is that the lock screen where you swipe to open will also sense your fingerprint while you’re swiping and on the fly authorize access. The user can configure security app by app too, in this case. He can also create a fortress of a phone by requiring that fingerprint, facial and voice recognition all happen in order to grant access to certain features. I believe this is also the reason that apple has bought fingerprint authentication company Authentec back in july for $356 million. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add one or two more biometrics companies going forward if they feel the need to accelerate this aspect of their business.
This whole thing will only work if banks grant the iphone (and siri) unprecedented access to users’ accounts. This will be authorized by the user. This brings up the interesting possibility of apple doing something interesting in the banking area. They could simply sign a deal with the banks and transaction processors to make this all work. But from what we know about apple, they’re just as likely to set up their own finance division to process transactions, or even a bank. It’s anyone guess what that might entail, but the possibility is significantly greater than nil.
For governments and other critical security users, another level of security can be added via encrypted processors. There’s a lot of literature on that, so I won’t go into details here. But apple could possibly add encrypted chips to iPhones or even design the whole SOC to be an encrypted system (now that they’re designing their own cores). Read more here on encrypted chips - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_cryptoprocessor
Modbook still makes this, even after the iPad. hmmm… is pressure sensitivity worth all this extra tech and money? I think the money would be better invested in maybe making a custom stylus that includes pressure sensitivity on the iPad platform.
like this - http://www.tenonedesign.com/bluetiger
yes yes… photoshop this photoshop that. memory this, bandwidth that. These are all hardware issues that the iPad itself will fix in a few years. And the photoshop caliber apps will follow soon after.
Modbook inc. is a short-lived company at best.
this is cool. I get the feeling that the iPad as it stands now is going to evolve into the macbook pro of the future. Which means Apple will need a more entry level device sooner or later… i’m almost about to start believing these 7” iPad rumors that have been floating around recently.
This is apple’s revenue split for the last quarter. Mobile is the future and apple has its feet firmly planted in the mobile world. Even the mac sector of this pie chart is mostly made of macbook airs and macbook pros.
This is also why microsoft will be going the way of IBM pretty soon. Thats how they got started anyways - what goes around comes around.
I love (hate) seeing headlines like these. My interpretation: iPad has gone mainstream already. You don’t see people lining up for days at a macbook pro or windows 7 releases. But massive numbers of people still buy those products. And I think people have now realized that apple reliably releases a new version of the device around the same time every year, so there really is no need to go line up to get one. People are probably calmer about the whole situation.
Anyways, all told, the funny thing is that this new iPad will outsell the original iPad and the iPad 2 come the end of the quarter. And this website will just report on another blockbuster earnings quarter for apple and how the stock is getting dangerously close to $1000 a share, without a moments thought to how silly this article is.
Friskies cat, Buddy just murdered me in Cat vs. You, an iPad game. Best party at #sxswi. (Taken with Instagram at friskies you vs cat)
Surprised it took this long to have cats at SXSWi.
You know the iPad is a truly natural form of computing when there are apps designed for cats to use :-)
This picture is what’s on the invite for apple’s iPad 3 announcement. Lets direct for clues…
Obviously, the screen is super high resolution. Probably a Retina. This one is easy.
The color of the metal back looks a bit off… its darker. This could well be something different from the anodized aluminum apple uses for everything. Crazy Theory #1 - This could well be some entirely new kind of alloy. Remember apple purchased Patents and other IP from a company that had technology called “liquid metal” that had some crazy properties. Look here for more info.
Crazy theory #2 - (and i’m really scratching the bottom of the barrel here) But I think the icons also are clues. obviously the calendar app showing the date of the announcement (march 7). The maps icon is there too. This could mean that apple is ready to ditch google for maps. Over the years, Apple acquired three different mapping companies. The first one a 3D mapping company called C3, the second one called placebase that had sophisticated map dataset layering technologies, and a third one called Poly9, also in the 3D mapping game. Check out this video to get a sense of what C3 is about - video. So, I think google is a goner when it comes to maps (and everything else - mountain lion, for example, shares video to vimeo and not youtube).
Crazy theory #3 - The other icon there is Keynote. This is most likely related to iCloud. We could see some tighter integration with iCloud for documents or something.
These are all my predictions. We’ll see if any of the are right next week :-)
iPad 2 is geting announced on the 2nd of March. It seems like the rumor mill is pretty sure that iPad will gain the new dual core A5 processor, but only 512 MB of RAM. Now thats too low a number, IMHO. Other specs (screen res, battery, etc) are also slated (pun intended) to stay the same. Maybe a thinner profile… resulting from what improvement, only god knows.
If this is true, then maybe John Grubber was right about an ipad 3, to come in september, along with the ipods. This will not be a mid-cycle refresh, like the ipad 2 will be, but a whole new generation. The RAM would have to go up. Other tablets launching soon (BB Playbook. Moto XOOM, HP touchpad) all have 1GB. Therefore, this is a number thats ripe to be incorporated into the specs of the next gen ipad. But they can’t wait too long to do it…
we shall see next week…
This is a mock up of a proposed 7-inch ipad. Look at the aspect ratio of the display. I think the 4:3 aspect ratio is very awkward at this size. Thats why the galaxy tab and other 7” android tablets are all widescreen or super widescreen - This also includes the iphone and ipod touch.
Would the 7” ipad be the only small device with this aspect ratio?
I doubt it. If a device is this small, you’d like for it to fit completely in one hand. But with a nearly square profile, a 7” 4:3 ipad wouldn’t fit in one hand. You’d still have to grab it by the bezel - in which case, why bother with making it smaller than the current 10”?
So, what else could apple do if they really wanted a smaller version of ipad? They could change the 7” ipad to the galaxy style wide screen aspect ratio. But that would mean that they would then have to maintain two different resolutions for ipad apps, and thats unnecessary burden on apple and on developers, who now have to make apps with retina and non-retina sizes for iphone, plus 4:3 and 7” widescreen ipad size versions of the same app. This is unapple, and will not happen.
Or… they could make both the 7” and 10” ipads widescreen. But that begs the question: why didn’t they make the original ipad widescreen? I’m sure they have very good reasons, and have already decided against the idea.
Another observation is that apple doesn’t care what other people are making. Notice that the iphone has always been, and probably will be for a long time to come, a 3.2 inch affair. Since its introduction, plenty of android phones have come by with 3.5, 4, and 4.3 (even 4.5 and 5) inch displays. Apple’s response to this was to wait a while, and just double the resolution on the same 3.2 inch display. Once they decided they’d make a phone with 3.2 display, they’ve stuck with that decision and focused on just making it better and better every year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same philosophy of deciding (Carefully) on the basic attributes of a product, and then improving its core features over time is applied to the ipad.
So, either way you slice it, the 7” ipad is a no go, in my humble opinion.