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Apple announces next gen iPad and iPad mini

As Apple announces their next generation of products, the world will delight at their speed, size, weight, and resolution, but that performance comes with a higher price tag.

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ipad mini 2

Should I buy the new iPad Air or iPad mini 2?

Apple today announced their next generation of tablet products, boasting a better performing iPad mini 2, and a much thinner and lighter iPad, which they’ll be calling the iPad Air. The second Apple hits that stage to share their next rollout, Apple users look at their current device and dream of how much better life would be if that device were faster, stronger, and better. So should you buy a new iPad Air or an iPad mini 2? Maybe.

The folks at ArsTechnica have put together comprehensive comparison charts so you can see the iPad mini 2 up against the Nexus 7, Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, and the Kindle Fire HDX 7, while you can compare the iPad Air to competitors Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Surface Pro 2, Nokia Lumia 2520, and of course, the Nexus 10.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook says the new devices will be available sometime in November, as suspected, just in time for the holiday shopping season, but consumers should know that the guts of the devices and price points may not be what they’re used to.

ipad air

Pitting the new Apple products against competitors

For example, the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 may have a larger screen and weigh less, but the new iPad mini 2 has a higher resolution screen – we’re talking almost double the quality of the Galaxy tablet. Consider that the iPad mini 2 is extremely useful for media, and offering presentations at conferences or watching movies on the plane can benefit tremendously from such high resolution, but the downside is that this quality comes at a price, and at it’s starting price is nearly $120 more than the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and $170 more than the Nexus 7.

Many consider the Nexus 10 to be the iPad Air’s top competitor, and while it has a slightly larger screen with a higher screen resolution, it is heavier than the iPad Air. And of course, there is a price difference of $100, putting Apple squarely in the more expensive seat.

The bottom line is that Apple products’ power, speed, and size is preferable in most of these cases, but they come at a price. Shoppers this season will also be taking into account which apps they want – some of which play nicely with Apple, some of which don’t.

Watch for lines to form at your local Apple store when these beauties hit the shelves.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Tech Gadgets

Google Glass didn’t succeed, but Apple’s AR glasses might

(TECH GADGETS) Apple Glass: Are AR glasses gimmicky, or can Apple improve where Google failed? The potential is enormous, but can Apple meet the expectations?

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Apple AR glasses

Apple may announce a new addition to the iFamily this year: Apple Glass, a set of AR glasses to complement existing Apple products. Even though we’ve seen this story before, here’s why Apple’s rumored eyewear might deserve your attention–if not your money.

This certainly isn’t the first time a technology company has taken their brand name and slotted the word “Glass” after it to create hype. In 2015, Google Glass was discontinued–quite publicly, in fact–due to a variety of issues, chief among which were privacy concerns, and an untenable price tag of around $1500. Lacking a clear market and suitable demand, the shades were put to rest, though it should be noted that a rebranded version is available now (for $999).

Apple is a company that has, in the past, showed a propensity for iteration rather than innovation; the Apple Watch, while a stylish and functional improvement on existing wearable technology, wasn’t even close to the first of its kin, and early versions of the iPad were scrutinized against similarly sized, lower-priced counterparts. This isn’t to say that Apple doesn’t do tech better–just that they are, often enough, pretty late to the party.

In the case of AR glasses, this is a habit that may suit Apple well.

Put bluntly, there isn’t a clearly established need for smart glasses, and while critics of the Apple Watch were quick to say the same thing about that implement, anyone who has worn one for a few hours can recognize (if not fully appreciate) the handiness–no pun intended. It seems fair to afford Apple some grace with this in mind, but the fact remains that the demand for a set of AR glasses simply isn’t there for now.

On the other hand (again, no pun intended), Apple is the master of creating demand and hype where previously there was naught but slumber. For this reason, it behooves us to keep an eye on Apple’s unveiled tech this year–if for no other reason than to know for sure how the company plans to address the sticky issue of AR wearables.

After all, there are numerous medical, exploratory, and generally functional applications for which one could feasibly use AR in a beneficial (not gimmicky) manner, and if Apple is able to expedite that process, far be it from us to criticize. Yet.

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Tech Gadgets

The Apple Watch isn’t just a way to ignore calls, it could save your life

(TECH GADGETS) A lot of people balked at the idea of an Apple Watch, and even though many of its features seem superfluous, it has actually saved lives.

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Apple products are known for invasive yet convenient features–Face ID, Keychain, and AirDrop being some of the more notable ones–but the Apple Watch emergency dial feature might be the most useful one of them all.

If you’ve had the pleasure of setting up an Apple Watch from scratch, you know that the Healthcare app asks some invasive questions. This app, among other things, is responsible for curating a list of emergency contacts (something you can also populate via the Contacts app on your iPhone)–and this list might save your life if you take an unexpected tumble, at least if you have a Series 4 or 5 watch.

The way the feature works is relatively simple: If the watch senses that a user has rapidly or heavily fallen, it will initiate a haptic pulse along with a message asking the user to confirm that they are okay. Should the user fail to address this notification, the watch will call emergency services–and the user’s emergency contact list–with details including the user’s GPS coordinates.

The fall detection feature has reportedly worked for a few Apple Watch owners, one of whom passed out and didn’t wake up until emergency services arrived.

It is worth noting that the Apple Watch has another potentially life-saving feature: an ECG attached to the Heart Rate app. In theory, the Heart Rate app can detect abnormalities in one’s heartbeat and warn the user of an impending issue such as a stroke or a heart attack. Anyone who owns an Apple Watch knows that the Heart Rate app can be finicky, but Apple seems likely to continue tweaking this app as the watch ages.

While several owners have publicly attested to the effectiveness of these features, this shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of the Apple Watch’s ability to save a life. An Apple Watch is still, first and foremost, a novelty–one that won’t always perform the way it’s meant to.

Future iterations of the watch–starting with the Series 6–are expected to expand on these medical features by adding monitoring for blood oxygen levels as well as improvements on existing features.

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Tech Gadgets

Samsung shines a new light on indoor health with artificial sunlight

(TECH GADGETS) Samsung’s C-Lab venture creates windows that simulate natural sunlight, so now you can stay healthy while being stuck inside!

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The light therapy market just leveled up. C-Lab Inside, an in-house idea incubation program to develop innovative ideas from Samsung employees, unveiled a window-shaped artificial sunlight device called the SunnyFive window. According the Samsung Newsroom, it enables the user to enjoy sunlight that changes by the hour by copying the full spectrum of the actual sunlight.

Light therapy lamps have been around for decades as a way for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and some skin issues to get the benefits of sunlight all year long, without the risk of sunburn. In a time when many people are spending more time indoors than before as they shelter in place during the CoVID-19 pandemic, the audience for more accessible in-home sunlight may be greater than ever.

A device like the SunnyFive window promises a full spectrum of natural light that can simulate a real window through a changing light angle which adjusts throughout the day, including sunrises and sunsets. For SAD sufferers and others who can benefit from exposure to light, it can helps users synthesize vitamin D while indoors or in low-light places as they would in natural sunlight, according to the Samsung Newsroom.

samsung sunnyside

And because it is 2020, of course there is an app with that. It is set for easy integration with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home system, so users can personalize their light by adjusting brightness and color temperature from their phone, and set a schedule to wake up with a simulated sunrise. It can be mounted on the wall like a picture frame, and is designed to look like a window with diffused light, instead of the light box design used by many current light therapy lamps on the market.

This seems like an interesting product with a lot of upsides, but there are still a number of question marks around the technology and safety of this device. If UVB lighting is what is being emitted, what type of health consequences might users be exposed to? Did SunnyFive integrate any health safeguards or mitigating elements to address UVB exposure? Though Samsung showcased the SunnyFive window at the 2020 CES, the product, pricing, and details have yet to be released.

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