Connect with us

Tech News

Has Apple given up and should you give up on them?

(TECH NEWS) Many people are not impressed with Apple’s innovations in recent years and are now wondering if they have anywhere left to go.

Published

on

apple

Highschool heroes of the tech world

It is a question that has been raised since Tim Cook took over the company. Countless opinion pieces have already been published with slight variations to that theme.

bar
The common thread running through all those stories is this: Steve Jobs was an innovative genius under whom Apple had a definitive edge. Tim Cook is a bland operations manager, obsessed with supply chain.

Rumor has it Apple has peaked

Such allegations keep coming, despite Apple being one of the most valuable ($720 billion) and profitable businesses in the world.

Last month, Apple’s share hit an all-time high of $136.70, based on excellent business prospects in Asian markets.

And Apple’s stock prices have more than doubled since the death of Steve Jobs.

H8rs won’t listen to the numbers

Then why such harsh, unyielding criticism? Why wouldn’t the doubters lay to rest?

In part, this reflects the high expectations that Apple users, competitors and the market have from the company.

But, deeper analysis also reveals vulnerabilities that competitors are eager to capitalize on.

Nothing new, only improved

The critics point out to a few disconcerting facts.

First, they argue, expanding existing lines (iPhone SE and Plus; iPad Pro) is not exactly innovation.

Exciting new products are conspicuously missing since Jobs passed away. Apple Watch is the only new hardware product released in several years.

iPhone is the breadwinner

The iPhone, now on its 10th Anniversary year, currently brings in a whopping 60 per cent of Apple’s total revenues. In other words, Apple is playing it safe with its signature product for far too long.

That is a huge weakness, whose disruption might hit Apple’s bottom line hard.

This is especially scary since innovations in smartphones may have peaked, warned many analysts including Pieter Thiel. Much of this is down to the glacial pace of product enhancement, argued tech writer Alex Cranz.

Even the financial markets are showing signs of cooling

Mark Moskowitz, a Barclays analyst recently warned against continued investment on Apple, as consumers are increasingly turning to cheaper alternatives to the iPhone in Asian markets like China.

The iPad sales have already peaked and fallen.

And the Mac lineup hit a plateau long ago. Critics point out, that the Mac, especially fell victim to the popularity of iPods and iPhones, while “Mac hardware didn’t receive an update for over four years, and then OS X, once regularly updated with interesting features, now only receives the scraps from iOS.”

You’re tacky and I hate you

It is old, stale and not user-friendly, especially compared to the latest Windows competition. Similar disappointing complaints pepper the web about user experiences with iTunes, iCloud, and Apple Music.

Much of Apple’s future fate has come to be seen as hinging on its iPhone8, which is half a year away from public release.

Can rumors of OLED screen, 3D selfie cameras and wireless charging reestablish it as the innovative frontier of tech as it once was?

Critics seem eager to hold Apple’s feet to the fire

In a Washington Post editorial last year, Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University said “instead of innovating, Apple has been launching frivolous lawsuits against competitors such as Samsung.”

He added, “It could have spent this money on acquisitions of companies which would give it a real edge.”Click To Tweet

Many analysts argue that in order for Apple to stay ahead of the curve, it will need to take disruptive risks and create its own relevance. It will have to hit hard and big. Like the iPhone back in 2007.

Make a move, Apple

Whether that would be a smart car or augmented reality or a new gadget that consumers do not even know they want, critics are waiting impatiently to be blown away once again by Apple.

iPhone8 may allay concerns of entropy for a little while, but a home run will require something that fundamentally shifts the paradigm.

#TheCoreOfApplesProblem

Barnil is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. With a Master’s Degree in International Relations, Barnil is a Research Assistant at UT, Austin. When he hikes, he falls. When he swims, he sinks. When he drives, others honk. But when he writes, people read.

Tech News

Another thing that can trick iPhone X facial recognition

(TECH NEWS) The iPhone X has had an array of challenges, even with their innovative facial recognition technology.

Published

on

iphone X facial recognition

Yiiiikes, a mask tricked Apple’s new Face ID feature. Vietnamese security firm Bkav Corporation recently held a demo pointing out flaws in the iPhone X’s facial recognition, claiming the technology is not as secure as Apple originally touted.

Bkav Corporation focuses on network security, anti-virus software, and mobile security software. Bkav Corp created a 3D mask that “beat” Face ID in a demonstration. The mask was crafted with a combination of 3D printing and 2D images.

When verifying users, Face ID takes photos using infrared cameras. The first photo creates the surface of the face then the second pic makes a mesh, reproducing the face in 3D. From there, Face ID uses AI technology to distinguish faces.

The 2D/3D hybrid is meant to throw off the AI feature specifically. According to Bkav’s VP of Cyber Security Ngo Tuan Anh, “Apple’s AI can only distinguish either a 100% real face or a 100% fake one. So if you create a ‘half-real half-fake’ face, it can fool Apple’s AI.”

Face ID is supposed to have a one million-to-one chance of false recognition.

Compared to Touch ID’s potential fail rate of fifty thousand-to-one, Face ID is meant to be way more secure. However, the risk of a false recognition increases with identical twins, siblings, and children under the age of thirteen since their facial features aren’t finished developing.

When iPhone X launched, Apple stated they worked with professional Hollywood mask makers and makeup artists to ensure Face ID couldn’t be fooled by masks or other prosthetics. While Apple noted Face ID should still work if users get haircuts, change facial hair, or sometimes wear glasses, masks weren’t part of the good-to-go features for unlocking phones.

If you’re one of the adopters of iPhone X, don’t start freaking out yet though. To create their mask, Bkav had to use a handheld scanner to get pictures of their target’s face. As in, the person whose phone they were trying to hack had to be in the same room to get the initial scans.

Plus, Bkav could have intentionally done a subpar job of setting up the Face ID. The obvious solution if you’re still worried? Add a passcode as well and don’t trust anyone who wants to make a mask of your face.

Read also: Do literally anything with your money besides buy the iPhone X

Continue Reading

Tech News

Well great, now the robots can do acrobatics

(TECH NEWS) Do you want Terminators? Because this is how you get Terminators. Bipedal robots can do backflips now…

Published

on

robots y'all

This is it. It’s happening. Robots.

A year ago Boston Dynamics robot Atlas was learning to stand and falling over while walking. Now, Atlas has been upgraded, allowing it to easily scale blocks parkour style, doing backflips, and even raising its arms triumphantly after nailing a landing.

And I am raising a card with a 10 for the solid execution, albeit shakily, because the first thing that went through my head watching those eerily fluid, human-like movements, was imagining it stomping over piles of human skulls with an AK in its cold, calculating hands.

We can build it. We have the technology.

Let’s hope it doesn’t find videos all those videos on YouTube of its creators tormenting the thing; prodding it with hockey sticks like a lion tamer with a chair, knocking boxes out of its arms, pushing it over, and kicking its robo-dog companions.

Atlas won’t forget that.

Imagine this thing chasing you in the woods, or down the street. In a few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Atlas bots were wearing badges. Atlas is far more spry than the dopey droids you might find in a Star Wars flick, and well on its way to creating Skynet from Boston Dynamics.

Guys, Atlas can do acrobatics now, like a ninja:

Anywhere human feet can tread, an advanced enough droid will be able to go (can we start calling them droids now?). If you knock them over, they get right back up. Those human-powered mechs have nothing on Atlas. Give it enough time, and Atlas will run circles around both Eagle Prime and KURATAS. They won’t need us puny humans for robot battles.

One day, they might not need us at all.

All jokes aside, it’s an incredible, awe-inducing advancement in robotics. Boston Dynamics also recently revealed a smaller, less creepy version of their robo-dog Spot to bring us SpotMini: a small four-legged robot that can climb stairs and moves similarly to the way a dog would romp about.

Just so you know, this is nothing to be afraid of… We’ve only just found out that robots are evolving at an alarming rate.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Social media giants are trying to operate without human controls but are failing

(TECH NEWS) Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over in fascinating ways, but this big experiment of replacing human tasks is failing. Good news / bad news.

Published

on

ai robot not human

Let me tell you a story. In fact, let me tell you several.

A village in Macedonia had a small economic boom during the 2016 election, plagiarizing and stitching together pro-Trump messages on social media, then publishing the results as “news” in order to profit from Google ad revenue.

Back during the “Keep Calm and…” T-shirt fad, a shirt company went through a thoroughly justified PR apocalypse for selling products labeled “Keep Calm and Hit Her” and “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot.”

The 17th most popular website on Earth occasionally likes to tell women over 30 to freeze their ova.

So! That’s a parade of fail. What’s it got in common, beyond making any reasonable reader consider moving to an Amish community and trying to forget even the word “Internet”?

People. More accurately, their absence.

Veles, Macedonia churned out profitable nonsense about Trump slapping a protester (that didn’t happen) or getting the blessing of the Pope (Pope says nope) because Google ads are programmatic. There’s no QA component, no human eyes reviewing content and asking “is this worth advertising on?” or for that matter “is this blatantly false?”

Likewise the Evil T-Shirt Crisis. The company generated slogans by dropping memes into an algorithm, then throwing the result on Amazon. That ended… poorly.

We, and every other tech and business network in the digital cosmos, have written in depth about all the dang robots taking our jobs. Usually our primary concern is the economic fallout. We’re a business news organization. It’s our job to warn you about that stuff.

But there’s another problem, and it’s a huge problem, especially as media consumption in general continues to rise, and more and more of that media is moderated by algorithms rather than people.

Robots aren’t just taking our jobs. They suck at our jobs. Algorithms may play go, but they aren’t ready to make value judgments yet. A quick Google will yield a dozen more examples of AI failures just as repulsive and/or hilarious as the ones on my list. And the real punchline for all of that?

It’s good news.

For once, the robot apocalypse is cutting us puny humans a break. It’s creating jobs almost as fast as it’s gobbling them up, because at this point, it is excruciatingly clear that robots aren’t ready to produce work people can actually see. They’re not even ready to put ads on work people see, not without causing a PR catastrophe every other month.

AI isn’t a better widget. It also isn’t an employee that doesn’t want benefits or take long lunches.

It’s a product in permanent beta, desperately trying to catch up to the constantly changing nuance of human interaction. It doesn’t work without homo sapiens holding its robot hand.

Let’s call it Salter’s Law: For every application of AI to customer-facing work, you will need to hire at least one human for damage control when the AI screws up.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

The
American Genius
News neatly in your inbox

Join thousands of AG fans and SUBSCRIBE to get business and tech news updates, breaking stories, and MORE!

Emerging Stories