Jonathan Ive says Current Projects at Apple are his ‘Most Important’ Work

Submitted by lalit on May 23, 2012 - 5:30am.

Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive, told in an interview with The Telegraph after he received a knighthood in UK that he believes his current projects at Apple are his ‘most important’ design work ever. Shane Richmond wrote on The Telegraph:

Ive has achieved an awful lot and still has a long career ahead of him. Even so, a knighthood is a good time to take stock. If he was to be remembered for just one of his Apple designs, I ask, which one would he pick?

There is the long pause. “It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.”

Apple is famous for its secrecy about future products. I ask what will happen if the Queen asks about the new iPhone today. Will he have to say, “I’m sorry Your Majesty, we don’t comment on forthcoming products”?

“That would be funny,” he laughs.

In the two part interview on The Telegraph, Jonathan Ive talks about how he got into design at very early age and his focus on simplicity. You can read the part one and part two of the interview here.


OmniVision Launches 16-Megapixel Camera Image Sensors with 4K2K Video Support

Submitted by lalit on May 23, 2012 - 4:49am.

OmniVision today announced the OV16820 and OV16825, two 16-megapixel CameraChip sensors that support 16-megapixel burst photography and can capture 4K2K video, or Quad Full High Definition (QFHD), at 60 frames per second (FPS). Built on the high-performance 1.34-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture, the OV16820 and OV16825 were developed by OmniVision to support emerging standards in high-resolution video recording for the digital still and video camera (DSC/DVC) markets and the high-end smartphone market, respectively.

“It was an industry-wide assumption that smartphones would cut into DSC/DVC sales; but at higher resolutions, we’re seeing a very distinct divide between the two markets and both remain strong,” said Devang Patel, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. “Industry experts have observed that mainstream DSC products are shifting to 16-megapixel resolutions and are offering improved image quality and optics. The OV16820 supports such offerings, allowing DSC/DVC manufacturers to provide consumers a high-resolution, feature-rich point and shoot photography experience, while the OV16825 provides top-tier imaging and video recording capabilities for flagship smartphones.”

The 1/2.3-inch OV16820 and OV16825 image sensors are capable of operating in full resolution (4608 x 3456) video at 30 FPS, 4K2K (3840 x 2160) video at 60 FPS, and 1080p HD video at 60 FPS with extra pixels for electronic image stabilization (EIS).

Both the OV16820 and OV16825 sensors are available for sampling and are expected to enter volume production by the fourth quarter of 2012.


9to5mac: Apple Testing Next Generation iPhone Featuring 3.9-inch Screen with 1136 x 640 Resolution

Submitted by lalit on May 22, 2012 - 5:55am.

9to5mac is reporting that Apple is testing multiple next generation iPhone prototypes and at least one of those prototypes feature a bigger 3.95-inch screen. Chuck Remington wrote on 9to5mac:

Right now we know of a few next-generation iPhone candidates in testing. These prototype phones are floating around Apple HQ in thick, locked shells in order to disguise the exterior design to “undisclosed” employees. We know of two next-generation iPhones in testing with a larger display: the iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2. These phones are in the PreEVT stage of development and are codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2). Because Apple reserves certain models for internal-only usage (such as the N96 phone we previously reported on), we’re not sure which of the two devices will make its way into the world later this year.

Both of these phones sport a new, larger display that is 3.95 inches diagonally. Apple will not just increase the size of the display and leave the current resolution, but will actually be adding pixels to the display. The new iPhone display resolution will be 640 x 1136. That’s an extra 176 pixels longer of a display. The screen will be the same 1.94 inches wide, but will grow to 3.45 inches tall. This new resolution is very close to a 16:9 screen ratio, so this means that 16:9 videos can play full screen at their native aspect ratio.

Even though 9to5mac has been right about Apple rumors sometimes, we have our doubts about this 1136 x 640 resolution. If Apple is changing the resolution why not just go with 1280 x 720 on a 4-inch screen, rather than go with some odd resolution that's between 16:10 and 16:9.


TiVo Announces IP Set-Top Box and TiVo Stream

Submitted by lalit on May 22, 2012 - 12:34am.

TiVo today announced two new products to enhance its whole home viewing solution – the IP set-top box, delivers the TiVo experience on secondary televisions throughout the home and TiVo Stream, provides transcoding to enable content viewing on mobile devices.

According to TiVo, with these new products, operators working with TiVo can give their subscribers the content they want on any screen within the home, including secondary televisions, tablets and smart phones and all through the same easy-to-use TiVo interface.

The IP set-top box works with the TiVo Premiere Q, a home's primary gateway device, to give consumers access to live and recorded TV, operator VOD, plus broadband-delivered content on every TV in the house. It includes integrated MoCA to simplify home networking and multi-room applications.

TiVo Stream seamlessly delivers the content available on a consumer's TiVo Premiere or Premiere Q DVR to alternative screens such as iPads and iPhones. Unlike similar offerings in the market, this is the first product to enable streaming or download of shows simultaneously to multiple portable devices without interrupting what's playing on the television. The TiVo Stream enables users to quickly transfer shows to their mobile device for viewing outside the home.

Availability for both the IP set-top box and TiVo Stream will be announced in the coming months. No word on price yet.


Pentax Introduces Weather Resistant K-30 Digital SLR

Submitted by lalit on May 21, 2012 - 8:11pm.

Pentax today announced the new weather and dust resistant digital SLR camera – the Pentax K-30. The camera features 81 seals set in its compact body and is built to be weather, dust and cold resistant, perfectly working at sub-freezing temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C).

“No detail was overlooked when designing the dynamic new K-30 to be weather resistant,” explains John Carlson, Sr. Manager of Sales and Marketing, PENTAX. “Every seam, every button, every hinge has been weather sealed for adventure-proof creative photography. Whether enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking in the Rocky Mountains or on vacation cruising along on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, photographers can stop worrying about weather conditions and start focusing on capturing the perfect shot.”

Other features of the new camera are 16-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, PRIME M imaging engine, 1080p video recording at 30 fps, 11-point auto focus, 6fps continuous shooting mode, ISO range of 100 to 12800, 19 scene modes, shake reduction (SR) mechanism, 77 segment multi pattern metering system, 100% field view optical finder and 3-inch LCD monitor.

The new Pentax K-30 will be available in July 2012, priced $849.95 for body only and $899.95 for the kit including the DA L 18-55mm zoom lens.


New Silicon Oxide Based Memory Chip 100 Times Faster Than NAND Flash

Submitted by lalit on May 21, 2012 - 3:48pm.

Researchers at UCL have developed a new memory chip based on pure silicon oxide called ‘Resistive RAM’ (ReRAM) that can operate in ambient conditions without the need of vacuum, which was needed for chips based on titanium dioxide. Resistive RAM memory chips are based in oxides of metals, whose electrical resistance changes when a voltage is applied and these chips can maintain the state when the power is turned off. posted the following about development of ReRAM chips:

ReRAM chips promise significantly greater memory storage than current technology, such as the Flash memory used on USB sticks, and require much less energy and space.

The UCL team have developed a novel structure composed of silicon oxide, described in a recent paper in the Journal of Applied Physics, which performs the switch in resistance much more efficiently than has been previously achieved. In their material, the arrangement of the silicon atoms changes to form filaments of silicon within the solid silicon oxide, which are less resistive. The presence or absence of these filaments represents a 'switch' from one state to another.

Dr Tony Kenyon, UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: "Our ReRAM memory chips need just a thousandth of the energy and are around a hundred times faster than standard Flash memory chips. The fact that the device can operate in ambient conditions and has a continuously variable resistance opens up a huge range of potential applications.

Though researchers were able to store and extract data predictably from the new ReRAM chip, the actual manufacturing of the chip for mass use is still at least 5 years away. Researchers say that the silicon oxide chip can not only be used for memory storage, but also as a computer processor because of its unique resistance properties.


Sony Announces NEX-F3 Mirrorless Camera with 16-Megapixel Sensor and Built-in Flash

Submitted by lalit on May 20, 2012 - 10:04pm.

Sony has added the new NEX-F3 entry-level mirrorless camera to their highly successful Alpha NEX series. The NEX-F3 features the same excellent 16.1-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor found on big brother NEX 5N. The camera also gets new features like a built-in flash and 180 degree tiltable LCD screen.

One of the new party tricks that NEX-F3 brings is the new Auto Portrait Framing feature for creating top-quality portraits quickly and easily. This feature identifies a subject’s position in a composed image, and follows the “rule of thirds” to trim the scene appropriately around the subject’s face, creating a beautifully composed portrait. The cropped portrait is then boosted to full resolution using Sony’s unique By Pixel Super Resolution technology, which uses pattern matching to maintain superb image detail, tones and textures in the photo. Both the original and cropped image files are saved for review.

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also used for the “Clear Image Zoom” feature, which digitally doubles the effective magnification of any lens attached to the camera. Ideal for travel and everyday shooting, it’s a great way to boost maximum focal length without carrying extra hardware.

Along with the new camera, Sony has also launched the new SEL18200LE E18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS LE telezoom lens that offers a powerful 11x zoom range. Smaller and 12% lighter than the SEL18200 lens, the new E-mount model features Optical SteadyShot to compensate for the effects of hand-shake. It also features Direct Manual Focus to give users precise control over focus settings, resulting in crisp, beautiful images.

The new NEX-F3 compact digital camera will be available this June in silver, black and white with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens (model SEL1855) for $600. The new SEL18200LE telezoom lens will be available this July in black for about $850. Check out the first look video posted by Sony for the new camera and the new lens.


Samsung Gets 9 Million Galaxy S III Preorders?

Submitted by lalit on May 18, 2012 - 4:22pm.

Korea Economic Daily is reporting that Samsung has received 9 million pre-orders for the new Galaxy S III smartphone. The newspaper got this information from an unidentified Samsung official, who also said that Samsung is running their smartphone factory at its full capacity of 5 million units per month to meet the demand for the new handset.

However, we believe this 9 million preorders headline is bit misleading. Preorders normally mean orders from consumers directly before the launch of a product. But the 9 million number reported by Korea Economic Daily includes supply requested by over 200 carriers in more than 100 different countries for next 4-6 weeks not just for the launch. This means that carriers are stocking up the Galaxy S III for launch and first month or two of sales, rather than actually having 9 million preorders. [Via Reuters]


MacBook Pro Rumor Roundup: Thinner, Lighter, Faster with Best Display in The Industry

Submitted by lalit on May 18, 2012 - 12:18pm.

In the past few days many rumors about upcoming MacBook Pro have been posted by various website and our sources say that most of these rumors will come true. The MacBook Pro rumor mill started on Monday with a post by Mark Gurman on 9to5mac, in which he reported that next generation Pro will have ultra thin design, Retina Display and USB 3.0. After Mark’s post, many other tech websites also reported similar rumors about upcoming MacBook Pro. Below is a list of MacBook Pro rumors that will most probably come true and some additional tidbits from our sources:

Completely New Design: In March, we reported that Apple would not use wedge shape design for next generation MacBook Pro, as PC makers are shamelessly copying MacBook Air’s wedge design. And now 9to5mac also concurs with our old report. Gurman wrote on 9to5mac “The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is described as being an ultra-thin version of the current MacBook Pro. Basically, the prototype design is a thinner, yet more robust, version of the late-2008 design.” Our sources say that Apple will keep MacBook Pro and MacBook Air as two separate categories of Mac laptops with different designs.

Ivy Bridge Processors: It is a given fact that Apple will use the new quad-core Ivy Bridge processors in the new MacBook Pros. We have heard from a source that we should be ready for a surprise, as Apple is planning to use a quad core processor in higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro model. With removal of optical drive Apple will have more space to design a better cooling system, which would allow them to use a quad core processor like new Core i7-3612QM that has 35W TDP.

NVIDIA 600M Series Graphics: Many reputable sources like Nilay Patel of The Verge and Joanna Stern of ABC News have already reported that MacBook Pro will use the new 28nm GeForce GT 650M graphics chip in place of AMD Radeon chip on current MacBook Pro model. However, our sources say that Apple isn’t just looking at one NVIDIA chip. They are planning to use at least two of the following graphics chips - GeForce GT 640M, GeForce GT 650M and GeForce GTX 660M. All the three graphics chips support display resolution up to 3840 x 2160, which will be required for the new Retina Display.

Solid State Drive: The latest rumor is that some of the MacBook Pro prototypes are using Samsung’s superfast 256GB 830 series SSD and the assumption is that Apple will use these SSDs across the line in various storage sizes. However, we have heard that new MacBook Pro will be going the iMac’s route, offering a combo drive that uses both NAND Flash storage and a traditional hard drive, as Apple knows that every Pro user needs more than 256GB storage. Apple might combine a MacBook Air like onboard Flash storage with a hard drive or can use a regular SSD with a hard drive. From what we have heard the best part of this setup will be that users won’t have to worry about where to store what files, the OS will take care of the process with users seeing just one drive.

USB 3.0: The new MacBook Pro will be the first Mac featuring USB 3.0. Genesys will supply USB 3.0 controller chip and also USB 3.0 card reader chip for the new Pro. The USB 3.0 is 4 times slower than Thunderbolt, but it’s slowly replacing the USB 2.0 and will be a great addition to the MacBook Pro that already offers superfast Thunderbolt port.

Retina Display: The headline feature of the new MacBook Pro will be Retina Display. Rumors are the 15-inch model will get a 2880 x 1800 resolution display and the 13-inch model will get a 2560 x 1600 resolution display. Many people are questioning the amount of visual improvement an ultra high-resolution display will bring on a laptop, because of the average viewing distance of more than 22-inches (1.5 to 2 feet). But if you have seen a 4K TV in action alongside a 1080p TV, you will know the difference. The image looks way sharper, colors look better and the video looks more real. You normally watch TV from 10-feet away and human eye can see more details the nearer it’s to the display. So, simply put, you will see the difference and it will be jaw dropping.


Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook – The Lightest 14-inch Laptop

Submitted by lalit on May 15, 2012 - 10:48pm.

Lenovo today updated their complete ThinkPad Laptop lineup including X, T and L series with new Ivy Bridge processors, but the most interesting Laptop in the announcement was ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook. The X1 is the lightest 14-inch Ultrabook available, but as Lenovo points out it’s not light on performance, and features 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor along with Solid State Drive (SSD) for almost instant responsiveness. Lenovo describes the laptop as:

Created for those who demand the highest levels of performance, mobility, entertainment and design, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon exceeds Ultrabook specifications by using a premium carbon fiber rollcage to create a durable Ultrabook weighing less than three pounds. Other premium features include 3G connectivity for anywhere anytime access, Lenovo RapidCharge for a near-full battery charge in 30 minutes, and Intel vPro technology for manageability.

“We crafted the ThinkPad X1 Carbon with premium carbon fiber material in order to make it incredibly thin and light, yet durable,” said Lu Yan, senior vice president, Think Product Group, Lenovo. “Our new ThinkPad laptop portfolio embodies much of the innovative thinking exemplified in the X1 Carbon, such as a backlit keyboard, super-bright high definition display, Dolby Home Theatre and rich communications features that balance business performance with personal use.”

Lenovo will start shipping the ThinkPad X1 carbon Ultrabook this summer. No word on price yet, but from the design and specifications we would say that it will be a premium product. You can get more information about the laptop on Lenovo’s website.