HolidaysShoppingTechnology

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Christmas is coming up and I hope that you have all of your presents bought and wrapped… I know that I don’t. So, if you are in the same boat as me, perhaps you would appreciate a list of the best products your loved ones would be ecstatic to receive from you this year.

If you are not in this stressful situation like the rest of us, here is a list of tech products that are awesome! Maybe you could ask for them yourself!

The iPhone X

I’ve talked about the iPhone in another blog describing the release of the new era of iPhone. From the beginning the iPhone X has been magical. It unlocks by knowing its owners face even when they change their appearance. Talk about futuristic tech! The iPhone X has the best camera Apple has ever created. It has the ability to produce studio-quality photos using its depth-sensing cameras and its provided lighting effects. This iPhone can be charged using a wireless charging station created to change the world of wires.
Apple really wanted to start a new generation by introducing this phone. Maybe you too could be apart of the change!
$999.00

Amazon Echo and Alexa Devices

The intelligent personal assistant is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts and audiobooks, providing weather, traffic and the news. She is like a robot friend created to help you, directed by the sound of your voice.
$29.99-$129.00

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

I know from experience how cool the iPad Pro is. This 10.5” or 12.9” screen gives you the ability to write, sketch, markup and photoshop with ease. Multitasking, drag and drop, and the app switcher are used to the best of their potential on this device making simple tasks simpler!
$1,229.00

The Apple Pencil is what brings out the full potential of the iPad Pro. Like Apple says, “It’s only a magic wand.” This is what makes the note taking, drawing, markup and photoshop amazing. It provides “new ways to interact with the apps…” like we have never experienced before.
$99.00

Oculus Rift

The Oculus rift feels like a portal to a different planet. The technology brings you into the first person position of any situation, and if you allow your mind, you can experience the thoughts and emotions of the characters you see through. All I can say is, it’s amazing. The Oculus Rift bundle includes the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch motion controllers which now costs $399.00.

Apple Watch Series 3

I also know from experience that this watch is worth the purchase. I have written a previous blog on the Newest Apple Watch which can be found here. This watch can connect to LTE meaning that users can leave their phones at home. Check a text in a meeting, run to the grocery store, workout and swim all with the Apple Watch Series 3. This Watch is focused on fitness and health and has the capacity to inform users on their current health. The many wristbands and backgrounds allow for full customization.
$429-$989.

JIM by Jim Beam

What is “JIM” you ask? JIM is a smart home device from Jim Beam created to serve a shot of Beam’s Bourbon. The device is voice activated and voiced by the “7th Generation Master Distiller, Fred Noe”. I picture this device being very influential when it comes to bars and parties in the upcoming future.
$34.90

R2-D2 by Sphero

If I am going to list a strictly adult age Christmas gift, I better list one made for kids too! This is the closest we have come to having the lovable robot on our planet. Being only 7” tall means that the bot is never in the way. (And can stay on the desks of us adults.) With the R2-D2 you use the app to control the little bot. He acts and responds just like the character in the films. Whether for the long time Star Wars fan, or the super-fan in training, this gift is bound to be fun.
$179.99

I hope this list helps, or at least gets you excited about the amazing tech we have available to us today. I know I am!

Tess Houcher

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Tech to Add to Your Wishlist was originally published in Panda Rose on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

 

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FutureTechnology

Apple put cellular into a watch…

apple watch

This year was the 10th anniversary of Apple’s iPhone. The live event that showcased their newest products was exciting for everyone. They displayed their new iPhones, iOS, AR tech and the newest edition of the Apple watch. All incredible products. Over the years Apple has paved the way for mobile phones to take on the masses. They raised the standards and fulfilled the expectations (for the most part anyways).

But it seems that the attention of Apple and other developers has moved from devices that can fit in your pocket to devices that you can wear.

The Apple watch now uses LTE and is capable to function without your iPhone also being present. The watch can really do everything your phone can except for the functions that require a camera. (Somehow, I hope that changes in future upgrades.)

This is a remarkable product as it allows for people to leave their phones behind and still be connected. You can workout, swim, casually check a notification during a meeting, make calls, listen to music and the faster, smarter Siri will help you send texts on the go.

If this is the present day tech, what does our future hold?

Movies have always been good at sparking our imaginations. Giving us ideas of the potential technology we could see in the great tomorrow. For instance, watches we communicate through, personal robots, self driving cars, spy glasses, augmented reality and virtual reality possibilities…

Developers have already made these once abstract ideas available for the public to purchase. We are on our way to a world where these are not dreams, but a reality for everone.


It is odd to think of a time in future tense, when Apple isn’t releasing a new iPhone every year. Though I imagine that Apple would keep up with the times. Creating the next best wearable tech. Would Samsung fall apart? Would Google pull ahead of the rest?

Person wearing Google glassesThere has already been development in glasses as wearable tech in the form of Google Glass. These glasses were being tested in 2014 then seemed to be forgotten. But earlier this year the glasses were found being used in factories where they are now used as informative assistants to the factory workers improving productivity.

Cars can drive themselves and we have home assistants in the form of a small speaker. The futuristic imaginary world we aspire to have is nearly in our grasp.

But I don’t think that phones are leaving picture for a long time. I believe this because of the iPhone X. It’s not perfect yet.

The concept of your phone recognizing your face to unlock is super cool. Animated characters that are replicating your face is incredible. Animation is known for its days of work with giant teams of professionals for creating animated big screen movies. Now you can do the same thing just on a much smaller scale. It’s crazy! The iPhone X makes us feel like we are holding the future.

But it isn’t perfect yet. The phone has been hacked by family members of those owning the special iPhone. Until they perfect the phone, my guess is that we will see new ones out each year. If Apple cannot perfect the iPhone with their current technology and knowledge then we can be sure that they will not get a watch or glasses that is made to be superior to our phones.


Without phones, would the human race replace our addictive boxes with other tech, or would we use the watches and glasses as tools and not become addicted?

That is where I am unsure if we will steer away from our mobile phones. There is a limited number of games made for the watch due to its size. Could people be comfortable with leaving their games on home devices? What about Snapchat?

hands holding phones

If we could forget about the games and lack of social media for on the go, could people be satisfied with just a watch?I imagine that the watches and glasses would be improved so they can better suit the gamers and those who need their social media.

…Could there eventually be a chip that we insert into our brains to replace all visible tech? If that becomes a reality, I will gladly be the old lady who is dedicated to her legendary iPhone refusing to upgrade to a chip.

What tech do you think we will all have on our person in the next 12 years concerning tech?

Tess Houcher

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MarketingSecurity & PrivacyWeb Development

Apple made an announcement on June 5th that will change the economics of the internet. They plan to improve the Safari experience by adjusting ad tracking. Ad tracking is in-market research that monitors a brand’s performance including brand and advertising awareness, product trial and usage, and attitudes about the brand versus their competition.

Companies can follow you around the Internet in order to get further insight to better their advertising campaigns. This is how we are marketed to on the Internet.

Most consumers do not appreciate the attempts to be marketed to while on the internet. These online advertisements feel threatening when they take over your whole screen, and are annoying when they start playing sound when you haven’t allowed them to.

Not only are these inconveniences, but since these advertisements can follow you around and track what you do on the internet, it is a security breach to many consumers and Apple never wants their customers to be in a position where they feel uncomfortable.

So Apple created a new feature,

“Intelligent Tracking Prevention [ITP] is a new WebKit feature that reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data, Intelligent Tracking Prevention collects statistics on resource loads as well as user interactions such as taps, clicks, and text entries. The statistics are put into buckets per top privately-controlled domain or TLD+1.”- Apple’s John Wilander.

In plain English: ad-tracking can only follow you around for 24 hours and Safari will delete all of a site’s tracking cookies if you do not visit the site for 30 days. This means that their ability to track you is fundamentally limited, and will improve your privacy and experience online.

Will Safari’s numbers rise with the promise of less advertising traffic? To a browser like Google’s Chrome, less advertisements would not be quite as beneficial as it will be for Apple — Apple’s business model doesn’t revolve around advertising sales. Thus, Apple is not intimidated by a lack of advertisements. They would prefer happy, safe customers and they may have found another way to give them more security and a better experience.

Now, this announcement did not make everyone happy; 6 major trade groups expressed concern with these plans. With this in place, it restricts the tracking abilities of websites and advertisers which could cut into their bottom line. What is good for the consumer privacy, would not be good for them. They explained this in an open letter to Apple.

“Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful.” — The Data and Marketing Association and the Network Advertising Initiative.

Advertisers will not be able to use target marketing to select their audiences and it will be more difficult for them to know how well or poorly their strategy is operating. These associations wanted to make their concerns very clear to Apple and the rest of the Internet.

For many small businesses that use these marketing tools, they will find themselves needing to adjust strategy. This means that some of Panda Rose’s clients might be affected as well. We agree with Apple that ensuring consumer privacy should be top priority, and will help our clients to work with these new restrictions.

Tess Houcher 

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Security & PrivacyShoppingTechnology

It has been ten years since the first iPhone was released. Apple’s iPhone has changed not only the way that we communicate, but the way we think and live our everyday lives. In 2007 we were introduced to the touch screen, where we were no longer pushing buttons, instead we were touching software. The phone was reinvented. In the year 2017 the iPhone updated again. But is this high tech getting cool or creepy . . .

On September 12th, broadcasting from the Steve Jobs Theater in California, excited Apple employees, journalists and notable individuals filled the room. The crowd was welcomed with the soundtrack of Apple’s past advertisements as they waited for the presentation to begin. Tim Cook walked onto the stage after the voice of Steve Jobs spoke in the dark theater and gave a short and meaningful speech on the importance of individuals being true to themselves. He explained that being true to one’s self is the very practice that makes Apple, Apple.

Tim proceeded to announce Apple’s latest upgrades for a few of their existing products throughout the event. These upgrades include an updated Apple Watch, Apple TV 4K, the iPhone 8, wireless charging by Qi and the Apple stores. I had the privilege to watch the Apple presentation in its entirety this year, so I am going to give a brief description of a few of these upgrades, which I find quite fascinating.

The Apple Watch presented by Jeff Williams:

It was confirmed that the Apple Watch is now the number one watch in the world and I assume it will continue to be the best there is with the new Series 3 update.

Among other additions, the biggest enhancement of the watch is that it now comes with cellular. Older versions of the watch would need wifi to text or receive a phone call so people would always need their phones wherever they went. Now you can leave your phone at home while you do errands or go for a run and you will still be connected to the rest of your busy world.

The Apple Watch amazingly, is still the same size as the Series 2 watch even with the cellular upgrade. Other new features of the watch include more detail in the heart rate information, a skiing app and brand new wristbands. All of these upgrades give the Apple Watch Series 3 the potential to be life altering to its users.

Wireless Charging presented by Phil Schiller:

Apple was very excited to announce their new innovative form of technology from Qi which charges your latest iPhone products without them needing to be plugged in. This upgrade handles a few problems which have been experienced with the original way of charging your iPhone.

The action of plugging and unplugging your phone is a simple task but more often then we would like to admit (or maybe it’s just me…) we forget that our phone is plugged in and attempt to walk away only to be unpleasantly surprised by our phones flying out of our hands back to the source of their charging. Apple kindly takes this simple annoyance and fixes it for those of us who could be labeled as forgetful or clumsy. (Thank you Apple.) Another problem fixed by wireless charging is that now you can’t get anything stuck in your iPhone.

Phil explained that Apple has also taken into consideration that businesses such as food chains, airports and vehicles could eventually have these charging units implanted into easy access places for their customers. With no fear of the charging units being stolen from public places, as they would be embedded into the architecture. The simplicity that comes with the wireless charging unit from Qi is an exciting beginning for a world without wires.

The iPhone X Presented by Phil Schiller:

Phil also introduced the reinvention of the iPhone- 2017 edition, the iPhone X. The biggest news about the latest iPhone is how the device is unlocked. To unlock your iPhone X, you don’t even need to touch the screen. This is done by the iPhone recognizing your face.

They have called this Face ID. A map of your face is created when you first set up your phone using sensors, cameras, and an invisible dot projector. These features make up the TrueDepth camera system. And while individuals often change their appearances by dying or trimming their hair, wearing a hat or glasses, or growing a beard; like magic, the iPhone will adjust to you as you change.

This does not mean it is simple for someone who is not you to unlock your phone. Apple worked with professional mask makers in Hollywood to ensure that the system would know the difference between the fake and real you.

This all sounds almost creepy… a device that knows your face like another person would? Could Apple see me if they wanted to? Apple addressed this before a conspiracy could even take off. Just like Touch ID, the information gathered by Face ID is stored strictly on your iPhone. Apple will not get a map of your face when you personalize the device and then create a clone of you for their life-like robot army… at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Final Thoughts:

Although it is intriguing to poke at the idea that Apple has the ability to see all their customers through the front facing cameras of each device, Apple has repeatedly been very reliable when it comes to security. Unlike their competitors who often have issues with keeping their customers protected from bugs and hackers.

Panda Rose has always recommended Apple to their clients. With Apple’s ability to maintain security consistently, it’s hard not to trust the well-loved company with our customers. They have kept their reputation clean and I am certain they will strive to ensure that continues.

Tess Houcher

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