Phillips describes Hue as an “LED lighting system”. Basically it’s an LED bulb that fits in standard sockets. But it does something normal LED bulbs can’t. It connects to your home network enabling you to do some pretty neat things with light.
With the free companion iOS app you can adjust hue, from custom white light to a wide spectrum of colors. Imagine matching your mood or setting a scene. You can also make it dim, blink, turn on and off, based on all kinds of programmable events, like timers and alarms.
But most interesting in the recently updated app is a team-up with IFTTT, the if-this-then-that online service that lets you use events in one of the 60 plus partner channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Stocks, Last.fm, Evernote, Philips hue, and on – to trigger actions.
What kind of actions you ask? Things like, “Turn blue if it’s raining outside”, “Blink green when the stock market is up”, etc…
Not satisfied with all your life-casting options? Forget Vine, soon you’ll be able to broadcast as much of your life as you want via this automated flying drone that will follow you around and record everything you do.
Created by Always Innovating, the MeCam is a tiny quadrocopter that will one day become your flying pet robot. It will respond to voice commands and stream video right to your iPhone. Look for the MeCam sometime in 2014. Hopefully they’ll add a Spielberg-like algorithm to get great shots, I don’t want to be watching the tops of everyones head.
Facebook updated it’s FaceBook iOS app (to 5.4) adding the option to create video and voice recordings in a conversation. Oddly, you cannot update your status with a voice recording. You’ll only see the voice option in a conversation. Baby steps FaceBook, baby steps.
Tapping the “+” button in a conversation will bring up the menu to add a photo, emoji, or a voice recording. To create a recording, you have to “touch and hold” while you talk; an audio file will be sent once you release the button, and it can be played inline in a conversation.
UI nerdyness: Notice the “+” button rotates to an “x” (for close) when tapped.
I find myself using Siri a lot more lately, and for the most part, she’s been pretty reliable. But I’ve discovered that since my switch to the iPhone 5 and iOS6, I couldn’t set up a location based reminder (One of my favorite features).
In case you’ve never tried it, a location based reminder let’s you alert yourself to do something when you arrive at a certain location, like “Remind me to sketch the new user flow when I get to the Office.”.
Every time I asked Siri to set up the reminder, she’d say:
“Your calendar service, which keeps track of your reminders, doesn’t allow location-based reminders.”
This wasn’t a very helpful notice because it sent me digging around all my calendar settings, which as it turns out, doesn’t have any Siri or Location based settings.
The problem is my Disney Exchange account. So at first I tried to disable reminder sync for that account (Settings > Mail > switch off reminders). It worked! But, now I no longer get alerts on my iPhone for reminders I set up on my work Mac. That’s no good, so I reenabled reminder sync…
The solution ended up being fairly simple. I just switched my default reminder list in settings to Reminders (Settings > Reminders > Default List > under iCloud, check Reminders). If you’re having issues too, give that a try. Also, make sure you have a contact set up for each location you want to use (work, home, Starbucks, etc.).
Just so you understand, I’ve been an Apple fan since before it was cool (go ahead and check the archives, I’ll wait). In fact, at times my admoration for Apple has pushed my enthusiasm toward unhealthy “Fanboy” levels. Obviously I’m not alone. How did Apple get such a passionate fan base? I’d like to think their are two reasons.
First, because we believe what Apple believes:
“We believe that people with passion, can change the world.”
“Those people that are crazy enough to believe they can change the world, are the ones that do.” – Steve Jobs.
And because Apple has consistently, almost clairvoyantly thought of all those little details that make using their products a joy. Details like slowing down the fan in your computer when you start to use Dictation, so the fan noise doesn’t interfere. Or showing a persons birthday (with their name and age) from Address Book in iCal. Or seamlessly porting all of your contacts, photos, music even your alarms to your brand new phone, all over the cloud.
There are so many wonderful details (like the volume knob reflection in Music), and welcome additions (like VIP and more Mail options) to iOS6. I don’t mean to pick on the two flubs, I’m hyper critical because I’ve come to expect more.
I know what you’re thinking…
So, your brand new 3D Satellite Map doesn’t work perfectly for you. I feel for ya, man… sounds like your life is super tough right now. -@davatron5000
It may sound trivial, but it’s more than just those mistakes. In this first year without Steve Jobs I think the world wants to know that Apple will still relentlessly craft every detail and we want to hear that they still believe they can change the world.
Facebook has launched an App Center (Beta) that centralizes existing apps and allows app developers to publish new ones to over half a billion users. Think Apple App Store or Google Play.
App Center will also offer an iOS app, using a layout comparable to Apple’s App Store.
Successful ecosystems can be big wins for the platform, developers, brands and users. Facebook must recognize this, because for the first time, Facebook is also allowing developers to charge for their apps, encouraging better quality and diversity.
Apps like Draw Something, that bake in social interactions have found great success. I believe Facebook could have a very strong ecosystem and this is a great step toward that.
In this beta phase, developers can create and lay out their app’s detail page within the App Center (see example above) using predetermined guidelines. If you’re really fast and submit a finished layout before May 18, your app will be listed with higher priority when App Center launches. The submitted apps are checked and controlled with fixed quality perceptions in mind, and if they get approved, they’ll be available at the initial launch of App Center — Facebook didn’t specify a fixed launch date though.
Additionally, there’s a new feature added to their statistics app Insights: it’s a user feedback monitoring tool that uses a new, visual app ratings metric (see image below).
Anxious to get started? Visit the new App Center tab on the developer website to create your app’s detail page.
I want to start my own iOS design company after every Apple Event, without fail.
Two days ago Apple launched what I’m sure will be the most successful iPad to date. I’ve already ordered mine, but it’s what I do for a living so I’m all in.
These pitches from Apple are filled with new technologies that I can’t wait to play with, and design for. There’s also this sense of optimism and the belief that technology can make our lives better/more fun. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of that.
As usual, after finishing this Apple Event video, I’ve filled my sketchbook with new app ideas and functionality I can’t wait to test.
As an Interactive Designer I can’t help but get all giddy about the possibilities that a tablet computer presents. Or to be more specific, a location-aware, video camera & accelerometer equipped, multitouch tablet computer on a high-speed network. And like many of you, I believe/hope Apple is close to launching such a device with all of Apple’s polish and panache.
Still, several people have asked me what all the hype is about. Why use a tablet? Isn’t it just a smaller laptop, or a bigger iPhone? Why do we need it? Well, that’s a little like going back a few years ago and asking “Why do we need a touch-screen on our cell-phones?” It was hard to imagine how people would use a screen that small at then-current network speeds.
It all comes down to how we interact with, share and create media (content). There’s the way we do it now, with current devices and web services, and the way we can imagine doing it in the very near future. And the future is very exciting as we are imminently approaching the type of media convergence predicted at the internet’s humble beginnings.
Several industries, like the dying magazine and newspaper industries could be completely reinvented with the success of a tablet device. How? By delivering content in new ways to the digital native generations who don’t read “dated” printed periodicals. While others industries, like Wacom & Bamboo input tablets stand to be rendered obsolete almost overnight.
Interactive Designers in almost every field have begun to consider how the tablet might effect their worlds. Time Magazine partnered with The Wonderfactory to create a demo video (below) showcasing what Sports Illustrated might look like on a tablet. Not only is it a preview of some potential U.I. options for the tablet, it’s also a great peak at converging media, and a wake up call for “old-school” content creators and publishers.
Getting excited? Here’s a design study (video below) created by Bonnier R&D imagining how content might be best displayed and consumed on a tablet. I love some of the thinking showcased in this video, like the idea that people need a sense of success. We want to know that we’re done consuming the content, like reaching the end of a magazine. In the video the designers use little stacked bars to represent the pages and give users visual feedback of where they are in the content.
Even Microsoft is imagining life with the tablet. In this video demo of the “Courier”, they use the journal metaphor more literally in what they dub your “infinite journal”.
As a designer I like to work with my hands. The tactile nature of a multitouch tablet is much closer to the way I’ve always wanted to interact and create on a computer. I’m looking forward to creating content and applications that are more mobile and more social, accessed on devices like the much heralded tablet.
Despite the fact that Microsoft can’t get some things right with current products *cough*Internet Explorer*cough*, they’ve created this lovely video that explores some future possibilities with how we will interact with data, how the data might look, and devices we might use to get to the data.
Some of the U.I. and data visualizations have nice details. One of my favorites is this coffee cup that lets you know when it’s safe to, say, compose a coherent blog post.
Several tablet like devises are showcased for those of you who still don’t get the allure of the much hyped tablet, you can see a few examples of how people might use them.
Have you seen Obama’s website? Not only does it look great, but it’s a fascinating case study on how to use social media that I think any company could emulate. I’ve been impressed overall with Obama’s progressive use of technology, case in point- his new iPhone App.
The app stays true to Obama’s consistently great looking campaign and has some relevant features that take advantage of almost every iPhone capability.
My favorite feature is the “Issues” section, which has detailed overviews on where Obama stands on almost every issue, complete with video.
Here’s the feature list from the site:
Call Friends: A great volunteering tool that lets you make a difference any time you want by talking to people you already know. Your contacts are prioritized by key battleground states, and you can make calls and organize results all in one place.
Call Stats: See nationwide Obama ’08 Call Friends totals and find out how your call totals compare to leading callers.
Get Involved: Do more. Find and contact your local Obama for America HQ.
Receive Updates: Receive the latest news and announcements via text messages or email.
News: Browse complete coverage of national and local campaign news.
Local Events: Find local events, share by email and get maps and directions.
Media: Browse videos and photos from the campaign.
Issues: Get clear facts about Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s plan for essential issues facing Americans.