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All posts tagged Azure

Another Apple Product Launch … Yawn

March 18th will see Apple Product Launch 2016. The Verge and others are predicting the iPhone5se and the iPad3.

This post will be the litmus test for if you are a real Apple fan. Hold onto your iHats.

So the annual Apple Product Launch event is on 18/03, so what? I can count on one hand innovations made over the last five years. The ugly battery case that slipped through when they (probably) locked Jony Ive in the store closet doesn’t count. Yes, the Apple watch is a thing of beauty, but where are the glory days of Apple innovation?

Apple Product Launch - ugly battery case

Apple = Gillette = Apple

So Apple will continue on their slippery slope of Gillette Mach X marketing, more blades or in this case bigger / smaller, thicker. There will no doubt be the usual integrations into the next version of iOS paying homage to various killer apps out there (cue cries of the death of said apps across various tech blogs) but you know what, I don’t care.

I’m totally, utterly unexcited. I have no high hopes from Apple. This is the point at which the Apple fans (note: lack of the term “fanboi”. I think it’s a bit derisive of the consumer who has a personal preference.) are getting really annoyed at this post.

To all of you feeling that way, hop in a time machine. I’m sure there were similar cautionary posts to Nokia and Blackberry on forums or early blogs. Of the Apple users I know about 50% dislike 3D touch on the iPhone, Developers are driven to tooth-gnashing rages at every Xcode update that breaks their deployment environments and then we have reports of software quality and security issues. Meanwhile Tim Cook spends more time trolling and trashing the competition than innovating.

Don’t get me wrong, other than that awful battery-case, Apple design remains a delight for the most. The Mac Book Air on my desk cons me every time I use it into subconsciously thinking it has a touch screen.

At Mobile World Congress today 3 companies are dazzling others, showing that features or design can be innovative:

CAT released their latest S60 Android field-rugged, waterproof phone with FLIR thermal imaging. No fad feature, this and the phone itself will be invaluable for builders, contractor and other professionals. Not just wannabe spies.

Apple Product Launch - CAT S60

LG launched their new G5 Android smartphone. The LG site shows a variety of LG branded modular add-ons ranging from custom, wireless earphones, camera grip, 360-degree camera and more. In addition, the phone (as seen below, image clipped from the LG site) has a unique battery changing method. Seeing clips of the battery being changed at MWC reminded me of something. Let me know what you see.

Apple Product Launch - LG G5

That’s right, this is day one at MWC, three weeks before the Apple Product Launch. What else are we going to see?

Meanwhile HP has caused half the professional tech blogs to ooh and ahh at their Elite x3 super-powered Windows Phone with their spin on Continuum support. Meanwhile the other half of the tech blogosphere is having meltdowns about how dare HP defy their reports that Windows Phone is dead, no less innovating.

The Warptest POV

I’m going to disappoint you. I want an innovative Apple. I want Tim Cook to get up at the Apple Product Launch and blow my socks off with new features and designs. Concepts that will push the competition to rethink their own ideas and raise the bar.

Stagnation does not benefit the consumer. Poor software quality and Developer tools undermine the industry.

For those of you who wonder, I work with iPhones, assorted Android phones and possess an HTC 8x, Lumia 820 and 950XL Windows Phone. I have a Lenovo Yoga and Mac Book Air on my desk. I use Ubuntu at least several times a day. I’m about as exposed to cross-platform / device / OS as it gets and I hope that Apple really does something different.

Perhaps we will get radical battery redesign, beautiful looking but drop-proof, waterproof phones. The real thing that puzzles me is the limited exploration by Apple of the cloud. As Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace and others boldly build for the cloud, what are Apple doing? iCloud is consumer storage and productivity apps. Where is the innovation to cloud development akin to Microsoft or have they ceded this race to Azure?

So is this the canary in the coal-mine, the warning sign, the tolling bell for Apple or should we prepare to be wowed? What do you think the Apple Product Launch has in store for us?


Think Next 2015 Has Been and Gone…

Now riddle me this Batman, when and where can you see cutting edge tech from Startups and Microsoft alike, see Hillel Fuld (CMO of Zula, Tech blogger, Startup mentor and all around nice guy) demonstrate drone flying, hear an assortment of amazing speakers connect technological innovation and the real world, try the Xbox One, network with people from every level of hitech and get a snazzy new T-shirt?

Thanks to Hillel for the demonstration and his permission to share this video.

That’s right, it was Think Next 2015. Microsoft Israel R&D, Research and Ventures along with their Accelerator were all present and delivered the goods, lock, stock and barrel.

Think Next 2015

The event was relocated from Tel Aviv port to the new Tel Aviv Sport Arena this year:

 

 

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It was an action packed event with Demo Fest, the show, tell and network for Microsoft Accelerator’s Startups, select Microsoft Research projects and the latest in Microsoft tech on display including :

  • Windows 10 on laptops, tablets and phones.
  • Cortana – Windows Phone 8’s amazing personal assistant, already seen on preview versions of Windows 10 for desktop / laptop and expected on Android also.
  • Office 2016 – in preview now but once again the Office team refine and improve the best productivity suite in the world with a greater focus on touch.
  • Skype Translator – a real time, multilingual translator for Skype video chats. In open preview now
  • Microsoft Band – Microsoft’s incredible smartwatch. The only watch on the market with full cross platform support as well as Cortana integration and sport / health apps.
  • Handpose – a Microsoft Research project that detects, analyzes and renders a person’s hand movements

Microsoft were smart in interspersing these stands amongst the Startups on display, as well as a stand for BIzspark and a place to show staff your requisite selfie with one of the Microsoft Spaceship Crew so you could get your own free Think Next 2015 T-Shirt.

Think Next 2015 - selfie - spaceship

I spent as much time as I could chatting to Startups and the Microsoft stands too. The energy level and enthusiasm was incredible.

The second part of the event, everyone was invited to take seats in the stadium with the basketball court converted into a dazzling multimedia presentation area for the speakers.

You can find the full and impressive list of speakers here and see from the embedded tweets on display just how much the attendees enjoyed hearing the speeches.

 

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IMHO the best was keynote speaker, Scott Guthrie (Microsoft VP for almost everything) who spoke about big data, Internet of Things and how all companies are data companies citing the example of a Japanese dairy farm using a (relatively) simple IoT solution and Microsoft Azure to process step data from Cows on the farm to monitor and exploit accurate fertility cycles. In short, farmers using data to know when their cows are in heat.

WP_20150505_035

Guthrie’s speech was inspired and an amusing way of touting Azure which continues to take big bites out of the cloud market. He also gave a practical demo of how easy and quick it is to deploy an Azure solution on stage.

The Warptest POV

As I wrote in my post about Think Next 2014,

“Microsoft began the Accelerator and Microsoft Ventures to invest in, mentor, nurture and assist Startups with great ideas but as Locard’s Principle states you don’t just leave something behind, you also take something with you. In this case, it appears that the Startup mentality has become a greater part of Microsoft itself.”

Microsoft continues to build something incredibly special with the Israeli Startup community and combines the incredible networking opportunity of Think Next 2015 with a stunning display of Microsoft tech we can have now or very soon.

If Microsoft Israel is not perceived as a flagship site, producing integral parts of these innovations it should be and Think Next has my recommendation if you are in hi-tech and want the opportunity to meet startups, VC’s and many others participating in Israeli hi-tech’s success. I’ve already asked Cortana to add a reminder to register early for Think Next 2016, how about you?