Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Android Auto Expected To Launch In February 2015

Android-Auto-LA-2014-1

First of all, I just wanted to say that Android Auto and CarPlay are both going to be great departures from the antiquated systems from automakers which are obsolete the day the vehicle rolls off the production line. Both third party systems get the benefit of being perpetually updated with the latest features, and as owners upgrade their phones the processing power of their vehicle infotainment systems also gets a boost. This is because on both Android Auto and CarPlay, the phone does all of the processing. The vehicle’s infotainment system simply hands off control to Android Auto, or CarPlay depending on what phone is connected to the cable.

While this flexibility is great, it can sometimes result in a less than ideal user experience. For example, in the Hyundai Sonata demo vehicle, if you are in navigation mode and now want to listen to the radio, the system has to exit back out to the Hyundai system where you can choose the station you want to listen to and then jump back into Android Auto to return to your navigation. A more elegant system would be to have both systems running simultaneously without the need to switch between the two interfaces. For users that will stay inside of Android Auto however, the strict design guidelines do provide a consistent user interface throughout all of the apps. It looks like Google is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook here with a more “closed” system, at least on the design restrictions.

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Carplay and Mercedes Benz

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It seems that Apple jumped the gun in announcing the availability of Carplay on 2015 Mercedes Benz vehicles.

It’s rather disappointing as many members were looking forward to the technology.  Sources inside Mercedes Benz have confirmed that even though the 2015 C Class has NTG 5 (the 5th generation of the Comand Infotainment system), Carplay will not be available at launch in the Fall of 2014.  It is likely that the technology is at least a year away from being a mainstream option.  This is further bolstered by the lack of any reference to Carplay in the Dealer Order Guide and the 2015 Model Preview published by Mercedes Benz Canada.

The 2015 W205 C-Class on display at the New York Autoshow had a fully functioning Carplay interface that did not look like Beta software at all. There is also a webpage dedicated to Carplay on the corporate MB website.


Aussie Police: Apple Maps Flaw a Life Threatening Issue

While inaccurate directions provided by Apple Maps has been a mere inconvenience for some people, police from the Australian town of Mildura are warning the public to not rely on directions from Apple Maps as it may lead them dangerously astray. Instead of pointing users to the town of Mildura, Apple Maps incorrectly shows the town in the middle of the outback and combined with scorching summer heat of up to 46C several rescues have already been carried out from wayward travellers.

The area of the National Park that users of Apple Maps are directed to is in a weak cell phone reception area escalating the danger. With no shelter from the sun or water, travellers would have to hike in the heat in rugged terrain to call for help.

According to Mildura police, some of those rescued were stranded for more than 24 hours without any water. They have also contacted Apple in regards to this serious matter but as of right now it still has not been corrected. Mildura is still being shown as being in the middle of the National Park more than 70km from where it actually is up just off A20 as marked by the red X in the image above. Poor Apple, with Siri Eyes Free helping to make driving safer they suffer this setback putting iPhone users in danger. They’ve always strived for it, but this isn’t exactly the killer app they had wished for.

Perhaps Google Maps will be available soon ;)


Siri Eyes-Free Coming to Chevrolet Spark and Sonic

This past summer Apple’s then VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall introduced to the world, Eyes Free, the Siri car integration. A dozen automakers were already lined up to offer Eyes Free in their latest vehicles and today Chevrolet announced from the Los Angeles Auto Show that early next year Siri will be integrated into the Chevrolet Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic (LTZ and RS). Driver’s will be able to safely activate Siri by pressing a button mounted on the steering wheel.

Siri will be integrated through the vehicles’ standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system. With the feature named Eyes Free it comes as no surprise that as a way to minimize the risk of distracted drivers the iPhone screen will be prevented from turning on reducing the tendency for drivers to take their eyes off the road to look at the latest notification on the screen. Of course that also means Siri will be dumbed down slightly when in Eyes Free mode as she will not be able to provide any results that requires displaying something on the screen. The Eyes Free feature will require customers to have a compatible iPhone running iOS6.

Learn what Spark and Sonic owners can do with Siri in Eyes Free Mode


Zune HD: Microsoft’s Answer to the iPod?

It seems as though Microsoft are always playing catch up to Apple. While Bill Gates & Co have always seemed to lead the way when it came to personal computing, they are forever behind in the mobile technology industry, and the iPod consistently outsells the Zune. However is that about to change?

There has been much excitement surrounding the new Zune HD multimedia player. Essentially created to rival Apple’s iPod Touch, the Zune offers some features which the iPod does not:

•    HD Radio
•    HD Video playback
•    OLED display

As well as this the new Zune HD incorporates all of its old features as well. It also supports Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and there is talk of it supporting flash and video streaming through its Wi-Fi.

However one point of contention is its storage capacity. At 32 GB it is well equipped to deal with even the most serious music lovers; however when it comes to high definition things are a little different. If you plan to use the new Zune as a high definition device then don’t count on storing many movies on it as the average HD films is around 4-6 GB in size. As well as this there have been some negative reviews surrounding the size of its screen. At 3.3 inches many feel that it is too small to effectively warrant watching feature length high definition videos, unless you’re near a television and can utilize the video docking station and output it to an HDTV via the HDMI connection.

What do we make of the new Microsoft Zune HD? It is certainly a powerful device. We should have already mentioned that it packs Nvidia’s multicore Tegra processor. It also has a bit of an edge over the iPhone in terms of its ability to transmit HD radio and HD video playback. Also, if rumors are true and it is able to stream online video then this will be another blow to Apple in terms of features and functionality. It remains to be seen how the Zune will be priced, however don’t expect it to be any cheaper than the latest iPod touch.


Apple Lays Smackdown On Rogers; Canadians Lose

It looks as though the ruinediphone.com online petition slamming Rogers pricing on the iPhone 3G has not fallen on deaf ears, or blind eyes I guess. It is rumored that Apple and Rogers has had a falling out due to the overwhelming negative publicity since the Canadian iPhone price plans were announced by the wireless carrier. Those that wanted the iPhone argued that the plans, which required a 3-year contract, had no unlimited data option, and offer minimal calling time and text messages, were simply too expensive and a result of a lack of competition for Rogers which operates the only GSM cellular network in Canada.

In response to the negative publicity, Apple is diverting shipments of the new iPhone from Canada to Europe which means each Rogers store may only get 10-20 iPhones. Some Rogers stores apparently have also let go the temporary staff that were brought on to help with the expected influx of new customers. The iPhone launch is only 4 days away, so we will see shortly if this rumor has any truth to it.

First, an employee of Apple Canada sends a text message to my source that says something to the effect of: “You guys are screwed for iPhone,” but will not respond to multiple replies asking for clarification.

Next, an employee at competing handset manufacturer RIM (Blackberry’s parent) (RIMM) sends my source a text soon after saying there are rumours of an Apple-Rogers fallout.

Then, my source receives a call notifying him that all the part-time staff who had been hired for next week’s launch have been fired without notice.

And finally, a senior Rogers rep confirms to my source that Apple has decided to divert a large percentage of their planned Canadian shipment to Europe and that each Rogers store may now be getting as few as 10-20 units. This is possibly due to Apple’s displeasure over Rogers’ high data and voice rates.”

Another possibility that has been raised is simple production problems resulting in delayed shipments for Canada. Apple may have seen that demand in Canada would naturally be lower with the long contract terms required, and sent early allocations to Europe instead while production catches up. Either way, we’ll find out by this weekend if Rogers’ grip on the market has resulted in Apple making some plays of its own.


3G iPhone Coming To Canada

iPhone in CanadaRogers has announced that the 3G version of the iPhone is coming to Canada later this year. While many Canadians have been happily using their iPhones for awhile now, most have not been able to use the iPhone to its full potential due to the terrible data plans offered up here in Canada.

“One of the things I think we need to be aware of is pricing works on data, where we price it by the application,” Rogers Communications president and chief operating officer Nadir Mohamed said Tuesday during a news conference before the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

It was long rumored that the only reason the iPhone was not made available in Canada was because of our dismal situation in terms of data plans from the Canadian carriers, but Tuesday’s announcement suggests that there will be some big changes to the data plans to accomodate the iPhone and other smart phones.