Friday’s are a rough article day. It’s the end of the week, so the number of topics has grown day by day. It’s also a time to take a break from the work week and head out to pleasure pasture as early as possible.
What to do? What to do? So, what I bring you are two articles for the price of one, both relevant to what goes on in Apple’s Eco-kingdom; one future based, one reality based, both an indictment on the technology media and Apple’s crazy iOS App Store. See? Great fun for the weekend.
Apple VR? Or, AR?
First up is a longstanding tech industry buzzword. Virtual reality. VR. OK. That’s two words. But virtual reality is everywhere. Well, it will be. One day soon. Just like The Year of Linux on the Desktop. It’s coming. Yeah, there’s a problem with virtual reality headsets. VR itself is cool but it’s not catching on. Yet.
the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.
Leaders in the so-called virtual reality or VR product segment include Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream View. Prices range from $50 for the Google version up to $800 or more, depending on where you buy the Oculus Rift.
Yeah, you wear this on your head. Anybody see a problem with why VR won’t become as mainstream as an iPhone or iPad?
That is way too much like a futuristic toaster trying to mate with your forehead. Facebook’s Oculus Rift is so successful that the company shut down most of the Best Buy demonstration booths. Why? Not many people wanted a demonstration. Or, they didn’t want their forehead to go on a public date with a futuristic toaster.
Technology critics and wannabe analysts say Apple needs to get into the VR game and it’s so far behind it may never catch up. Catch up to what? There is no VR game yet. The VR industry is way too much like portable media players just before the iPod took over the industry.
Besides, the real action will be augmented reality, or AR, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has been willing to talk about the company’s interest there.
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.
There is a big difference between the two. Augmented reality is already here and growing. You can find many iPhones apps which overlay whatever your camera views with additional data based upon the location, or a game– Pokémon Go is a good example. Apple may build a combo virtual reality headset (which are not selling well), or an augmented reality product but put your money on the latter, not the former.
As noted, augmented reality exists now in many iPhone and iPad applications that overlay information on the devices camera.
Now, speaking of applications…
Where Are The Apps
This is my combo bonus article and end of week gripe about the disparity between promotion and hype vs reality. In a recent article, writer and technologist David Chartier talks about Watch apps as if it is a category burgeoning with a gazillion great apps, and he reviews a few good ones, some of which I’ve tried and one I use. The headline– The Blossoming New World Of Apple Watch Apps— implies Watch apps are everywhere, growing in number, and oh so cool. I don’t think that’s the case.
Top 10 or Top 20 Watch app lists abound, of course, and I keep a dozen or so non-Apple apps on my Watch, but finding good apps has become a pain. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Select the App Store icon at the bottom of the screen and you’re treated to the best of the best Watch apps. I counted a few dozen. A few games. Plenty of exercise and health apps. Some for news and scores. Some habit reminders. Some, like Lyft, are uber useful. There are not many apps highlighted, and a growing number are abandonware (meaning, they haven’t been upgraded in almost a year).
Press the Categories button on the top of the Watch App Store and you’re treated to a almost a dozen new Watch categories that range from Business and Finance, to Food & Drink, to Games, to Health & Fitness, down to Productivity, Social Networking, Travel, and Utilities. Each Category has a few dozen or so Watch apps. Some are in multiple Categories.
If there are thousands of Watch apps available for the platform, where are they? Last year Apple executive Jeff Williams announced over 10,000 Watch apps were available for the platform. There should be many more by now. Again, where are they? I ask because I care. And because I cannot find them on the Watch App Store (which is inside Apple’s Watch app on the iPhone). That means there are thousands of Watch apps out there somewhere, all attached to iPhone apps, but neither easily found nor promoted by Apple.
Finally, one more tip. If you want to find a better way to use Watch, check out McSolo’s rather detailed look at a truly Think Different™ method to navigate Watch and use Complications to your best advantage.