by Jin Kim
If you’ve made it this far, it should be fairly obvious that Dell delivers a winning product in its UP3214Q. Yes, the price of admission is substantial, but this is a bleeding-edge product that performs far better than most first-gen technology. If you have the necessary graphics hardware, the UP3214Q is a true plug-and-play 4K solution.
Asus gave us excellent build quality with its PQ321Q, but Dell goes a little bit further. This is the most metal we’ve seen in any computer component outside of a case. Not only do you get a slick aluminum band around the panel’s perimeter, but the entire base and upright are made from the same material. We also really like the easy snap-on installation of those parts.
Feature-wise, the UP3214Q is quite complete. Three digital inputs take care of any potential (and relevant) source. We would have really liked to see HDMI 2.0 compatibility, but admittedly that interface is still in its infancy, having only been ratified a few months ago. Both DisplayPort connectors support full resolution at 60 Hz though, so long as your video card is multi-stream-compatible. We also applaud the inclusion of four USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
US$3500. Steep even for a 31.5-inch 3840×2160 IGZO IPS LCD from Sharp with a 98% Adobe RGB 1998 color gamut.
Apple’s OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 beta appears to have built-in support that enables all compatible 4K displays to be set at a “Retina” resolution, with an option for 60Hz output. The compatibility was first discovered by Twitter user @KhaosT, and was tested with both the Late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro and redesigned Mac Pro in conjunction with Dell’s UltraSharp 24 Ultra HD Monitor.
The reason it feels like Apple has stopped innovating to so many people is that the last time it tried to do what it does best — perfect a technology that allows humans to interact with computers — it failed. And that was two and a half years ago. The last time it succeeded was 2006 — eight years ago.
Carlson is referring to Siri. I don’t think Apple failed with Siri; the perfection of Siri is on-going and will take some time, longer than it did for the mouse, GUI (Mac), click wheel (iPod), and touch display (iPhone). For Siri to succeed Apple needs to deeply personalize Siri to each user. That requires understanding where the user is (quiet versus loud environments), what the user is doing (working out or reclining on a sofa), whether or not the user is stressed (driving during traffic hour and late to a meeting or slightly inebriated and relaxing under a palm tree), etc. The rumored iWatch might be the missing piece. With biometric sensors and environmental sensors iWatch could provide data about the user to fine-tune Siri to make it work closer to 100% of the time.
Oji Holdings Corporation has established the fabrication technology of patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) for LEDs which improves the performance of front luminance of LEDs by more than double compared to that of LEDs with non-structured sapphire substrate, by applying the technique of precise coating with fine particles.
Compared to a conventional flat sapphire substrate with a 385nm wavelength, the front luminance of a nano-dot patterned PSS is more than double, and total luminous flux is 1.8x. What does this mean? To attain the same brightness:
Of course brightness can be more than doubled using the same number of nano-dot PSS LEDs. New displays using nano-dot PSS LEDs will sport roughly double the brightness or double the battery life or somewhere in between.
There has been much talk of Apple’s development agreement with GT Advanced, a manufacturer of sapphire substrates. Many conjecture sapphire will be used as a cover glass for iPhone, displacing Corning Gorilla Glass. Other usage cases might be to secure direct supplies for camera lens covers, Touch ID covers, and perhaps as a sapphire cover for the much rumored iWatch. Another usage scenario might be for sapphire substrates for LEDs. In this scenario, Apple and GT Advanced would manufacture PSS and supply them to LED manufacturers, which in turn would be used in backlight units that go into displays for iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, and monitors.
via John Gruber. From Daisuke Wakabayshi’s video interview with Yukari Iwatani Kane, author of “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs”:
Daisuke Wakabayashi: The one big question that hangs over Apple, anyone who follows Apple, is, have they lost their touch? Is Apple still king of the hill? After two years, what’s your conclusion?
Yukari Iwatani Kane: I think the answer is obvious to me. The answer has got to be yes. This is a company who had revolved around Steve Jobs for so long, I mean that was something that Jobs himself went out of his way to make sure of. And the people there are conditioned to operate, to play off of his strengths and weaknesses. And so now you’ve got this completely opposite guy in Tim Cook, who is I think brilliant in many ways, but in different ways. But so they’re going through some growing pains in that. […]
Wakabayashi: A normal great company, but maybe no longer an iconic company?
A normal great company. Apple might no longer be a special great company, but merely a normal great company. Is that bad? Well, it’s less exciting, for sure. But I’d group the competition (Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, Microsoft, Google, etc.) as not even normal great companies. The chances of any one of these companies leapfrogging Apple by building something insanely great is not big. On the other hand, the chances of Apple building something insanely great is probably less than it was when Steve Jobs was calling the shots, but I’d hazard to guess it’s still more than any of the companies mentioned above. We’ll have to be content with just a normal great company making normal great products, but I’m hoping once in a while we’ll get to see something exhilarating.
Most people probably don’t ever think about the software in their car. And with good reason, too, since most automakers aren’t exactly consumed with a passion for developing software. Even in the cases where car companies do want to pimp the software features, the spotlight’s always going to be on the newest model — they don’t have too much interest in continuing to update the software on older models, especially when it comes to adding new features.
Sound familiar? Because to me it’s reminiscent of the state of the cell phone market prior to about, oh, 2007.
I have older cars from about 10 years ago and neither have enough software in them to warrant any thought. As long as the ‘software’ works and injects fuel into the cylinders at the right time I’m good. New cars are different.
Several months ago a friend and I drove down to Los Angeles in a brand new Lexus ES350. I don’t know what you call the middle column where all the buttons are, but when I took a look at it I felt as though I needed to learn a new operating system. It wasn’t a good feeling. There was even a mouse-like thingamajig to move the cursor around. I kept wondering what would happen if this little computer crashed.
If Moren is right and these newer cars generally don’t get software updates, maybe that’s a good thing. What happens when in the middle of downloading the update the connection gets cut? Or has there been updates that ‘crash’ the car’s operating system? What happens when that happens? Reboot? Maybe there’s a good reason why operating systems on a car don’t get updated or updated all that much. I do know Tesla sends over-the-air updates; I wonder when we’ll see an operating system crash because of a faulty patch.
Apple’s CarPlay doesn’t seem like it will significantly change how automobiles are updated with new features, new or old. CarPlay is like AirPlay for cars, but not quite. AirPlay lets iPhone or iPad users connect to big TVs. The value is in allowing content on a small screen to be displayed on a beautiful big screen. CarPlay connects too, but in the examples below it seems we get to connect to much inferior displays.
The CarPlay implementations do not seem to be well thought out. The user interface requires you to take your eyes off the road and unto a tiny screen with ugly flat icons and up and down buttons, and then demands you engage them with your finger, at every point. (Well, except for the texting app.) So far CarPlay doesn’t seem like it’s a runaway hit. Let’s look at three CarPlay implementations that were shown during the Geneva Motor Show.
When watching the CarPlay demonstration on the Ferrari, I couldn’t help notice she had to tap on the up and down buttons. No gestures? Does Ferrari and Apple really think it’s a good idea to search for and tap up and down buttons? And there seems to be a delay between touching the icons and the system responding.
After the lady called John Appleseed the screen changes and four buttons appeared on the bottom: End, Mute, Keypad, Add Call. Do these two companies really think someone driving a Ferrari FF will be looking down at the horrible resistive display, find which button to tap, take one of your hands off the wheel and then tap it? Looks absolutely disastrous.
The lady explains that iTunes Radio is a great way to choose what you want to listen to and get back to driving. From what I can see the driver will not be driving at all fiddling with iTunes Radio. I would think a more safe and enjoyable experience would be to simply say, “Siri, play my GoFast playlist.” All of this poking around nonsense is ridiculous.
The icons, obviously directly imported from iOS 7, are comically simple compared to the luxurious cabin interior. Even the red-outlined physical buttons look more sophisticated. Perhaps it was the terrible display with washed out colors that is making the icons look worse than they actually are.
Unlike Ferrari’s decade old display technology, the demonstration on the Volvo Concept Estate seems to sport a gesture-capable touch display. The black is much deeper and is better integrated into the overall design. The colors are richer than those of Ferrari’s but the flat cartoonish icons don’t go well with the non-flat design of real objects in and around the car’s interior.
But I can see the same problem: What do you do when Siri does not recognize the person you want to call? Or where you want to go? You start selecting icons, scrolling down lists, etc. That’s how things are today with existing systems and CarPlay doesn’t seem to be much better.
Both Ferrari and Volvo used sending a text solely using Siri as an example of CarPlay’s innovative features. The funny thing is I can already do exactly this with my iPhone, mounted on the windshield.
What can I say about Mercedes-Benz’s implementation of CarPlay on its C-Class other than that the company should have simply built an iPad mini mount and used Bluetooth-enabled speakers. That’s it.
CarPlay seems half-baked. The only reason Volvo’s implementation didn’t look outrageously idiotic was because the interior somewhat matched the high-tech look of CarPlay. CarPlay on Mercedes-Benz simply looked out of place and Ferarri needs to hire a team of people who knows something about modern displays.
Apple is a company known for doing both hardware and software. The company does that so crap like Ferrari’s CarPlay implementation on the FF doesn’t happen. The absence of gestural scrolling is inexcusable on such a car. Apple works like no other on integrating hardware and software so external industrial design and internal operating system design doesn’t clash as they do with the C-Class implementation. And where are the reviews of CarPlay when the car is actually in motion?
From what I’ve seen CarPlay doesn’t seem like what the iPhone was to the smartphone industry back in 2007; CarPlay reminds me of the Motorola ROKR the “iTunes Phone” in 2005, a dud.
As it stands now, iOS 7 is a series of solvable problems. The things you could label as deficiencies are mostly a result of that swinging pendulum—an overcorrection of skeuomorphism. So what comes next is most likely balance and refinement. Buttons might not need to look like they’re being physically pressed if you tap them, but some feedback is useful.
Overcorrection of skeuomorphism is an accurate assessment in many ways.
The default system font in iOS 7 is Helvetica Neue; to me it’s too skinny. But when I flip on Bold Text under Accessibility it becomes too fat. I’d like something in between.
I don’t have many apps on my iPhone, but among the 24 on the first, and only, screen my favorite is Instagram. Shaded corners subtly bring about a third dimension. The reflections of the glass in the lens is a nice touch. The overall feel of the icon doesn’t give off a sense of desperation, to be realistic or to be simplistic. I like the balanced approach.
The screen, on the other hand, is truly beautiful. This is still a 5.1-inch, 432 ppi 1,920-by-1080 Super AMOLED display, very similar to the S4′s screen. But Samsung put a custom image chip in here that dynamically adjusts the color gamut and contrast based on ambient light. It’s a big step up from the standard automatic brightness control, and it makes the colors really pop under different lighting conditions.
But there are other more advanced methods to improve display performance in ambient light that we’ll be seeing in 2014. One is to use a display with a slightly curved (concave) screen that reduces reflections as mentioned above. Another is by using an Ambient Light Sensor to accurately adjust the screen brightness – most current implementations are close to useless but they are getting better. The most advanced method is to also use the Ambient Light Sensor to accurately vary the display’s Color Gamut and Intensity Scale to compensate for the washed out images resulting from ambient light reflecting off the screen.
According to Soneira quantum dots can offer a similar solution with LCDs. As far as I know Sony is the only company using quantum dots for smartphone LCDs (e.g.. the Sony Xperia Z2), and Amazon for tablets.
Remembering Steve on his birthday: “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.”
Nokia: Guess the rumors were right. The Nokia X line of Android smartphones come in X, X+, and XL varieties. Nokia is targeting the low end smartphone market with the €89 X, €99 X+, and the €109 XL. The X and X+ sport 4-inch 800×480 LCDs, and the XL goes up a notch in size at 5 inches but with the same pixel format.