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The latest Apple design and integration – iPhone, MacBook and Apple Watch

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I have been following Apple products since 2001. Started off from the very well-known iPod era which truly inspire me on how well technology and design can be combined to form a very good eco-system.

And now in 2016, we have iPhone 6S being your Smartphone, MacBook 2015/2016 being your “Everything Wireless” laptop, and Apple Watch being your Smartwatch. Over the years, we can see Apple continue to emphasize on its product design and integration, which make things work really easy for the users.

iPhone continue to evolve over the years, and now offering better screen display, more powerful processor, as well as different screen sizes. In terms of its software design, surprisingly nothing has change much, the layout pretty much remain the same, except for the icons look flatter and cleaner now. In terms of technology wise, its very matured now, and the software fluidity (swiftness and speed) is probably one of the best you can find in the market. It’s interesting to observe how Apple will push iPhone 7 and beyond to the next level…

As for the MacBook 2015/2016, I would say its another ultraportable which Apple always love to do, it started off from the Macbook Air, where the optical drive was removed completely. And now with MacBook 2015/2016, all the other ports are gone too except for one charging port (USB-C), and one standard 3.5mm audio port. So, how do you connect your devices to it? Thanks to Wifi technology, its everything Wireless now, Cloud storage to store your files, Airdrop to transfer files across different devices, Wireless headphone to listen to your music, App Store to download your software and etc.

Everything wireless is probably not something useful for mass market right now, however if you are just a casual computer users, who hated plugging in devices in and out of the computer, the concept of everything wireless will probably make your life easier. With the trend in the market now, the future is still about Wireless, we will continue to see more wireless products and services releasing into the market in the coming months.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Apple Watch, I have yet to see its own potential yet. Yes, its a watch, notification device on your wrist, and it can also be your best companion for health and fitness, as it can track your movement, heartbeat and etc. And thats pretty much for now. Short comings, include limited battery life, have to connect to your iPhone to enjoy its full features, it doesn’t have a built-in GPS. Nevertheless, its still a very nice piece of work, which integrate very well with your iPhone, nice user interface + Crown dial to zoom in and out of the software. The watch is lightweight and allow users to customise the straps very easily. It’s still a bit early to determine the fate of this new gadget, however there is definitely more room for improvement, for the next version.

I would say, since the post Steve Jobs era (since 2011), we can still see some noteworthy innovation in some of the products, which include Force touch / 3D touch that added another layer of interaction to the devices, Touch ID to provide another faster and more secured option to unlock your iOS devices. New buttery mechanism on the MacBook 2015/2016 to improve your typing stability, uniformity, and control.

It’s interesting to see companies such as Apple, which continue to push product integration and design to its boundary, and enhance human interaction with Information Technology.

Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew: Insights from colleagues and friends

Its been a year since the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and we never have enough of his strong views on every subject that was being discussed. However, this time round, let’s hear from Mr Lee’s colleagues and friends, who have contributed 37 essays compiled in a book, consisting 328 pages. Forwarded by Mr Heng Swee Keat. Its now available for purchase in all Singapore major bookstores.

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Hey Siri, I’m back! How are you? You are still the best! Goodbye Android…

Since the launched of the original iPhone back in 2007, I know that it’s going to be the only phone I ever need. However, in 2013, I have decided to switch to Android, due to the small screen display on iPhone 5S which does not serve me well at that time, as more websites and apps started designing for larger screens, and therefore a lot of scrolling is needed to browse through the content. At the same time, I like to experience what is like in the Android world.

I started off using Sony Xperia Z, which market itself as a waterproof phone, its fantastic though, fast and reliable, most importantly the display is big – 4.7″. And later on in 2014, I moved on to try out the new China Xiaomi phone – Mi3 (based on Android), it’s fast and the price is very competitive. And in 2015, I decided to continue my exploration into the new Xiaomi – Mi4i, which claimed to be the next flagship model. The casing design everything looks sleek and nice, however after powering up the Android and uses it for the first hour, I was wrong. It’s painfully slow (despite being Octa core processor), and the apps took forever to launch, crashes often.

Throughout the 2 years, I realised there are simply too many Android phones out there, both the hardware and software are not optimise for each other, and therefore making the phone experience very unreliable and unpredictable. Below are some of the top experience I find it not “natural” for Android:

  1. To delete apps, you need to press, hold and then drag the app icon to the top of the screen to get it deleted. For iPhone, just press, hold and click on the ‘X’ button
  2. When you are navigating the websites and apps, there is no swipe back function to go back to previous page. And you have to click on the ‘Back’ button, very troublesome
  3. Many Google Play apps are fragmented, and cause the phone to crash frequently
  4. Media (music, movies) management is difficult – there is no All-in-one desktop software to organise and sync across to the phone

I’m not sure if I will ever return back to Android again, however till today with the recent launched of iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus (new features: 3D touch, iOS 9), I would safely say its still the best iPhone I know of since 2007 (8 years later).

A Hakka woman’s Singapore Stories (My life as a daughter, doctor and diehard Singaporean) by Lee Wei Ling

I have never “formally” read Lee Wei Ling published articles in the newspapers, as I never subscribe to them, until this book – I was reading through the first few chapters of the book, and already finding it highly readable, its like going back in time to study Singapore history, as well as zooming in a bit closer to learn more about the Lee’s Family. Thanks to Lee Wei Ling for allowing the publication of this book, providing another good source for many future generations to learn more about Singapore.

The content of the book is driven by Lee Wei Ling’s articles which were published in The Straits Times and The Sunday Times. They comprise her fortnightly columns in The Sunday Times, and pieces she penned in response to major events. The Sole unpublished article in this book is her eulogy for her friend, neurosurgeon Dr Balaji Sadasivan, who was a senior minister of state. The articles in this book are grouped thematically in 10 chapters, with 2 parts – SELF and NATION.

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Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products – by Leander Kahney

Having one of the best industrial design for consumer IT products, you might want to read more about the man behind Apple – Jony Ive. Born in 1967, Sir Jonathan Paul Ive is an English designer and the Chief Design Officer (CDO) of Apple Inc.

Since 1992, he has been working in Apple, and later in 1997 working closely with Steve Jobs, producing many of the key products for Apple, including the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple Watch and iOS.

In this book, you will learn how a young talented guy being discovered during his school days in UK, and later moving to California to work for Apple. It’s about how a down-to-earth designer follow through his passion for product design, and pursing his dream until the present days.

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Keep it Simple (The Early Design Years of Apple) – Hartmut Esslinger, Founder of frog design

Thanks to Harmut Esslinger who have collaborated with Steve Jobs since 1982, for coming out with this precious book – Keep it Simple (The Early Design Years of Apple). Without this initiative to record the stories down, new generations might not have the opportunity to learn more about what happen during those early days of personal computer evolutions, and also how did Apple derive its cores for its design, which continue to influence and present in its modern products (iPod, iMac, iPad, iPhones).

“Nobody can copy the genius of Steve Jobs, but like him we can strive for lifelong learning, respect creativity as an economic and cultural power and be courageous about fundamental change.” – Hartmut Esslinger

About Harmut Esslinger
Borned in Germany’s Black Forest, Esslinger is the designer behind the new line of hi-fis and television sets for Wega a German business that would later be taken over by Sony. That was how Esslinger got to Tokyo. He started his own design agency in 1969, later renamed Frogdesign, Esslinger has been working with Steve Jobs since 1982, and was of paramount importance for the look of Apple products as an external designer.

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Jaco the Galactic Patrolman 銀河パトロール ジャコ by Akira Toriyama

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Thanks to Akira Toriyama 鳥山 明 (Created of Dragon Ball) once again bring us back to those good old days where aliens came to Earth and save human race. According to him, this would probably be the last hands-on manga drawn by him. Originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from July to October 2013, with the eleven chapters collected into a single volume by Shueisha (published in late 2014).

Plot
It follows Jaco, a Galactic Patrolman or policeman of the universe, that has come to Earth to protect it from an evil alien attack. Read more from Wikipedia

Thoughts after reading
A pretty short, simple but captivating manga. Its the style in drawings and humour that makes Akira work so unique and original. Since Dragon Ball period (1984 – 1995), his work already inspired many, and I believe this will continue in many generations to come.

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