At their huge Apple Event, the tech giant announced the iPhone 6. There was nothing huge to announce though, as all the media’s public rumors were pretty much correct. However, there is one capability the media heard about too late- the use of an NFC chip (a chip that allows low-power near-distance connections, similar to Bluetooth) in their latest devices. What was the chip for? A new mechanism announced at the event, called Apple Pay.
What is Apple Pay? Well, Apple Pay is the iPhone’s response to Google Wallet. The features ties in with Passbook, Apple’s software wallet for booking passes, gift cards, and more. Except now, Passbook and Apple Pay can hold your credit cards.
Just take a quick scanned picture of your credit card and verify information to add it to Apple Pay. Then, when you’re at a store that supports Apple Pay, keep your iPhone 6 near the checkout receiver and hold your finger on the Touch ID scanner (the home button). In a few seconds, iPhone will verify your fingerprint, and you’re done! Apple Pay uses secure NFC to send your credit information, and since the card never touches the hands of the cashier (and Apple supposedly doesn’t record purchases), your payment is secured.
Apple Pay also works with Apps. Just tap the Apple Pay button, and hold your finger. iOS 8 will process the rest. Apple Pay is a very nice feature, but it has some major competition coming…
What will happen to Coin?
Coin, represented by “onlycoin.com” is a year-old startup, that ties all your credit, debit, and gift cards into one computerized card. The card connects to smartphones including Apple’s own, to receive credit card information. Then, just swipe your “Coin” card anywhere cashiers tell you to swipe your credit card, and your data will be transmitted, through the magnetic stripe to the Swipe-machine. Coin also lets you hold and select one of 8 different cards you can add. Coin was a good product, although more people are losing faith in it (the shipping date keeps getting postponed). What will come of it when Apple Pay releases?
Coin has got a few advantages over Apple Pay.
It’s accepted almost anywhere where credit cards are swiped. For Apple Pay, stores need to setup the receiver.
The Coin app requires that you take a picture of the front and back of the card, type in card details, and then swipe the card (using a reader we provide) to ensure the card’s encoded magnetic stripe data matches the card details provided. It is not possible to complete these steps unless you are in physical possession of a card. As an additional safeguard for payment cards, you must also confirm the amount of a temporary authorization by accessing your online bank account and confirming this temporary transaction amount. In this way, Coin verifies that every card you add to the device is one that you have both physical and account access to.
Although overall, Coin is done for, compared to Apple Pay:
Coin has a small audience, while Apple announced it’s payment feature in a huge stadium center, recorded and shown live to thousands of people.
Apple Pay comes installed into the iPhone 6, which a huge crowd of people have pre-ordered already.
Apple Pay can hold an unlimited amount of cards, while Coin holds only 8.
Apple Pay verifies transactions with fingerprint identification.
Apple Pay is supported by and showcased at a number of major stores.
Apple Pay is all software, while Coin is another card to hold.
Both card payment systems hold these problems:
You’ll still need to carry your physical cards around, as these cards can’t serve as identification at, say, an airport.
Both features have a limited battery power, and when you’re out, Apple Pay and Coin are rendered useless.
Both Apple and Coin’s payment features hold all of your personal finance information in one place, making it easy to lose, and- easier to be taken.
Both require your cards to be entered into an application system. In short, Apple and Coin may (but probably not) have access to card information.
What we can tell from this is:
The Apple Pay will be a new iPhone 6 feature the public will probably learn to love, but will also get Coin to lose a lot of orders, and may even force Coin to become obsolete.
We realized it would be extremely stupid if we didn’t do a how-to review on the most popular online currency. So here we come, Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. Basically, Bitcoins are digital coins or currency you could send online using the Internet. Unlike PayPal, Bitcoins are sent from you, not a credit card company or bank.
Bitcoins are transmitted from your computer to someone else’s device, and the transaction doesn’t go through or get reviewed by clearinghouses, banks, or your credit card company, and instead it gets confirmed by miners, which we will explain later. The pros of this, is that Bitcoin transmission fees are much lower, Bitcoins can be used internationally across the globe, your account cannot be suspended or frozen, and more.
Many currency converters exist today, that convert between US Dollar, Euro, and pretty much any currency, to Bitcoin BB. Bitcoins are stored in secure and encrypted files on your Internet-connectable devices (a.k.a your laptop, tablet, desktop, phone, etc). Sending Bitcoins is super easy, and involves almost the same steps as sending a text message: it’s as easy as “specify recipient, amount of bitcoins, and click Send”. Bitcoins can be used to purchase anything you can get with money.
Miners are Bitcoin contributors who make sure transmissions stay secure. Miners verify and confirm transactions you make via Bitcoin. After transactions are verified, Bitcoins are delivered to the recipient. Miners are paid with new bitcoins for confirming each transaction.
Transactions are recorded in a transparent but public financial record (ledger) for authorities (or you) to look at if needed. This public financial record does not give away any of your personal information, except for your Bitcoin address:
A Bitcoin Address is not where you live, it’s like your Credit Card Number, except it’s public and hackers can’t do anything about it. If somebody knows your Bitcoin Address, all they can do is send you Bitcoins, they can’t take Bitcoins away from you or hack. But hacking viruses are possible (discussed later).
Bitcoin is a public, online market, opening up a new world of innovative possibilities. But Bitcoin is open-source, meaning the code that makes it possible is stored public online, so anyone can check on the code. Bitcoins minimize transaction fees, it’s free to get started, and it’s trivial to set up a Bitcoin wallet (using Blockchain).
Review of Bitcoin
Personally, Bitcoin seems to be a wonderful innovative idea, and we love the way it’s online and you can exchange currencies, and that the BB currency is worldwide. But there are a few problems:
Is Bitcoin secure? Sort of, sort of not. Bitcoins are secured and encrypted, but remember, the code that makes it possible, is public and open-source. Many hackers have tried to find a loophole using the public code, and lots of them have succeeded, creating Bitcoin viruses, that when loaded up, steal Bitcoins from people. So just because Bitcoins are virtual, doesn’t mean thieves can’t strike for loot.
Almost all the web shopping sites I’ve seen don’t have a Bitcoin acception booth, and all the stores I’ve been to, don’t accept Bitcoin either. What’s up with that? Bitcoin is fairly new, and it’s not surprising many business are not familiar with it. If you like Bitcoin, and you like a certain store, you can explain to them what Bitcoin is and how it would help them.
Rating: 4/5: Love the concept, but security is a big problem. Why open-source? Still, Bitcoin is great.
Is Bitcoin the currency of the future? We’ll let you decide. Reblog this post now, and add your perspective: is Bitcoin a nice product that could change the world for the better, or will it increase the hacking/pickpocketing industry by 45%?
Let’s say we just took a time machine to the year 2025. What do you think the major technology trends look like?
The “Internet Of Things” is a popular phrase suggesting that everything from shoes to thermostats to glasses can be manufactured to have tech and cloud connections, and report to the Internet.
And so: predictions can be made that doors, windows, lighting, and more will be automated and controlled by gesture or positioning (moving of your hands, or if you step in a certain area). So if you’re about to enter a room, the doors will automatically swing open, and if it’s dark and you point at a light, it turns on automatically.
Also, Nest thermostats and smoke alarms, along with auto-sprinklers and in-home elevators will be very popular.
Many automated devices will be controlled without a touch. Eye and face tracking devices will be very accurate. Eye-scrolling smartphones, and gaze gaming will be popular. Instead of using credit cards, you can pay and checkout with your face, after inserting a PIN code.
Also, other devices will be controlled by voice. Google Voice Search, and personal voice assistants will rule over. Although, Apple Siri will become more and more unpopular. Voice identity recognition might also begin.
Theories and prototypes of holograms and holographic touchscreens will start coming up.
Using just a gesture, you’ll be able to control a lot. Xbox Kinect gesture gaming will take over. As explained in the Home Automation section, with a gesture, you can control doors, lighting, fans, and more appliances. Gestures will definitely control holographic touchscreens, also.
Prototypes of brain and mind-controlled devices may exist, too. Mind controlled holograms, games, and cars may develop. With cars, you can use your mind to control where you go, and Google’s Self-Driving Car will drive itself there. In gaming, you may be able to think an action (like ‘shoot a fireball’) and do it in the game. Also, Instant Messaging in the mind may take place, where you can form a piece of text in your mind and text message someone.
In Health, there will be new developments of automated health tracking, and devices that help you eat well and stay fit.
For example, instant food choice-making devices may be there. When you get to the lunch table, the device chooses the best food for you (personalized) at that time, and orders it at a specific time before lunch. Nutrition sprays may exist that add awesome flavor to healthy foods while keeping nutritional value.
Also, motivational fitness trackers will surround the gyms. It’ll tell you how many more jumping-jacks or basketball layups you need to do before you’re done for the day, and motivate you to get there.
If you get sick, when you walk through the door, a mat on the ground will check your feet and get as much health information just from your feet as possible, and determine the right medicine and ship it.
Amazon has brought you (and half of North America), the best goods, retail items, and products on sale. But now, they’ve come a bit farther than that, with the all-new Kindle Paperwhite!
The Kindle brand has been going on for a few years, but the Kindle Paperwhite takes reading to the next level. Let’s start overviewing it’s key features and delights.
Kindle Paperwhite has a fully black/white screen. That’s because it’s an e-reader, and uses a special technology called EInk to produce black and white pixellations that are actually good for your eyes. Reading with iPads—not so great for your retina. But Kindle Paperwhite, it’s different. The black/white screen makes it look and feel just like a book.
Just like the tablets of today, Kindle Paperwhite is completely touchscreen, although it feels just like a book. Paperwhite even comes with a smart cover, helping it stay safe, and feel more book-ish. Paperwhite’s EInk technology helps it retain it’s battery for over a month. Why? In EInk, instead of using light pixels, special colored molecules are at work. That means, the screen is super high-resolution, and the battery only is at use when the content on the screen changes—that is, when you flip a page, change the book you’re reading, or touch the screen.
Paperwhite also is great for reading at any time of the day— or night! The new screen backlight allows the Kindle to look and feel like a book, while letting you have the pleasure to read in the daylight or in the pitch-black night air.
Also, for parents with lousy readers, Kindle PW introduces “Freetime”, a new app letting children have their own parental-controls account, which allows for book-tracking, and achievement badges from Kindle!
Overall, if you hate reading, love reading, or just like awesome technology, Kindle Paperwhite (by Amazon) is something to look at.
if you are looking for another collection of tech insights, take a look at http://thinksquadtech.tumblr.com. But if you want something more than tech, with news and philosophy and much more, see our friends at ThinkSquad!
Many browsers surround today’s web. Browsers let us access web sites, at a glance. But today’s browsers mean so much more than that. We’d like to introduce to you, our personal favorite, Google Chrome.
If you know Google, their products are fast, secure, and simple. That’s a brief explanation of Chrome.
Chrome has bragging rights for being the fastest web browser today. And it’s not just an opinion. Here’s some proof (lower load times are better, because that means you can wait less for pages to load):
Chrome is also an amazing browser, even when we’re not looking at it’s awesome web-app applicability. It has it’s own app store, with “Chrome Apps”, Extensions, and Themes that are filled with productivity, and make Chrome Life even easier than what it already is.
Google Chrome even boasts to be a very secure browser. It supports the highest levels of SSL, and has NEVER had a security bug/virus/hack in the public version of Chrome. It also warns you when you go to insecure webpages.
The only incapability of Chrome that some of us might HATE, is that it can’t process Microsoft Silverlight correctly MOST of the time. This is something Microsoft and Google themselves admitted, that Silverlight does not work on Chrome, and only a few lucky users can actually play Silverlight video on Chrome. You may be thinking, “I don’t care”, but you probably do, because without Silverlight, you can’t play Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, and many other amazing video services (except YouTube and Vimeo work fine in Chrome!).
If you’ve got Chrome, and want to watch a Silverlight (Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu, and a few more) video, just open your system built-in browser (Safari for Macs, IE for Windows), and make sure you have Silverlight downloaded from Microsoft (if not, Google search “silverlight plugin download”). It should work (unless you are on a Chromebook).
In conclusion, Google Chrome is an amazing browser, and if you didn’t know that already, we bet you’ll find out.