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Android, Apple, wearables and more

Internet_of_Things

Apple and Android are looking to help you control your life through your phone. The phone looks to be the epicenter of consumer technology right now with cars, wearables, and home devices branching out from there.

In June 2014, Apple held its developer conference and announced iCloud Drive which allows users of mobile devices to have the same access to their content (documents, photos, music, video) as desktop users. A new developer feature is HealthKit which allows developers to create Apps which will collect personal data such as level of exercise and heartrate.

Two other features of note including further use of Touch ID for apps which may be important in banking and family sharing which allows up to 6 people to use the same credit card to access apps and books. When a child tries to make a purchase, the authorized user gets a notice asking them to approve the purchase.

From a device standpoint, rumors point to two large iPhones–one with a 4.7″ screen size and another with a 5.5″ screen size. Many believe the iWatch will finally be released as well (to take advantage of the HealthKit features).

The latest rumor is that Apple will be launching one device that will compete with the Nest, a thermostat developed by a former Apple employee. Nest was sold to Google and is the beginning of Google’s infiltration of home devices. HomeKit, like HealthKit, is a collection of developer tools launched by Apple to allow products and apps to increase home automation from wireless household music, security systems, thermostats, lights, smart appliances, and entertainment features. 

thermostats

Honeywell’s Nest competitor’s new device has a feature, variable range geofencing, that turns on the heat or air conditioning in your house when you come into a geographic range based on the GPS of your phone so that when you arrive home, it is at the optimal temperature.

In the developer’s conference, Android introduced Android Wear which begins with the launch of three different watch pieces that connect with your phone and bring music, calendar alerts, text messages, emails, and even recipes to your wrist. (Check this link on your phone to see if it is compatible).

android wear watches

 

At the Google I/O developer’s conference, wearables were discussed as well as in home entertainment and Android Auto. Android Auto is run via voice commands and reliant on an Android phone.  The current focus is on music and maps.

Together all of the above are known as components of the Internet of Things. Reza Raji theorized in 1998 that technology would be integrated into every aspect of our world.

“What if the Internet was allowed to go beyond connecting desktops and laptops and could somehow be tied to the devices around us?” He further illustrated the connectivity mechanism as a natural extension of “the networking paradigm into control devices by allowing the different networks to join and form a homogenous networking fabric. In the same way that the intranets became an extension of the Internet, the local operating control networks, …could be linked to the Internet and intranets where information (data and control) could flow from anywhere to anywhere, from anybody to anything. People could now reach things as well as other people.”

As tech becomes more personal, beyond the phone, to devices that are on and with us at all times, media that isn’t extensible to those platforms (like books) may decline in popularity whereas media that is (like audiobooks) may increase.

I’m excited to see the new slate of iPhones and the Moto360 watch. There’s a lot of innovation coming down the pipeline that will integrate technology into your everyday life beyond the phone and the computer. It might be a bad thing, but it’s coming. What are you looking forward to?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. library addict
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 05:39:00

    I really don’t get the appeal of having all of your devices connected. And having everything connected to the internet makes me feel like “they” really are watching 24/7. Plus, while I get good cell reception in my home and have a cable modem, there are lots of areas where I live where internet and/or cell reception are awful. What are people who are in a lousy service area supposed to do?

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  2. hapax
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 09:35:43

    I’m “looking forward” to being increasingly disconnected and alienated from the people in front of me. Already people come up to the reference desk staring at their phones, never making eye contact, interrupting their own questions to take a call. Same in the break room; where we used to sit around and chat about our families and hobbies, now everyone is isolated in a little screen.

    As for me, my eyes can’t take the tiny screens, and I’m starting to go deaf, so I’m not interested in audio. I don’t mind curling up with a book, or even my (large screen) e-reader; but if my fat fingers have to type on a tiny watch keyboard just to open my fridge or front door, I’ll stay inside and yell at y’all to get offa my lawn, dagnabbit!

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  3. MD
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 09:39:25

    I am excited about self-driving cars, I think those are likely to be a good thing. “Internet of things” – not so much.

    For one thing, you connect your fridge to the internet, and suddenly you have yet another device that can be attacked. And yes, the fridge itself is probably not a big deal. But such things can be used as weak points to compromise your network, and hence the devices that contain sensitive information, like your computer.

    I am a computer scientist, so I have at least a chance of figuring out a secure way to manage my devices. My 70-year-old mother? Not really. She just gets frustrated by the security that gets in her way. And then, to quote a recent talk I heard “It’s not the question of *if* the security is breached, but *when*, and how you are going to manage the consequences when the breach occurs.

    Touch ID is supposed to help, but it comes with a serious risk. We currently assume that the fingerprint sensors cannot be compromised. But it’s not clear that this is true. Sooner or later someone may figure out a way to “steal” and fake a fingerprint. If this happens to you, what then? A stolen password is a problem, but you can get a new one and make the old one invalid. But you cannot change your own fingerprint if it was somehow compromised! Nor your retina scan, nor any other innate characteristics. I don’t think I have seen either Google or Apple talking about it, and making plans on how they will manage this when this happens.

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  4. Jayne
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 13:26:00

    Oh, sweet Jesus. Now Google’s going to try and take over my fridge?

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  5. Willaful
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 14:59:51

    Having read enough SciFic, fingerprint technology would make me terrified of someone cutting off my fingers. Yes, I am paranoid.

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  6. Lostshadows
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 15:07:19

    @MD: I watch Mythbusters. They beat a fingerprint scanner with a photocopy of the person’s fingerprint several years ago. The tech might have improved since then, but I haven’t viewed it as secure since.

    Frankly, the less things I have that rely on the internet, the better.

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  7. hilly
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 16:53:24

    @Jayne: I might not mind Google in there so much if they use my info to shop, stock and prep my meals for me while they are inside! LOL!

    P.S. – MD’s correct; and slave refrigerators are old news:
    “Sometime between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, hackers commandeered home routers and the like and used them to send out malicious emails to grow their botnet, or, army of infected devices. Botnets — and now, “ThingBots” — can be used by hackers to perform large-scale cyberattacks against websites by drowning them with traffic.” - NPR, January 16, 2014

    Cyber-criminals hack refrigerator, January 2014

    Cyber-attack traced to hacked refrigerator, TVs and home routers, January 20, 2014

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  8. K.L.
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 17:08:45

    Only two things out of this have me hopeful – neither for me, but for my parents who are in their 70s:
    1) the watches
    –if eventually we could get one that could be tethered to a phone, but not have to have the phone physically near it, this would be perfect to my forgetful dad, who worries he’d leave a cell phone somewhere and forget it (he would, but this isn’t a “it’s age” thing)
    2) larger iphone
    –mom has to put her face so close to her phone to see text, and finds it harder to be accurate dialing with smaller buttons or click icons – I hope a larger screen size will help (I’ve been trying to entice her with my Galaxy Note, but she loves Apple)

    As for me I will always resist a fridge that could nag me into cleaning it or pester me about eating leftovers or veggies that are going bad. (Well, that’s what I assume a smart fridge would do!)

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  9. MD
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 18:19:54

    @Lostshadows: Ah, I haven’t heard that fingerprint ID has already been defeated, though it does not surprise me in the least. This is what the annoying thing is: the issues with using fingerprinting or retina scans etc. as ID have been known for a long time (I remember reading about them in a professional CS journal over 10 years ago). Yet I see these being pushed as a “security solution” by banks etc., with people there seemingly unaware, and certainly unprepared to deal with consequences of security breaches.

    Personally, I won’t even install banking apps on my smartphone – I don’t trust it that the banks know enough of what they are doing with IT to make these secure, especially if my phone was to be stolen. It’s bad enough as it is that my mail would be compromised in this event, and who knows what else besides.

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  10. Lindsay
    Jun 29, 2014 @ 22:43:17

    But can I play Angry Birds on my watch/fridge/GPS?

    I use a lot of unitask devices (e-reader, ipod, camera, portable game player) so I am not at all the target for a lot of these items. I think that stuff connecting via my phone etc is interesting and all, but I make terrible use of them. I’d likely do more with my phone but the internal memory is so full of bloatware from my provider that there’s very little I can install on it, even if it ostensibly installs to the SD card (a lot of stuff just won’t). It’s a 3-year-old phone, but I have no real interest in upgrading it anytime soon, it just doesn’t work the way other smartphones seem to. I’ve had no complaints about it otherwise.

    I do use a connected app for things like grocery lists etc, but I’ve noticed that since we got a GPS in the car we have become really bad/anxious at finding out way around places without it, even if we have a map and it’s a clear sunny day with road signs and we could always pull over and ask someone. My partner is seriously upset if the GPS is not working even if we’ve made a drive a dozen times before. I’m a little worried that I am becoming too reliant upon some things, but that might be the same anxiety people had about the internet making us stupid in general.

    @hapax, I so hear you on the distancing! I took a night class at the local uni recently and when it was break time expected to get to know the other students — instead everyone immediately whipped out their phones! I was really sad, I made some great friends in night classes a few years ago and was hoping the same would happen this time. It made for a lonely course and I wondered why I’d bothered doing the in-person when I could have done it online with about as much human interaction.

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