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The Apple keynote event: The marvels of machine learning

The Apple keynote event: The marvels of machine learning

By Udita Shukla

The Apple Keynote Event was streamed live across the globe on September 12, 2017, at 10:00 am. Co-hosted by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, the event witnessed the official roll-out of not only products but also novel community-engagement concepts. The focus was on the introduction of a neural network and machine learning features that defy natural intuition and the conventional gaming experiences.

Apple Watch Series 3

The launch of the Watch began with a poignant video rendition of stories from customers around the world about how the Watch saved the day by alerting them of a possible illness on time. This set the tone for the product as a health companion for the old and young alike.

The Series 3 Apple Watch comes with an in-built cellular feature, which means one can now go for a daily drill in the park without one’s phone, with just the air pods plugged in and the watch around the wrist. There is a whole new range of colours to choose from suited for the funky, sporty and the corporate taste.

The primary motivation behind an Apple watch was fitness and health for the millennial constantly on the go. To that end, the new watch has been armed with a number of health apps, along with skiing and skateboarding apps in the App Store. New features like recovery heart beat and arrhythmic (abnormal) heart rate have been added. The strength and capability of the cellular feature and the powerful speakers was quite creatively demonstrated through a live video of a person rowing a raft on a windy day in the middle of the sea and talking via her (Apple) watch (over an AT&T communication network) while constantly moving her hands (due to rowing). The voice quality was perfect and seamless. It is a marvel how an antenna, microchips, and sim cards can be integrated into such a small watch.

Additionally, there is now the facility of streaming forty million songs on the Watch.

Apple TV: Highest pixel density

The Apple TV now supports 4k and HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology. This implies a pixel density of 4000 pixels per inch and an unmatched colour definition and sharp quality in the video. This is the highest pixel density ever achieved in a TV model.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

The eighth series of iPhones—iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus—herald a new era of command and control features as well as user-machine interaction. This is probably the metamorphosis of a ‘smart’ phone into an ‘artificially intelligent’ phone. 

With a whole new design, the phones have glass panels on both sides with three options for colours—silver, space grey and a regal, new gold hue. The outer casing boasts of an aerospace-grade custom aluminium (7000 series) alloy that has been consolidated via a 7-layer colour process to furnish it with the most precise tint and shade. The glass design has been further fortified by laser-welded steel to give it 50% more strength. As per Apple, it is the most durable glass employed in a smartphone.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been microscopically sealed against water and dust, accompanied with a new retina HD display and a 4.7” (iPhone 8) and 5.5” (iPhone 8 Plus) screen display. For the first time with the 3-D touch technology and Retina HD display, the iPhones have a true-tone colour feature which adapts to the temperature, colour and intensity of the surrounding light.

The fitted stereo speakers are 25% louder than in the iPhone 7 with a deeper bass to optimise on the unadulterated sound quality.

The internal infrastructure of the iPhone 8 (and 8 Plus) models harbours the brand new A11 Bionic chip. The six-core CPU, 64-bit design and 4.3 billion transistors fabricated onto the chip make it the most powerful, fast and smartest chip ever made. All six cores can be used simultaneously to deliver nearly 70% faster performance in multi-thread workloads.

The camera has been reinvented into a ‘smart’ decision-maker as it employs the ISP (Image Signal Processing) technology that is used in photography to deliver faster autofocus in low light. For the first time, the camera has been hardware-enabled to trim down multi-band noise. It has an all new 12 MP (mega pixel) sensor which is larger and faster and provides 83% more light with a new colour filter for better colour saturation and a wider range of colours. The iPhone 8 Plus camera has apertures of f/1.8 (wide-angle camera) and f/2.8 (telephoto camera). In the portrait mode, the dual cameras in the ISP detect the lighting along the contours of the subject. The ingenuity lies in the fact that these are not filters but real-time analysis of the lighting around the subject’s face.

Additionally, in the iPhone 8 Plus, there is an Apple-designed video-encoder to deliver faster frame rates along with running analysis of two million tiles in the frame per second to identify and differentiate animate from inanimate objects. All this delivers incredibly detailed clips. One can now shoot a video at 1080p HD at 240 fps (frames per second) with their iPhone.

The iPhones support LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 and wireless charging. The wireless charging is made possible by Qi. Many companies offer Qi chargers which will also soon be available at Apple stores.

The 8 series takes the gaming experience (3D apps and games) to a new dimension by leveraging the Apple-designed GPU. The GPU interface supports machine learning apps along with the new Apple Core Machine learning framework.  

The USP of the iPhone 8 Plus is the AR (augmented reality) feature integration. With the help of AR and machine learning capabilities, the iPhone 8 Plus software infrastructure provides a sound experience that adjusts according to a person’s position relative to the phone screen. The sound and visual effects could be seen and heard dwindling and spiralling in intensity as the player moved away from or closer to the screen. This is called spatial audio, which changes the sound volume of a solid object along the line of sight. Both iPhone models are available in 64 GB and 256 GB.

iPhone X: Revolutionary display

The iPhone X (or iPhone 10) comes with an edge-to-edge screen, face ID—sans a home button. The face ID has a chance of one in a million of identity theft. The display fits so seamlessly with the edges that it is nearly hard to decipher the differentiating line between the screen and the casing. The display is called the Super Retina Display.

The screen measures 5.8 inches on the diagonal. The pixel density is 458 ppi (pixel per inch), which is greater than the iPhone 8 series. iPhone X requires swiping movements to navigate through apps and jump back to the home button. Moreover, Siri is now able to ask follow-up questions.

More than a product

Recently, Apple’s annual revenues were reported to be a whopping USD 800 billion, which is far greater than the GDP of major developed nations like Netherlands. Apple has always been a phenomenon, more than just a product. Started as a brand catering to a niche market, Apple has managed to scale heights of customer loyalty and brand following. Over the years, the market penetration has only spiked, with developing countries such as India now gaining attention as lucrative markets for the software giant. As put forth by Tim Cook, “Technology infused with humanity can improve people’s lives and change the world”.


Featured Image Source: Flickr

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