Tech Columnist and Author Mike Elgan - TMO Background Mode Interview

Mike Elgan writes a popular weekly column for Computerworld, contributes news analysis pieces for Fast Company and SecurityIntelligence and also writes special features, columns, and think pieces for a variety of publications.

Mike tells a career story that started in newspaper publishing with QuarkXPress. Soon, he realized that what he loved was not covering local politics but rather the technology of the Mac, networking and printing. That launched his career writing about computer tech. In the 2nd segment we chatted about some of our favorite topics: dealing with information overload, Apple’s amazing U1 chip, Augmented Reality glasses replacing iPhones, and cars that sense driver emotions. Mike has an amazing vision of our tech future. Join us.

Apple Reality Composer Available on App Store

The Apple Reality Composer app is now available on the App Store. It’s also included with Xcode so developers can build, test, tune, and simulate augmented reality experiences. Easily prototype and produce AR experiences directly in AR with no prior 3D experience. Drag and drop to place and rotate virtual objects to assemble your scene directly in AR or on the canvas. Build your scene by importing your own .usdz files or take advantage of the ready to use virtual objects in Reality Composer’s built-in AR content library, so you can get up and running quickly. Customize a virtual object’s size, style, and more. Add animations that let you move, scale, and add emphasis like a ‘wiggle’ or ‘spin’ to virtual objects, without having any animation experience. Add spatial audio, all of which can be set up to happen upon a user tapping on those objects, coming in close proximity with them, or other triggers. App Store: Apple Reality Composer – Free

iOS 13 Code Hints at Apple AR Headset With 'StarBoard'

Code within iOS 13 hints at an Apple AR headset, with a codename called ‘StarBoard’ that can launch apps, similar to iOS’s SpringBoard.

Namely, internal builds of iOS 13 include a “STARTester” app that can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, presumably to replicate the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes. There are two head-mounted states for testing, including “worn” and “held.”

Apple Stores Offer Augmented Reality '[AR]T' Walks

Apple retail stores will begin offering [AR]T, Today at Apple augmented reality experiences featuring contemporary artists.

These experiential walks take participants through San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo as they encounter works by world-renowned artists, most of whom are working in AR for the first time. Works by Cave, Djurberg and Berg, Cao, Giorno, Höller and Rist connect participants to public spaces such as London’s Trafalgar Square, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens or New York’s Grand Army Plaza in Central Park.

Apple Killing AR Glasses and 'Product Design Troubles'

A report from Digitimes has been making the rounds, claiming that Apple killed its AR glasses project. Jesus Diaz thinks that it speaks to Apple’s “product design troubles.”

The report came yesterday from Digitimes, which has a mixed track record through its sources in component and manufacturing companies. It contradicts Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who in March claimed that supply sources confirmed that Apple may start producing AR glasses as soon as the end of 2019.

I want Apple Glasses to succeed, so I hope the report isn’t true. If Apple can pull off AR glasses that actually look like glasses, it would definitely be, to quote Steve Jobs, magical. I don’t think Apple is killing the headset entirely, but they might be setting it aside for now, like they did with the HomePod.

Minecraft Earth Registration Now Open

Speaking of Minecraft, registration for Minecraft Earth is now open for those who have iOS 10 or later.

Alas, since it’s a closed Beta, registering doesn’t guarantee you access — but in its FAQ about the Beta, the team notes that they’re planning to open it up to “hundreds of thousands of players” eventually, so your odds of getting in probably aren’t too bad. You’ll need to be over the age of 18, have a device running iOS 10/Android 7 or newer, and a Microsoft or Xbox Live account to get registered.

The registration page is here.

Niantic Surprises Us: Harry Potter Wizards Unite Available NOW

Niantic has decided to surprise us. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available to download now, with the original launch date being tomorrow, June 21. I’ve spent a couple of minutes playing and reached level 2. Certain aspects of the game are slow, like UI-wise, like when you level up. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world. Download it hereApp Store: Free

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Launches July 21

Niantic announced that its upcoming augmented reality game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, will launch this Friday, June 21. In a press conference outside Universal Studio’s Wizarding World in Florida, Niantic said it would hold Wizards Unite events similar to its Pokémon GO Fests. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world.

Behind the Scenes of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an upcoming AR game from Niantic and WB Games San Francisco. The Dev Diaries are a new series that will feature a behind the scenes look at the people who created the game and stories that inspired it.

“It’s what everyone imagines when you read the Harry Potter books,” said Marigold. “You imagine the characters and world coming to life around you. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite takes this a step further and brings it to life in your world so that you can actually see all the magical characters and fantastic creatures all around you. It’s almost like you can reach out and touch them.”

Really neat to hear from the team, and I can’t wait for the game.

Apple AR Hiring Increases to 33 Positions Since Last Year

Last May Apple had one AR job position open. It gradually increased to five by the end of 2018. Now, Apple AR hiring has increased to 33 open positions.

The hiring upswing is a clear sign that the Cupertino tech giant is looking to make AR a major part of its mobile iOS devices moving forward…Of the current 33 openings, the extreme majority — 30 — are located at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.

AR Game Minecraft Earth Launches This Summer

This summer Microsoft will be launching an augmented reality game called Minecraft Earth. And it wants to be bigger than Pokémon Go.

Microsoft says it will kick off a closed beta of Minecraft Earth this summer on iOS and Android. Naturally, there are going to be limited slots, and you’ll also have to be 18 or older to sign up. And while the plan is to get Minecraft Earth completely global, it’s going to start off with a gradual rollout in select locations. You can also expect it to support all the languages in the original game, at least.

I never got into Minecraft, but I look forward to trying this game out.

Google Stadia and Apple AR Gaming, Good Data Collection, with Andrew Orr - ACM 506

Google Stadia looks likely to shake up the gaming world, but there’s more than one way to skin a gaming cat, and Apple is focused on AR. Bryan Chaffin is joined by guest cohost Andrew Orr to discuss how those different tracts might fare. They also talk about the good sides of corporate data surveillance, and yes, they will both forgive you if you are surprised either would entertain such a notion.

Augmented Reality, Practical Robots, and Modern Cabling, with John Kheit - ACM 505

Bryan Chaffin and John Kheit don their futurist caps and look for the killer app in Augmented Reality. Spoiler: they have different ideas on what form it might take. They also explore the near-term future of practical robots, starting with today’s vacuumbots. They cap the show looking at the slow pace of progress when it comes to modern cabling. Let’s get that Cat 8 and 40 GB/s throughput!

Augmented Reality is the Mirrorworld

Kevin Kelly writes how augmented reality will become a mirrorworld; That is, an exact replica of the physical world we will interact with.

The mirrorworld—a term first popularized by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter—will reflect not just what something looks like but its context, meaning, and function. We will interact with it, manipulate it, and experience it like we do the real world.

I firmly believe that AR can be as revolutionary as the internet. We just need an AR device that will dominate peoples’ lives to the point where everyone will wear a headset all the time.

Apple's Ecosystem Is Actually Your Body

Apple’s ecosystem is your body. It’s in our pockets, our ears, our wrists, and soon it will be over our eyes with augmented reality glasses. Lucas Rizzotto talks about Apple hardware can be thought of as a modular system, similar to what Bryan and I discussed on ACM. iPhone will provide processing power and networking, Apple Watch is for biometrics and input, AirPods give us contextual 3D audio, and Apple Glasses are our screen.

Ultimately, Apple’s final AR product offering won’t just be a set of glasses — but an interconnected ecosystem that can itself become a single, immersive computing platform. One that’s an extension of you and your body — whether you’re wearing glasses or not.

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