Pause – that’s all you need to unplug…

It is well known that in our busy lives we spend more a more time running from here to there, stressed trying to multitask everything what we do, trying to win time, which makes us even more quickly lose it ‘as beach sand slipping through our fingers‘; becoming more stressed and more aware of lack of time to simply stop and relax.

Well, you are not alone 😉 many people suffer these feelings and mostly we try to mitigate them procrastinating: switching constantly between game and game, between tens of social networks apps and notifications,… but at the end we realize that the circle gets closed and we are equally stressed as when we began.

Circle

But not become fatalist, fortunately there are good news for all of us, a few weeks ago released iOS app which will help us to relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our lives, briefly.

This is “PAUSE – Relaxation at your fingertip“, the latest creation from ustwo, the acclaimed developer studio, creators of ‘Monument Valley‘ last year puzzle mobile game hit; which was made in collaboration with PauseAble, a Danish mental wellness product and solution company, where they help people take control of their energy and stress with their patent pending interactive approach.

Pause_000

The wellness app is quite minimalistic and simple to use, which denotes how the developers focused more in getting to the point instead of adding many user confusing features.

Pause_001

I would recommend you to use headphones and use it in a quite/calm place to avoid interrumptions, as it will be similar to perform a short mediation exercise but fully guided and easy, so don’t panic. 😉

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You will only have to launch it, and then touch the dot that appears in the screen, follow the guiding circle with your finger and enjoy the ambient specially composed music until the session finishes with a soft bell; that’s all! (easy, right? 😉 )

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As said, it is very minimalistic, the only settings appear when you slide up the logo (the ‘A‘ circled) at bottom side; and there you can select to Show instructions; change the Difficulty and change the Duration of your Pauses; pretty easy:

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I have being sporadically using it the past couple of weeks, and I must admit that it works!

As in anykind of meditation exercise is better to begin with short duration times; let’s say 3 or 5 min; and progressively increase it until you get the habit to be focused and relaxed. I told you this because while you slowly move the dot around the whole screen, and the colored ink stain becomes bigger and bigger, the app will suggest you to close your eyes while you slowly continue moving your finger around the screen hearing the background music, until a bell sound indicates you that pause is finished. This could sound easy, but it is not the first times; so believe me, better begin with shorter periods.

The developers have been tested the effectiveness of this exercise measuring the EEG waves of the beta testers using it, and it was proved that they became more and more calm while they used it; which I can confirm simply by my daily use.

I believe that the developers decided to don’t implement a notification system in purpose to avoid forcing the people to make those Pauses and to keep clean the UX; anyhow I think that it could be a nice add-on feature for next coming updates to instill progressively the habit of ‘stopping‘ in our under pressure life’s; ultimately, the user could always disable those alarm notifications if don’t want it.

To finish, I can only recommend you this wonderful, colorful, delicious and proven wellness app, which for only $1.99 will bring some peace in your hectic life.

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One last thing: If you have time, you can read about the details of its creation in their own blog: ‘The Story of Pause‘ ; it is really fastinating. 😉

iPhone6s – One Step Ahead

After my old post (iPhone6s – ‘Dreams & Facts’ – 3 months ahead) where I was trying to predict which would be the new features of this year iPhone release, I think is time to talk about some of the changes and ‘surprises’ that we got.

One of the good changes was the change of aluminum alloy used in the housing, moving from previous 6000 series to stronger 7000 series. This was a very smart movement from Apple, because after introducing it on their Apple Watches, and with a year of experience manufacturing it, the iPhone user got a stronger housing which dissipates any trace of last year ‘Bendgate’ (which I personally think from my own experience was vastly exaggerated); and not only that, harder against tiny scratches.

This will be very interesting for all those users who like to enjoy the feeling of the raw metal in their hands without any case in between; but also who don’t want to care if they leave their expensive devices on any surface. Anyhow, due the inconvenient protrude camera, I’ll continue using a case, to have a fully flat back side.

A part of slighly heavier feeling (few grams due newer 3D Touch screen and Taptip Engine added), and few tens of millimeters increase in size, the users will not see any difference between the iPhone6 and newer iPhone6s housing.

For the most curious of the inners parts, we can see here a full exploid view of iPhone6s Plus:

iPhone_6s_Plus_Exploid_View

On top of that, Apple also renewed their SoC with a newer A9, faster and even more powerful that last year 64-bit A8.

It is never mentioned, but Apple also increased the inner RAM embedded inside the SoC up to 2GB (LPDDR4 type), something that most users were long time waiting for.

This upgrade finally aligns the whole mobile devices product line since last year first iPad Air 2 with 2GB:

  • iPhone6s / 6sPlus (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad mini 4 (2015): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Air 2 (2014): 2GB RAM
  • iPad Pro 1 (2015): 4GB RAM

The drawback of this change is that Apple made a turning point; and as they normally optimize the iOS and apps for current devices specs, all old models before 2014 could become obsolete (‘slow and sluggish as a brick’) in only one year cycle (next iOS10). Of course, only Apple has the last word about it; but the reality is that today the iOS9.0.2 becomes slower in (not so old) iPhone6/6Plus devices as many users are reporting.

And again, this is not all, it looks like we will have another ‘gate’ this year, and it will be the “ChipGate“:

iPhone6_A9_chips_Samsung_TSMC

I may understand that for a company as Apple, who sells tens of millions of new iPhone’s every year, to get the right supply chain alliances must be quite difficult; so this year Apple splitted the production of the newer A9 between TSMC and Samsung. This should not be an issue if they would use the same lithographic processes, but that was not the case (TSMC 16nm FinFET Plus, Samsung 14nm LPP (low-power plus) 2nd gen FinFET); which is one of the reasons of difference in silicon size of the above picture.

So, today we may find 4 types of “non-declared/selectable” iPhones on the shops:

  • N66mAP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N66AP: iPhone 6s Plus with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.
  • N71mAP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by TSMC.
  • N71AP: iPhone 6s with A9 chip manufactured by Samsung.

Of course, the user cannot choose, neither select them, and after some intensive tests made, looks like the TSMC variant can provide around 25% more battery lifetime compared with Samsung variant; and even lower internal temperature rise.

After the whole debate created, Apple had to officially acknowledged it; but they argued that those huge differences are only in extreme test cases, not typical daily user cases:

“Our testing and customer data show the actual battery life of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, even taking into account variable component differences, vary within just 2-3% of each other.”

I am not fully agree with that as Different lithographic process are directed related to power consumption.

Today the iPhone6s/6sPlus is a extremely powerful machine (even already compared with Macbook Air’s performance), and Apple also promotes it as a portable video editing computer (to make and edit even 4K videos); then, I don’t find fair that for a so expensive product (up to $1000 for the full highest iPhone6sPlus 128GB model) some buyers will have to “play to lotto” to see if they get a Samsung or TSMC A9 inside.

Besides of that, I would share with your a couple of cool X-Ray pictures of the two models 😉 , there you’ll see below the battery big ‘block’ the new Taptic engines introduced this year; which reduced battery size with respect last year; but not battery expected lifetime due other systems improvements.

This is the iPhone 6s:

iPhone6s_xRay

And the iPhone 6s Plus:

iPhone6sPlus_xRay

As final though, regarding the iPhone 6s ChipGate of 2015, I only hope that Apple rectifies and for next year iPhone 7 (2016), they use a single SoC foundry or exactly the same lithographic process for all products made with coming A10 (and some sources already pointed to TSMC as main and only A10 source due their capability to offer a better power consumption and yield lithographic process).

iPhone – From 2G (2007) up to 6s (2015)

It is very interesting to see how the iPhone product line has been evolving during the last eight years, since the first generation (iPhone2G) was released on June 29th, 2007; up to the latest iPhone6s/6sPlus from last September 25th, 2015:

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In this time, Apple has been evolving their flagship product from screen size and also housing colors; but only that, as since 2014 they splitted the product line in two variants: Normal (4.7″) and Plus (5.5″) versions, giving to the users even more ‘flavors’ to choose, on top of Color (Gray Space, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold) and internal FLASH memory size (16/64/128GB).

It is very interesting because even Steve Jobs said that the original 3.5″ was the perfect size to reach the whole screen with your thumb, holding it with a single hand; the iPhone was been continuously growing following market demands.

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I must admit that I felt very confortable with the 3.5″ and even 4″; but even if the latest 4.7″ can be managed by single hand; the 5.5″ mostly must be used with two-hands. Of course, 5.5″ size is a trade-off, which allowed many users to merge their old two devices (iPhone and iPad) in a single one, carrying less devices on their bags.

I really doubt that the iPhone screen will grow further in the coming years, as it seems that even in the Android/Windows smartphones field the battle for bigger and bigger screen sizes is over, and the limit was has been set at 5.7″ for phablets and 5″ or 5.2″ for smartphones, as maximum size. And if it does, probably will be up to 5.7″, going edge-to-edge with new housing, but keeping the overall size.