Everyone at Mobile World Congress has an opinion on Apple’s battle with the FBI, most already understand how chilling the impact could be on mobile industry innovation, but this wasn’t the only topic in Barcelona that should interest Apple fans.
Speculation Apple may deploy LiFi support in future iOS devices continues, and MWC saw pureLiFi launch its LiFi-X dongle, an access point that connects to any LED light to help create a LiFi network. Harald Haas, CEO of pureLiFi, said: "It's exciting that so many of the tech giants are now engaging directly with LiFi through pureLiFi technologies… We have witnessed rumors that Apple is investigating 'LiFi-Capabilities' in their latest iOS 9.0," he said. "We now have a rail-track technology for the lighting industry to develop exciting and new business models around light as a service (LaaS)."
Will Apple switch on LiFi?
IBM puts Swift on the server
IBM’s move to enable cloud-based enterprise app development using Swift by adding support to the Apple language within the IBM Cloud is big news. It propels Apple’s increasingly popular developer's language even further into enterprise IT and because it is open source offers interesting opportunities across every platform. You can’t underestimate how this could impact Apple’s future – the history of QuickTime and its fundamental impact on iPhone evolution shows us how Swift may open opportunities.
The AppConfig Community
IBM’s moves are being matched elsewhere across the enterprise food chain, where JAMF Software, AirWatch, MobileIron and IBM launched a new grouping to establish a “common approach for enterprise app configuration and security based on OS native standards, including the extensive frameworks available in iOS,” giving Apple even more enterprise chops. It's called AppConfig.
Chinese consumer electronics firm Oppo won attention at the show with a new fast-charging technology that can fully charge a smartphone in 15 minute using a 5V low-voltage pulse-charge algorithm, ensuring a low-temperature charge that regulates current to charge the phone fast.
Spare a moment for smart wearable video, audio and family product range, VerveLife by Motorola. These iOS/Android toys include pet trackers, video cameras, earbuds and more.
Connected and unusual
I like the Indiegogo-sponsored Tethercell AA Smart Battery Adapter, which puts connected intelligence inside any battery-powered device. Meanwhile the Sony Ear product hints at how we might be using Siri soon, earbuds whispering Notifications into your ear…
Can Apple figure out how to create compelling unique VR experiences, or will it leave this segment for others to exploit? I think there are some valuable user cases for VR in medicine, IoT, vehicles and home entertainment. Meanwhile you get Zuckerberg et al.
Mobile is nothing without bandwidth. “If your heart surgeon is conducting a bypass on you using a virtual reality headset, you want to be 110 percent certain the Internet is not going to lag by even a second,” Wired’s Jessi Hempel notes, and I agree. Big network infrastructure names are developing 5G, and we’re going to need rapid deployment of the standard to support the anticipated billions of connected devices and the emerging Internet of connected things.
And… mind control
MWC attendees enjoyed the chance to use their mind to control a remote controlled car. That’s significant, it hints at a future in which we control our computers and devices using thought. That’s certainly what one of the grandfathers of the Mac, Jef Raskin, saw as part of the future of computing.
Et tu, anti-Apple?
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 attracted attention at #MWC, but its smartphone business is really based at the lower end. Barcelona saw dozens of new Android-driven devices debut, many with their own unique selling points, so while Apple’s ex-partner has to fight in the low-end, iPhones will continue to prevail the high-end, S7 or no.
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