I woke up this morning thinking about the new Apple Studio Display’s webcam hiccup. It has reaffirmed my belief that the camera, and by extension, the visual sensor, is becoming a key interface to the information and how we interpret it. What keyboard and mouse were to what was textual computing, visual (and other sensors) will be a key to computing in the future.  

An article in the New Yorker laments that smartphone photography is too algorithmic. Similar laments were made when William Eggelston started experimenting with color film. Since then, our everyday memories have been captured on color film, each generation getting better than the others. It is the same for computational photography — we started with the grainy photos from Nokia, Blackberry, and the first iPhone. I remember the first iPhone and the photos that came off its puny sensor. We have already come so far in this journey. Writers need to overcome nostalgia have to think different – the camera isn’t just a camera. It is so much more!

As I said, it is the camera stupid



But back to the Studio Display camera problems. 

Looking beyond, the speed with which Apple can fix the problem by issuing a software upgrade will reaffirm the advantage of what I wrote earlier about putting “smarts” into previously dumb devices. Apple’s ability to take all the gains offered by its iPhone business & its scale gives the company a significant leg-up in its ability to reinvent products. It will help it become the key player in the next evolution of computing — spatial computing, as it is colloquially known. Yes, sometimes a display is not just a display


Talking about iPhone — it accounted for 37 percent of all 5G phones sold, according to data from CounterPoint Research. “The 5G smartphone penetration for North America and Western Europe reached 73% and 76% respectively,” they point out. Over 51 percent of the phones shipped now are 5G phones, though it doesn’t necessarily mean you get to enjoy the benefits of 5G speeds in the U.S. 

OpenSignal data shows that the South Koreans have got their 5G zooming! In South Korea, average download speeds were 129.7 Mbps at the end of 2021, up from 52.4 Mbps at the start of 2019, before 5G. The U.S. is not in the top 25, even though more people have 5G iPhones around. Why? Because AT&T and Verizon are essentially shit when it comes to 5G. 

FYI: I like to read a lot. When I find something interesting, I share it in my link blog. Think of it as "collected wisdom." You can visit it here. And if you want to see my photos, visit my photoblog. 

March 19, 2022. San Francisco

[Podcast] Eran Shir, Founder of DashCam Maker Nexar

A conversation with Eran Shir, Founder, and CEO of Nexar, to talk about his company’s connected dash cam, how it works to improve safe driving, and what a world full of cameras + intelligence means for our future. Eran explains why computer vision matters and why it also can go wrong pretty fast.

Disclosure: Nexar is part of the True Ventures portfolio of startups.

Some thoughts on Amazon Go Retail

Amazon today launched its new retail store, which doesn’t have any people manning the shelves. An automat, from a company that is all about making shopping friction-free, is an obvious first step in reshaping the American retail experience. Back in 2010, when I said so, everyone thought I was out of my damn mind. That era has come and gone — today is about friction free shopping – an extension of their one-click shopping and Amazon Prime concepts. 

Continue reading “Some thoughts on Amazon Go Retail”

The Hype & Hope of Artificial Intelligence

Much like “the cloud,” “big data,” and “machine learning” before it, the term “artificial intelligence” has been hijacked by marketers and advertising copywriters. What AI means, why we need it and where we are going with it — my arguments.