Editorial

Futurology 1.1: Smaller, higher-capacity batteries are closer than ever before

Recent advancements in Lithium Sulfur and Lithium metal anodes pave the way for smaller, safer batteries with higher capacities.

Back at the start of the year in our Smartphone Futurology series, we discussed the technology behind the battery in smartphones and what's to come in the future. This article is a quick update to that piece, looking at some of the recent developments in batteries based on Lithium chemistry — like the ones powering the vast majority of smartphones.

We'll take a closer look at what reduces your phone's battery life over time, and how high-capacity technologies like Lithium Sulfur batteries and Lithium metal anodes are closer than ever to becoming practical. Join us after the break.

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Apple Watch apps: Best practices when designing for the wrist

The Apple Watch will ship on April 24 — which means that, right now, developers and designers are hard at work on the first generation of Apple Watch apps.

Currently limited to actionable notifications (short and long looks), widgets (glances), and remote views (WatchKit apps), even though Apple Watch apps are bound to the iPhone, there's still boundless potential. I've tried several smartwatches and bands, seen most of what's on the market, and I've even been lucky enough to use the Apple Watch both back in September and recently again in March, where third-party apps were showcased. Those apps, the ones listed on the Apple Watch App Store apps page, benefited from time in the labs and testing on actual hardware. For those who didn't get that opportunity, after a lot of conversations with a lot of smart and experienced people, here's a list of things that are vital to keep in mind.

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On the Apple Watch and OLED displays

All Apple has said about the Apple Watch display is that it's 'flexible Retina', yet it's widely believed to be OLED.

That's interesting because Apple has thus far eschewed OLED (organic light-emmitting diode) displays for iPhone and iPad due to what the company said were the compromises needed to produce the panel at those sizes. A look back at things like PenTile and over-saturation in generations past makes that point hard to argue. Modern OLED, however, has improved considerably. At Apple Watch size, where power efficiency is the priority, those compromises start to fall in OLED's favor.

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What would you change about Control Center?

Control Center is a way to get at all your toggles, sliders, buttons, and basic actions, all in one place.

Since it's debut in iOS 7 back in 2013, Control Center hasn't changed much. Pull it up from the bottom of the screen and you get quick access to a variety of options. The top row gives you airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, and orientation lock. Next is a brightness slider. After that is media, including play, pause, skip, and volume. Then you have AirDrop and AirPlay. Last row is flashlight, timer, calculator, and camera.

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NSFW: Apple Watch, turning the corner, and betting on the future

I'm curious about how Apple Watch technology will evolve. I'm also excited to see the third party market.

I admit that I'm later to the Apple Watch game than some of my colleagues. It was only recently that I had an epiphany about how the Apple Watch could really change things for me. I'm excited about them now. But what I'm even more excited about is seeing what happens from here.

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Forget Apple fanboys, what about Apple doomsayers?

Apple zealots are one thing, but Apple doomsayers might be worse. This week, on The Network: John Moltz wonders why we ever mixed church and tech.

Stop me if you've heard this one: Apple is just like a relig—

STOP.

Yeah, you've heard it. Apple is just like a religion. And its customers are acolytes, steeped in the heady lore of the Church of Jobs blah blah blah. For certain pundits and commentators, this explains away everything they don't understand about Apple. Why it does so fabulously well, why its customers are so loyal, why the company is able to charge more for its devices... it explains everything!

A little too neatly.

See, if I could add an addendum to Occam's Razor it would go like this: The simplest explanation is usually the right one... unless it involves magic. Frankly, I think that it's much more valid to apply this argument to Apple's critics than its supporters.

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What we want to see from the next Apple TV

Apple just dropped the price of the Apple TV to $69 and announced an exclusive deal to bring HBO Now to customers just in time for Game of Thrones. But Apple also said that this was just the beginning. We've talked a little about the possible future of Apple TV, but it's a broad topic and that means we need to make the discussion big — iMore roundtable big!

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Siri and the potential for 'Voice ID'

Yell "Hey, Siri!" on podcast — or out loud at an event — and you'll get dozens of complaints from people whose phones suddenly went into voice mode.

That might sound like an edge-case for Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant, but here's something more common — a family charging station with several iPhones devices plugged in. How do you target yours and yours alone? How do you make sure only your voice can activate Siri on your iPhone or iPad? On your Apple Watch? In your car or around your house?

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How Apple Watch will be your digital wallet... and keychain

Information broker. Health tracker. Digital wallet and keys. Communicator. Remote Control. We might not have gotten it presented on stage like that, but we still got it — it's all one product. It's the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is going to be different things to different people — sometimes singularly, but often in combination. One of the things that will likely be compelling to many is Apple Watch as digital wallet and keychain. We've seen Apple Pay already, but when it comes to authentication, there's a lot more to see.

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How Apple Watch will be your next remote control

Information broker. Health tracker. Digital wallet and keys. Communicator. Remote Control. We might not have gotten it presented on stage like that, but we still got it — it's all one product. It's the Apple Watch.

Just like the iPhone and iPad, different people will find each of those features compelling to a greater or lesser degree, and which ones they find compelling can change over time. The Watch as remote control is a great example: Apple hasn't spent a lot of time on it yet, but it could become much more important as time passes.

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