We had no less than three big tech gatherings in June, starting with Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), followed by gaming expo E3 and wrapping up with Google’s own developers conference, I/O.
WWDC, E3 and I/O
As is expected from a developers conference, WWDC focused on software and detailed Apple’s latest plaforms: OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. However, it was the introduction of HealthKit with the latter that has added fuel to rumours of an Apple smartwatch, now expected to arrive in October.
We’re expecting to see more hardware from Apple in autumn this year – such as a large-screen ‘iPhone 6’ – and the company has already begun updating other device ranges starting with a new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac and, somewhat surprisingly, a new iPod touch family.
E3 wasn’t expected to deliver much in terms of hardware as the gaming industry showcased its new releases, but Sony threw a curveball with the announcement of a €99 PlayStation TV micro-console arriving in autumn. This came on the back of news that Sony had surpassed rival manufacturer Nintendo in terms of consoles sold.
At Google I/O, updates to the Chromecast streaming stick were unveiled after, just days earlier, a similar Firefox OS-powered device in development had been revealed.
During the I/O keynote from Google, two new smartwatches were featured: the LG G Watch and Samsung’s Gear Live, both operating on the new Google Wear Android platform. Both devices are available for pre-order now on the Google Play store, priced at €199 and ready to ship from early July. Specifications on both watches are very similar, though the Samsung device does have a heart-rate monitor.
But smartwatches be damned; perhaps the most exciting piece of kit unveiled at I/O was Google Cardboard, a low-cost DIY virtual reality headset. Considering the growing maker movement, we can see a lot of crafty techies wanting to get their hands on this one.
San Franciscan start-up Soundhawk wants to make it so that noisy environments don’t disable coversation. Their US$299 Scoop earpiece is still in development and expected to launch later this summer.
This unassuming device looks similar to your average Bluetooth earpiece, but it isn’t there to channel sound from your phone to your ear. Instead, the Soundhawk processes the sound around you, with the help of a connected smartphone, to make it easier to understand the person you’re speaking to even if all around you is aural chaos.
Users can deploy a wireless microphone to increase clarity and their smartphone can be used to alter settings.
Never-ending Slinky machine
With over a week still to go on its Kickstarter campaign, Project NESM’s Never Ending Slinky Machine has topped its target of stg£20,000.
The team pitched its perpetual Slinky treadmill as ‘humanity’s greatest achievement’ but really it’s more of a desktop ornament something like the Newton’s cradle, to help you tune out, get lost in motion and clear you mind. Plus, you also have Slinky to play with.
The first batch is expected to ship in September, and there’s also a build-your-own kit version for the DIY enthusiasts.
Main gadgets image via Shutterstock