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It looks like Apple is planning some big upgrades to the Apple Watch 2, with 9to5Mac reporting that the next iteration of Apple's wearable to feature some big improvements.
Apple Watch 2 should feature a FaceTime camera, which will allow you to make video calls directly from Watch 2. One thing that keeps the Watch from really excelling is its constant reliance on the iPhone, something that Watch 2 will hopefully solve. Apple is working on something it's supposedly calling internally "tether-less" that would see Watch 2 having more functionality when not connected to your iPhone.
Battery life is also reportedly set to be improved on Watch 2, where Apple should be able to make the wearable faster, better, and either have similar, if not improved battery life when compared to the current Apple Watch. The last rumor is that there will be a few different models between $1000 and $10,000 - with Apple set to possibly introduce Watch 2 variants based on titanium, tungsten, palladium, or platinum. Prepare your credit cards, people.
Sony hopes its Project Morpheus virtual reality headset will help usher gamers into the VR world, by providing a fast, responsive gaming environment. Richard Marks, director of the Sony PlayStation Magic Labs research division, recently discussed some of the breakthroughs that Project Morpheus offers to gamers interested in VR.
VR is able to create unique gameplay experiences in so many ways, but after testing Project Morpheus, GamesBeat noted that loading a new magazine into a machine gun is a "kind of fun" experience:
"One thing that's surprising to a lot of people is how much fun it is to do things with two hands separately," Marks recently told GamesBeat. "Picking something up and doing something with the other hand to it - humans are really good with that. If you have to paint with just one hand and then move your body around it, it's really hard, but if you can hold the object in the other hand and paint, it's much more effective. You can move the paintbrush or move the object quickly."
When it comes to the current state of virtual reality, the leading handful of companies know and understand what is being developed. All participating companies would like to see VR mature and spread, but can make for awkward situations if each company isn't doing the best that they can.
"We know each other very well," Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's worldwide studios for SCE, in a statement published by Polygon. "Brendan [Iribe, the CEO of Oculus] used to work at Gaikai. Palmer [Luckey, the founder of Oculus], before he started the Kickstarter, we knew him. So we share the same understanding that when a company like ours makes efforts, commercial efforts, as a well-funded company with commercial backing, and they are now as well with Facebook backing."
Previously, Oculus showed concern that a big company would release a mid-quality system - and seemingly was speaking about Sony. Those fears have been publicly alleviated, but there is still so much work left to be done among VR hardware manufacturers.
Don't count Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime as a fan of current virtual reality products, as he recently said "it's just tech." Even with much attention at E3 focused on what we can expect from VR and augmented reality, Nintendo has been relatively quiet regarding the booming technologies.
Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in 1995 and previously found success with AR, but that doesn't mean a Virtual Boy 2 is planned anytime soon. Instead, the company is watching how the Oculus Rift, PlayStation Project Morpheus, and Microsoft HoloLens platforms develop.
"We have knowledge of the technical space, and we've been experimenting with this for a long, long time," Fils-Aime told Polygon during E3. "What we believe is that, in order for this technology to move forward, you need to make it fun and you need to make it social. I haven't walked the floor, so I can't say in terms of what's on the floor today, but at least based on what I've seen to date, it's not fun, and it's not social. It's just tech."
The Apple Watch has created a new revenue stream for Apple, and there is something else the company is able to sell along with the wearable: extra watch bands. Almost 20 percent of Apple Watch customers are purchasing at least one extra watch band, according to data Reuters has received from Slice Intelligence.
Apple hasn't issued a statement regarding the number of smartwatch units sold, but Slice believes around 2.79 million units have been sold. However, the entry-level sports band costs just $2.05 to make and sells for $49 - so there is plenty of extra room for Apple to cash in.
The Black Sport Band, Milanese Loop and White Sport Band appear to be the top three favorite extra bands that consumers are picking up. The Milanese Loop is $149, so consumers are seeking an added bit of luxury with their Apple Watch.
Oculus VR has just approved two new applications for the Samsung Gear VR store, with the two new apps seeing you visit VR-based real-world locations of colleges and restaurants in NYC.
"YouVisit Colleges" lets you take a look through more than 1,000 colleges and universities around world, while "YouVisit Restaurants" lets you explore hundreds of restaurants in and around New York City. These two apps alone "feature more VR experiences than all other apps available in Oculus Store combined" which is quite huge.
Open up the Oculus Store in your Gear VR to check out these two new VR apps.
Golden State Warriors owner Peter Guber, an outspoken supporter of virtual reality (VR) technology, hopes to see VR help sports fans enjoy the viewing experience in a new way. There are a number of different uses for VR, but finding ways to include it to enhance viewer experience of sports could be a great long-term money maker.
"It doesn't replace being here. That's still a different experience," Guber recently told CNBC. "But it is a phenomenally new and exciting method to bring basketball to disparate communities all over the country."
As CEO of the Mandalay Entertainment Group and investor in NextVR, Guber said the live, on-demand VR content from NextVR should be available within the next year. Pricing details are still being worked out, and while content distribution agreements must be completed, there is a great opportunity to push sports entertainment to the next level.
The Apple Watch has given the smartwatch sector and wearables industry a boost, but there is still plenty of work left to be done, according to a survey from UserTesting. In its survey, 38 percent of users said they would recommend it, while 35 percent were passive and 27 percent had negative experiences.
Watch owners seemed most frustrated by third-party apps that have proven to be rather clunky - and despite the Apple Watch showing great potential - there are significant performance problems that must be addressed.
"These survey results are not overwhelming," said Michael Mace, VP of mobile at UserTesting, in a statement published by Forbes. "If Apple wants people to get excited and recommend heavily, it needs to get additional hooks. Third-party apps will be the best way."
With Oculus VR unveiling the Oculus Rift CV1 last week, it should come as no surprise that the special effects arm of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, has worked on a photo-realistic AR and VR experience that throws Star Wars fans into the middle of a new world.
USA Today had some hands-on time with the demo, with ILM showing them the new experience at their ILMxLab development studio. The AR system was powered by iPads, while the VR experience used the Oculus Rift. With an iPad, users can watch a 360-degree scene from any of the characters' points of view, while the VR experience pitted users into a virtual X-wing cockpit, where they can steer the fighter craft through head tilts.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told USA Today: "With image-quality rivaling film. You'll be able to literally step into an alternate reality." Both versions are expected to debut alongside the new film this Christmas".
There are plenty of smartwatches and other wearables hitting the market, but most consumers just don't seem interested enough to buy them, according to a report from eMarketer. Industry forecasts look good, and consumer awareness of wearables is increasing, but trying to convince us to actually purchase a wearable remains difficult.
"Even though the Apple Watch has had early sales success, consumer survey data suggests manufacturers, specifically their marketing teams, have significant work to do in convincing the average person that a smartwatch is as worthy of their time and money as tablets proved to be," said Cathy Boyle, analyst at eMarketer, in the report.
Boyle also admitted that it's difficult trying to gauge the current wearables market, as more products hit the market - and what is categorized as a wearable also tends to change. Even with consumer doubt at the moment, it looks like the future still looks good for manufacturers creating wearables. In February, the Gartner research group said there was 38 percent year-over-year growth - and that trend will likely continue in the future.