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Apple Special Event 2019: The Future in Apple's Eyes

Apple announced iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max in Apple Special Event 2019 on September 11th. Almost all new features are leaked before the special event making it "boring". But it can be interesting after looking at their iPhone 11 Pro introduction page. Apple chose to build the most promising cutting edge technologies into the newest iPhone, and we can have a glance of what's the future in Apple's Eyes.

Buy Camera, Get an iPhone 11 Pro for Free.

The apple is selling camera: iCamera. The camera on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro is definitively extraordinary. We can tell from the introduction page: Apple used more than half of the whole introduction webpage for camera marketing. New features in camera: Triple-camera system; Ultra wide; UI interface; 4K video; Night mode; Portrait mode.

Machine Learning ×6

"iPhone 11 Pro is the best machine learning mobile platform." Tim Cook's statement in the special event presentation is definitely true. It has supreme hardware including CPU, GPU, A13 Bionic chip, Neural Engine, and ML accelerators on CPU. It also intended to expose ML computing power to developers, making iPhone a great place for machine learning like federated learning, distributed computing, and edge computing. It's promising for ML field imaging GPU and computing power scarce disappears one day.

U1?

Personally, U1 chip is my favorite for this year's Apple phone. It's the hope to fuel IoT tech. U1 chip is never mentioned in the special event. But it's the very first spatial awareness chip equipped on mobile phone at large scale. Apple writes you can Airdrop face-to-face. "And that's just the beginning." TRUE - a use case in smart home: now you can say "Turn off this light" naturally when carrying your phone.

Privacy is Built in. (To avoid losing money)

Emerging awareness and critics on personal data privacy force Apple and other tech giants to take it seriously. In my opinion, it's hard to tell whether it's good or not. It can be good to earn customer trust. It can be bad hinder ML. Even worse, many companies may choose simply delete all customer data considering the high R&D cost and potential fine. Hence customers cannot benefit from ML.

AR - Augmented Redundant

After many years of investing and development in AR field. It is still only useful for one-time high-cost seems-cool-but-not marketing. It is literately Augmented Redundant.

Last, I like this opening film for Apple Special Event 2019. Enjoy ---

苹果在 2019 年 9 月 10 号的发布会上宣布了 iPhone 11,iPhone 11 Pro 和 iPhone 11 Pro Max。几乎所有的功能都在发布会之前被公布了,所以显得挺无聊。但是从 iPhone 11 的宣传主页上,我看到了一些有意思的东西。苹果使用它认为最先进和最有希望的技术来打造最新的 iPhone,我们可以从中看出苹果认为的未来科技有哪些。

购买相机送 iPhone 11 Pro

其实苹果在发布会上发布的是 iCamera 而不是 iPhone。苹果相机实在超凡脱俗,从新的宣传页上可以看出来苹果这次对照相功能的重视:超过一半的页面都在写苹果新的相机系统和功能,具体包括:带三颗镜头的相机系统,超宽幅照片,新的照相 UI 界面,4k 视频,夜间模式还有人像模式。

机器学习 x 6

“iPhone11 Pro 是现在最好的机器学习移动平台。” Tim Cook 在发布会上所言非虚。硬件上,新的手机包含了 CPU,GPU,A13 生物芯片,神经引擎,并添加了一块机器学习加速器在 CPU上。Core ML 3 开放机器学习能力给开发者们,使得 iPhone 变成一个绝佳的机器学习平台。结合苹果手机的数量以及移动设备的属性,对于机器学习领域来说十分有前景,非常有想象空间:可以用来做联邦学习,分布式学习,边缘计算等。想象一下在未来的某一天,这个世界上到处都是可以使用的 GPU 和算力,足以降低机器学习的成本和入场门槛来让它真正落地成产品。(标题里的 x 6:注意在上图短短三段话里苹果提到多少次机器学习?)

U1 芯片?

对于我来说,最让我激动的新功能在发布会上并没有被提到,我也是事后在看宣传页面上才注意到:U1 芯片。我能够断言,它是物联网领域的希望。这是第 1 个被大规模安装在移动设备上的、具有空间认知能力的芯片。苹果在宣传页面上说到,你使用面对面 Airdrop 时,因为有了 U1 芯片,可以自动重排序可传输设备的列表。宣传页上写到:“这仅仅是开端”,说明苹果对它给予厚望,我们可以好好期待新的应用场景。这句话也非常准确:我可以想到 U1 芯片在智能家居领域的优势和众多使用场景,比如说,你可以直接说“关掉这个灯”。如果有 U1 芯片并且携带手机在身上的话,U1 芯片的空间意识能力可以分辨出来你指的是哪一个灯,并且关掉它,这彻底打破了现在 NLU 的局限,在语音之外加入新的 feature。我认为 U1 芯片对智能家居的重要性,跟 Lidar 对于自动驾驶的重要性是一样的。

自带隐私保护(其实是怕被罚款)

最近新出的一系列法规、罚款,比如 GDPR,加州隐私法案,让所有公司对隐私的关注度和对个人数据的重视程度指数级爆炸上升。苹果以及其他科技大公司开始认真严肃对待隐私问题。在我的观点中,很难说这是一件好事还是坏事,从一方面看,对于用户隐私来说可能是好的消息,防止了一些公司滥用用户数据,避免像 Facebook 一样因为对用户数据(密码)的加密程度不够造成用户损失。但是从另一方面,阻碍了机器学习、大数据、物联网和其他新技术的发展。缺少了个人数据,没有办法做训练,同时高额的罚款导致研究及工程成本上升,一些公司可能直接放弃掉做机器学习,最终的结果还是会回到用户身上,使得机器学习落地困难。

增强现实其实是增强冗余(AR is actually Augmented Redundant)

虚拟显示技术已经有了很多年的投入和开发,但是它仅有的用途还是只用一次性的、高成本的、看起来酷其实没卵用地用来做产品展示页面。

另外,我非常喜欢今年苹果发布会的开场视频,可以在 bilibili 上看:

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