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Everything You Need To Know About The New MacBook Pro

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Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its vision for 3D content creation and interaction by introducing a more powerful Surface Book and the new Surface Studio All-In-One computer. Today, it was Apple’s turn to update its hardware lineup.

Apple TV

Apple TV

Apple unveiled a new app for the Apple TV, simply called “TV”. This aggregates all the TV shows and movies from all the media apps installed on Apple TV such as HBO, Starz, and others. The TV app is also available for iPhone and iPad for watching on the go. There is also Siri integration to allow spoken queries such “what football games are on?”.

Macbook Touch Bar Apple

MacBook Pro

There were leaked photos earlier this week of the new MacBook Pro showing a touch panel above the keyboard. Those leaks were officially confirmed as Apple (finally) unveiled new 13” and 15” MacBook Pros. To start off, both versions are slimmer and lighter than their predecessors, feature a touchpad that is twice as big as before, and feature second generation butterfly keyboard switches that were originally introduced on the 12” MacBook.

The 15” version has a quad core Intel i7 processor with AMD Radeon Pro (Polaris) graphics. Apple says the 15” MacBook Pro has 130% faster 3D graphics performance than the outgoing model, 60% better gaming performance, and 57% faster video editing. The 13” version has an i5 or i7 processor and Intel Iris integrated graphics. Both MacBook Pros feature four USB Type C ports which support Thunderbolt 3 as well as other display technologies such as HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA.

The star of the show was the new touch panel above the keyboard called the “Touch Bar”. This is a touch screen strip across the top of the keyboard that can change what it displays depending what application is open. For example, if a music app is open, the Touch Bar will display music playback controls.

In an email app, the Touch Bar can show relevant email shortcuts for sending, composing, and adding contacts to the email. While typing, the Touch Bar can even do word suggestions like you can on the iPhone/iPad keyboard. Finally, Touch ID was built right into Touch Bar on the far right. This not only enables authentication for logging in but also allows Apple Pay authentication in the browser. Siri also has a dedicated space on the Touch Bar. Many applications already have Touch Bar support including the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop.

But wait there’s more! For all of you who were waiting for a new MacBook Air, you’re in luck…kind of. Since it’s been awhile since Apple has made updates to its Air line (see what I did there?), Apple made a version of the new 13” MacBook Pro that eschews the Touch Bar for traditional function keys and only has two USB-C ports. That means the MacBook Air brand is officially dead with the only brands going forward being MacBook and MacBook Pro. Regardless, the Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro should be a worthwhile upgrade for MacBook Air stalwarts.

Business

Salesforce Predicts Shoppers Moving To Mobile Shopping

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mobile shopping

Analytics have confirmed the presence of shoppers to be on their own mobile smartphones. Jeff Barnett, CEO of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, shares his team’s vision on what’s to come for commerce in 2017. Shoppers are spotted to be taking their shopping online, strictly on mobile devices. Reports of a rate of 47% of orders from smartphones on U.S. sites grew in a span of a year alone, with costs of $2.08 worth of average spending on across U.S. E-commerce sites. In total, 4% of total traffic growth are summit to U.S. digital commerce sites. The data is looking at an uprise on mobile shopping, but in a downgrade on traditional brick and mortar retail. 

Discussion on stores making the ultimate decision on either changing their platform or to simply die off are being requested by retailers demanding flexibility in stores. The statics for mobile shopping means a decrease in retail profits. Customers have their attention on their mobile devices, neglecting traditional shopping. This forces retailers to upgrade and expand their business to newer areas.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers should shift themselves to mobile in order for their business to stay afloat. Selling online will keep the business staying competitive and consumer needs met. A majority of customers are already online, all retailers need to do is meet with them there. Distribution is made to be an easier process, with the supply being from one location. Already predicting the end of ATMs, shoppers are beginning to ditch cash with cards. With cards, customers are able to get more purchases to be conducted with extreme convenience. This is a win for both parties.

About 15% of U.S. malls will be disposed or will be converted into non-rental spaces within the next 10 years. Within 15 to 20 years, Howard Davidowitz, a retail consultant expects a near estimate of half of America’s shopping malls to fail. More and more retailers are moving their business online to secure their awareness.

“Three trends are upon us, AI, mobile, and chat, put them together, add water and shake, and what do you get, a long abated killer app for mobile commerce”. Rama Ramakrishnan, the Chief Data Scientist says. 2017 will be the year when AI chatbots for commas will soar and shift into mainstream across all stages of the shopping experience. “This time next year, we’ll look back and wonder how we ever shopped without them”.

With the promise in accelerated delivery, the mobile shopping experience is only improving. Prediction that our own voices will be the next user interface for shopping in 2017. Through services like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, consumers can do more than web searches, but can also purchase products and services online as well. Customer centricity is becoming everyone’s main task on the use of mobile shopping. Without predicting what consumers want, through online history and searches customers can get exactly what they want in their own time of need.

The new shopping method seems to be in favor of the consumers, with new features created to cater shoppers. The evolution of shopping has changed drastically due to technology advancements, their efficiency has allowed many opportunities to open. Although the benefits are in reach for most, traditional retailers much adapt well in order to catch up with the competition. Once the adjustment is complete, finding customers and companies will be much easier.

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Business

Useless Phrases You Need to Stop Using in Your Emails

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useless phrases

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans think that email is important to doing their jobs. Despite this fact, many of us are not good at it. Mastering the art of getting to the point is crucial especially if you consider that 66% of emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. With this in mind, keep these useless phrases off your emails.

Please be advised

Many people use this because it sounds professional but it is also unnecessary. Be concise. The recipient already knows it’s important.

Please do not hesitate to contact me

This is one of many useless phrases that communicates the obvious. Email is a form of communication and it is expected that you will reply if it is important.

I Think

Senders usually include an ‘I think” to soften a blow. However, this phrase tells the recipient that you’re not sure of yourself. Whenever you’re communicating in emails or real life, you need to be confident. You also risk that the recipient disregarding your opinion of you use this phrase.

Enclosed/Attached please find

Nothing can actually be enclosed or attached in an email. This phrase is used when the sender wants to avoid using “I”. It seems minor, but it’s better to use “I attached…” to make your email more direct.

I hope you are well

This phrase is usually used on 3 occasions: when you want to hit the recipient with something unpleasant and when you want to feign closeness.  If you are genuinely concerned about the person, ask them directly and avoid using this filler line.

To Whom It May Concern

There are only a few situations when this phrase is appropriate. If you know the recipient, address them directly. If you don’t, avoid using this unnecessarily formal phrase. The phrase also makes you sound unconfident.

Sincerely Yours

In the days of snail mail, this phrase was the norm. However, in the digital age, it seems stiff and very formal. Instead of using this phrase, use “Cheers” or “Thank you” or just sign you name.

Sorry to bother you

Opening an email with an apology undermines our credibility. Instead of apologizing, get straight to the point. Tell them why you’re contacting them instead of hiding behind apologies.

To be honest with you

This is tricky. It is commonly used when you want to soften a blow or when you want to be candid about something. However, it also tells the recipient that you might not be honest before.

You should

“You should” implies that you make their decisions for them. Avoid using this phrase unless they’re asking you for advice.

No problem

When people use “no problem”, there is actually a problem and you’re softening them up. Instead of useless phrases like “no problem”, use “you’re welcome” or “sure thing” to avoid miscommunication.

I’ll try

We all live in a world ruled by calendars and deadlines and “I’ll try” sounds wishy washy. This phrase does not instill confidence in your abilities. It can also make you seem disengaged or not fully committed to your project.

As I mentioned before

It seems like your explaining the same thing over and over again. Instead of making it seem like your repeating yourself, try to be considerate. Get to the point even if it seems like you’re repeating yourself.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you

This phrase is totally unnecessary because it opens a whole can of things totally unrelated to your purpose. Instead of beating around the bush, let the recipient know what it is you can do for them.

I completely understand how you feel

Before you type this phrase to your email, stop and think if you’ve been in their shoes before. These types of useless phrases can sound thoughtful and well-intentioned but it can also come off as condescending and distanced. Emails are the currency in the business world. While proper courtesy is important, rambling and improper phrases can hurt your credibility. Eliminating these phrases from your email ensures that your email is well-received.

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Technology

How To Choose The Right VR Headset

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vr headset

If you’re a techie, you’ve probably heard of virtual reality (VR). This technology has been popping up during the last few years and is becoming mainstream. According to technology experts, VR headset use will reach up to 500 million units by 2025. Not only is it being used for recreation so that users can virtually jump into the best experiences without leaving their homes, it also has widespread application in the fields of education, business, health care and other industries. People are naturally curious about this nascent technology and are looking for VR headsets to get their feet wet. Here are some factors to consider if you’re choosing a new VR headset.

Price

VR headsets have a wide range of prices ranging from cheap to very expensive. If you just want to test the waters, try to look for something more affordable. There are many headsets around the $40 mark that won’t break the bank. According to some online reviews, the View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer provides decent entertainment for anybody in the family at a reasonable price.

Customizable Features

A good VR headset needs to be customizable to make your viewing experience a good one. Many people are flocking to buy the Google Cardboard but it is very basic and limited in what it can do. to enhance and make a user’s viewing experience great so that they will want to use the VR headset again, it needs to options like smartphone adaptors so that you can use it in conjunction with your phone, focus wheel and decent ergonomics so that it is comfortable. Aside from this, look for VR headsets that have more sophisticated built-in controls like tracking sensors, controllers or their own screens. These features will help you achieve the best viewing experience and the needs of other people when you let them borrow it.

Content

The whole point of buying a VR headset is so that you can immerse yourself in new experiences. A good VR headset has a good breadth of content so that users can enjoy them to the fullest. Try to find headsets that have affordable experiences like going on adventures with Batman in Gotham City or roaming the earth with Jurassic era dinosaurs. How about swimming the deep blue sea with dolphins?

Before buying, check out the manufacturer’s available content to see its breadth. Aside from this, content also needs to be affordable. Remember, there are VR headsets that are expensive so if you want to get your money’s worth, there has to be limitless content available for your enjoyment.

Design

A VR headset also needs to have good design. It has to be ergonomic so that it sits comfortably on your face. There are headsets that are so comfortable you forget that you’re wearing them. There are many headsets in the market. The Google Cardboard for example is very affordable and easy to use. You just snap them to your smartphone like a scuba mask and you’re ready to go. While the experience is somewhat fun, the cardboard can be uncomfortable on the face and the surface tends to feel scratchy. Find something more comfortable if you have the budget.

Compatibility

VR headsets are still an evolving technology. While there is great promise in the market and the public is eager to try out this new piece of technology, there is still a big room to grow. This is why users should buy a VR headset that has good compatibility. There are headsets that can only be used with Android or iOs platform. There are others that have their own screens and cannot b upgraded. When it comes to this kind of technology it is better to find something that is flexible so that you can upgrade your phone or software without having to upgrade your VR headset.

Virtual Reality has been called as the “next big thing”. According to some experts, this technology will soon take over our lives and using it will become normal in the near future. For now, VR headsets make a cool birthday gift or a treat to yourself for a job well done. Whichever headset you choose, find something that is within your budget with good content and flexibility.

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