From the President’s Desk – July 2017

posted in: July 2017 | 0

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This is an exciting month! There’s so much to be celebrating. 2017 is going to bring some amazing developments in computing. Last month we talked about some of the hardware announcements at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. This month we’re going to delve into some of the announcements that they made surrounding the Operating Systems — iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads, and macOS High Sierra for the Mac.

Apple’s success in helping developers create unique and innovative applications, has come from its ability to create powerful programming libraries for the developers to use. As an example, last year they introduced “Metal”—their programming library to take advantage of graphic intensive functions—which replaced the aging OpenGL (GL stands for Graphics Library).

This year, Metal 2 was announced, along with some amazing additional Libraries—ARKit, VR Kit, and MLKit. While VRKit may be easily associated by most people as being a Virtual Reality programming library, what’s really taking the developer world by storm, are ARKit and MLKit.

ARKit is an augmented reality library. Imagine looking through your iPhone’s Camera, only to see virtual objects perfectly overlaid on top of real world objects like tables and walls. The computing prowess required to code the iPhones ability to track corners and objects on the screen as you move around would be a Herculean feat for most, but by removing the complexity and providing a set of instructions to tap into this functionality, Apple has opened this technology up to any developer.

A great example of this is a video I saw the other day of a developer using the iOS 11 beta to create a doorway into another (virtual) dimension—just for fun, and as an example of the technology. I’ve linked to it below.

What is MLKit? The ML stands for Machine Learning—a programming library to make it easier for developers to add machine understanding or machine intelligence to their software. We’ve yet to see any examples of how developers are taking advantage of this new code library, but it heralds a time where artificial intelligence may become far more mainstream.

Up until now, most of these functions have been the exclusive domain of the manufacturers like Apple themselves with Siri, Amazon with Alexa, and Microsoft with Cortana. Apple is commoditizing the capability, and as history has shown, there are some very imaginative programmers out there, and we’re very excited to see what some of them are going to create.

Announcing the Winner of the Summer iPhone 7 Plus Draw


Who will be the winner of our 2017 Summer Draw? Partly due to an erroneous posting that there were only 5 days left to buy tickets to the draw, we sold out in early June! We still have our regular draw prize running though, where a winner will be able to choose from one of either an L2520DW Brother Laser Printer, two hours of tutoring with Alan Perry, or a $50 iTunes Gift Card. Sadly, I won’t be there to give away the prize, but it looks like it will be an amazing meeting.

Enjoy yourselves this month, and have a wonderful summer!!

Aitan Roubini
President, Victoria Macintosh Users Group