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Unlock my iPhone present the best Xmas gadgets for our readers!

Posted by Unlock Editor on

Unlock my iPhone present the best Xmas gadgets for our readers!

Christmas is always a stressful time of year! With heaving queues and sweating bodies, all jostling for that last discounted-item on the tall shelf in a writhing splendour of limbs that would make a double jointed octopus jealous, then the idea of peace on earth and good will to all our fellow creatures is tested to destruction!

For the team here, who have spent the last twelve months patiently unlocking iPhones, (and delivering excellent customer service), we are just as confused as everyone else in this brave new world about what gifts are appropriate.

So we have taken some time out to have a sit down, a litre of strong black coffee, and a quick journey through some of our favourite tech sites to see what interesting potential gifts are out there!

So we offer you up three that made our short list.

The Anki Cozmo ‘droid’ (that will shortly be on first name terms with your pet!)

As a tech-lover and often concerned observer about what it means for our society and how we interact with one another, the increasing infiltration of AI into our daily lives is something that we at Unlock my iPhone are wary of. AI is an ever-shifting perspective of definitions - something that would be classed as being AI a decade ago now sits behind our playlists and makes suggestions based on our shopping habits. It is creeping into society for very precise purposes.

It’s even in the toys! The Anki robot is designed to link up to your smartphone and learn its way around your home, as well as what you like and how you interact with it, all using sophisticated algorithms and AI. (In the videos on their website, the little robot does seem to display some frustration issues - so let’s hope they don’t start building them any bigger!) (In one video it pushes a serving dish off a tabletop and in another it hurls its gaming cubes off the table in a fit of pique. so if you do get one, don’t leave your unlocked iPhone on the table next to it! Apparently, it likes to be mischievous).

With a display that reflects its emotional ‘feeling’ it is quite a powerful toy that can relate to human beings, who are programmed to look for such things. But the ‘toy’ itself is really very remarkable, and looks like it could the first to herald a new wave of interactivity. Firstly, as its owner, you can update the code and give it certain instructions and parameters to work to - as a means of introducing coding to children, this is an excellent way of getting them interested in a subject that looks likely to dominate the global economy over the coming decades. Secondly, its link to the operating system means that it will be continually updated on the software front, adding to its already impressive features (it is said to be able to recognise faces right out of the box!)

With its ability to recognise and interact, it does make you wonder about the future of such robots. Could they eventually be programmed to aid the elderly who live on their own, watching out for signs of strokes or falls? Such a use isn't what Cozmo is designed for, but I do suspect we will see something like this in the not too distant future. After all, stage three of the company’s roll out is to open up the software so people can make their own ‘apps’ for the robot, so we’ll see thousands of different uses coming over the next few years.

One thing I am left wondering: will I be sitting here next year, servicing orders to ‘Unlock my Anki?’

But in conclusion, you will have to wait a bit beyond Christmas to get your hands on one of these - by all accounts they are sold out already! And they are on the expensive side at £150 or so (some on Ebay are going for an extra £100.00!)

The Apple Watch Series 2

With built in water resistance down to 50 metres, a built in GPS, and a built in heart rate monitor, this is the being feted as the exercise junkie’s dream device (so it’s probably not for me!) But Lady Penelope in the office is looking forward to getting her hands on one - she’s into her triathlons so it’ll be interesting to see her verdict on the device in the next few months.

The Apple Watch 2 has a battery life of 18 hours, which is limiting, especially if you are going to be using it on your travels where power points might not be so available as those in the office or the home. It’s price point is also high - John Lewis has them on their site for around the £600 mark.

The review sites are complementary in their analysis of the watch, yet I feel they do stress that the watch is for a specific audience - mainly as a FitBit ‘killer,’ although the prices for Apple are a lot higher. Out of all my acquaintances, I know only one person who regularly used the first generation of Watch when it came out, and that was because they worked hand in glove with Apple on a number of products and were quite an Apple addict in their way. But like the first iPhone, it did require the second model before it really took off with all its apps, and we at Unlock my iPhone feel that the Apple Watch 2 could be the same jump from its previous offering.

The VR headset from Sony Playstation.

With one newspaper reporting that ‘the future has come early’ with this headset, it seems that Sony have stolen a march on their competitors with an affordable and functional piece of tech that promises much, and seemingly delivers.

Whilst we are not game players here at Unlock my iPhone, we do appreciate the technology that this represents and the engineering that has gone into it. With a built in microphone and audio system, it allows users to enjoy full 360 degree vision.

There is also some great content out there for this headset too: David Attenborough offers a tour in the world’s early oceans in First Life, with an immersive experience in the Cambrian oceans 540 million years ago. Likewise, the island made famous by submarine explorer Jacques Cousteau, Cocos Island off the west coast of Costa Rica, the experience is a shark feeding frenzy that is bound to give you an aching neck from ‘watching your back.’

It is encouraging to think that of the many new generation toys now on offer combine education and experience with entertainment. That is what all good toys should do. In my day, it was the old Meccano with the screws and bolts (not the new updated version with the Allen Keys that has ruined the series since 1990!) that inspired so much learning and interest in engineering. Now, it involves coding too.

Have a great Christmas break to all our visitors and a Happy New Year.

The Unlock my iPhone team.