Pottery Barn’s AR app will preview your future furniture

When you’re looking to purchase the perfect couch for your living room, you probably want to make sure that it looks good next to your end table. Pottery Barn hopes to entice shoppers into its stores with a new augmented reality app set to do just that when it launches later this month.

3D Room View will give you the option to see any Pottery Barn product in any of your existing rooms, even if it’s empty. You will be able to add, move and remove furniture, rugs, lamps and pillows and change the color of the pillows and upholstery. Two other AR apps will be available later this month, too: one to help teens design their own rooms around a desk from Pottery Barn and another that shows you couches in 360-degrees. Why you’d need a separate app to spin a couch around is anyone’s guess, however. Update: these last two are web-based tools for desktop and mobile, not native apps.

The new Pottery Barn app is made possible by Google’s Tango, an augmented reality technology that’s already been used by BMW and the Gap (as well as by mummy-studying scientists). Unfortunately, there are only two Tango-enabled phones, the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR; you’re out of luck if you have an iPhone or any other Android handset. The app is also only available in the San Francisco Bay area for now, with plans to roll out across the country later this year. Sorry, east coasters. Update: The app itself is available to everyone, but the pilot program that pairs interested customers with design specialists who can show the Tango-enabled tools in-store is only in the San Francisco area.

Ikea and Lowe’s already offer AR apps, while East-coast competitor Wayfair launched its own last November. Pottery Barn isn’t really innovating so much as playing catch-up. Still, if there’s one way to get a bunch of Silicon Valley tech bros to boost your bottom line, it’s with a gimmicky smartphone app.

Via: SF Chronicle

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Does the iPad Air have a future at Apple?

During its “Hello Again” keynote in Cupertino today, Apple debuted its newest MacBook Pro as well as an overhaul of Final Cut Pro X and an all-in-one video entertainment app simply titled, TV. But surprisingly, there was not a word spoken about iPads.

First, a quick recap: The iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 were both released in 2013. They then both received updates the following year with the release of the Air 2 and the tepidly received Mini 3. But in less than a year, Apple had already moved on to something newer, bigger and more expensive. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch dropped in September 2015, along with the iPad Mini 4, and was joined by a retina-enabled 9.7-inch Pro this past March.

That means we haven’t seen a new iPad Air in two years. And while the older models are still receiving OS updates, their A8 processors are decidedly pokey when facing the Pro’s A9x. In fact, benchmark tests indicate that the A9, which is really a desktop chip crammed into a tablet, performs nearly twice as well as the previous version.

So if Thursday’s event is any indication, it would appear that Apple is far more focused on its Pro models than the rest of its products. Just as today’s announcement of three new MacBook Pros — the base model of which offers similar specs to the existing MacBook Air at a slightly higher price — likely spells the eventual end of the MacBook Air line, Apple’s recent release of the 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros could be bad news for the older iPads.

This timing — release, update within a year, then nothing for the next two — does not bode well for the iPad Air line, especially with the more recent release of the Pros. What’s more, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro offers superior performance in the same form factor as the Air 2 for just $ 200 more. So why would Apple keep the Air 2 around when it could simply eliminate the model and force consumers to shell out an extra two bills for the Pro? Remember this is a company that recently eliminated the iPhone 7’s headphone jack in favor of selling us $ 180 wireless AirPods and just today rolled out a series of laptops that can’t connect to any peripheral you already own without an adapter.

In the end, there’s no way to confirm that this is the end of the line for the iPad Air. Apple is notoriously secretive when it comes to upcoming product announcements. There are some unsubstantiated rumors that the next Mini could be announced in the spring of 2017, and maybe the Air will be brought along, but we’ll have to wait for March to find out.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “Hello Again” event.

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Driverless cars could be the future of racing

Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to Thunderhill Raceway for the first Autonomous Track Day. We caught up with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and event organizer Joshua Schachter to find out if driverless cars will ever race themselves. “That would be fun,” said Schachter. “We have to make sure it’s interesting. If it’s just robots driving perfectly, that’s not exciting.”

“I think we’ll figure it out.”

We also check in with George Hotz, originally famous for unlocking the iPhone and now builder of driverless cars. Hotz shared his story of how he got involved with autonomous technology through a disagreement with Elon Musk.

“Elon Musk was originally going to give me money to build this for his Tesla,” said Hotz of his driverless car. “Elon changed the deal at the last minute, said no…[I] bought this car, made it drive itself.”

TRANSLOGIC

  • Click here to find more episodes of Translogic
  • Click here to learn more about our host, Jonathon Buckley

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