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May 4, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s The Wizard of Oz: a family-friendly feast

Jack Yan/14.29



Ross Brown

I truly hope Francesco Ventriglia’s The Wizard of Oz will be performed all over the world, because this family-friendly ballet has all the ingredients for first-time and seasoned watchers alike. What we saw at the world première tonight in Wellington were skilful dancing, moments of contemplation, beautiful staging and design, and a masterful matching to the music of Francis Poulenc.
   Based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, rather than the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, audiences are helped by the familiar storyline, which is common to both. Ventriglia keeps the basic idea but takes some different parts from the book compared to the well known film, and in the adaptation to a ballet enhances certain scenes. The structure is of a classical ballet, as are many of the dance moves, including some neatly executed lifts and catches in two pas de deux in Act II, between the Prince and Princess of Porcelain (William Fitzgerald and Laura Jones on opening night), and the Wizard (Fitzgerald again) and Dorothy (Lucy Green).
   Ventriglia forgoes the cyclone in favour of a simpler Dorothy in hospital with a coma, watched over by her Uncle Henry (Sir Jon Trimmer), but once she is deposited in the land of the Munchkins, you know that the action has started. The use of this device is very personal to Ventriglia, and can be traced back to when he was five years old in Genova, when he noticed that a girl in isolation in a children’s hospital had gone from her bed one day. His mother told him that she had gone to the Emerald City in the Land of Oz.
   A blue sky backdrop links each scene with Dorothy, and on its first appearance in Act I, lights up one’s mood. Gianluca Falaschi, The Wizard of Oz’s designer, approaches the set with both creativity and sensibility. Doors open up revealing different scenes behind the sky set, depending on the context, but it works well, giving the stage additional depth. Watch out for both the Emerald City, which borders on a bright discothèque—and no, there are no shades of 1974’s film The Wiz here—and the Kingdom of Porcelain, which is revealed in the second act. There is one beautiful touch near the close of the second act where the Wizard offers to take Dorothy away, but the fear of revealing spoilers prevent me from telling you just what Falaschi has created.
   The costumes deserve extra mention. Glinda, the Witch of the North, danced by Abigail Boyle with plenty of movements en pointe, sparkled with a bright white costume that featured 1,000 sequinned butterflies, giving her an other-worldliness; this contrasted Dorothy’s simpler farm dress that Falaschi says took its cue from the film. Dorothy’s multiple costume changes—her "saucer tutu" for the Porcelain scene, for instance—hint at the chequered pattern of her original dress, so audiences are clear that Green is dancing in the same role. The Witch of the West (Mayu Tanigaito) only has the Flying Monkeys for her allies in this version, but she enters the stage looking sinister, her outfit having connections to more adult themes but considerably toned down for a family audience. The Flying Monkeys, meanwhile, are bare-chested but masked while they are under her spell, wearing large, black skirts. Elaborate, dominating movements convey their evil intent, while the chandeliers and prison cage on the set contrast with the simplicity of the blue sky of Dorothy’s world.
   Scarecrow (Loughlan Prior) deserves additional mention since he is the first character to follow Dorothy and, therefore, has a greater role on stage; Prior’s floppy, soft movements convey his character’s construction neatly. Tin Man (Massimo Margaria)’s metallic detailing on his outfit wasn’t as easily seen and almost looked as though he was wearing a body colour, but thankfully this newer interpretation allowed the ballerino much freer movement. Jacob Chown got into his Lion character from his first moment on stage, right through to when he took a bow.
   Felipe Domingos, as the Guardian of the Emerald City cut a distinctive figure with his flowing movements, and shone in his first scene; Harry Skinner’s Yellow Cat, chasing after the mice played by Linda Messina and Tonia Looker, was a particularly likeable comedic performance (though one wonders why the cat is bigger than the dog: Toto is a stuffed toy in this version). Watch out, too, for a tap-dancing scene as Green dons red shoes instead of the Silver Shoes from the book.
   Falaschi is inspired by 1930s bathing costumes, flapper dresses and cloches, and a bellhop’s uniform for the Guardian, all of which he works in to give The Wizard of Oz, a visual feel that is its own. In all, 37 new costumes were created for the production.
   Jason Morphett’s lighting was particularly clever, as Falaschi’s box set forced him to use lights in the corner. He based his concepts on Poulenc’s music, which lent itself well to visuals thanks to its lyrical nature. I tend to find lyrical scores can paint a scene better than those founded on sound effects, and the compilation of various Poulenc compositions, compiled by RNZB pianist Michael Pansters from two dozen recordings, worked well as a complete ballet. Ventriglia calls the score ‘very cinematic,’ and that seems a very apt description.
   As detailed in our preview, the ballet began life as an unperformed, single-act ballet, which Ventriglia first conceived when artistic director of Maggio Danze in Firenze. There is an additional meaning here, as Ventriglia, who hails from Italy, has had to ask himself just what ‘home’ means, as Dorothy had to discover: ‘My conclusion is that home is where you feel grounded and comfortable within yourself,’ he writes in the programme. ‘For me that place is the dance studio.’
   The work, he writes, has been adapted to the dancing style of the company and the new inspirations he has found in New Zealand since his arrival a year and a half ago.
   The Wizard of Oz achieves its aim of being a big-story ballet that appeals to everyone, and audiences will be delighted at this latest production.
   The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Wizard of Oz kicks off in Wellington on May 4, and will visit nine centres around New Zealand: Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Rotorua, Auckland, Palmerston North, and Napier. Further information can be found at the Royal New Zealand Ballet website, www.rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher


April 26, 2016

The big reveal for HTC’s 10 smartphone in New York

Lola Cristall/10.59


New York rolled out the red carpet for the big reveal of HTC’s newly and much awaited 2016 flagship smartphone earlier in April. Weeks before, the industry were enthusiastically anticipating the state-of-the-art HTC 10. Its sleek look, elegant structure and slightly oblique curves radiate with sophistication.
   The aluminium unibody Android stores up to 27 hours of power, thanks to the company’s PowerBotics component that enhances battery life. The up-to-date Qualcomm Snapdragon processor accelerates speed and connectivity with impressive graphics. Other innovations include their BoomSound Hi-Fi edition for stunning sound quality. Additional features include a rough textured power button, a concealed SIM card slot and volume control. A dual-tone LED flash, a laser autofocus, a back-illuminated sensor (BSI), front and back UltraPixel cameras with optical image stabilization (OIS) for pictures and selfies, permitting the photographer to evade the unwanted blur. The 12 Mpixel camera can capture moments in a flash (literally) in a speed of 0·6 seconds. Other features also include face detection and a self-timer. The scratch and damage-resistant glass covers a high-resolution 5·2-inch screen with 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, a whopping pixel density of 564 ppi. The metal body and rigorous glass front beautifully complement each other to provide a robust handset that can withstand scratches and scrapes.
   It is a delicate, elegant gadget with a fingerprint sensor, which can speedily detect the user unlocking the device in 0·2 seconds, and an easy-to-navigate touch-screen, all in the comfort of one’s hand. HTC 10 will officially be released in May and will be available in two shades, including grey and silver.—Lola Cristall, Paris editor


Panos Emporio revolutionizes men’s swimwear with Meander, launched in Stockholm today

Lucire staff/8.00



The swimwear designer Panos Papadopoulos, whose Panos Emporio label celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is breaking new ground once again, this time in relation to men’s swimwear.
   Panos Emporio, which is known in many countries for giving women the perfect fit, addresses the needs of the modern man, with a new design, Meander.
   The launch today at NK in Stockholm is one which Panos Emporio has put a great deal of energy into: the new design is set to do for men’s swimwear what Panos’s earlier design, the highly adaptable Paillot, did for women’s swimwear in its markets.
   However, Meander is set to reach more than Panos Emporio’s traditional markets in the Nordic countries and Thailand, and there has already been interest from beyond these nations.
   Again it was Panos’s own sociological background—it is the area he formally trained in—that kicked in, allowing him to observe something other designers missed. He also credits his Greek background—he was born in Greece before emigrating to Sweden in the 1980s—and notes that the ancient Greeks had records of early swimwear.
   He observed a few trends: the long trunks in men’s swimwear as surf fashion began influencing the genre in the 1990s, yet such styles restricted men’s movement in sports and swimming. Anatomically, Panos notes that men found current swimming trunks to be uncomfortable. There was an unhygienic trend also emerging, with some men preferring to swim with their underwear on, while there were more beaches banning the practice of men swimming in their underwear in lieu of proper swimming shorts.
   Finally, and perhaps most critically, men were rolling up the legs of their swimming trunks, for either movement, practicality, fashion or more complete tanning—he saw not only everyday men do this, but Giorgio Armani, and footballers Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Zlatan Ibrahimović.
   Meander addresses all these needs with a number of features. For starters, wearers can roll up the legs on the Meander design, and fasten them. Inside, there’s a mesh lined inner brief that’s extra soft and comfortable, so there are no more anatomic issues. Finally, the fabric is quick-dry.
   Panos has improved the design to make it more stylish, and the resulting first style for Meander recalls his Greek heritage.
   ‘Meander is a revolution, giving freedom for men to decide for themselves how their swimming shorts should fit them. They’re suitable for showing off well trained thighs, and those who want to avoid zebra stripes [when they tan]. Who wants to walk around with different shades on their thighs?’ he notes.



April 21, 2016

Renault releases first details of Koleos II, its most upscale SUV yet

Jack Yan/13.11

We had anticipated this announcement since Salvatore Marti, operations’ manager of Renault New Zealand, told us to wait till April 21 to see photographs of the Koleos II, the company’s latest SUV.
   He never said Renault Maxthon, which was the name bandied about by the media for part of 2016. There’s a logic to having another name with a hard k sound at the start, tying in to Captur and Kadjar, Renault’s other own-brand SUVs.
   We had been concerned that the new Koleos wouldn’t match the Kadjar in looks, since the current model was conceived by Samsung of Korea, one of Renault’s subsidiaries, and never had the flair of some of its rivals.
   Marti assured us that we shouldn’t worry, and he was right: Koleos, which has the same 2,705 mm wheelbase as the Nissan X-Trail, is arguably better looking than the Kadjar. It’s also slightly bigger, in the same way the X-Trail is bigger than its sister car, the Nissan Qashqai, by the same amount. Both sets of Renault’s and Nissan’s SUVs are on Renault’s CMF–C/D platform.
   However, the Koleos will only be a five-seater, with Renault design boss Laurens van den Acker saying that the company was already catering to the seven-seat market with its Scénic IV and Espace V.
   The grille is similar to that of the international (as opposed to the Chinese-market) Renault Talisman, which had been fêted as the Most Beautiful Car of the Year by the Festival Automobile International in Paris. It also ties in to the look of the Renault Mégane IV. It appears that Renault is looking to target more upscale buyers with the Koleos.
   The Koleos II is one of the débutantes at the Beijing Motor Show next week, with CEO Carlos Ghosn officially unveiling it on the 25th. It will be built in Wuhan for the Chinese market, but no announcement has been made on where other countries’ Koleoses will be sourced from. Chinese buyers will get 2·0- and 2·5-litre petrol models, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
   The Koleos II will be sold in New Zealand, but the Kadjar will not, said Marti.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 18, 2016

Fashion Cities Africa gives a snapshot of four cities on a varied, rich continent

Jack Yan/3.51

The second largest continent on the planet is, logically, home to a massive number of fashion designers and movements, although out of Africa, there hasn’t been as much recognition of them till recently. Fashion Cities Africa, the book, inspired by the exhibition of the same name at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery that opens at the end of April, is one high-profile development which seeks to shine a light on the variety present on the continent, while on a similar note, next month’s Africa Fashion Festival in Wellington will do the same for its designers.
   Hannah Azieb Pool, who edits the new book, is a Eritrean-born, London-based journalist, who, along with Helen Jennings, has co-writing duties, resulting in a cohesive, beautifully presented book that examines contemporary fashion in Nairobi, Casablanca, Lagos and Johannesburg. It doesn’t pretend to be a fully comprehensive guide, stating from the outset it is meant to provide mere glimpses on a continent that is incredibly diverse. The foreword by Binyavanga Wainaina, a flâneur, reminds us that there are clusters scattered throughout the land that have their own tendencies, and that her favourite designer is Nigerian, Chioma Chukwulozie.
   The reader is thrown in to the colour of Nairobi, where sibling bloggers Velma Rossa and Papa Petit (a.k.a. Oliver) take one half of the first spread with their über-stylish and proudly urban Kenyan clothes, and stylists, musicians, designers, bloggers and artists profiled on following pages give slices of their lives that shake occidental sensibilities with their own palettes and ensembles. Nairobi, for the most part, emphasizes comfort, and the clothing shot on these pages by Sarah Marie Waiswa demonstrate that the city’s fashion could easily translate to other places, spanning everything from casual to luxury. Adèle Dejak has shown in Milano, for instance, and appeared in Vogue Italia with her collaboration with Salvatore Ferragamo, while John Kaveke and Nick Ondu show the sort of sartorial elegance that could easily influence menswear in other fashion capitals.
   Profiles of some of the personalities from the city follow, reminding us that Nairobi is a crossroads: Ami Doshi Shah is of Indian descent, her family brought there by the British when both countries were under Crown rule, while Ann McCreath is a Scots émigrée who fell in love with the fashion there. There’s a dose of youthful energy, too, with Anthony Mulli, a jewellery designer who started when he was 16, pointing the way forward.
   The book follows a similar structure for subsequent cities, moving on to Casablanca next.
   Lucire readers will be familiar with Morocco thanks to travel editor Stanley Moss’s writings, and Jennings’ chapter, with photographs by Deborah Benzaquen, takes us on a similar journey through the country’s largest city. It was, of course, a home for Yves Saint Laurent at one point, as well as a drawcard for many western celebrities, when a first wave of Moroccan designers became known outside of the region. A second wave, Jennings explains, emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, with Zineb Joundy a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. A greater sense of artistic freedom and Casablanca’s position that blends Arabic, European and indigenous cultures has resulted in some looks that may seem familiar—perhaps thanks to the likes of Saint Laurent and his influence. Again the profiles are well selected, a cross-section of the highly varied cultures in the city: Amine Bendriouich, Amina Agueznay, Yassine Morabite, Saïd Mahrouf, and Zhor, Chadia and Aida Raïs each cover a very different parts of the fashion spectrum, from T-shirts to traditional caftans.
   Once the book gets to Lagos, it’s apparent that there’s a sense of “bubbling under”, with Lakin Ogunbanwo’s photographs, paired with Jennings’ words again, showing slightly more subdued looks for men, but prouder, more flamboyant looks for women. Jennings notes that civil war and Nigeria’s military juntas stalled its fashion scene for some years, before a revival when democracy returned in 1999. Foreign labels were seen as cool till recently, with the country discovering its confidence in its own æsthetic, to the point where one of her interviewees, stylist Bolaji Anumashaun, says that fashion can be one of Nigeria’s ‘greatest exports’. Anumashaun founded thestylehq.com with a pan-African fashion focus, and Arise magazine, founded in 2008, also stepped up the promotion for Nigerian designers. With Nigeria’s GDP now greater than South Africa’s, that confidence is bound to increase, and Jennings looks at Nike Davis Okundaye, who owns the biggest gallery in West Africa in Lagos, and happy to promote young talent. Others, such as Yegwa Ukpo and Amaka Osakwe, both were schooled in the UK before returning to Lagos to found their brands, while PR consultant Zara Okpara and luxury concept store owner Reni Folawiyo complete their city’s picture.
   Johannesburg completes Fashion Cities Africa, and it’s perhaps fair that Pool chose to put it last. Many mistakenly think of South African fashion when they refer to ‘African fashion’, spurred in part by the Republic’s sporting ties to many other countries in the Commonwealth. Victor Dlamini has the photographic duties here, and Pool pens the words, and she goes through the various Jo’burg neighbourhoods, noting that its fashion is more established than Nairobi’s but less self-conscious than Lagos’s. There is a western infusion here in some parts, she notes, but on closer examination there are accessories that reference Soweto streets or Zulu culture. The city even has two fashion weeks: South Africa Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, making the city spoiled for choice when it comes to giving its designers a platform. David Tlale, whom Lucire readers will have heard of, and who has shown at New York Fashion Week, hails from here, and Jo’burg designs have a greater sense of familiarity thanks to western media exposure. It oozes colour and vibrancy, much like the photos chosen for Pool’s first chapter on Nairobi, and in similar fashion (pun unintended) there are profiles from across the spectrum: designer Thula Sindi, creative collective, the Sartists, accessories’ and shoe designer Maria McCloy, and womenswear designers Marianne Fassler and Anisa Mpungwe.
   It’s our hope that we can cease talking about ‘African’ fashion and instead replace the dialogue with specific cities or countries, just as we do for smaller continents such as Europe. Just as there is no such thing to fashion observers as ‘European’ fashion, there is equally no such thing as ‘African’ fashion: it is impossible to generalize at a continental level. Both as an informative volume and a coffee-table flick-through (as it is softcover), Fashion Cities Africa succeeds, and it’s exceptionally good value with full-colour photographs (needed for its story, over 196 pp.) at £20 (available via Amazon UK here, or Book Depository here) or US$28·50, (Amazon link here). It is published this month by Intellect Books, as part of its Street Styles series.—Jack Yan, Publisher

April 16, 2016

Kasia Smutniak launches Mya special edition of Lancia’s last car, the Ypsilon, at Spazio Arôme in Milano

Jack Yan/12.09



We might as well enjoy it while it lasts, because this is the last Lancia.
   With the demise of the Delta—one of our favourites—in 2014, there’s a single model line left for the fabled Italian brand: the Ypsilon. After that, Lancias will be no more, the 110-year-old brand being consigned to history as Fiat kills it off.
   The Ypsilon is effectively the successor to the old Autobianchi superminis such as the A112 and Y10, a marque which had also disappeared, after once being the brand where Fiat tried out new concepts such as hatchbacks and front-wheel drive.
   Not even a brand that has had cars such as the Aurelia, Fulvia and Gamma coupés, Stratos and Beta Montecarlo can survive a lack of attention, and the Mya is one of the last editions of Ypsilon that will wear the Lancia badge.
   Fiat’s now busy, of course, with profitable Jeeps and the renaissance of Alfa Romeo, although it still pumped some money into an event in Milano for the Lancia Ypsilon Mya at the Spazio Arôme.
   This special edition sees Polish actress Kasia Smutniak (known to Anglophone audiences for the actioner From Paris with Love) as its spokeswoman, succeeding other Lancia faces such as Carla Bruni.
   The launch used video mapping imaging techniques behind Smutniak, projecting graphics on to real surfaces. Lancia says it sees the Ypsilon Mya as a ‘second home’, with Antonella Bruno, head of Lancia for EMEA even interviewing Debora Conti, a life coach, on the relationship between space and emotion, and Fire Cars’ Annacarla Giusti confirming that the car has style and elegance.
   Admittedly, the tipo 846 Ypsilon, which has been around since 2011, has aged remarkably well, and the shape still has a certain elegance to it. The interior features Alcantara and a denim-look fabric. The exterior sees the addition of two shades—though they are both grey. Ardesia Grey is standard, and a three-layer Lunare Grey comes as an option. Neve White, Vulcano Black and Blu di Blu are also available from the regular Ypsilon line, which sees a palette of 12 colours.
   To give it a subtle lift, there is a satin finish on the front bumper, the lower grille inserts, door mirrors, door handles, the Ypsilon badge on the tailgate, and the Mya logo on the wheel arches.
   The Ypsilon features at the Spazio Arôme this weekend, and that of April 23–4.—Jack Yan, Publisher






April 12, 2016

Aston Martin brand now on exclusive powerboat, Quintessence Yachts’ AM37

Lucire staff/10.51




Quintessence

Aston Martin’s riding a high: from showing off its next-generation car, the DB11, which puts the company back into a competitive position for grand tourers, to releasing the new AM37 powerboat with Quintessence Yachts during Salone del Mobile, the Milanese design week.
   Salone del Mobile will see over 400,000 guests across Milano, and the AM37 will be showcased at the Larusmiani Concept Boutique on via Monte Napoleone from April 12 to 18. On April 13, Quintessence Yachts will hold the worldwide preview of the powerboat.
   ‘The AM37 is the result of years of research and development, challenging the status quo of the nautical world. Fusing the maritime and automotive worlds with the universal characteristics of style and elegance, the core of the AM37 offers the perfect balance of design and engineering, performance and comfort, luxury and functionality,’ said Aston Martin Lagonda in a release.
   The powerboat essentially takes Aston Martin’s design hallmarks and translates them into a cutting-edge nautical form, and is part of the company’s licensing programme, the Art of Living portfolio.
   The company had realized it had built up extensive brand equity, and has a list of licensees or strategic partners.
   Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, said, ‘It is true that a beautiful, simple shape is critical to a product’s success but it must also have drama, which is provided by surface language, proportions, and through the choice of exciting materials. The most important attribute for Aston Martin is the language of design and we have transferred this language into AM37. The new powerboat represents the ideal combination of luxurious and technical materials, generating a powerful yet understated finished product.’
   Quintessence Yachts’ CEO, Mariella Mengozzi, said, ‘At Quintessence Yachts we translate design in functionality and technology to enhance the customer experience. We’re proud to present elements of the AM37 at Milan Design Week, a boat that represents an entirely new concept for the yachting world.’





Quintessence

March 28, 2016

The Apple Iphone 7: what it could have, and what I’d like it to have

Lucire staff/12.29




Apple

Above: Apple launched its Iphone SE last week, but what could be in store for the Iphone 7 in September?

It appears that 2016 is going to be a seminal year for Iphone.
   Not only is 2016 expected to be the first year where growth in Iphone sales does not increase, we have seen the release of a smaller four-inch Iphone SE (where for the first time Apple’s Iphone line will feature three phones, not merely keeping around older models for a lower price point). Now we are expecting to see the Iphone 7 released around September, which may even result in four different phones, as there are rumours of an even larger phablet than the current Iphone Plus model, a possible Iphone Pro.
   But what would I like to see for the Iphone 7 release?
   We are expecting to see a phone that doesn’t markedly differ in outward appearance from the Iphone 6 and 6S (in much the same way as the Iphone 5, aside from a screen size increase, didn’t differ too much in design from the Iphone 4 and 4S).
   There will be some design changes, but from the rumour blogs, the appearance won’t be overly different, especially after a year that saw the change from the Iphone 5S to the Iphone 6. It does appear that Apple will be removing the analogue headphone jack, forcing us to either go Bluetooth, have a Lightning connecting headphone set, or have a converter.
   We’ll get the usual processor increase, possibly a RAM increase (which I consider important—see below as to why), and naturally improvements in camera performance.
   It is this latter item that is on the first of my wish-lists: the camera. The rumours have suggested a dual-lens system, which allows a range of different camera effects to occur—amongst them having multiple focal lengths in the same image, and better performance in low light and multi-light situations—possibly in the Iphone Plus (or Iphone Pro) models as a point of distinction. But there is one area in particular I’d like Apple to make some a profound change: zoom.
   One of the major ways smartphone cameras differ from even most point-and-click ones is the lack of an optical zoom; all the zoom function in smartphone cameras is digital. This means rather than using all the pixels to capture a narrower field-of-view, what digital zoom does is zoom in on those pixels covering that narrower field. Consequently, a digitally zoomed image will have a lower level of quality to it than an equivalent image that has been taken with an optical zoom.
   Apple does a bunch of great software improvements to compensate for this. As a general rule, it is the software that makes an image great, not merely the number of pixels. This is why Apple has maintained a lower pixel count than most smartphone manufacturers, but yet produced better photos for the most part. However, at a certain point you run up against the constraints of physics.
   For instance, Apple introduced optical image stabilization into the camera of the Iphone 6 Plus, where previously digital image stabilization had been present (and still is in the 6 model).
   The dual-lens system may allow for a zoom function somewhere between an optical zoom and a digital zoom, where the dual focal lengths can be manipulated to produce a zoom effect. But regardless of how it is done, I think this is something that Apple really could put effort into as a point of differentiation.
   There are third-party optical lens attachments that you can naturally purchase that, amongst other things, have optical zoom. But, to be honest, how many people want to fiddle with such things on a regular basis? Apple put quick access to the camera on the lock screen for a reason.
   My second wish for the Iphone 7 is something that is quite a departure from prior Iphone development, development that includes such things as progressive camera improvement to include zoom. It’s inspired by something that, believe it or not, comes from Windows Phone.
   When Windows 10 was launched, Microsoft released a number of products alongside it. These included such things as the Surface Pro 4 and the new Surface Book, both of which are excellent machines. They additionally released a couple new phones, one of which was the Microsoft Lumia 950.
   Among the features of the Lumia 950 was the ability to (via a rather ugly dock) connect the phone to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. When the phone detected the dock, it ran a version of the desktop Windows 10 (I say a version, due to the fact that not all desktop apps could run as phone versions, and you were restricted as to what you could install on the phone—primarily, it was Office you could run).
   However, this got me thinking, what if we could do this with an Iphone 7 Plus?
   But rather than running IOS expanded to the screen of the external monitor (which would be silly, as most external monitors are not touch-compatible), the Iphone would detect the dock, and turn on a copy of OS X—the operating system that runs on Macs—that is stored on the phone.
   Given the current maximum disk space on the Iphone is 128 Gbyte, there is space to have OS X stored and running (though I would say 256 Gbyte would then not be out of the question, especially since Apple this week released a 256 Gbyte option in the new 9·7-inch Ipad Pro). I would recommend that RAM be increased, too, which would be possible as a marker of difference on the premium Plus (or Pro) models.
   But, just imagine being able to arrive at your office, plug your phone into the dock, and have a fully functioning version of OS X available to you as your PC? A fully functioning computer that you can keep in your pocket, in small purse, in a jacket, transitioning from location to location without the need to bring multiple devices with you. You will be bringing your phone, so why not make it the only thing you need bring?
   Now, naturally, this machine wouldn’t be anywhere near as powerful as a MacBook Pro, or even a MacBook Air, but it could be equivalent to the 2015 MacBook, for instance, or at least in the ballpark.
   It would also allow Apple to perhaps address an identified issue in OS X.
   OS X is a “mature” operating system. It gets tweaks, appearance and feature improvements now in each release, but the days of the rock-your-world OS X release is behind us. The current iteration, El Capitán, is very and refined. The dynamism in development and boundary-pushing is in IOS, and particularly the IOS App Store. A lot of IOS apps are now arguably better than their OS X equivalents. And one of the things IOS apps can’t do is run on OS X.
   But what if they could?
   I’m not talking about an IOS emulator on OS X (though that might be an interim option certainly), but rather have the ability to run IOS apps natively on OS X, with tweaks that allow it to function better within OS X, in much the same way as different versions of IOS apps run on the Ipad and Iphone. It would really inject some needed energy into OS X.
   A phone that could do so for you, to really be your one-stop shop for your computing needs, would be a point of massive difference for the Iphone.
   Apple would certainly design a less ugly version of the dock than Microsoft did at least.
   Do I honestly expect Apple to do this with the Iphone 7? To be realistic, no, I don’t. It’s too radical a development, but it could be something they could do in the Iphone 7S. And it is something I would like, and use.
   The future of computing is portability (power users aside), as the success of smartphones, tablets, and ultra-portable laptops attest. Such a thing could certainly be in Apple’s bailiwick.
   Though Apple, could I also ask for an OLED screen on the Iphone 7? Always on live-updating widgets on the lock screen that OLED would allow for would be amazing.—Sarah Bickerton

See Sarah Bickerton’s review of the 2015 MacBook here.

Filed under: design, living, Lucire, technology
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