by Joel Saltzman
Most of my friends and clients know that I had been in the wireless business since day one, long before handhelds or even transportable phones existed. They also know that I'm an avid surfer and start my mornings at the beach. My friends used to joke about whether I actually had the technology to make and receive phone calls from the water while surfing. I usually responded that when that became possible, I was retiring. Well it did, and I am now retired from the cellular industry. I still do some wireless IT consulting in regards to business Internet providers, global data roaming, voIP cloud phone services, SD WAN, and Cyber Security though.
I personally use an iPhone, not because I love Apple but because they are more stable and secure than Android devices. I hate the way Apple regularly sneaks nasty features and functions into their software upgrades and never recommend doing a software upgrade just because they pushed it out to you, ...unless it addresses a critical issue on an app you use. I had always recommended my clients to disable the auto upgrade feature and wait a few weeks before doing these software upgrades. I would google "problems with new iOS 12.4" or whatever the new version was and look for the same kind of problems listed. If dozens of people noticed that their battery life now sucked, Id wait for the upgrade "patch". What makes matters much worse this time is Apple burned the bridge of return down so it is no longer possible to go back to iOS 12.3 or anything earlier.
Last week, there was even an article about how Apple modified a standard Texas Instrument chip to give error messages when customers changed out batteries, even if they were genuine. This was done on the new XS, XS+ and XR models in an attempt to make sure all battery upgrades were done at APPLE stores and not 3rd party stores, even those using the same exact OEM parts.
There is no doubt that the android camp is far more advanced in hardware innovation, after all, Samsung makes Apple's top of line Apple X displays. Qualcomm and Intel make the engines (processors). Where Apple excels though is with their Software (operating system), interconnectivity between Apple devices, and security.
So a funny thing recently happened. I've been using a RipCurl watch for the last three years that has the ability to use GPS to track lots of cool information while I'm surfing. It would show me how far I paddled, how far I surfed, how long each wave was in yards and minutes and lots of other cool stats. At the time this product was invented four years ago, it was quite revolutionary. In four years, Ripcurl has upgraded the software numerous times and but only recently came out with a new 2nd generation of the device which was essentially the same, albeit a tad smaller. Meanwhile Apple has had four different iWatch models with tons of software upgrades.
My RipCurl search watch would capture all of my surf session statistics which I could then sync to transfer to my Ripcurl iPhone application so I could see the information more completely than the summary given on the watch itself. As I mentioned, the technology world moves fast and while this was a game breaker four years ago, Apple not only just took took RipCurl's technology, they just advanced it and here is how.
Most Southern California core surfers know about Swellmagnet.com. They are an amazing FREE resource that provides live HD camera feeds at many of the major breaks from Mexico to Malibu. They are my first choice when checking the surf online. Their biggest competitor, Surfline, a corporate conglomerate, offers very quick glimpses of their cams with annoying commercials, unless you subscribe to their "Premium" service for $69.99 per year. While Swellmagnet has far more reliable cameras at my home break, they only have a couple dozen, whereas Surfline has over 500 globally. This meant that I still needed to rely on Surfline cameras for San O, Trestles, C-street, 15th street Del Mar, and Ponto jetty in Carlsbad. Even still, if it weren't for the fact that Surfline also offered a feature called "Camera Rewind" that enabled me to go back and actually see my waves on their pre-recorded camera videos, I would have dumped them by now. While this added feature was cool, it was a time consuming and a pain in the butt process sifting through all of their footage.
Enter the game changer... Surfline's "Surf Sessions"! Here’s how it works: when surfing with a smart watch, your GPS points and timestamps are sent through an algorithm to determine exactly when you’re riding waves…and when you’re not. For each wave the algorithm detects, Surfline generates a clip from its Cam Rewind product and delivers it to your Surfline app. The system then adds approximately 10 seconds to the beginning and end of each wave so you can see your paddle, takeoff, and kickout. As of launch, Surfline Sessions works with Apple Watch (Series 2 and higher). You can choose to track through either the Surfline app or Dawn Patrol. Surfline Sessions is now available following two and a half years of passionate research and development. Ironically, this technology will be coming to Ripcurl too.
Well, I just bought my iWatch four and would have been reporting back how well this thing worked except for one small issue. Mother Nature decided today would be the smallest day of the year for surf. It's ankle high and nothing out there to ride. I'll follow up on how well the Surf Sessions application works ASAP.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.