Best of CH 2019: Cars + Tech

From the return of the Motorola Razr to a test drive of Volvo's future-forward vision, this year will be remembered for its innovations

This year marks a significant shift in attention and intention. Our reliance on technology is causing more and more self-reflection. We recognize the positive and negative impacts that various types of technology and mobility can have as we devise ways to ensure the former outweigh the latter. Whether that be innovations that aim to be more democratic, those that entertain and inform us, or electric vehicles that drastically reduce mobility emissions, this year positions us perfectly for the beginning of a new decade—and an entirely new era of advancements.

Sonos + Google’s Brilliant Sound Experience

To highlight the integration of Google Assistant into products from home audio leader Sonos, both companies have collaborated on a New York City pop-up experience that aims to emphasize the power and nuance of sound. Unlike other brand-driven immersive destinations, “The Brilliant Sound Experience” has a sonic mission, first and foremost. Guests test out Google Assistant’s impact in audio booths before slinking through three rooms of sound dissection—where visualization couples with a whopping eight Sonos Amps, nine Sonos Ones and 35 Sonos Play:5s…

BMW Recreates 1970 Concept Car: the Garmisch

It should come as no surprise that BMW would present something special at this weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of their involvement with the event. And yet, when their latest concept car rolled onto the stage at the opening party it was clear they’d caught the crowd off guard. They did so in a way automakers rarely do (especially one as hyper-focused on the future as BMW)‚ by digging into an obscure moment from the brand’s past. What started as a personal fascination with a faded photograph for BMW’s senior vice president of design Adrian Von Hooydonk, ended up being an incredible project that recreated a classic concept car: the Garmisch…

Testing the iPhone 11 Pro with Snowboarder Mark McMorris

In the iPhone’s 12-year history, few updates have completely changed its intention or overall appearance. But, with the iPhone 11 Pro (and Max), Apple introduces a first-ever, the triple-camera system—consisting of “mega wide,” (13mm) “wide,” (26mm) and “telephoto” (52mm) lenses. They claim it “combines cutting-edge technology and the legendary simplicity of the iPhone.” Immediately, it’s instinctive to wonder how portraits, landscapes, actions shots, or pet or food photos will come out. What’s evidently clear is how this new iPhone is capable of producing camera-quality photos and videos—and storing and playing them back with lightning speed…

Five Highlights From The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival’s Immersive Virtual Arcade

In the midst of another key film festival on the annual circuit, a space dedicated to immersive programming demonstrates substantial advancements in technology and storytelling for the medium. For years now, the Tribeca Film Festival has been an industry leader in showcasing virtual and augmented reality works. This year might very well be the best yet. The five virtual reality experiences outlined below—found in either the festival’s Immersive Virtual Arcade or Cinema360 theater—are making their world premieres at this year’s festival. There’s a psychedelic trip, several surprise endings, abundant heart and captivating eccentricity. These worlds demonstrate the broad and ever-improving capabilities of the technology—and some of them are so magical, they’d be difficult to leave if the story did not end…

Our Exclusive Video of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS Sedan

If anyone is searching for a signal that it’s a new era at Mercedes-Benz, one need only look at the Vision EQS sedan—and the stand at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show (where it was debuted today) proves it. In our exclusive video, we take you behind-the-scenes to the company’s design studio in Sindelfingen, Germany and speak to some of the people involved in creating it. They offer insight on its evolved design language, new materials and technology…

Interview: Dan Tepfer, the Musician Coding the Future of Concerts

Billed as the future of concerts, Dan Tepfer‘s live show—a solo performance wherein a self-playing Yamaha Disklavier is the only instrument—entrances every attendee. From the intimate-by-choice setting and the Google-branded VR headsets to Tepfer’s winding style, the show captivates with each song and its visual accompaniment—all of which is improvisational and diverges from the original recording. There are rules in music and in coding and, while seeming to break all of them, Tepfer concurrently adheres to both centuries-old and 21st-century rules alike…

The Future-Forward 2020 Polestar 1

Anytime an automaker launches a new vehicle the stakes are high. There are countless questions automakers should answer before bringing a new product to market, yet dealerships are often littered with cars that were given little consideration, with the priority for many brands being making a quick buck. Polestar isn’t interested in that; they understand that those days are gone. Instead, the carmaker is intent on delivering a true halo product as their first vehicle: the electric performance hybrid Polestar 1. And it’s one that will stand apart from the crowd and stand up to the test of time…

Testing Motorola’s Razr Flip Phone With a Fully Foldable Screen

Inside a cave-like space at the Container Yard in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, the Motorola team responsible for the launch of the new Razr assembled for their big reveal. After four years of development, they unleashed a device that proves the aesthetics of their legendary pocket-sized flip-phone will live on—beyond just nostalgia. The device elicited strong emotions when it launched back in 2004 and is doing so again…

How Horses Can Inform Autonomous Driving: An Interview With Daimler’s Futurists

Horses are likely not the first thing that come to mind when thinking about how people and autonomous vehicles will interact. They are, however, on the minds of Alex Mankowsky and Sabine Engelhardt, futurists at Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz). When they offered us the opportunity to spend an afternoon together along with Peepa, Point and Moritz, their three ponies, we eagerly agreed…

Leica Furthers Their Most Accessible Camera With the Leica Q2

Something strange happened to a few of us on staff when the Leica Q was released in 2015: we stopped reaching for smartphones at the first sign of a photogenic moment. The compact Leica Q became our default camera for everything from landscapes and architectural shots to macro details on watches and in cocktails. It enabled better image-capture because it was simply intuitive. It could be trusted in an array of situations and, in turn, it empowered each photographer. Now Leica has returned with an update, the Leica Q2. We spent weeks with the extraordinary device and, in the process, learned that its greatest successes are extensions of the innovations unveiled in its older sibling—and then some…

Inside Jaguar’s Sustainable New Product Creation Centre

Unveiled on 26 September, Jaguar’s new design studio brings its five design teams together in the same place for the first time and marks a pivotal time for the company. The building facilitates collaboration between the brand’s design and engineering teams in one location and was designed specifically for the task. Most importantly, the studio allows the creative team to focus on larger issues—given the enormous change in the way people will interact with, own and drive vehicles in the next decades. It will take more than pretty design and great engineering to respond to the challenges at hand, requiring talented people to come together to solve what are perhaps some of the fastest changes the industry has seen in the last 100 years…

Highlights From CES 2019

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) there was significant chatter about acclimating the public to the future of technologies like virtual assistants and autonomous vehicles. But, while it seems that nearly every company in the industry is working on, integrating or supporting one or the other, there was plenty of technology on display this year that aims to make life easier, more efficient and more joyful. If you follow tech at all, you’ve surely heard about the highlights from some of the big brands so here are our favorites from the indies, start-ups and lesser-known players…

Google Stadia Shows Infinite Potential

Rather than localizing the millions of gamers that go online each day to consoles with limitations in each person’s home, Google Stadia aims to bring the entirety of the gaming industry online. The proposition, when introduced earlier in 2019, raised eyebrows as no longer would gamers claim physical ownership of their console or games, as purchases would be relegated to a distant server under Google‘s control. Despite being Cloud-based, there is hardware accompanying Stadia’s launch: a controller that comes in four colors and a Chromecast Ultra, should you buy into their bundled package…

Hero image courtesy of Leica