Apple Building Video Sharing App Like Snapchat & Facebook; Future iPhones May Grab Photos & Fingerprints of Thieves, Nutonomy Beats Uber in Launching Self-Driving Cabs

Apple is working on a social networking app along the lines of Snapchat and Facebook. Macrumors.com says Cupertino’s goal is for you to be able to shoot, edit, upload, and share a video in less than a minute…all with one hand! If the stars align in Silicon Valley, Apple will roll out the app in 2017.

Appleinsider.com has uncovered a patent that would allow future iPhones to snag the fingerprints and pictures of thieves. The unauthorized user’s info might be stored locally, or sent to a remote server for more evaluation. It’s not clear that such collection would be legal everywhere, even involving crooks, so it remains to be seen if this will actually be introduced on the handsets.

We reported on Uber’s imminent release of self-driving cabs in Pittsburg to test out their systems. Now, according to thenextweb.com, they’ll be #2 at it. Apparently, a firm called Nutonomy is putting the rubber on the road in Singapore today. As with the Uber test, rides will be free, and there will be a company engineer along to observe the system, and grab the controls if needed. Nutonomy was founded by a couple of robotics and intelligent vehicle tech geniuses from MIT.


MobileEye & Delphi Partner For Self-Driving System; Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode Goes Beyond Plaid; Playstation Now Cloud Gaming

A big announcement yesterday from Delphi and sensor-maker Mobileye. They plan to partner to build a fully autonomous car system that auto manufacturers can use to make their cars self-driving. The system will be production-ready for car makers by 2019, according to arstechinca.com, and could show up in new cars between late 2019 and 2021. Mobileye recently split the sheets with Tesla, but will apparently continue to work with BMW and Intel on BMW self-driving platforms.

Speaking of Tesla, businessinsider.com reports that they have announced an upgrade to the Model S and Model X. A beefed up battery pack will extend mileage from 289 to 315 miles on a charge, and Ludicrous mode will get the Model S P100D from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds, making it the world’s fastest production car. The upgrade is $20 grand, or an additional $10 grand if you already ordered a P90D Ludicrous but haven’t taken delivery yet.

Pictures of the Playstation PS4 Slim and a new controller have already leaked out prior to Sony’s rollout September 7th. Now, bgr.com says a Sony blog post mentions “PS Now on PC Announce Post”. This may have accidentally spilled the beans on release of their Playstation Now cloud gaming service on PCs. No word on pricing, but it had better be more reasonable if Sony expects it to catch on.


Next Year’s iPhone Anniversary May Bring 3rd Model; Twitter Night Mode Hits iPhone; Facebook Tests Autoroll Video With Sound

In a report out of Japan picked up by macrumors.com, Apple is planning a third iPhone model next year with a 5.5 inch OLED screen that will sport curved edges. Earlier rumors had Apple adapting OLED screens in 2018, but now it appears one model of the iPhone 8, or 10th Anniversary iPhone, or whatever they plan to call it will have it, while the 4.7 inch and other 5.5. inch models will have the same LCD screens as the present models. OLED screens have blacker blacks, and the colors on screen ‘pop’ more. Samsung has been using them on their Galaxy series. Of course, the Galaxy S7 Edge also already has the curved screen Samsung has made for a couple years now.

Last month, Android users got Twitter’s Night Mode, and yesterday it rolled out on iOS, according to cnet.com. I like it. It darkens all the white space and pictures, and the Tweets show up as white text on a black background. It even works on my old iPad that doesn’t support Apple’s Night Mode. Find the little settings cog icon, and it’s one of the selections.

In a move certain to infuriate everyone (except advertisers), Facebook is testing out autoplaying video WITH sound! Thenextweb.com says actually, the social giant is testing two versions in Australia. One just autoplays, and another has an unmute button in the lower right corner. The so-called ‘feature’ can apparently be disabled in settings. Hopefully, Facebook will choose the unmute button version if they decide to roll the feature out to everyone.


Battery Advancement Doubles Capacity; Sony In-Dash Aftermarket Receiver Does Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

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A startup company hatched at MIT has cooked up a new ‘anode free’ lithium metal battery that is smaller, and has twice the energy capacity of most lithium ion batteries. This means either batteries could take up half the space, or one the same size could last twice as long. Mashable.com says the key is that the batteries have very thin, high-energy lithium-metal foil, which holds many more ions than the more widely used graphite. More ions means more energy capacity, and the batteries are twice as energy-dense as lithium-ion batteries. In addition to that, they’re also safer. The company, Solid Energy, expects to have the tech available for smartphones by next year and cars by 2018.

There have been aftermarket car audio systems available, but none up to now have offered both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. According to techcrunch.com, Sony just rolled one out for $500 retail. It sports a 6.4 inch touch screen, and supports NFC, Bluetooth, has an aux input, and a dedicated hardware button for triggering voice input. The Pioneer AppRadio 4 has a similar screen, but only does CarPlay, and is $100 bucks more. Alpine’s offering is also more. Of course, you have to factor installation on any of them into the price, but on the other hand, it’s getting CarPlay or Android Auto without buying a whole new car!


Uber Rolls Out Self-Driving Cabs; Facebook To Muscle in on Steam

We may be seeing quite a few car makers and tech companies rolling out self-driving cars by 2020 or 2021, but meanwhile, Uber is rolling out a small fleet of self driving Volvo SUVs later this month in Pittsburgh. Thenextweb.com says they’ll still have a driver supervising from behind the wheel. The cars will be assigned at random, and here’s the cool part….rides in them will be free for the time being! Uber will be staffing them with a co-pilot of sorts, to take note of how everything is working. Uber has had a $300 million dollar deal with Volvo to build fully autonomous cars, and apparently has been working on its own global mapping system, so they won’t have to rely on Google for navigation.

Facebook is looking to go after Steam, or at least claw back some of the revenue it’s lost since casual gaming moved to mobile. According to techcrunch.com, the social media giant announced it was working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform, in addition to broadening the Facebook.com experience for gamers. It’s thought the desktop app will support both casual games and more hardcore games. Of course, Oculus was a big…and pricey…step back to gaming for Facebook, but the bulk of us still stare at screens, as opposed to strapping on headsets for hours at a time at this point.


Ford Driving for 2021 for Self-Driving Car; Amazon Patents Several Drone Systems

Ford announced yesterday that they expect to have self-driving cars on the road by 2021…the same time frame as Google and Apple’s secretive Project Titan. According to appleinsider.com, the car will be specifically built ‘’for ride sharing and ride hailing.’ The cars will have no steering wheel or pedals, and will only drive a pre-programmed area that’s been 3D mapped. Ford says these will meet SAE Level 4 standards for autonomous operation…Tesla and Mercedes only make Level 2 right now. Ford didn’t say if the cars would be hybrid, electric, or even still take old-fashioned gasoline.

A couple of interesting patents show that Amazon is looking at different kinds of drones for different applications. Geekwire.com reports that one shows 4 rotors in a protective shroud. Another design has shrouded rotors, plus two smaller pusher props, and a fixed wing. It’s thought the shrouds are to protect people and property in the event of a crash. The extended wing would provide extra lift, perhaps giving the small electric motors more range and a better flying time than 20 minutes, like a lot of drones out there now. Amazon has said they have a goal of delivering small packages weighing 5 pounds or less in a half hour or less.


iPhone 7 May Have Fast Charging; New Audis Help With Speed & Green Lights; Ford Teams With Baidu, Buying LIDAR Tech

According to a rumor out of Asia, Apple’s iPhone 7 will have improved, fast charging circuitry supporting at least 5 volt, 2 amp charging. Right now, iPhone chargers put out a measly one amp. According to appleinsider.com, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge already have fast charge tech that gets them from totally drained to half charged in 30 minutes. As a lot of iPhone users have griped for years that their phones don’t even make it through the day, this will be a welcome upgrade if true.

New Audi models have what is really a gimmick, but a pretty cool one at that. Arstechnica.com reports that they’ll have a display that will show the real time time to green light countdown in cities that have city-wide traffic management systems. It will be on 2017 A4s and Q7s. Now, you’ll be able to check that display, and know when to mash the pedal to the metal and beat that light. As Evel Knievel used to say, ‘Speed and Green Lights!’ (Ok, no he didn’t…I made that up.)

Ford and Chinese search giant Baidu have dropped a combined 150 million into LIDAR tech. Theverge.com says the two companies, which are both hard at work on developing self-driving tech, have invested in Velodyne, a Silicon Valley operation that makes LIDAR sensors for autonomous cars. LIDAR works on the same principle as RADAR, except using light waves, which gives you the ability to make more detailed 3D maps of what’s around the vehicle. Baidu already has 100 people in the Valley working on self-driving tech, and Ford plans to triple the size of its test fleet this year.


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