Apple iPhone 7 Rumors & Holiday Sales; New Google Glass Model Leak

Another rumor has the iPhone 7 being waterproof, and in addition, appleinsider.com is reporting it will used new compound materials to conceal antennas, losing those unsightly plastic antenna cover bars. There is some hand wringing that iPhone 6S sales won’t be as good as the 6 had, but the holidays were great for Apple…according to a Flurry Insights report picked up by appleinsider.com, 49.1% of all devices activated Christmas week were from Apple. Phablets were only 13% of last season’s sales, but this year they grabbed 27% of the device market.

Whether we like it or not, there will be more glassholes. Google Glass lives! Hi resolution images of the next generation Google Glass have showed up on an FCC site. They look almost identical to the previous model, but have a hinge to fold just like regular glasses. The prism is larger, as well, according to arstechnica.com. This version of Google Glass is supposed to be enterprise only, and not intended to retail customers.


Samsung Plans Millions of Galaxy S7 Phones by February; App Finding Apple Pay Merchants Sees Huge Usage Increase

Samsung is planning a run of 5 million of their next generation flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones ahead of the February rollout. Venturebeat.com reports that 3.3 million will be the 5.2 inch flat screen models, and the rest will be the 5.5 inch model with the curved screen dubbed the Galaxy S7 Edge.

A new app called PayFinders uses crowdsourcing to find merchants that accept Apple Pay. According to appleinsider.com, they had a 750% increase in usage in two days on December 26th and 27th. Apple Maps already has badges showing Apple Pay merchants, but really only the larger chains are represented, and it doesn’t always show all of the stores that have the system.


Google Partnering with Ford on Self-Driving Cars; Sony Working On 40% Longer-Lasting Battery

Google and Ford are partnering to build self-driving cars, according to a report by Yahoo Autos. Businessinsider.com says the deal should be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month. The joint venture will create a company that builds self-driving cars using Google technology. The entity will be legally separate from Ford, partly to protect Ford from potential liability. Google has been testing out their odd looking little self driving cars on city streets for a couple years now. Ford and numerous other car makers have been hard at work on self-driving car tech. The partnership would represent Google’s first success enlisting an established car-maker to adopt its technology.

Lithium-ion batteries have been powering our phones and laptops for a long time, but there are other technologies that may work better. Sony played a key part in popularizing Li-ion batteries in the 1990s. Mashable.com reports they are now working on new, sulfur-based batteries, which could offer up to 40% better energy density per volume. That means battery life would last roughly 40% longer.The first Li-S batteries were built in the late 2000s, almost none are commercially available today, mostly due to the sulfur easily degrading. It’s unclear exactly how Sony plans to solve this problem with its new batteries. Sony is apparently also working on magnesium-sulfur (Mg-S) batteries, which are potentially both more efficient and cheaper than today’s batteries.
Sony reportedly aims to have the new batteries ready for commercial production by 2020.


Nexus 6 for $250 at Amazon; Hi-Res Music May be coming to iTunes & Apple Music

If you are in the market for a phablet at a great deal, or for a last minute gift for someone you REALLY like, Amazon has a 32 gig Nexus 6 for $249.99 shipped in Cloud White or Midnight Blue. With Amazon Prime, it can be under the tree by the 23rd. 9to5toys.com says the 64 gig model is $299.99, and both come with Android Marshmallow.

A rumor is afoot again that hi-resolution audio is on the way to iTunes and Apple Music. This one is from Japanese blog Macotakara, picked up by 9to5mac.com. The blog claims Apple will have better than CD quality for iTunes sometime next year. The leak is from some manufacturers that make Lightening based headphones, which would support the higher res format.


Amazon Rolling Own in Air Cargo; Messenger Fastest Growing App

AmazonAir

In a move that should strike terror in the hearts…or at least indigestion in the bellies…of competitors, Amazon is talking to Boeing about acquiring 20 767 freighter jets. Geekwire.com reports that as of last month, some unknown firm, now presumed to be Amazon, was flying 4 cargo flights a day out of Ohio’s Wilmington Air Park…which was a DHL facility until 2008. They were bound for Allentown, PA, Ontario CA, Tampa, and Oakland…all close to Amazon distribution centers. DHL previously had 7500 employees at the air park. Earlier this month, Amazon bought thousands of truck trailers. They are getting ready to disrupt shipping and logistics….look out FedEX, UPS, and Post Office.

A lot of people questioned Facebook calving off Messenger into a separate app, bout according to Nielsen research picked up by techcrunch.com, it was a brilliant move. Facebook remains the top app of 2015, but Messenger is now the fastest growing app installed on smartphones. It’s not up as much as last year, when Facebook split it off and growth was 242%, but still up 31% from 2014. Now, Facebook has broken off its private photo-sharing feature into the Moments app. The second fastest growing app was Apple Music, at 26% increase year over year.


Apple Working on Holographic Screens; App Translates Into Emoji

A story was out a few days ago that flew under the radar a bit about Apple opening a secret lab in Taiwan. Now, bgr.com says the 50 some researchers there may not just be working on thinner, brighter iPhone screens or OLED screens…it may be flexible and micro-LED screens…to make HOLOGRAPHIC iPhone screens! The holograms would be visible to the naked eye, no goofy special glasses. Apple already has a patent for interactive holographic display device and others for virtual and augmented reality, and recently purchased an augmented reality company. No idea on when or if this will happen, but when it does, talk about the next big thing!

Available free right now, for both iOS and Android…Speak Emoji. You speak into your smartphone’s microphone and it processes what you say into a sentence using emoji. Thenextweb.com reports you can then share your emoji sentence directly in a text message, and on Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, and email. For those who wish they’d picked up another language better in school…here’s your chance. 😛


Amazon-Pitch Dangerous Hoverboards-They’ll Credit; iPad Air3 Coming Sans Force Touch

With more stories coming out about hover boards catching fire, Amazon had pulled them from their site. Now, according to engadget.com, they are telling US and British customers to e-waste or get rid of them, and Amazon will credit their accounts and eat the cost. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the safety of the devices.

The iPad Air 3 will apparently bow without Apple’s Force Touch for its 9.7 inch screen. This will be due to production issues with Force Touch on the bigger screen. It’s expected in the first half of the year, most likely early March along with the next generation Apple Watch, and probably the 4 inch screen iPhone 6c that will replace the aging 5c. 9to5mac.com reports that KGI Securities also agrees with Morgan Stanley in predicting lower iPhone 6S sales compared with the 6 models…but KGI attributes a fair amount of that to tight inventory due to production issues for the 3D Touch screens.


Facebook Tests Yelp Killer; GM Ahead of the Pack with Apple CarPlay

A fair amount of movement at Facebook of late. On the heels of successfully splitting off private messages to their Messenger app on mobile, Facebook is doing the same now with their Photo Syncing, making users use their Moments app instead. But there’s something being tested out that may be a ‘Yelp’ killer, according to thenextweb.com. It’s called ‘Professional Services,’ and it helps you search for businesses around you, then shows you ratings and recommendations on where to go. You can search for things like dentists, pizza or veterinarians, type a city, and results appear with a star rating and a review. Contact details and a map are included. Right now, it’s only on the desktop, but if they launch it for mobile, Yelp and Foursquare could take big hits.

Giving people what the want…what a concept! It’s working for GM, and dealers say it’s helping them sell cars. What ‘it’ is is Apple CarPlay. Appleinsider.com reports that General Motors has rolled out CarPlay faster and across more models than competitors, and dealers are reporting that it’s helping close deals. For 2016, GM has added 14 Chevrolet models and now most Cadillac models have the system…for a total of 27 models with CarPlay…far more than any other auto company. Apple Maps is a big selling point, as navigation systems usually run around $1000, and you get navigation free with CarPlay. Users report GM’s CarPlay works better than those in BMW or Porsche.


Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Clones Apple Force Touch; Leather Tesla Stocking Stuffer

More is leaking out about the Samsung Galaxy S7. Due out in March, the S7 will have a pressure sensitive screen copying Apple’s Force Touch, according to theverge.com. The non-Edge version will have expandable storage like the S6 models, and it will sport an improved camera with no ‘bump’ on the back. Maybe best of all, the S7 will have a USB-C port….the kind that lets you insert the cable in either way, and fast charging…reportedly a nearly full charge in 30 minutes! There are still rumors of a retina scanner, but those have been popping up since the S5, so don’t hold your breath.

Be still my heart….a Tesla for Christmas! Well, sort of. Like many other manufacturers, Tesla has leather left over after cutting those buttery seat covers. Now, they’ve started making iPhone 6 cases out of the excess. Bgr.com reports that they run $45 to $50, depending on whether for a 6 or 6 Plus, and if you want a wallet case or not. The wallet case has RFID blocking, too. Thanks, Santa Musk!