iPhone 8 & 7S Feature Update; Facebook ‘Borrows’ From GoFundMe

Apple is expecting a ‘super cycle’ of iPhone upgrades this fall, and that may be one reason they are looking at pricing the iPhone 8…or Pro…or whatever…at over a grand. Bgr.com reports that Apple expects to sell about 41% of the new premium model, and wants to control demand a bit. As previously rumored, the phone will have the edge to edge OLED screen, and also a ‘structured-light-augmented’ rear camera that will let you re-focus pictures after taking them. The front cam will have 3D face recognition and 3D effects. According to this report, it will have a 5.85 inch screen, but be the size of the present iPhone 7 Plus. Apple apparently won’t be doing the 5.1 inch screen the size of their iPhone 7…at least not this fall. The iPhone 7S and 7S plus will also get the glass front and back, wireless charging, and 3D front camera, and some improvement to the back camera, but probably not focus after the fact.

After the latest Facebook Snapchat clone started rolling out…I got it last night in an update…Facebook has introduced personal fundraising like GoFundMe, and donate buttons in Facebook Live for Pages. According to techcrunch.com, users will be able to raise money for personal crises and other campaigns now. Also, Facebook Pages are able to include a donate button to their live broadcasts over Facebook. Facebook had already had a Kickstarter-like fundraising feature, but this considerably widens the appeal. Note that personal fundraisers are limited to 6 categories: education; medical; pet medical; crisis relief; personal emergencies; and funeral and loss.


Samsung Rolls Out Galaxy S8s; Congress Passes Bill Allowing ISPs to Sell Your Browsing History; Facebook Rolling Out Snapchat Clone in Main App

Samsung officially rolled out the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in New York today. Bgr.com says the beautiful new phones will be on preorder tomorrow, the 30th, and on sale Friday, April 21st. As predicted, it has the assistant Bixby with a dedicated virtual button that responds instantly, and DeX, a desktop interface…you plug the phone into it and can connect peripherals and a display via the USB and HDMI ports. The edge to edge screen is stunning. Your bank account may be stunned too, as the pricing has crept past the one grand barrier, as is also rumored to be the case for Apple’s iPhone 8 this Fall.

The House voted to eliminate ISP privacy rules yesterday, allowing them to sell your browsing and app usage history to advertisers and other companies. According to arstechinca.com, it was pretty much a party line vote, with the Republicans supporting sale and sharing of your info. It had already cleared the Senate 50-48, also on straight party lines. Look for the use of private VPNs and other measures to increase, as users move to protect their own privacy however they can.

Facebook is now putting a full-on Snapchat clone front and center inside the main Facebook app. Mashable.com says The update not only pushes you to use Facebook’s new camera feature but puts friends’ stories — yes, it’s called Facebook Stories — at the top of your News Feed. The update, which is rolling out now, consists of three features: Facebook Camera, Facebook Stories, and Direct, a dedicated space for messages exchanged via the new in-app camera that lets you can decorate your photos and videos with filters, “masks” (Facebook’s version of lenses), and other animated effects. If you use the Direct feature, the story is sent via direct message, and disappears after it’s seen.

LTE Apple Watch & AR Glasses Coming; Amazon Puts Off Brick & Mortar; Faraday Future Punts California Plant

In a report picked up from Barron’s by 9to5mac.com, an analyst for Susquehanna Financial picked up repeated rumors of an LTE connected Apple Watch 3, complete with micro SIM card. It will have a very low power chip to save battery and VoIP tech for calling.

Also, the drumbeat continues that Apple is going big with Augmented Reality. Macrumors.com says Cupertino is focusing on moving from the science project stage towards a finished consumer product. Even at that, it will probably be a 2018 launch at the soonest….although one analyst insists they will roll out AR glasses with the iPhone 8 this fall.

Amazon Go, the brick and mortar Amazon store, has been put on hold. Recode.net says the biggest sticking point is that the tech in the stores with no cashiers or checkout lines can’t handle crowds. More than 20 people inside, and it goes bonkers over tracking people and what’s been taken from specific shelf space.

Another shattered dream for further revitalizing the former submarine base at Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. According to techcrunch.com, vaporware electric car maker Faraday Future has walked away from finalizing an assembly plant and showroom there, at least for now. Faraday plans to focus on finishing their original billion dollar, 3 million square foot plant in Nevada near Las Vegas…but has downsides that to 650,000 square feet. They say they will open it this fall.

Spotify Grabs Mighty TV; Wells Getting Cardless Apple Pay ATMs; Ikea Dives Into Smart Home Automation; Uber Grounds Self-Drivers in Az After Crash

Spotify has picked up MightyTV, which will shut down. Techcrunch.com reports that CEO Brian Adams will become Spotify’s VP of Technology. MIghtyTV had specialized in content recommendations, but used a Tinder style swipe left and right system. Spotify was also interested in adding MightyTV’s tech to improve its recommendations and beef up its programmatic advertising.

Wells Fargo customers will be able to withdraw from ATMs by later this year using Apple Pay without needing an ATM card. According to 9to5mac.com, it may be convoluted enough that most people will stick with the card for a while. You have to log into the Wells mobile app, select card-free, ask for a single use 8 digit code AND ATM card PIN, then withdraw. Towards year end, though, Wells Fargo says, you will be able to just use Apple’s Tap and Pay. They also will add Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and their own Wells Fargo Wallet to the Tap and Pay setup.

The smart home hub gets a boost from a big player known for low prices. Ikea is diving into the smart home with a system based on the ZigBee Light Link standard…same as Philips Hue uses. Theverge.com says the system has been in a few European countries since fall, but will be widely available the end of this month. Ikea will sell a base set of an internet gateway, remote, and two light bulbs for $85.40. An Ikea extra is a motion-controlled dimmer switch, which is an extra $20.41, but can be used independently of the connected system.

Uber has sidelined its self-driving cars in Arizona after a crash involving one left it on its side. Recode.net reports that there were no injuries, and only the back up driver was aboard. Some reports say that the other driver failed to yield, but Uber is pulling all of them until the investigation is complete. So far, Uber safety drivers have had to intervene every .8 miles, so their tech is far from solid at this point.

Apple Considers iPhone Powered Apple Laptop; iPhone Owners Have More Smart Home Gear; App Converts Your DVDs Into a Personal Netflix

A patent just revealed that Apple is thinking about eventually making laptops that basically just run via your iPhone. According to cnet.com, the filing shows a cavity where the touchpad normally goes that holds an iPhone.The phone not only powers the laptop, but doubles as the touchpad. As always, keep in mind Apple patents lots of things that never see the light of day.

On the topic of iPhones, JD Power says iPhone owners have more smart home devices and are more satisfied with their phones. 9to5mac.com reports that- for example- 13% of iPhone owners have a smart thermostat, compared to 11% for Android owners. While Apple is still winning the satisfaction beauty contest, it’s just by a whisker now. Power says Apple’s average score is 840 out of 1000, but Samsung is just 1% behind at 839.

If you have a cabinet full of DVDs you rarely watch (raising hand here), there’s an app you may love. Businessinsider.com says Walmart’s Vudu will now let you scan the barcode of your DVDs and it will unlock the ability to watch that movie on the Vudu app for $2 each…and it works across all your devices that have the app. You can also upgrade from DVD to HDX for 5 bucks each. Right now, it works on about 8000 titles, but they are working to expand it…Vudu has around 100,000 total titles. Vudu says the average movie collector has about 100 DVDs and Blu Rays. Some of us have a lot more.

Leak Shows Size of Galaxy S8 Screen; Mariott Testing Siri and Amazon Alexa for Rooms

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will be unveiled in just a week, and the leaks continue. BGR.com has one that is particularly interesting in that it shows a picture of the screen in use, giving an idea of just how much of the front is screen…they have pretty well made good on covering most of the front panel! Presumably, this is an indicator of what Apple’s iPhone 8 will do with front screen real estate…it’s pretty spectacular! The S8 will be released April 21st or 28th, and judging from the pix, it should be a huge hit!

While some people are delighted to have Amazon’s Alexa at their beck and call, and less are delighted with Apple’s Siri, Mariott is testing both out to decide which might be best for letting guests control their rooms via voice commands. Appleinsider.com says a Bloomberg report points to Mariott choosing one by mid year. Alexa has the advantage in both price and ease of use and add ons, but only works with English and German. Siri supports 21 languages. I can’t wait to hear people yelling at the door lock trying to get their room to open in the middle of the night. Have fun, travelers!

iPhone Curved After All-Just Not Screen; New iPad, iPhone 7 Color Update; Tesla Model S Sets Speed Record; Nintendo Originally Wanted Custom Android Running Switch

There has been a lot of chatter about the iPhone 8 having a curved screen, then flat, then slightly curved at the edges like the 7. Now, according to appleinsider.com, we may know why. A source out of Korea says it will have the flat AMOLED screen with slight curve at the edges, but the back will be a curved, 3D glass ‘water drop design.’

Apple today rolled out (RED) iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, with part of the money going to the Global Fund for AIDS research. 9to5mac.com reports that they also announced a new $329 9.7 inch iPad which is on sale Friday. It replaces the Air 2, and has the older guts and just 32 Gigs of memory. This entry level iPad is out ahead of the expected upgrades and additional model to the iPad Pro line shortly.

A Tesla Model S P100 D just set a quarter mile speed record. It was already race car fast zero to sixty, but HorsepowerFreaks tweaked one a bit and pulled a quarter mile in 10.638 seconds. This is not a Tesla record, by the way….bgr.com notes it’s a record for ALL 4 door sedans…by an electric car. Let that set in, motorheads!

In a deal that never happened, Nintendo looked at getting a custom Android build from Cyanogen to run the Nintendo Switch. 9to5google.com says while that didn’t happen, the actual Switch runs an OS that is mostly a custom kernel with some ‘little bits of Android mixed inside.’ Cyanogen basically told them to ‘stick it,’ and Nintendo went back and rolled their own OS for the Switch…which seems to have worked out pretty well for them so far!

Galaxy S8-3 Colors and Pricier Than iPhone; iPhone May Tease AR Features; Dolby and Netflix Gage Viewer Reaction to Shows

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will drop with 3 different colors and cost more than an iPhone 7. That’s according to thenextweb.com. The colors are ‘black sky,’ ‘orchid grey,’ and ‘arctic silver.’ It looks like it will run $989, with the S8 Plus syphoning off $1113 of your bucks! A rumored feature has been confirmed…the S8 will have Bixby, Samsung’s AI assistant.

Apple is apparently betting big on AR. A large team of experts and engineers has been going full stop on AI since last spring, and some features may bow on the iPhone 8 this fall. Techcrunch.com reports that this may just be a warmup to some AR glasses Apple has in the works that will pair with iPhones. For the iPhone, most features will revolve around the camera….Snapchat style filters and possible after the fact re-focusing of pictures.

So much for Netflix and chill. Dolby Labs is using biosensors to detect how we are reacting to movies and TV shows. Theverge.com says the tech has been licensed to Netflix to use in their new series Iron Fist. Right now, the setup is far from subtile….the rig includes a 64 channel EEG cap, a wrist tracker that picks up heart rate and perspiration, one of those oxygen sensors on a fingertip, and a thermal imaging camera aimed at the viewer. The setup produces data on what scenes make hearts beat faster, what makes cheeks flush, and what ones put them to sleep. Netflix had already been using eye tracking tech to analyze how viewers reacted to their content. I feel like we aren’t far from a jack in the back of the head like in ‘The Matrix.’

Another Strong Hint that iPhone 8 Will Feature AR; Google Working on 3 Successors to Present Pixel Phone

While the tech world pours over rumors that the iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen…perhaps curved….and wireless charging, another strong hint has dropped that the real game changer may be AR. Bgr.com reports that advanced 3D sensor maker Lumentum put out guidance that it has booked revenue into what it calls ‘a high-volume mobile-device application.’ iPhones already have 3D sensors, but they are used as range finders and proximity detectors. Highly advanced 3D sensors like Lumentum makes could be used for gesture control or mapping the surrounding 3D environment. This truly could be Apple’s ‘next big thing.’

The folks at Google are apparently working on 3 models to update the Pixel phone. According to thenextweb.com, the three are code named for freshwater fish, and one will have a larger screen than the other two. There may be a cheaper version, as well as a feature packed waterproof high-end successor. As Apple and Samsung, the updated phones will likely have a slimmer bezel, too.

Dueling Display Rumors for iPhone 8; Gmail Android App Adds Money Sending

Just yesterday, we had a rumor that the iPhone 8 would keep a flat screen as it goes to AMOLED. Now, macrumors.com says a new one points to a ‘slightly curved’ screen…not near as curved as a Samsung Galaxy Edge, but a gentle curve. Actually, the present iPhones curve at the edges very slightly, so it may be a matter of semantics or maybe it’s because Apple generally builds a number of different test models before settling on a final design. In this case, we may not really know for sure until fall.

Users of the Gmail app on Android can now send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap. Mashable.com says
it’s designed to make exchanging money as easy as attaching a file. Just tap the attachment icon (the paperclip), then choose either send or request money. A pop-up window appears where you can input the amount and add a note, and send. The entire process takes place in the Gmail app — you don’t have to have Google Wallet installed. Recipients can configure it so the money they receive through Gmail goes directly into their bank account. There are no fees involved. A little late to the party, but Google joins PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger in adding a cash sending feature.