New MacBook Pro, iPads, Bilateral Charging Phones Coming; Amazon Shoots for Half Carbon Neutral Shipments by 2030; UK Claims Huawei Manageable Risk to 5G

A number of predictions are out for Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the most reliable Apple analysts. 9to5mac.com says Kuo is predicting not only new iPads this year, but also a new 16 inch MacBook Pro, a 31 inch 6K monitor, and iPhones with Bilateral Charging. The iPhones will stay with the current screen sizes…and as previously predicted, will keep the Lightening connector. They will sport ultra-wide band connectivity for indoor positioning and navigation, frosted glass casing, and bilateral charging for charging other devices (like AirPods.) Face ID will have a higher power flood illuminator, they will all have slightly larger batteries, and a triple camera design on the top phone.

Two iPad Pro models will drop, with faster processors. The 9.7 inch screen grows to 10.2 inches…but stays about the same size by doing it with a reduced bezel. There will be an iPad Mini refresh, as predicted earlier.

An all-new MacBook Pro design will be revealed, with a 16 to 16.5 inch screen. The 13 inch MacBook Pro ‘may’ get a 32 GB RAM option. Apple gets back into the display biz, too. The monster 31.6 inch 6k monitor will have a mini-LED type backlight design for great picture quality. You’d better have a great sized desk for that beast, too!

At LONG last, a Mac Pro re-do, with ‘easy to upgrade components’ will be out sometime this year.

Amazon has announced that as of 2030, half of all their shipments will be net zero carbon. Techcrunch.com reports that the company was recently dinged by Greenpeace for not having the greatest environmental record. Data centers in Virginia run on only 12% renewables, compared to Facebook’s 37% and Microsoft’s 34%. Amazon said today they intend to get to 100% renewable for their global infrastructure, but didn’t give a timeline.

In opposition to the US position, the British government has concluded that it can mitigate the risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks. According to financialtimes.com, the UK National Cyber Security Centre has determined that they are capable of limiting risks to China using the Huawei equipment to conduct cyber espionage. Germany also does not believe the US ban on Huawei 5G equipment is necessary. New Zealand and Australia, however, concur with the US, and won’t allow 5G equipment from Huawei.


Apple Event-Both News AND Video Subscriptions; Waymo Disengagement Drops in Half; Amazon Lockers at Coachella; Walmart Grocery Delivery Hiccup

We had reported that Apple was planning to roll out its news subscription service air an event March 25th…now, word is out that they will also bow their video subscription service as well. Bloomberg.com reports that major stars have been invited to the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s spaceship campus for the event…including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, and director JJ Aprams. The video subscription is expected to be much like amazon Prime or Netflix. Sources indicate that Netflix will NOT be part of the offering. As iPhone and other smartphone sales have plateaued or even dropped, Apple is looking to subscription services to pick up the slack. There will be some free content, as well as paid access to shows from other providers.

Disengagement by self-driving cars refers to cutting the computers and having the human driver take over. The stats vary, as there is no standardized way of reporting them yet, but Waymo’s reported disengagement rate dropped in half in California in 2018 while the miles driven increased three fold. 9to5google.com says some disengagement is just due to errors in the system, but others are the more serious ones, as the driver takes over to avoid an accident the car’s system isn’t going to respond to quickly enough. Waymo went from 352,000 miles driver in 2017 to 1.26 million in 2018!

Because we apparently can’t go anywhere and do anything without ordering stuff from Amazon…the company will have lockers at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA! According to geekwire.com, the yellow lockers…now seen at Whole Foods, Safeway, 7-11, and Chase Bank, will on scene at the music festival. In 2017, 250,000 fans attended, so you know many will be needing to order that crucial item with same day or next day delivery! Amazon will also rock a custom Coachella storefront that will feature products tailored to the festival.

Walmart’s same-day grocery delivery service has hit a speed bump. Engadget.com reports that the retailer had partnered with Google-backed logistics company Deliv to get orders to customers homes, but now Deliv has sent Walmart a termination notice. They had been running pilot programs in San Jose and Miami. Apparently, the company was unhappy that drivers often had to wait over 40 minutes to pick up and order at Walmart stores. Walmart has also trialed delivery with Postmates and DoorDash, as well as Uber and Lyft. They even experimented with having their own employees deliver on their way to and from store shifts, but that plan also tanked.


Samsung Galaxy S10 Huge Leak; Apple ‘Subscription Event’; Google Testing AR Maps; Smart Watches Finally Gain Traction; Congress ‘Retires’ the Fax Machine

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 phones roll out next week. Virtually all the details have now leaked, of course! According to mashable.com,
the S10e, the entry-level phone in the lineup, will have a 5.8-inch display, and will come in four colors: prism white, prism black, prism green, and canary yellow. What about the other screen sizes: The S10 will sport a 6.1 incher, and the S10+ will rock a 6.4 inch display. On the S10+, if you opt for 8GB of RAM your choices are the same prism black, prism white, and prism green as the regular S10. If you upgrade to 12GB of RAM you get a “luxurious ceramic” finish in either black or white.

Cameras are always important, and the S10e will have a 10MP selfie camera and dual rear cameras: a 12MP wide-angle shooter with optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 16MP “ultra wide angle” with a 123-degree field of view. The S10 will have the same 10MP front-facing camera, as well as three rear cameras: a 12MP telephoto with OIS, a 12MP wide-angle shooter with a 77-degree field of view and OIS, and a 16MP “ultra wide angle” lens with a 123-degree field of view.

The S10+ will have a total of five cameras. On the front, a 10MP “main” camera, as well as an 8MP “live focus” camera for shooting portrait-style selfies. On the back are the same trio cameras as the S10: two 12MP cameras for telephoto and wide shots, and a 16MP “ultra wide angle” lens.

All three phone will support AR emoji, stickers, and 4K selfie videos. When it comes to batteries, the entry level phone gets a
3,100 mAh battery, which is very close to Apple’s iPhone XS Max.
The S10’s battery gets a little bigger one, at 3,400 mAh, and the S10+ will have a relatively massive 4100 mAh. All…or what’s left anyway…will be revealed next week!

Apple will hold a ‘subscription event’ on March 25th at Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino. Appleinsider.com reports that they plan to roll out a paid news subscription. Details are still coming together, as some publications are balking at getting only half the subscription revenue, and Apple not sharing data with them. Apple plans to charge $10 a month for a menu of publications you can read…and perhaps an ‘Apple Prime’ version that will include video, Magazines, and Apple Music.

At I/O last year, Google teased AR Google Maps. Now, arstechnica.com says they are doing some private testing of them. Using the phone and software, the system can look at buildings, etc, and determine within inches just where you are, and guide you with augmented reality overlays on top of the view the camera sees….kind of like that green line in the financial services ad from a few years ago that people followed down the sidewalk! Note that it’s very early, and the private testing is still being tweaked, but it’s now obvious that the feature actually has a strong possibility of showing up on your phone eventually.

For a couple years, we’ve heard that smart watches aren’t really happening, and probably won’t really catch on. Well, apparently they have. According to engadget.com, one out of 6 US adults now has one of the handy little wrist computers! Sales jumped 61% in the 12 months ending last November. Most of the buyers are 34 or under. What seems to have moved the needle…and especially so much? NPD Group says it looks like having available LTE connect ability. People wanted to be able to get and receive messages or even call quickly without dragging along their smartphone! It also helps that you can get one for $200, like the Fitbit Versa…although the more pricey Apple Watch is still a market leader.

News flash! Congress did something! You can finally send in authorizations for federal consent forms electronically…instead of by snail mail or fax! The House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that does away with the need for constituents to use a freaking fax machine, or physical mail, to issue “federal consent forms.” These are documents that authorize congress to contact federal agencies on behalf of their constituents. Gee, the fax machine has only been around since what? The 1930’s. Nice going, Congress!


Pixel Is Fastest Growing Smartphone; WWDC 2019 & Apple’s Head of AR Marketing; Amazon Buys Eero Mesh Router Maker; Mag Safe Kickstarter for USB-C MacBook Pros

While smartphone sales have softened, even for market leaders Apple and Samsung, one brand is showing big growth in the US. 9to5google.com reports that the Google Pixel grew by an astounding 43% year over year, from 4th quarter of 2017 to 4th quarter of 2018! Overall, the US smartphone market was down by 23%, which makes the growth all the more impressive. The Pixel phones have great cameras, which many tests have shown out shoot iPhone and Samsung Galaxy cams. Deals and discounts have also aided the Google phone, but the bottom line is…they’re a great phone.

Rumors are flying that Apple’s WWDC will be June 3-7 in San Jose. Although registration hasn’t opened yet for Apple’s annual developer conference, it’s expected they will show a Dark Mode for iOS 13, as well as new details on macOS 10.15. According to appleinsider.com, Apple has appointed veteran Frank Casanova to the new position of head of AR marketing. Technically, he will have the total of Seiion Director, Worldwide Product Marketing, but Casanova will be “responsible for all aspects of Product Marketing for Apple’s Augmented Reality initiative.” This just adds to the belief that AR will be hugely important to the Future of Apple. Tim Cook has even said it’s a ‘big idea’ on the level of the smartphone.

Amazon is acquiring Eero, a maker of mesh home routers. Theverge.com says Amazon feels that Eero and its technology will help Amazon move the ball forward on making the smart home (to say nothing of Alexa) ubiquitous. The mesh router is a design that helps eliminate the dead spots you can get in a home from normal routers.

USB-C has speed and data advantages, but a lot of people have lamented Apple’s dropping of their great MagSafe tech on the latest MacBook Pros. The MagSafe connector would ‘break away’ if you or someone tripped over the cord, saving the laptop from being pulled onto the floor and breaking a screen or other parts. Now, there’s a Kickstarter campaign to give this capability back to the MacBooks. According to 9to5mac.com, ThunderMag is running a campaign to produce a connector that goes between your USB-C cable and the port with the magnetic break away type design Apple had on their MagSafe. The difference with the ThunderMag is that it allows the connection to carry high speed data…with the MagSafe, the port was strictly for charging. It will support 100w fast charging, 4/5k video and audio, and up to 40G/bps data transfer. The Kickstarter campaign brought in more than 6 times the goal, so expect the ThunderMag to be out in April. It will retail for $79 to the public (or less, depending on store or online discounts.)


Galaxy F Folder May Launch With S10; iPhone to Stick With Lightening Port; Tesla ‘Sentry Mode’ This Week; Aussies-$10 Million-Online Kids Security; Walgreens Creepy Tracking Displays

In what appears to be a pretty big hint that the Galaxy F folding phone will bow with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 at Samsung’s event on February 20th, the company released the above graphic. There was also a Tweet saying ‘The future of mobile will unfold on February 20, 2019. Not exactly subtile. Will it be amazing, or meh? We’ll know in a matter of days!

In what appears to be purely a cost-saving move, Apple won’t be switching to USB-C ports on the next batch of iPhones. Theverge.com says they will stay with the venerable Lightening port. Earlier, it was thought the USB-C ports would show up, since they are on the new iPad Pro, but nope. Not only that, they will still be shipped with Apple’s miserly 5W USB-A charger…so you will have to buy a separate USB-C to Lightening cable and a power brick that supports USB-C power delivery if you want to fast charge your pricey iPhone! More profitable accessory sales for Apple. Formerly, you got a Mag Safe cable, charging brick, AND extension cord for laptops for $80. With the new USB-C MacBook Pro, if you want an extra, you’ll drop $120 for the USB-C cable and separate charging brick…and even more if you want the extension cord that used to be included!

The break-in rate on Tesla cars has been in the top tier of autos affected, and Elon Musk is determined to do something to lessen the problem. Electric.co reports that Tesla is planning to release ‘Sentry Mode’ this week. Tesla has offered access to its dash cam over the air since last year, using the Autopilot cam, but it’s front facing only. Sentry Mode would enable more Autopilot cams and a parking mode. The Sentry Mode would enable the car to detect a robbery, record it, and then…blast Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d-minor loudly! (That’s the scary organ music often used is scary movies.) At the same time, Musk says they will release Tesla ‘Dog Mode,’ which is designed to keep your pups safe and cool inside Tesla vehicles. Dog Mode ads to the Cabin Safety mode (which is intended to keep kids safe) with the car able to tell passers by who show concern that the dog is cool and ok.

The Australian government is making grants of AU$10 million to non-government organizations to deliver online safety education and training programs aimed at children. According to zdnet.com, PM Scott Morrison says the intent is to help kids ‘stay safe’ online. The Aussie government is also reviewing ‘digital licences’ and other tools designed to build and test children’s online safety skills.

Most of us have walked by a row of beverage coolers…maybe stopped to peruse one or two…then moved on. Now, Walgreens is testing cooler doors with displays of the drinks instead of glass. Curbed.com says that’s not all…the doors track customers with cams, eye-tracking and motion sensors, then serve them ads in real time! The tech is from the appropriately named Cooler Screens, which claims the data is ‘anonymized’. Even at that, it allows ads to hit you based on gender, age, emotional response (!), and how long you linger in front of a product. Cooler Screens is also working with Coca-Cola and Nestle, and most of the 20 largest consumer product companies. Welcome to your creepy future!


Facebook Slammed in Germany over Data Share; Facebook Will Show Who Uploaded Your Info for Ads; Apple Killing Safari ‘Do Not Track’ as AI Supersedes; Some iPhone Apps Record Your Screen; Google Partners with GS Warriors on Public Cloud

The US government has balked at regulating social media providers, even though some folks think they and ISPs should be treated as utilities and regulated as such. Now comes the European Union…specifically Germany in this case…clamping down on Facebook’s data collection. A ruling by the German Federal Cartel Office essentially tells Facebook to stop hoarding people’s data. Businessinsider.com reports that this follows a 3 year investigation. The ruling requires Facebook to change its terms and conditions so people can explicitly stop the social network from hoarding data from different sources…including Facebook-owned apps like WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as third-party websites with embedded tools such as the ‘like’ or ‘share’ button. Facebook now has 4 months to draw up proposals to present to the Federal Cartel Office.

Facebook says they have taken steps to keep companies from recklessly using your data from targeted ads. According to engadget.com, Facebook has only been showing which company was using your contact info. After February 28th, you will now also get to see who (if anyone) uploaded your contact info that let to your seeing the sales pitch in the first place. It will let you know if the retailer had your info, or bought it from an outside partner. It’s a baby step, but a start.

Apple is killing Safari’s ‘Do Not Track’ in version 12.1. 9to5mac.com reports that this was published in a blog post from DuckDuckGo. Apple claims that the function has been superseded by their Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature, which relies on AI. The Do Not Track had been largely a failure anyway, as it used a voluntary signal, and numerous websites just chose to ignore it. The Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has been more successful in iOS 12 and MacOS Mojave, so you should be better off in the long run.

Some iOS apps you use may be recording your screen for analytics purposes. According to macrumors.com, trend capture taps, swipes, and even full screen recording. Some of the apps are: Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com, Air Canada, Hollister, Expedia, and Singapore Airlines. All are using Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm that lets developers use “session replay” screen recording technology within their apps. Right now, there’ s no way to avoid this intrusion, save for deleting the apps.

Google Cloud is partnering with the Golden State Warriors as the team’s official public cloud provider, in addition to sponsoring the new arena in San Francisco. 9to5google.com says the cloud platform will be used at the new Chase Center to host Warrior and Chase Center mobile apps. Fans will be able to get personalized Maps, and see entertainment options coming to Chase Center. At the team level, the GSW analytics team will get more data analysis. Up to now, they say they have spent 70% of their time collecting and shaping data and only 30% analyzing it.


Tesla Model 3 Price Drop; Gmail Blocking 100 Million Spams Daily; Angela Ahrendts Leaving Apple; E-Ticketing Exposed Some Airline’s Passenger Info; Microsoft Build 2019 Date & Location

You can now be driving a Tesla Model 3 for a base price of $35 grand…after government incentives. Engadget.com reports that Tesla found that by dropping the referral spiff that got owners free use of Superchargers for referring friends who bought, they have been able to chop $1100 across versions. the mid-range battery option Model 3 is now $42,900 before incentives, the long-range version is $49,900, and the performance option version Model 3 is still an eye-watering $60,900. Elon Musk says they are doing everything they can to cut the base price BEFORE incentives down to $35,000…but says in a Tweet “It’s a super hard grind.”

In a big plus for Gmail users, Google has applied its in-house machine learning framework…TensorFlow…to your mail, and it is now blocking an extra 100 million spam emails per day. Theverge.com says that Google had already been blocking 99.99 percent of spam, but the AI framework will give them a better crack at screening out that last stubborn .1 of a percent. Google says TensorFlow also helps users to better personalize their spam filtering.

Another one bites the dust. Yes, another head of retail is leaving Apple…this time, Angela Ahrendts, whom Apple recruited from Burberry. According to arstechinca.com, Ahrendts, who joined Apple in2014, will leave in April “for new personal and professional pursuits.” Apple also announced that Vice President of People Deidre O’Brien will take over Ahrendts’ responsibilities running retail and adopt the title Senior Vice President of Retail + People.

E-Ticketing is great…it makes it so much easier to get through the hassle of making it from the curb at the airport to your plane. Now, a downside…at least for some. Cyberscoop.com reports that some personally identifiable information from fliers may have been hacked when email was sent to the customers. It includes names, boarding passes, passport number and flight numbers. The weak spot is a check-in link, and if affects Southwest, Air France, KLM, Vueling, Jetstar, Thomas Cook, Transavia and Air Europa. Wandera notified all of those lines several weeks ago, and none seem to have acted, so heads-up!

Microsoft segues back to their home area for Build 2019. Zdnet.com says they will be holding the event in Seattle on May 6th through the 8th. It will be at the Washington State Convention Center. The event again overlaps with Google I/O (which runs May 7-9.) Microsoft’s premiere developer event session list probably won’t be revealed until near the date, but the agenda should be posted later this month.