Galaxy S21 Leaks; iPhone 13-Apple Back on Schedule; Facebook Launches Collab-Experimental Music Video App; Amazon Sidewalk & ‘Forced Opt-In’

There have been a myriad of leaks about the Samsung Galaxy S21 already, but over the weekend, there was a video out that shows the handset…apparently the real thing…working alongside a new iPhone, so you can see the smaller bezels and flat screen. Theverge.com reports that the S21 continues with a hole punch selfie cam, as opposed to the much maligned notch of the Apple phones. The new S21 phones should out next month, with a standard, a Plus, and an Ultra model. The Ultra has 5 rear cams, and the S21 and Plus feature 3. The S21 has a 6.2 inch screen, the Plus 6.7 inch, and the Ultra 6.8 inch. Like Apple’s latest, all the Samsung phones will have 5G.

As we see the vaccine for COVID-19 go into arms today, the hope is for a lot more relative normalcy in 2021. One of those normal things apparently will be the release of the iPhone 13 series. According to 9to5mac.com, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is advising that the production and release schedule should be in the normal range for the next iPhone models…so we can expect all of them to be rolled out in mid-September 2021, as most have been in the past. Kuo also says iPhone 12 Pro sales are staying strong, and that, in fact, they are better than expected. The only hitch is that Apple is having supply issues with the Sony cam sensors used in the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. Ah, normal…what a concept!

Facebook has released a public version of Collab, their experimental app for making collaborative music videos. Techcrunch.com says it is available at the App Store. With the pandemic, and live music pretty well non-existent, this will allow musicians to work together, and even let non-pros to sing and play along with one another in videos. The app handles the complexities of audio and video syncing, and gives you a tool to move your clip back into alignment with the one you are playing with to sync up just right. You can also use external audio interfaces and bring in your keyboards, guitars, and drum sets to the mix. Note that the app does not have direct integration to Facebook, but links can be shared to your Instagram Story or even TikTok. 

Amazon has started automatically activating Sidewalk in the Echo and other devices. According to geekwire.com, the Sidewalk program was initially announced as a solution for connectivity for small Internet of Things gadgets…like pet trackers or Tile. It seems intrusive, to carve out a bit of your home network to keep things always connected, but right now it only works for Amazon customers and Sidewalk-enabled devices. The wireless Sidewalk taps into ‘is encrypted and capped to segregate it from the rest of the customer’s traffic and minimize disruption.’ according to Amazon. 

This is not unlike Comcast’s Xfinity Wi-Fi, which is beamed out from your Comcast cable modem/router, and can be accessed by any Xfinity customer wherever the service appears. The issue is the ‘forced opt-in’ part. When you lease a Comcast modem, you have to agree to the semi-public channel. You can opt out, but it’s a big hassle. While Amazon is mainly following Comcast’s model, they do get a gold star for actually giving notice about Sidewalk. They even give steps in an email about opting out without having to hunt for a support website. This forced opt-in could be pretty common in the future, and probably needs some government oversight…at least to make firms give clear notice and clear, simple ways to choose to opt out!



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