iPhone 13 Sat Phone-Kuo Rumor; GoPro New Flagship Leak; Clubhouse Add Spatial Audio Effects; Washington Researchers-Grant For Better Plastic Recycling

In the biggest iPhone rumor yet, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 13 will have low orbit satellite communication connectivity! Macrumors.com notes that this would let users make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage. It allegedly has a custom Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that has the sat com support. Other smartphones are expected to implement the tech in 2022. The provider is supposed to be Globalstar. Although satellite communication has always been pretty expensive up to now, I would expect government users, reporters, and others who travel to or live in places with sketchy coverage to be clamoring for iPhone 13 models if this rumor holds true. We will know in a couple weeks, as that is the time frame when Apple traditionally rolls out its latest smartphones.

In a second big leak today, the GoPro Hero 10 Black has had images seep out into the world. According to theverge.com, it really looks a lot the same as last year’s, only will rock a more powerful GP2 processor…which should give a major boost in performance. The cam will support 5.3K videos shot at 60fps, or 4K vids at 120fps! It can record 2.7K at a stunning 240fps giving more motion control (but costing resolution.) The image sensor goes up from 20 to 23 megapixels. 

To give users that ‘actual room’ feel, now Clubhouse is adding spatial audio effects. Techcrunch.com says that, for example, you could make it seem like a main speaker was on stage, and people at different spots in an auditorium were asking questions. Some of this is achieved by altering the way the high and low sounds are sent out, as well as by a time delay between stereo channels. If you’ve listened to certain albums in headphones…or if you ever had stereo quad, you get the idea. At a radio station in the 1970’s, we were quad. We had one jingle ID that bounced from front to back, and another that spun. Think about listening to that in quad headphones if you were a little high (not that anyone I know ever was…)

A sad but stunning fact…despite the separate bins and all the effort, only 9% of plastics in  the US are recycled. Geekwire.com reports that one issue holding recycling back is that the different plastic materials we pitch in the bin can’t be used together in a new container. The National Science Foundation has given a grant to U of Washington and Washington State scientists to try to tackle the problem. They are working a chemical process to break the plastics down into their building block monomers that can then go forward into next uses. They are also experimenting with turning some recycled plastic into hydrocarbons (which they generally come from anyway) and then producing jet fuel. With time and luck, let’s hope they are successful so we can clean things up in earnest.



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