Amazon Robot ‘Dog’ & Flying Drone Bow; YouTube Bans ALL Content With Vaccine Misinfo; Netflix Reveals Top Shows & Movies; Twitch Adds Phone Verified Chat

Amazon unveiled several gadgets yesterday, including a robot ‘dog’ and their flying indoor drone that was announced last year. Theverge.com reports that the robot dog, dubbed ‘Astro,’ rolls around on wheels, has a screen on the front with a couple of eyes (and sometimes eyebrows), and includes a 42 inch periscope cam so you can check if the stove got left on or maybe even peer out a window. There is a little cupholder on the back that can hold 2 drinks, which can be switched out for a small shelf. The Alexa powered robot can recognize faces and is capable of mapping your house so it can be told to go to a particular room (no stairs.) The display can show info when you ask Alexa, too! You can get on the list (by requesting an invite) to get one for the princely sum of $999! One tech observer wondered if you would have sex in front of Astro….which does, of course, have cameras built in! Better flip the little robs-critter off!

Also shown was the Ring Always Home Cam. This is the little flying drone cam that can scout around your house on a preset path, or a trip can be triggered manually. It then returns to its dock to recharge. It won’t be able to record video when docked, or fly up and down stairs or be directed remotely…which Amazon claims is for security and privacy reasons. Something I thought of…not unlike the nooky in front of Astro issue…what if you have cats? After initially being freaked out by the noise, that little drone cam will seem more and more like a little birdie to cats. You may come home to find your $250 flying Amazon toy in pieces all over the floor! You can also request an invite to buy the Always Home Cam. 

YouTube haș finally banned ALL videos containing misinformation about vaccines which are currently approved and administered by local health authorities or the WHO. According to engadget.com, this will even include prominent anti-vaxxers like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. YouTube claims it didn’t move to ban all anti-vaccine content sooner is because it was focusing on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Facebook formally banned vaccine info in February, and has been putting a warning up for months on any post that mentions vaccines or COVID-19. 

Streaming companies have played viewership info about shows and movies pretty close to the vest. It’s been hard to know how many eyeballs they were getting compared to TV and cable…which have ratings…and movies at theaters…which, of course have ticket sales. Now, for the first time, Netflix has put out a list of its more popular TV shows and movies. Bgr.com says the info was revealed by co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos during his talk at the Code conference this week. He even shared slides, one of which is reproduced here. Now, this only indicates people who watched the 1st two minutes of a show, and during the 1st 28 days of release…so the numbers aren’t exact, but they are the first of any kind we have had. 

Twitch has announced it is adding new channel-level security features to help curb harassment on the platform. Techcrnch.com reports that creators and moderators can now enable verified chat, which will require participants to verify their phone and/or email before they can send messages. The settings are opt in, and can be toggled to enable verified chat for all accounts, first-time chatters, those under a certain account age or ones that haven’t been following the streamer for a chosen amount of time. Creators can access these new settings by navigating to Dashboard → Settings → Moderation. Moderators can do so via “Manage Moderation Settings” in Chat.


Facebook Will Release Some Research on Tweens & Instagram; Amazon Web Services Starts $40 Million Initiative on Health Inequities; Ford to Build EV Truck Plant & 3 Battery Factories; FCC Dropping $1.9 to Eliminate Huawei & ZTE Gear in US

Ten days after the Wall Street Journal put out an investigative piece on how Instagram affects teens who use it, Facebook has not only paused development on its ’tweens’ version of the platform. Now, in addition, the online giant will release a couple of internal slide decks detailing its research into how Instagram affects teens’ mental health. Engadget.com reports the decks should be made public in the next few days. Despite this, and the ‘pause’ in the children’s version of Instagram, an number of Members of Congress are still calling for Facebook to kill the program entirely. Last month, the company released a report on “widely viewed content” on its platform. The report was meant to rebuff criticism that News Feed favors polarizing content. But researchers outside the company quickly poked holes in the report, and said it was emblematic of Facebook’s larger transparency issues, particularly when it comes to working with outside researchers.

Amazon Web Services is launching an initiative to the tune of $40 million (in credits and tech support) over the next 3 years to help organizations working to enhance health and reduce inequities in care. According to geekwire.com, Amazon’s  VP of worldwide public sector at AWS Max Peterson released a statement regarding the funding. “Applying modern technology to health systems is not a silver bullet to ending health inequity,” said Max Peterson, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, in a statement. “But it can speed health research and innovation, level the playing field for accessing care, help deliver trusted information to people when and where they need it, streamline supply chains, and more.” This program will not replace, but will run in parallel to the one Amazon started last year to support COVID-19 diagnostics research and development. 

Ford has announced 4 plants in the march towards electric vehicles, indicating that they plan to ‘go big or go home.’ The New York Times says Ford will build two battery plants in Kentucky and another in Tennessee, plus a Ford electric truck plant in Tennessee. The total cost is $11.4 billion…of which $4.4 billion will be kicked in from battery partner SK Innovation, with Ford putting up the other $7 billion. The plants will employ an additional 11,000 workers. The vehicle facility will have at least some union jobs. Top pay for a UAW worker at a Ford plant right now is $32 an hour. “I think the industry is on a fast road to electrification,” Ford’s executive chairman, William C. Ford Jr., said in an interview. “And those who aren’t are going to be left behind.”

The FCC has released rules for small carriers to tap into a $1.9 billion fund to replace network equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Zdnet.com reports that the carriers will need to have less than 10 million customers. New equipment installed will have to have speeds of over 200 kbps for both upload and downloads. The ‘Federal Cookie Co.’ will allow replacement with LTE or 5G in place of older gear that is becoming obsolete. 


Google Cutting its Take From Cloud Software Sales; Apple-Fix Coming for Watch Not Opening iPhone 13s; 53% of Software Will be Subscription in 18 Months; Elder-Friendly Tech Market Expanding

Google is making a big cut to the cash it keeps from the sales of software from other vendors that take place over its cloud services. CNBC notes that the cut is from 20% all the way down to 3%! This follows Google cutting the percentage it keeps from purchases on the Play Store back in July. that cut was from 30% down to 15% for the first $1 million in revenue a developer earns yearly. Apple has also made a similar cut in the App Store, as has Microsoft….they chopped the percentage they take on game sales through its Windows app store from 30% to 12% in August. 

Earlier this year, Apple rolled out a neat fix for people wanting to open their iPhone with FaceID, but who were wearing masks. If you have an Apple Watch and are logged in (which if you are wearing it and using it, you are), you can look at the phone screen, and the Watch will open it for you. I use this all the time when shopping as I put my lists on the phone instead of an old-fashioned piece of paper. iPhone 13 buyers started getting the new phones on Friday, and surprise! It doesn’t work. (It does work on older iPhones, even with iOS 15 installed.) Now, engadget.com reports that, over the weekend, Apple promised to have a bug fix to correct the issue out ASAP…although they didn’t give a time frame. Face it…the lat few years, Apple has been no better than any other company about releasing software that is effectively still in beta. 

If you still stubbornly cling to the Steve Jobs model of ‘buy it and it’s yours,’ you won’t be happy with this. (Raises hand.) Venturebeat.com says there is a report from Revenera Monetization Monitor that predicts that 53% of software companies plan to move to a subscription model in the next year and a half. The subscription model (think MS 360) works well for organizations, but for the individual that say, wants to write or open a few Word documents a month, it will be a terrible deal. Software companies say that the goal is ‘aligning pricing and value.’ Right now, they claim that is the case only 30% of the time. 

Who saw geezer tech as a growth market? According to vox.com, there are a lot more products out and on the way to join the simple dumb phone with giant display and numbers called the ‘Jitterbug’ we’ve all seen in ads. One that is something one an enlargement on the Jitterbug concept is the ‘GrandPad.’ The makers have tested it on people from 80 to 104 years old! The tablet comes with preloaded games…bingo, solitaire, and sudoko. It has a ‘jukebox’ music app that plays plenty of pre-oldies…that is, big band, classical, music of the ’40’s, and also has photo albums, address books, and video calling ability. All the apps have giant-sized icons and large text. You can pick up a GrandPad for GrandDad (or Grandma, or whomever) at Target for $200, or buy it at Best Buy or online at grandpad.net. The price is right, but the subscription fee is steep….$40 a month. Another senior friendly gadget is one out of Israel called ElliQ. Think of an Alexa device with b.s. empathy programmed in and AI. Instead of ‘Would you like to listen to music?’, it will ask ‘Would you like to listen to music together?’ Ok, a little creepy. 


Clubhouse Does the Wave; Facebook Shareholder Suit; Laser 3D Chicken; Switch Expansion Pack

After the feature was leaked last week, Clubhouse is officially launching a new way to invite people to audio chats called “Wave.” The company announced the news at a surprise town hall yesterday and has enabled the feature today for all users on iOS and Android. According to theverge.com, with Wave, you can invite friends to a live audio room just by tapping a waving hand emoji. Once they receive their invitation, they can choose to join your call and immediately get added to an audio room. 

In a newly unsealed lawsuit, Facebook shareholders allege that the company intentionally overpaid a $5 billion Federal Trade Commission fine to protect CEO Mark Zuckerberg from further government scrutiny.” The Washington Post reports that Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and other Facebook directors agreed to authorize a multi-billion settlement with the FTC as an express quid pro quo to protect Zuckerberg from being named in the FTC’s complaint.

Creative Machines Lab at Columbia Engineering has developed a system of software-controlled lasers to cook food with precision. Arstechnica.com says engineers at Columbia University have also figured out how to simultaneously 3D print AND cook layers of pureed chicken. We’re one step closer to the Star Trek replicator. To quote Captain Picard: ’TEA-Earl Gray-Hot.’ 

Nintendo is rolling out a new membership plan for Switch Online, and it’ll unlock a library of classic Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles. The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription tier will go live in October. According to engadget.com, Nintendo has not shared pricing details yet, but the company says more information is coming soon. 


New Kindles Drop; DoorDash Adds Booze-20 States; Next iPhone Pros Drop Notch for Hole Punch Cam; GM Restarts Bolt Battery Line

Amazon has refreshed the Kindle PaperWhite tablets. There are 2 new hardware models, and a separate PaperWhite Kids version. Arstechnica.com says the kids edition comes with its own case, has adds off by default, and includes a year subscription to the Amazon Kids+ service and a 2 year warranty. The kiddo model goes for $160. Amazon will keep the $110 kids model for now. The updated basic PaperWhite is $140…a $10 bump from the older model. It does have a larger 6.8 inch screen with thinner bezels, and has a faster processor which Amazon claims gives you 20% faster page turns, and a USB-C port. The Signature Edition adds auto-brightness and Qi wireless charging. Amazon will retain the $250 Kindle Oasis model, which didn’t get a refresh. 

If you don’t like bars and pub crawls, or are a shy homebody who would like and adult beverage, but don’t want to go out, has DoorDash got a deal for you. Up to now, there have been specific home alcohol delivery services, but now you can combine it with your food delivery. Cheers! According to cnet.com, DoorDash is adding alcohol delivery in 20 states, D.C., Canada, and Australia. Which states? Glad you asked. California, New York, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa, Oregon, Missouri and Nebraska will get the service. You will be able to tap the alcohol tab on the app and order from restaurants, grocers, local retailers and convenience stores. DoorDash will require ID verification and will check twice….first at checkout, then again during delivery. DoorDash had allowed alcohol delivery before via DoorDash Drive, but that was only for large orders like catered events. 

There will be mad rejoicing from the tech press next Fall. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will drop the dreaded notch for a hole punch selfie camera in next year’s iPhone Pro models. Sorry regular iPhone buyers…you will continue to ‘suffer’ with the notch. I expect the joy to last about 2 minutes, before some tech reporters to start bitching about the hole being visible on the screens. In all my interactions with normal users, not ONE has ever complained about the notch! At any rate, 9to5mac.com says there is another big bump on the way for iPhone 14 according to Kuo….the Pro models will get a 48 MP wide cam! There is also a rumor about an SE model with 5G, and a new and more affordable 6.7 inch phone. It should be noted that hole punch selfie cams and cams with much higher megapixel counts have been around for several years on Android phones. A sad note…the under screen Touch ID which had been predicted has apparently been bumped now to 2023.

The good news from General Motors….they have restarted production of Bolt EV batteries, with a ‘comprehensive action plan’ they hope will ensure that drivers can safely drive, charge, and park the EVs. Engadget.com reports that the flaws in the batteries have been corrected according to the General. The big question remains, though. Will people have enough confidence to keep buying the Bolt, or has recalling every single model and advising to park 10 feet from other cars and a garage due to fire danger killed the little EV’s chance of getting any traction. LG, which makes the batteries, says they have put into place new manufacturing processes and have stepped up quality assurance…you would hope so! GM has new software a dealer can install to check for abnormalities and warn owners to get the cars in should the battery pack have issues. 


Facebook Warned About Small LED Record Indicator-Glasses; Folding Pixel Indicated in Android Build; Why No Smartwatch Blood Pressure Yet; Tesla-Address ‘Basic Safety Issues’-NTSB

Facebook has been put on notice that the LED recording indicator on the Facebook/Ray-Ban smart glasses may be too small to really warn people that they are being recorded. According to techcrunch.com, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has asked Facebook to demo the LED, so they can determine if it is enough. Italy’s regulator has also raised the issue. The Ray-Ban branded smart glasses are already on sale. Not having seen the glasses in the wild myself, I would offer that even a small blinking red LED might be ok for indoors, but such would be very hard to catch if someone wearing the glasses was outdoors recording you. Since the Ray-Bans look more like regular sunglasses, expect ‘glassholes’ to take things to a new, lower level, than we saw with the much maligned Google Glass.

Rumors have been around for over a year that Google was working on a folding phone, which was code named ‘Passport.’ Now, 9to5google.com reports that people have spotted some code in the upcoming Android 12.1 mentioning another foldable Pixel, code named ‘Jumbojack.’ 9to5google has also seen documentation of Jumbojack being run through various trials to see how it does closed, half open, and flipped. The rumors indicate two screens, inside and outside, as on the Samsung folders. There is speculation from the name…Jumbojack…that the phone might open like a hamburger box, as is the case with the Galaxy Z Flip, instead of ‘hot dog style’ like the Fold. Considering that the Passport was initially thought to be out by now, it may be that both (or neither) could be out in 2022. 

There were rumblings last spring that the Apple watch might get a blood sugar monitor, which would have exploded their sales to diabetics all over the world. Well that didn’t happen, and in fact, they don’t even have a blood PRESSURE monitor as yet. Theverge.com notes that the Samsung Galaxy watch announced such a feature a couple years ago, and is still waiting FDA approval. Fitbit is working on a blood pressure monitor, along with Samsung and Apple. The problem is, measuring BP is a lot trickier than logging heart rate and rhythm. A professor at University of Pennsylvania, Jordana Cohen, put it succinctly…’We’re not ready for prime time yet.’ Even with a cuff at the doctor’s office, the measurement can be off, due to some people having ‘white coat syndrome,’ in other words, fear of the check by the doc or nurse inflates their blood pressure…which may be normal at home. There are numerous home blood pressure checkers, but they all use a cuff or squeeze a finger to work. So far, using light sensors in a watch without the squeeze just hasn’t been very accurate. With three majors smartwatch makers working on it, we may well see it in the next few years…along with the holy grail of a blood sugar monitor. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, new NTSB head Jennifer Homendy said that Tesla needs to address ‘basic safety issues’ before it adds features to its Autopilot and Full Self Driving. The new NTSB boss also took issue with Tesla beta testing upgrades on public roadways. Homendy also slammed Tesla for using ‘Full Self Driving,’ pointing out that such a label is ‘misleading and irresponsible.’ she noted that it only enables limited autonomy in some situations, and is a far cry from actual self driving. The NTSB head’s comments don’t necessarily mean that there will be policies instituted that will ban Tesla’s tech, but it is a sizable shot over the bow of the SS Elon Musk. 


Walmart Will Launch Autonomous Delivery Service; Microsoft Accounts Can Now Drop Passwords; Nintendo Switch Gets Bluetooth Audio; First Rivian Production e-Pickup Rolls Off Line

Walmart is getting ready to launch autonomous delivery service in Austin, TX, Miami, and Washington, D.C. They are partnering with Argo AI and Ford in the endeavor. According to TechCrunch.com, the service will let customers order online using the Walmart order platform. The Argo cloud infrastructure is going to be integrated with Walmart’s platform, then routing the orders and scheduling package deliveries to customers homes. Initially, the commercial service will be limited to specific geographic areas in each city and expand over time. The companies will begin testing later this year.

Microsoft is now allowing you to remove passwords from your Microsoft accounts. Theverge.com reports that you will be able to sign in with the Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or an SMS or email verification instead of a password. Redmond had already rolled out this type of authentication for commercial users back in March to help companies connect with remote users more easily. Meanwhile, Google, Apple, and others are working towards less passwords. You can already sign in on Google Chrome without a password, and Apple has Passkeys on iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, which bring a more secure log in using the iCloud Keychain. 

In a software update, Nintendo has now made it possible to use Bluetooth ear buds and headphones with the Switch. Engadget.com says the feature only works with audio output, though…no microphone input. the system allows for up to 10 Bluetooth devices to be saved, but only one can be connected at at time. There have already been third parties accessories to make Bluetooth available, but this will make it much cleaner.

The first actual production Rivian R1T electric pickup rolled off the production line yesterday. Techcrunch.com reports that the Normal, Ill. factory is now getting ready to begin production of the R1S electric SUV as well. A second production line at the plant is set up to produce EV delivery vans for Amazon, which has 100,000 on order. Amazon started testing the e-vans earlier this year in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Rivian didn’t say how many vehicles they were expecting to produce from the pickup line, but did say deliveries are starting this month. 


Apple ‘Re-cApple’- iPhone 13, etc Event

iPad- A13 Bionic chip…20% faster in every way than the old model. 6x faster than fastest Android. 12MP wide front cam like iPad Pro. Center Stage adjusts to put the person centered automatically for video conferences in addition to in other apps.

iPad gets TrueTone and get 1st gen Apple Pencil.

Better multitasking controls (badly needed, in my opinion!)

iPad is $329 base with 64 Gb…$299 for schools. Available next week.

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iPad Mini- Thinner bezels and more colors. Screen size goes to 8.3 inches in the same size case. Touch ID moves to the on button since the display is now close to edge-to-edge. 40% faster CPU and 80% faster GPU. 

USB-C port now, and also 5G cellular comes to the Mini.

Back cam goes to 12MP and gets TrueTone flash. Still only 1 cam, though. 4K recording.

12MP ultra wide selfie cam, and supports Center Stage. 

Stereo sound in landscape mode.

Supports 2nd gen Apple Pencil, which attaches magnetically.

Starts at $499, and available with wi-fi and cellular. Preorder now, available next week.

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Apple Watch Series 7- New features for biking. Will detect starts and stops and has fall detection. 

Bigger display…20% more screen area than the 6…by reducing the borders. More rounded corners (NOT straight sides as predicted.) 70% brighter screen. 50% more text on screen. There is a full keyboard (if you would use that…even with the processor assisting, not really something you could type on.)

New watch faces, as usual.

The Series 7 gets a stronger screen, and more protection vs dust…water resistance stays the same. 

18 hour battery life, and charges 33% faster than Model 6. 45 min to go from zero to 80%.

Watch 7 is available in 5 new colors of aluminum. New bands, but still compatible with old bands.

Series 3 stays at $199. The SE at $279, and new Series 7 $399…they say available later this fall, so that rumor is true. 

No new health features like detecting blood pressure as some had predicted. Maybe next year…or the year after that. If they perfect accurate blood SUGAR readings, they will sell untold millions of watches.

iPhone 13- ooh…20% smaller ‘notch.’ The tech press just finally wet their pants. They have all bitched about the stupid notch for years. (Of course, other phones with no notch get dinged for the ‘hole punch’ camera in the screen…tech reporters are never happy!

They are keeping the Mini, and both the 13 and Mini have 2 cams. Brighter screens and better battery life. 

A15 Bionic chip 5nm tech for 15 billion transistors. 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores. 

They claim up to 50% faster than the closest competitor, which I presume is Samsung.

New wide cam with 47% more light gathering. It gets the image stabilization of the Pro and Pro Max. New ultra wide cam…lower noise shots. For video, the 13’s get ‘cinematic mode.’ They are touting ‘racks focus’…where you have a figure in focus and background a bit blurred, then zoom in and the background is in focus instead. Very cool, but doubt many will use this…anyone shooting pro or semipro video will probably buy the Pro models with the 3 cams….or shoot video on an actual professional video camera!

More 5G bands are available in the new models. Should make 5G use available in more countries, etc. 

Battery life – Mini gets 1.5 hours more, 13 gets 2.5 more hours of battery life than last year’s model. Mostly done via the chip conserving in more ways. 

More privacy features….including ways to hide your IP address and using email aliases. This has been covered earlier, so I won’t get into the weeds here. 

Apple is putting out more Mag Safe accessories….chargers, wallets, etc. They even touted 3rd party accessories. A bonus—when the Mag Safe wallet falls off the phone, you can use ‘Find My’ to locate it, LOL!. I have a Mag Safe extra battery, and it’s great, but even in a pants pocket, it can come loose from the phone. DON’T get a mag safe wallet for your credit cards and license…just don’t!

$699 for base iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 at $799. Starting capacity is 128Gigs, 512 Gigs available. 

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max- smaller notch…of course. Bigger battery! The 13 Pro will last 1.5 hours longer than the 12, and the Pro Max 2.5 hours longer than the 12 Max.

Same A15 Bionic chip as the 13s as far as CPU, but has a 5 core GPU. 

Super Retina XDR display with 25% more brightness and Pro Motion. Can refresh from 10 Hz to 120Hz. 

6.1 inch and 6.7 inch screen sizes stay. 

Cam system gets an upgrade. 77 mm telephoto with 3x optical zoom! The 3x optical zoom also works for video. New f 1.5 wide lens with bigger sensor. Ultrawide lens gets macro photography. Can zoom in up to 2 cm.  All lenses get night mode, including the telephoto. 

New photographic styles. You can customize the different filters for real time edits and it will remember your settings so you don’t have to reset every shot. Choose rich contrast, vibrant, etc, and you can customize the tone and warmth further.

The Pros start at $999 for the Pro and $1099 for the Pro Max. (No price increase.) The Pros get the predicted 1 TB storage option. Preorder Friday, available September 24.

NO new AirPods Pro in today’s presentation. Maybe they will be rolled out with the updated MacBook Pros this Fall. 


Facebook ‘XCheck’ Shields VIPs from Rules; T-Mobile Cuts Walmart Deal; Firefox Now Has Single-Click to be Windows Default Browser; Epic Appeals in Case vs Apple

In one of the all-time shockers, it turns out Facebook rules do NOT apply to everyone. The Wall Street Journal reports that a program called ‘XCheck’ actually shields VIP users from the normal enforcement process. Included in the high profile accounts: celebs, politicians, and journalists. According to documents seen by the WSJ, there were some 5.8 million users who were excluded from the normal ‘Facebook jail’ rules everyone else has to live with. 5.8 million isn’t a lot compared to the over billion users on Facebook, but when you consider the reach of those accounts, the impact isn substantial. Facebook had claimed it was trying to eliminate the whitelisting of VIP accounts by the first half of this year, but that goal has slipped. 

T-Mobile has cut a deal with Walmart that will double its presence in large national retailers. According to geekwire.com, they will launch in 2300 stores across the US that will sell both T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile products. T-Mobile is also in Best Buy stores, too. The carrier said this is all part of the effort to expand 5G access. 

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has announced that they have beaten Microsoft’s default browser protections in Windows. Theverge.com says that now you will be able to make Firefox the default browser with a single click, instead of wading through the cumbersome process Windows 10 has had in place. With a single click inside Firefox when running, it will do all the work in the background to make Firefox the default. So far, the one-click also works with pre-release versions of Windows 11. Microsoft has yet to respond, and so far, Google, Opera, and others have not followed Mozilla’s lead. 

As expected, Epic has appealed the ruling from Friday in the Epic v Apple case. According to theverge.com, they have given notice of filing with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision has been trumpeted by Apple as a win, but it was really very much a split decision. The judge in the case found that Epic failed to make the case that Apple was a monopoly in the mobile gaming marketplace. The decision has implications beyond the case, as the Feds have been looking at Apple’s possible monopoly power, and at this point, that is undercut by this decision.

Note that we will have a recap right here tomorrow of the Apple event unveiling the iPhone 13 and new Apple Watch models, etc. 


Some Whole Foods Getting ‘Just Walk Out’ Tech; LG’s ‘Real Folding Window’; Ford Steals Top Apple Car Exec; PayPal Snaps Up Japan’s Paidy

Amazon has been running its ‘Just Walk Out’ tech in Amazon Go stores and some of their Fresh supermarkets for a while now. Engadget.com is reporting that they are now ready to roll it out in a couple Whole Foods locations. One will be in Sherman Oaks, CA, and the other store is in the Washington, DC area. Both should be up and running by next year. Just Walk Out uses computer vision, sensors and AI to let you walk into a store, sign in with an app, fill up your bags and leave without the need to join a checkout line. Besides their own stores, Amazon is planning to license the tech to third-party retailers. Although unions have objected that the tech will cost jobs, Amazon said using the tech will actually employ a comparable number of team members. Amazon says they will be in a position to interact more with customers to give them a better shopping experience. 

LG thinks they have a better solution than folding glass held together by a plastic film as in the Samsung folding screen phones. According to theverge.com, they call their product a ‘real folding window,’ and are saying it will ship in 2023. Actually, the LG product drops the glass part entirely. The claim is that their ‘new material’ is used to coat both sides of a sheet of plastic film similar to the plastic in your clear soda bottle. LG says their material then covers a flexible OLED panel, and that the whole thing will lat longer and have a less noticeable crease than existing folding devices. LG claims the coated PET can work with tablets, laptops, and even rollable-screen phones. In addition, it can be folded outward as well as inward. Samsung is apparently also working on a coated PET material. The real question…will it help bring the high cost of folding devices down?

Ford has hired Doug Field away from Apple, where he was a VP of Apple Special Projects…his team there has been working on Project Titan, AKA the Apple Car.  Techcrunch.com notes that prior to Apple, he was a senior VP of engineering at Tesla. At Ford, he will be chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. Field’s experience at Tesla, especially with the Model 3, should be a big boost for Ford as they roll out a number of new EVs. It is a homecoming of sorts for Field…he started his career at Ford as a development engineer from 1987 to 1993. 

PayPal will complete the acquisition of Paidy shortly, according to Nikkei.com. They are dropping $2.7 billion for the Japanese ‘buy now, pay later’ firm. PayPal is working to beef up its business in Japan via cross-border e-commerce payments for overseas payment. PayPal already has 4.3 million accounts in Japan, but they hope with the acquisition to pick up more ‘pay later’ clients. Right now, Japan is 70% cash for payments. Paidy enables buy now, pay later without the need for a credit card. There is no interest charge or fee for a limited amount of time.