More Next-Gen iPhone Rumors; Amazon & Google vs HomePod; Intel Security Issue

A number of sources point to 3 new iPhones this fall…a refreshed iPhone X, a bigger iPhone X Plus with a 6.5 inch screen…also with an OLED screen, and an in-between model with a 6.1 inch LCD screen. LG will make the 6.5 inch screens, with Samsung continuing to supply the 5.8 inch OLED screen Improvements to Face ID are also touted. Now, according to macrumors.com, there may be a 2nd generation iPhone SE out this spring. It will likely keep the same form factor with a 4 inch screen as the present SE.

Amazon and Google both had sizable discounts on their smart speakers heading into the holidays. 9to5mac.com reports that analysts think they both probably lost money on the units or just broke even, in order to grab market share before Apple releases its HomePod speaker. Not only that…and you probably figured this was coming…Alexa may be soon making suggestions when you are getting ready to shop or are shopping. Yep, product placement. You may suddenly find that Alexa is suggesting specific brands…Proctor & Gamble is one such ‘advertising partner’ being discussed. The thought is, people may just order the suggested brand instead of letting Alexa blather on.

There is apparently a serious security problem with all recent Intel chips…so big a problem, that they won’t really discuss how it works, or what it is, but patches are coming. This will affect virtually all late model Windows and Mac machines. Bgr.com says it will be a crucial patch…but there’s a hitch. The patch may slow down the computers by some 30%, but at least by 5%! Pretty much every computer made in the last 10 years is affected. (90% of servers and laptops.) The fix involves moving the chip’s kernel to a completely separate address space, so every system call will require switching between 2 address spaces to keep the kernel secure…that’s where the speed bump occurs. A later update may restore the speed, but for now…patch those things when the security update comes…otherwise, your machines can be hacked and give the hackers god like power over them…including ability to read all personal info and passwords.

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Galaxy S9 Keeps Headphone Jack; True Depth Cam & Face ID Big iPhone X Draws; Netflix Kids See Way Less Ads; Google Poaches Apple Chip Engineers

Yes, it’s ‘old tech’, and yes it takes up space that prevents the screen from going clear to the top or bottom of a smartphone, but according to a rumor spotted by bgr.com, Samsung will keep the venerable 3.5 mm headphone jack on the upcoming Galaxy S9. The Galaxy will have the same size bezels as the S8, but upgraded internals…much like Apple’s ’S’ updates. The S9 Plus will get a dual camera, again taking a page out of Apple’s book. With Apple and most other makers opting to drop the headphone jack, though, swimming against the tide may draw in a significant number of users that refuse to go all in on Bluetooth only smartphones….particularly if they have invested hundreds of dollars in good noise cancelling wired headphones…you supposedly can’t use Bluetooth while flying, because ‘airplane mode’ turns it off.

In a report picked up by appleinsider.com, the big draws for the iPhone X are the TrueDepth camera and FaceID. Some analysts thought the FaceID concept might put buyers off, but according to the study by Strategy Analytics, buyer interest in the two features is ‘extremely positive.’ The firm surveyed 568 early adapters of the iPhone X, and also found that the so-called Super Retina HD display and improved battery life were big selling points.

It may be the death knell for sugary cereal and toy ads on TV. ‘It’ being the cord cutter household. According to bigstockphoto.com, so-called Netflix only households that use only streaming services and not over the air or cable channels have kids who see 230 hours LESS of ads per year….that’s a full 9.6 days of ads! Don’t cry your eyes out for the advertisers, though. Some will figure out ways to use ‘product placement’ in the actual kids shows to hawk their goods to the younger set…the same way products have been seen in movies for decades!

Apple has been designing chips in house for its mobile devices for several years, and is moving that way with Macs, too. Now, Google has stepped up its effort to poach Apple chip engineers, as it does the same. 9to5mac.com reports that Google has hired several key chip engineers away from its rival in Cupertino, including noted designer John Bruno. Prior to Apple, Bruno had worked at AMD.Google is not only designing chips for its Pixel line of smartphones, but also working on custom silicon for AI devices, like the wearables they, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are viewing as the future.


Next Year’s iPhone Anniversary May Bring 3rd Model; Twitter Night Mode Hits iPhone; Facebook Tests Autoroll Video With Sound

In a report out of Japan picked up by macrumors.com, Apple is planning a third iPhone model next year with a 5.5 inch OLED screen that will sport curved edges. Earlier rumors had Apple adapting OLED screens in 2018, but now it appears one model of the iPhone 8, or 10th Anniversary iPhone, or whatever they plan to call it will have it, while the 4.7 inch and other 5.5. inch models will have the same LCD screens as the present models. OLED screens have blacker blacks, and the colors on screen ‘pop’ more. Samsung has been using them on their Galaxy series. Of course, the Galaxy S7 Edge also already has the curved screen Samsung has made for a couple years now.

Last month, Android users got Twitter’s Night Mode, and yesterday it rolled out on iOS, according to cnet.com. I like it. It darkens all the white space and pictures, and the Tweets show up as white text on a black background. It even works on my old iPad that doesn’t support Apple’s Night Mode. Find the little settings cog icon, and it’s one of the selections.

In a move certain to infuriate everyone (except advertisers), Facebook is testing out autoplaying video WITH sound! Thenextweb.com says actually, the social giant is testing two versions in Australia. One just autoplays, and another has an unmute button in the lower right corner. The so-called ‘feature’ can apparently be disabled in settings. Hopefully, Facebook will choose the unmute button version if they decide to roll the feature out to everyone.


Looking for a Place to Eat? Check Your Wrist

Yelp has announced an Apple Watch app with local listings and reviews. 9to5mac.com says you will see the majority of the info you’re used to seeing about eateries right on the small screen, without having to fish in your pocket or purse for your phone. As with the Yelp smartphone app, the Watch app is integrated with Apple Maps, too.

Google has announced that it’s encrypting the vast majority of its search ads and YouTube ads….finally. TechCrunch.com notes that gmail was encrypted back in 2008. The new HTTPS encryption will apply to Google Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick, and will be in place by June 30th.

Amazon is dropping one of the coolest features of its Android app store. Engadget.com reports they are killing TestDrive, the try before you buy feature where you could run apps on a virtual machine, and compare them before downloading. Amazon points to the fact that the vast majority of apps are free now anyway as the reason for dropping the service.