Tipoff That iPhone 8 Has ‘Face ID;’ Web Viewing Means Less TV Sets; Android Getting Bluetooth Battery Indictors

Some code spotted in the firmware for the Apple HomePod seems to confirm that the new iPhone 8 will unlock with your face…which Apple may call ‘Face ID,’ considering they have already used Touch ID. The firmware also points to the cutout in the front that will eat into the top of the screen, but house the front cameras and infrared sensors making Face ID possible. 9to5mac.com reports that while Samsung will be the sole supplier of OLED displays, Apple is well along in setting things up with LG to also produce OLED screens, and they could show up as an additional supplier in 2018. The OLED screen has been the biggest challenge for Apple, along with incorporating Touch ID under the screen. When LG production comes online, it could also mean all iPhones will get OLED screens, probably starting in the fall of 2018.

Before you lament the demise of the TV industry, the numbers aren’t collapsing, but due to more people watching video over the web….and on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even desktop computers, the number of TVs per household is dropping. According to recode.net, they have gone from 2.6 TVs per household in 2009 to 2.3 in 2015, the last year we have data for. With other things to look at besides live TV and DVR, the viewing of those has dropped, too….but only from about 60 hours a week to 57!

As more phones drop the venerable phone jack and go to wireless headphones and earbuds, something that is often on your mind is ‘How much longer have I got before the phones die?’ Apple has had an indicator for years showing approximate battery level, and later a percentage of battery level for Bluetooth phones, just like for the handset. Samsung and LG also make use of the feature. Now, 9to5google.com says the feature may be coming to Android, so all Android phones will give you a heads up on when your Bluetooth device may poop out, so you can recharge it! Like with later Apple phones, Android will show you the %-age of battery left. This is probably not going to drop until Android 8.1 or 9.


Sprint Will Have Exclusive on Essential Phone Launch; Xbox One X Reveal; HelloSign Gets $$ to Help You Stop Having to Sign Paper DocumentsSprint will be the exclusive vendor for Android father Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. 9to5google.com says the titanium and ceramic phone with the edge to edge display will sell separately from the 360 degree camera attachment for VR content, though. Interestingly, there’s no word on availability or price, but you can pre-register online at Sprint’s website. So….do you feel lucky? It’s the most powerful and smallest Xbox yet…the Xbox One X was revealed yesterday. It will be $500, and should be out November 7th. According to businessinsider.com, it is capable of 4K gaming and can handle 4K Blu Ray discs. Microsoft is touting that it has ‘6 teraflops’ of processing power, which blows away the Xbox One and Playstation 4 Pro. Anyone who has had to sign a 6 inch stack of documents to buy a house will love this…HelloSign, the eSignature platform, has obtained 16 million in financing. Techcrunch.com reports that they will have a ‘freemium’ product for up to 3 documents per month, and are comparing themselves to Box and Dropbox. They also are offering HelloWorks to turn .pdf forms into easy to edit digital files. HelloSign claims they have talked 55,000 companies into using its paid subscription service, competing with Docusign and Adobe Sign. Here’s hoping one of those companies is your title company next time you have to re-fi or buy a house!

Sprint will be the exclusive vendor for Android father Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. 9to5google.com says the titanium and ceramic phone with the edge to edge display will sell separately from the 360 degree camera attachment for VR content, though. Interestingly, there’s no word on availability or price, but you can pre-register online at Sprint’s website. So….do you feel lucky?

It’s the most powerful and smallest Xbox yet…the Xbox One X was revealed yesterday. It will be $500, and should be out November 7th. According to businessinsider.com, it is capable of 4K gaming and can handle 4K Blu Ray discs. Microsoft is touting that it has ‘6 teraflops’ of processing power, which blows away the Xbox One and Playstation 4 Pro.

Anyone who has had to sign a 6 inch stack of documents to buy a house will love this…HelloSign, the eSignature platform, has obtained 16 million in financing. Techcrunch.com reports that they will have a ‘freemium’ product for up to 3 documents per month, and are comparing themselves to Box and Dropbox. They also are offering HelloWorks to turn .pdf forms into easy to edit digital files. HelloSign claims they have talked 55,000 companies into using its paid subscription service, competing with Docusign and Adobe Sign. Here’s hoping one of those companies is your title company next time you have to re-fi or buy a house!


The Essential Phone Revealed; Google Search Personal; Intel’s Insane 18 Core i9 Processor

The Essential Phone, that handset from the father of Android, Andy Rubin, has been revealed, and doesn’t disappoint. 9to5google.com reports that the front screen barely has a bezel at the bottom, and goes clear to the top, except for a little tab in the middle for the selfie cam. The phone runs on a Qualcomm 835, has 4 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of storage. It will run on all carriers. It sports a 13 MP dual cam in back, and 8 MP selfie cam, and get this…is made from a combination of titanium and ceramic, which should weather drops considerably better than the aluminum on Samsung and Apple phones. Besides USB-C, it has wireless data transfer, and a clever magnetic connector for accessories…including a 360 degree cam that clicks into the port at the top of the phone. It sells for $699.

Google has added a personal tab as a search option. Bgr.com says you have to be signed in to use it, and for the paranoid, it can be disabled…although Google will continue to Hoover up your data and package and sell it anyway, like everyone’s. What it does do is take your previous search data, and offer results that are refined based on your prior searches. (Again, if it freaks you out, go to Search Settings in your Google account and check the Do Not Use Private Results.)

Intel has unveiled its new Extreme Core i9 processor at Computex. According to tech crunch.com, it’s got 18 cores and 36 threads! How much for that crazy amount of processing power? A cool $1999! Other siblings in the Core i9 family include one with 10 cores for $999 and a 16 core model for $1699. All of them have a base clock speed of 3.3 GHz with a turbo boost up to 4.5. No shipping date was announced, so you have time to save your pennies for that eye-popping $2000 job in a shiny new rig.


Microsoft’s Beam Becomes Mixer; T-Mobile Digits Service Now Free For All; Apple Watch Hack Produces Stroke Detector

Earlier this week, Microsoft was trying to convince the world to call AR..augmented reality mixed reality. Now, we know why…marketing! Techcrunch.com reports that Microsoft has re-branded its game streaming service Beam as Mixer. They have also upped the service’s game with co-streaming, a guide, and mobile broadcasting on iOS and Android. Up to 4 streamers can now combine their streams into a single page, where they’re displayed split screen style.

T-Mobile has just made a cool new service called Digits free for all T-Mobile users. Bgr.com says that Digits combines some of the best features of Google Voice and AT&T NumberSync. You can use one number on multiple devices, but also have multiple numbers on one device…so you could carry one phone and have a business number and home number on it….or a burner number that you’ve given out on dating sites. As of May 31st, every T-Mobile number becomes a Digits number. It’s free, but you will have to call them in order to activate a second number. The freebie will expire soon, then it goes to $10 bucks more a month for a second number.

The Apple Watch is the best heart monitor of any wearable, but not close to what your doctor or hospital uses…until now. According to cnet.com, some researchers at UCSF used an app called Cardiogram with some machine learning, and hacked the Watch to be a 97% accurate detector of one of the leading causes of stroke! This may open the door to considerably more preventative health care, which is far cheaper than reacting and treating problems after the fact.


Microsoft Win 10 Update & Microsoft Windows Story Remix; iPhone Facial Recognition & Release Timing

Some very cool things coming in the Windows 10 update later this year. According to businessinsider.com, Windows Story Remix will take your photos and videos and stitch them into a story, including a soundtrack and transitions. It seems to echo a similar function to Google Photos. Also, Win 10 will keep track of a timeline of your apps and sites, so you can go back to where you were…AND pick up on your PC, or your mobile device running iOS or Android. It’s a lot like Apple’s “Handoff”, but that only works between Macs, iPhones, and iPads. (Disclosure: I use Handoff, and it works great, but only on Apple devices.) The Microsoft version will work across platforms, which is very cool. Redmond is also working on a universal clipboard that will cut and past across platforms.

LG will supply Apple 3D facial recognition modules for the iPhone 8. Macrumors.com says LG already builds the dual lens cams for the iPhone 7 Plus, and will be building a $238 million dollar plant to crank out the 3D modules for Cupertino’s anniversary flagship phone. According to KGI Securities, the system runs tech from PrimeSense, which Apple bought 4 years ago, and can also do iris scanning, and a combination of augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality.

A number of reports have warned that the iPhone 8 will be out later in the Fall due to problems with the embedded fingerprint sensor under the screen. According to bgr.com, a reliable leaker has said hiring and training at Foxconn has started, and they will begin building iPhone 8 in August for a September launch.


Echo Show-Yep, It’s the Ugly Version; Preorders Live for Unlocked Galaxy S8 & Plus; T-Mobile to Carry T-Mobile Branded Phones

Amazon has unveiled the Echo Show. It has a 7 inch touch screen, a 5 MP camera, and dual 2 inch Dolby stereo speakers and 8 microphones. Techcrunch.com reports that it will sell for $230, and is available for preorder. The actual device will be released June 28th. Besides having Alexa tell you things or do things, the Show will allow her to ‘show you things.’ The Show can be used for video calling. The nicest description so far was from engadget.com: “Unusual, boxy retro style.” It’s available in black or white, so if either is your kitchen color scheme, you’re in luck!

How about preorders for a device that IS gorgeous? Samsung answers, as preorders are open for unlocked Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus models in the US. They should be available May 31st. Theverge.com says you can either order through Best Buy or samsung.com, and they start at $724.99 for 64 gigs on an unlocked S8 and $824.99 for the 64GB unlocked S8 Plus. Both can be ordered in Midnight Black.

T-Mobile is getting ready to launch its own line of Android phones. According to 9to5google.com, there will be 3 versions, with the first out the door to be the REVVL T1. Say that fast 3 times! All will be built for T-Mobile by TCL, the firm that makes BlackBerry and Alcatel phones. The T-Mobile handsets will be midrange smartphones, with the T1 sporting a 5.5 inch screen, 3000mAh battery, and running Android Nougat. It will have a 13MP rear camera with 5MP for the selfie cam. No release date or pricing has been announced.


iPhone Curved After All-Just Not Screen; New iPad, iPhone 7 Color Update; Tesla Model S Sets Speed Record; Nintendo Originally Wanted Custom Android Running Switch

There has been a lot of chatter about the iPhone 8 having a curved screen, then flat, then slightly curved at the edges like the 7. Now, according to appleinsider.com, we may know why. A source out of Korea says it will have the flat AMOLED screen with slight curve at the edges, but the back will be a curved, 3D glass ‘water drop design.’

Apple today rolled out (RED) iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, with part of the money going to the Global Fund for AIDS research. 9to5mac.com reports that they also announced a new $329 9.7 inch iPad which is on sale Friday. It replaces the Air 2, and has the older guts and just 32 Gigs of memory. This entry level iPad is out ahead of the expected upgrades and additional model to the iPad Pro line shortly.

A Tesla Model S P100 D just set a quarter mile speed record. It was already race car fast zero to sixty, but HorsepowerFreaks tweaked one a bit and pulled a quarter mile in 10.638 seconds. This is not a Tesla record, by the way….bgr.com notes it’s a record for ALL 4 door sedans…by an electric car. Let that set in, motorheads!

In a deal that never happened, Nintendo looked at getting a custom Android build from Cyanogen to run the Nintendo Switch. 9to5google.com says while that didn’t happen, the actual Switch runs an OS that is mostly a custom kernel with some ‘little bits of Android mixed inside.’ Cyanogen basically told them to ‘stick it,’ and Nintendo went back and rolled their own OS for the Switch…which seems to have worked out pretty well for them so far!