Apple Car in 5+ Years; OneDrive Auto Backup for All; Fitbit Charge 3-Touchscreen; MoviePass Zombie Accounts

A VP of engineering recently left Tesla to go back to Apple. He had previously worked at Ford. This seemed to point to Apple shifting Project Titan back to building an Apple car, not just software they could sell to auto makers. Now, Ming-Chi Kuo, who has one of the most accurate records when it comes to Apple predictions, says Apple will launch an Apple Car between 2023 and 2025, and calls it ‘the next star product.’ According to macrumors.com, Kuo thinks Apple will revolutionize the auto business the way they did the phone market with the iPhone in 2007. Apple’s work in AR could help ‘differentiate the Apple Car from peers’ products.’

If you are on Windows 10 and use Microsoft’s OneDrive, MS has added a great new feature…OneDrive can now automatically back up documents, pictures, and desktop folders. Theverge.com reports that if you use multiple Win 10 PCs, OneDrive folder protection will automatically keep all these folders in sync, too! Business users saw this feature appear available in June, but now it’s coming out for all users. Just hit OneDrive Settings, and go to the Auto Save tab, then click the update folders button.

The upcoming Fitbit Charge 3 will have a full touchscreen, unlike the present Charge 2 with its quasi-touchscreen. TechCrunch.com says that, in addition, Android Authority has discovered that it will be swim-proof down to 50 meters, and have notification reply capability, but on the down side…it won’t have built-in GPS….so you’ll still have to schlep your smartphone along for a jog if you want GPS data. No pricing has leaked out, but the fitness tracker should be out in plenty of time for the holiday season.

MoviePass may be only 3 months from ‘passing away,’ but in the meantime, has a new issue for subscribers…or former subscribers…to deal with. According to engadget.com, people who had cancelled their accounts, then later either checked the app about their account or just to see what movies were available (there were TWO last weekend) got a splash screen with ‘Updates to Your MoviePass Plan’. If you clicked the ‘agree’ button to make it go away, MoviePass reactivated your account! There’s an X in the upper right corner…best to click that and close the screen. Meanwhile, MoviePass will run out of money in 90 days if some movie angel doesn’t show up with lots of cash.


Big Tesla Auto Pilot Update Coming; 7 Inch Google Tablet by 4th Quarter; Apple Car Division Restructures; Amazon Continues Retail Push

A major upgrade will be pushed out to Autopilot in Tesla Model S vehicles in the next week or two. TechCrunch.com reports that the so-called Version 8.0 will have updates to signal processing that will let the autopilot rely more on the radar sensors, without confirming data from cameras. According to Elon Musk, the upgrade should see “any thing that’s metallic, anything that’s large and dense,” and then brake the vehicle, “as long as it’s not large and fluffy.” So short of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the lanes, it should brake, and even guide the car off to an exit.

Google may roll out a 7 inch Android tablet made by Huawei before the end of the year. According to theverge.com, it will have 4 gigs of RAM. Considering that they don’t seem to be sticking with Nexus for the phones, it will probably have a different name as well. We could well get more details at Google’s rumored event on October 4th.

Apple’s Project Titan has laid off dozens of staffers. Macrumors.com says that since Bob Mansfield left, Apple seems to be pivoting towards autonomous driving systems instead of going for building an entire Apple car. The division still has between 500 and 1000 employees working on the project.

In addition to the brick and mortar book store Amazon opened last year, it looks like now the online giant will open over 100 pop up stores in malls around the country. Businessinsider.com points out that these much smaller locations will operate mainly to showcase Amazon hardware like Kindles, Fire TV, and the Echo speakers — as well as accessories. The real goal is to drive more traffic to Amazon’s online store. There are already 21 Amazon pop up stores in 12 states.


Amazon’s British Drone Tests; New (Old) Apple Car Boss; Future iPhones—Iris Scanning and Glasses-Free 3D

Amazon has gotten permission to test drone deliveries in the United Kingdom, according to venturebeat.com. They will test beyond line of sight operations, obstacle avoidance, and single-person supervision of multiple, highly-automated drones. FedEx and UPS have also shown interest in drone delivery.

Former Apple exec under Steve Jobs Bob Mansfield has come out of retirement to run Project Titan, the Apple car project. Businessinsider.com reports that he originally intended to retire in 2012, but moved to a special projects team that built the Apple Watch. Since then, not much has been heard from him. Apple allegedly intends to start selling vehicles in 2021.

A couple of interesting features may be coming to iPhones, one in 2018. Appleinsider.com says we might see ‘Iris ID’ replace Touch ID, as Apple brings iris scanners to the iPhone family. Meanwhile, Samsung may introduce iris recognition tech in its flagship Galaxy S series this year. More exciting than Iris ID, Apple has patented a method of ‘autostereoscopic’ displays. This would allow for 3D without the special glasses. It uses a pixel array featuring a second array of subpixels and lens structures, the latter emitting light at a number of different angles. The key component though would be the “beam steerer,” pointing the correct light at the viewer. No word on when we might have this in our hands yet.


Apple Leases Former Sunnyvale Pepsi Plant- Apple Car; Paying With Your Face…or Your Car Coming

Apple has leased a nearly 100,000 square foot building in Sunnyvale that used to be a Pepsi bottling plant. 9to5mac.com says the facility is more like a warehouse than office building, and sits on 5 acres…and is probably for Project Titan, the Apple Car. Apple already has an 80,000 square foot building and a 140,000 square foot facility in Sunnyvale thought to be for the project…both are a 10 minute walk from the old Pepsi plant.

Last year, MasterCard announced its pay with a ‘selfie’ option. Now, they’ve showed it off at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It uses the front camera of a smartphone and a single blink to identify a buyer. Cnet.com reports that rival Visa showed off a connected car that pays for your gas or for parking seamlessly. A chip in the car ‘talks’ to the gas pump or parking meter. It might be thrifty…pumping just enough gas to fill up, or paying for only the exact time you are parked.


Could the Reviled iPhone ‘Camera Bump’ be Going Away; Apple Car on Hold; Amazon Prime’s Explosive Growth

A clever Apple patent filed in 2013 and granted today points to the hated camera bump on the back of iPhones going away. 9to5mac.com reports that Cupertino has come up with an interesting way to defy physics, and make a smaller lens. Physics determines just how thin you can make a sensor and lens arrangement for any given aperture while retaining quality. But instead of the usual flat sensor, the patent describes a ‘spherically curved photosensor’ that would allow the distance between the lens elements and the sensor to be reduced, allowing for a thinner camera module…and no bump. It’s unclear if this will make it into the iPhone 7.

After the exit of Steve Zadesky, who was running Apple’s semi-secret car project dubbed Project Titan, macrumors.com is hearing that the Apple Car is on hold due to execs not being happy with progress being made on it’s development…especially Jony Ive. Rumors are that the Titan team feels Apple’s deadlines and goals are unattainable. Apple has apparently wanted final engineering specs for the car by 2019 or 2020…now, it looks like that deadline will slip for certain.

Amazon Prime’s US membership grew by 35% to 54 million in 2015. Think about that. The figure is according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners picked up by geekwire.com. When they went to $99 a year for the package of free shipping, videos, and audio, a lot of people predicted a fall off in members, but the exact opposite has happened. Prime members spend an average of $1100 a year with Amazon, compared to $600 for non-members, so Amazon can afford free Prime shipping as a bit of a loss leader.


Periscope Live Video Tweets in Twitter Stream; Lenovo’s Moto Plans’ Musk on Apple Car

Twitter bought Periscope a year ago, and now the live video is available in your feed…in fact, you can broadcast live video directly into your feed without leaving the Twitter app. Businessinsider.com reports that Periscope…which only launched in March 2015…is consistently one of the top 20 social networking apps on iPhone. Twitter hopes this will help engagement, like Facebook has done with Facebook Live Video.

Lenovo is killing the Motorola name for Moto, and now, we hear that all Moto phones in 2016 will have at least 5 inch screens and fingerprint sensors. That’s according to Chen Xudong of Lenovo, in a story from 9to5google.com. For now, at least, Lenovo will use its Vibe brand for smaller and low end phones, and keep Moto as the flagship oriented line. The only down side is they plan to stop using the pure version of Android for a custom version…like almost everyone else.

Elon Musk is on a roll…in an interview yesterday covered by appleinsider.com, he says the Apple electric car is an open secret in Silicon Valley. Musk points out that they’ve hired a thousand engineers, including a number they have poached from Tesla. Musk claims that whatever Apple does automotive-wise won’t hurt Tesla. Apple now holds the domains apple.car, apple.auto, and apple.cars.


Tim Cook on the Apple Car….Keys

Although he was characteristically mum about an Apple car, CEO Tim Cook did tease about cars in London. Geekwire.com reports he said in an interview that the Apple Watch is designed to be able to replace car keys and what he called ‘the clumsy, large fobs’ which are now used by many vehicles. Apple already has a patent on smartphone tech to unlock cars.

Ford is working on cutting car emissions by speeding parking. Arstechnica.com says the automaker is looking towards self driving cars, and using off the shelf parts and a crowdsourced, real time database, your car would head right to a parking space. Ford claims 20-30% of vehicle emissions now come from hunting for parking.

YouTube for Android is getting a useful…and some say overdue…feature. According to thenextweb.com, you can finally trim videos. It’s reportedly precise enough to nearly edit down to the frame. A preview allows you to check your work before finalizing the upload.