Skype over Alexa; Apple Cuts iPhone Production Orders; Space-X Approved for 7,000 Com Satellites

Microsoft has enabled Skype to work on Amazon’s Alexa devices. The rollout should be complete this week. Theverge.com reports that Echo-type hardware will be able to handle basic calling, and the Echo Show will include video support for Skype. Users will also be able to call mobile and land lines using SkypeOut, and call their contacts by simply asking Alexa to ‘Call Siri on Skype.’ OK, not really Siri…unless maybe you have a friend with that name, which would be nearly as confusing as having a pal named Alexa.

Apple has pared back production orders for the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and XR, due to ‘lower than expected demand,’ according to a Wall Street Journal report picked up by macrumors.com. Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest cuts are for the XR, which has been whacked by a third of the original 70 million units originally scheduled. Some suppliers are calling the handsets a flop, but with Apple reporting record breaking revenue of $61.5 billion on iPhones during the launch quarter, that’s a stretch. Since Apple is going to quit reporting unit numbers for iPhone sales going forward it will make it even harder to track sales…but competitor Samsung hasn’t reported unit numbers in some time.

SpaceX has gotten FCC approval to launch over 7,000 satellites. Cnet.com says they will be in very low earth orbit, and will give the company the ability to provide global satellite broadband service. The FCC has also signed off on requests from Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat MA to offer broadband in the US by satellite.


Looking Past Apple’s March Event; Google to Wire Cuba

There will be a bigger iPhone with a brighter screen in 2017 or 2018, according to applenws.com and Digitimes. Apple is reportedly going to go with OLED screens, which some competitors already use. They give users more vivid color and blacker blacks. The biggest phone will apparently grow from 5.7 to 5.8 inches, too. Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away…pictures have appeared online of Apple EarPods with a Lightening connector, instead of the standard everywhere else…including all iPhones up to now…1/8th inch phone jack. It appears that the rumor about iPhone 7 models losing the headphone jack are true. We’ll have a full recap of the Apple event today tomorrow morning.

The President is in Cuba, and announced today that Google has a deal to set up more WiFi and broadband across the island nation, immensely adding to the capacity of the state run system of public WiFi hotspots…which cost $4.50 an hour, and are out of reach to most Cubans anyway. Engadget.com reports that Cubans will still have to put up with government censorship of their internet.