More iPhone 8 From HomePod Leak; Apple Watch May Gain LTE Capability; Faraday Future Dumps Nevada for California; Americans Using Less Juice Than A decade Ago

As geeks continue to sift through the HomePod software, we get more and more teases about the iPhone 8. Macrumors.com says it indicates that the FaceID facial recognition software is so good, you won’t have to raise the phone and hold it in front of your face to open the phone. The phone may also be capable of shooting 4K video at 60 FPS with either front or rear cameras.

The HomePod leak also seems to reveal that the Apple Watch this fall may get a new form factor and have LTE. According to bloomberg.com, you will be able to connect directly to cellular networks, with no need to be tethered to an iPhone. No indication on if you could make voice calls or it’s just for messages and data, or what apple is doing to preserve battery life, but Apple is apparently in talks with carriers in the US and Europe.

Faraday Future, which at one time planned to build a large electric car plant in Nevada and a smaller one in Vallejo, CA has bolted, and signed a lease on an abandoned Pirelli tire plant in Hanford, in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Techcrunch.com reports that it hopes to be in the new plant by November, and be delivering cars by the end of 2018. Faraday still apparently has an option for a smaller facility on Mare Island in Vallejo. Faraday’s CFO Stephan Krause downplayed financial woes tied to LeEco in China, saying the company has no legal relationship, and if the Chinese company goes under, Faraday would still be solvent.

We all have numerous electronic gadgets and devices…far more than 10 years ago…but due to their becoming more efficient, we are using less electricity! According to recode.net, residential electricity sales per person is down 7% since 2010, too. Part of the reason is more efficient devices, but another part is that people are using phones and tablets more, which are smaller and more efficient. The US Energy Information Administration warns that we may see an increase again between 2030 and 2040, as more rechargeable devices come online…and the so-called ‘smart home’ becomes common. Commercial electricity use is not tapering off, since a lot of what we do online with the cloud, Google, Amazon, and Facebook requires giant server farms that Hoover up many kilowatt hours of electricity.


Apple Gets CA Permit for Self-Driving Car Tests; Gadget Pulls Water Out of Thin Air

In a rather stealthy web update Friday before the Easter weekend, California’s DMV revealed that Apple has joined 29 other companies in getting a permit to test self-driving vehicles. According to businessinsider.com, this is the first hint that Cupertino was still working on self-driving tech since a letter to the NHTSA in December. Apple will be running its tech in 3 Lexus SUVs and the permit covers 6 drivers…other than the cars themselves. It appears that Apple is working on autonomous software, and not a full car, but stay tuned.

Scientists at MIT and Cal Berkeley have developed a solar powered water harvester that can extract humidity out of thin air to produce drinking water. Thenextweb.com reports that it’s solar powered, and can produce 3 liters of water in 12 hours, in a place with only 20-30% humidity….so will even work in a desert. (The Mojave desert daytime humidity runs 10-30%.) The scientists say a person could survive in the desert on a soda can’s worth of water a day, and the gadget can produce that much water in an hour. It uses a new type of metal-organic framework, or MOF.


Amazon Destinations Expands to Bay Area and NorCal

The Amazon site Amazon Destinations, which launched in April, has now added several areas, to cover a total of 35 cities and 6 metro regions, including the Bay Area and Northern California. According to techcrunch.com, the site isn’t intended as a full boat travel service…but more for planning and booking weekend getaways near where people live. Hotels and the like don’t pay upfront to participate, instead amazon keeps a percentage of what users pay as a commission. It now covers the Northwest, all of California, Texas, as well as Southeast and Northeast areas.

Great news for full blown Apple fanboys and fangirls…Apple’s spaceship shaped Campus 2 headquarters will have a visitor center with and observation deck and store. Appleinsider.com reports that the visitor’s center will be a free standing glass walled structure keeping the theme of the main spaceship building. It will apparently have a cafe in addition to the store, and will be open 7-7 weekdays and 9-7 on weekends. Now, ultra fans can eat an apple at Apple, and go home with even less money after buying lots of Apple branded merchandise.