Pixel 3’s May Get the Dreaded ‘Notch;’ Apple Rolls Out Coding Training for Blind & Deaf Students; HTC’s Blockchain Phone

One of the most roundly criticized things about the iPhone X was the ‘notch’ at the top. Now, most Android makers are copying it, and Google may have inadvertently revealed that the Pixel 3 will also have ‘the notch.’ Of course, Apple uses the space at the top of their iPhone X screen for the Face ID sensors and cam. Bgr.com reports that by looking at the Android P beta, you can see where they have cleared out space at the top center of the screen. There’s no reason for this beyond making room for a notch. This will no doubt seal things with the rest of Android makers that haven’t already embraced notchyness, so brace yourself if it bugs you as much as it does some of the technology press.

Apple is extending its Everyone Can Code to schools that serve blind and deaf students. According to a press release, they will be furnishing the Everyone Can Code curricula for Swift, their programming language, to schools that focus on blind and deaf students starting this fall, including California School for the Blind and California School for the Deaf in Fremont, CA, plus schools in Texas, Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts, The curricula is comparable with VoiceOver technology.

HTC is working on an Android handset that will be powered by blockchain tech. Thenextweb.com says it will have a universal wallet and built-in secure hardware enclave that will support cryptocurrencies and decentralized apps. They also plan to create a native blockchain network with all exodus phones acting as nodes to facilitate cryptocurrency trading among the phone users. They are hoping to have it on the market by next year.

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Samsung In-Person Phone Repairs; Google Bans Crypto Ads; Netflix May Bow Weekly Newsmagazine Show; Walmart Expands Grocery Delivery

A strong plus for Apple’s iPhone line has been the ability to make an appointment, and hit an Apple store when your phone is on the fritz. Now, Samsung has announced they are acting to offer in-person service for Galaxy phones in the US. Engadget.com reports that after March 15th, users will be able to visit one of 300+ uBreakiFix locations around the country and get Samsung authorized repairs in person on late model high end Galaxy phones, from the S6 and Note 5 on up to the new S9’s. Both Samsung and uBreakiFix are promising same day repairs, and in most cases 2 hour fixes. Walk-ins are ok, but appointments are encouraged. The repair chain is also adding 200 more locations, and that is expected by 2019.

Google AdWords has banned all cryptocurrency ads. 9to5google.com says the ban will take effect in June to give advertisers time to wrap up schedules. The ban includes related content in addition to actual cryptocurrencies…initial coin offerings, exchanges, wallets, and trading advice ads will be stopped. The action is no doubt in response to the high volatility in the virtual currency market lately. Google notes the havoc that can wreak in less savvy people.

Word is, Netflix may be dipping its toe into news. According to cnet.com, the streaming programming giant is working on something in the vein of ’60 Minutes’ or ’20/20,’ a newsmagazine type format that will run weekly. In addition to entertainment programming, Netflix has already expanded to documentaries, so this may be another nature extension to position them as a full service program provider.

With Amazon now utilizing their acquisition of Whole Foods to expand their own grocery delivery business, Walmart has reacted with an aggressive lan to expand its own grocery delivery service from the present 6 test markets to 100 metro areas. Geekwire.com says Walmart will be able to leverage its 800 physical stores to reach what they say is over 40 percent of US households. Walmart will charge a $9.95 fee on orders of over $30. Using the Whole Foods grocery delivery service, Amazon Prime Now members can get free delivery in 4 test markets: Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach. If they want delivery in an hour or less, it’s an additional $7.99.


Next iPhone-More Details on 3rd Model; Hacking Android Phones for Bitcoin Mining; Magic Leap’s Semi-Reasonable AR Glasses

Frequently reliable Apple analyst KGO Securities estimates that Apple could ship 100 million of the new 6.1 inch screen LCD iPhone. Macrumors.com says KGI has already predicted that Apple will drop the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in favor of this new, lower priced iPhone. It won’t have the OLED screen, but will be full screen with ‘the notch.’ It also will have an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel, a single lens camera, and no 3D Touch. On the other hand, KGI says it could be priced starting at $699, which will pull in a lot more buyers than the $1000 or $1000 top iPhones for 2018. KGI thinks the lower priced model will account for half of all new iPhones after the new models roll out this fall.

Mining cryptocurrency with ‘unused computer power’ is great…IF you’re doing the mining on your own machines. According to 9to5google.com, MalwareBytes says a substantial number of Android handsets have been hijacked to mine the cryptocurrency Moreno. All the websites that do this use a redirect, so if you get one of those while browsing, you should run tools on your phone (like those from MalwareBytes, of course.)

Magic Leap has been trying to stay under the radar until recently, when they showed a model of what their AR glasses will look like. Now, theverge.com reports that they will produce several versions, including one priced like a ‘higher end mobile phone to higher-end tablet.’ They also plan a high end version for pros and developers, but may end up with as many as 3 models in the beginning. Although dropping around $1000 for a set of AR glasses doesn’t sound cheap, Magic Leap points out that over time, the headsets can replace your phones, televisions, laptops, and tablets….which could save thousands of dollars.


iOS 12-Better QC & FaceTime Emoji; Apple Watch is So Number 1; Government Sites Mining Cryptocoin; Facebook Patents Social Class Tracking Tech

A relatively long time ago, Apple used to release OS updates that were pretty bulletproof. Of late…not quite so much. Now, according to macrumors.com, Cupertino is going to get back to a less concrete update release schedule and focus on quality more with iOS 12. This probably means more of a 2 year update cycle for iOS and the MacOS, instead of yearly. You can expect deeper Siri integration into iPhone searches, and a better Do Not Disturb feature, as well as Animoji on FaceTime…but all only if the engineers say the OS is ready, NOT because of an ironclad marketing release schedule!

There has been plenty of reporting on what a dud the Apple Watch has been. Well, guess what, kids? It’s all BAD reporting. Businessinsider.com reports that last quarter, Apple sold more watches than Swatch, Rolex, Omega, and all the rest of Swiss watch brands combined! The data came from industry researcher Canalys and IDC, and also publicly released shipment stats from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Apple apparently sold 8 million Apple Watches in the final quarter of 2017. Obviously, Rolex isn’t a high sales brand, but Swatch is, and they sell for about $180, comparable with the price of some of the Apple Watch line. As far as other smartwatches from Samsung and Google…they don’t even register!

Lots of people are trying to get into mining cryptocurrency, and they appear to have enlisted some government websites in that endeavor. Thenextweb.com says a security researcher has found that thousands of otherwise legit websites have had crypto mining scripts injected into them, which has let miners use unwitting folks’ computers to mine coin for them. Sites that were infected include those of the state of Indiana and also the US court system! Apparently, someone tainted the BrowseAloud software, which is embedded in those sites to allow accessibility services. The good news is, the hack was discovered within 24 hours, and the makers of BrowseAloud are working to squash the hack.

As if social media didn’t already know enough about all of us, Facebook has patented tech to determine users class without even knowing their income. The software can divide us up into ‘working class,’ ‘middle class,’ or ‘upper class’ using a variety of data sources and qualifiers, according to engadget.com. Facebook says the algorithm is intended for use by “third parties to increase awareness about products or services to online system users.” Examples given include corporations and charities. It remains to be seen how accurate it will be…apparently, their idea of middle class is a home owner in pricey Palo Alto. Own a home in San Jose, CA? Oh…you’re working class. WHAT? Million dollar working class houses? With an algorithm like this, probably 90% of us are ‘the poors,’ by Facebook standards!


Bitcoin Tanking; 1st Million Apple HomePods Shipped; Galaxy S9 Release Date Leaked

As correctly predicted by ‘the Oracle of Omaha,’ Warren Buffett, Bitcoin is crashing. It’s now under 10,000, half of it’s high, according to bgr.com. Investors are selling off massive amounts of the virtual currency. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Ripple are also slumping. While this sounds apocalyptic, keep in mind that even of Bitcoin traders, most is held by a group of people numbering in the low single digits. It’s not going to trash lots of 401(k) accounts or the like. Much of the drop is based on worry of stricter regulations being considered by South Korea and China.

After missing the important holiday shopping season, Apple’s home pods have started shipping from supplier Inventec. 9to5mac.com reports the first million are on the way, with an expected run of between 10 and 12 million this year. Hon Hai Precision Industry is also making the HomePods for Apple. The delay has been blamed on fine tuning software and hardware integration. No release date from Apple yet, but it should be soon for the $350 smart speaker.

Trusted leaker Evan Bless Tweeted yesterday that a C-level executive at a major case maker spilled the beans on the release of Samsung’s Galaxy S9. The handset will launch on February 26th, pre-orders will open on March 1st, and the new hero phone will ship on March 16th. Limber up those fingers for some fast ordering!