3 New iPhones Next Year; HomePod With Face ID; Sweat ID to Unlock Phones; Self-Driving Trucks Proliferation

Apple is due to roll out 3 new iPhones next year…two with OLED screens. Businessinsider.com reports that there will be a model like the present iPhone X, a king-sized OLED screen version with a 6.5 inch screen, and a 6.1 inch LCD screen version which will sell for substantially less money. All 3 will have the full screen design and TrueDepth Camera for 3D sensing and Face ID. This is all according to Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities, who has one of the best track records on future Apple devices. The LCD screen model will sell for between $649 and $749, with the two OLED screen models aimed at ‘the high end market.’

With Apple pressing ahead on Face ID, the iPad and MacBooks are a no-brainer, but here’s one you may not have thought of…apparently, Apple is looking at adding the feature to it’s 2nd generation HomePods. Appleinsider.com notes that obviously the feature won’t make it into the model that comes out in a few weeks, but we may see it by 2019. If so, they will have to develop a system that allows more than one user…the iPhone is one to one right now.

With fingerprint readers on many phones, and Apple adding Face ID across their line, here’s a new biometric that sounds weird but may be hard to crack…’Sweat ID.’ Thenextweb.com says scientists at University if Albany think the unique amino acid profile in our sweat could accurately and securely authenticate us to unlock devices. Unlike your fingerprints, which can be copied, and same (albeit with greater difficulty) with Face ID, it would be harder for someone to take a reading of your perspiration profile. Researchers claim that no two people can have the same profile…and no, you don’t have to have sweaty palms to use it…the sensors detect a very small amount of sweat from the eccrine glands on your fingertips!

Otto made a beer run across Colorado on autopilot in one, Tesla will show off their electric big rig this week with at least some self-driving ability…but meanwhile, a startup called Embark has been making runs since early October. According to Wired, Embark has been hauling loads of new Frigidaires from El Paso, TX to Palm Springs, Ca under the radar. A driver picks the trailer load up at the warehouse, gets them to a rest stop on the highway, and then hands off to another driver with a self-driving cab that makes the run to CA. The human driver rides along, but the truck basically plods along in the slow lane at the limit all the way to CA. Daimler, Volvo, and Tesla are working on this, and Uber’s Otto made one trip, but Embark is out there doing it!

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iPhone X Production Picks Up; VW May Do e-Beetle; Daimler Looks to Hydrogen for Data Centers; Xbox One S Black Friday Bargain

It sounds like Apple’s suppliers have the kinks worked out, and production is really ramping up on iPhone X. Appleinsider.com says Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting 26 million of the hero handset with the OLED screen will be out during the holiday quarter. The KGI Securities maven also says Apple will cut back production of the iPhone 8, which is being cannibalized by the X. The 8 Plus, on the other hand, is outselling it’s smaller brother…a first.

There’s been great buzz about VW making a new electric Micro Bus. Now, engadget.com reports that they may build and electric Beetle. They have already been experimenting with a rear wheel drive hatchback e vehicle, the ID…which cranks out the equivalent of 168 horses, and has a 370 mile range. The VW board of management hasn’t voted on it yet, but are expected to release 15 e models…let’s hope one is an e-Beetle!

Daimler, parent of Mercedes, has been experimenting with hydrogen fuel cell cars since 1980. Now, they are teaming up with HPE Power Innovations to keep server farms running. According to engadget.com, they will build ‘micro-grids’ inside data centers. With the fuel cells, the centers can run on solar or wind power, but be able to make it at night or when it’s calm without firing up diesel generators to tide them over. The Fuel cell can run as long as there’s hydrogen, and the byproduct is environmentally friendly water vapor.

If you’re going to be in the market for an Xbox One S or another one, Microsoft has just announced a price drop to $189 for the 500 gig model with a free game for Black Friday. Theverge.com says that’s 10 bucks cheaper than a 1Tb Slony PS4 Slim without game.


iPhone X Preorders Start at midnight Friday; Waymo to Test Self-Driving on Snow & Ice in Michigan; Daimler Shows Electric Truck

Preorders go live tonight at the stroke of a little after midnight for the iPhone X (because Apple is NEVER ready right at midnight!) According to bgr.com and me, your best chance of getting one of the pricey new hero phones is to use the iOS app and buy from Apple…since you know they are holding the lion’s share of phones for their own sales channel. I have found in the past that it pays to keep the app open in both your iPhone and an iPad, and alternate trying to complete the buy until one goes through. It may take you 15-30 minutes, but you are likely to score a phone…and Apple is guaranteed to score a mountain of cash!

Waymo is hauling some of it’s Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Michigan to test their self-driving system out in ice and snow. Arstechnica.com reports that most testing up to now has been in Mountain View, CA, Phoenix, AZ, and Austin, TX…all places that rarely if ever get snow. Besides ice and snow, Michigan already has a Waymo facility they use to collaborate with car makers headquartered in Detroit. Meanwhile, as they test out cold weather conditions, Waymo is making plans to expand their self driving taxi service from Phoenix to other warm weather locations like San Diego, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

Tesla may have postponed the rollout of their electric truck, but original car maker Daimler has rolled right ahead, and showed their E-Fuso Vision One at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. Theverge.com says the truck can haul 11 tons, and make it 217 miles on a charge. Daimler didn’t indicate how quickly the truck can be recharged, but did say they would be aiming for mature markets with more charging stations like Japan and Europe before looking to the US.


Microsoft’s MacBook Air Answer; Daimler Starts Building Huge Battery Factory; iPhone 9—Yes, 9 Rumor

Microsoft has rolled out an $800 MacBook Air competitor. According to business insider. com, it will have 13.5 hours of battery life. Redmond has ditched numbers, the device will just be called Surface Pro, and it is up for preorder today, with the release set for June 15th. It will run 7th generation Intel processors. Keep in mind you will need the added keyboard, which Microsoft says is improved…that will set you back another $130. For another additional charge, they’ve added LTE connectivity. Microsoft isn’t even calling it a tablet anymore in their marketing…they are pitching it as a laptop.

Tesla has their Gigafactory, but that doesn’t mean other car makers are sitting on their hands. In Germany, Daimler has started construction on a half billion dollar lithium ion battery factory. Arstechnica.com says the Mercedes-Benz maker will end up with a plant 4 times as large as their current battery factory, run by their Accumotive division. It will be in production by mid 2018, and they plan to produce batteries that can take a car a whopping 621 miles between charges!

Yeah, the iPhone 8 won’t even be out until fall, but here’s a rumor from macrumors.com about the iPhone 9! Apparently, it will launch with 5.28 inch and 6.46 inch OLED screens. This is up from the expected 5.8 inch screen on the iPhone 8, and 4.7 and 5.5 inch displays on the 7 and 7 Plus (and expected on the S models.) It looks like the iPhone 9 models will be about the physical size of the present ones, only with ‘wall to wall’ screens, and nearly no bezel.


Super King Sized Samsung Tablet Coming?

Samsung had good success for a while supersizing smartphones into phablets, and now theverge.com says SamMobile is reporting the company is working on an 18.4 inch Android tablet. Internally, it’s called Tahoe, and it has a TFT LCD display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 1.6 GhZ processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and rear and front cameras — 8 megapixels and 2.1 megapixels, respectively. SamMobile speculates that it wouldn’t be aimed at mainstream users, but for salespeople to make presentations, and architects needing a large mobile device for site visits. No word on when it might hit the market.

As Apple is rumored to be working in secret on their own electric car that would run their Car Play software, Mercedes-Benz is apparently open to different types of collaboration with Cupertino. In an interview out in the last few days, the Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, was quoted as saying “Google and Apple want to provide system software for cars and bring this entire ecosystem around Apple and Google into the vehicle. That can be interesting for both sides.” According to macrumors.com, Apple hired former Mercedes R&D VP Johann Jungwirth, who is now Director of Mac Systems Engineering.


Plenty of Apps For Apple Watch

In a vote of confidence about the imminent Apple Watch, geekwire.com reports that developers submitted over 1000 apps to run on the smart watch in the first 4 days they could be. The watch becomes available April 24th.

Just 4 days after that, on the 28th, LG will roll out it’s G4 smartphone at an event. According to theverge.com, it will feature a new camera with an f 1.8 lens, that shoots much better in low light.

Daimler Trucks, a division of the company that makes Mercedes-Benz cars, has a prototype Freightliner big rig that doubles the 6 mpg of normal rigs. Engadget.com says it uses a hybrid diesel/electric power plant, and has solar panels on the roof of the trailer. No word on when it might hit the market.