Galaxy S9 Keeps Headphone Jack; True Depth Cam & Face ID Big iPhone X Draws; Netflix Kids See Way Less Ads; Google Poaches Apple Chip Engineers

Yes, it’s ‘old tech’, and yes it takes up space that prevents the screen from going clear to the top or bottom of a smartphone, but according to a rumor spotted by bgr.com, Samsung will keep the venerable 3.5 mm headphone jack on the upcoming Galaxy S9. The Galaxy will have the same size bezels as the S8, but upgraded internals…much like Apple’s ’S’ updates. The S9 Plus will get a dual camera, again taking a page out of Apple’s book. With Apple and most other makers opting to drop the headphone jack, though, swimming against the tide may draw in a significant number of users that refuse to go all in on Bluetooth only smartphones….particularly if they have invested hundreds of dollars in good noise cancelling wired headphones…you supposedly can’t use Bluetooth while flying, because ‘airplane mode’ turns it off.

In a report picked up by appleinsider.com, the big draws for the iPhone X are the TrueDepth camera and FaceID. Some analysts thought the FaceID concept might put buyers off, but according to the study by Strategy Analytics, buyer interest in the two features is ‘extremely positive.’ The firm surveyed 568 early adapters of the iPhone X, and also found that the so-called Super Retina HD display and improved battery life were big selling points.

It may be the death knell for sugary cereal and toy ads on TV. ‘It’ being the cord cutter household. According to bigstockphoto.com, so-called Netflix only households that use only streaming services and not over the air or cable channels have kids who see 230 hours LESS of ads per year….that’s a full 9.6 days of ads! Don’t cry your eyes out for the advertisers, though. Some will figure out ways to use ‘product placement’ in the actual kids shows to hawk their goods to the younger set…the same way products have been seen in movies for decades!

Apple has been designing chips in house for its mobile devices for several years, and is moving that way with Macs, too. Now, Google has stepped up its effort to poach Apple chip engineers, as it does the same. 9to5mac.com reports that Google has hired several key chip engineers away from its rival in Cupertino, including noted designer John Bruno. Prior to Apple, Bruno had worked at AMD.Google is not only designing chips for its Pixel line of smartphones, but also working on custom silicon for AI devices, like the wearables they, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are viewing as the future.

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Galaxy Note 8 To One Up iPhone 7 Plus Cams; Flash will (Finally) Go Bye-Bye; Roku Bests Chromecast in Users

The Galaxy Note 8 may be about to better the flagship feature on Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus…the dual lens camera. Bgr.com reports that Samsung wanted to put the feature on the Galaxy S8, but instead opted for the Note. Like with Apple, the Note will have a regular and telephoto lens. Samsung will have a 3x optical zoom on the Note, where Apple only has 2x, and will include optical image stabilization on the telephoto as well as main lens, which Apple doesn’t. They also are making the wide angle lens 13 megapixel, while Apple shoots with 12 megapixels on both lenses…a negligible difference, but enough to tout as a feature.

It’s been a long, slow death, but Adobe is finally pulling the plug on Flash, probably the most frequently compromised software on anyone’s computer. Mashable.com says it won’t happen until 2020, but at least there is an end date to the problematic software that Steve Jobs panned back in 2009! Most all major browsers support HTML5, and many disable Flash Player by default already. Bye, Flash…we won’t miss you.

According to info from eMarketer picked up by recode.net, Roku pulls in around 40 million people in the US per month. This gives them 23% of connected TV users, easing past Google’s Chromecast with 22% and Amazon Fire TV with 21. Apple TV is an anemic 7%. The big number is 37%….that’s how many just watch via smart TVs. Mine isn’t even all that new, but has dedicated Netflix and Amazon buttons on the remote, and was dead simple to set up.


Facebook’s F8 Launches; Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Will Have a Killer Dual Camera

Facebook had a lot to talk about yesterday as their F8 conference opened. Techcrunch.com notes the headline item: FB is working on an augmented reality developer platform. This is not exactly surprising since their acquisition of Oculus, so we can expect more and more selfie masks, overlays of info on real world objects the cam sees, and more…eventually, they expect a normal-ish pair of glasses or contacts to replace the screens we use…from desktop to smart devices! A number of adds to the Messenger app…you can order food through delivery.com, book a restaurant, and group pay for a meal, and there is a new game tab with new bots. Also, QR codes will get you info at concerts and sporting events.

Samsung held back a bit on the stunning Galaxy S8…the Note 8 will be out later this year, and will feature a dual cam setup like the iPhone 7 Plus. According to appleinsider.com, Apple analyst KGI Securities says the Note 8 cam setup will be ‘much better’ than the array on the iPhone 7 Plus, and may match the rumored performance of the one due out on the iPhone 8. KGI thinks Samsung will ship 50 to 55 million S8s this year and 13-15 million of the Note 8 after it rolls out.


Another 3-Model iPhone 8 Rumor; Snap IPO-Could be worth $20-40 billion

KGI securities says Apple will roll out a 4.7 inch iPhone next year with a single lens camera, plus a dual lens 5.5 inch model with an LCD display like the smaller model, and one with an OLED screen. According to macrumors.com, some sources think that third, even more premium model will have a larger screen, maybe 5.8 inches. KGI didn’t speculate on that size, however. There are already grumblings from people who don’t want a larger phone, but would like the dual camera setup…which is predicted to be on 65-70% of iPhones by next year. It’s too early to get all that exercised…several sources said there would be 3 iPhone 7 models, and that didn’t happen!

Businessinsider.com is reporting that Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc. has quietly filed paperwork for an IPO. It could happen as early as March, but could also occur in the second quarter of next year. The company is seeking a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion. Bloomberg has reported that Snap’s IPO valuation could go as high as $40 billion.


Apple’s Event-Dual Cameras and High Gloss and AirPods…Oh, My!

Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to the world yesterday, and generally the leaks were pretty well accurate. They have a faster processor with 4 cores…which, interestingly, work in 2 pairs for either performance or power saving. The Home button now doesn’t move (or leak or break) and uses Haptic feedback to let you know if picked up your touch or presses, the phones are dust and water resistant, and our beloved and venerable headphone jack is gone. Screens are 25% brighter, and produce cinema grade color.

The big headlines, as noted by macrumors.com and others, are new glossy piano black (which Apple calls Jet Black) and matte black colors joining gold and rose gold, and improved cameras. The 7 gets a faster camera with image stabilization previously only available on the Plus, and the Plus gets the dual lens setup…one is wide angle, the other a telephoto.

The latter has a 2 power optical zoom and 10 power digital zoom. All the rear cams are 12 megapixel, with the selfie cam now bumped to 7 megapixel. The zoom is a welcome addition, as is better low light performance. The Plus will also get a software update that will allow portraits with the subject in sharp focus, and a blurred background, like pros have had on SLR and DSLR cameras.

Preorders start tomorrow, and memory has been bumped to 32, 128, and 256 gigs. The 32 gig 7 starts at $649, or $27 a month with the upgrade plan.

The ‘one more thing’, if there was one, was the new wireless headphones called AirPods. They feature internal chips for a claimed 5 hours of use, simpler pairing across Apple devices, tight Siri integration, and a charging case that can recharge them up to 4 times before needing to plug in. Apple will provide a Lightening to mini phone jack adapter for those of us with many sets of wired headphones and other accessories that need one. The $159 AirPods will be out late October, and it remains to be heard if Apple has really solved the issues of drops and noisy audio over Bluetooth to make AirPods truly worthy of replacing high end headphones.


Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Rumors; Huge Twitter Video Move

The Samsung Galaxy S8 may sport a UHD 4K display, and feature a dual main camera. 9to5google reports that and unnamed source in China claims Samsung is looking at an Ultra HD 4K display. The downside would be a huge battery drain, but it would produce a fantastic VR experience. Much more likely is a dual camera setup, which LG and Huawei already have, and Apple is supposed to be rolling out on the iPhone 7 Plus in September.

On the topic of video, Twitter is making a huge change involving Vine. According to recode.net, they are introducing a feature to Vine videos. the Vines will still be 6 seconds, but along side them will be a function allowing 140 second videos! Twitter is also adding a Watch Mode and expanding the video length in the main app from 30 to 140 seconds! They will also allow content creators to use Twitter Amplify and run pre-roll ads before a Vine starts…Twitter will keep 30% of the revenue, with the content creators getting 70%.