Apple Buys Smartglasses Lens Maker; Dyson Working on EV; Twitter Testing Unfollow Suggestions

Apple has acquired a Colorado start up that specializes in making ‘vibrant’ lenses for Augmented Reality glasses. According to 9to5mac.com, Akonia Holographics was started in 2012, and initially was working on ‘holographic data storage.’ They soon focused on creating displays for AR glasses, and have over 200 patents for that kind of tech. Apple has been thought to be working on AR glasses, and may release some type of AR headset or glasses next year or in 2020.

Dyson, which disrupted the vacuum business a few years ago, and has made further forays into fans, heaters, and even a hair dryer using improved tech, is pressing ahead on an electric vehicle. Emgadget.com reports that they have proposed a development facility at Hullavington Airfield that includes 10 miles of test tracks…you don’t need that to test out vacuums! The already have $110 million invested, and look to more than double that amount towards the project. if things go to plan, Dyson would like to roll out an electric vehicle by 2020-2021.

If you are on Twitter at all, you know you get their suggestions on who to follow. Now, mashable.com says the social network is testing out suggestions for people to unfollow…mainly ones you do’t engage with on a regular basis. Twitter says the feature would give users a more relevant Twitter timeline. Considering the firehose that Twitter is, a lot of us barely notice the accounts we don’t engage with anyway. Twitter may or may not make the feature permanent, depending on how the testing works out.

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Segway Scooter; Dyson’s New Gorilla V10 Cordless Vac; Outlook Cortana for iOS & Android; Whole Foods Amazon Delivery Expands

You see a few Segways around, but they never caught on as anticipated. Now, businessinsider.com reports the company has launched an Indiegogo preorder for the Loomo, a robotic platform that you can ride, or park a bag or briefcase on and it will follow you around. It’s kind of a mashup of a hoverboard and a personal robot with a personal assistant…like if you could ride R2D2 and it responded like Alexa. The Loomo is $1300, not cheap, but it not only will carry you or your stuff, or follow you around like a puppy, but will also shoot pics or video on command. It takes about 3 hours to charge, and has a range of 22 miles. It runs on a customized version of Android. BTW, if you think the $1300 pre-order price is a bit steep, it will be $1800 later at retail!

Dyson’s vacuums suck like no others. That’s a good thing when it comes to vacuums, of course. Now, they’ve rolled out the Cyclone V10, the most powerful cordless one yet, which they claim can completely replace a corded canister vac. TechCrunch.com says the suction is 20% better than the V8 model it replaces, and the new canister holds 40% more dirt and dust. It also is lighter due to some ceramics used in place of metal. The vac charges in 3.5 hours, and will run an hour on normal, or 10 minutes on super suction. There’s also an in-between setting for semi-super suction and more battery life. The new rig sports LEDs that tell you when to clean the filters, which has been kind of a guess up to now. Being a Dyson, it’s $499…of course, and on the market in April.

A huge number of businesses use Microsoft Outlook for their email and calendaring, and now Redmond is testing out using Cortana with Outlook over iOS and Android to read you your emails while commuting. According to arstechnica.com, Google Assistant doesn’t offer that functionality with Outlook. Siri will, but only if you have the email poured into the Apple Mail app, not with the Outlook app. Right now, the Cortana for email is only being internally testing, but if it works well enough, they plan to roll it out for a public test before long.

Amazon continues to eat the world, and is making it a bit easier for you to eat, too…at least in San Francisco and Atlanta. Geekwire.com says those cities are getting the expansion of Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery delivery service. The service is already available in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach. You will be able to get 5% back on purchases on the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, just like in store purchases in these Whole Foods delivery cities.


2 Facebook Smart Speakers Coming; HomePod Makes Apple Less than Google and Amazon; Dyson to Make e-Cars

Facebook appears to be getting into the hardware business, and it will do it with smart speakers. According to mashable.com, they will launch a couple of models of smart speakers in July. The code names for the gadgets are Fiona and Aloha. Facebook will apparently give them 15 inch touchscreens, but one is expected to have higher quality. They will include both facial recognition and voice control tech.

After a few days to tear into Apple’s HomePod, TechInsight has determined that the device costs Apple about $216 to make, giving them 38% profit. For comparison, Google makes 66% on their smart speakers and Amazon 56%. Businessinsider.com says the difference is due to the higher quality components Apple puts in its smart speaker.

After getting into one mature business and disrupting it, now Dyson looks to do the same with cars…specifically, electric cars. According to theverge,com, Dyson is working on solid state batteries, and hopes to have ‘radically different’ cars out sometime after 2021. Dyson will initially produce a higher end, limited production vehicle…much like Tesla, then move into more mass market vehicles. One advantage for Dyson…they have experience getting products manufactured and out to buyers.


Twitter Doubling Tweet Length to 280 Characters; iPhone X Shortage Will Be Due to Facial Recognition Hardware; Dyson Building Electric Car

Twitter is testing out doubling Tweet length to 280 characters for some users. 9to5google.com reports that the company decided on the expansion after finally noting that character count allowed vastly more information in some languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Those languages can convey about twice as much information per character as can English, Spanish, or French. Twitter noted that 9% of Tweets in English hit the limit, but only .4% do so in Japanese. They still may not expand to everybody if they feel the test goes badly.

Apple’s iPhone X delay and expected shortage is apparently due to part of the module that allows 3D facial recognition. According to macrumors.com, it is taking more time to assemble the dot projector that beams 30,000 invisible dots to your face and allows the phone to map it, determining that it’s you. The hero iPhone may be hard to get through the first quarter of next year because of the issue.

Dyson is working on an electric car. One analyst at cnet.com joked that If it’s priced like its vacuums, it will cost 12 million dollars and have lots of vortices. Actually, James Dyson had already been working on vehicle-related pollution issues since 1990. Now, the company has confirmed that it will build an electric car. Dyson announced Tuesday that his company will build a battery-electric vehicle and it should by ready by 2020. A 400-plus-person team is already hard at work on the car. James Dyson said he’s committed to investing $2.68 billion on the project. No truth to the rumor that it will have 16 vortex nozzles, or that it will Hoover up road debris as you drive…


Apple Car Delayed at Least A Year; Dyson Tests Robot Vac With 360 Degree Vision

This was probably telegraphed by the fact that Steve Zadesky, who’d led Project Titan for Apple, left after 16 years with the company, but now it looks like we won’t be seeing an Apple car before 2021. 9to5mac.com says Cupertino had been shooting for 2020. One tidbit…Apple is apparently looking into its own charging systems that would replace gas stations for EV drivers. Earlier this week, Elon Musk over at Tesla claimed that 2020 would be too late for Apple to enter the market…but anyone who remembers what happened when Apple entered the mp3 player market late with the iPod isn’t going to believe that! Right now, about 600 people are still working on Project Titan, the alleged Apple car.

Dyson has been hard at work on their ‘360 Eye,’ a robotic vacuum with 360 degree vision and connectivity. It’s bigger than a Roomba, and Dyson claims it will be far better, as the software and cameras plus sensors will let it get around rooms better and easier, even if you move the couch. According to techcrunch.com, Dyson has been refining the 360 Eye concept for 18 years, and is now working on version 3. After a lot of testing in Japan and then release, the 360 Eye launches in Canada today, and will roll out in the US soon. Dyson claims they can update the software over the air, and that they plan to do so frequently. They also hint that the tech in the vacuums is more widely applicable…will we see a Dyson household robot some day like Rosie from the Jetsons?


Dyson Hoovers Up Battery Co. That Doubles Battery Life

We reported earlier about some innovative batteries that double the life of Lithium Ion batteries. Now, geek.com reports that Dyson has vacuumed up Skati3, the company that makes them. Look for the solid state batteries in Dyson’s portable vacuums, and later in smartphones and other gadgets.

Google’s Chromecast has made your smartphone into a really great TV remote…but what if you left it in the other room? According to techcrunch.com, you can use your infrared TV remote to pause and un-pause streaming videos.It works on MOST streams and MOST TVs.

Nintendo is finally poised for something of a comeback. Bgr.com says they’re going really big into mobile games, joining Sega and Square. Even with free apps, mobile games make a mint from in-app purchases…as Sega and Square have discovered.


A Smartphone Maker Besides Apple Had a Banner Year

Apple’s not the only smartphone maker with big increases in 2014. Reuters.com says Huawei’s smartphone sales are up 40%, and revenues by a third. They shipped 75 million smartphones in 2014.

9to5mac.com reports that iPhone 6 users are finding that cards can’t be added back into Apple Pay after a restore of the phone. So far, the only fix is for Apple to replace the phone.

A $2000 light bulb will be out in May. Developed by Dyson, of vacuum and fan fame, it lasts 40 years. Bgr.com says the LED lamp will save enough energy to be worth it in difficult to access commercial spots like airport and mall ceilings.