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.


LTE Apple Watch & AR Glasses Coming; Amazon Puts Off Brick & Mortar; Faraday Future Punts California Plant

In a report picked up from Barron’s by 9to5mac.com, an analyst for Susquehanna Financial picked up repeated rumors of an LTE connected Apple Watch 3, complete with micro SIM card. It will have a very low power chip to save battery and VoIP tech for calling.

Also, the drumbeat continues that Apple is going big with Augmented Reality. Macrumors.com says Cupertino is focusing on moving from the science project stage towards a finished consumer product. Even at that, it will probably be a 2018 launch at the soonest….although one analyst insists they will roll out AR glasses with the iPhone 8 this fall.

Amazon Go, the brick and mortar Amazon store, has been put on hold. Recode.net says the biggest sticking point is that the tech in the stores with no cashiers or checkout lines can’t handle crowds. More than 20 people inside, and it goes bonkers over tracking people and what’s been taken from specific shelf space.

Another shattered dream for further revitalizing the former submarine base at Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. According to techcrunch.com, vaporware electric car maker Faraday Future has walked away from finalizing an assembly plant and showroom there, at least for now. Faraday plans to focus on finishing their original billion dollar, 3 million square foot plant in Nevada near Las Vegas…but has downsides that to 650,000 square feet. They say they will open it this fall.


Electric Car Builder Faraday to Build Factory in SF Area; Apple Joining the Voice Command Speaker Club

It would be the biggest employer to hit Vallejo, Northeast of San Francisco, since the Navy closed the Mare Island submarine base. Los Angeles based Faraday Future, the electric car startup rumored to be backed out of China, is apparently about to lock in a deal to buy a 157 acre site on Mare Island to build a car production facility and showroom. According to San Francisco Business Times, if the deal is done, Faraday has a 6 month window to firm up a proposal to build a million square foot facility on Mare Island. Faraday is already building a billion dollar, 3 million square foot facility in North Las Vegas.

Now that Google has showed it’s answer to the Amazon Echo, there are reports that Apple will have a new speaker and mic, and tools for Siri developers by their upcoming World Wide Developers Conference next month. Thenextweb.com says Apple probably intends to stitch in their Home system for the internet of things in addition to polling for restaurants and checking Maps and the rest. The lone holdout in the AI assistant sweepstakes now is Microsoft with Cortana.


Oculus Rift Pre-Orders Open Wednesday, Leak: Galaxy S7 Water Resistant & Micro SD, & Some Crazy Car News

FaradayFuture

The long wait is nearly over for those wanting to immerse themselves in virtual reality with this highly touted device. Oculus Rift VR headsets go on pre-order at 8am Pacific tomorrow, January 6th. But…and there are always a couple of hitches…no pricing has been released yet! TechCrunch.com notes that the dev kit Rift was priced at $350, so you can count on it being more than that. Pre-orderers will get two games along with the purchase…Lucky’s Tale and Eve: Valkyrie.

A new leak indicates the the Samsung Galaxy S7 will be water resistant down to a meter…that’s 39.37 inches, and have a MicroSD slot…two features that aren’t on the S6 and S6 Edge. According to mashable.com, the MicroSD slot will support up to 200 gigs. The upcoming Samsung flagships will also have bigger batteries, revamped cameras, and a new processor.

Monday night, Faraday Future gave a peek at their modular electric car. The coupe looks like a Batmobile, is claimed to have 1000 horsepower, and do zero to 60 in under 3 seconds. As theverge.com notes, however, these are all theoretical…they haven’t produced a real car. Faraday claims it’s not vaporware, but come on, Faraday…even Preston Tucker built almost 50 pre-production models and that was in the 40’s! If you are insanely rich, and want to really stand out, Bentley has added a feature to their ‘bespoke’ collection. You can now get stone dashboards and trim to match your granite counter in the kitchen of your mansion. The bespoke line is for the ‘if you have to ask how much, you’re too poor’ crowd!