In a report from the Telegraph picked up by thenextweb.com and others, Google is rumored to be designing its own Android phones for release later this year. While they do now have a hardware division being run by a former president of Motorola, this would really be a curve ball to other Android makers…especially LG, Huawei, and HTC, which have built the Nexus phones for Google. It’s not clear how an in-house designed phone would be more perfectly optimized for pure Android than the ones they already specify for their partners making the Nexus…stay tuned.
A report from an unconfirmed source (but one physically near Apple HQ in Cupertino) says iPhone 7 will come in a ‘Space Black’ color similar to the Apple Watch…no deep blue color. 9to5mac.com also reports that the Home button will include haptic feedback to simulate a click, like Force Touch. As for the Apple Watch, the version 2.0 may have GPS for accurate workout logging, and along with cellular would drop the need to carry an iPhone, and would gain the ability to track swimming…indicating a high level of waterproofing.
More is leaking out about the Samsung Galaxy S7. Due out in March, the S7 will have a pressure sensitive screen copying Apple’s Force Touch, according to theverge.com. The non-Edge version will have expandable storage like the S6 models, and it will sport an improved camera with no ‘bump’ on the back. Maybe best of all, the S7 will have a USB-C port….the kind that lets you insert the cable in either way, and fast charging…reportedly a nearly full charge in 30 minutes! There are still rumors of a retina scanner, but those have been popping up since the S5, so don’t hold your breath.
Be still my heart….a Tesla for Christmas! Well, sort of. Like many other manufacturers, Tesla has leather left over after cutting those buttery seat covers. Now, they’ve started making iPhone 6 cases out of the excess. Bgr.com reports that they run $45 to $50, depending on whether for a 6 or 6 Plus, and if you want a wallet case or not. The wallet case has RFID blocking, too. Thanks, Santa Musk!
In a leak similar to one last year near the release date of the iPhone 6, we now know a bit more about the successor iPhone 6S. The next generation handset will be slightly thicker to accomodate the Force Touch and Taptic Engine features borrowed from the Apple Watch. Force Touch tells the handset different things, depending on how hard you press on the screen, while the Taptic Engine gives it a more versatile vibration motor for alerts. Despite the increase in thickness from 6.9 to 7.1 mm, there is still a bump on the back for the camera…which has unduly bothered some in the tech media…despite the fact that nearly everyone else buys a case for their iPhones that negates that issue.
As rumored earlier, Nokia has sold its HERE mapping business to a group made up of Audi, BMW, and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz. Previously, it was rumored that Uber, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple had shown interest. The German car makers are dropping $3.07 billion for the service. It was probably only a matter of time before some car makers started to ‘roll their own’ for their navigation systems.
Apple looks like they’re integrating ‘Force Touch’ across the upcoming iOS 9. Another big feature is supposed to be split screen for iPads…so you can switch quickly between a couple of open apps (I hope this will work on older models!) Future MacBooks with Force Touch could lose trackpads, making for even more insanely slim and small footprints…you could swipe your fingers across the keyboard and different amounts of force on the keys could allow for multiple functions. Force Touch might also help the new super slim Macbook, which has gotten rapped for its keyboard. apple is expected to show it off iOS9 at World Wide Developers’ Conference. WWDC is June 8-12…also at Moscone Center in S.F.
At Apple on Monday, Jony Ive was elevated to Chief Design Officer, and two of his trusted lieutenants were made VPs and will handle the day to day management of design teams. There has been a bit of hand wringing this week as analysts and Apple watchers are worrying that Ive may partially retire, move back to England, and Apple will go down the tubes. Apple didn’t implode when Steve Jobs left the planet, and it probably won’t if Ive leaves entirely, but it does provide lots of fodder for the tech chattering class.
Wednesday looks to be the day that Apple drops new 15 inch Macbook Pros and 27 inch iMacs with Force Touch baked in to the track pads. 9to5mac.com says that otherwise, the update will be a minor one, with upgrades to the CPU and graphics processors.
In a story from tech crunch.com penned by the CEO of Zuora, the present car industry is compared to the early PC industry of the mid 80’s. The auto makers are cast as being as clueless as giant IBM was at that time, and Digital Equipment…remember them…even more out of touch. IBM went on to be clobbered as the platform…like Windows or Mac…became much more important to consumers than the brand itself. With Gartner predicting that there will be 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020, the platform makers, like Google with Android Auto and Apple with Car Play, may become far more important that the actual brand of cars…causing a gigantic shakeup in the auto industry.