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.


Google Pixel 2 May Ditch Phone Jack; iPhone 8 May Ship Late October-November; Carmakers Collaborate to Take On Waze & Google Maps

The march towards Bluetooth only seems relentless on smartphones now. According to businessinsider.com, the latest to ditch the venerable headphone jack will be the Google Pixel 2. The latest leaks show that the Pixel 2 XL will have a more premium design, with thinner borders…and both Pixel models will sport a more refined glass back plate.

Apple’s iPhone 8 will be delayed past the September rollout, and now it appears it may be late October to early November before significant numbers are in users’ hands. Macrumors.com reports that a rumor about the side button is probably off base, after picking up on info from Mac Otakara. The handset appears to have an elongated side button that will have Touch ID, since the home button is going away. Mac Otakara says it’s much more likely that the Touch ID will be under the screen, or left out entirely, rather than put into a longer button on the phone’s side.

German carmakers bought a traffic company called HERE from Nokia a couple years ago. Now, mashable.com says they plan to pool traffic data collected by their cars’ sensors for real time traffic conditions in their own map that they claim will have ‘significantly higher accuracy and more precise information about traffic conditions.’ Taken together, they already have a fleet of millions of cars in 60 countries, and the numbers will increase dramatically as more cars with sensor systems hit the roads the next few years. Besides highly accurate info for drivers, it will build data for more reliable self driving systems.


iPhone 8 Likely 3D Cam Points to Augmented Reality Future; More Galaxy S8 Reveals

A number of sources are giving credence to the iPhone 8 having a 3D camera setup. Businessinsider.com reports that the system will probably be in the next iPhone, but that some uses of it are a ways away. It may be that facial recognition for security or placing one’s face in games will still take a year or two, and it could be 3 years before Apple releases an SDK for AR content creation. Most analysts think an all new AR Apple product that will be a game changer like the iPod or iPhone may be just 3-4 years off.

The leaks surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S8 have become a firehose at this point. The new flagship phone, which rolls out the 29th, will revive the IR Blaster, and will have a separate button to launch Bixby, the AI assistant…this according to 9to5google.com. In addition, the on-screen home button will always be on, enabling one to turn the display on, but users will need to pick up the phone to activate the fingerprint sensor. It WILL have a USB-C connector AND a beloved headphone jack, as well as a SIM/Micro SD slot.


More Galaxy S8 Leaks; Netflix Will Have 20 Originals in 2017; Toys Pulled From Stores for Spying; Google Hits 100% Renewable Energy in 2017

SamMobile often has accurate tips about upcoming Samsung products, and according to the latest, they say the Galaxy S8 will lose both the headphone jack and physical home button. 9to5google.com reports it will have a USB-C port like the Note 7, and won’t jump to 4K screen resolution. There should be an optical fingerprint sensor in the display, too.

Netflix will debut 20 original unscripted shows in 2017. Arstechnica.com says they will be competition and reality shows. One will be ‘Ultimate Beastmaster,’ 10 episodes that will follow athletes over obstacle courses, with the winner in the finale being dubbed ‘The Ultimate Beast!’

Some high tech toys are being pulled from some store shelves, and a consumer council in Norway is demanding that the Federal Trade Commission and the European counterpart to it clear all of them from shelves. According to thenextweb.com, ‘My Friend Cayla’ and i-Que from Genesis Toys let kids communicate with the toys via a smartphone app. The company claims all communication is between the app and product, but apparently it really gets sent to the company’s Nuance server. Nuance underpins Siri for Apple and Dragon Naturally speaking. The data can apparently be used for marketing and shared with third parties. Not cool for toys that tout a ‘safe internet’ for kids.

Google has announced that it will power its entire worldwide operations with 100% renewable energy in 2017. According to techcrunch.com, they will be able to claim to be world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, and will be twice as large in that respect as Amazon. Some of the power comes from energy credits, but Google says it plans to further diversify into renewables…particularly to get away from as much reliance on wind power.


Possible iPhone 7 Headphone Jack Solution; Refreshed MacBook Pros Due in October

iphone-7-fuze-case

Although I haven’t really had an issue with it, many people are still plenty upset about the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and Plus. Personally, I’ve used some 30 buck wireless Bluetooth ones, and tried out my quality wired ‘cans,’ and just used the dongle Lightening adapter. If you are one of those people who are feeling the pain, Fuze may have a solution coming in the next months. Thenextweb.com reports that Fuze is an indiegogo project that resembles a Mophie Juicepack battery pack case. The difference is…besides the Lightening jack at the bottom, there’s also a 3.5 mm audio jack. When it comes out, you can double your battery life, charge, and listen to your wired phones to your heart’s content. It will be $69 retail, but super early bird backers can get it for $49 if you head to indiegogo.com. Choose from white, Black, gold, rose gold, or blue.

Apple is set to freshen MacBook Pro models the end of October. The latest word, according to macrumors.com, is the they will have the previously touted OLED touch bar replacing the function keys at the top of the keyboard, a fingerprint scanner for security like the iPhones have, USB-C ports, and a thinner profile.


Looking Past Apple’s March Event; Google to Wire Cuba

There will be a bigger iPhone with a brighter screen in 2017 or 2018, according to applenws.com and Digitimes. Apple is reportedly going to go with OLED screens, which some competitors already use. They give users more vivid color and blacker blacks. The biggest phone will apparently grow from 5.7 to 5.8 inches, too. Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away…pictures have appeared online of Apple EarPods with a Lightening connector, instead of the standard everywhere else…including all iPhones up to now…1/8th inch phone jack. It appears that the rumor about iPhone 7 models losing the headphone jack are true. We’ll have a full recap of the Apple event today tomorrow morning.

The President is in Cuba, and announced today that Google has a deal to set up more WiFi and broadband across the island nation, immensely adding to the capacity of the state run system of public WiFi hotspots…which cost $4.50 an hour, and are out of reach to most Cubans anyway. Engadget.com reports that Cubans will still have to put up with government censorship of their internet.


More iPhone 7 Rumors; Nest Thermostats Have Battery Problems

We just reported yesterday about the possible dual rear cameras iPhones may be getting, and have also covered the likely loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack and waterproofing…as the commercial goes…’but wait…there’s more!’ Apparently, there’s a method to their madness in ditching the headphone jack and making people use the lightening port…and therefore buying new headphones…Apple is working on baking in noise reduction tech for both music and phone calls. Bgr.com says another possible killer feature may be coming…wireless charging! If you are like the 200,000 people mad enough to sign a petition demanding Apple not drop the headphone jack, go ahead and join them…but Apple will surely ignore it and do as it pleases. THAT’s one thing left over from Steve Jobs that will never change!

Lately, my Nest thermostat showed up with a low battery reading, and disconnected from the web. I now find that I’m not alone…there’s apparently a software bug that’s causing this. According to gizmodo.com, Nest has admitted that some people have the problem, and that they are working on it. Nest suggests a manual restart until a fix in in place. I did a modification of this…plugged it into my computer USB port for a hour to charge, then reset the date and time. Interestingly, it loses connection with my wi-fi network and wants to join an unprotected one, so you might check that out, too.


Facebook’s WhatsApp Leans on Telegram; Apple May Drop Headphone Jack on iPhone 7.

Facebook is using its muscle to make it tougher to use a competitor for one of their apps. WhatsApp has started blocking outbound links to Telegram, the secure messaging service. Businessinsider.com reports that any such links are dead, and can’t be copied an pasted out of WhatsApp. The blocking came with a silent update yesterday. In an unintended but ironic side consequence, the app also now blocks links to telegram.com, a domain for a newspaper in Worcester, Mass that has nothing to do with the Telegram messaging app!

A rumor that has popped up everywhere the last 24 hours, including gizmodo.com, is that Apple may drop the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, opting for earbuds that plug into the Lightening port. Besides meaning you couldn’t charge the phone and listen at the same time, or use your old…and perhaps expensive headphones…this means if you listen on a computer, iPad, or any other device that uses the standard 3.5mm headphone plug, you either will have to carry a dongle adapter around with you, or two sets of headphones or earbuds. You also won’t be able to plug directly into another system and feed your music from your phone to it…like at a party where they’re playing terrible music, and need a musical rescue! While Apple has done this sort of thing before…think the floppy disk and DVD/CD slot…it’s likely that dropping the headphone jack will REALLY make people mad, and could hurt sales. Let’s hope common sense prevails at Apple in this case!