Automatic has rolled out its second generation smart driving monitor. The gadget plugs into the ODB2 port on your car….and by ‘your car,’ that’s all cars built since 1996. Cnet.com says the new gadget not only gives you driving data and tracks mileage and fault codes, but works as an app store for cars, with 20 apps available right now. A couple apps pull data so you can easily generate mileage reports for expense reporting, and another to split the cost of carpooling. It now works with Apple Watch and Pebble, with Android Auto integration in the works. Best of all, the second generation model is priced like the 1st at $99.95.
Apple Pay…after an initial splash last fall, has been pretty well operating under…or maybe even off the radar. 9to5mac.com reports that Apple just signed 34 new banks and credit unions, and now there are nearly 300 institutions using it. Trader Joe’s just announced in the last few days that they are starting to activate it in some stores, and Home Depot is moving towards most stores accepting it by the end of the year…although Home Depot says they play to accept as wide a variety of payment systems as possible. If you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and haven’t used it, here’s a tip: when you hold the phone near the terminal, don’t touch the fingerprint image on the screen, touch the home button…and touch, don’t PRESS the home button…pressing will activate Siri instead of authorizing the payment!
The Federal Aviation Administration is beginning a study regarding drone flights beyond the pilot’s line of sight. Both Amazon and Google have clamored for this, and the Europeans are already getting ready for it. Geekwire.com notes that the present FAA policy-just set in February- limits drones to the pilot’s line of sight.
Home Depot is upgrading its point of sale equipment, and working towards accepting Apple Pay at all of its 2000 stores. Bloomberg.com says that would make the chain the largest retailer to accept Apple Pay. Home Depot doesn’t yet have an agreement with Apple, but already accepts PayPal, and is looking at including other kinds of mobile payment, too. This would presumably include CurrentC, the still developing pay system from the Merchant Customer Exchange.
The internet of things and connected home are alive and well at Home Depot. Gigaom.com says the home improvement giant now has over 600 ‘smart devices’ in stock, and is pushing the Wink home hub platform.
50 Cent’s SMS Audio has just announced BioSport In-Ear, wired earbuds with biometric capabilities to record heart rate during your workout using built-in optical sensors. They will be on sale by 4th quarter.
The Windows phone isn’t doing much, but Microsoft is still trying. Bgr.com says they’ve developed a way to modify regular smartphone cameras to take 3D pictures, by letting infrared light through. No word yet on when this might be in your hands.
Apple may have to delay the larger 5.5 inch iPhone 6 until after October according to 9to5mac.com. A research note from usually reliable KGI Securities says supply problems with the in-cell touch panels is the reason.
In a major turnabout, Bittorrent is dabbling with paywalls. They will charge $10 for an 8 episode sci-fi series after a person watches the pilot episode. Engadget.com notes that this is risky, considering how set Bittorrent users are with getting things for free.
Makerbot 3D printers will be sold and demoed in 12 Home Depot stores, including some here in California. Techcrunch.com says soon you may be able to print an odd hinge or part on the spot!