2018 iPad Pro May Get Face ID; Apple’s Amazing Market Penetration; Galaxy S9 Will Rock Advantage Over All Other Androids; Waymo’s Self-Driving Education Campaign

It’s looking like Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro models will have a True Depth cam and support Face ID. Macrumors.com reports that KGI Securities sees the features migrating over from the iPhone X. The system will only be on the Pro models, not the other iPads.

A lot of us can remember when Apple’s Mac had 3% or 5% of the PC market. According to a new survey picked up by appleinsider.com, that puny penetration is not Apple’s problem in the US anymore. The CNBC All-American Economic Survey finds that 64% of all Americans own an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or iPod product! Not only that, the number of Apple products in active use has gone from 1.6 to 2.6 products per household. If you think Apple stuff is a little rich…you’re right…87% of households claiming an income over $100,000 have at least one Apple product.

Samsung strikes again….strikes a deal on processors, that is. Bgr.com says they have inked a deal with Qualcomm to have an exclusive on the upcoming Snapdragon 845 chip for the Galaxy S9 and S9+. In addition to getting the jump on other Android makers with faster silicon, Samsung will allegedly roll out the new handsets a month earlier…probably in February 2018, but some rumors say they will drop even before Mobile World Congress…maybe in January.

Some people are super excited about self-driving cars, and others are honestly a little put off if not scared by the proposition. Now, Google division Waymo is launching a campaign to teach people about self-driving cars. Mashable.com reports that Way is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Foundation for Blind Children, the National Safety Council, and Foundation for Senior Living in developing a website and ad and promotion materials extolling the virtues of self-driving cars. Ads will run on the internet and digital and radio outlets as well. The campaign is called ‘Let’s Talk Self Driving.’

Advertisements

Samsung Delays Bixby for the US Again; 5 New Macs & 4 iOS Devices on Horizon

Samsung rolled out its latest Galaxy phones, the S8 models, without the virtual assistant Bixby in the US. It was due by now, but has been delayed a month. The Wall St. Journal reports that they are having trouble getting it to understand English syntax and grammar. Virtual assistants haven’t been the ‘killer app’ on smartphones anyway…only about 9% of users use the AI feature on a regular basis, according to research firm Ovum. Half of smartphone owners either had no interest in the feature or didn’t even know about it. It has been a different story with talking speakers, which the public seems to be accepting more quickly….with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant in the lead.

There are armies of people digging through regulatory filings around the world to bring you tidbits like this: a Russian filing points to 5 new Macs and 4 new iOS devices on the way from Apple. According to apple insider.com, we could see some rolled out at WWDC. There has already been speculation that Apple would show a new mid-sized iPad Pro at WWDC, fitting in between the 9.7 inch and 12 inch iPad Pros. A recent shortage of MacBooks seems to point to a refresh of MacBook Pros and Airs as well.


Lyft & Waymo Partner on Self-Drivers; EV Battery That Charges in 5 Min; 10.5 Inch iPad Pro at WWDC, Google Asst Coming to iOS

Lyft and Google’s Waymo will team up on self-driving cars, according to a report from the New York Times. The plan is to introduce a wide swath of people to them using fleet services. Waymo had already started a public pilot in Arizona where they will pick up people and families on demand. The Lyft deal will quickly help them to expand that, and explore not only demand modeling, but efficient routing as well. Meanwhile, a judge has banned a Uber employee, who was a former Google manager and is the subject of a lawsuit, from working with Lidar at all for the time being.

If this pans out to any degree, it will be a game changer for electric vehicles. StoreDot, and Israeli startup, has shown its new battery model for EVs at the CUBE Tech Fair in Berlin. Engadget.com reports that the battery can reach full charge in FIVE minutes, and run the car for 300 miles! Compare that to Tesla’s Supercharger, which takes two hours to fully charge a Tesla EV. StoreDot also claims their batteries are safer than litihum-ion. They use layers of nano materials and proprietary organic compounds not used in batteries before.

Apple will probably show a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro at WWDC next month. Theverge.com says KGI Securities, generally one of the most reliable sources, is reporting this. Ming-Chi Kuo, of KGI also says it’s 50-50 that Apple will launch their Siri powered speaker at WWDC.

Siri could be in for some ‘Siri-ous’ competition soon. Google may be rolling out Google Assistant on iOS, and could show it at I/O this week! It will debut first in the US, and apparently will be slightly different than the Android version. The voice controls will be the same, but it will used the chat style fro Allo. This is probably necessary since it will be a free standing app, and not a baked in extension that’s part of the Google platform.


Samsung & Google Partner on New Chromebooks; Batteries Now Rolling off Lines at Tesla Gigafactory; Energous Wireless Charging Debuts This Year; Nvidia Co-Pilot Driving Computer

The Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro have finally bowed from Samsung, in collaboration with Google. Theverge.com says they will be worthy competition for Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro. The Plus is out in February for $449, and sports baked in Android app support, a self-contained stylus, and on-screen inking. It has a 360 degree hinge to allow for both tablet and laptop modes. The Pro will be out later this year, and is basically the same except for a more powerful processor.

It took almost 3 years from the groundbreaking, but batteries are now rolling off the lines at Tesla’s Gigafactory. The first of the custom cells will go into Tesla’s storage products…the Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2, but are designed to fit into all Tesla cars according to theverge.com. They will start installing them in the new Model 3s when they start production this year. Tesla says the Gigafactory will eventually crank out enough batteries for 1.5 million cars.

Energous will begin shipping its truly wireless systems by later this year, but is holding off due to a partner. Macrumors.com notes that most believe that partner to be Apple, and that the Watts Up system will debut in the iPhone 8 in September. The difference between Energous and other wireless systems is that theirs is truly over the air, and can charge a device from up to 15 feet away…no need to lay the phone on a charging pad. Energous did show off several devices that use contact charging at CES this week.

Nvidia had teased a powerful AI system earlier, and now has announced Co-Pilot. They are baking the tech into their Xavier drive computers they are making to assist drivers when they are doing the driving. Techcrunch.com reports that the system will utilize data from sensors inside and outside a car, and alert a driver when they need to take action. The system can either operate in self-driving mode, or as the Co-Pilot, continuing to monitor and warn drivers to react…say, should you not spot a pedestrian. They are already partnering with ZF in Europe, and may with Bosch as well.


iPad Pro Coming Sans Home Button & Bezel; Samsung Doing the Splits; Record Black Friday for Mobile

In a rumor that might telegraph features on next year’s iPhone 8, macrumors.com reports that a story from Japanese site Mac Otakara says Apple is planning a thicker, bezel-free iPad Pro with no home button. The tablet will have a 10.9 inch screen, but with the same footprint as the current 9.7 inch model. As for the thickness, it really will only be as thick as the original iPad Air. Expect it to drop around March.

On the heels of a proposal by an activist hedge fund manager, the board of Samsung Electronics will meet Tuesday to consider splitting itself in two, according to reuters.com. Samsung has a complicated corporate structure, and has a number of businesses. This might give a smartphone division more ability to become a greater player than ever in the mobile tech world.

It was a record Black Friday in one new way. Recode.net says it was the first billion dollar mobile shopping day ever, with shoppers dropping 1.2 billion on phones and tablets to pick up Black Friday bargains. Overall, it’s estimated that total online sales Black Friday hit 3.34 billion. It sounds like people are taking Lewis Black’s exhortation to …’buy more…um…stuff.’


New iPads Next Year; Bigger, Range-Increasing Battery for Teslas; Pokemon Influence On Upcoming Tech

According to KGI Securities, which has a good track record with accurate Apple rumors, Cupertino will roll out new iPads next year…freshening the 9.7 inch model with a ‘low cost’ version, adding a 10.5 inch iPad Pro, and beefing up the 12.9 inch iPad Pro with a more powerful processor. Macrumors.com also says Apple is planning a so-called ‘revolutionary’ iPad in the fall of 2018, with radical form factor changes and maybe a flexible AMOLED screen.

Tesla is getting ready to release a 100Kw battery for its Model S and Model X cars…giving the Model S a range of 380 miles….more than your bladder can handle without a pit stop. Theverge.com reports that a Dutch regulator that certifies Teslas for sale in the EU published model listings that included designations pointing to the increased battery size…100D and 100X. There’s also a P100D…maybe a higher end version of the Model S…in the listings.

Techcrunch.com is saying the influence of the wildly successful Pokemon Go is already rippling through the tech world, and will for years to come. The relatively simple game has suddenly gotten millions to understand what augmented reality is, and how cool it might be. Even though it’s been used in map software for some time, the game has opened up other avenues. In addition to mobile games, movies and Video games can extend their reach into ‘the real world.’ The Pokemon effect could even be extended to medical apps…helping an elderly person find where they left a medication, and remembering that they ‘captured’ their pill yesterday, and should take another. Look for other applications of AR as offshoots from Pokemon Go in the next months and into next year.


Apple’s iPhone SE & Smaller iPad Pro, etc; Chromecast Becomes Googlecast

If there was a ‘one more thing’ at Apple’s event yesterday, it didn’t come from Apple. The FBI put on hold it’s demand for Cupertino to crack the San Bernardino terrorist iPhone, claiming it had outside help to do so. Since two former CIA directors have said the NSA could do it, that’s a pretty good guess. Meanwhile, back in Cupertino, Apple showed the 4 inch iPhone SE, the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro model, and new Apple Watch bands. the iPhone SE is pretty much an iPhone 6S squeezed into an iPhone 5S case. It starts at $399 for the nearly useless 16 gigs of memory, and is $499 for the more useable 64 gigs. Preorders start Thursday, and it’s available March 31st.

Apple has shoehorned its iPad Pro into a smaller 9.7 inch version. You get the same 4 speakers and Apple Pencil stylus support. It weighs less than a pound, and has it’s own version of the keyboard case. The smaller Pro…Pro-ette? comes in silver, gold, space grey, and rose gold, and starts at $599 for 32 gigs. A loaded up one with the Pencil will pretty well murder a grand. It is also available for preorders starting Thursday and out on the 31st.

As expected, Apple Watch gets a so-called ‘Spring lineup’ of bands, but the big news is the price cut from $349 to $299. It’s a good guess that an Apple Watch v. 2.0 will be out in the fall with this price reduction.

Over at Google, or if you insist…Alphabet…Chromecast has morphed into Googlecast. 9to5google.com says some Vizio TVs will come with Googlecast built in, and there are some new Googlecast enabled speakers. The app is also renamed Googlecast, and the updated version will be out on Android and iOS this week.