Samsung Unpacked August 2-Galaxzy S7 Outselling iPhone 6S; Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’;Twitter gets the 72 New Emoji

Samsung officially announced their Unpacked 2016 event as August 2nd as rumored. 9to5google.com expects a reveal of the newest Galaxy Note 7. In the meantime, Samsung is excited to see the Galaxy S7 pulling ahead of Apple’s iPhone 6S in sales in the US…16% to 14.6%. Of course, the S7 is new, and most expect demand to pick up for the iPhone after the 7 rolls out in September. Both phones are keeping a loyal following, with 88% of iPhone users saying they’ll buy another, and 86% of Samsung Galaxy users.

According to macrumors.com, Apple has posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, an unscripted program about apps and the people who make them. The show is currently looking for developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York and Los Angeles to participate. No islands are involved, unless it’s the concrete ones in the middle of busy intersections.

Unicode 9’s 72 new emoji officially rolled out today, and Twitter is getting support for them, including the creepy clown one. Thenextweb.com reports that skin color modifiers are available. A lot of computers don’t support manually typing them in yet, but you can always copy and past from places like Emojipedia. Take it easy on the clown, ok?


Leak-HTC 10 More Powerful than Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S; Google’s Echo Clone & Nest Security System

After disappointing with the M One 9, HTC looks poised to come roaring back and nip at Samsung and Apple with the HTC 10. The 10…they’ve dropped the ‘M’ designation…will be revealed April 10th, but a couple of big leaks shed a great looking phone, and one that tests out better by benchmarked AnTuTu than either the Samsung Galaxy S7 or Apple’s iPhone 6S. It has a 5.1 inch screen, 12 Mp cam with laser-assisted autofocus, and 4 gigs of RAM.

Google is apparently working on a voice recognition device that competes with Amazon Echo…basically Siri in a box. According to arstechnica.com, Google already has the voice tech in place from Android and google.com, so now they’re working on baking it into a box. It’s code named ‘Chirp.’ They are also working on a security system from Nest with a wireless hub dubbed ‘Flintstone’ for now. The hub would connect with window and door sensors using the low power Thread communication standard. As with a lot of projects, these may or may not be released by Google.


Apple iPhone 7 Rumors & Holiday Sales; New Google Glass Model Leak

Another rumor has the iPhone 7 being waterproof, and in addition, appleinsider.com is reporting it will used new compound materials to conceal antennas, losing those unsightly plastic antenna cover bars. There is some hand wringing that iPhone 6S sales won’t be as good as the 6 had, but the holidays were great for Apple…according to a Flurry Insights report picked up by appleinsider.com, 49.1% of all devices activated Christmas week were from Apple. Phablets were only 13% of last season’s sales, but this year they grabbed 27% of the device market.

Whether we like it or not, there will be more glassholes. Google Glass lives! Hi resolution images of the next generation Google Glass have showed up on an FCC site. They look almost identical to the previous model, but have a hinge to fold just like regular glasses. The prism is larger, as well, according to arstechnica.com. This version of Google Glass is supposed to be enterprise only, and not intended to retail customers.


New Apple iPhone Battery Case; Google Makes Mobile Chrome Safe by Default

Several Apple news items: Today, Cupertino rolled out a Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6S and 6, their first since 2007. According to appleinsider.com, Apple claims 25 hours of extended use. It’s soft silicone with a strange hump for the battery on the back, and runs $99. The silicone gives a sure grip, but does collect dirt.

Many people will be surprised to find that Apple Maps is now used 3 times as often as Google Maps on iPhone. Macrumors.com says this figure was given to the AP by Apple. Google does dominate over all smartphones, of course, with more Android phones in service than iPhones. I tried Apple Maps last spring traveling from Northern California to the Magic Kingdom, and it routed me off the 5 through city streets and back. I thought it was nuts, until I discovered it routed me around a terrible crash in LA with a monster backup.

Apple is dropping 13 million on their Sacramento area campus. Reportedly, this is to change a large warehouse into a logistics center, and they will add an additional 1450 parking spaces and jobs, of course. It’s possible more than logistics is going on…this facility was Apple’s last manufacturing center in the US until 2004.

In a nice move by Google, they have turned on Safe Browsing by default on Chrome for Android. Theverge.com reports that it has always been in the settings, but this will give an extra layer of protection to mobile browsing on Android for Chrome users. Google is releasing the feature as part of Play Services, which means it will appear in other in-house apps moving forward.


Samsung Shows Galaxy ‘A’ Series; 4 Inch iPhone May Drop in Early 2016

The updated Samsung Galaxy S smartphones will probably bow in 90 days or so, but they have just previewed the ‘A’ series. The next gen Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 feature faster charging, support for Samsung Pay, and upgraded cameras. 9to5google.com says the screen sizes remain at 4.7, 5.2, and 5.5 inches. The low end A3 doesn’t get fast charging, HD screen, and the upgraded cam. The A series will launch in China in a couple weeks, with a global launch a bit later.

Meanwhile, in Cupertino, word is that Apple may drop a new 4 inch iPhone with Apple Pay early next year. Theverge.com reports that the smartphone will have the same processor as the 6S, but keep the camera of the iPhone 5S. This word is from usually reliable KGI Securities. It reportedly will have a front glass that slightly curves at the edges like the 6S and 6S Plus, but WON’T support 3D touch. It may be between $4-500 without contract.


Facebook Adds 3D Touch Support for iPhone 6S and Plus

You wouldn’t know it from reading the little boilerplate blurb with the update, but Facebook has added 3D Touch actions to its mobile app for iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. You can now use 3D Touch in Facebook to pull up a quick menu to write a post, upload a picture or video, or to take a photo or video. As the 3D Touch feature can support up to 4 actions, 9to5mac.com says Facebook could add a further function later. Facebook owned Instagram already had added support for 3D Touch, and Apple expects Facebook and Instagram to activate Live Photos, Apple’s version of a several second wiggle picture, by the end of the year.

Boeing has developed a new metal product that’s 99% air, and is not only super light but very strong. According to thenextweb.com, it’s a micro lattice, a series of tubes in a criss-cross pattern with air gaps at each intersection. It can be compressed to high levels without breaking, and absorb more energy than normal metals. It should be very useful in aircraft manufacture, as it will reduce weight.


iPhone 6S First Weekend Sales Set New Record, & Feature to Turn off NOW

Apple’s new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus blew past last year’s first weekend sales records, putting 13 million phones in the grip of fanboys and fangirls. Last year, including presales delivered, the number was 10 million. So much for the ’S’ years being the off years! The Cupertino giant still has 40 countries to launch in starting October 9th. Bgr.com reports that it’s thought that having an extra week of presales in China compared to last year boosted the numbers.

Whether you have a shiny, slippery new iPhone 6S or and earlier model you upgraded to iOS 9 (and half of owners already have), you probably want to turn this feature off now! It’s a great idea called Wi-Fi Assist…and it switches your phone to cellular when a Wi-Fi signal gets weak. Nice, but may end up costing you a fortune. Go to Settings, Cellular, and scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the Wi-Fi Assist button…it’s on by default…switch it off, unless you have a millionaire’s budget for your cell phone bill!


New, 2nd Gen Chromecast On the Way

A 2nd generation Chromecast will drop before the end of the month. Expect it to feature improved WiFi, new feeds for the main screen and a feature dubbed ‘Fast Play.’ 9to5google.com says it will sport a new shape and various colors, too. The new feeds likely include social media feeds, and a new feature called ‘Fast Play,’ which helps Chromecast establish a connection faster and play content more seamlessly when touching the Cast button on a connected device. Google is also looking to launch ‘Chromecast Audio,’ which would allow the dongle to plug into any speaker via an auxiliary chord…Chromecast Audio will apparently have multi-room support, and the ability to mirror your Chrome or Android audio. In addition to Google Play Music, Netflix, Pandora, etc…Chromecast will add support for Spotify now. Expect the Chromecast rollout at Google’s September 29th event, when they plan to show two new Nexus gadgets as well.

You’ve probably heard stories of people in China being willing to give up a kidney for gadgets or cash. Here’s a new wrinkle…or lack of one…reported by geek.com. A sperm bank is offering an iPhone 6S in exchange for 17 milliliters of a guy’s ‘product. Since the average man’s ejaculation produces about 10 ml, a Chinese fellow jonesing for a shiny new iPhone may have to make a couple of deposits to the Renji Hospital sperm bank. The cash equivalent is about $940, by the way.


Google Looks Poised to Do Full Scale Launch of Self-Driving Car

9to5mac.com spotted a report last night from Automotive News that Google has hired the former CEO of Hyundai to run its self-driving car program. In an email, he mentions the cars being used by millions of people, and saving thousands of lives. Google is still saying it has no plans to manufacture cars itself, but will partner with a number of different companies. They still seem on track to have a self-driving car on the market by 2020.

Apple told Financial Times that strong weekend orders indicate the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will beat the 10 million sold the first weekend of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year. In the past, the off-year ’S’ models have lagged behind sales of the pure numbered models. Thenextweb.com reports that the 6S Plus models show sold out right now, and the 6S rose gold models have a wait time of 3-4 weeks before shipping. We’ll know more if this sales pace will be maintained when the phones show up in stores next weekend.


Apple ‘Recapple’

Apple rolled through their product updates and introductions in a couple of hours yesterday at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Here are a few hi lights:

Apple Watch- Mainly about fashion band accessories, particularly from high end Hermes, and new colors of gold and rose gold. It was announced that Watch OS will drop on September 16th, and include messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and also tight third party integration with AirStrip.

iPad Pro- It’s huge, has a great 12.9 inch screen, and…gasp…a stylus, which Steve Jobs famously mocked years ago. The Apple Pencil will be a separate $99 option. That screen…it has a higher pixel density than a Macbook Pro Retina. Apple claims 10 hours of battery life. It has a keyboard cover that screams ‘Microsoft Surface!’ iPad Pro starts at $799, and will be out in November.

Apple TV- Apple says this will be a game changer…you may have seen a clip of Tim Cook repeatedly on TV by now saying ‘we think the future of TV is apps.’ Apple TV has tight Siri integration, a new remote with the top part being touch screen, and buttons for volume, activating Siri and on-off. The remote is Bluetooth, so you don’t have to point it right at the box. A couple of cool features include asking Siri what did they say, and it will rewind about 15 seconds and playback…with captions. Also, you can ask Siri to search for something, and it will search across all platforms…Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. With the remote, it has gaming capabilities, but don’t look for it to displace gaming systems any time soon. Apple TV is $149 or $199 depending on memory, and out the end of the year.

iPhone- The iPhone 6S and 6S plus debuted, with the expected banner feature of Force Touch, which Apple has renamed 3D Touch for the phones. It recognizes 3 levels of finger pressure, and will call up different results…for example, menus, or when pressing an email, it will pop it open so you can read it, and return you to the previous screen when you lift your finger. The new camera is a big leap…up to 12 megapixels, and capable of 4K video and an new gimmicky feature that records a second and a half of video and sound before and after each picture. When you press the picture on the phone, it shows you that 3 seconds of motion. Hey Siri now allows you to just say that, and Siri will respond without having to press and hold the home button. There’s a new rose gold color (and it and the other gold will now be exclusive to the 6S and 6S Plus). iOS 9 will be available September 16th, and iPhones go on preorder this Saturday, with deliveries to start September 25th. Prices are the same as on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, while those models will be dropped as has been Apple’s past practice…so the 16 gig iPhone 6S will start at $199 with a two year contract. Apple has also added a contractless payment plan like a couple of the carriers have, that starts at $32 a month…PLUS carrier service costs, of course.