Microsoft has enabled Skype to work on Amazon’s Alexa devices. The rollout should be complete this week. Theverge.com reports that Echo-type hardware will be able to handle basic calling, and the Echo Show will include video support for Skype. Users will also be able to call mobile and land lines using SkypeOut, and call their contacts by simply asking Alexa to ‘Call Siri on Skype.’ OK, not really Siri…unless maybe you have a friend with that name, which would be nearly as confusing as having a pal named Alexa.
Apple has pared back production orders for the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and XR, due to ‘lower than expected demand,’ according to a Wall Street Journal report picked up by macrumors.com. Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest cuts are for the XR, which has been whacked by a third of the original 70 million units originally scheduled. Some suppliers are calling the handsets a flop, but with Apple reporting record breaking revenue of $61.5 billion on iPhones during the launch quarter, that’s a stretch. Since Apple is going to quit reporting unit numbers for iPhone sales going forward it will make it even harder to track sales…but competitor Samsung hasn’t reported unit numbers in some time.
SpaceX has gotten FCC approval to launch over 7,000 satellites. Cnet.com says they will be in very low earth orbit, and will give the company the ability to provide global satellite broadband service. The FCC has also signed off on requests from Kepler Communications, Telesat Canada, and LeoSat MA to offer broadband in the US by satellite.
iPhone XR Could Be Half New iPhone Sales; Zuck Says FB Needs Help On Election Prep; Mapillary Partners With Amazon- Parking Spot TechPosted: September 13, 2018
DigiTimes is prediction that Apple’s new lineup of iPhones should end up with sales of over 85 million units the second half of this year. Macrumors.com reports that DigiTimes also predicts that the new, less expensive iPhone XR could account for over half of new iPhone sales. The estimates are based on supply chain information and Apple’s previous year sales. The XR goes on preorder next month, while the two more expensive models, Xs and Xs Max can be preordered tomorrow.
With less than 60 days to the US midterm elections, Mark Zuckerberg is warning that Facebook can’t fight election interference alone. According to businessinsider.com, Zuck dropped a 3,000 word essay titled “Preparing for Elections.” He says Facebook has started proactively cooperating with state officials to solve the problem of election interference. Although not apologizing for Facebook’s role in the last elections re fake news, Zuckerberg has admitted he should have taken the problem more seriously, and the essay crystalizes his (and Facebook’s) thinking on how they can do better moving forward…but that they need the help of governments, other tech companies, and journalists.
Mapillary has partnered with Amazon Rekognition for visual data analysis to try to make it easier for people to find parking in congested urban areas. Venturebeat.com says the Swedish startup is developing a street level imagery platform that used computer vision tech to enhance digital maps. They will use Amazon’s text-in-image feature to scan parking sign data on a massive scale. The startup already has 350 million images, but will need the Amazon system to read the text on signs that tell how many spaces are available, etc. In initial tests of 40,000 signs, they are correct 95% of the time. Any app that makes it less of a hassle to find parking will be welcomed everywhere.
Apple is about to ship their 2 billionth iOS device…2 billion iOS devices, first billion dollar company. Suppose there’s a connection here?
It will be called Watch Series 4, despite rumors to the contrary.
The display is bigger, and curves over the corners. Screens are 35% and 32% larger, but the watch is thinner, and has thinner bezels to get more screen space. New faces display multiple time zones or more health and fitness complications. There are faces that display sports scores, some spacey ones with moving graphics.
The digital crown now includes haptic feedback….it’s more precise. The new speaker is 50% louder, and the mic has been moved to the opposite side from the speaker so you won’t get feedback.
New back is now ceramic and sapphire. Radio signals can pass through both the front and back, giving better coverage for calls.
New faster processor, dual core 64 bit with 2X faster performance.
New accelerometer and gyroscope can detect hard falls. It will pop up a screen that says the fall is detected, do you want to call for help. If you don’t in a minute, it will call 911 for you.
The heart rate sensor has been upgraded. It will now notify of a low heart rate, it can screen heart rhythm and will notify you if it detects AFib. The optical sensor does this. There is a new electrical sensor that will allow you to take an electrocardiogram! This ECG sensor is a first in consumer devices. Open the app, put your finger on the digital crown. It takes only 30 seconds. If things are normal, it will tell you sinus rhythm. If you have atrial fibrillation, it will also tell you. It will save as a chart printout like you get when you have an ECG in a clinic so your doctors can read it. It saves those as a pdf.
The monitor has received clearance from the FDA! It should be available later this year. The health data is encrypted on the device and in the cloud.
Battery life is the same 18 hours as Series 3.
Colors are: Silver, Gold, & Space Grey. Order on Friday the 14th, available on the 21st. Watch OS 5 drops on September 17th.
Series 4 starts at $399, Cellular at $499. The older Series 3 will be $279.
It will be the Xs (small s…the only thing we didn’t know for sure about the name.) They say Ten s…most people will call it the Xs….excess, and excess Max, LOL!
Surgical grade stainless steel bezel. New gold finish. So gold, silver, and space grey. It will stand 2 meters in the water for 30 minutes.
The Xs Super Retina OLED display is 5.8” . The display has a 60% better display than the X. The 6.5” version Max is Apple’s biggest display ever. It’s the same size handset as the 8 Plus, but with bigger display. You can see split views on the larger phone.
They have widened the stereo field for the speakers over previous models.
It has faster algorithms and a faster secure enclave chip, so will recognize your face and unlock the phone faster.
The new chip is called the A12 Bionic. It’s a 7 nanometer chip…the first ever. 6.9 billion transistors. 6 Core CPU, 4 Core GPU, and Neural engine. The new neural engine is 8 cores, up from 2 in last year’s iPhone X. 5 trillion operations per second.
Apps will launch 30% faster.
You can get the new Xs and Xs Max with 512 Gigs of storage.
Apple says the new phone can do real time machine learning, which is important for photography and Animoji.
Siri shortcuts will allow you to combine tasks…kind of like using computer macros to run multiple tasks.
Game developer Bethesda Game Studios showed off capability of the new system with their Elder Scrolls Blades.
Nexteam showed a new app called Homecourt that uses the camera and processors to check 6 metrics for every basketball shot taken…you can analyze your form, release time, and other insight into improving your game.
Directive Games demoed use of AR to emulate playing an arcade game with friends. They will have a game out later this year.
Apple is staying with 2 lenses…12MP wide and 12MP telephoto lenses… f1.8 lens with a bigger sensor. The sensors are twice as fast as before. It does record in true stereo sound for video.
Now, the Image signal processor uses the Neural engine. Should give better red eye fix, and better result on hair and things like glasses. They are introducing Smart HDR. It will detect motion, and not only shoot instantly when you hit the button, but it will shoot multiple shots and use the engine to merge the best of each for a single great shot.
They have improved the portrait mode and stage lighting mode. Bokeh has been improved for better background blur in portraits.
There’s a depth slider in portrait mode you you can adjust the depth of field AFTER taking the pic!
The new Xs and Max have Dual Sim card tech one physical and an e-SIM …this enables you to set up two different phone numbers, use two different plans, or use one number for travel and another at home. The phone will show you if it is…for example…the home line or business line. (China will get two actual physical SIM cards.)
iPhone XR….The new, cheaper model. It’s aluminum, with the LCD screen, and white, black, blue, coral, and yellow colors. [Also (Product)Red.]
It only has one camera lens, but the screen goes edge to edge, and the phone has Face ID. Its 6.1” display is dubbed “Liquid Retina.”
No 3D Touch but it has Haptic Touch like the MacBook Pro. It also runs the A12 Bionic chip.
12MP wide angle camera with the bigger sensor, but only has the one lens…no ‘telephoto.’ You still have support for the Tru-Depth camera in the front.
This will have an hour and a half more battery life than iPhone 8 Plus.
$749 for base iPhone XR— Order October 19, ships October 26th.
$999 for base iPhone Xs
$1099 for base iPhone Xs Max
Preorders for both this Friday, ship next Friday.
Prices for the older phones now will be: iPhone 7 from $449 and 8 from $599.
Also covered: updates to HomePod software and Apple TV OS. Both those updates drop next Monday.
Mac OS Mojave will be out September 24th.