Microsoft’s MacBook Air Answer; Daimler Starts Building Huge Battery Factory; iPhone 9—Yes, 9 Rumor

Microsoft has rolled out an $800 MacBook Air competitor. According to business insider. com, it will have 13.5 hours of battery life. Redmond has ditched numbers, the device will just be called Surface Pro, and it is up for preorder today, with the release set for June 15th. It will run 7th generation Intel processors. Keep in mind you will need the added keyboard, which Microsoft says is improved…that will set you back another $130. For another additional charge, they’ve added LTE connectivity. Microsoft isn’t even calling it a tablet anymore in their marketing…they are pitching it as a laptop.

Tesla has their Gigafactory, but that doesn’t mean other car makers are sitting on their hands. In Germany, Daimler has started construction on a half billion dollar lithium ion battery factory. Arstechnica.com says the Mercedes-Benz maker will end up with a plant 4 times as large as their current battery factory, run by their Accumotive division. It will be in production by mid 2018, and they plan to produce batteries that can take a car a whopping 621 miles between charges!

Yeah, the iPhone 8 won’t even be out until fall, but here’s a rumor from macrumors.com about the iPhone 9! Apparently, it will launch with 5.28 inch and 6.46 inch OLED screens. This is up from the expected 5.8 inch screen on the iPhone 8, and 4.7 and 5.5 inch displays on the 7 and 7 Plus (and expected on the S models.) It looks like the iPhone 9 models will be about the physical size of the present ones, only with ‘wall to wall’ screens, and nearly no bezel.


Samsung Gets Laptop That Converts to Tablet; Repositioned Sensors on iPhone 7 Mean New Cases

Samsung is getting in on the growing market for laptops that convert to a tablet, thanks to a bendy hinge. Lenovo has had success with their convertibles, and Mashable.com reports that now Samsung had dropped the Notebook 7 Spin in 13.3 and 15.6 screen sizes. They run Windows 10 with Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processors, and start at $800 for the 13 incher and a grand for the 15. The Notebook 7 Spins should be in Best Buy stores the 26th.

Besides moving the antenna bands, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus should be indistinguishable from the 6S models…that is, unless you are a case or screen protector maker. According to appleinsider.com, Apple has moved the ambient light and proximity sensors, on the front panel. Those, in addition to the larger camera openings needed will make present case models and screen protectors obsolete. I will probably go for the larger phone model anyway, but for those who aren’t…thanks a lot, Apple….you’ll have to buy new cases when you upgrade.


When Will That ‘Baby Tesla’ Be Available?

Elon Musk Tweeted yesterday that the Model 3, the smallest Tesla, will go into production in 2017. Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that pre-orders will start next March when the car is unveiled. It’s expected that the Model 3 will sell for around $35,000, nearly half the price of the current top line Model S, and have a 200 mile cruising range. Musk said the 2017 date is because demand for the cars will mean the giant battery producing factory will have to be up and running. It will come in both sedan and crossover suv models.

Intel has rolled out it’s new 6th generation core processor, Skylake. The advanced chip has 2-1/2 times better speed, 3 times the battery life, and 30 times the graphics power of an average 5 year old PC. According to businessinsider.com, it will enable cutting the weight and thickness of a PC in half, and for some laptops to go fanless…great news if you’re looking at a laptop, but a blow to the struggling tablet market. Expect the Skylake chips to start showing up in laptops late this year.


New Samsung Chips for the Internet of Things

Samsung has unveiled a new family of chips designed for the internet of things. Cnet.com says The Artik line has 3 versions, ranging from 10 bucks to 100 dollars, and can be expected to power trackers, drones, smart hubs, and more. Intel has new tiny processors coming by the end of the year, so Samsung is getting a head start by rolling out their line now. The chip family uses the same tech as Samsung uses in their smartphone processors.

Basing a decision on a Supreme Court ruling that smartphones taken by police from an arrested individual can’t be searched without a warrant, a federal district court judge has ruled that this extends to laptops going through customs, putting a crimp on the ‘border exception rule’ that has allowed authorities to seize and search items at the border or at airports. According to Arstechnica.com, the decision points out that a laptop contains much more private information than a mere container or even a briefcase.


A Clip On Rival to GoogleGlass

Sony has unveiled a clip on unit that turns any eyewear into smart glasses like GoogleGlass. Thenextweb.com says the concept will go into production later next year, and be out in 2016…hopefully with a better name than “SmartEyeglass Attach!”

For Crackberry addicts pining for old school, Blackberry has rolled out the Classic. According to cnet.com, it’s based on the Bold, but with straighter rows on its physical keyboard.

Fujitsu has launched a pair of business oriented Windows 8.1 tablets. Zdnet.com says the Stylistic Q555 combines a tablet and a laptop…the Q335 is a straight tablet. They’re being positioned as semi-rugged under military specs, and both will be out early next year.