Cheaper MacBook Air; YouTube Trials Green Screen Tech; Google Sells Zagat; Amazon Looking at Branded Checking AccountsPosted: March 5, 2018
One of the biggest knocks on Apple gear is that it is pricey. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that a KGI Securities analysis points to a lower priced, 13-inch MacBook Air rolling out sometime in the 2nd quarter of this year. Usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo says a cheaper MB Air would bump MacBook shipments anywhere from 10 to 15% this year. The present entry level MacBook Air starts at $999, so maybe we can expect a cheaper entry level one for $700 or $800. A cheaper iPad certainly jump started sales of that device for Apple!
The wizards at Google have developed a new tool that uses AI and machine learning to filter out and replace the background in videos in the manner of a green screen. According to mashable.com, it’s being trialed in limited beta Stories. If all goes well, Google will port the tech to their broader Augmented Reality services. No idea on when this may be released into the wild, but it could be a game changer in many ways!
Google is also spinning off Zagat to The Infatuation. No price given, but they bought the restaurant guide in 2011 for $151 million. Theverge.com says that although the ratings and such were integrated into Google Maps, Google let things slide, and Yelp has come to dominate. The Infatuation will keep Zagat as a separate brand from its own curated guides.
Amazon is apparently looking to have its own branded checking accounts. A report from engadget.com has them in talks with J.P. Morgan Chase and other big banks about the accounts. Amazon would be targeting younger shoppers and people who don’t have checking accounts.
It may not happen at the World Wide Developers Conference, but Apple will announce updated MacBooks this month, according to macrumors.com. A report from Mac Otakara cites a reliable supplier, and supports the earlier stories that Apple will drop he 11 inch MacBook Air, but continue with a slimmer 13 inch and a new 15 inch model. All the MacBooks will have Thunderbolt3/USB-C ports, and will drop USB-A, MagSafe, and Thunderbolt 2 ports. This rumor has them all out in August, although most other reports point to later in the year. The Pros will be thinner and lighter, have Touch ID, and the OLED touch bar we’ve reported previously.
Facebook is experimenting with a new type of post that is more like a Tweet. According to theverge.com, it is only visible in the News Feed, and doesn’t appear in your Timeline. Because these won’t show on the Timeline, and will be pushed down quickly on the newsfeed, the thinking is they might be used for quick or lighthearted updates. The selection is done by the individual post…with a ‘Hide from your Timeline’ option when you hit the post button. Right now, the feature is only showing up for some users, so may or may not be rolled out to everyone. Facebook is also working on a ‘notify a few friends’ feature you could use instead of tagging.
There may be new, thinner MacBook Airs on the way by next June, including one with a 15 inch screen. 9to5mac.com reports that they will sport substantial internal changes, including battery, cooling modules, and more. Apple is still deciding whether to keep the 11 inch air, with the new iPad Pro now out.
Amazon has revealed a new delivery drone design with a 15 mile range. Geekwire.com says its intended to be able to deliver a small package directly through the air to your doorstep in 30 minutes. Amazon has a new video showing off the drone featuring Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, who along with his colleagues, is starting a new car show for Amazon. The version 2.0 drone flies at under 400 feet, and weighs less than 55 lbs. Amazon says it won’t launch Prime Air until they are able to demonstrate safe operations.
Apple will reportedly release a 12 inch Macbook Air before April. Geek.com says it will replace the 11 inch model, and..as rumored…will be even slimmer and drop all ports but a USB type C for charging and other connections.
You can already turn your Nest thermostat from ‘away’ to heating from your phone, but engadget.com reports Automatic has a car tracker that plugs into the ODB port of your car to do it hands free. It’s $100. The dongle also tracks your driving and helps save fuel.
According to appFigures, Google Play passed up Apple’s App Store in the number of new apps for the first time in 2014. Techcrunch.com says Google Play also now has more developers building its apps…388,000 to Apple’s 282,000.