Big iPhone Name Rumor; Apple Watch 4 Resolution Bump; Google Maps Feature Coming; Self-Emptying Roomba

The rollout of the new iPhones and Apple Watch is less than a week away, and more has leaked out, of course. Remember the uproar (and memes) about the naming of the ‘iPad?’ Well, according to businessinsider.com, Apple may be poised to do it again with the new bigger iPhone. Word is it will be called the iPhone Xs Max. Now, we all know Apple pronounces ‘X’ as ‘Ten,’ but no one else in the world does. So…the most expensive iPhone will be the ‘Excess Max,’ huh? Oh, Apple….the memes will practically make themselves!

The latest leak about the Apple Watch 4 indicates it will have a resolution of 384×480, and apps will be capable of showing much more content. 9to5mac.com reports that in one marketing pic for the upcoming Watch model, you can count up to 9 complications! It is widely expected that the Watch will have a bigger screen size staying in the same basic space by reducing the bezel all the way around the screen.

Google is testing out several new features for Google Maps. Bgr.com notes that one of those should really please users. It’s called ‘Current Trip,’ and allows you to use Maps to check on restaurants, shows, and the like, then return to your driving directions without having to input things all over again. Another great feature combines your trip into a ‘Commute’ option. This one shows you your drive and transit portions of a trip together. Both features should make Maps users very happy when they are released.

The iRobot Roomba has taken it to the next level. The flagship 980 model not only maps your floor and vacuums unassisted… it not only returns to the dock to recharge….now, the little moving disc EMPTIES itself! Engadget.com says the $949 robotic vacuum now does with a vacuum in the charging doc that sucks all the dust, dirt, and debris out of the Roomba while it charges, so it’s ready to go again. The dock/dust bin, called a Clean Base, signals you when it’s full and needs to be emptied…it can hold about 30 dumps from the Roomba. Just pull out the dirtbag (ok, Dirt Disposal Bag…$15 for a 3 pack…I just liked being able to write dirtbag) and pop in a fresh one.

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Facebook Working on Smart Speaker & Picks up Content Creator Pay Startup; Google Adds Real-Time SOS for Search and Maps; 11 More Smartphones Will be Daydream VR Compatible; Prescription Video Games Coming

Last week, we heard that Samsung was abandoning plans to make a smart speaker…a market dominated by Amazon and with Google in it and Apple planning a Christmas release of the HomePod. Now, businessinsider.com says Facebook is working on a smart speaker similar to Amazon’s that will bow in 2018. It will feature a 15 inch touchscreen, is being designed by Facebook, and will be built for them by Pegatron.

The social giant has picked up a startup which will help it crack down on users that share pirated videos and other content without permission. According to recode.net, it’s Source3. Facebook already has had Rights Manager for a couple years. It’s similar to YouTube’s Content ID. Facebook has wanted to host lots more professional video, but publishers are reluctant to provide them when they think they won’t be paid.

Google is launching a new feature called SOS Alerts, that will work with Search and Maps. Thenextweb.com reports that it’s designed to keep users safe, and will feature emergency hotlines and websites, and even translations of useful phrases. They are partnering with Red Cross and FEMA to help with keeping users abreast of emergency situations and providing safety info to them.

Of course, you may be a bit dialed out of the reality of an emergency if you are wearing a VR headset, but that’s the wave of the future. Google says it’s adding 11 more Daydream VR compatible phones by the end of this year. Pixel, Moto Z, and others are already compatible, according to 9to5google.com, but Huawei and Samsung will join the party, as well as HTC.

Hey, Doc, I need to play more video games…will you write me a prescription? Actually, so-called ‘brain training’ games have been out there, but not without controversy. Some say they really don’t work or work much. Now, theverge.com says a company called Akili is partnering with UCSF’s Neuroscape lab to develop a mobile game called Project:EVO. They aim to get it up to speed for FDA approval to be used to treat kids with ADHD! Clinical trials have already started. It’s not a sure thing, but prescription video games could actually be coming!


Affordable Amazon Prime for Folks on Assistance; Google Maps Shows Local Pollution; Crowd Cow Sustainable Beef-Because Crowd Cow

Amazon has rolled out a Prime program for folks on government assistance, like food stamps. The online giant apparently doesn’t want to leave a single market untapped! Techcrunch.com says the program is available to any customer with a valid EBT card, and it cuts the price of Prime membership from $10.99 a month to $5.99 a month. The card can only be used to get the discount, Amazon isn’t accepting payment for the Prime fee or for items purchased via EBT cards. The membership comes with all the other parts of Prime…streaming video and music, free photo storage, the Kindle lending library, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, more than 70% of households with over $112,000 a year income already have prime.

Google Maps just keeps adding things to make it better and better. Now, here’s a feature that may make you want to avoid an area…and maybe freak you out about your own. According to zdnet.com, they are adding a block-by-block map of air pollution levels. Google has used sensor equipped vehicles, and also uses available data, like from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which has 15 lager sensors in the San Francisco Bay Area. Google has completed Oakland, and is planning on data for 25 of the largest US urban areas, covering a third of the US population.

Ok, I admit this one is all about the name….Crowd Cow made it irresistible. Geekwire.com is reporting that the Seattle based startup which delivers sustainably raised beef is now going nationwide. Crowd Cow works with independent ranches and cuts out the middleman to bring quality beef direct to consumers. Ranches in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania will ship their cattle to USGA processors to get the meat “cut and wrapped. It will then be shipped from the Lancaster, PA facility where Crowd Cow does the packaging with dry ice, etc. Delivery will be available to the lower 48 states. If you want to get on their wait list for beef deliveries, get ‘mooving.’