Apple iMac Pro Out This Week; AmEx Drops Signatures; Switch Passes 10 million in As Many Months; Clapboss Wins the Irritating War

As Jobs used to say, ‘One more thing’…yes, Apple kicked the HomePod down the road into next year, but today announced that the iMac Pro will go on sale Thursday. Businessinsider.com reports that the pricey and powerful (starting at $4999) iMac sports a 27 inch Retina display, and can be upgraded (pushing up the nosebleed price even further) to 128 gigs of RAM, 4TB of storage, and an 18 core Intel Xeon processor. The Pro is really made for pros…audio and video pros who need all that power. Unlike the MacBook Pro, which has irritated Pros with only USB C ports and not even a Mag Safe connector, the iMac Pro rocks 4 USB ports, 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, and a wired ethernet port. Did I mention it starts at almost 5 grand? My eyes are still watering!

American Express has announced that it will stop requiring signatures for purchases. Engadget.com notes that in the last few months, both MasterCard and Discover had announced the same, but only in the US and Canada starting in April. AmEx is dropping signatures globally. All say that tech advances have made signatures obsolete. In some regions people will still have to sign where required by law. This should move lines at check stands faster and increase the spread of cardless transaction systems like ApplePay.

Gaming is more than alive and well! Nintendo has announced that it has pumped out 10 million Switch consoles in 10 months! Variety.com says they are on track to pass up the Wii U soon, which took 5 years to sell 13.6 million! Three games account for over half of game sales: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey, and Splatoon 2.

If you’ve ever been irritated by thos obnoxious TV ads with the guy clapping to turn lights and Christmas trees on and off…or worse, been to Grandma’s and she actually bought and uses one, get ready for the ultimate annoyance….the Clapboss! Techcrunch.com says it’s a net connected dongle that lets you clap to turn things off and on. The Kickstarter is $39, and the irritating little dongle…which has a smug, smiley face on it…will be $80 retail. It supports 6 different clap patterns so you can turn on and off 6 different devices….and annoy the hell out of anyone living with you nearly to the point of justifiable homicide.

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Another Day, Another iPhone 8 Design; MasterCard Testing Fingerprint Secured Cards; Google May Bake Ad Blocker into Chrome

Yet another iPhone 8 design has showed up, and it’s getting lots of hate from the tech media community. Macrumors.com says this one has an aluminum back with the apple cutout and vertical double camera, but also has a round cutout about halfway down. Some reports are that Apple is having problems with its under screen Touch ID sensor (as we reported Samsung has), and they may use this plan B metal back to put the Touch ID on the back…as the Galaxy S8 has. Actually, at this point, Apple has always had multiple designs going, then chooses the final one, so it’s probably not time to freak out yet. When orders for the sensors are placed, we’ll know more which way Apple will go.

Speaking of fingerprint sensors, here’s an interesting idea….MasterCard is testing them on payment cards in South Africa. Engadget.com reports that if they pan out, MasterCard could start rolling them out worldwide by the end of the year. After that, it will be up to your bank to decide to use it. Like photos on cards, you would have to go into the bank to have your prints scanned to be stored on the card. It’s all card based, so merchants wouldn’t have to replace terminals to use the newer print-secured cards.

Google…which makes bags of money from ads…is apparently working on an ad blocker for Chrome. According to recode.net, it would either filter certain types of ads out, or entirely block ones from sites that carry ‘bad ads.’ Filtering would be based on standards from the Coalition for Better Ads, which both Google and Facebook belong. Note: they also both help fund said coalition! Does anyone see Google filtering out IT’S OWN ads with the Chrome ad blocker? This seems like a real unfair competition issue!


Apple Leases Former Sunnyvale Pepsi Plant- Apple Car; Paying With Your Face…or Your Car Coming

Apple has leased a nearly 100,000 square foot building in Sunnyvale that used to be a Pepsi bottling plant. 9to5mac.com says the facility is more like a warehouse than office building, and sits on 5 acres…and is probably for Project Titan, the Apple Car. Apple already has an 80,000 square foot building and a 140,000 square foot facility in Sunnyvale thought to be for the project…both are a 10 minute walk from the old Pepsi plant.

Last year, MasterCard announced its pay with a ‘selfie’ option. Now, they’ve showed it off at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It uses the front camera of a smartphone and a single blink to identify a buyer. Cnet.com reports that rival Visa showed off a connected car that pays for your gas or for parking seamlessly. A chip in the car ‘talks’ to the gas pump or parking meter. It might be thrifty…pumping just enough gas to fill up, or paying for only the exact time you are parked.


Tweets They THINK You’ll Like

Twitter is at it again, those tweets they were dropping into your timeline from folks you don’t follow…they’re now a permanent thing. Thenextweb.com says these are in addition to the paid ad tweets you see.

Last year, the iPhone 5c wasn’t exactly a runaway success. Bgr.com reports that since the 6’s have come out, fully 24% of iPhone sales have been the bigger 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 is taking 62%, with only 14% of buyers picking up an older model.

MasterCard is taking a page from Apple Pay’s book, launching a fingerprint enabled card. TechCrunch.com says hold your thumb on the reader, wave it over the terminal, and you’ve paid.