Apple Push on AR Headset iPhone Replacement; Harry Potter AR Game; Facebook Working on Anti-Revenge Porn System

We commented recently that AR- augmented reality and AI-artificial intelligence, will be the next really big thing. Now, word is from bloomberg.com that Apple is working on a breakthrough product to replace the iPhone. It’s an AR headset that could be in customer hands (or more to the point, on their faces) by 2020. That’s only 3 years away, kids! The device will have its own display and run on its own chip and operating system. The whole project is spread over several Apple facilities and code named T288. It builds on the ‘system-on-a-package’ concept of the also small Apple Watch. Not mentioned is how Apple will deal with powering the device…the Apple Watch can easily run all day, but only for an hour when talking on LTE. Streaming video overlays along with live visuals through the glasses won’t exactly be thrifty when it comes to battery use!

Staying with AR, Niantic’s follow up game to the wildly successful Pokemon Go will be a Harry Potter AR game. According to techcrunch.com, it will be out next year. No precise time frame, but the game is expected to let users roam their real surroundings in search of Potter items, casting spells, and fighting villains.

Facebook is working on a system to combat revenge porn. That’s a great idea, but with a catch…9to5google.com says you have to upload your nudes to Facebook…what could possibly go wrong? The idea is that FB would create an encrypted version of the raw data in the image file…if an EX tries to upload a file with that data, it’s blocked. You still have to send the nude to yourself in Messenger…which means people with stupid, simple passwords (lots of them) and people who can be Phished would be vulnerable. No word on how the system would work on altered photos…like the EX pulling the nude of you out of the pic and Photoshopping it into another background or just grabbing (the naughty) parts and posting them, which might show up as different data. Let’s hope Facebook thinks this all through…it’s being trialled in Australia and 3 other countries right now.


New iPhone Color; Google Maps & Pokemon; Galaxy Note Blows Up in Samsung’s Face; Google Self-Drivers Spot Cops; Netflix Grabs 3 ‘Mythbusters

Tomorrow, we’ll know for sure, but for weeks, the tech media has been complaining that there’s nothing cool about the upcoming iPhone 7…not even a dual lens camera that may allow focusing after the fact. Now, they’re all excited about a….color. Mac rumors.com says there will be a glossy ‘piano black’ color. Never let it be said the tech media isn’t shallow!

Google Maps has added a Catching Pokemon feature to the timeline. According to thenextweb.com, you can now show in Maps when and where you’ve been Playing Pokemon Go.

In an amazing gift to Apple, Samsung is recalling all Galaxy Note 7’s..up to 2.5 million, due to batteries that can explode when charging! What has been reviewed as the best Android ever will now be recalled just as the iPhone 7 is rolled out. Bgr.com reports that you can either take it back to where you bought it, or call Sammy at 1-800-SAMSUNG. Whether you decide to swap it for a less ‘explody’ one, or trade for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, Samsung will throw in a $25 gift card.

A couple of quick notes….Google has gotten a patent for self-driving cars detection of police vehicles. Thenextweb.com says it picks up on the flashing lights. The cars will automatically move to yield.

The ‘Mythbusters’ build team is getting a show on Netflix. According to bgr.com, Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara will star in ‘The White Rabbit Project,’ which will start airing on Netflix December 9th. They’ll investigate things from science, pop culture, and history…and it’s a good bet some things will blow up. Hopefully, not any Samsung batteries.


New iPads Next Year; Bigger, Range-Increasing Battery for Teslas; Pokemon Influence On Upcoming Tech

According to KGI Securities, which has a good track record with accurate Apple rumors, Cupertino will roll out new iPads next year…freshening the 9.7 inch model with a ‘low cost’ version, adding a 10.5 inch iPad Pro, and beefing up the 12.9 inch iPad Pro with a more powerful processor. Macrumors.com also says Apple is planning a so-called ‘revolutionary’ iPad in the fall of 2018, with radical form factor changes and maybe a flexible AMOLED screen.

Tesla is getting ready to release a 100Kw battery for its Model S and Model X cars…giving the Model S a range of 380 miles….more than your bladder can handle without a pit stop. Theverge.com reports that a Dutch regulator that certifies Teslas for sale in the EU published model listings that included designations pointing to the increased battery size…100D and 100X. There’s also a P100D…maybe a higher end version of the Model S…in the listings.

Techcrunch.com is saying the influence of the wildly successful Pokemon Go is already rippling through the tech world, and will for years to come. The relatively simple game has suddenly gotten millions to understand what augmented reality is, and how cool it might be. Even though it’s been used in map software for some time, the game has opened up other avenues. In addition to mobile games, movies and Video games can extend their reach into ‘the real world.’ The Pokemon effect could even be extended to medical apps…helping an elderly person find where they left a medication, and remembering that they ‘captured’ their pill yesterday, and should take another. Look for other applications of AR as offshoots from Pokemon Go in the next months and into next year.


Nearby Tracker for Pokemon Go; Apple Killer Health Device; Amazon Video Pilots to Air on Twitch

After some stumbles with the Nearby feature, Niantic is testing out a variation of ‘nearby Pokemon’ with a subset of users now. There are a couple of tabs…Nearby and Sightings. The Nearby feature allows you to pan around a PokeStop for the little critter, while the Sightings tab doesn’t even give you the distance to the Pokemon…at least in the beta that’s out to the subset of users. Bgr.com reports that they have also restored the battery saving mode that had vanished from the last version of the iOS app.

In a big, but vague, rumor, Apple could be looking to launch a killer new product in the health area in 2017. According to appleinsider.com, who picked it up form Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, the product will ”accurately collect users’ personal daily life including heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes and other information.” It’s apparently been in development for 2 years.

Amazon is going to stream a few of its original pilot programs on Twitch, which has been trying to expand beyond content for gamers. Twitch had dipped its toes into other content with old Julia Child and Bob Ross shows, but Techcrunch.com says Amazon will air 3 new pilots on the platform for 24 hours. They will still break on Amazon Prime Video first…on August 19th, but then will stream on Twitch for 24 hours on August 31st. Two of the pilots are ‘The Tick,’ and ‘I Love Dick.’ The third show wasn’t named.


Disney Releases Kid-Focused Messaging App; Company Gets Pokemons (and players) Off Businesses Lawns

Disney has rolled out Disney Mix, a new messaging app for kids as young as 4. 9to5google.com says the tag line is ‘chat, share, play.’ The free app has stickers from virtually every Disney movie you can think of, custom cartoon avatars, built-in games, and safety features to keep it all family friendly. A whistle icon at the top of the app will cause an adult moderator to jump in in the event of bullying or the like. It’s available at the Google Play Store and on iOS, too.

We’ve all heard and read stories about people basically yelling at Pokemon Go players to ‘get off their lawn,’ but now a cybersecurity company is actually working to have the Pokemon removed from maps in certain places. Thenextweb.com reports that LookingGlass is working with at least 8 companies to get Niantic Labs to pull them out of certain areas to help players to avoid dangerous situations. Apparently, most of the locations were pulled from the game company’s earlier AR game Ingress, that they released in 2013. LookingGlass and others are also trying to get Niantic to build in a way to notify them to remove Pokemon from dangerous areas.


Galaxy Note 7 Debuts; Instagram Rolls Out Stories; Poke-Phenom Continues

Samsung has showed off the Galaxy Note 7 at their unpacked event in New York. It looks like a mix of the Note 5 and the S6 edge+…a sleek, attractive phablet. Bgr.com says the 5.7 inch screened handset has the usual improved innards, including 4 gigs of RAM, a 3500 mAh battery, is water and dust resistant, and carries a 12 megapixel Dual Pixel rear cam and 5 mp front selfie cam. (Why aren’t phone makers giving us selfie cams that are as good as back cams?) It has a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, and improved S Pen stylus. Price will vary by carrier, but the Note 7 will be available August 19th.

Instagram has added Stories to the app on both Android and iOS. According to tech crunch.com it’s pretty much a direct ripoff of Snapchat Stories. letting you to post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear. They appear at the top of your feed, so followers won’t miss them…even if they wanted to. In a rare moment of candor, Instagram’s CEO admitted it’s basically a clone of the snapchat feature.

Pokemon Go has hit 100 million downloads now. 9to5mac.com says App Annie is reporting that the still hot game is hauling in $10 million a day for maker Niantic after 3 weeks! Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be stealing players from other games. This may be a huge break in getting people into augmented reality.


Twitter Opens Up Verified Accounts; Apple Gets Well From Pokemon Go

Twitter has opened up getting a ‘verified account,’ the ones denoted by the little blue checkmark. Arstechnica.com says that the blue check…previously the domain of celebrities, journalists, and high profile users, will be more widely available, but you’ll have to convince Twitter why they should verify your account. They plan to only give the coveted symbol to accounts that are ‘determined to be of public interest.’ If you want to apply, set your tweets to “public” and you have to fill in a form with a verified phone number, e-mail address, website, and birthday. They may also ask for a scan of government-issued ID.

We’ve reported that Nintendo’s market capitalization has doubled in the couple weeks since Pokemon Go rolled out, making them more valuable than Sony. Now, apple insider.com reports that the hot mobile game could add $3 billion to Apple’s coffers over the next couple years. If it stays hot, it could actually do much more…Candy Crush brought in $10 billion for Cupertino in 2013 and 2014 when it was at its peak.


Bitmoji Come to Snapchat; iPhone Pro Looks Unlikely; Nintendo Now Worth More Than Sony-Pokemon Go

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Snapchat snapped up Bitstrips earlier this year for 100 million, and today rolled out the little comic style characters in the main Snapchat app. Businessinsider.com notes that user s will have to download the Bitmoji app separately, the feature isn’t 100% integrated in the main app as yet. Once you do that and link the apps, though, you can drop the Bitmoji stickers into chat or stick them on snaps.

Pictures have surfaced of 3 iPhone 7 models, including a Pro model. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that Evan Blass tweeted out the code names of the iPhone 7 models, and there are only two….Sonora and Dos Palos. Meanwhile, a site has examined the pictures, and the Apple logo on the back is a sticker! They also used a clone detection model to point out where the pictures were cloned and ‘shopped. It appears that the more widely rumored two models…the 7 having a larger camera opening and the Plus having the dual camera are most likely what’s coming in September.

One very hot game, and a company’s value can go through the roof. Nintendo is now more valuable than Sony, thanks to Pokemon Go. According to geekwire.com, Nintendo’s market cap has doubled in less than two weeks to over $42.5 billion. Sony is worth about $39 billion. After originally launching in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, Pokemon Go just arrived in Japan this week!


Pokemon Go Takes Off at Warp Speed; Amazon Prime Now Covers Half of Amazon Users

Pokemon Go has eaten the mobile world…at least for now. Similarweb.com reports that the game app, which dropped July 7th, had more installations than Tinder by July 8th, and was on over 5% of US Android handsets. Reuters says Nintendo’s stock is up 25% on the heels of the hot new game. Yes, a body was found by someone playing, but please keep your nose out of your phone and don’t become a body yourself. Also, be aware that crooks in Missouri have already used the game to track where people are going, and robbed them at gun point. Again…look up once in a while! The game launches in Europe and Asia in a few days.

According to new information picked up by geekwire.com, a study shows that Amazon Prime has now surpassed half of the Amazon customer base…63 million users. The study is from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, and is out just in time to remind you that tomorrow…July 12th…is Prime Day, so have your fingers and plastic ready to shop for some major bargains.