iPhone May Have Smart Connector for AR; Minecraft Getting It’s Own Money; Comcast Plans Netflix Rival, No In-Flight Cell Phone Use; Radiation Blocking Undies

Yes, all the buzz is that the iPhone 8 gets and OLED screen and catches up with Samsung, but the ‘one more thing’ may be connecting to an AR or VR headset via a Smart Connector like the iPad Pro has. The connector could also be used for wireless charging, although that can be done through the back inductively. If Apple is finally ready to jump into AR, that would be huge!

Microsoft is rolling out a new marketplace and currency for Minecraft. According to bloomberg.com, businesses will be able to sell content and creations to the millions of Minecraft players. The rollout…which is due yet this spring….will have feature packs including new story lines, in-game activities, and landscapes, and they will run anywhere from a buck to $10 each. The literal ‘coin of the realm’ will be Minecraft Coins! Up to now, you could only buy items created by the Minecraft development team. 10 third party sellers will kickoff the new Minecraft store. The coins can be bought by any supported device running iOS, Android, or Windows. Microsoft didn’t disclose how much developers will get as a cut, but did say it’s over half.

Comcast is going to create its own rival to Netflix in the next 12-18 months, using NBC shows. Theverge.com says it may also include material from Comcast cable channels SyFy, USA, and Bravo. Yet to be decided is whether or not it will feature a live sports feed. Comcast has owned NBC Universal since 2011.

The new Republican FCC Chairman may have done something you will actually love. The Friendly Candy Company, as broadcasters have called it for decades, plans to kill proceedings that would relax rules and allow people to use cell phones while airborne. Macrumors.com reports that the Chairman calls the plan ‘ill-conceived’ and called tabling cell phones on airliners ‘a victory for Americans all across the country.’ Next time you’re trying to snooze or watch a flick on your mobile device in airplane mode, without some jerk shouting into their phone, thank the FCC!

For guys who carry their cell phone in their pocket that are worried about damaging their little swimmers, check out Spartan boxers and briefs. Mashable.com says they have silver woven into the fabric to protect your boys from electromagnetic radiation from the phone, The maker adds that the silver is also naturally anti-bacterial. Oh…did we mention they’re $45 per PAIR. They should last 300 wash cycles at any rate.


Google on Self-Driving; Good News (Finally) for Samsung; Trio of Fresh Spring iPads; Facebook Marketplace

In an interesting spin on self-driving cars, the head of Google’s program denies that they are building such things at all. Dmitri Dolgov says they’re really more like in the superhuman driver-making business. According to recode.net, he drilled down to make the point, talking about how the self-driving system has to recognize hand signals from human pedestrians and bike riders, and act appropriately. He points out that they already have run the system on Prius’, Lexus, their own ‘Googlemobiles,’ and now are working with Fiat Chrysler. Google wants it to be like getting into a rental car…it may feel and handle bit differently, but same basic system everywhere. Google says the cars communicate to learn from each other, but there’s firewall between that part of the software and the driving part, to prevent hacker access.

Now that the firebomb models have been replaced, Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s are flying off the shelves. Bgr.com reports that samsung sold 30,000 phones its first two days back on sale. Anything over 10,000 a day is considered good. They expect the demand to drop off, as it does with all new smart devices, but it appears they have dodged the bullet…or bomb…on what is considered the best Android handset you can by right now.

Apple will be freshening all 3 iPad sizes this spring, according to a Mac Otakara report picked up by macrumors.com. The 12.9 inch Pro will get a True Tone display like the mid sized model has, and all get upgraded to the 12mg camera. the Mini will get True tone, 4 speakers, and a smart connector. All 3 will have quad microphones…AND…keep the 3.5 mm headphone jack!

Facebook has rolled out Marketplace on Android and iOS. Appleinsider.com says it allows people to buy and sell goods locally like on craigslist. Facebookies can filter by price, category, and location, or just browse categories to see what’s out there. A tap on an item will jump to photos of the product and the seller, along with a price and general description. Shoppers can save an item, make an offer, or message a seller for more details. Sellers are identified not just by their usual Facebook details, such as friend connections, but also by how quick they are to respond to messages. Location is generalized.


More iPhone 7 Rumors; Twitter Limits US Spy Agencies Access to Alert Tool

With the iPhone 7 models due out in around 4 months, the rumors are breaking more frequently now…and contradicting each other. Bgr.com says a design leak obtained by French site NowhereElse shows the iPhone 7 as having identical height and width as the 6 and 6S. It doesn’t disclose whether or not the next model will be thinner, however, or if the headphone jack on the bottom stays or goes. There is no opening at the bottom for a Smart Connector like on the iPad Pro, which had been rumored, but the camera opening is larger…it may not be large enough for the dual lens camera…which is supposed to bow on the larger iPhone 7 Plus anyway, but perhaps to allow for a larger sensor. The cam opening is closer to the edge, too.

Twitter has blocked US law enforcement and spy agencies from using a data analytics service that processes tweets and messages in real time. According to cnet.com, the tools are from the private company Dataminr. Twitter hasn’t publicly confirmed or denied the change. Apparently the analytics gave authorities a 10 minutes lead over mainstream media outlets in covering and responding to the Brussels attacks. Spies being spies, it’s probably only a matter of time…and not much time….before they are able to restore their access to this type of info from Twitter, even without Twitter’s blessing or knowledge.


New Ultra Thin HP Chromebook; iPhone 7 ‘Pro’ Drawings Leaked

HP showed off it’s new 13 inch screen, ultra thin Chromebook today. It sports a QHD Display, has a slick all-metal case, and weighs in at 2.86 lbs. According to venturebeat.com, it’s packed with 16 gigs of memory, runs on an Intel Core M processor, and the battery should last 11.5 hours. It’s available now for pre-order, ships May 6th, and starts at $499.

Drawings and diagrams leaked show a 5.5 inch iPhone 7, and as rumored, there is no 3.5 mm audio jack, and it sports a dual camera. Bgr.com reports that the leak came from Macotakara, which leaked accurate diagrams of the iPad Pro. It does have a Smart Connector port on the back, and still has a single speaker. Surprisingly, it’s no thinner than the present model, and doesn’t have a larger battery…which had previously been given as the reason Apple wanted to drop the audio jack.