According to usually reliable KGI Securities, Apple Watch shipments will drop 25% this year compared to last, and version 2.0 will be out third quarter. They say it’s mostly due to an ‘immature wearable device market.’ Meanwhile, Brian White, an Apple analyst with a somewhat more sketchy track record, says Watch 2 will be out at WWDC in June, be 40% thinner. Macrumors.com reports that both analysts look for a FaceTime video camera, better Wi-Fi, and better battery life.
Engineers in China have come up with a clever way to leach electricity from rain water in solar cells. According to gizmodo.com, they coat the cells with a thin sheet of graphene. Rainwater isn’t pure…it contains small amounts of a ammonium, calcium, and sodium, all of which ionize when in a solution. The graphene creates what the engineers call a ‘pseudo capacitor,’ where electrons move from one side to the other…presto! Electricity. At this point, the cells are only 6% efficient, while most solar cells are 20% efficient at converting sunshine to electricity, but still…6% is not bad for a cloudy, rainy day when the cells will be able to grab precious little solar energy.
Facebook is testing a new feature, so you may see a new button on the lower right of the control bar at the bottom of videos. Thenextweb.com reports that it allows videos to float, and move to the lower left corner, allowing you to continue to scroll through your newsfeed while watching the video. You can drag the video window anywhere, and it can be shared at any point. It automatically goes away if you click to another Facebook page.
There continue to be advances in solar cell tech, and now the army…yes, the US Army…has built smaller, cheaper, tougher solar cells. According to engadget.com, instead of single crystal silicon, the army has super thin sandwiches of sliver and gold between semiconductor layers. Normally infrared and ultraviolet solar rays heat, warp, and crack all-silicon panels. With the gold an silver layers, they can use a fuller spectrum of solar wavelengths to generate power without that damage. The new panels also generate the same amount of energy regardless of the angle of sunlight…they don’t have to be on expensive, motorized tracking stands. The panels are still in the testing stage, but could be a major breakthrough in solar technology.