iPhone X Production Now Stabilizing; Nintendo Switch Chasing All-Time Sales Record

Supply constraints on the iPhone X and it’s complex TrueDepth camera system are opening up. Macrumors.com has picked up a report by KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In addition to iPhone X production ramping up, Kuo says he expects all iPhones next year to have Face ID like the iPhone X, with Apple dropping Touch ID.

After the flop of the Wii U, Nintendo needed a hit, and it’s got a big one. According to businessinsider.com, the Switch is poised to sell some 14 million systems this year. That compares to just over 13 million EVER for the Wii U, which was on the market for 5 years! Next year should look good for the Switch too, with new games from the Pokemon, Yoshi, and Kirby franchises on the way. Nintendo is promising better Switch availability for the holiday season too.


Apple Reducing Face ID Accuracy to Speed iPhone X Production; Amazon Rolls Out Amazon Key for Home Security/Delivery

Apple has eased the required accuracy of the 3D sensing modules for their Face ID going into the new iPhone X, in order to catch up lagging production. According to macrumors.com, suppliers were only able to get 20% of the dot projectors used for face ID to work properly. By easing requirements slightly, they are now getting 50% or better to work, which is apparently an acceptable yield. Even with the reduced standard, Face ID is expected to be an order of magnitude better than Touch ID, which would allow a one in 50,000 chance that someone other than the owner could open the phone. Apple still expects preorders to start this Friday, and claims there will be phones available in retail stores for walk in customers November 3rd (we’re betting no more than 2 or 3 per store, though!)
**Since this story came out from Bloomberg and others, Apple has issued an official denial.

Amazon is diving into home security, with an Amazonian twist. Geekwire.com reports that they have rolled out a security camera called Cloud Cam, and a companion Amazon Key app. The security cam, which sells for $119.99 can pair with smart locks to give Prime members the ability to let in house cleaners, dog walkers, and of course package delivery services (like Amazon). Cloud Cam drops November 8th in selected markets, and the companion subscription service runs $6.99 to $19.99 per month, depending on features like person detection, extended cloud storage, and ability to daisy chain up to 10 cameras. A free tier allows for 24 hours of video clips and can handle up to 3 cams.


Facebook Working On Voice Assistant; Waymo Focuses on Ride-Sharing & Big Rigs; Apple’s Face ID Only Does One Face at Launch

Facebook always has a number of things going on under the radar, and now businessinsider.com says one of those is a voice assistant much like Siri or Alexa. Code was spotted by a developer in a prior mobile app that indicates the assistant would be capable of making suggestions and finding basic information like scores or times of ball games. Facebook said they weren’t working on such a feature ‘right now’ earlier this year, but BI has learned that they are doing so in their secretive Building 8. The voice is code named Aloha, and Facebook is shooting for rolling it out in May 2018.

Waymo’s CEO confirmed in an interview at a Bloomberg conference that the Google subsidiary is focusing…at least initially…on ride sharing and trucking. 9to5google.com reports that CEO John Krafcik said ‘there’s a good and compelling use-case’ for ‘goods transportation,’ in other words, self-driving trucks. The ride-sharing is well underway with the fleet of Chrysler minivans that begun a public trial in Phoenix earlier this year. Also bearing down on the trucking sector….Tesla. Elon Musk announced that they will reveal their electric big rig October 25th.

According to multiple people who spoke to Apple at the rollout Tuesday, Face ID on the new iPhone X will only support one registered face per device…at least at first. According to techrunch.com, which also confirmed this separately, this could limit letting a loved one have that type of access to your phone. The iPhone Touch ID can store up to 5 fingerprints. The fix for now…or even always…is to merely give your loved one your passcode. Presumably Apple will make allowances for additional faces as Face ID expands to iPads and laptops, as those are even more likely to be shared by family members.


Google Pixel 2 May Ditch Phone Jack; iPhone 8 May Ship Late October-November; Carmakers Collaborate to Take On Waze & Google Maps

The march towards Bluetooth only seems relentless on smartphones now. According to businessinsider.com, the latest to ditch the venerable headphone jack will be the Google Pixel 2. The latest leaks show that the Pixel 2 XL will have a more premium design, with thinner borders…and both Pixel models will sport a more refined glass back plate.

Apple’s iPhone 8 will be delayed past the September rollout, and now it appears it may be late October to early November before significant numbers are in users’ hands. Macrumors.com reports that a rumor about the side button is probably off base, after picking up on info from Mac Otakara. The handset appears to have an elongated side button that will have Touch ID, since the home button is going away. Mac Otakara says it’s much more likely that the Touch ID will be under the screen, or left out entirely, rather than put into a longer button on the phone’s side.

German carmakers bought a traffic company called HERE from Nokia a couple years ago. Now, mashable.com says they plan to pool traffic data collected by their cars’ sensors for real time traffic conditions in their own map that they claim will have ‘significantly higher accuracy and more precise information about traffic conditions.’ Taken together, they already have a fleet of millions of cars in 60 countries, and the numbers will increase dramatically as more cars with sensor systems hit the roads the next few years. Besides highly accurate info for drivers, it will build data for more reliable self driving systems.


Analyst Claims No Touch ID on iPhone 8; Tesla Model 3 Production Starts Friday

Frequently reliable KGI Securities has put out a list of predictions about the iPhone 8….most of which everyone has been reporting on by now. According to 9to5mac.com, one has people scratching their heads. The analyst says no Touch ID…under the screen or on the back. It is widely believed that the new iPhone will have a facial recognition feature, but dropping Touch ID would not only anger buyers, but banks that Apple has wooed to use Apple Pay. There may be a somewhat obvious answer…KGI Securities has also said the iPhone 8 screen will have a ‘function area’ at the bottom of screen that’s not part of the main display. The Touch ID button may be integrated into this much like it is on the MacBook Pros. On them, there is an OLED strip that runs the width of the keyboard with the Touch ID button at the end. A close examination reveals that the Touch ID button is actually separate. That may be how Apple does it. KGI is very accurate in touting upcoming Apple features, but not 100%…number crunchers say more like 44%…which is very high when predicting, but not spot on.

Some day, there may be a little book of the Tweets of Elon Musk. Among them will certainly be one which just appeared today. Arstechnica.com reports that Musk has Tweeted that the Tesla Model 3 has passed all regulatory requirements, and goes into production Friday. Musk says they should be cranking out 20,000 a month by December!


iPhone 8 Supply Will Be Gorgeous and in Short Supply This Fall; Larry Page’s Flying Car; Audi Adds Useful ‘Nanny’ Feature

The iPhone 8 will just have a slight curve and very thin stainless steel bezels, according to the latest leak. It will also be in tight supply….possibly through the end of the year because of production issues that are causing production to start late. According to bgr.com, it will have the all glass front and back design, and the stainless bezel will be black to make it look virtually seamless. Apple has apparently cracked the code to put the Touch ID under the OLED screen, and the front camera will also be nearly invisible under it as well. Benjamin Geskin posted several pics of a mockup, one of which is shown here. For more, hit bgr.com.

Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk startup will release their flying electric ‘car’ later this year. 9to5google.com notes that what’s been seen of it so far looks more like a platform on pontoons that a rider can fly over land or water…primarily water It HAS, however, gotten FAA approval as an ‘ultralight’ that can be flown over uncongested areas. Kitty Hawk says the first iteration will be mainly for recreation, and will be different from the prototype, but still features 8 rotors powered by electric motors. You can lear to fly it without a license in less than an hour.

In the cars you can actually buy now department, the Audi A4 Allroad talks to you. While this seems like it could be annoying, venturebeat.com reports in a truly useful ‘why didn’t they think of that before’ feature. As with many current cars, you can plug your phone into a USB port to charge it while you drive. When you get ready to get out of the car, it will sense that, and remind you to take your phone with you! Cars are truly becoming computers on wheels…or maybe Alexa on wheels!


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!