The Morning After: Thursday, February 16 2017

Welcome to the return of iPhone rumors. It’s already that wonderful time of the year as leaks, rumors and supply chain-side intel offer a glimpse into what Apple’s cooking. Or not. Global gaming show E3 is starting sooner this year, with Xbox set to reveal its new console on the weekend before it begins. And like Pokémon? How about more of ’em?


iPhone Touchbar?
iPhone 8 ‘function area’ rumored to replace home button

Since MWC 2017 can’t grab all the mobile hype, the iPhone rumor machine is already off and running. We’ve already heard that Apple may be planning to release two iPhone 7s models this fall, plus a pricier iPhone 8 with an edge-to-edge OLED screen. Now, a note from analyst Ming-chi Kuo suggests that while dropping the traditional home button, the iPhone 8 will dedicate part of its display as a function area, with controls that switch based on what you’re doing (similar to Apple’s Touchbar on the new MacBook Pro).


No, not the coffee!
‘Prey’ makes you fear everything

Prey is all about deception. The first-person shooter starts off simple enough: You’re a scientist beginning a new job at your brother’s massive research company. You wake up in your bedroom, do some exploring and board a helicopter on top of your roof to head to work, where you’re then subjected to some first-day testing. Then all hell breaks loose. Aliens run rampant in the compound, and you black out. Then you wake up in your bedroom again, just like before, as if the first 30 minutes of the game were a bad dream. Then things get weird.


Because competition works
Why is Verizon offering unlimited data again?

After a few years of running from unlimited data plans, Verizon is offering them once again (with a 22GB asterisk). So what makes now the right time? Nathan Ingraham digs into why T-Mobile’s ‘Uncarrier” pitch has become compelling enough that Verizon felt forced to open the gates.


Its E3 event is moving to Sunday.Microsoft will unveil Xbox Project Scorpio on June 11th

Last year at E3, Microsoft pre-announced its big hardware upgrade for this year’s show: Project Scorpio. The new box should bring true 4K gaming capability to the Xbox platform, but will that be enough to narrow the gap with Sony? We’ll find out what the company has planned for 2017 on Sunday night ahead of E3 at 5PM ET.


It’s like a snorkel for your Shamrock shake.
McDonald’s has re-engineered drinking straws

McDonald’s thinks the humble drinking straw needed a redesign. It drafted in a team of robotic and aerospace engineers to make something to help push its new two-flavor Chocolate Shamrock Shake. It has two holes and looks like a snorkel. But there’s science here. Almost too much.


Yes, people are still playing
‘Pokémon Go’ adds 80 creatures from ‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ this week

The first big Pokémon Go upgrade for 2017 is rolling out this week, bringing new monsters from the Johto region, like Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile. Their addition will also mean some new evolutions for old monsters, while the gameplay for collecting monsters has been tweaked slightly. It’s still the same game, though, and as the weather warms up once again, we’ll see if it can lure players back to their local Pokéstops.


This discovery could lead to smarter robots.
Your brain always has a backup plan

You may not always be consciously considering a Plan B when you’re making a decision, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Queen’s University researchers have discovered that the human brain’s motor neurons will prepare for multiple actions before making a decision. The findings suggest that the brain interprets the environment as a range of potential actions, and that you’re always considering options even if you only ever settle on one.

But wait, there’s more…

  • IMAX opens first VR theater in Los Angeles
  • Verizon reportedly reduces its Yahoo offer by $ 250 million
  • Republicans call for investigation into EPA use of encrypted chats

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The Morning After: Thursday, February 9 2017

Welcome to Thursday morning. Android Wear 2.0 lands on two new LG smartwatches, Adidas has beef with Tesla, and the next iPhone could be expensive. I mean, more expensive.


Faster and easier to use.Android Wear 2.0 was worth the long wait

Google’s wearable update is the platform’s biggest one since the birth of Android Wear, three years ago. “With 2.0, we really looked hard at what people are using their watches for,” said Android Wear VP David Singleton. “We saw that usage was really focused around watch faces, messaging and fitness. So we really optimized 2.0 for those things.” But Google improved a lot of other aspects of Wear as well, including the user interface, navigation and notifications. We took a closer look.


Stripes and gripes.Adidas thinks Tesla’s old Model 3 logo is a little too familiar

Would you confuse the Tesla Model 3’s three-bar logo with Adidas’ signature stripes? No? Did you know that was the upcoming Tesla’s logo? Maybe not. But don’t tell that to Adidas. The apparel giant has filed a challenge to prevent Tesla from registering the Model 3’s logo as a trademark. It’s similar enough to Adidas’ stripes that it’s “likely to cause confusion” and suggest the two brands are connected, according to the filing. That said, the EV maker quietly changed the logo to the numeric “3” weeks ago, well before Adidas filed its notice.


You could be an NBA playerNBA and 2K team up for the first eSports league owned by a US pro league

Next year, you could realistically expect to become an NBA draft pick. We weren’t expecting that either, but it’s a possibility because the NBA and Take Two have teamed up to create the NBA 2K eLeague. It will launch with 8 – 12 teams that are all owned by existing NBA franchises, and recruit online players to go 5-on-5 in the NBA 2K video game. NBA commish Adam Silver says there will be broadcasts via internet and TV, as it seeks to attract people who otherwise might not think they could ever play in the league.


iPhone XSpecial edition ‘anniversary’ iPhone could be pricey

Since this year will be the tenth anniversary for Apple’s iPhone, people are expecting something special. The latest rumor from Fast Company indicates that while an incrementally upgraded iPhone 7s is on the way in 4.7- and 5.5-inch sizes, there will also be an iPhone 8 with all new features like an OLED screen, no physical home button and maybe even 3D-sensing technology. All of those parts come at a cost, however, and its price (unlocked) could start above $ 1,000.


The latest ultrathin “metalenses” can now handle multiple colors.Lenses made from nanomaterials get closer to replacing glass

Researchers recently showed off breakthrough nanomaterial “metalenses” that could replace bulky glass optics. Unfortunately, these only worked on a single color at a time, meaning your hypothetical smartphone camera of the future would only be able to do arty, monochromatic photos. However, the same team at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has now unveiled a new material that works on a spectrum of colors from blue to green — making it a more realistic proposition for substituting in for lenses and other optical tech. The material is lighter and thinner than glass, meaning that metalenses could change cameras, smartphones and even our own specs in the future.


Sporty swipesReview: LG Watch Sport with Android Wear 2.0

LG’s Watch Sport is the more impressive of the two smartwatches launching with Android Wear 2.0, and for the most part it’s a very respectable showing. Beyond the seriously snappy performance, the big Android Wear update brings a load of design tweaks and new features that the platform has needed for a long time. It’s not perfect, but the software helps soften some of the watch’s shortcomings: the body will be still too chunky for some, and we wish the battery lasted much longer


(Not so) Posh swipes Review: LG Watch Style with Android Wear 2.0

The LG Watch Style is sadly underwhelming in comparison to the pricier Sport. Despite its name, the Style has a bland design and only meets Android Wear 2.0’s minimum hardware requirements. On the bright side, Google’s new operating system is faster and more intuitive than before. Too bad the Style isn’t a great vehicle for showcasing said new software.


It’s putting all the pieces togetherCorsair teases its first whole computer

You probably know Corsair as a computer parts and peripherals manufacturer. It makes all those DRAM modules, flash drives, PC cases, SSDs, keyboards, mice and the rest. Now it’s trying to put it all together. An ad published in Maximum PC’s March issue, revealed that the company has become a full-fledged PC maker. Its first ever whole computer is fittingly called Corsair One.


Pink because love.Pink creatures will invade ‘Pokémon Go’ this Valentine season

Pokémon Go‘s latest seasonal promotion is all about Clefairies, Jigglypuffs and other pink-hued monsters. Like prior promotions, you’ll also bag double the amount of candy when you catch, hatch or transfer a Pokémon to the Professor. Oh, and you may want to hold onto those lures until the event begins — each one will keep attracting Pokémon for six hours instead of the usual 30 minutes.


It might use the likes of Twitter and Facebook to vet visitorsDHS could demand social media passwords of US visitors

The Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, told Congress on Tuesday that his agency is considering a new vetting measure for US visitors from Trump’s banned nation list: forcing them to hand over passwords for their social media accounts.”We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?” Kelly told the House Homeland Security Committee. “If they don’t want to cooperate then you don’t come in.”

But wait, there’s more…

  • Trump’s Nordstrom tweet isn’t illegal, but it’s still a problem
  • Wikipedia decides Daily Mail is ‘too unreliable’ to be a preferred source
  • Netflix is making a ‘Castlevania’ animated series
  • Job listing reveals Netflix will soon sell merch tied to its original shows
  • Six Flags and Samsung made a mixed-reality rollercoaster

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