In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. Too much, in fact, for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. From more iPhone 6C leaks and Apple Music’s launch, to Sony’s new crowdfunding platform, it’s all here.
Rumors about the iPhone will never stop swirling, but this week brought a better idea of how the next version of the phone will look. According to Jefferies analyst Ange Wu, the body of the iPhone 6C will be metal. He revealed this in advice sent to clients in regards to major Apple supplier Foxconn, which won a contract to build at least half of the total number of iPhone 6C bodies. The original iPhone 5C came only in plastic and leaked images supposedly of the iPhone 6C have shown the device with a plastic body. The report also hints at the iPhone 6C’s release in 2016, which echoes sentiments from an early June story from Chinese site UDN.
Sony has opened the doors to First Flight — its own crowd-funding website — where Sony will pitch unusual projects and potentially push them into production. Essentially, this is Sony’s own version of Kickstarter. The company claims First Flight will help promote “new business concepts,” and bring them to market if they’re popular enough. Why does a multibillion dollar corporation need to farm out the research and development costs of its products to consumers? Who knows! But that’s the plan, at least in Japan, where Sony is setting up First Flight for its initial launch.
Facial recognition software has come a long way but as evidenced in a recent snafu in Google Photos, it still has a long way to go. A worst-case scenario came true for the search giant when it was discovered its new app incorrectly labeled a black couple as “gorillas.” The mistakes are assuredly unintentional, but Google is facing backlash for error and its racist connotations. According to software developer Jacky Alcine — the man in the photo who brought it to Google’s attention — Photos misclassified an entire collection of photos of him and a friend. He posted the problem to Twitter upon experiencing it. Google apologized quickly for the mistake and is working to prevent further problems.
Public Q&A sessions at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters have become a regular part of company life since CEO Mark Zuckerberg led the first one in November 2014. Keen to do things a little differently this month, Zuck turned to the Web for his latest session and spoke about how he believes technology is on its way that will give us the ability to send an emotion or feeling to someone just by thinking about it. Describing the capability as “the ultimate communication technology,” Zuck said that one day “we’ll have the power to share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we’d like … you’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too.” Oh, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Hawking showed up to ask some questions, too.
Google has tested self-driving cars on public roads in California for years, but now it’s using cars of its own design. The tiny pod-like prototype unveiled last year is now plying the streets near the Google campus in Mountain View, the company announced last week. Until now, Google has converted production cars — including Toyota Prius and Lexus RX hybrids — into autonomous test vehicles. The new self-driving car represents the company’s first effort at car design, and is one of the first fully autonomous vehicles that’s being tested on public roads.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week