Wait and SE
It’s only May but despite the draconian crackdown on leaks coming from the Apple Spaceship, hints at what the expected trio of new iPhones will look like in the fall continue to trickle out, often from sources outside of Tim Cook’s purview. While the new phones aren’t expected to debut until September, Forbes is saying one of the new models may be cashing in on a somewhat out-of-left-field Apple fan favorite: The iPhone 4 / 5 / SE, which has been an unexpected hit for Apple.
Forbes is saying that one of the new phones will retain the the more boxy form factor of the last phone introduced by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who at the time said the design reminded him of a Leica camera. That phone has remained in Apple’s lineup in some form or another ever since, and now it looks like it will get the “iPhone X” treatment with a button-less, bezel-less front screen, possibly featuring the infamous FaceID notch at the top.
However, the phone chassis is reportedly going to be a smidge smaller than the current SE, but since it’s going to be “all-screen,” the display will grow from about four inches to about five. Coupled with a tighter PPI count, that could significantly level up the resolution and performance of the screen without changing the small size factor, something SE fans have repeatedly said is a major draw for the phone. But what will it be called? The SE 2? iPhone SE…X? The iPhone X SE 2? Who knows! Leave us your best guess in our YouTube comments section.
Hello. How are you? I am a robot.
Looks like Google’s impressive “Duplex” demo has other tech giants racing to bolster their AI efforts, as news out today shows Microsoft has scooped up “conversational” AI developer Semantic Machines. Venture Beat says Semantic Machines specializes in AI speech synthesis, deep learning and natural language processing, three key areas of development that were clearly on display in the Google Duplex demo.
Among the employees reeled in by the buyout is Larry Gillick, former chief scientists in charge of developing Siri’s talents at Apple. Some AI heavy hitters from Stanford and Cal-Berkley are also included in the roster. Speaking of Berkeley, a blog post by a Microsoft AI CTO said research will continue at a “center of excellence in Berkeley.” Semantic Machines first formed up just four years ago. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Surrounded by failure
Another day, another crowd funded tech venture crashes and burns. This time it’s Ossic, makers of much-ballyhooed “3D headphones” that the company had marketed as an ideal companion to virtual reality systems, since the cans were supposed to be able to generate a sort of 360-degree sphere of sound that included motion and head tracking for correct placement of sound while you’re in a VR world. The Ossic team ran both Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns, raising about $6 million from over 20,000 pre-orders.
Back in January, Tech Crunch says Ossic did manage to send out 80 “developer” units at a grand a pop, but by the time the company posted this too-bad-so-sad bankruptcy notice on their site, only about 250 actual headsets had been manufactured and sent to backers. Ossic blames the “slower than anticipated adoption” of VR and additional funding failures as the reason for closing up shop, saying that “to fail on the five yard line is a tragedy.” They go on to say that they tried working with other companies to get the headphones built and so on, but it just didn’t work out. Looks like backers who are getting no headphones will also not be getting refunds, and it also sounds like a class action lawsuit may be in the works.
Investing in crowdfunded startups is always a gamble, and we’ve got a guide on what to look for when laying out your hard-earned cash, but nothing like this is ever foolproof, so be sure to invest wisely.
We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.
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