Make VR wire-free! HTC Vive Focus joins the stand-alone party

Insert obligatory Spinal Tap reference here

Apple’s iPhone Ten continues to sell at hot clip, so it’s the perfect time to start prognosticating about the next iPhone, which we’ll just call the “iPhone 11” for the time being. We thought maybe it could be called the iPhone 9, but that just seems…. weird.

Clues are starting to roll in from sources like Apple fortune teller KGI securities and even the WSJ, which says Apple has placed an order for screens with Japan Display. The screens are reportedly a type of LCD panel called a “full active LCD,” which apparently can achieve a contrast ratio close to the iPhone X’s  spendy OLED display… without being a spendy OLED display.  That has led to speculation that the iPhone 11 could be a more budget-friendly phone, despite iPhone Xs flying out the door at $1,000 or better per phone. More rumors suggest future iPhones will continue the iPhone X “all-display” form factor as well.

There’s also rumblings that new phones could feature a long-distance, room-scale wireless charging system from Energous, a company Apple has been working with since 2015. There’s actually quite a bit of new news on the next round of iPhones, so check out all the details.

As it should be

Virtual reality headsets are quickly shedding their tethers to PCs, and following the recent announcement of the Oculus Go stand-alone headset, HTC’s Vive team has fired back with the new Vive Focus, a swoopy stand-alone VR system that will likely compete head-on with the Go. HTC just previewed the new headset at the Vive Developers conference in Beijing, and while the presentation was short on specs, some tech details of the Focus are trickling out.

The Focus headset is not phone-based, and so like the upcoming Oculus Go, it will occupy a sort of middle tier between the high-end tethered systems and the lower-end phone-in-a-headset realm. The Focus will reportedly use “high-resolution AMOLED” display panels, although the exact resolution has yet to be announced. The headset with feature a sensor pack with “six degrees of freedom” for figuring out where you are in a room.. and where your hands are.

The Focus will also use the reliable and powerful Snapdragon 835 chip, which is found in many high-end Android smartphones, so the horsepower should be there. We’ve got more details on the Focus, but like the Go headset, it’s probably going to miss the holiday shopping binge and arrive early next year.

Fetch me a Terminator

After kicking around at Google for a while – and giving us the willies for years now – crazy-good robot maker Boston Dynamics is now under the SoftBank umbrella, and the company just gave us a sneak preview of their latest nightmare-bot, the new Spot Mini, and it definitely has a bounce in its step.

Boston Dynamics doesn’t say if the new Spot Mini will be a commercial product, but cover it in fur and you’ve got a passable supertoy. With Japan-based SoftBank overseeing the company, we’d bet SpotMini – in some form – will be on store shelves sooner than later.

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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