AWT News Update: July 26, 2017

Image via Mastringer.com

Image via Mastringer.com

Hump Day! We've got a few stories for you in today's podcast:

  • A fairly reliable Japanese website says the new iPhone will be announced in September, but won't ship until late October/early November
  • iPads, MacBooks, and MacBook Airs no longer get to stay in a laptop bag due to stricter TSA rules
  • eBay's iOS app will gain eyes this fall
  • Chrome 60 for Mac is out, and provides support for the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for July 26th, 2017. 

It may have been a week or so since we last provided you with the rumors du jour about the iPhone 8…or whatever it’s going to be called. Japanese Apple website Macotakara, which has a pretty good track record with rumors about upcoming products, is saying that the new model will be unveiled at the same time as the incremental update devices known as the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, but won’t ship until late October to early November. This is starting to be a common theme with other rumor sources, so it may actually be true. The new phone was supposed to come in several colors including white, but apparently that’s out of the question now due to production issues. As we’ve heard before, it’s quite likely that the iPhone 8 will have face recognition, now given a name — Face ID. Macotakara doesn’t say how it will work other than it “assembles a rainbow color certificate and a 3D facial recognition certificate”. From what we’ve heard before, this is probably a translation error and that’s most likely an infrared certificate as the facial recognition will probably act on two levels — a 3D model of the user’s face and an infrared map of veins and capillaries in a user’s face. Macotakara does say that Apple is considering a “natural unlocking mechanism” in which Face ID once the iPhone has been picked up. Whatever is unveiled, we only have about six weeks left during which to try to sort out what’s rumor and what is fact.

Air travel keeps getting more and more of an annoyance than a convenience, mainly due to the onerous security checks brought on by the very real threat of global terrorism. The TSA today announced that all electronics larger than a cell phone, which means all iPads and super-thin laptops, will need to be put into a bin on their own to be scanned. Previously, all versions of the iPad, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook could stay in a bag when being scanned. The new policy was tested at 10 airports and worked quite well, so it will be rolled out to all US airports within the next few weeks. 

eBay’s app for iOS is going to get a nifty new feature this fall — image search and discovery. Let’s say that you see a pair of sunglasses you like, or a chair that would look great in your house. You snap a photo of it with the eBay app, and the mobile app will then analyze the image and then search more than one billion listings on eBay to find matching products. eBay takes the photos — or any image taken from the internet for that matter — and runs it through what’s called a convolutional neural network to process the images. This results in a representation of the image that they compare with live listings on eBay. The items found are then ranked on visual similarity to what you’re looking for. eBay also said that they’ll be launching more computer vision products in the next few months, so stay tuned. 

Google announced that Chrome 60 for macOS, which arrived yesterday, now supplies support for navigation shortcuts on the MacBook Pro Touch Bar. The shortcuts that are supported by Chrome include the unified search/address field, bookmarks, and a tab shortcut. Users can customize these shortcuts by selecting Customize Touch Bar from the View menu in Chrome. Other updates provided in Chrome 60 for Mac include a revised Credential Management API that allows websites to interact with Chrome’s password manager, and support for the Payment Request API for auto-fill of checkout forms. 

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update