Apple is sent out “See you on the 7th” invitations to the press, which has been widely interpreted to mean that that this is the day new iPhones will be announced. I interpret “See you on the 7th” to be a reference to the additional camera that is rumored to be on the new iPhone.

The main thing people have been already been complaining about is that the new iPhone will likely not have a standard headphone jack. I can think of a couple of reasons that they would remove this. I’ll preface this by saying that they wouldn’t just randomly remove something like that unless they felt the benefits outweigh all that complaints they’ll likely have.

The headphone jack takes (relatively speaking) a lot of room in the phone. There are a number of things that they could do with this extra room. The first thing that comes to mind is extra battery space, which translates to more battery life.

Second, along with a second camera, it’s likely that the new iPhone will have a second microphone. This could be leveraged in a couple of different ways. Noise reduction is one. Another is greater fidelity for doing speech recognition. Apple has already said that additional microphones would be of benefit to Siri and this could be applied to speech recognition in general, especially for “simple” dictation of notes and reminders.

Google Inc. is preparing to offer its high-speed fiber-optic Internet service in four new metro areas, the latest step in a careful expansion of the service.

Google will announce launches of Google Fiber in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn. in coming days, according to two people familiar with the situation.

via WSJ

There hasn’t been a lot of changes in robot vacuums over the last ten years, until now. Dyson’s new vacuum sports a 360 degree camera which it uses to determine reference points for where it is in the room. It has the suction tech Dyson vacuums are known for. It can also be controlled with an iPhone.

It’s a bit taller than a Roomba, so it’s not going to be able to go under a low couch. It’s going to be interesting to see how much this thing costs.

Nest has pulled the Nest Protect from sale because of an issue where the detector could unintentionally be turned off, delaying the alarm in case of a real fire. Once the issue has been fixed, they’ll put it back for sale.

If you have one of these, Nest suggested you immediately disable this feature. When they fix the issue, they’ll produce an update.


Update: As of last week (mid-June 2014), the Nest Protect is back for sale.

People’s first response has been “Why would Facebook buy Oculus Rift”? They see the current incarnation of Facebook and think, “What can you possibly do with VR on Facebook? Facebook is just a text interface! Are they just going to make VR Facebook games?” That’s really short term thinking. In order to make really ground breaking technology, you have to think long term.

For example, say that you come up with a really great product idea, but it requires a lot more network bandwidth than is currently available to most consumers. In other words, even if you wanted to build it today, you couldn’t because of the lack of network bandwidth that would be required. A lot of people would just drop the idea right there, or wait until that type of bandwidth comes available.

In research projects, you really can’t be limited by that kind of restriction. You have to project where the technology will eventually be and how fast it will get there. Technology like networking will continue to improve for the foreseeable future. The question is how long it will take for it to catch up with your idea.

With something like VR, people always ask “What kind of program can I use this with? VR office where I can see everyone? Third person shooter?” Those are exactly the wrong questions. Sure, you can make a game. You can make a environment where people run around and build things, like in Minecraft. But you can do those on a regular computer screen too, maybe even with 3D glasses. What’s the point?

The question needs to be, how can I make something so compelling that people will use it exclusively. Something so amazing that they only way to really experience it correctly is with what you’ve built. It’s the difference between Second life and Star Trek’s Holodeck.

And it’s only with long term thinking that something like that can be accomplished.

I’m hoping that whatever Facebook has planned, it takes this long term approach. Build something new and different, something so compelling that people need to use this new tech on it’s own.