Newsreel KW 02/2024 and Podcast #040: Apple Car 🚗 VR/AR ban 🚫 Bitcoin ETFs 💰 HP sued ⚖️ CES highlights 📺

Newsreel Podcast

In today's episode #040 of the Sir Apfelot Podcast we talk about Apple's vision for spatial computing. We reveal the reasons behind Apple's reluctance to embrace AR and VR and reveal why IKEA power adapters occasionally burst into flames. We also explain why some Apple customers receive an unexpected $90 transfer.

Of course, the exciting highlights of the CES cannot be missed, as well as a look into the future with a revolutionary sodium (or should we say sodium?) battery technology. We also report on the latest developments on Bitcoin ETFs, current information on the Apple Car and many other topics.

For people who don't like to listen and prefer to read, we have prepared the individual topics in bullet points further down on this page.

At this point you will also find all the show notes, sources and comments that we have put together for the individual topics below.

This episode as a YouTube video with Lynne and Jens

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Our Apple podcast has finally made it to Apple Podcasts.

Note: The summaries here were created using ChatGPT, but in our podcast we talk without artificial intelligence. So if you would like background information and good entertainment about the news, then please listen to us!

Vision Pro can be pre-ordered in a few days – in the USA

  • Press release shortly before the start of CES in Las Vegas on January 8.1.2024th, XNUMX
  • Pre-order from January 19.1th, delivery from February 2.2.2024nd, XNUMX, only in the USA
  • Vision Pro contains M2 chip (no specification for M2 Pro or M2 Max)
  • R1 chip for data processing from 12 cameras, 5 sensors, 6 microphones
  • 256GB storage, larger variants may be available, starting price $3499
  • Zeiss optical lens inserts price: $149
  • Spatial gaming with over 250 titles via Apple Arcade, spatial video with over 150 3D films via Apple TV app
  • Box contents: glasses, solo knit band, dual loop band, light seal, two face masks, cover for front, polishing cloth, battery, USB-C cable, USB-C power supply
  • Hands-on appointments with testers on January 16.1th. and 23.1.
  • no larger storage variants announced, possible storage levels: 256 GB (3499 USD), 512 GB (3699 USD), 1 TB (3899 USD), 2 TB (4299 USD)


This is how much RAM and flash memory the Vision Pro gets

  • RAM: Apple Vision Pro has 16 GB of RAM.
  • Storage capacities: entry-level model with 256 GB SSD, possible variants up to 1 TB.
  • Price: Entry-level model costs $3.499.
  • Chips: Using the M2 chip and the new R1 chip for camera and sensor data processing.
  • Developer Kits: Some have up to 1TB of storage.
  • Xcode 15.2: Supports development for visionOS and Apple Vision Pro AR glasses


Apple's naming indicates a cheap vision model

  • Apple officially calls the new product category “Vision”.
  • “Vision Pro” is the name of the first model, “Pro” is not part of the standard name.
  • Apple's online store and operating system beta versions refer to “Vision” instead of “Vision Pro”.
  • Changes suggest the possibility of a standard model without a “Pro” addition.
  • In the iOS 17 beta, “Pro” was removed from the name for the AR glasses, now just “Apple Vision”.
  • Apple's online store introduces the “Vision” category.
  • It is unclear whether the changes indicate an imminent budget model.


Apple wants to introduce the term “spatial computing” instead of “VR” to developers

  • Apple Vision Pro will be released on February 2nd.
  • Developers are allowed to submit their apps to the Vision Pro App Store, but should avoid certain terms.
  • Apple recommends calling apps “Spatial Computing Apps” instead of using terms like “Augmented Reality (AR),” “Virtual Reality (VR),” “Extended Reality (XR),” or “Mixed Reality (MR).”
  • Apple has used these terms itself in the past, but now expects developers to do the opposite.
  • Apple's Clips app is cited as an example of an app with AR capabilities that is promoted on Apple's augmented reality site.
  • There is confusion and potential ambiguity for Vision Pro users and developers with Apple's new policies.
  • Apple wants “spatial computing” to become the main term for VR, AR, XR and MR in order to differentiate itself in this field.


Sony and Siemens present mixed reality headset for 3D content creators

  • Sony introduces new mixed reality headset developed in collaboration with Siemens.
  • The Sony headset's target group is primarily professional users, e.g. for product development and creation of 3D content.
  • The device has two 4K OLED displays that cover 96 percent of the DCI-P3 color space.
  • The headset is powered by a Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 processor from Qualcomm.
  • It includes six cameras and various sensors for video passthrough, without a front display like the Apple Vision Pro.
  • Operation is via a special stylus and a ring, in contrast to the gesture-based operation of the Apple Vision Pro.
  • The market launch of the Sony MR headset is planned for this year, the exact release date and prices are not yet known.


Fire hazard: IKEA recalls “ÅSKSTORM” charger

  • IKEA is recalling the ÅSKSTORM USB charger with 40 watts in dark gray.
  • The reason for the recall is a fire hazard.
  • Article number of the affected product: 50461193.
  • The cable used does not meet the requirements and may be damaged if repeatedly wrapped around the charger.
  • Possible consequences of cable damage include burns or electric shock.
  • Affected device model number: ICPSW5-40-1, located on the back of the USB charger.
  • No proof of purchase is required when returning the product.


The Apple Watch sales ban is entering the next round

  • The Apple Watch ban debate is taking a new turn after the International Trade Commission (ITC) objected to Apple's request to postpone the ban.
  • Apple withdrew its two best Apple Watch models, the Series 9 and Ultra 2, from sale at the end of December in anticipation of the import and sales ban imposed by the ITC.
  • Apple recently received a temporary reprieve from the United States Court of Appeals allowing it to sell both models again.
  • Apple is now fighting for a permanent stay that would allow the sale until the court case is resolved, while the ITC tries to prevent that.
  • Patent expert Florian Mueller from ip fray highlights that Apple could potentially be a victim of patent trolling or at least patent abuse.
  • IP Fray is a website dedicated to copyright law, where experts in the field aim to explain certain cases and developments to "ordinary" people in order to make them accessible to a wider audience
  • Florian Müller is an expert in patent disputes
  • Mueller notes that Apple is working on a software solution to circumvent the patent infringements, and it may be available soon.
  • Mueller points out that the ITC itself determined that Apple was the controversial Pulse oximetry technology independently and that Masimo developed the contested patents tactically after Apple's independent innovation and more than 10 years after the original applications to read the relevant function of the Apple Watch.
  • As Mueller notes, this could all go away if Apple actually comes up with a satisfactory software solution to the problem. It's already been reported that Apple is working on a change that would change the way blood oxygen data is measured and displayed to users, and that solution could emerge as early as this week.


Apple starts paying out Battery Gate in the US

  • Apple agreed in 2020 to pay up to $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in the US that accused the company of “secretly throttling” some iPhone models.
  • Payouts as part of the so-called “Batterygate” settlement began this week.
  • People who filed a claim will receive payments of $92,17 per claim from Apple as part of the settlement.
  • The The lawsuit was filed in December 2017, shortly after Apple revealed that it was throttling the maximum performance of some iPhone models with “chemically aged” batteries to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down.
  • Apple introduced this power management system in iOS 10.2.1 (early 2017), but did not initially mention this change in the update's release notes.
  • Despite apologizing for the lack of transparency, Apple repeatedly denied all allegations and never admitted any legal wrongdoing.
  • Apple said it only agreed to the settlement to avoid “burdensome and costly litigation.”
  • The class included any U.S. resident who owned an affected iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and/or iPhone SE running iOS 10.2.1 or later, and/or an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before December 21, 2017.
  • The deadline to submit a claim for payment was October 2020.
  • Apple still has a performance management system on the iPhone 6 and newer models.
  • You can see if performance optimization is enabled under Settings → Battery → Battery Health. If so, a text will appear there and you can deactivate it with a button. If not, no notice will appear there.


China claims AirDrop to have cracked to filter content

  • Chinese state-backed institute has developed a method to identify users who send messages using Apple's AirDrop feature
  • Goal: Part of an effort to eradicate unwanted content
  • Method: Cracking an iPhone's encrypted device log to identify numbers and emails from senders sharing AirDrop content
  • Statement from Beijing Justice Bureau: Several suspects have been identified, no information on arrests
  • Background: AirDrop has been used by activists worldwide, in particular during the 2019 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests
  • Restricting AirDrop: Apple has restricted the feature on Chinese iPhones since 2022 after it was used by protesters
  • Impact on Apple: Increases uncertainty for Apple's operations in China, where strict content restrictions already exist
  • Additional context: Growing sales pressure on Apple in China due to bans by state-backed agencies on the use of foreign devices in the workplace


Apple among the top 10 companies with the most patent grants in 2023

  • Apple among top 10 patent grants
  • In 2023, Apple was granted 2.536 patents
  • This corresponds to an increase of around 10% compared to the previous year
  • An average of 50 patent documents per week at Apple
  • Highest number of patents in 2020 with 2.791 patents granted
  • Apple ranked seventh in the top 2023 US patent applicants rankings in 50
  • Comparison to 2022: Two places up in the rankings
  • Frontrunner Samsung Electronics with 6.165 patents granted
  • Qualcomm in second place with just over half of Samsung's patents
  • Increased Apple's research and development budget by 14% year over year
  • Investments are flowing into new products such as the iPhone 16 and Apple's new spatial computer


First Bitcoin ETFs approved by US financial regulator

  • Main topic: US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approves first Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Number of approved Bitcoin ETFs: 11
  • Companies involved: Grayscale, Fidelity, BlackRock and others
  • Background: SEC has rejected attempts to create a Bitcoin ETF for over 10 years
  • Special feature of ETFs: Trading on stock exchanges, similar to stocks, makes it easier to invest in Bitcoin without having your own wallet
  • Impact on Bitcoin price: Little change on the day of the announcement, but long-term effects expected
  • Potential new investors: Traditional institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance funds
  • Alternative investment options so far: Buying stocks in cryptocurrency-focused companies like Coinbase and MicroStrategy
  • Previous SEC Rejection: Investor Security Concerns
  • Change in situation: Court ruling in April against the SEC's rejection of a Grayscale ETF


OpenAI launches shop for self-created GPTs

  • Introducing GPT Store: The aim is to find useful and popular custom versions of ChatGPT.
  • Start date: January 10, 2024.
  • Over 3 million custom versions of ChatGPT were created in two months.
  • Availability: The GPT Store will first be available to ChatGPT Plus, Team and Enterprise users.
  • In the store: Various GPTs from partners and the community in categories such as DALL·E, writing, research, programming, education and lifestyle.
  • New highlighted GPTs every week, including Personalized trail recommendations from AllTrails, Consensus for searching 200M academic papers, Code Tutor from Khan Academy, Canva for design, Books for book recommendations, and CK-12 Flexi AI Tutor for math and science.
  • GPT integration: Simple creation process without coding knowledge, builder profile verification required.
  • Compliance with usage guidelines and GPT brand guidelines is important, supported by a new verification system.
  • GPT Builder Revenue Program: Launching in Q1, US developers paid based on user engagement.
  • ChatGPT Team Plan announced for teams of all sizes, private section in the GPT Store.
  • Coming soon to ChatGPT Enterprise customers with enhanced admin controls.


Apple is hiring more test drivers for autonomous vehicles

  • Apple has expanded its autonomous vehicle tester team again after reducing it in early 2023.
  • At the beginning of 2023, Apple had the largest autonomous vehicle tester team with over 200 members, but later reduced it significantly.
  • Current status: Apple has 162 testers and 68 autonomous vehicles in use.
  • Previous rumors suggested a possible release of the Apple Car in 2026.
  • In fall 2023, Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the project was stalled and no release date had been set.
  • Despite the project's current stagnation: Apple Car is slated for a 2026 release, with a price tag under $100.000, a custom chip, and no fully autonomous driving features at launch.
  • interesting: NVIDIA has 1 car and over 300 drivers
  • The list includes Waymo (Google/Alphabet) with 664 drivers, Zoox (Amazon) with 615 drivers, Cruise (General Motors) with 281 drivers and Tesla with 59 drivers


Humane lays off 4% of its workforce before shipping the first device

  • AI company Humane, backed by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, is laying off 4% of its employees, a total of 10 people.
  • Reason for the layoffs: cutting costs before shipping their flagship product, the AI ​​Pin, after five years of development.
  • The company has raised over $200 million from Silicon Valley investors.
  • Humane was founded by former Apple designers Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno.
  • The AI ​​Pin, a wearable device, is scheduled to ship in March 2024.
  • AI Pin features: voice commands, audio calls, messaging, voice translation, smart home device control.
  • The AI ​​Pin virtual assistant is powered by OpenAI technologies and uses cloud computing from Microsoft.
  • AI Pin Price: $699 plus a $24 subscription fee


CES in Las Vegas – a few highlights

  • CES 2024: Numerous highlights and innovative technologies presented.
  • Samsung, Sony, LG unveil new TV screens, including 8K TVs with AI-powered image scaling.
  • Special attention to LG and Samsung transparent screens with different application areas.
    • LG’s Signature OLED T 4K for the living room, with screen saver and zero-connect box for minimalist design.
    • Samsung's transparent micro-LED screen aims to provide immersive movie experiences and support during sporting events.
  • LG and Samsung launch advanced AI robots.
    • LG bot with facial and voice recognition, music functions and security monitoring.
    • Samsung's Ballie, a yellow robot, patrols the home and can project films and control smart devices.
  • Xpeng Aeroht presents an Evtol Flying Car that can transform into an aircraft.
  • Sony Honda shows the Afeela, an electric sedan with an AI focus, controlled by a PS5 controller.
  • VW and BMW are improving their voice assistants with external technology (ChatGPT and Alexa LLM).
  • Lenovo introduces a wireless keyboard and mouse combination that is charged with solar cells and kinetic energy.
  • Carrera presents an AI-controlled racetrack without tracks, controlled via app.
  • Nvidia unveils Nvidia ACE for more immersive interactions in games through AI.
  • Lenovo is showing Thinkbook Plus Gen 5 Hybrid, a laptop that runs Windows and Android on two separate devices.


Zeiss introduces transparent displays and solar coatings for glass surfaces

  • ZEISS is presenting a new technology called “Multifunctional Smart Glass” at CES 2024.
  • This technology combines projection, detection, illumination and filtering.
  • Areas of application range from augmented reality head-up displays (AR-HUDs) in the automotive industry to smart home solutions.
  • The core of the technology is an extremely thin, transparent film with over 92% transparency.
  • The technology is already used in space missions by NASA and ESA as well as in semiconductor and medical technology.
  • Roman Kleindienst, head of ZEISS Microoptics, sees the technology as a “technological milestone”.
  • In the automotive sector: Use for head-up displays on front, side and rear windows as well as blackout options.
  • With this technology, cameras could be integrated into smartphones and other devices with complete transparency.
  • The technology also enables lighting and energy generation through windows equipped with it.


HP sued for blocking third-party ink cartridges

  • HP is being sued again for blocking the use of third-party inks in its printers and accused of monopoly.
  • The lawsuit, filed on January 5, 2024, seeks class action status and requests an injunction to prevent HP from blocking printers that use third-party ink.
  • The lawsuit also seeks more than $5 million in damages and a jury trial.
  • At the heart of the lawsuit are HP printer firmware updates released in late 2022 and early 2023 that block printers when they use non-HP ink.
  • The lawsuit claims that HP's firmware updates result in customers being forced to purchase more expensive HP-branded ink.
  • The lawsuit accuses HP of increasing the prices of its ink during the same period that the firmware updates were released.
  • HP claims that its “Dynamic Security” is designed to “protect the quality of the customer experience, maintain the integrity of printing systems and protect intellectual property.”


Apple defends itself against EU because they have more than one app store

  • Apple is defying EU technology rules that classify its five app stores as a single central platform service subject to strict requirements.
  • The company denies that its iOS operating system is a key gateway for business customers to reach end users and the interoperability obligations that come with it.
  • Apple challenged the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in November last year, but did not provide details.
  • According to Apple, the European Commission made “material factual errors” by assuming that Apple’s five app stores constitute a single core platform service.
  • Apple says it operates five separate app stores for iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TVs and Apple Watches, each for a specific operating system and Apple device.
  • The DMA requirements affecting Apple include allowing third parties to interact with its services and allowing business customers to promote their offerings and contract with customers outside of the platform.
  • Apple's lawsuit also challenges the classification of its messaging service iMessage as number-independent interpersonal communications service (NIICS), which led to an EU investigation into whether it should comply with DMA rules.
  • Apple argues that iMessage is not NIICS because it is not a paid service and is not monetized through the sale of hardware devices or the processing of personal data.
  • if they had to act according to DMA rules, they would have to
    • Allow companies to promote and sell their offerings in their apps (without commission to Apple)
    • Design iMessage to work with other messengers (RCS protocol)


Microsoft AI finds new materials for solid-state batteries much faster than people in the laboratory

  • Microsoft and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) use AI to discover a new battery material
  • New material: Solid electrolyte that is potentially safer than today's lithium-ion batteries and uses less lithium
  • AI-powered search resulted in 32 million potential candidates for the new battery material
  • After further narrowing down by AI, 500.000 stable materials remained
  • Final selection: 23 candidates, 5 of which were already known materials
  • The entire containment process only took 80 hours
  • PNNL synthesized one of the candidates and successfully produced a working prototype battery
  • New material combination: lithium and sodium, which could save up to 70% of the lithium in a battery
  • Challenge: In laboratory tests, the new material showed lower conductivity than expected
  • Goal: Accelerate scientific discoveries for the next generation of batteries needed for renewable energy
  • Poor conductivity is not good because: slower charging, poor energy efficiency (energy lost when charging and discharging), fewer charging cycles, more heating when charging or discharging


Microsoft is building an AI key for Copilot into the PC keyboard

  • Microsoft Announces: Introducing a New Dedicated AI Copilot Key on Windows PC Keyboards
  • Microsoft calls this “the most significant change to the Windows keyboard in nearly three decades”
  • The AI ​​Copilot key will serve as a shortcut key to open the Windows Copilot interface
  • New Windows PCs with the Copilot key are scheduled to ship from February 2024
  • Future Surface PCs from Microsoft will also include the new Copilot button
  • The next Surface models could be the Surface Pro 10 and the Surface Laptop 6
  • In most cases, the Copilot key is placed on the right side of the keyboard, where the context menu key is usually located
  • Microsoft plans to make the Copilot key mandatory for manufacturers and partners that ship Windows PCs in the near future
  • The Copilot key opens Windows Search for users who do not have Copilot activated
  • Microsoft plans to release a major Windows update later this year focused on “next-gen” AI experiences


Artist recreates South Korean Apple Store on a 1:64 scale

  • Topic: A new miniature store, a 1:64 scale model replica of the Apple Garosugil in Seoul, was recently completed
  • Creator: Juyeong, started building dioramas in 2020, Apple Garosugil is the 12th diorama
  • Visit: Juyeong visited Apple Garosugil to take photos for model creation and take measurements
  • Modeling process: One month of work including modeling, cutting, gluing and painting
  • Special features of the diorama: Illuminated Apple logo, video wall, trees with integrated seating, detailed replica of merchandising products such as iPhone MagSafe Docks and Apple Watch stands
  • Technical details: The acrylic facade was laser cut and painted in two stages to add chrome door frames and small joints between the glass panels
  • Background: Juyeong documents the construction of the dioramas on the YouTube channel “Downsize”

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