Can you feel it? It’s the excitement for new possibilities, and new smartwatches, in the future.
From rumors about Samsung’s next smartwatch to more confirmation about Fitbit’s upcoming entry to reports of a standalone Apple Watch Series 3, this week has been about the next generation of smartwatches.
But that’s not all. Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets are now available to all, though they’re still just developer editions. And if that’s not enough for you, we’re about to hit up some of the other news stories this week.
As always, you can head over to our dedicated news section for even more.
Apple and Cochlear’s iPhone ear implant
Apple and hearing aid maker Cochlear have teamed up to make the first made-for-iPhone hearing implant. Approved by the FDA, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 Sound Processor will be able to stream sound directly from an iPhone, iPad or iPod.
If you have a surgically embedded hearing implant, you’ll be able to control and customize the sound from your phone. So if you want to turn up or down the volume, just do it on your phone and it’ll tell your implant. Unlike other connected implants and hearing aids, you won’t need an external app; everything is handled directly in iOS’ accessibility settings.
Apple tells TechCrunch that it’s been working with Cochlear for a couple years on the feature. Currently, more than 50 million Americans have experienced some type of hearing loss.
Alexa, play me music for activities
You ever wish you could just tell Alexa your mood and have her play you some music? Well, it’s your lucky day. Alexa can now stream playlists of music from Amazon Music (included with Prime) and Amazon Music Unlimited (an extra $4 a month) based on hundreds of activities.
So, if you’re getting ready to take a bath, she has a playlist ready for that. Want a family singalong or getting ready for an intense cardio workout? She’s got that handled, too. And yes, she can even provide some slow jams for some – ahem – other activities.
All you have to do is ask her to play music for something and she’ll get started.
Apple’s AR glasses may rely on iPhone display
Another week, another dollop of Apple AR glasses news. This week Financial Times reports that the AR glasses in question could include cameras, sensors and screens to create an augmented reality experience.
However, those are only some of Apple’s prototypes. Others have no screen and rely on the iPhone’s display, which means you’d have to pop it into some sort of headset. Despite all the excitement around ARKit, Apple is also reportedly still not sure about what the best use of AR is. Could it be an iPhone accessory, kind of like Snap’s Spectacles? Or are they a standalone thing like Microsoft’s HoloLens? We’ll have to wait and see if Apple can figure this one out.
Google Home gets a preview program
If you’re adventurous and like to sit on the cutting edge of technology, then Google has something for you. Spotted by Android Police, the Mountain View company is planning on debuting a preview program that’ll allow you to check out Google Home firmware releases (and new features) before they’re ready for the public.
The preview program doesn’t seem to be live yet, but instructions on how to join and all the information you need is over at Google’s help pages. Of course, the danger in any preview program is that the software isn’t ready and can be volatile, crashing and breaking compatibility with apps you rely on.
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