[Special Feature] Silicon Theories – October Edition

So….you might be wondering what the “October Edition” of this special feature is doing here in November.  Well, I had some thoughts about things I wanted to write on and as is often the case, real life got in the way.  And since its only a day or 2 past the end of October, I feel like I’m well within the margin for error on these kinds of things.  But, I digress….so, without further ado, here are this month’s (see what I did there?) Silicon Theories…

What does the future of bezel-less phones look like?  Like the Xiaomi Mi Mix apparently.  With an over 91% screen to bezel ratio, this phone is more like a window than it is a display of a smartphone. Now its mostly still a proof of concept (and its really only available in China regardless) but there is a lot to like about where Xiaomi is going with this device.  There is also some to be concerned about, with a recent report about how easily the Mi Mix cracked its display.  Add into that the fact that you’re likely to get the same false touch input issues that the Galaxy S7 Edge and/or Note 7 suffered from and it can make bezels sound like a very good thing indeed.  I’m not 100% sold on the tech that’s used for the earphone piece of the display as well, but that’s aside from the major point that this phone is basically what amounts to a prototype, and the general feeling right now is that it’s terrific.  I’d be more hesitant to be an early adopter of this type of device…let Sean P. be the guy that buys this phone from Guangzhou to give it a go.  If you’ve got some interest, check out this great video from famed internet tech reviewer MKBHD:

Can Apple’s Magic Touch Bar save their falling profits?  Apple’s sales and profits fell for the first time since 2003, and have declined for 3 consecutive quarters.  The new MacBook Pros have been released and while they do have a newly refreshed look, the biggest change is the inclusion of what Apple has called the “Touch Bar” – a touchpad interface that replaces the function key row and will change contextually depending on the app being currently used.  The new Touch Bar and the inclusion of only USB-C connection ports is exactly the kind of innovation that Apple has been known for in the past.  There are many different kinds of applications that can be used with the Touch Bar, but for right now its a bit limited.  As time passes, this is the kind of new feature that could become ubiquitous to all laptops.  Or, it could all not really matter because all of the new MacBook Pros have a very high price tag and even real professionals might be a bit leery of early adoption of the new USB-C future that Apple seems to want to make the new now.

Apparently it’s no longer a question of “if” we will have autonomous carsonly “when.”  Elon Musk has gone on record saying that the hardware needed for autopilot has been included in every Tesla since 2014…and the cars are only awaiting the proper software.  And the software, even when its supposedly ready, won’t go live right away (not only because of government regulation) but because Tesla Motors wants to collect data on its potential success and failure rate by running in a “shadow mode” that will in essence act like a commercial airlines “black box recorder” and capture data both before and after accidents.  The information transmitted to Tesla would confirm or deny if the autopilot would have been able to see and avoid an accident that the driver couldn’t have.  And while this sounds great and all, what is really being said here is that Telsa and Elon Musk are willing to let people get into accidents (potentially fatal ones) and then use that data to say “see, we could be saving lives but the government won’t let us!”  I’m not sure of what the full moral implications are here, but while our future certainly includes self-driving cars, what has to happen to get us there is something that a lot of folks are probably going to have a problem with.
So there you have it – this month’s Silicon Theories.  If you have any topics you’d like to see discussed on future special features, hit us up at silicontheory@gmail.com – thanks for reading!

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