Rumor mill: next gen Xboxes + Kinect 2 to read lips, track fingers, make unicorns real

Pinches of salt at the ready, folks. According to the latest speculation, Microsoft's sequel to the Xbox 360 will actually be two models, a pared down set-top box for casual gamers and a heftier model for the hardcore. Either way, Xbox 720 / Xbox Loop's getting paired up with a revised version of the magnificent Kinect hardware. The digital grapevine's saying that Kinect 2 will be able to read your lips, track your fingers and sense the tone of your voice to determine if you've come over all angry. It can't do that currently thanks to its USB cable, which can only transmit 16MB/s of data -- limiting the camera's resolution to 320 x 240 at 30fps. We don't know what protocol the new sensor bar will use, but we do know that either USB 3.0 (which can transmit 400 MB/s) or Intel's Thunderbolt (700MB/s) would remove such limitations. In related news, 2012's Kinect for Windows is getting a shorter USB cable for better data integrity and a refocused image sensor that will switch to "near mode" to see objects 50cm away -- which means a whole bunch of classic Kinects and Nyko Zooms are gonna wind up as a filling for a New Mexico landfill.