Apple ad exec wants to more than double ad revenue with new ads across iOS

Apple's HQ, as seen in Apple Maps.

Enlarge / Apple’s HQ, as seen in Apple Maps. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple is looking into significantly ramping up its ads business, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, and has already internally explored adding ads to the iPhone’s Maps app, with other potential expansions also on the horizon.

The shift may be driven in part by a recent change within the company’s reporting structure: Gurman wrote in his email newsletter this week that Apple advertising VP Todd Teresi began reporting directly to Apple services head Eddie Cue a few months back. He also wrote that Teresi plans to increase Apple’s advertising revenue from $4 billion annually to billions in the double digits.

As Gurman notes, advertising is already a part of Apple’s strategy, but it’s limited in scope and to certain places. The most traditional advertisements you’ll see in an Apple-made app are the ones in the Stocks and News apps. There, you’ll see display ads just like those you see on news websites—both outside of stories and inside of them.

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#advertising, #apple, #apple-app-store, #bloomberg, #iads, #ios, #ipad, #ipados, #iphone, #mark-gurman, #tech

Facing quality and pacing issues, Apple reportedly delays iPadOS 16

Widgets on iPadOS 15's home screen.

Enlarge / Widgets on iPadOS 15’s home screen. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple will delay the release of the iPadOS 16 software update for iPads well into October, about a month after the September release of the iPhone’s iOS 16. The news comes from a report in Bloomberg citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Typically, Apple releases iPadOS—which is closely related to iOS—very close to or shortly after the iOS launch, which comes in September alongside new flagship iPhone models. It’s arrived slightly later in the past, but this would be an unusually large gap in releases.

According to the report’s sources, the delay can be blamed at least partly on the upcoming overhaul of the iPad’s multitasking features, including the new Stage Manager feature that is also coming to Macs in macOS. Those features were announced at Apple’s developer conference in June.

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#apple, #ios, #ios-16, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-16, #multitasking, #stage-manager, #tablet, #tech

YouTube begins rolling out picture-in-picture on iPhones and iPads

A blue iPhone 12 lying flat on a table

Enlarge / The iPhone 12. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Two years after the feature was made available to third-party developers on iPhones and seven years after it came to iPad, Google announced it will now roll out picture-in-picture viewing for the YouTube iOS and iPadOS app.

Google says picture-in-picture capability will roll out gradually, though it didn’t name a time frame. However, it clarified that the feature’s availability would vary based on Premium subscriber status and location. Globally, picture-in-picture capability will work for anyone with a YouTube Premium subscription and any video. Users in the US who don’t have YouTube Premium will also be able to take advantage of picture-in-picture, but only for what Google deems non-music content.

That limitation is likely to keep users from simply listening to music in the background on their devices via a free YouTube account instead of subscribing to the company’s music offerings. While picture-in-picture is new, background audio (including for music) for currently playing videos has long been a cornerstone of the YouTube Premium service.

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#apple, #google, #ios, #ipad, #iphone, #tech, #youtube

Apple takes cues from Watch UI for iOS 16

Apple takes cues from Watch UI for iOS 16

CUPERTINO, Calif.—iOS 16 will reach iPhones later this year, and as expected, it’s loaded with major changes.

Apple executives and product managers took the stage at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote to outline the upcoming features and changes, which include a focus on the lock screen.

iOS 16 brings more personalization options to the lock screen, like a “depth effect” where you can make a selected photo appear in front of the time. You can also press and hold to customize the lock screen and swipe to try out different styles, like black-and-white and other color filters, and font and color options for the text and time.

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#apple, #ios, #ios-16, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-16, #iphone, #tech, #wwdc-2022

As disruptions in China continue, Apple will start making iPads in Vietnam

The back of the 2019 iPad Air

Enlarge / The back of the 2019 iPad Air. (credit: Samuel Axon)

In the face of COVID lockdown-related supply disruptions, Apple is moving some iPad production from China to Vietnam, according to Nikkei Asia. The company is also taking other measures with its suppliers to soften the blow of supply issues in China.

This is not Apple’s first attempt to move some production out of China. Some iPhones have been made in India, a small number of Macs have been assembled in the United States, and Vietnam is already a major factor in AirPods production.

Apple was looking to move more production to Vietnam in 2020 and 2021, but it had to postpone some of its plans as COVID-19 surges hit the country.

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#apple, #ipad, #supply, #supply-lines, #tech, #tim-cook, #vietnam

Apple details new iPhone features like door detection, live captions

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Thursday, so Apple took to its newsroom blog this week to announce several major new accessibility features headed to the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.

One of the most widely used will likely be Live Captions, which is coming to iPhone, Mac, and iPad. The feature shows AI-driven, live-updating subtitles for speech coming from any audio source on the phone, whether the user is “on a phone or FaceTime call, using a video conferencing or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them.”

The text (which users can resize at will) appears at the top of the screen and ticks along as the subject speaks. Additionally, Mac users will be able to type responses and have them read aloud to others on the call. Live Captions will enter public beta on supported devices (“iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Apple silicon”) later this year.

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#accessibility, #apple, #apple-watch, #global-accessibility-awareness-day, #ios, #ipad, #ipados, #iphone, #tech, #watchos

iOS 15.5 and macOS 12.4 bring updates to Podcasts, digital payments, and more

Apple's Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance.

Enlarge / Apple’s Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple released new software updates for all of its platforms on Tuesday. That includes the following:

  • iOS 15.5 for iPhones and the iPod touch
  • iPadOS 15.5 for iPads
  • macOS 12.4 for Macs
  • watchOS 8.6 for the Apple Watch
  • tvOS 15.5 for the Apple TV
  • HomePod Software 15.5 for HomePods
  • Studio Display Firmware 15.5 for the Studio Display
  • Switch Playgrounds 4.1 for iPad and Mac

These are almost certainly the last updates before the company’s annual developer conference, which is scheduled to kick off on June 6. Among other things, Apple will announce iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS 13, and watchOS 9 at the conference, but those updates won’t arrive until later this year.

iOS 15.5

Today’s iOS update offers just enough new user-facing features to earn that 15.x label instead of 15.x.x, which is usually reserved for bug fixes and the like.

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#apple, #apple-studio-display, #apple-tv, #apple-watch, #homepod, #ios, #ios-15-5, #ipad, #iphone, #ipod-touch, #mac, #macos, #macos-12-4, #swift-playgrounds, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-15-5, #watchos, #watchos-8-6

Why Jony Ive Left Apple to the ‘Accountants’

The man who helped give the world candy-colored computers walked out the door as Tim Cook took charge. What does that mean for the company’s next big thing?

#apple-inc, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #computers-and-the-internet, #content-type-personal-profile, #cook-timothy-d, #design, #desktop-computers, #ipad, #iphone, #ipod, #ive-jonathan, #jobs-steven-p

Apple has made nearly $100 billion so far this year

Adding the M1 chip to the iPad Air didn't move the needle much for the iPad lineup's revenue this quarter.

Enlarge / Adding the M1 chip to the iPad Air didn’t move the needle much for the iPad lineup’s revenue this quarter. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple reported its earnings for Q2 2022 to investors on Thursday. Once again, the company beat analyst expectations and posted massive revenues and profits across most of its product lines. The only category that saw a drop in year-over-year revenue was the iPad.

Q2 2022 largely included the months of January, February, and March 2022. For that period, Apple reported $97.3 billion in revenue, up 9 percent year-over-year, with a profit of $25 billion.

Apple rolls up each product into one of five categories to report revenue to investors. The services category includes iCloud, the App Store, Apple Card, and Apple Music. The Other Products category includes both the Apple Watch and AirPods, as well as a smorgasbord of others that don’t neatly fit in the other devices. The iPhone, Mac, and iPad categories are self-explanatory.

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#apple, #earnings, #ipad, #q2-2022, #tech, #tim-cook

Former Yale Official Admits to $40 Million Fraud Scheme

For a decade, a Yale School of Medicine administrator used university funds to buy computer equipment, which she resold to pay for luxury cars, real estate and vacations, the authorities said.

#colleges-and-universities, #computers-and-the-internet, #connecticut, #education-k-12, #frauds-and-swindling, #ipad, #new-haven-conn, #petrone-jamie, #robberies-and-thefts, #tablet-computers, #yale-school-of-medicine, #yale-university

Mac Mini + iPad Mini = touchscreen Mac

The device has a touchscreen instead of an integrated keyboard and touchpad.

Enlarge / The device has a touchscreen instead of an integrated keyboard and touchpad. (credit: Scott Yu-Jan/YouTube)

Measuring 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.4 inches and weighing 2.6 pounds, the Mac Mini is more portable than most desktops. But in order to use it at, for example, a café, you also need to carry some sort of display. Instead of relegating desktop-level work to, well, the top of the desk, one maker has taken matters into his own hands. The “Portable Mac Mini,” as he calls it, is supposed to make it easier to work with the Mac Mini anywhere. It also creates a pseudo-Mac laptop with a handy feature that Apple doesn’t offer in its real clamshells.

Although the Portable Mac Mini that YouTuber Scott Yu-Jan created has a display you can angle and folds shut like a laptop, it has to be plugged in, and it doesn’t have a built-in physical keyboard.

However, the computer does have a screen attached: a 2021 iPad Mini. The tablet brings touch functionality to the Mac Mini via Duet Display, an app that basically turns iPads or iPhones into second screens. Apple doesn’t make any MacBooks with touchscreens, so the result here is a maker-made exclusive.

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#apple, #desktops, #ipad, #mac-mini, #tech

2022 iPad Air review: M1, other tablets 0

The 2022 iPad Air.

Enlarge / The 2022 iPad Air. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple’s latest iPad refresh is minor on the surface, but there’s a big step forward inside.

The new iPad Air refresh is mainly about two things: the M1 chip and 5G. Apart from those changes, the new tablet is very similar to its 2020 predecessor.

Those two things are probably not enough to make upgrading from the 2020 model worth it, but thanks to the M1, the 2022 iPad Air is a slam dunk if you have an older iPad or another tablet and you’re ready for a step up.

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#apple, #apple-m1, #apple-silicon, #features, #gadgetology, #ipad, #ipad-air, #m1, #tablet, #tech

iOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 are here with Universal Control and more

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple pushed out the public releases of all its operating systems, including iOS/iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. These releases include new features across all platforms, not just bug fixes or security updates.

As usual, the iOS and iPad update (iOS and iPadOS 15.4) is the most major in terms of number and breadth of changes. The two biggest new features are arguably Universal Control support for the iPad and the ability to use Face ID while wearing a protective face mask.

To use Face ID with a mask, users must opt in to the capability in Settings. And Universal Control, which allows users to control both a Mac and an iPad seamlessly with the same input devices, requires both an iPad and a Mac on the latest software releases.

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#apple, #apple-tv, #apple-watch, #homepod, #ios, #ios-15, #ios-15-4, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-15, #ipados-15-4, #iphone, #mac, #macos, #macos-monterey, #macos-monterey-12-3, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-15, #tvos-15-4, #watchos-8, #watchos-8-5

Apple refreshes the iPad Air with the iPad Pro’s M1 chip, 5G

ipad air 2022

Enlarge / The latest iPad Air. (credit: Apple)

Apple announced a refresh to its iPad Air tablet during its “Peek performance” event on Tuesday.

Until today, the tablet had been the oldest in Apple’s lineup, having released in October 2020. The iPad mini and base iPad were updated last fall, and the iPad Pro got the M1 chip and other improvements last spring. Now Apple’s entire iPad lineup has been updated within just the past year.

This iPad Air refresh bumps the previous model’s A14 Bionic chip up to the aforementioned M1. This is the same chip used in the iPad Pro, 2020 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 2020 Mac Mini.

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#5g, #a15, #apple, #ipad, #ipad-air, #tech

Apple Has to Try Hard Now

The tech giant used to give us only a few cool options. Now it has to work harder to win us over.

#apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #internal-sub-only-nl, #ipad, #smartphones

The things Apple might announce next week, ranked by how likely they are

Futuristic glass-walled building permits views of surrounding forest.

Enlarge / Inside the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s headquarters. (credit: Samuel Axon)

On March 8, Apple will stream its first product unveiling event since October. While the unveiling likely won’t be as bombastic as the huge fall events last year, there’s a real possibility that more (and more exciting) products will be introduced next week than at some prior Spring events.

The company is still only part-way through its Apple Silicon transition, the iPhone SE is due for a revamp, rumors are swirling about mixed reality headsets, and one of the iPad models is getting long in the tooth. Not all of these things are slam dunks, but you can just about bet that at least one or two of those will be seen next week.

Here’s a quick roundup of what we expect or what the wider Internet conversation around Apple is buzzing about, ranked in categories from what we deem to be most likely to least likely.

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#apple, #apple-m1, #apple-m2, #imac, #ios-15-4, #ipad, #ipad-air, #iphone, #m1, #m1-max, #m1-pro, #m2, #macbook-air, #tech

Apple is said to be working on a foldable MacBook/iPad hybrid device

Tablet computing device on a wooden table.

Enlarge / Apple’s 2021 iPad—sans futuristic folding capability, of course. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Two different sources are now saying Apple plans to introduce a foldable iPad and MacBook hybrid product, though the release date for such a device would likely be a few years away.

The rumors first began to swirl when DSCC analyst Ross Young published a report claiming that Apple has been discussing a 20-inch foldable computing device with suppliers.

The device could be used in multiple ways. When it’s folded into a laptop-like shape, the hybrid’s bottom half could be used as a keyboard. When it’s unfolded, the device could be treated like a large tablet computer. Further, the hybrid could be used with an external keyboard to work as a portable monitor and all-in-one computer.

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#apple, #bloomberg, #folding-screen, #ipad, #macbook, #mark-gurman, #tech

Apple fixes Mac battery drain, WebKit vulnerability in software updates

A 14-inch laptop on a table

Enlarge / The 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple has released updates for iOS/iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS that primarily address bugs and security vulnerabilities.

iOS 15.3.1 is a minor update, feature-wise, for most users. It fixes a problem with Braille displays and addresses an arbitrary code execution vulnerability.

Apple’s iOS update notes are as follows

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#apple, #apple-watch, #ios, #ios-15, #ios-15-3, #ios-15-3-1, #ipad, #ipados, #iphone, #mac, #macos, #macos-12, #macos-12-2, #macos-12-2-1, #tech, #watchos, #watchos-8, #watchos-8-4, #watchos-8-4-2, #webkit

Report: Apple will introduce new iPhone, iPad on March 8

The 2020 iPhone SE

Enlarge / The 2020 iPhone SE. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Once again, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has published a predictive report. This time, Bloomberg’s sources have shared details on Apple’s upcoming Spring event.

The report claims that Apple will host this year’s event on March 8, which is a little earlier than usual. And the report names four major announcements expected at the event. In contrast to some of Gurman’s recent newsletters, he cites sources familiar with Apple’s plans, lending the report some credibility.

The Apple event will feature a new iPhone SE model with 5G capabilities, as has long been rumored. The sources also say the mid-range smartphone will have a faster processor and an improved camera, but it won’t feature a radical new design.

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#5g, #apple, #bloomberg, #face-id, #ios-15, #ios-15-4, #ipad, #ipad-air, #iphone, #iphone-se, #m1, #m1-max, #m1-pro, #mac, #mac-mini, #mark-gurman, #tech, #universal-control

Apple just had the biggest holiday quarter in its history

A blue smartphone with two cameras.

Enlarge / The back of the iPhone 13. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Neither a global pandemic nor a supply chain crunch can stop Apple, based on the company’s Q1 2022 earnings report. Released today, the report showed Apple smashing many of its sales records once again, with $123.9 billion in overall revenue and $34.6 billion in profit.

A lot of that money was driven by the iPhone 13, as this was the first full quarter since that product line’s launch. When we reviewed the iPhone 13 lineup, we wrote that it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with flashy new features, but it does give the people what they say they want: better cameras and more battery life.

Cameras and battery life seemed to resonate with buyers. iPhone revenue for the quarter was $71.63 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year. Also, Apple achieved a new record for smartphone market share in the critical China market: 23 percent. That made the company the top-selling smartphone brand in the country for the first time in years.

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#airpods, #apple, #apple-watch, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-13, #mac, #q1-2022, #tech, #tim-cook

Here’s what Apple might announce at a spring event this March

The 2020 iPhone SE

Enlarge / The 2020 iPhone SE. (credit: Samuel Axon)

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Apple announced a plethora of new iPhone, Apple Watch, and MacBook Pro computers, but we’re likely now just a couple of months away from another product unveiling event from the company.

The Internet is spinning with wild speculation today, so now seems like a good time to check in and set expectations as much as is possible at this stage.

Why a spring event?

Apple spring events in the past several years have fallen on April 20, March 25, March 27, and March 21. And based on the company’s typical release/update cadence, several of Apple’s products are due now: high-end Mac mini models, the iPad Air, the iPhone SE, the Mac Pro, the larger-format iMac, and the iPad Pro.

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#27-inch-imac, #30-inch-imac, #apple, #apple-m1, #apple-m2, #apple-silicon, #imac, #ipad, #ipad-air, #iphone, #iphone-se, #mac-mini, #macbook-air, #tech

Luna Display lets you wirelessly use a Mac as second Windows monitor

A 24-inch iMac used as display for a Windows 11-based Lenovo Thinkpad.

Enlarge / A 24-inch iMac used as display for a Windows 11-based Lenovo Thinkpad. (credit: Astropad)

Sometimes you just need more screen space. You can always buy a portable monitor, but what if you could just use the systems already in your home—whether they run Windows or macOS?

Luna Display is a product by Astropad that lets you turn an iPad into a wireless second display. The $130 offering uses a dongle and works with Windows PCs and Macs. Its “headless” mode turns the iPad into the main display for a Mac Mini or Mac Pro.

Luna Display’s 5.1 update, announced this week, adds even more possibilities. The dongle can now be used with any Apple machine—not just an iPad—to provide a second display for your Windows PC or Mac.

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#apple, #imac, #ipad, #monitors, #tech, #uncategorized

You shall not pinch to zoom: Rittenhouse trial judge disallows basic iPad feature

Judge Bruce Schroeder speaking from the bench and gesturing with his hands.

Enlarge / Judge Bruce Schroeder reprimands Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger during cross-examination of Kyle Rittenhouse at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on November 10, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Pool)

When Kenosha County prosecutor Thomas Binger cross-examined murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse yesterday, he wanted to show Rittenhouse video on an iPad and use a touchscreen feature that phone and tablet owners around the world use every day: pinch-to-zoom.

Judge Bruce Schroeder’s ruling? You shall not pinch.

Schroeder prevented Binger from pinching and zooming after Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards claimed that when a user zooms in on a video, “Apple’s iPad programming creat[es] what it thinks is there, not what necessarily is there.” Richards provided no evidence for this claim and admitted that he doesn’t understand how the pinch-to-zoom feature works, but the judge decided the burden was on the prosecution to prove that zooming in doesn’t add new images into the video.

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#ipad, #kyle-rittenhouse, #pinch-to-zoom, #policy

Apple’s Most Back-Ordered New Product Is Not What You Expect

It’s a $19 cloth.

#apple-inc, #computer-monitors, #computers-and-the-internet, #cook-timothy-d, #ipad, #laptop-computers, #luxury-goods-and-services, #materials, #watches-and-clocks

I’m Not a Pilot, but I Just Flew a Helicopter Over California

New technology, a few iPads and a quick tutorial can help anyone act like a pilot. Dealing with air traffic control is another matter.

#artificial-intelligence, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #flying-cars, #helicopters, #ipad, #skyryse-inc

iPadOS 15 mini-review: It’s all about the home screen

Widgets on iPadOS 15's home screen.

Enlarge / Widgets on iPadOS 15’s home screen. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Last year, Apple released a meaty iOS update for iPhones, but some of the biggest changes didn’t make it over to the iPad. This year, the iPhone update is modest—so does that mean that the iPad update is the big one this time around?

Well, that depends on your point of view. iPadOS 15 brings almost everything iOS 15 brought to iPhones, but it also brings those major iOS 14 omissions from last year to the tablet. As a result, iPadOS 15 feels like a significant update if you haven’t been using an iPhone lately, but if you’ve already used iOS 14’s new home screen and app library features, it instead ends up feeling like it’s late to the party.

We published a lengthy, iPhone-focused review of iOS 15 earlier this week. Consider this a short addendum to that review that puts the spotlight on the iPad. Refer to the earlier review for details on new features like Focus that aren’t iPad specific or for a list of iPads that are supported by iPadOS 15.

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#apple, #gadgetology, #ios, #ios-15, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-15, #tech

iOS 15 review: Forget quantity, Focus on quality

Screenshot of smartphone interface.

Enlarge / A few apps that received significant updates in iOS 15. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Every year, Apple releases a major update to its operating systems for the iPhone and iPad that sets the stage for a year of changes to come.  This year, iOS 15 brings new FaceTime and Messages features, tweaks to existing apps and notifications, and most notably, a new way of managing apps and notifications called Focus.

Frankly, this is a relatively modest update compared to what we saw last year. That’s amplified by the fact that some key features that Apple initially announced in June haven’t made it into the initial release of iOS 15. But today we’ll be exploring whether a modest update means a bad one. Should you bother to upgrade to the new version of iOS when it’s mostly a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint?

As always, let’s start with a look at which devices are still supported.

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#apple, #features, #gadgetology, #ios, #ios-15, #ipad, #iphone, #operating-system, #tech

iPad mini teardown sheds new light on “jelly scrolling” controversy

iFixit’s 2021 iPad mini teardown.

A new teardown of Apple’s latest iPad mini by iFixit found a clue that may explain the “jelly scrolling” effect that some of the tablet’s users have complained about.

In case you missed our past coverage on the subject, some iPad mini users noticed a subtle, stagger-like disconnect between the right and left sides of the screen when scrolling through content. Some people see it right away, others have to have it pointed out to them, and others still don’t notice even when told.

After we wrote about it, Apple commented on the story to us saying that the effect is expected. From our coverage:

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#apple, #ifixit, #ipad, #ipad-mini, #jelly-scrolling, #lcd, #teardown, #tech

2021 $329 iPad review: The “good enough” iPad gets a little better

As a rule, Apple doesn’t focus on budget-friendly gadgets. And that strategy has worked well over the last two decades—the company’s predilection for premium products at premium prices (not always unreasonable or uncompetitive prices, but premium ones) has paid off in the form of consistently extraordinary revenue and profit margins.

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

But the handful of explicitly price-conscious devices Apple does sell, including the $329 10.2-inch iPad and the $399 iPhone SE, are some of the most quietly excellent devices it makes. They use processors that were in Apple’s flagship phones just a couple of years ago, rather than mediocre cut-rate chips that were purpose-built for cheap devices. You get years and years of software and security updates, unlike the paltry two years that Google wrings out of phone makers who participate in the Android One program (to pick one example). And while Apple cuts costs by recycling years-old designs and parts, it usually doesn’t skimp on construction and materials, so your hardware still looks and feels nice despite being a bit dated.

That’s all you need to know about Apple’s ninth-generation iPad, which you can still pick up for $329 starting September 24. I am sure that more people are going to read our review of the sixth-generation iPad mini, because it’s got a brand-new design and a cutting-edge processor in it. There’s certainly more to say about that device. But a whole lot more people are actually going to buy and use this ho-hum, workaday, plain-old iPad.

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#gadgetology, #ipad, #tech

The iPhone 13 Pro goes to Disneyland

This year’s iPhone review goes back to Disneyland for the first time in a couple of years for, uh, obvious reasons. I’m happy to report that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 performed extremely well and the limited testing I was able to do on the iPhone mini and iPhone 13 Pro Max showed that for the first time you’re able to make a pretty easy choice based on size once you’ve decided you’re ok without telephoto.

One of the major reasons I keep bringing these iPhones back to Disneyland is that it’s pretty much the perfect place to test the improvements Apple claims it is making in an intense real-world setting. It’s typically hot, the network environment is atrocious, you have to use your phone for almost everything these days from pictures to ticket scanning to food ordering and you’re usually there as long as you can to get the most out of your buck. It’s the ideal stress test that doesn’t involve artificial battery rundowns or controlled photo environments. 

In my testing, most of Apple’s improvements actually had a visible impact on the quality of life of my trip, though in some cases not massive. Screen brightness, the longer telephoto and battery life were all bright spots.

Performance and battery

The battery of the iPhone 13 Pro hit just over the 13 hour mark in the parks for me running it right to the dregs. Since there was so much video testing this year, the camera app did stay on screen longer than usual at just over 1hr of active ‘on screen’ usage which does put a bit of a strain on the system. I’d say that in real-world standard use you’ll probably get a bit more than that out of it so I’m comfortable saying that Apple’s estimate of an hour or more longer video playback time from the iPhone 12 Pro is probably pretty accurate. 

Though it was hard to get the same level of stress on the iPhone 13 Pro Max during my tests, I’d say you can expect even more battery life out of it, given the surplus it still had when my iPhone 13 Pro needed charging. Bigger battery, more battery life, not a big shock.

If you’re using it in the parks and doing the rope drop I’d say I would plan on taking it off the charger at 6am or so and plan to have a charger handy by about 4pm so you don’t go dead. That’s not a bad run overall for an iPhone in challenging conditions and with heavy camera use. 

Apple’s new ProMotion display was a nice upgrade as well, and I did notice the increased screen brightness. Typically the bump in brightness was only truly noticeable side-by-side with an iPhone 12 Pro with high-key content displayed on the screen. Popping open the Disneyland app for the barcode meant a bit better consistency in scanning (though that’s pretty hard to say for sure) and a visual increase in overall brightness in direct sun. Out of the Sun I’d say you’d be hard pressed to tell.

The variable refresh rate of the ProMotion screen cranking all the way up to 120hz while scrolling Safari is a really nice quality of life improvement. I’m unfortunately a bit jaded in this department because I’ve done a ton of my computing on the iPad Pro for the past couple of years, but it’s going to be an amazing bump for iPhone users that haven’t experienced it. Because Apple’s system is not locked at 120hz, it allows them to conserve battery life by slowing down the screen’s refresh rate when viewing static content like photos or text when not scrolling. I’m happy to say that I did not see any significant ramping while scrolling, so it’s really responsive and seamless in its handling of this variability.

The new A15 chip is, yes, more powerful than last year. Here’s some numbers if that’s your sort of thing:

Impressive as hell, especially for more battery life not less. The power-per-watt performance of Apple’s devices continues to be the (relatively) un-sung victory of its chips department. It’s not just that this year’s iPhones or the M1 laptops are crazy fast, it’s that they’re also actually usable for enormous amounts of time not connected to a charger. For those curious, the iPhone 12 Pro appears to have 6GB of RAM. 

Design

The design of the iPhone continues to be driven by the camera and radio. Whatever is necessary to support the sensors and lenses of the camera package and whatever is necessary to ensure that the antennas can accommodate 5G are in control of the wheel at this point in the iPhone’s life, and that’s pretty natural. 

The camera array on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro is bigger and taller in order to accommodate the three new cameras Apple has installed here. And I do mean bigger, like 40% bigger overall with taller arrays. Apple’s new cases now have a very noticeable raised ridge that exists to protect the lenses when you’re setting the case down on a surface. 

Everything else is sort of built around the camera and the need for wireless charging and radio performance. But Apple’s frosted glass and steel rim look retains its jewel-like quality this year and they’re still really good looking phones. I doubt the vast majority of people will see them long without a case but while you do they’re nice looking phones.

The front notch has been pared down slightly due to improvements in camera packaging, which leaves a tiny bit more screen real-estate for things like videos, but we’ll have to wait to see if developers find clever ways to use the extra pixels. 

Now, on to the cameras.

Cameras

It seems impossible that Apple continues to make year-over-year improvements that genuinely improve your optionality and quality of images that are enough to matter. And yet. The camera quality and features are a very real jump from the iPhone 11 Pro across the board and still a noticeable improvement from the iPhone 12 Pro for you early adopters. Anything older and you’re going to get a blast of quality right to the face that you’re going to love. 

The camera packaging and feature set is also more uniform across the lineup than ever before with Apple’s IBIS in camera sensor shift stabilization system appearing in every model — even the iPhone 13 mini which is a crazy achievement given the overall package size of this sensor array.

In my experience in the parks this year, Apple’s improvements to cameras made for a material difference no matter which lens I chose. From low light to long zoom, there’s something to love here for every avid photographer. Oh, and that Cinematic Mode, we’ll talk about that too. 

Telephoto

Of all of the lenses I expected improvement from, the telephoto was actually not that high on my list. But I was pleasantly surprised by the increased range and utility of this lens. I am an admitted telephoto addict, with some 60% of my photos on iPhone 12 Pro taken with the tele lens over the wide. I just prefer the ability to pick and choose my framing more closely without having to crop after the fact. 

Having Night Mode on the telephoto now means that it doesn’t fall back to the wide lens with crop in dark conditions as it used to. Now you get that native telephoto optics plus the Night Mode magic. This means much better black points and great overall exposure even hand held at zoom — something that felt just completely out of reach a couple of years ago.

With the higher zoom level, portraits are cropped tighter, with better organic non-portrait-mode bokeh which is lovely. With this new lens you’re going to be able to shoot better looking images of people, period.

If you’re a camera person, the 3x reminds me a lot of my favorite 105mm fixed portrait lens. It’s got the crop, it’s got the nice background separation and the optical quality is very, very good on this lens package. Apple knocked it out of the park on the tele this time around. 

The longer optical range was also very handy in a Disneyland world where performers are often kept separate from guests — sometimes for effect but mostly because of pandemic precautions. Being able to reach out and get that shot of Kylo Ren hyping up the crowd was a fun thing to be enabled to do.

Wide

Apple’s wide lens gets the biggest overall jump in sensor technology. A larger ƒ/1.5 aperture and new 1.9µm pixels roughly doubles the light gathering — and it shows. Images at night and inside ride buildings had a marked improvement in overall quality due to deeper blacks and better dynamic range. 

With Night Mode enabled, the deeper light gathering range and improved Smart HDR 4 makes for deeper blacks and a less washed out appearance. If I had to characterize it, it would be ‘more natural’ overall — a theme I’ve seen play out across the iPhone cameras this time around. 

Without Night Mode enabled, the raw improvement in image quality due to more light being captured is immediately evident. Though I think there are few situations where you need to turn off Night Mode any more, subjects in motion in low light are one of those and you’ll get a few inches extra of wiggle room with this new sensor and lens combo in those instances. 

Having sensor shift OIS come to the wide on the iPhone 13 across the range is a huge godsend to both still shots and video. Though I’m spoiled having been able to play with the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s stabilization, if you haven’t shot with it before you’re going to be incredibly happy with the additional levels of sharpness it brings.

Ultra Wide

Apple’s ultra wide camera has been in need of some love for a while. Though it offered a nice additional perspective, it has suffered from a lack of auto-focus and sub-par light gathering ability since its release. This time around it gets both a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and autofocus. Apple claims 92% more light gathering and my testing in pretty rough lighting conditions shows a massive improvement across the board. 

Typically at Disneyland I like to shoot the wide in one of two ways: up close to create a fisheye-type perspective for portraits or to snag a vista when the lighting or scene setting is especially good. Having auto focus available improves the first a ton and the wider aperture gives the second a big boost too. 

Check out these shots of a moonlit Trader Sam’s, a snap that you might grab because the lighting and scenery are just right. The iPhone 12 Pro isn’t bad at all here but there is an actually quite clear difference between the two in exposure. Both of these were taken with Night Mode disabled in order to compare the raw improvement in aperture.

The delta is clear, and I’m pretty impressed in general with how much Apple keeps improving this ultra wide camera, though it seems clear at this point that we’re hitting the upper limits of what a 12MP sensor at this size can bring to a lens with such a wide POV. 

The new ISP also improves Night Mode shooting here too — and with a bit more raw range to work with given the wider aperture, your night mode shots lose even more of that bright candy-like look and get a deeper and more organic feeling. 

Macro photos and video

Another new shooting possibility presented by the iPhone 13 Pro is a pretty impressive macro mode that can shoot as close as 2cm. It’s really, really well done given that it’s being implemented in a super wide lens on a smartphone. 

I was able to shoot incredibly detailed snaps very, very close-up. We’re talking ‘the surface texture of objects’ close; ‘pollen hanging off a bee’s thorax’ close; dew…well you get the idea. It’s close, and it’s a nice tool to have without having to carry a macro attachment with you. 

I found the sharpness and clarity of the macro images I captured to be excellent within the rough 40% area that comprised the center of the capture area. Due to the fact that the macro mode is on the ultra wide, there is a significant amount of comatic aberration around the edges of the image. Basically, the lens is so curved you get a bit of separation between wavelengths of light coming in at oblique angles, leading to a rainbow effect. This is only truly visible at very close distances at the minimum of the focal range. If you’re a few cm away you’ll notice and you’ll probably crop it out or live with it. If you’re further away getting a ‘medium macro’ at 10cm or whatever you’ll likely not notice it much.

This is a separate factor from the extremely slim field-of-focus that is absolutely standard with all macro lenses. You’re going to have to be precise at maximum macro, basically, but that’s nothing new.

Given how large scale Disneyland is I actually had to actively seek out ways to use the macro, though I’d imagine it would be useful in more ways in other venues. But I still got cool shots of textures in the bottles in Radiator Springs and some faux fungi at Galaxy’s Edge. 

Macro video is similarly fun but requires extremely stable hands or a tripod to really take advantage of given that the slightest movement of your hands is going to move the camera a massive amount of distance proportional to the focal area. Basically, tiny hand moves, big camera moves in this mode. But it’s a super fun tool to add to your arsenal and I had fun chasing bugs around some flower petals in the garden of the Grand Californian hotel with it.

As a way to go from world scale down to fine detail it’s a great way to mix up your shots.

One interesting quirk of the ultra wide camera being the home of macro on iPhone 13 Pro is that there is a noticeable transition between the wide and ultra-wide cameras as you move into macro range. This presents as a quick-shift image transition where you can see one camera clicking off and the other one turning on — something that was pretty much never obvious in other scenarios even though the cameras switch all the time depending on lighting conditions and imaging judgement calls made by the iPhone’s camera stack. 

Users typically never notice this at all, but given that there is now an official macro camera available when you swoop in close to an object while you’re on 1x then it’s going to flip over to the .5x mode in order to let you shoot super close. This is all totally fine, by the way, but can result in a bit of flutter if you’re moving in and out of range with the cameras continuously switching as you enter and exit ‘macro distance’ (around 10-15cm). 

When I queried about this camera switching behavior, Apple said that “a new setting will be added in a software update this fall to turn off automatic camera switching when shooting at close distances for macro photography and video.”

This should solve this relatively small quirk for people who want to work specifically at the macro range. 

Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4

One of the constant tensions with Apple’s approach to computational photography has been its general leaning towards the conservative when it comes to highly processed images. Simply put, Apple likes its images to look ‘natural’, where other similar systems from competitors like Google or Samsung have made different choices in order to differentiate and create ‘punchier’ and sometimes just generally brighter images. 

I did some comparisons of these approaches back when Apple introduced Night Mode two years ago.  

The general idea hasn’t changed much even with Apple’s new launches this year, they’re still hewing to nature as a guiding principle. But now they’ve introduced Photographic Styles in order to give you the option of cranking two controls they’re calling Tone and Warmth. These are basically vibrance and color temperature (but only generally). You can choose from 5 presets including no adjustments or you can adjust the two settings on any of the presets on a scale of -100 to +100. 

I would assume that long term people will play with these and recommendations will get passed around on how to get a certain look. My general favorite of these is vibrant because I like the open shadows and mid-tone pop. Though I would assume a lot of folks will gravitate towards Rich Contrast because more contrast is generally more pleasing to the human eye. 

In this shot of some kid-sized speeders, you can see the effects on the shadows and midtones as well as the overall color temperature. Rather than being a situational filter, I view this as a deep ‘camera setting’ feature, much like choosing the type of film that you wanted to roll with in a film camera. For more contrast you might choose a Kodak Ektachrome, for cooler-to-neutral colors perhaps a Fuji, for warm skin tones perhaps a Kodak Portra and for boosted color maybe an Ultramax. 

This setting gives you the option to set up your camera the way you want the color to sit in a similar way. The setting is then retained when you close camera.app. This way when you open it, it’s set to shoot the way you want it to. This goes for the vast majority of camera settings now under iOS 15, which is a nice quality of life improvement over the old days when the iPhone camera reset itself every time you opened it. 

It’s worth noting that these color settings are ‘imbedded’ in the image, which means they are not adjustable afterwards like Portrait Mode’s lighting scenarios. They are also not enabled during RAW — which makes sense.

Smart HDR4 also deserves a mention here because it’s now doing an additional bit of smart segmentation based on subjects in the frame. In a situation with a backlit group of people, for instance, the new ISP is going to segment out each of those subjects individually and apply color profiles, exposure, white balance and other adjustments to them — all in real time. This makes for a marked improvement in dark-to-light scenarios like shooting out of windows and shooting into the sun. 

I would not expect much improvement out of the selfie camera this year, it’s just much the same as normal. Though you can use Cinematic Mode on it which is fun if not that useful in selfie modes.

Cinematic Mode

This is an experimental mode that has been shipped live to the public. That’s the best way to set the scene for those folks looking to dive into it. Contrary to Apple’s general marketing, this won’t yet replace any real camera rack focus setup on a film set, but it does open up a huge toolset for budding filmmakers and casual users that was previously locked behind a lot of doors made up of cameras, lenses and equipment. 

Cinematic Mode uses the camera’s depth information, the accelerometer and other signals to craft a video that injects synthetic bokeh (blur) and tracks subjects in the frame to intelligently ‘rack’ focus between them depending on what it thinks you want. There is also some impressive focus tracking features built in that allow you to lock onto a subject and follow them in a ‘tracking shot’ which can keep them in focus through obstacles like crowds, railings and water. I found all of these depth-leveraging features that did tracking to be incredibly impressive in my early testing, but they were often let down a bit by the segmentation masking that struggled to define crisp, clear borders around subjects to separate them from the background. It turns out that doing what portrait mode does with a still image is just insanely hard to do 30 times a second with complex, confusing backgrounds. 

The feature is locked to 1080p/30fps which says a lot about its intended use. This is for family shots presented on the device, AirPlayed to your TV or posted on the web. I’d imagine that this will actually get huge uptake with the TikTok filmmaker crowd who will do cool stuff with the new storytelling tools of selective focus.

I did some test shooting with my kids walking through crowds and riding on carousels that was genuinely, shockingly good. It really does provide a filmic, dreamy quality to the video that I was previously only able to get with quick and continuous focus adjustments on an SLR shooting video with a manually focused lens. 

That, I think, is the major key to understanding Cinematic Mode. Despite the marketing, this mode is intended to unlock new creative possibilities for the vast majority of iPhone users who have no idea how to set focal distances, bend their knees to stabilize and crouch-walk-rack-focus their way to these kinds of tracking shots. It really does open up a big bucket that was just inaccessible before. And in many cases I think that those willing to experiment and deal with its near-term foibles will be rewarded with some great looking shots to add to their iPhone memories widget.

I’ll be writing more about this feature later this week so stay tuned. For now, what you need to know is that an average person can whip this out in bright light and get some pretty fun and impressive results, but it is not a serious professional tool, yet. And even if you miss focus on a particular subject you are able to adjust that in post with a quick tap of the edit button and a tap on a subject — as long as it’s within the focal range of the lens.

As a filmmaking tool for the run and gun generation it’s a pretty compelling concept. The fact is that it allows people to spend less time and less technical energy on the mechanics of filmmaking and more time on the storytelling part. Moviemaking has always been an art that is intertwined with technology — and one of the true exemplars of the ideal that artists are always the first to adopt new technology and push it to its early limits.

Just as Apple’s portrait mode has improved massively over the past 6 years, I expect Cinematic Mode to keep growing and improving. The relatively sketchy performance in low light and the locked zoom are high on my list to see bumps next year, as is improved segmentation. It’s an impressive technical feat that Apple is able to deliver this kind of slicing and adjustment not only in real-time preview but also in post-shooting editing modes, and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve. 

Assessment

This is a great update that improves user experience in every way, even during an intense day-long Disneyland outing. The improved brightness and screen refresh means easier navigation of park systems and better visibility in daylight for directions and wait times and more. The better cameras mean you’re getting improved shots in dark-to-light situations like waiting in lines or shooting from under overhangs. The nice new telephoto lets you shoot close-up shots of cast members who are now often separated from the crowds by large distances, which is cool — and as a bonus acts as a really lovely portrait lens even while not in Portrait mode.

Overall this was one of the best experiences I’ve had testing a phone at the parks, with a continuous series of ‘wow’ moments with the cameras that sort of made me question my confirmation bias. I ended up with a lot of shots like the night mode wide angle and telephoto ones I shared above that impressed me so much I ended up doing a lot of gut checking asking other people in blind tests what they thought of the two images. Each time I did so the clear winner was the iPhone 13 — it really is just a clear cut improvement in image making across the board.

The rest of the package is pretty well turned out here too, with massive performance gains in the A15 Bionic with not only no discernable impact on battery life but a good extra hour to boot. The performance chart above may give the wow factor but that performance charted on the power usage of the chip across a day is what continues to be the most impressive feat of Apple’s chip teams. 

The iPhones 13 are an impressive field this year, providing a solid moat of image quality, battery life and now, thankfully, screen improvements that should serve Apple well over the next 12 months.

#apple, #apple-inc, #computing, #disneyland, #food, #google, #imaging, #ios, #ios-11, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-7, #isp, #kodak, #mobile-phones, #ram, #sam, #samsung, #smartphone, #steel, #tc

Apple releases iOS 15 with Focus mode and more

iOS 15's Focus feature.

Enlarge / iOS 15’s Focus feature. (credit: Apple)

As announced previously, Apple today released iOS 15 for the iPhone, iPadOS 15 for the iPad, watchOS 8 for the Apple Watch, and tvOS 15 for the Apple TV.

Apple has also announced a major annual update to the Mac operating system called macOS Monterey, but that is not one of today’s releases.

iOS 15’s major new feature addition is Focus, whereby a user can set profiles like “work,” “sleep,” or “home” that display different apps and notifications depending on what the user is doing. It also redesigns notifications and adds numerous new features to Messages and FaceTime, among other things.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#apple, #apple-watch, #ios, #ios-15, #ipad, #ipados, #ipados-15, #iphone, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-15, #watchos, #watchos-8

The GoPro-ification of the iPhone

Hello friends, and welcome back to Week in Review!

Last week, we talked about some sunglasses from a company that many people do not like very much. This week, we’re talking about Apple and the company 1,600 times smaller than it that’s facing similar product problems.

Thanks for joining in — follow my tweets @lucasmtny for more.


(Photo by Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc.)

the big thing

When you get deep enough into the tech industry, it’s harder to look at things with a consumer’s set of eyes. I’ve felt that way more and more after six years watching Apple events as a TechCrunch reporter, but sometimes memes from random Twitter accounts help me find the consumer truth I’m looking for.

As that dumb little tweet indicates, Apple is charging toward a future where it’s becoming a little harder to distinguish new from old. The off-year “S” period of old is no more for the iPhone, which has seen tweaks and new size variations since 2017’s radical iPhone X redesign. Apple is stretching the periods between major upgrades for its entire product line and it’s also taking longer to roll out those changes.

Apple debuted the current bezel-lite iPad Pro design back in late 2018 and it’s taken three years for the design to work its way down to the iPad mini while the entry-level iPad is still lying in wait. The shift from M1 Macs will likely take years as the company has already detailed. Most of Apple’s substantial updates rely on upgrades to the chipsets that they build, something that increasingly makes them look and feel like a consumer chipset company.

This isn’t a new trend, or even a new take, it’s been written lots of times, but it’s particularly interesting as the company bulks up the number of employees dedicated to future efforts like augmented reality, which will one day soon likely replace the iPhone.

It’s an evolution that’s pushing them into a similar design territory as action camera darling GoPro, which has struggled again and again with getting their core loyalists to upgrade their hardware frequently. These are on laughably different scales, with Apple now worth some $2.41 trillion and GoPro still fighting for a $1.5 billion market cap. The situations are obviously different, and yet they are both facing similar end-of-life innovation questions for categories that they both have mastered.

This week GoPro debuted its HERO10 Black camera, which brings higher frame rates and a better performing processor as it looks to push more of its user audience to subscription services. Sound familiar? This week, Apple debuted its new flagship, the iPhone 13 Pro, with a faster processor and better frame rates (for the display not the camera here, though). They also spent a healthy amount of time pushing users to embrace new services ecosystems.

Apple’s devices are getting so good that they’re starting to reach a critical feature plateau. The company has still managed to churn out device after device and expand their audience to billions while greatly expanding their average revenue per user. Things are clearly going pretty well for the most valuable company on earth, but while the stock has nearly quadrupled since the iPhone X launch, the consumer iPhone experience feels pretty consistent. That’s clearly not a bad thing, but it is — for lack of a better term — boring.

The clear difference, among 2.4 trillion others, is that GoPro doesn’t seem to have a clear escape route from its action camera vertical.

But Apple has been pushing thousands of employees toward an escape route in augmented reality, even if the technology is clearly not ready for consumers and they’re forced to lead with what has been rumored to be a several-thousand-dollar AR/VR headset with plenty of limitations. One of the questions I’m most interested in is what the iPhone device category looks likes once its unwieldy successor has reared its head. Most likely is that the AR-centric devices will be shipped as wildly expensive iPhone accessories and a way to piggy back off the accessibility of the mobile category while providing access to new — and more exciting — experiences. In short, AR is the future of the iPhone until AR doesn’t need the iPhone anymore. 


Image Credits: Tesla

other things

Here are the TechCrunch news stories that especially caught my eye this week:

Everything Apple announced this week
Was it the most exciting event Apple has ever had? Nah. Are you still going to click that link to read about their new stuff? Yah.

GoPro launches the HERO10 Black
I have a very soft spot in my heart for GoPro, which has taken a niche corner of hardware and made a device and ecosystem that’s really quite good. As I mentioned above, the company has some issues making significant updates every year, but they made a fairly sizable upgrade this year with the second-generation of their customer processor and some performance bumps across the board.

Tesla will open FSD beta to drivers with good driving record
Elon Musk is pressing ahead with expanding its “Full Self-Driving” software to more Tesla drivers, saying that users who paid for the FSD system can apply to use the beta and will be analyzed by the company’s insurance calculator bot. After 7 days of good driving behavior, Musk says users will be approved.

OpenSea exec resigns after ‘insider trading’ scandal
NFTs are a curious business; there’s an intense amount of money pulsating through these markets — and little oversight. This week OpenSea, the so-called “eBay of NFTs,” detailed that its own VP of Product had been trading on insider information. He was later pushed to resign.

Apple and Google bow to the Kremlin
Apple and Google are trying to keep happy the governments of most every market in which they operate. That leads to some uncomfortable situations in markets like Russia, where both tech giants were forced by the Kremlin to remove a political app from the country’s major opposition party.


Gitlab logo

Image Credits: Gitlab

extra things

Some of my favorite reads from our Extra Crunch subscription service this week:

What could stop the startup boom?
“…We’ve seen record results from citiescountries and regions. There’s so much money sloshing around the venture capital and startup worlds that it’s hard to recall what they were like in leaner times. We’ve been in a bull market for tech upstarts for so long that it feels like the only possible state of affairs. It’s not…”

The value of software revenue may have finally stopped rising
“…I’ve held back from covering the value of software (SaaS, largely) revenues for a few months after spending a bit too much time on it in preceding quarters — when VCs begin to point out that you could just swap out numbers quarter to quarter and write the same post, it’s time for a break. But the value of software revenues posted a simply incredible run, and I can’t say “no” to a chart…

Inside GitLab’s IPO filing
“…The company’s IPO has therefore been long expected. In its last primary transaction, GitLab raised $286 million at a post-money valuation of $2.75 billion, per PitchbBook data. The same information source also notes that GitLab executed a secondary transaction earlier this year worth $195 million, which gave the company a $6 billion valuation…”


Thanks for reading, and again, if you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny

Lucas Matney

#apple, #apple-inc, #apple-silicon, #ebay, #extra-crunch, #google, #gopro, #ios, #ipad, #iphone, #iphone-12-pro, #iphone-5s, #major, #mobile-phones, #musk, #reporter, #russia, #tablet-computers, #tc, #technology, #venture-capital, #week-in-review

Apple sheds value during iPhone event

The TechCrunch crew is hard at work writing up the latest from Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch event. They have good notes on the megacorp’s hardware updates. But what are the markets saying about the same array of products?

For those of us more concerned with effective S&P dividend yields than screen nit levels, events like Apple’s confab are more interesting for what they might mean for the value of the hosting company than how many GPUs a particular smartphone model has. And, for once, Apple’s stock may have done something a little interesting during the event!

Observe the following chart:

This is a one-day chart, mind, so we’re looking at intraday changes. We’re zoomed in. And Apple kinda took a bit of a dive during its event that kicked off at 1 p.m. in the above chart.

Normally nothing of import happens to Apple’s shares during its presentations. Which feels weird, frankly, as Apple events detail the product mix that will generate hundreds of billions in revenue. You’d think that they would have more impact than their usual zero.

But today, we had real share price movement when the event wrapped around 2 p.m. ET. Perhaps investors were hoping for more pricey devices? Or were hoping Apple had more up its sleeve? How you rate that holiday Apple product lineup is a matter of personal preference, but investors appear to have weighed in slightly to the negative.

Worth around $2.5 trillion, each 1% that Apple’s stock moves is worth $10 billion. Apple’s loss of 1.5% today — more or less; trading continues as I write this — is worth more than Mailchimp. It’s a lot of money.

You can read the rest of our coverage from the Apple event here. Enjoy!

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

#apple, #gadgets, #ipad, #iphone, #mobile, #stock-market, #tablet-computers

Here’s everything Apple announced at its event this morning

It’s that time again!

It’s September, which generally means two things: we’re blasting Earth, Wind, and Fire on repeat, and Apple will announce a new iPhone (or four.)

Right on schedule, Apple held a remote event this morning, streaming kinda-sorta-live from its Cupertino campus. Whether you didn’t have time to watch the entire hour long stream or just want the highlights, we’ve got you — as usual, we’ve boiled the whole thing down to the bullet points.

New iPads

Both the standard iPad and the iPad mini have gotten the update treatment — here’s whats new for each:

Image Credits: Apple

New iPad:

  • Runs the A13 Bionic chip, which Apple first introduced in 2019 with the iPhone 11. Apple says it’s 20% faster across the board compared to the last gen.
  • The front facing camera has been bumped from 8 megapixels up to a 12 megapixel ultra-wide
  • It’s getting Center Stage, the feature that debuted on the iPad Pro and automatically reframes front-facing video to keep your face centered as you move around a room.
  • Starts at $329 (or $299 for schools). Orders start today, shipping next week.

    Image Credits: Apple

New iPad mini:

  • Redesigned with slimmer borders and rounder edges
  • The display has been bumped up to 8.3″ (from 7.9″) while keeping the overall device size the same
  • The CPU is 40% faster, while the GPU is 80% faster
  • USB-C!
  • There will be a 5G model
  • The back camera has a much-improved 12 MP camera with True Tone flash, and, as with the standard iPad, the front camera is getting 12 MP ultra wide and Center Stage support.
  • It’ll support the second-gen Apple Pencil
  • Starts at $499. Orders start today, shipping next week.

Apple Watch

Image Credits: Apple

Apple kicked off the Watch segment with a few new features coming to iOS 8 (like fall detection for cyclists, and better algorithms for detecting calories burned when you’re on an eBike) before announcing a new Watch — Series 7, they’re calling it.

Apple Watch Series 7:

  • By reducing the screen’s borders, they were able to squeeze in a display that is 20% bigger.
  • To take advantage of that bigger screen, buttons are bigger across the UI
  • It’s got a swipe-style prediction keyboard, for easier text input on the go.
  • Apple says it’s got the strongest (most crack resistant) display to date, and is the first Apple Watch to be IP6X certified against dust.
  • An “updated charging architecture” and a new USB-C charger allow it to charge 33% faster
  • Series 7 will start at $399, and start shipping “later this fall”

New iPhones

Image Credits: Apple

Not one, not two, but four new iPhones — iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro max. Faster chips, better cameras, better battery life.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini:

  • Both run Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip. It’s got a 6 core CPU (two high performance cores, four high efficiency), a four-core GPU, and big improvements to the neural engine that Apple taps for on-device machine learning.
  • A “ceramic shield front”, which Apple says is tougher than any other smartphone’s glass.
  • IP68 water resistance
  • 28% brighter display
  • iPhone 13 comes in at 6.1″, while iPhone 13 mini will be 5.4″.
  • A wild new “Cinematic” mode that uses machine learning for tricks like auto-shifting the camera’s focus when one on-screen speaker looks at someone behind them
  • The 64GB model has finally been retired, with the base models coming with 128GB of storage.
  • Apple says the iPhone 13 mini’s battery life has been improved by an hour and a half, while most iPhone 13 users will get two and half more hours per charge.
  • iPhone 13 will start at $799, while iPhone 13 mini starts at $699.

 

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max:

Image Credits: Apple

  • It’s getting that new “ceramic shield front”, along with an upgrade to A15, here with a five-core GPU.
  • As rumored, it’ll get a display that can adjust its refresh rate up to 120hz for super smooth movement/scrolling.
  • It’s got three cameras on the back: a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, an ultrawide, and a wide angle. Night Mode will now play friendly with all three cameras (including the telephoto lens, which previously didn’t support it.)
  • It’ll come in two sizes: 6.1″ (Pro), and 6.7″ (Pro Max).
  • For those who just can’t seem to get enough storage space, they’re introducing 1TB models!
  • Pro starts at $999, Pro Max starts at $1099. Pre-orders start September 17th, shipping September 24th.

Other stuff

  • iOS 15 will ship Monday, September 20th
  • Apple’s Fitness Plus service is rolling out in 15 new countries, including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, and Russia. Workouts will be in English, and subtitled in six languages. They’re also launching group workouts, which can be launched from iMessage or FaceTime and will let you multitask your hangouts and your workouts.
  • Apple’s MagSafe wallet will now be able to track the last known location if the wallet gets separated from the phone

 

#apple, #apple-watch, #ipad, #iphone, #tc

Apple updates the entry-level $329 iPad

Apple is launching a new iPad model. This is the most affordable iPad model in the lineup, it’s cheaper than the iPad Air and iPad Pro. Today’s new iPad replaces the existing $329 iPad in the lineup.

It features Apple’s A13 chip. Apple originally unveiled the A13 for the iPhone 11. As a reminder, the existing iPad uses the A12 Bionic. Apple is keeping the same familiar design with a 10.2-inch display.

When it comes to the camera, you can expect improved auto focus and low-light performance. The front-facing is receiving a huge upgrade as it now has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 122° view angle.

Apple is also bringing center stage to the iPad. That feature automatically detects what’s happening during a video call and crops the image to that part of the video feed in real time. It’s going to improve your family video-conferencing sessions.

The entry-level iPad is also getting True Tone for the first time. It’s a sort of white-balance adjustment feature for the display. Like the previous version, the new iPad supports the first-generation Apple Pencil with its built-in Lightning connector.

The new iPad will be available next week for $329 with 64GB (instead of 32GB for the previous generation). You can also get a model with cellular connectivity and schools can buy this iPad for $299. This model of iPad comes in silver and Space Gray.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

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The redesigned $499 iPad mini finally catches up with the times

The new iPad Mini takes most of its cues from the iPad Air 4.

Enlarge / The new iPad Mini takes most of its cues from the iPad Air 4. (credit: Apple)

After years of stagnating in the same look and features, Apple’s iPad mini will finally get a major redesign akin to last year’s iPad Air update, the company announced today. The tablet’s screen size gets a bump from 7.9 to 8.3 inches, and includes a new A15 Bionic processor that Apple says is “up to 80% faster” than the A12 chip in the old iPad mini 4. But the redesign also comes with a price hike: the new iPad mini starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage, $100 more than the previous model.

Like other recent iPads and iPhones, the iPad mini drops the home button to make more room on the front of the device for a larger, almost edge-to-edge screen. However, it does not feature Face ID like the iPad Pro. Rather, it follows the 2020 iPad Air in featuring a TouchID fingerprint reader on one of the power button for authentication. It also leaves behind Apple’s long-standing, proprietary Lightning port in favor of industry standard USB-C—a change that also came to other recent iPad redesigns. The flat edges of the tablet bring the new mini’s design in line with the iPad Air 4 and post-2018 iPad Pros, and also enables Apple Pencil 2 compatibility.

An overview of the new iPad mini's features.

An overview of the new iPad mini’s features. (credit: Apple)

Internally, the A15 chip combines a six-core CPU that Apple says is 40% faster than the A12, and a 5-core GPU that’s it says is 80% faster than the A12—no word on the mix of performance vs. efficiency cores on the CPU, but the A14 includes two fast cores and four efficiency ones, and we’d expect that balance to stay the same for the A15. Both the rear and front-facing cameras get significant upgrades—the 8MP rear camera in the mini 4 is bumped up to 12MP in the new model, and the front-facing camera gets a 12MP resolution bump and support for the face-and-body-tracking “Center Stage” feature from the 2021 iPad Pros. Support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6 round out the connectivity features.

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#apple, #ipad, #ipad-mini, #ipados, #tech

Apple refreshes entry-level $329 iPad with faster chip

Apple refreshes entry-level $329 iPad with faster chip

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple announced a modest refresh of its entry-level iPad at the company’s product event on Tuesday. The tablet’s design hasn’t changed, but the new model swaps out the A12 chip for the newer A13, which Apple says is “up to 20%” faster than the previous chip. The new iPad costs $329, the same price as the previous model, despite the fact that the storage has been bumped from 32GB to a much more reasonable 64GB.

Apple is also bringing a handful of iPad Pro features down to the cheapest iPad. Its new 12MP front-facing camera supports the “Center Stage” feature that can shift the camera’s perspective as you move around. While the rear camera is apparently unchanged, both the front and rear cameras will benefit from the upgraded image signal processor (ISP) in the A13. The tablet’s 10.2-inch screen also supports True Tone, which changes the screen’s color temperature to match the lighting in the room you’re in.

The new $329 iPad will be available for preorder today and will be available on September 24. The Wi-Fi + Cellular model of the tablet starts at $459, and there will also be a 256GB storage option (though Apple hasn’t said how much it will cost yet).

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#apple, #ipad, #ipad-air, #tablet, #tech

Apple patches a NSO zero-day flaw affecting all devices

Apple has released security updates for a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability that affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Citizen Lab, which discovered the vulnerability and was credited with the find, urges users to immediately update their devices.

The technology giant said iOS 14.8 for iPhones and iPads, as well as new updates for Apple Watch and macOS, will fix at least one vulnerability that it said “may have been actively exploited.”

Citizen Lab said it has now discovered new artifacts of the ForcedEntry vulnerability, details it first revealed in August as part of an investigation into the use of a zero-day vulnerability that was used to silently hack into iPhones belonging to at least one Bahraini activist.

Last month, Citizen Lab said the zero day flaw — named as such since it gives companies zero days to roll out a fix — took advantage of a flaw in Apple’s iMessage, which was exploited to push the Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, to the activist’s phone. The breach was significant because the flaws exploited the latest iPhone software at the time, both iOS 14.4 and later iOS 14.6, which Apple released in May. But also the vulnerabilities broke through new iPhone defenses that Apple had baked into iOS 14, dubbed BlastDoor, which were supposed to prevent silent attacks by filtering potentially malicious code. Citizen Lab calls this particular exploit ForcedEntry for its ability to skirt Apple’s BlastDoor protections.

In its latest findings, Citizen Lab said it found evidence of the ForcedEntry exploit on the iPhone of a Saudi activist, running at the time the latest version of iOS. Citizen Lab now says that the same ForcedEntry exploit works on all Apple devices running, until today, the latest software.

Citizen Lab said it reported its findings to Apple on September 7. Apple pushed out the updates for the vulnerability, known officially as CVE-2021-30860. Citizen Lab said it attributes the ForcedEntry exploit to NSO Group with high confidence, citing evidence it has seen that it has not previously published.

When reached, Apple declined to comment. NSO Group did not immediately comment.

Developing… More soon…

#apple, #imessage, #ios, #ipad, #ipads, #iphone, #mobile-phones, #nso-group, #operating-systems, #pegasus, #security, #smartphones, #spyware, #technology

Liveblog: All the news from Apple’s “California Streaming” event

The splash image and header copy on the event invitation Apple emailed to the press.

Enlarge / The splash image and header copy on the event invitation Apple emailed to the press. (credit: Apple)

Liveblog starts in:

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At 1 pm EDT on September 14, 2021, Apple will begin streaming its first product launch event since WWDC this June. Apple executives and product managers are expected to take the virtual stage to reveal new products and talk about what consumers should expect from the company in the coming weeks.

As usual, we’ll be liveblogging the event and all the announcements as they unfold.

As we noted in our roundup shortly after the date was announced, the focus will almost certainly be on a new lineup of iPhones to follow up last year’s iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. We’re expecting phones with overall similar designs and with the same screen sizes: 5.4- and 6.1-inch versions of the standard flagship iPhone, and 6.1- and 6.7-inch version of the Pro.

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#airpods, #apple, #apple-watch, #ipad, #iphone, #tech

What to expect from Apple’s September 14 “California Streaming” event

Futuristic glass-walled building permits views of surrounding forest.

Enlarge / The waiting area of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s Cupertino campus. (credit: Samuel Axon)

On September 14 at 10 am PDT (1 pm EDT), Apple will host its first product-launch event in several months. Once again, it will be an online-only event. But as with other recent online events from Apple, we expect it to be as jam-packed with announcements as ever.

It’s likely to focus on the iPhone, but revelations about the Apple Watch, AirPods, and maybe the iPad are likely, too. We’ll be liveblogging the event as it happens on Tuesday, of course, but until then, consider what you’re about to read our best attempt at setting expectations and making predictions about what’s coming.

In so many ways, Apple has gotten easier to read and predict in recent years—certainly compared to the years during Steve Jobs’ second tenure as CEO. Apple has settled into something of a cadence with its main product lines, making it a bit easier to see what may be coming. The company’s products are still disruptive, but now they do it in a subtle, iterative ways and often in areas that aren’t as flashy as what we saw in the 2000s—like health care, for example.

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#airpods, #apple, #apple-watch, #ipad, #ipad-mini, #iphone, #iphone-13, #tech

This Week in Apps: OnlyFans bans sexual content, SharePlay delayed, TikTok questioned over biometric data collection

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and suggestions about new apps and games to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Top Stories

OnlyFans to ban sexually explicit content

OnlyFans logo displayed on a phone screen and a website

(Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Creator platform OnlyFans is getting out of the porn business. The company announced this week it will begin to prohibit any “sexually explicit” content starting on October 1, 2021 — a decision it claimed would ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform. The news angered a number of impacted creators who weren’t notified ahead of time and who’ve come to rely on OnlyFans as their main source of income.

However, word is that OnlyFans was struggling to find outside investors, despite its sizable user base, due to the adult content it hosts. Some VC firms are prohibited from investing in adult content businesses, while others may be concerned over other matters — like how NSFW content could have limited interest from advertisers and brand partners. They may have also worried about OnlyFans’ ability to successfully restrict minors from using the app, in light of what appears to be soon-to-come increased regulations for online businesses. Plus, porn companies face a number of other issues, too. They have to continually ensure they’re not hosting illegal content like child sex abuse material, revenge porn or content from sex trafficking victims — the latter which has led to lawsuits at other large porn companies.

The news followed a big marketing push for OnlyFans’ porn-free (SFW) app, OFTV, which circulated alongside reports that the company was looking to raise funds at a $1 billion+ valuation. OnlyFans may not have technically needed the funding to operate its current business — it handled more than $2 billion in sales in 2020 and keeps 20%. Rather, the company may have seen there’s more opportunity to cater to the “SFW” creator community, now that it has big names like Bella Thorne, Cardi B, Tyga, Tyler Posey, Blac Chyna, Bhad Bhabie and others on board.

U.S. lawmakers demand info on TikTok’s plans for biometric data collection

The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max

The TikTok logo is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max. Image Credits: Nur Photo/Getty Images

U.S. lawmakers are challenging TikTok on its plans to collect biometric data from its users. TechCrunch first reported on TikTok’s updated privacy policy in June, where the company gave itself permission to collect biometric data in the U.S., including users’ “faceprints and voiceprints.” When reached for comment, TikTok could not confirm what product developments necessitated the addition of biometric data to its list of disclosures about the information it automatically collects from users, but said it would ask for consent in the case such data collection practices began.

Earlier this month, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, which said they were “alarmed” by the change, and demanded to know what information TikTok will be collecting and what it plans to do with the data. This wouldn’t be the first time TikTok got in trouble for excessive data collection. Earlier this year, the company paid out $92 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that claimed TikTok had unlawfully collected users’ biometric data and shared it with third parties.

Weekly News

Platforms: Apple

Image Credits: Apple

  • ⭐ Apple told developers that some of the features it announced as coming in iOS 15 won’t be available at launch. This includes one of the highlights of the new OS, SharePlay, a feature that lets people share music, videos and their screen over FaceTime calls. Other features that will come in later releases include Wallet’s support for ID cards, the App Privacy report and others that have yet to make it to beta releases.
  • Apple walked back its controversial Safari changes with the iOS 15 beta 6 update. Apple’s original redesign had shown the address bar at the bottom of the screen, floating atop the page’s content. Now the tab bar will appear below the page’s content, offering access to its usual set of buttons as when it was at the top. Users can also turn off the bottom tab bar now and revert to the old, Single Tab option that puts the address bar back at the top as before.
  • In response to criticism over its new CSAM detection technology, Apple said the version of NeuralHash that was reverse-engineered by a developer, Asuhariet Ygvar, was a generic version, and not the complete version that will roll out later this year.
  • The Verge dug through over 800 documents from the Apple-Epic trial to find the best emails, which included dirt on a number of other companies like Netflix, Hulu, Sony, Google, Nintendo, Valve, Microsoft, Amazon and more. These offered details on things like Netflix’s secret arrangement to pay only 15% of revenue, how Microsoft also quietly offers a way for some companies to bypass its full cut, how Apple initially saw the Amazon Appstore as a threat and more.

Platforms: Google

  • A beta version of the Android Accessibility Suite app (12.0.0) which rolled out with the fourth Android beta release added something called “Camera Switches” to Switch Access, a toolset that lets you interact with your device without using the touchscreen. Camera Switches allows users to navigate their phone and use its features by making face gestures, like a smile, open mouth, raised eyebrows and more.
  • Google announced its Pixel 5a with 5G, the latest A-series Pixel phone, will arrive on August 27, offering IP67 water resistance, long-lasting Adaptive Battery, Pixel’s dual-camera system and more, for $449. The phone makes Google’s default Android experience available at a lower price point than the soon to arrive Pixel 6.
  • An unredacted complaint from the Apple-Epic trial revealed that Google had quietly paid developers hundreds of millions of dollars via a program known as “Project Hug,” (later “Apps and Games Velocity Program”) to keep their games on the Play Store. Epic alleges Google launched the program to keep developers from following its lead by moving their games outside the store.

Augmented Reality

  • Snap on Thursday announced it hired its first VP of Platform Partnerships to lead AR, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis (“KP”). The new exec will lead Snap’s efforts to onboard partners, including individual AR creators building via Lens Studio as well as large companies that incorporate Snapchat’s camera and AR technology (Camera Kit) into their apps. KP will join in September, and report to Ben Schwerin, SVP of Content and Partnerships.

Fintech

  • Crypto exchange Coinbase will enter the Japanese market through a new partnership with Japanese financial giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). The company said it plans to launch other localized versions of its existing global services in the future.

Social

Image Credits: Facebook

  • Facebook launched a “test” of Facebook Reels in the U.S. on iOS and Android. The new feature brings the Reels experience to Facebook, allowing users to create and share short-form video content directly within the News Feed or within Facebook Groups. Instagram Reels creators can also now opt in to have their Reels featured on users’ News Feed. The company is heavily investing its its battle with TikTok, even pledging that some portion of its $1 billion creator fund will go toward Facebook Reels.
  • Twitter’s redesign of its website and app was met with a lot of backlash from users and accessibility experts alike. The company choices add more visual contrast between various elements and may have helped those with low vision. But for others, the contrast is causing strain and headaches. Experts believe accessibility isn’t a one-size fits all situation, and Twitter should have introduced tools that allowed people to adjust their settings to their own needs.
  • The pro-Trump Twitter alternative Gettr’s lack of moderation has allowed users to share child exploitation images, according to research from the Stanford Internet Observatory’s Cyber Policy Center.
  • Pinterest rolled out a new set of more inclusive search filters that allow people to find styles for different types of hair textures — like coily, curly, wavy, straight, as well as shaved or bald and protective styles. 

Photos

  • Photoshop for iPad gained new image correction tools, including the Healing Brush and Magic Wand, and added support for connecting an iPad to external monitors via HDMI or USB-C. The company also launched a Photoshop Beta program on the desktop.

Messaging

  • WhatsApp is being adopted by the Taliban to spread its message across Afghanistan, despite being on Facebook’s list of banned organizations. The company says it’s proactively removing Taliban content — but that may be difficult to do since WhatsApp’s E2E encryption means it can’t read people’s texts. This week, Facebook shut down a Taliban helpline in Kabul, which allowed civilians to report violence and looting, but some critics said this wasn’t actually helping local Afghans, as the group was now in effect governing the region.
  • WhatsApp is also testing a new feature that will show a large preview when sharing links, which some suspect may launch around the time when the app adds the ability to have the same account running on multiple devices.

Streaming & Entertainment

  • Netflix announced it’s adding spatial audio support on iPhone and iPad on iOS 14, joining other streamers like HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock that have already pledged to support the new technology. The feature will be available to toggle on and off in the Control Center, when it arrives.
  • Blockchain-powered streaming music service Audius partnered with TikTok to allow artists to upload their songs using TikTok’s new SoundKit in just one click.
  • YouTube’s mobile app added new functionality that allows users to browse a video’s chapters, and jump into the chapter they want directly from the search page.
  • Spotify’s Anchor app now allows users in global markets to record “Music + Talk” podcasts, where users can combine spoken word recordings with any track from Spotify’s library of 70 million songs for a radio DJ-like experience.
  • Podcasters are complaining that Apple’s revamped Podcasts platform is not working well, reports The Verge. Podcasts Connect has been buggy, and sports a confusing interface that has led to serious user errors (like entire shows being archived). And listeners have complained about syncing problems and podcasts they already heard flooding their libraries.

Dating

  • Tinder announced a new feature that will allow users to voluntarily verify their identity on the platform, which will allow the company to cross-reference sex offender registry data. Previously, Tinder would only check this database when a user signed up for a paid subscription with a credit card.

Gaming

Image Source: The Pokémon Company

  • Pokémon Unite will come to iOS and Android on September 22, The Pokémon Company announced during a livestream this week. The strategic battle game first launched on Nintendo Switch in late July.
  • Developer Konami announced a new game, Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, which will come exclusively to Apple Arcade. The game is described as a “full-fledged side-scrolling action game,” featuring a roster of iconic characters from the classic game series. The company last year released another version of Castelvania on the App Store and Google Play.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle has now surpassed $3 billion in player spending since its 2015 debut, reported Sensor Tower. The game from Bandai Namco took 20 months to reach the figure after hitting the $2 billion milestone in 2019. The new landmark sees the game joining other top-grossers, including Clash Royale, Lineage M and others.
  • Sensor Tower’s mobile gaming advertising report revealed data on top ad networks in the mobile gaming market, and their market share. It also found puzzle games were among the top advertisers on gaming-focused networks like Chartboost, Unity, IronSource and Vungle. On less game-focused networks, mid-core games were top titles, like Call of Duty: Mobile and Top War. 

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Health & Fitness

  • Apple is reportedly scaling back HealthHabit, an internal app for Apple employees that allowed them to track fitness goals, talk to clinicians and coaches at AC Wellness (a doctors’ group Apple works with) and manage hypertension. According to Insider, 50 employees had been tasked to work on the project.
  • Samsung launched a new product for Galaxy smartphones in partnership with healthcare nonprofit The Commons Project, that allows U.S. users to save a verifiable copy of their vaccination card in the Samsung Pay digital wallet.

Image Credits: Samsung

Adtech

Government & Policy

  • China cited 43 apps, including Tencent’s WeChat and an e-reader from Alibaba, for illegally transferring user data. The regulator said the apps had transferred users location data and contact list and harassed them with pop-up windows. The apps have until August 25 to make changes before being punished.

Security & Privacy

  • A VICE report reveals a fascinating story about a jailbreaking community member who had served as a double agent by spying for Apple’s security team. Andrey Shumeyko, whose online handles included JVHResearch and YRH04E, would advertise leaked apps, manuals and stolen devices on Twitter and Discord. He would then tell Apple things like which Apple employees were leaking confidential info, which reporters would talk to leakers, who sold stolen iPhone prototypes and more. Shumeyko decided to share his story because he felt Apple took advantage of him and didn’t compensate him for the work.

Funding and M&A

? South Korea’s GS Retail Co. Ltd will buy Delivery Hero’s food delivery app Yogiyo in a deal valued at 800 billion won ($685 million USD). Yogiyo is the second-largest food delivery app in South Korea, with a 25% market share.

? Gaming platform Roblox acquired a Discord rival, Guilded, which allows users to have text and voice conversations, organize communities around events and calendars and more. Deal terms were not disclosed. Guilded raised $10.2 million in venture funding. Roblox’s stock fell by 7% after the company reported earnings this week, after failing to meet Wall Street expectations.

? Travel app Hopper raised $175 million in a Series G round of funding led by GPI Capital, valuing the business at over $3.5 billion. The company raised a similar amount just last year, but is now benefiting from renewed growth in travel following COVID-19 vaccinations and lifting restrictions.

? Indian quiz app maker Zupee raised $30 million in a Series B round of funding led by Silicon Valley-based WestCap Group and Tomales Bay Capital. The round values the company at $500 million, up 5x from last year.

? Danggeun Market, the publisher of South Korea’s hyperlocal community app Karrot, raised $162 million in a Series D round of funding led by DST Global. The round values the business at $2.7 billion and will be used to help the company launch its own payments platform, Karrot Pay.

? Bangalore-based fintech app Smallcase