Reported iCloud hack leaks hundreds of nude celebrity photos


This post is by Rich McCormick from The Verge - All Posts


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hundreds of nude, semi-nude, and revealing pictures of female celebrities were leaked overnight after being stolen from their private collections. Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and pop star Ariana Grande were among the celebrities apparently shown in the pictures, which were posted on infamous web forum 4chan.

It’s unclear how the images were obtained, but anonymous 4chan users said that they were taken from celebrities’ iCloud accounts. The accounts are designed to allow iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to synchronize images, settings, calendar information, and other data between devices, but the service has been criticized for being unreliable and confusing. Earlier this year, Jennifer Lawrence herself complained…

<a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/1/6092089/nude-celebrity-hack">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

JUMP Cable Is The Right Smartphone Charger For Forgetful People


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




jumpcable Like many other users, the battery on my iPhone tends to die right before the end of the day. One obvious solution is to use a case like the Mophie, but I don’t like increasing the size of my phone. Another is to carry a battery charger around with me, but unfortunately, I am just too dunderheaded to remember an extra device. Read More

Startup Mentors — How Do You Filter Out The Good, The Bad And The Ugly?


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




mentors (1) In light of the recent brouhaha over the actions of a particular European investor who had a habit of attaching himself to accelerators as a ‘mentor’, it seems an appropriate time to do a quick rundown on the kinds of things entrepreneurs need to look for in genuine potential mentor to them and their companies. Because, in case you have been hiding under a rock, there a lot of… Read More

Prix-fixe no more: Why à la carte is the future of software delivery


This post is by Guy Nirpaz from VentureBeat


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Prix-fixe no more: Why à la carte is the future of software delivery

Facebook users have been vocal about Messenger, an app now required in addition to the social network’s main mobile application to send messages. What is the point of separating one brand into multiple apps?

While users initially expressed concern about downloading a secondary app just to chat with friends, this is part of a telling trend: services à la carte.

Software is moving from large, multipurpose applications to discrete services that offer high value every time they’re used.

Facebook isn’t the only company that’s jumped off the prix-fixe ship. Google did it with Drive, splitting its editing capabilities into the separate Docs, Sheets, and Slides. LinkedIn rolled out a standalone Job Search app.

New products like these flood the software space every day, and single-purpose services are the only way to guarantee customers are getting a fully customized experience, with simple access to the features they actually need.

Here are the top reasons why all software providers will ultimately adopt the à la carte, customer-first approach.

1. Deliver the minimum viable product. Companies often brag about the multitude of features they have added to their products, but this often distracts from customer satisfaction, long-term usage, and sales. When it comes to generating value, minimalism is key.

The best software simplifies and speeds the user’s experience. This requires a laser focus on the user’s real needs. The app should contain the core features – and only the core features – required for deployment, offering simplicity with a dedicated, irreplaceable purpose. Winning software strives for direct purity like this.

2. Take more frequent innovation leaps. Lean software makes you nimbler when it comes to serving extreme value to customers. Task-oriented applications require fewer lines of code, lower memory requirements, and less coordination among departments and features, which speeds up the execution process and allows you to enact your ideas more often.

With a purpose-built service, your audience self-selects into a niche segment, making it easier to maintain a deep understanding of your user base. As a result, you can quickly identify and effectively act on their needs and tastes, even as they change over time.

3. Gain multiple entry points into the market. With one feature-packed platform, it’s difficult for salespeople to identify the right type of customer contact to pitch.

From the customer perspective, heavy “all-in-one” platforms are intimidating, as appealing as they may seem at first. Business leaders aren’t familiar with the specific challenges outside their own departments, and are typically ill-equipped to decide whether a monolithic bundle would be useful for their organization at the offered cost.

À la carte software, on the other hand, is easier to understand, adopt and consume, which not only quickens the buying cycle but also amplifies the quality of sales leads.

Take, for example, a human resource platform. If it’s split into discrete services, a company’s HR director can start at low initial spend with one feature, like a staff directory. After experimenting with the standalone directory, HR may decide to add additional services, such as time tracking and employee onboarding.

As the HR department continues to increase its usage – perhaps adopting a benefits portal, performance monitoring and project management tools – other departments within the company might start to engage with the software, too. In this way, a platform can incrementally take hold within an organization, administering pure, feature-specific value at every step.

4. Leverage the full power of the cloud. A few years ago, it would have been impossible to offer software services à la carte. Without a way to deliver single-purpose services, feature-bloated applications were the only option.

In the era of cloud computing, we has a huge central repository to store all information. So single purpose-built service apps can live in the cloud, and users can summon each, instantly and as needed, with no delivery costs or limits to scale.

In time, single-purpose software will win out, offering laser-focused functionality enabled by a powerful, highly connected ecosystem. Solutions that claim to be all-in-one are clunky, complicated, and tough to adopt.

The prix-fixe software menu is dead — and businesses and customers alike will be thankful for it.

Guy Nirpaz is the CEO of Totango. Prior to starting Totango he worked in the space of real-time big data as EVP of Engineering at GigaSpaces, and Chief Architect at Mercury.

Totango (http://www.totango.com/) provides Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies the unique ability to understand their customers in real-time. By monitoring customer engagement as it happens, Totango gives SaaS companies valuable inf… read more »




Microsoft Continues Its Campaign Against A US Warrant Demanding Overseas Data


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




microsoft-earnings A search warrant commanding Microsoft to turn over certain customer email data that is currently stored overseas was unfrozen late this week. The company declined to comply. In a statement, Microsoft said that it “will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal.” This protest act by Microsoft, arguing that domestic warrants should not be able to command access to data… Read More

AnandTech founder Anand Shimpi retires from journalism to join Apple


This post is by Vlad Savov from The Verge - All Posts


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If you’ve built your own PC at any time over the past decade and a half, chances are you’ll have come across AnandTech in the course of your research. Founded by a precocious teenager way back in 1997, the tech news site has grown from covering motherboards and other PC components to offering some of the most in-depth technical analyses of mobile devices today. Widely respected for his enormous experience and expertise, the site’s founder and editor Anand Lal Shimpi revealed over the weekend that he was retiring from technology journalism, and now his next destination has been revealed: Apple Inc.

An Apple representative has confirmed the hire for Recode, though there’s predictably little information to go on beyond the fact that one of…

<a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/31/6091393/anandtech-founder-anand-shimpi-retires-from-journalism-to-join-apple">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

How mobile marketplaces are creating a million new U.S. jobs   


This post is by Venky Ganesan from VentureBeat


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




GUEST POST

How mobile marketplaces are creating a million new U.S. jobs   
Image Credit: techi

Online marketplaces such as Uber and Instacart are rapidly transforming the way people get what they want – whether it’s a ride, a meal, or a pet sitter – when they want it. To make that happen, these companies are on a hiring spree, one that’s gone virtually unnoticed by the statisticians and economists who track the labor market.

An analysis by Menlo Ventures suggests that these emerging new businesses are already on track to create one million brand-new jobs in the U.S., many of them well paying and all of them filled in local markets by Americans. And that is likely a conservative estimate.

While these jobs require little training or higher education, they usually pay above minimum wage and offer many workers lifestyle flexibility and the opportunity to work close to home. This is especially important now, when studies indicate that other industries clamoring for employees are frustrated because they don’t have enough nearby applicants with the advanced training or experience to do these often-technical and specialized jobs.

What will drive this job growth? Digital marketplaces are being built on four megatrends of today’s Right-Now Economy, including:

  1. The increasing penetration of smartphones. Nearly one billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2013, according to Gartner. Couple this with the rise of big data and a dramatic decrease in the cost of software development and you have a technology environment well suited to the marketplace concept.
  2. The rise of Millennials (age 18 to 34) who are digital natives as the dominant consumer group. They are already spending an estimated $1.3 trillion annually and have surpassed baby boomers as the leading consumer demographic group, according to the Hartman Group.
  3. The growing availability of a freelance labor market willing to take jobs with non-traditional hours that fit into their individual lifestyles. By some estimates, there are already 42 million Americans who work freelance, and freelancers are projected to compose more than half the American workforce by 2020.

Latent consumer demand for the services can now be obtained more easily through digital marketplaces. For instance, there are 100 million dog-owning households in the U.S., according to the American Humane Society, yet only 230,000 dog-sitting jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If dog owners have access to a more efficient marketplace of potential dog walkers and dog sitters, there could be a huge opportunity to create new jobs.

Marketplaces are capitalizing on these trends by aggregating supply (whether it’s dog sitters, babysitters or cars for hire), increasing demand by creating easier and better buying experiences for consumers, and adding value to the transaction by providing add-ons that freelancers or small business can’t or don’t offer (such as on-call veterinarians and liability insurance). Technology makes it easier than ever for these companies to expand to new markets, creating strictly local jobs for workers but doing it without having to open costly and risky satellite offices.

To arrive at our job’s estimate, Menlo Ventures looked at the job-creation activities of numerous fast-growing marketplaces, including many in our own portfolio. For example, looking at Uber’s growth in Seattle, the company currently has 900 UberX drivers for a population of 635,000 people, compared to the 300 taxis in the city. By extrapolation, through the use of a current national figure of 170,000 traditional taxis (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), we estimated that Uber has the potential to expand to at least 360,000 UberX drivers nationally. It’s worth noting that in Seattle alone, there are more than 3,000 peer-to-peer drivers if Lyft and Sidecar are included in the calculation.

Furthermore, Uber pays more than traditional taxi jobs. The average U.S. taxi driver makes $30,000 a year at a rate of $14 an hour. By comparison, fulltime Uber drivers make $39,000 a year at a rate of $18 an hour.

Another example comes from Rover, a dog sitting service. There are 230,000 dog sitters in the U.S., and 430 dog-owning householders per dog sitter. A single dog sitter cannot service that many households. By opening up the supply of dog sitters through a frictionless online marketplace, in markets where Rover operates, the ratio comes down to 261 households per dog sitter. Rover has already created 25,000 new dog sitting jobs.

These figures represent only some of Menlo’s portfolio companies. When you include their competitors and other categories such as food service, creative and technical services, and home improvement services, the estimate can reach of one million – or more – American jobs created by online marketplaces. The same type of growth also is likely in international markets as these American companies expand globally.

Some argue that these are startup companies and that such growth is far from being a guarantee. But these companies are providing necessary consumer services, and once they scale, the network effect will take hold and they will become durable companies – much like Amazon – that will be able to survive and grow through changing economic environments.

Venky Ganesan is a Managing Director at Menlo Ventures and focuses on investments in the consumer and enterprise sectors.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we’ll share the data with you.

Menlo Ventures provides smart capital for seed through growth technology companies in the consumer and enterprise sectors. For decades, the firm’s market-driven research analysis has led to the identification of and successful exits … read more »




Typing Writer Turns Your iPad Into A Typewriter (And No, It Wasn’t Created By Tom Hanks)


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




typing writer A couple of weeks ago, Hanx Writer, a typewriter app from movie star Tom Hanks, shot to the top of the Apple App Store. I guess there must be something in the air, because it’s not the only iPad-into-typewriter app to launch recently. There’s also Typing Writer, an app created by Stephen Elliott, founder of the literary website The Rumpus, along with Eli Horowitz, Chris Ying,… Read More

Investor Pavel Curda Dumped By Euro Accelerators After Sleazy Emails


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




pavel-curda Pavel Curda, the European Angel investor and ‘mentor’ who became the centre of a media maelstrom after admitting to emailing point-blank requests for sex to tech business woman at a conference, has been shunned by the tech accelerators he continues to list as working with him. Curda has now been dumped by at least three accelerators, as well as losing his role as a writer with… Read More

FCC’s new CTO is well-tooled for the upcoming net neutrality ruling


This post is by Mark Sullivan from VentureBeat


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




FCC’s new CTO is well-tooled for the upcoming net neutrality ruling

Above: Anti-“Fast Lane” protestors camped outside FCC.

Image Credit: Fight for the Future

The CTO position at the FCC demands a person who is technically proficient in networks and the Internet, and also one who isn’t afraid to get neck-deep in policy making.

At least that’s what the past has shown. The last CTO, Henning Schulzrinne, played a central role in the commission’s ruling that all mobile carries had to support 911 calls via text message.

Now the FCC has announced the name of a new CTO — Scott Jordan, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Irvine.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement, “Scott’s engineering and technical expertise, particularly with respect to the Internet, will provide great assistance to the Commission as we consider decisions that will affect America’s communications platforms.”

As for Jordan’s skill set, the commission has been hyping his network and Internet chops. It stressed the importance of Jordan’s work on “communications platforms, pricing, and differentiated services on the Internet,” and “voice, data, and video on the Internet and on wireless networks.”

By talking about the new CTO’s experience in communications platforms and pricing, the commission is calling attention to Jordan’s fitness for making policy around network neutrality, likely the biggest issue Jordan will be involved in at the commission during his tenure.

And Jordan, it turns out, has already weighed in with the commission on the issue.

The last time the the FCC considered a rulemaking on the subject, Jordan filed a comment. And the statement isn’t exactly complimentary of the commission’s work on the issue so far.

“Neither the extreme pro nor con net neutrality positions are consistent with the philosophy of Internet architecture” Jordan and a co-author write in the statement. “The net neutrality issue is the result of a fragmented communications policy unable to deal with technology convergence.”

The FCC’s proposed Open Internet plan was met with loud criticism from the tech community because it seemed to open the door to carriers like AT&T and Comcast selling Internet “fast lanes” to the highest bidder. This could create a system where small, innovative Internet companies could be prevented from competing on a level playing field with it’s more established and well-monied rivals.

Jordan will take over as CTO in a few weeks, just in time for the real wrangling over the Open Internet proposal to begin.

The period for public comment on the proposed rulemaking ends September 15.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we’ll share the data with you.




This Labor Day, Reflect On Diversity And The Future


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




5049340990_4a026d1bdd_o 2014 is the year that work became a central point of discussion in Silicon Valley. For the engineers and knowledge workers in the region, issues of diversity and inclusion finally got their turn in the limelight, forcing us to question our deeply-held views about the meritocracy of Silicon Valley. We also had to confront news that several of our most iconic technology companies conspired to… Read More

Apple’s New Spaceship HQ Doesn’t Look Like A Spaceship Yet, But It’s Huge


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Screenshot 2014-08-31 18.20.40 Apple’s new spaceship-style campus is one of the last things on the company’s mind right now, with the iPhone launch looming just over the horizon. However, that hasn’t stopped some curious folks from peeking around over at the construction site. YouTuber jmcminn has captured video on a GoPro Hero 3+ using a Phantom 2 drone, and the end result shows us the foundation of… Read More

‘Dota 2’ is on the front page of today’s New York Times


This post is by Dante D'Orazio from The Verge - All Posts


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If anyone is still questioning the legitimacy of e-sports, today should be a bit of a wake up call. The lead photo on the front page of today’s New York Times is of this July’s $10 million Dota 2 tournament, The International. That’s right: The Gray Lady has taken note, running a story on the rise of e-sports on the front page of its Sunday edition. The accompanying article is the first in a series exploring how competitive video gaming has developed into a spectator sport. The Times certainly isn’t the first big media company to pay attention to e-sports: ESPN broadcast a preview of The International on its one of its cable channels, and, of course, Amazon just purchased Twitch for $970 million. Even with all of this attention, however,…

<a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/31/6090841/dota-2-is-on-the-front-page-of-todays-new-york-times">Continue reading&hellip;</a>

Legacy Media: The Lost Decade In Six Charts


This post is by Frédéric Filloux from Monday Note


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




 

Ten years. That’s how far away in the past the Google IPO lies. Ten years of explosive growth for the digital world, ten gruesome years for legacy media. Here is the lost decade, revisited in charts and numbers. 

The asymmetry is staggering. By every measure, the digital sphere grew explosively thanks to a combination of known factors: a massive influx of capital; the radical culture shift fostered by a “blank slate” approach; obsessive agility in search of new preys; flattened hierarchies; shrugged-off acceptance of failure; refocusing on the customer;  a keen sense of competition; heavy reliance to technology…

By showing neither appetite nor will to check theses boxes, the newspaper and magazine industry missed almost every possible train. In due fairness, some were impossible to catch. But legacy media stubbornly refused to overhaul their culture, they remained stuck in feudal hierarchies, invested way too late in  tech. And, perhaps their cardinal sin, they kept treating failure as an abomination instead of an essential component of the innovation process.

Consequences have been terrible. Today, an entire industry stands on the verge of extinction.

Le’s start with stock performance:

333_stocks

At last Friday’s closing, Google was worth $390bn, the New York Times Company $1.85bn, Gannett $7.62bn (82 dailies and 480 non-dailies, TV stations, digital media properties, etc.) and McClatchy $392m (multiples dailies, digital services…)

In 2003, Google was minuscule compared to the newspaper industry:

333_revenue2003

 

333_revenue2013

Between 2003 and 2013, Google revenue grew by 60x. In the meantime, according to Newspapers Association of America data, the total revenue of the US newspaper industry shrank by 34%. While sales (newsstand and subscriptions) remain steady at $11bn in current dollars, print advertising revenue plunged by 61%.

For the newspaper industry, the share digital advertising, despite growing by 180%,  remained way too small: it only grew from 2.6% to 14.5% and was therefore unable to offset the loss in print ads.

333_digit.vs_print

The split in valuation and revenue, inevitably reflected on investors perception in terms of funding :

333_funding_valuation

In the chart above, Flipboard’s huge funding (and an undisclosed but tiny ad revenue), was used mostly to grab market share and eliminate competition. Flipboard did both, swallowing Zite (a far better product, in my view) for a reported $60m, i.e. $9 per user (the seller, CNN, achieved a good upside, while, regrettably, it had been unable to build upon Zite). The Huffington Post was acquired by AOL for $315m in 2011, an amount seen as ridiculous at the time, but consistent with today’s valuation of similar properties. In the newspaper segment, The Washington Post was acquired last year by Jeff Bezos for $250m; Le Monde was acquired by a triumvirate of investors led by telecom magnate Xavier Niel for $110m on 2010; and the Boston Globe was sold by The NYT for $70m when the Times purchased it for… $1.1bn in 1993.

For the newspaper industry, the only consolation is the reader’s residual value when compared to high audience but low yield digital pure players:

333_readrs_value

In the chart above, Vox Media’s reader value differs widely: Google Analytics grants it 80 million unique visitors per month; Quantcast says 65 million; and ComScore sees 30 million – such discrepancies are frequent, a part of the internet’s charm. As for Le Monde, thanks to the restoration of its P&L (even if its finances seem a little too good to be true), it’s fair to say its reader’s value could be much more than €7, a number based on the 2010 price tag and a combined audience of 14.9m viewers. These numbers include duplicated audiences of 8.8m in print, 7.9m for the fixed web and 3.2m on mobile (source Audipresse One Global, July 2014).

333_print_adyld

The reader value gap between between digital players and legacy platforms also raises the question of investment attractiveness. Why does VC money only flocks to new, but low yield digital media?

This is a matter of discussion for next week.

frederic.filloux@mondaynote.com

Three Years Later: Tim Cook’s Apple


This post is by Jean-Louis Gassée from Monday Note


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




 

On September 9th, Apple will announce products likely to be seen as a new milestone in Tim Cook’s tenure as Apple’s CEO.

You Break It You Own It. This Labor Day weekend sits about midway between two  anniversaries: Tim Cook assumed the CEO mantel a little over three years ago – and Steve Jobs left this world – too soon – early October 2011. And, in a few days, Apple will announce new products, part of a portfolio that caused one of Cook’s lieutenants, Eddy Cue, to gush Apple had the “best product lineup in 25 Years”. Uttered at last Spring’s Code Conference, Cue’s saeta was so unusual it briefly disoriented Walt Mossberg, a seasoned interviewer if there ever was one. After a brief pause, Walt slowly asked Apple’s exec to repeat. Cue obliged with a big I Ate The Canary smile – and raised expectations that will soon meet reality.

After three years at the helm, we’ll soon know in what sense Tim Cook “owns” Apple. For having broken Steve’s creation, for having created a field of debris littered with occasionally recognizable remains of a glorious, more innovative, more elegant past. Or for having followed the spirit of Steve’s dictum – not to think of what he would have done – and led Apple to new heights.

For the past three years, detractors have relentlessly criticized Cook for not being Steve Jobs, for failing to bring out the Next Big Thing, for lacking innovation.
Too often, clickbaiters and other media mountebanks veered into angry absurdity. One recommended Cook buy a blazer to save his job; another told us he a direct line to Apple’s Board and knew directors were demanding more innovation from their CEO; and, last Spring, a Valley bloviator commanded Apple to bring out a smartwatch within 60 days – or else! (No links for these clowns.)

More measurably, critics pointed to slower revenue growth: + 9% in 2013 vs + 65% in 2011 and + 52% in 2010, the last two “Jobs Years”. Or the recent decrease in iPad sales: – 9% in the June 2014 quarter – a never-seen-before phenomenon for Apple products (I exclude the iPod, now turning into an ingredient of iPhones and iPads).

Through all this, Apple’s CEO never took the bait and, unlike Jobs, either ignored jibes, calmly exposed his counterpoint, or even apologized when warranted by the Maps fiasco. One known – and encouraging – exception to his extremely controlled public manner took place when he told a representative of a self-described conservative think-tank what to do with his demand “to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable” [emphasis mine]:

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, […] I don’t consider the bloody ROI.”
and…
“If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

Not everything that counts can be counted and… you know the rest of the proverb. Apple shareholders (not to be confused with pump-and-dump traders) at large seem to agree.

The not-taken road to perdition hasn’t been a road to perfection either. Skipping over normal, unavoidable irritants and bugs – the smell of sausage factories is still with me –

a look at Apple’s Mail client makes one wish for stronger actions than bug fixes leading to new crashes. This is a product, or people, that need stronger decision as they do not represent Apple at its best. Another long-time offender is the iTunes client. One unnamed Apple friend calls it “our Vista” and explains it might suffer from its laudable origin as a cross-platform Mac/Windows application, a feature vital to iPod’s success – we’ll recall its 2006 revenue ($7.7B, + 69% year-to-year growth!) was higher than the Mac’s ($7.4B, + 18%).

Now looking forward, we see this:

Apple Flint Center Barge

A large, cocooned structure being built by an “anonymous” company, next to Cupertino’s aptly named Flint Center for the Performing Arts, where Apple will unveil its next products this coming September 9th. Someone joked this was yet another instance of Apple’s shameless imitation of Google’s innovations. This time Apple copied Google’s barges, but could even get its own clone to float.

Seriously, this is good news. This is likely to be a demo house, one in which to give HomeKit, HealthKit or, who knows, payment systems demonstrations, features of the coming iOS 8 release for “communicating with and controlling connected accessories”. The size of the structure speaks for Apple’s ambitions.

On other good news, we hear Apple’s entry into “wearables”, or into the “smartwatch” field won’t see any shipments until 2015. The surprise here is that Apple would show or tease the product on 9/9. There have been exactly zero leaks of body parts, circuit boards, packages and other accessories, leading more compos mentis observers (not to be confused with compost mentis on Fox News) to think a near term announcement wasn’t in the cards. But John Paczkowski, a prudent ans well-informed re/code writer assures us Apple will indeed announce a “wearable” — only to tell us, two days later, it won’t ship until next year. The positive interpretation is this: Apple’s new wearable category isn’t just a thing, an gizmo, you can throw into the channel and get the money pump running – at nice but immaterial accessory rates. Rather, Apple’s newer creation is a function-rich device that needs commitment, software and partnerships, to make a material difference. For this it needs time. Hence the painful but healthy period of frustration. (Electronic Blue Balls, in the immortal words of Regis McKenna, the Grand Master of Silicon Valley Marketing, who was usually critical of firms making an exciting product announcement, only to delay customer gratification for months.)

The topic of payments is likely to be a little less frustrating – but could mead to another gusher of media commentary. Whether Apple partners with Visa, American Express or others is still a matter of speculation. But one thing is clear: this idea isn’t for Apple to displace or disintermediate any of the existing players. Visa, for example, will still police transactions. And Apple isn’t out to make any significant amount of money from payments.

The goal, as always, is to make Apple devices more helpful, pleasurable – and to sell more of these at higher margins as a result. Like HomeKit or HealthKit, it’s an ecosystem play.

There’s also the less surprising matter of new iPhones. I don’t know if there will be a 4.7” model, or a 5.5” model or both. To form the beginning of an opinion, I went to the Palo Alto Verizon store on University Avenue and asked to buy the 5” Lumia Icon Windows Phone on display. The sales person only expressed polite doubt and excused himself “to the back” to get one. It took eight minutes. The rest of the transaction was quick and I walked out of the store $143.74 lighter. I wanted to know how a larger phone would feel on a daily, jeans and jacket breast-pocket experience. It’s a little heavy (167 grams, about 50 grams more than an iPhone 5S), with a very nice, luminous screen and great Segoe WP system font:

Icon Lumia

I won’t review the phone or Windows Phone here. Others have said everything that needs to be said on the matter. It’s going to be a tough road for Microsoft to actually become a weighty number three in the smartphone race.

But mission accomplished: It feels like a larger iPhone, perhaps a tad lighter than the Lumia will deliver a pleasant experience. True, the one-handed use will probably be restricted to a subset of the (mostly male) population. And today’s 4” screen size will continue to be available.

There remains the question of what size exactly: 4.7”, or 5.5” (truly big), or both. For this I’ll leave readers in John Gruber’s capable hands. In a blog post titled Conjecture Regarding Larger iPhone Displays, John carefully computes possible pixel densities for both sizes and offers an clarifying discussion of “points”, an important iOS User Interface definition.

We’ll know soon.

As usual, the small matter of implementation remains. There are sure to be the usual hiccups to be corrected in .1 or .2 update in iOS 8. And there won’t be any dearth of bilious comments about prices and other entries on the well-worn list of Apple sins.

But I’ll be surprised if the public perception of Tim Cook’s Apple doesn’t take yet another turn for the better.

JLG@mondaynote.com

 

Tesla in deal to build 400 charging stations in China


This post is by Antony Ingram, Green Car Reports from VentureBeat


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Tesla in deal to build 400 charging stations in China

Above: A Tesla store.

Image Credit: Phil Denton/Flickr

The Chinese market has become vital for many global automakers.

For some, it’s a haven of high sales numbers to offset struggles in markets like the U.S. and Europe. To others, like Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], it’s a way to promote your product to a vast and growing marketplace.

Tesla has made a big commitment to China and is backing that up with a new deal to set up 400 new charging stations across the country.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla is working with China Unicom, the country’s second-largest mobile communications carrier, to build 400 charging points across 120 cities at China Unicom outlets.

In addition, the automaker has plans for another 20 Supercharger fast-charge stations for China’s growing base of Model S owners.

Charging is proving to be an early sticking point for electric car buyers in China, the country relatively under-supplied to meet potential demand.

There’s also confusion over the ideal charging standard in the country. There is no communication standard in use, meaning that even if someone has the right connector–and there’s no guarantee of that with no connection standard either–their vehicle may not be compatible.

Some have taken the charging issue into their own hands. In July, a Model S-owning businessman named Zong Yi paid for the installation of 16 charging stations along a 3,750-mile route from Beijing to Guangzhou.

Zong used social media to choose the best locations for each station and queried property owners about installation along the route–close to hotels and free parking sites.

Those 16 stations will be usable by any electric vehicle, and Tesla’s non-Supercharger stations will be too–though only Tesla owners will be able to charge for free.

Tesla isn’t the first automaker to set up a charging network in the country however. Back in May, BMW announced its own plans to set up a network of chargers with power company State Grid.

The German firm says China “will become the largest market for [electromobility] in a few years” and intends to make the most of potential demand early on.

For Chinese buyers, the input of electric automakers can only improve the prospect of running a plug-in vehicle in the country.

This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we’ll share the data with you.

Tesla's goal is to accelerate the world's transition to electric mobility with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. Tesla ha… read more »




Check Out the Best From This Week’s Open Thread


This post is by Dave Greenbaum from Lifehacker


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Check Out the Best From This Week's Open Thread

Read more…