Rene Ritchie on Why Apple might switch to Face ID instead of Touch ID for iPhone 8

Rene Ritchie:

Touch ID isn’t a feature. It’s a solution to a problem that can potentially be solved in a variety of other ways. Including Face ID.

There’s been an incredible amount of noise and speculation over Touch ID on iPhone 8. Apple no doubt knows exactly what it’s doing, but the decision-making process of Apple’s past is finally echoing into media’s present. And that makes it worth thinking about.

Way back in January 2015, I wrote about Apple deleting the physical Home button so the company could minimize the bezels in iPhone 8:

Imagine a future iPhone where the screen goes to the edge on both sides, disappearing not at the curve but as the curve. Imagine an iPhone where the FaceTime camera and earpiece take up almost no space, and the screen reaches almost all the way to the top. And imagine an iPhone where the Home button is replaced by some new technology that can still allow for a physical escape to a known state, that can still scan fingerprints and authenticate, but that also lets the screen reach almost all the way to the bottom.

We got the virtual Home button with iPhone 7, but, according to rumors, embedding Touch ID under the edge-to-edge display of iPhone 8 was more of a challenge.


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Sesame Street Sabotage

Mashup of the cast of Sesame Street reenacting “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Featuring appearances by Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Super Grover, Bert and Ernie, Telly, Ms. Finch, and more.

Video by Mylo the Cat aka Adam Schleichkorn aka isthishowyougoviral.

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SoundCloud, the ‘YouTube for audio’, cuts 173 jobs, closes San Francisco, London offices

Some rough news today for SoundCloud, the audio streaming site whose content is largely based around uploads from its 175 million users in 190 countries. The company has announced that it is laying off 173 employees, and it is closing offices in San Francisco and London. The moves are being described as cost cutting measures “to ensure our path to long-term, independent success,” in the words of co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung, who revealed the news in a blog post. The startup, which was founded in Berlin in 2008, will continue to have offices in Berlin and New York.

The news comes after a rough period for SoundCloud. After entering into talks but never closing two potential acquisitions, first to Twitter and then to Spotify, Soundcloud arranged a $70 million credit line in March of this year to help the business continue to operate as it worked on closing a round of funding believed to be in the region of $100 million.

Today’s news could mean one of two things: either the funding never closed and/or investors who are considering it have laid down some cost-cutting conditions in order to see it go through. The fact that there is no funding round being announced today makes me guess that the round has yet to close.


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Jawbone Going Out of Business as CEO Moves on to New ‘Jawbone Health Hub’ Startup

Jawbone Going Out of Business as CEO Moves on to New ‘Jawbone Health Hub’ Startup

In May of last year, speaker and fitness tracker company Jawbone ended production of its fitness trackers and started seeking a buyer for its speaker business, leading to speculation that the company was going out of business.

Jawbone denied claims that it was shutting down and planned to pivot to medical products for direct sale to clinical practitioners, but that may not have panned out, as The Information reports that the business is officially shutting down.

Jawbone has reportedly started liquidation proceedings and notices have been sent out to its creditors.

Jawbone co-founder and CEO Hosain Rahman has moved on to a new company called Jawbone Health Hub that is designed to make “health-related hardware and software services.” Many existing Jawbone employees have already transitioned to the new company.

I liked Jawbone’s products… I still have a Jawbone Jambox at home that I use all the time, and my UP3 served me well before I got an Apple Watch.

But, that’s the same story most people have said who owned an UP, there are still those who use them, but it’s getting less and less, and while Jawbone had a great app that could use the iPhone itself as a fitness tracker, they never did go that extra mile and make an Apple Watch app.


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John Gruber: “Speculation on the Pricing of and Strategy Behind This Year’s New iPhones”

John Gruber:

I created a bit of a stir the other day when I suggested the OLED iPhone “Pro” could start at $1,500.

Let’s take a serious look at this. $1,500 as a starting price is probably way too high. But I think $1,200 is quite likely as the starting price, with the high-end model at $1,300 or $1,400.

First, consider the problems Apple faces with any new iPhone. Here are the prices for the iPhone 7:

  • iPhone 7 32 GB: $649
  • iPhone 7 64 GB: $749
  • iPhone 7 256 GB: $849

And 7 Plus:

  • iPhone 7 Plus 32 GB: $769
  • iPhone 7 Plus 64 GB: $869
  • iPhone 7 Plus 256 GB: $969

These prices have remained unchanged ever since the “Plus” era began with the iPhone 6 models in 2014. Apple reports its company-wide profit margin each quarter, which tends to hover around 37 or 38 percent. Apple does not report margins per-device or per-product line, but considering that the iPhone accounts for around 70 percent of all Apple revenue, the margins for new iPhones almost certainly are somewhere between 35–40 percent. The exact number doesn’t really matter for the sake of this argument, so let’s just say that any new iPhone must have a profit margin of at least 35 percent for Apple to maintain its company-wide profit margin, and let’s further assume that maintaining company-wide margins in the high 30s is non-negotiable for the company.

Based on reactions to my post earlier this week, I think many people assume that the only thinking that goes into iPhone pricing is how much it costs for Apple to produce each iPhone. In other words, that the specs for the iPhone 7 were decided by how much Apple could put into them with $649/749/849 retail prices while achieving a profit margin of at least 35 percent. And that the specs for this year’s new iPhones have been set by the same logic.

But that’s too simplistic. You can’t talk about iPhone specs and pricing without considering scale. It’s not enough for Apple to create a phone that can be sold for $649/749/849 with 35 percent profit margins. They have to create a phone that can be sold at those prices, with those margins, and which can be manufactured at scale. And for Apple that scale is massive: anything less than 60–70 million in the first quarter in which it goes on sale is a failure — possibly a catastrophic failure.


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One Year of Pokémon GO

One year ago Pokémon GO launched and quickly became a phenomenon. In celebration of that anniversary, the game’s makers at Niantic announced that starting today a special Pikachu wearing Ash’s hat will begin appearing across the world for catching. It will disappear after July 24, so trainers will need to act quickly if they don’t want to miss out.

Also marking the first year of Pokémon GO’s life, The Verge’s Andrew Webster interviewed Niantic CEO John Hanke. One of the more interesting points from the interview centers on how the overwhelming success of the game early on altered the team’s plans for growing and expanding the user experience through new features. Hanke says:

We lost probably six months on our schedule because of the success of the game. Really all the way through November and December, from launch onward we were rebuilding and rewiring infrastructure just to keep the game running at the scale that we were running at. We were fortunate to have a massive launch, a massive success, and many, many more users than we had planned for. But we had to redirect a substantial portion of the engineering team to [work on] infrastructure versus new features. That switched off things like extending gyms, it pushed out things we still want to have, like player-versus-player and trading.

Hanke reiterates that both trading and player-versus-player battles are still in the works, but he gave no timetable for their release.

One year, and yeah, the excitement has died down quite a bit, still know a few people who play it but I haven’t opened that app on my iPhone in months.


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Apple News May Let Publishers Sell Ads Their Own Way

Garett Sloane, reporting for AdAge:

Apple is working on a money fix for publishers that send their articles and content to its News app but so far have gotten very little in return, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple News will let top media partners use their own technology to fill the ad space in their content, becoming more of an extension of the publishers’ own websites than the walled-off island it is now, the people said.


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Steve Jobs and the missing “Intel Inside” sticker

Ken Segall:

I get that Intel Inside is one of the most successful marketing campaigns in business history. It’s just that after 36 years, that logo starts to feel more like a pollutant than an advertising device.

Thankfully, Macs have remained 100% free of Intel branding since Apple adopted its processors way back in 2006.

We have Steve Jobs’s sensibilities to thank for this. But how it all happened is a fun little story.


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Amazon is now developing its own wines

Amazon is now developing its own wines

Trader Joe’s has Two Buck Chuck. Amazon? A new wine label called Next with bottles costing $20, $30 and $40 a pop.

The company recently announced that it helped develop this new wine brand produced by King Vintners, a subsidiary of Oregon’s King Estate Winery, and had started selling it on In a press release, the new wine brand is described as “the first wine ever developed from conception to release with Amazon Wine.”

Interesting, but living in the heart of Canada’s wine valley with over 300 wineries within an hour from my house, I’ll stick to local wines I think.


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