Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Apple’s notoriously strict terms of doing business in its App Store appear to be loosening. A federal judge has ordered the company to allow developers to offer customers alternative payment methods after ruling that all payments go through Apple violate California’s unfair competition laws. Apple is ordered to within 90 days begin allowing developers to include in their apps payment links to processors other than the App Store. Developers now see a path to avoid handing Apple commissions of up to 30 percent for handling sales through the $100 billion online market.  Continue reading Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Global consumer social app spending is expected to hit $17.2 billion by 2025, up from $6.78 billion in 2021, according to a study by San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm App Annie. That’s a 29 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years — a brisk pace credited mainly to live streaming. By 2025, the lifetime total spend on social apps is expected to reach $78 billion, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, time spent using social media the globe over totaled a whopping 740 billion hours for the first half of 2021, with 548 billion hours devoted to live streaming. Continue reading Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

Facebook and Luxottica Group’s luxury sunglass manufacturer Ray-Ban unveiled new smart glasses that enable the user to record via cameras hidden in the frame. The Ray-Ban glasses — priced at $299 — are based on the classic Wayfarer model, with the addition of a very small recording light, two 5-megapixel cameras, three microphones and four gigabytes of storage. The glasses, which will come in 20 style combinations and either clear or prescription lenses, are powered by Facebook technology. Both Facebook and Ray-Ban parent Luxottica stated that, “privacy is built into the product.” Continue reading Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

The Federal Trade Commission released Comscore figures showing Facebook’s marketplace dominance. From September 2012 through December 2020, the network generated 92 percent of the monthly time U.S. users spent on social media. In contrast, the combined market shares of Snap, Google+, MeWe and Friendster never exceeded 18 percent in any month during that time frame. A federal judge dismissed the case in June noting that the FTC did not offer details of its monopoly claim; these findings are now part of the FTC’s lawsuit. Continue reading FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Amidst political turmoil and economic struggle, El Salvador has announced it is adopting Bitcoin as its national currency, becoming the first country in the world to do so. But things got off to a rough start this week as the Bitcoin e-wallet went offline for several hours as consumer download demand overwhelmed government servers. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the country will spend more than $225 million to launch Bitcoin. Global Bitcoin enthusiasts supported the initiative by buying $30 of Bitcoin, but that didn’t prevent the currency from declining 9.9 percent Tuesday evening. Continue reading El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Microsoft announced it is acquiring Clipchamp, an in-browser video creation and editing app that can be used on everything from social clips destined for YouTube to promos and business presentations. Combining “the simplicity of a web app with the full computing power of a PC with graphics processing unit acceleration,” Microsoft says Clipchamp is a “natural fit” with the existing cloud-based productivity suite of Microsoft 365 for families, students and business. With a template-driven approach and wide variety of filters, Clipchamp is a prosumer tool that has garnered more than 17 million registered users since launching in 2013. Continue reading Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Amazon to Open Cashierless Whole Foods Stores Next Year

Amazon plans to open two “Just Walk Out” Whole Foods stores in 2022, in Washington D.C. and Sherman Oaks, California, leveraging the same technology used in its Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores. The company also offers the technology for sale to other retailers. This marks the first time that Amazon is using its cashierless technology at the 500-store Whole Foods, which it bought in 2017. Shoppers enter and leave the store by scanning a QR code in Amazon or Whole Foods apps and motion sensors track their shopping choices. Continue reading Amazon to Open Cashierless Whole Foods Stores Next Year

Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Analytics firm Pixalate has announced $18.1 million in growth capital for connected TV and mobile advertising initiatives. The new round brings total capital raised to $22.7 million for the 9-year-old firm, which specializes in fraud prevention, privacy protection and legal compliance via offices in Santa Monica, Palo Alto and London. The move comes as Pixalate rises to meet the challenges of enterprise clients fending off bot attacks, ad fraud and other malicious threats. Malware incursions by intruders like Puppeteer siphon tens of millions of dollars in annual ad revenue, according to Pixalate. Continue reading Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Ireland Slaps Facebook’s WhatsApp Service with GDPR Fine

In its first major ruling against social media giant Facebook, Irish authorities fined the company’s WhatsApp messaging service almost $270 million (225 million euros) under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Those authorities stated that WhatsApp was not transparent about how data collected by those using the app is shared with other Facebook properties, including Instagram. WhatsApp said it would appeal the decision. Since established three years ago, the GDPR has not resulted in any major fines or penalties for Facebook until now. Continue reading Ireland Slaps Facebook’s WhatsApp Service with GDPR Fine

Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

After an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Apple agreed to let Netflix, Spotify and some other companies use payment methods outside Apple’s App Store when users sign up for subscriptions. Analysts dub the move a “strategic retreat” from what has been a huge source of revenue for Apple. During Epic Games’ lawsuit against the tech giant, lawyers revealed that 81 percent of the App Store’s 2016 revenue came from games, 3 percent from music and 4 percent from other forms of entertainment. Continue reading Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

TikTok is pushing out its Creator Marketplace API, which allows partner firms to optimize campaigns using first-party data and platform integration. The Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok’s influencers, sharing basic stats that helps them connect with brands that can then mount, manage, measure and track campaigns within the app. The new API takes this to a new level with features including demographic filtering and real-time campaign tracking. Formally debuted in June 2020, Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok influencers with at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. Continue reading TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Spotify has globally launched Blend, a two-party playlist generator designed for social listening. The feature allows both paid and free mobile users to tag-team song streams that can be shared across all platforms. Using the technology behind Spotify’s Family Mix and Duo Mix multi-person apps, this variation offers a twist; after creating a Blend participants receive a “taste match score” that reveals similarities and differences between the pair’s listening preferences and can compare their preferences to those of their friends. Continue reading Spotify Deploys ‘Blend’ Feature to Enable Sharing of Playlists

Twitter Rolls Out Latest Monetization Feature: ‘Super Follows’

Twitter debuted a new feature called Super Follows, which allows some users to make money by charging for access to subscriber-only content. Users who qualify for the program must be over the age of 18, based in the U.S. and have 10,000+ followers as well as having tweeted more than 25 times in the past 30 days. The payout, powered by payments platform Stripe, will range depending on the Super Follows price and number of followers who sign up. A user who charges $4.99 per month for Super Follows and has 2 percent of 13,000 followers sign up will make $900 a month. Continue reading Twitter Rolls Out Latest Monetization Feature: ‘Super Follows’

LinkedIn to Swap Fleeting Stories for Creative Video Feature

Last year, Microsoft’s LinkedIn added Stories as “a fun and casual way to share quick video updates.” According to senior director of product Liz Li, the company is now going back to the drawing board to create a “reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational.” In the meantime, LinkedIn announced it is shutting down its Stories feature, having received feedback that users did not want disappearing videos but rather lasting videos that showcase their expertise and personality. Continue reading LinkedIn to Swap Fleeting Stories for Creative Video Feature

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