Weekly Digest - 2021.19


Twitter Blue

Twitter is considering to introduce a subscription service called Blue. It will cost $2.99 per month. The subscription will include an "Undo Tweets", which will give users a short time to undo a tweet. Another feature is called "Collections" and will allow users to organize their favorite tweets.

At the moment, there is no information whether and when Twitter will rollout this service.

Doge to the moon

SpaceX will launch a satellite to the a moon in 2022. The satellite will be named Doge-1 and will be funded by Dogecoin as the company Geometric Energy Corp. bought the flight in meme cryptocurrency. Ellon Musk tweeted that this mission will have many firsts: the first crypto in space, and the first meme in space.

So, it look like Doge will be literally taken to the moon.

Weekly Digest - 2021.18


Starship has landed

SpaceX successfully landed a Starship prototype for the first time. Well, technically it's not the first one, but it's the first that survive the test. The Starship SN15 did the same test as previous prototypes. It launched itself achieving high altitude, and started free-falling. Then, just above the ground, prototype reoriented itself and softly landed on the landing pad.

This is a huge success for the SpaceX. If everything goes as planned, NASA might use Starships for the first two missions to the Moon by around 2024.

Apple vs Epic Games

This week we had the first round of hearings. Here are the takeaways:

  • Apple consider changing the 70/30 split back in 2011. They considered to change it to 75/25 or even 80/20 when the pressure from competitors would be high enough,
  • Apple tried to stop Netflix from abandoning in-app purchases,
  • Tim Sweeney contacted Tim Cook about opening the AppStore in 2015,
  • Epic would have taken a special deal from Apple,
  • Epic is losing hundreds of millions on Epic Store,
  • Fortnite made $9 billion in two years,
  • Epic wanted Fortnite's multiplayer to be free on Xbox.

Image credits: SpaceX

Weekly Digest - 2021.17


Basecamp's controversy

Earlier this week, the Basecamp CEO posted a blog post announcing big changes inside the company. The new philosophy prohibited, among other things,  the “ No more societal and political discussions” on internal forums.  

After public backlash, CEO offered generous severance packages to any employee who disagreed with the changes.

On Friday,  about a third of 58 Basecamp employees took his offer and accepted buyouts. Later that day, 18 people had confirmed they left the company.  

While the CEOs argued that they were trying to get employees focused on work, the way it was done raises many questions. The most popular theory right now is that CEOs just wanted to easily get rid of employees that might disagree with their specific vision. Well, probably we will never know the truth. But what we know is that this will be difficult time for Basecamp.

Apple accused of antitrust violations

The European Commission issued antitrust charges against Apple over concerns about the company’s App Store practices. The Commission found that Apple has broken EU competition rules with its App Store policies. The Commission sent Apple a list of violated competition rules. Now, Apple has 12 weeks to respond.  

This specific case is only about Apple’s practices for music streaming. If Apple is found guilty, they will have to pay $27 billion fine for this case alone.

The EU is also investigating  other cases of  competition rules violation within App Store, so the total fine might be much bigger.

SpaceX's Crew-1 is back

The SpaceX and NASA finally completed the their first operational crew mission. It all started in November last year, with launch of 4 astronauts into the International Space Station. The crew spent 166 days onboard the station. On the 167th day, the capsule brought astronauts back to the Earth, splashing down in Gulf of Mexico. What's interesting, this was the first night splashdown for NASA since Apollo 8 in 1968.

So far, the Crew Program is a huge success for SpaceX. Both Demo and Crew-1 missions finished without any issues, and the third mission - Crew-2 - has successfully docked to the ISS.

Weekly Digest - 2021.16


Apple Spring Event

Apple held an online Spring Event and announced a couple of new products.

Purple iPhone 12

Apple added a new purple color option to the iPhone 12 lineup. There is nothing special about the phones themselves, they are just purple.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4k has been refreshed with the A12 Bionic chip. It should be more than enough to play 4K movies or play simple games. The new chip is a nice upgrade, but the biggest change was a new Siri remote. Apple has ditched the previous design with the trackpad. Now, we have good old  click wheel and the power button for a TV. It is good to see that Apple is abandoning bad designs and go back to things that people loved.

AirTags

Afters years of rumors, Apple finally  showed the AirTags. The AirTag is a tracking tile. You put it on something and you can locate it using the Find My app. It is not a GPS tracker, and it cannot be used for live tracking people or objects, but it allows to locate a lost items.

The AirTag uses BLE to communicate with surrounding iPhones to sent tag's approximated location to the tag's owner. If someone finds an AirTag, they can contact the owner using Find My app or by using the NFC. AirTags will also alert other people if the tag seems to follow them.

I almost forgot, but AirTag has a replaceable battery, that should last for a year.

The biggest surprise is a price. Everyone expected it to be around $50, but Apple is selling them for $29 for 1-pack or $99 for a 4-pack.

iMacs

The iMac lineup has been finally refreshed. It not only got the new M1 chip, but also has been redesigned. Now, iMac is much thiner and comes in different colors. I have mixed feelings about the front of the computer, but Apple thinks this is what people want. Another big change affected the ports. iMac has only 2 or 4 (depending on the configuration) USB-C ports. The ethernet port has been moved to the power brick. Speaking of the power brick, it connects to the iMac with braided MagSafe cable. Yup, you read it right the MagSafe is back! Or rather it has been introduced to the desktop computers.

There is no iMac Pro, but it probably will be introduced together with MacBook Pro later this year.

iPad Pro

The new iPad Pro is a beast: Apple put the fricking M1 chip from Macs inside the tablet. But that's not all. The 12.9-inch version has a mini-LED display. All versions up to 2TB of storage, have the Thunderbolt connector. The cellular model supports 5G. Of course the cameras have been updated. And usually I don't really care about cameras, but the new iPad has a feature called Center Stage that can automatically follow a person or adjust itself to present all talking people during a video call.

The pricing starts from $799 for 11-inch model, and $1099 for 12.9-inch model.

SpaceX Crew-2 mission

Space X has launched second operational Crew Dragon with 4 astronauts on board. This was the 3rd SpaceX crew mission that transported people to the International Space Station. This also is the first crew mission with parts used in previous missions. The Dragon capsule was used in Crew Demo mission, and rocket booster was used in Crew-1 mission.

The astronauts will stay on ISS for about a month a go back to Earth. The next mission is the Inspiration4 and is planned for September. And this will be the first mission with all-civilian crew.


Image credits: Apple

Weekly Digest - 2021.15


Apple Event

Apple sent invitations to an online Spring Event. This event supposed to be in March, but better late than never. Here is what we expect to see:

  • new iPads Pro,
  • new iMacs ,
  • new AirPods,
  • AirTags,

Whether any of those expectations will be fulfilled we will find out on April 20th.

LG to manufacture Apple Car?

Last week LG announced departure from making mobile phones, to focus on other areas like manufacturing parts to vehicles. This week we have rumors that LG together with Magna is very close to win Apple's Electric Car contract. What's interesting, the contract is about small volume of  vehicles for testing purposes. Which means we might see couple of Apple Cars before we see the final product.


Image credits: Apple