With his spectacles and kindly smile, Tim Cook is just one of those guys who sounds like he means well. Maybe he does — but he also means business.
Cook spoke at the Time 100 Summit in New York City on Tuesday. The Apple CEO covered a range of topics, including regulations, political donations, and a somewhat clumsily dodged question about President Donald Trump. Cook also stressed how Apple really is different from other tech companies: namely, in its approach to privacy, and screen time.
“We don’t want people using their phones all the time,” Cook said. “This has never been an objective for us.”
In the talk, Cook claimed that Apple’s goal was not to stretch the amount of time people spend looking at their Apple devices. He bemoaned the “thousands” of notifications he gets, and pointed out that every moment you spend looking at your screen is time you don’t spend looking into the face of another human being.
“Apple has never wanted to maximize user time,” Cook said. “We’re not motivated to do that from a business point of view, and we’re certainly not from a values point of view.”
This is, quite frankly, pretty dang rich. Apple invented the device and ecosystem that delivers all those notifications Cook dislikes so much. And that system makes Apple money. A lot of money. The company increasingly depends on app purchases and in-app payments. In 2018, Apple’s services revenue grew 24 percent from 2017, up to $37.2 billion.
That slice of the pie is only likely to grow. In March, Apple held its first event dedicated to its services business, instead of devices. At the event, it announced new subscription gaming, entertainment, and news programs, which all depend — guess what — on consumers spending more time looking at their screens.
Analysts predict, with increasing competition in the hardware space, the future of Apple lies in services. In other words, its bottom line is more dependent than ever on keeping you engaged with the content on your screen. One source even told Bloomberg that revenue from Apple’s new gaming service, Arcade, might even be determined by “divid[ing] up the revenue between developers based on how much time users spend playing their games.”
Even if Cook says he wants the time you spend on your device to be meaningful and empowering, that’s still time you spend on your screen. And, as Cook himself said, that’s time spent away from engaging with other people.
When Apple first unveiled Screen Time, the reporting feature that tells users how much time they spend on their phones, I wondered whether it should be up to the people who created the problem of screen addiction to attempt to find a solution. Now, Apple is attempting to pass that buck to the apps (like Facebook) that enable “mindless scrolling,” as Cook called out in his Time 100 speech. Apple didn’t create the problem after all, according to Cook.
This is a public relations spin that’s hard to swallow. Cook insists that screen addiction comes from the apps, not the screen itself. But considering Apple’s own push into services, as well as the fact that the iPhone delivers those addictive apps, Cook’s claims ring hollow.
Huawei Reportedly Helped North Korea Build Out 3G Network In Secret.
A new report could ultimately prove another bombshell in Huawei’s on-going conflicts with the U.S. government. New documents obtained by The Washington Post tie the Chinese hardware giant to North Korea’s commercial 3G wireless network.
If proven, the ties would be yet more fodder for the U.S., which has already dinged the company over charges of violating Iran sanctions. The government has also been investigated potential ties between Huawei and North Korea for years, though concrete links have apparently remained elusive.
This latest report arrives by way of a former Huawei employee, with confirmation and supporting documents from other sources who have also requested to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. For its part, Huawei has stated that it has “no business presence” in the embattled country.
“Huawei is fully committed to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries and regions where we operate, including all export control and sanction laws and regulations,” it said in a statement offered to the press. Notably, the statements appear to apply primarily to its current business offerings, while declining to comment on the past.
The specifics of the dealings are a touch complicated. According to the documents, Huawei partnered with Panda International Information Technology, a state-owned Chinese communications company. Huawei reportedly used the firm to send networking equipment to the country in order to launch wireless carrier, Koryolink over a decade ago.
The company has been under additional scrutiny recently as carriers have begun to roll out 5G networks across the globe. We’ve reached out to Huawei for additional comment.
Instagram Wants Opening Your DMs To Feel Like ‘Walking Into A Party’.
It’s incredible that Kaitlyn Tiffany and I haven’t yet asked why people slide into other people’s direct messages, but that ends today. On this week’s episode of Why’d You Push That Button?, we want to hear love stories and stories of failed courtship attempts. We ask why people slide into DMs, and then we process how the direct message’s connotation has changed over time.
We chat with our friend Blake who has slid into multiple DMs, as well as Tasbeeh Herwees, who called DMs the “new little black book” in MEL. Then we talk to a man named Thomas who met his boyfriend on Twitter through the DMs. We love love!
Finally, we take all our questions and thoughts to Connor Hayes, the director of product for Instagram messaging, who explains what the company has seen when it comes to DM behavior and what the future looks like for DMs. Notably, he says that Instagram wants to feel like a cool party where you can talk to all your friends, especially once Facebook merges all its messaging products together. This intimidates me, to be honest. Sometimes I don’t want to be at a party.
“If we do our job well, at the end of the day Instagram, when you open it up, is going to feel a lot more like walking into a party and hanging out with your friends than it is today, and we see messaging as a big part of that,” he says.
Listen to the episode above, and you can subscribe to the show anywhere you typically get your podcasts. To make it easy for you, we’ve also got our usual places linked: Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and our RSS feed.
Toyota Edges Closer Toward Creating A Space-Traveling Moon Rover.
Toyota just moved one step closer toward pioneering an RV fit for space travel.
Just days ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on Saturday, the automaker announced that it has officially signed a three-year commitment agreement with Japan's space agency JAXA to develop a pressurized moon rover set to launch a decade from now.
Toyota on July 16 released a timeline detailing its plans to bring the project to life. This comes four months after the automaker announced that it was looking into partnering with JAXA to develop the fuel cell-powered behemoth.
The preliminary timetable has Toyota and JAXA finalizing specifications for a prototype during the fiscal year 2019. Manufacturing would begin in 2020 and testing is expected to happen in 2021.
The plan covers almost every year from now through 2027. In 2022, the partners expect to start testing the prototype's driving systems and by 2024, Toyota wants to start designing the actual flight model. The duo is aiming to launch the rover in 2029.
To achieve these goals, Toyota established Lunar Exploration Mobility Works, a department dedicated specifically to the rover. The Japanese car company's new workforce division will grow to about 30 employees by the end of 2019, according to a press release.
A few months back, Toyota unveiled conceptual renderings of the six-wheeled vehicle which calls for enough living space to comfortably support two occupants.
The spacecraft would also enable astronauts to live inside it without wearing space suits.
The vehicle is expected to be be at least 20 feet long, 17 feet wide and 12.4 feet high. The electric machine would be powered by fuel cells, which use clean power generation methods and emit only water. The rover would have a lunar surface range of more than 6,200 miles, according to Toyota.
JAXA wants to use the futuristic mobile home to help astronauts explore the lunar poles in search of frozen water. The agency also sets its eyes on using the technology to explore other planets.
Instagram Will Notify You Before Deactivating Your Account.
Instagram is strengthening its moderation policies today and adding a new alert that will warn people who violate rules when their account is close to being deleted.
The alert will show users a history of the posts, comments, and stories that Instagram has had to remove from their account, as well as why they were removed. “If you post something that goes against our guidelines again, your account may be deleted,” the page reads.
Instagram will give users a chance to appeal its moderation decisions directly through the alert, rather than having to go through its help page on the web. Only some types of content will be able to be appealed at first (such as pictures removed for nudity or hate speech), and Instagram plans to expand the available content appeal types over time.
The change will help clarify for users why they’re in trouble and should remove the shock of suddenly finding that your account has vanished. While it’s likely that a great number of banned accounts are removed for obvious rule violations, Instagram — like its parent company Facebook — has regularly had moderation problems when it comes to nudity and sexuality, where users have had photos removed for posting pictures of breastfeeding or period blood. This update won’t prevent those mistakes (those types of photos are supposed to be allowed), but it would make appealing the decision easier.
In addition to the new alert, Instagram is also going to give its moderating team more leeway to ban bad actors. Instagram’s policy has been to ban users who post “a certain percentage of violating content,” but it’ll now ban people who repeatedly violate its policies within a window of time, too. The specifics here are all as vague as ever, as Instagram doesn’t want to offer details and let bad actors game the system, but it sounds like it could lead to fewer problematic accounts slipping through on a technicality.
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