What does Apple’s acquisition of Xnor.ai mean?
Apple has acquired, for an estimated $200 million, Xnor.ai. The company was spun off from the Allen Institute, and began to create a process for making machine learning more efficient so that less powerful edge devices can run artificial intelligence. This may signal Apple’s deeper investment in the Internet of Things (IOT) and/or smart home products. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: The next wave of consumer technology is making connected devices much smarter, so that doorbell cams can recognize faces and let you know if your mail man is at the door, or if it is a total stranger. Machine learning is taking place mostly in the cloud, so this move by Apple signals the company’s desire to build smarter products, and differentiate through machine learning. Two contradictory trends are taking place at the current time: edge devices getting smarter and the arrival of 5G, which makes connecting devices to a smart cloud faster and ultimately cheaper. The net effect of faster connectivity to a smart cloud and smarter devices will likely be some amazingly powerful and innovate devices touching our lives at home, in the car, on the go, and at the office.
Alphabet joins trillion dollar club
Google parent Alphabet is now valued at over $1 trillion, joining Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, companies that have all, at one time, broken the trillion mark. Together Big Tech (including Facebook) make up 17% of the value of the S&P 500, up from 11% in 2015. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: While Big Tech is in the sights of regulators, both Federal and state, the companies continue to rapidly grow, crushing smaller companies while acquiring others (see above). The economic engines of GAFAM are some of the biggest job creators, while crushing traditional markets such as print and TV advertising, shipping, brick and mortar shopping, and smart devices, to name a few. The concept of creative destruction is taking place rapidly, and the question is, to what extent should our government regulations protect smaller interests as Big Tech explodes in revenue, influence and value?
Best earbuds for runners
It’s the new year and most of us are resolved to get in better shape. The days of wired earbuds are over, so what is the best earbud product for vigorous exercise? This CNET review looks at 11 possibilities for those most concerned about fit, noise cancellation, water proofing, or prefer an over the head and even glasses configuration.
dis-rup-shun: The hottest product for sale over the holidays was Apple AirPods, with people lining up before stores opened daily in hopes that a new shipment arrived before Christmas day. Investing in things that likely fall off, however, is not helpful and in the gym, being tethered to a treadmill, Peloton or just staying connected to a smartphone with wires is so 2010s.
Kings of the Castle latest Apple Arcade game
Kings of the Castle by Frosty Pop is the newest addition to Apple’s $4.99 per month all you can play gaming arcade service. CNET
dis-rup-shun: According to CNET, Apple’s new gaming service is off to a good start. Apple chose a different path from Google and its Stadia service, which is focused on more serious, traditional gamers. Apple’s Arcade is going for growth by converting casual gamers — people that don’t think of themselves as gamers — into fans of the service. The simple and engaging titles on Arcade are good ways to get another $5.00 per month, of $60 per year from the iPhone faithful, pumping up revenues from the same platform with a host of new services, including gaming, news and Apple’s new credit card. Building new revenues on existing platforms is how Apple the company will continue to grow despite maturing products.