Cheaper iPhone coming

Future iPhone is smaller, cheaper

Apple is rumored to be prepping an updated version of its iPhone SE, to be smaller (4.7 inch) and cheaper. The company will use many of its newest components in the smaller phone, giving users the latest hardware at lower prices. Business Insider

dis-rup-shun: Apple is smart to not cede the lower end of the smartphone market to upstarts such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and Samsung. As mass markets demand less expensive handsets, and large manufacturers oblige, Apple could lose the platform that runs its new services, including a credit card, streaming video, music and news. Apple sees the hardware writing on the wall — hardware inevitably becomes a commodity while services generate profits — and will not be left behind.

AT&T streaming service confuses even AT&T

AT&T, preparing to do battle with Netflix and Disney+, is creating confusion with its naming schemes. The service formerly known as DirecTV Now will now be called AT&T TV Now. The new service, called AT&T TV, essentially mimics cable, with a two year contract and escalating prices. Both are, oddly, offered through a common AT&T app. AT&T product managers have become confused and used the wrong name in advertisements. Ars Technica

dis-rup-shun: As discussed previously, a streaming TV bloodbath is on the horizon and Disney is in a strong position to lead with aggressive pricing and a rich catalog of original content, including sports from ESPN. Amazon and Netflix are strong incumbents, but since Amazon Prime video is a fringe benefit of Prime shopping and shipping, competition won’t impact Prime Video. AT&T is not doing itself any favors with its confusing marketing. 800 pound gorillas often trip on their own feet, and AT&T may be suffering from too many product managers.

Tesla killer — the Porsche Taycan Turbo is coming

Porsche has raised the bar in electric performance cars, with its Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S sports sedans that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in less then 3 seconds. The cars will sell for $153,510 and $187,610, respectively. Both feature a 93 kilowatt battery, compared to 60 to 73 kilowatts in Tesla models. Business Insider

dis-rup-shun: What we first learned from Tesla is that the electric cars were instant hits because they were novel and luxurious. Luxury buyers traded their Jaguars and Land Rovers to be the first in their cities with Teslas. Now that the novelty of Tesla is long gone, Porsche stands to redefine the high end auto market as high performance, eco-conscious. Expect a sharp rise over the next five years in the percentage of luxury cars that are electric.

Vivint and Control4 integrate

Control4 has long been a leader in affordable but sophisticated home automation, and has been the go-to system for those unwilling to pay for Crestron or AMX. Vivint has long been a technology leader in mass market home security systems. The two have launched an integration partnership whereby Control4 can control Vivint security systems, and Vivint sensors can provide data to initiate events in the Control4 system. CEPro

dis-rup-shun: It is good to see vendors get along and complement one another. It is good for the industry, and good for consumers. This cooperation underscores the rising demand for home automation for mass markets. Consumers want more than simple home security features, and a truly smart home will take any large number of actions based upon its interpretation of input collected from any sensor throughout the home, including changing temperature, lighting, or sending specific alerts.

Is Uber’s future a history lesson?

Uber implements hiring freeze

Uber, having gone public in May, has enough cash, $13.7 billion, to continue losing money for two years. The company has never been profitable and has warned that it may never be. The company recently trimmed one third of its marketing staff and has announced a hiring freeze for technical employees. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Can a company that never earns a profit be a success? Uber has successfully changed the world of transportation, has successfully raised $8.1 billion in its public offering, rewarding its investors, and has experimented with new business concepts such as food delivery, helicopter taxis, scooter sharing and is betting on driverless cars. Like a hurricane, the company is a destructive force that reshapes the landscape forever, but may be a passing phenomena whose future is relegated to history lessons. Now the race is on to see if management can generate a profit, lest the company be only a grand experiment.

Roku a rising star in the turbulent streaming video market

Netflix is now facing a number of well-funded competitors in Disney, Comcast, Apple and AT&T who are competing for a slice of the household streaming subscription budget. Roku, a company aggregating access to many streaming and related video services, earns a fee from initial purchases as well as a small revenue share from services it offers to the 36% of connected homes that it serves. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: If streaming services such as Netflix are analogous to TV networks in the old TV world, only without advertising revenues, then Roku is analogous to cable TV, only without subscription fees. That is, the networks have to pay a carriage fee to Roku to gain access to connected homes. Unlike the streamers, Roku is not locked into a difficult battle to create unique (and costly) original content.

Smaller cities fighting against brain drain

Small towns are fighting the brain drain of tech jobs to large cities. Despite the conveniences and efficiencies of remote work afforded by the Internet, wage disparities between jobs in large cities and small has increased, leading states such as Vermont to devise a number of incentives, including relocation allowances and co-working office space, to attract workers to smaller towns. Wired

dis-rup-shun: In a decade of flat wages and growing inflation, the attraction of better salaries continues despite a shortage of housing, difficult commutes, and higher crime rates. Companies catering to urban conglomeration, such as WeWork, are enjoying high valuations, but expect the pendulum to swing away from denser living as Generation Z, larger than Millenials or Baby Boomers, reaches a tipping point of high living costs.

5G hype alert: no 5G in iPhone 11

5G, the next generation of wireless technology, will be a game changer for the Internet of Things movement. But the game won’t be changing for at least a year. Apple has announced that 5G, unlike Samsung, will not be a feature of its next generation of phones, as 5G networks simply aren’t ready. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: In a time when people hold on to expensive smartphones for three or more years, the decision not to support 5G gets more interesting. Perhaps Apple is counting on the widespread deployment of 5G networks, expected in 12 to 18 months, to create high demand for the model after next, and spur sluggish sales, as chances of Android models with 5G winning iPhone owners are small.

Self-driving vans deliver Walmart groceries

Robovan delivers groceries for Walmart

Walmart will test a driverless van made by California firm Gatik to deliver groceries from an Arkansas distribution center to homes nearby in Bentonville. The test will include backup drivers who will sit behind the wheel to monitor the robovans. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Walmart, one of the largest retailers of grocery products, is racing to keep Amazon, the owner of Whole Foods and extensive drone development, from eating its lunch. Gatik estimates that driverless delivery vans could halve the cost of grocery deliveries — making the elimination of driver jobs far more appealing to consumers. 

Google Facebook ad duopoly shrinking

Last week’s earnings reports reveal that Snap, Amazon and Twitter’s ad revenues are up significantly, putting a dent in the 51% dominance of Google and Facebook. eMarketer sizes the global online ad market at $333 billion in 2019. Snap’s revenue was up 48% and Facebook’s 28%. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: A decline in the duopoly of Google and Facebook comes at a convenient time for these providers, as Big Tech is under review by Congress for limiting competition. This data will not help Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for breaking up tech giants, though we see that one of the companies taking share from the duopoly is Amazon, perhaps supporting the calls for limiting Amazon’s rapid dominance of many markets.

All three 2020 iPhones to feature 5G

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is reportedly the most accurate Apple watcher, says all three new iPhone models to be released in 2020 will support the new wireless network standard called 5G. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: To repeat a common saying, the pace of technological change will never be slower than it is today. 5G provides data speeds up to 20 times faster than our current 4G networks, and will support far more devices with smaller antennas, using less power. 5G is a big deal because it will enable exponential growth in both number of devices and amount of data than can be downloaded or uploaded on a carrier’s network. If you live in or around a city, you will be awash in connected devices (see connected diaper). If you live in rural areas, well, you will still struggle with basic high speed Internet.  

SpaceX Starship Mars explorer takes a spin  

Musk’s SpaceX continues to aggressively develop and test space craft. Last Thursday the company’s Starship tested maneuverability by taking off and moving laterally about 60 feet, then landing. Musk claims that this is the craft that will go to Mars. Despite multiple fires and mishaps, Musk has sold a trip around the moon to a Japanese billionaire. Wired

dis-rup-shun: For Musk watchers, a pattern to the billionaire’s operational culture proves that risk is not limited by inactivity. With both car company Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, Musk learns by trying and is not afraid of regular failures. In the business of transporting humans, however, this experimentation is high risk, and a balance between safety regulations (consider the 737 Max) and pressing for innovation is required.

How China can bruise Apple and slow the global economy

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22.3″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.22.3″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]If China retaliates for Huawei’s banishment

Wired offers some damaging scenarios for Apple if Chinese leaders decide to pay back damage to state influenced telecom maker, Huawei. China could offer some severe blows to the world’s largest company that derives 19% of its revenues in China by:

  • Interfering with Apple’s supply chain and manufacturing that take place in Shenzen
  • Placing limits on Apple’s retail stores or on its online app store
  • Requiring certain Chinese manufactured components to be included in iPhones
  • Fueling a nationalist campaign against buying Apple

dis-rup-shun: Apple moved much of its production to China’s Foxconn several years ago, and the company should hope that Chinese authorities are still appreciative of the action. Apple’s performance is undoubtedly a lever of global economic health that, if pulled by China, will certainly contribute to economic turbulence in the year ahead.

Google, Amazon and now Facebook want you to use their home portal

This week Amazon released a new version of its home portal, Echo Show 5. Also this week, Facebook released software to make it easier to send content from a smartphone to the Facebook Portal device, and to place video calls to the device. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun:  Facebook Portal is a quality hardware device if you like using Facebook messenger for calls, and like a large photo viewing screen. Will smartphone apps increase demand for the in-home device? This product is expensive and appeals to a niche market – the Facebook Messenger junkie. Without the home automation device support offered by Amazon Echo, and without the integration with the Google search engine that Google Home offers, the Portal remains a specialized device taking up valuable counter space. And, by the way, Amazon and Google are selling their devices at a loss, seeking to be the razor that will sell their growing portfolio of services (blades). Facebook will have to add functionality to Portal and sell at a deep loss to succeed with devices. This device just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

iRobot knows how tall is your grass 

iRobot, the $1 billion maker of Roomba vacuums and Braava robotic mops is now offering a robotic lawn mower, the Terra, which, unlike prior products that navigate with cameras, uses beacons buried in your yard to guide the device.  ZDNet

dis-rup-shun:  iRobot is launching robotics 2.0, devices that reuse both data as well as code bases to know more about your home. After cleaning your floors, iRobot’s devices have mapped your home using cameras and now have the intelligence to clean up a bathroom or work in specific areas, as well as pass that information on to other devices such as the robotic mop. The map of your home is stored in Amazon’s cloud and will someday be shared with other authorized devices with a need to know.

Finally, a really smart (and beautiful) universal remote control

A new universal remove from Sevenhugs is separate remote for every device. Based on beacons placed discretely in your primary viewing room, the Sevenhugs remote knows which device you are pointing to and “changes” its layout to take on the attributes of each individual device. Sevenhugs

dis-rup-shun: Though the year is 2019, universal and smart remotes are still often very difficult to set up and frequently inconsistent in their operation, not to mention that some important control functions get lost or omitted from some universal devices. The elegant design and small size makes this remote one that will not have to be hidden away before parties. Its blank touchscreen changes according to the device it is pointed to. Now that’s smart.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Will the iPhone faithful bear the brunt of trade wars?

How new tariffs will increase the cost of your next iPhone

Last week’s new tariff on Chinese goods levies a 25% fee on electronics (and about all other) products from China. While your iPhone is designed in Cupertino, it is assembled in China and subject to the new tariff. Outcomes for device makers such as Apple, assuming no settlement is reached in the near term, include passing on the fees to consumers, estimated to be a 14% increase, reducing profitability by subsidizing the tariff, moving their manufacturing to Vietnam, India or even the U.S. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Given the recent decrease in growth rates of smartphone sales, it is unlikely Apple will pass costs on to consumers, especially since its primary smartphone competitor, Samsung, makes phones in South Korea and is not subject to new tariffs. The tariffs are, however, a reminder of the need for multiple sources in multiple locations.

The future of work is less about structure and more about values

At Atlassian’s Future of IT conference, 13 takeways on the future of work elaborate on three themes: 1. technology has made traditional structures such as titles, locations, academic majors, and organizational teams mostly irrelevant to outcomes, 2. the value of a company is the quality of its talent base, 3. lifestyle balance and purpose, more than income, make a company healthy and happy. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: Video conferencing tools have made location nearly irrelevant for knowledge industries. Collaboration tools, including email, eliminated the boundaries of a traditional 8 to 5 workday nearly two decades ago, forcing workers to determine how much of their personal lives they are willing to give to the corporation. For this reason, purpose and the pursuit of well-being for stakeholders have become critical management mandates for a sustainable corporation, including increasing shareholder returns.

Samsung S11 Galaxy expected to be a design game changer

Early glimpses of the upcoming Samsung S11 smartphone indicate that the device will not only provide a groundbreaking 64 megapixel camera, but will be a design masterpiece. T3

dis-rup-shun: Camera innovation is the theme of the current smartphone battles, with the devices providing stunningly beautiful photos. With the pace of new smartphone features slowing and prices remaining high, shifts in market share will be very difficult to win. Samsung’s smartphones are improving more quickly than iPhones, slowly chipping away at Apple’s share, but the Apple faithful will continue to consider the Android experience too large a step from the comfortable iOS interface.