Apple bundles services: Apple Prime?

Apple turns to bundling 

Bundling, the practice of offering a number of services or products together for a discount, has built many a company including AT&T, Comcast, Amazon, and soon Apple. Apple will be bundling Music, streaming TV, gaming and iCloud storage, and perhaps other benefits including an online workout service, in an Amazon Prime-like subscription that gives the faithful so much for a flat monthly fee. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: How can you refuse it? Services that you really want (Apple TV) along with some nice-to-haves, like Apple News and Arcade, for just a few more dollars per month. The good people at Peloton probably didn’t see an Apple fitness channel coming, but the data about home workouts is too enticing to pass up. Apple, with this move, is moving more deeply into the wheelhouse of Amazon and AT&T, providing attractive service revenues as well as its blockbuster lineup of Apple devices. Seems that Big Tech’s formula for the future consists of three critical components: cloud-based services, specialized content and apps, and consumer devices.

Microsoft seeks to create a new class of computing

Microsoft’s Surface family of products have been a wild success — offering Apple like design for the Windows crowd. Now Microsoft is going out on a limb with the Surface Duo, a foldable two screen device that is not a Windows computer, but too big to be a phone. The Android-based device is thin and elegant, offering two very portable screens for those who want more screen while on the move. Microsoft has decided to pass on 5G for the first release. The device can be pre-ordered at AT&T, or Best Buy. CNET

dis-rup-shun: It is rare to see Microsoft go all “Apple-like” and think it can create a new product category. The company traditionally has not been good at firsts, but excellent at second or third offerings. After the dismal failure that was the Nokia acquisition, Microsoft has decided to be an innovator. The device looks very tempting to pair some earbuds as a media player and phone, but will an Android-based computer satisfy the mobile office worker? If you want to play with $1,399, it will be a great experiment.

Waze adds contactless fueling to its app

Waze has partnered with both ExxonMobil and Shell, incorporating those companies’ rewards app into its own, enabling the user to purchase fuel at the pump without touching payment screens. CNET

dis-rup-shun: COVID-19 continues to reshape the new normal, and buying gas may never be the same. Even if you have resisted the fuel rewards programs, as you don’t think of yourself as loyal to a gas station, Waze has found a way to keep you from straying to the convenience of Google Maps or Apple Maps. Touchless payments have been popular in other parts of the world, such as Asia, for a number of years, but slow to catch on in the USA. Touchless fueling will accelerate mobile payment adoption assuming Americans start driving again.

Intel counting on next generation chip to put it back on top

Intel, the golden child of the era of computing, has been beaten up lately. Apple has bailed on Intel, AMD’s chips have bested some of Intel’s, and Qualcomm and Nvidia continue to eat away at Intel’s core customer base. Intel’s next generation, generation 11 chipsets, called Tiger Lake, should put the company back on top. Tiger Lake processors are faster, smaller, provide better graphics and use less battery power. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Competition is tough in the chip business, and China has just announced more emphasis on chip making given icy relations with the west. Intel’s corporate structure has served it well in traditional markets, but the company has been slow to be the engine inside of new connected device categories. The future of computing looks a lot less like a computer, and Intel needs to c

Equifax hack unveiled

Equifax hackers traced to China’s People’s Liberation Army

The Department of Justice has alleged that four individuals who are part of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were behind one of the world’s largest data breaches, exposing names, passwords and credit information of 147 million people. The hackers exploited a vulnerability in Apache (web) software that was publicly announced, along with a fix. Equifax did not implement the fix for over a week, giving the bad actors time to break in and establish a foothold from which they collected Equifax employee’s credentials — giving them easy access without relying on the Apache vulnerability. From their software base camp, the hackers spent several months carefully studying the Equifax file structure and built a number of schemas to harvest data without detection. Equifax was found, by the DOJ, to have many security weaknesses that made the hacking much simpler. Wired

dis-rup-shun: If four well-trained people gained access to nearly half of all U.S. citizen’s credit information in a matter of months several years ago, chances are good that multiple parties have already quietly gained access to essentially every citizen’s data by now — they just haven’t been caught. Imagine if you will, warfare in which one nation essentially freezes its enemy population’s assets and wrecks their ability to conduct simple transactions, dissolving their net worth instantly. Gold bars buried in the back yard, anyone? Expect data security software and consulting companies to thrive in this dangerous new world.

What you need to know about the Internet of Things

If you have a strong command of the Internet of Things, then skip this article. If you would benefit from a concise explanation of what is IOT, how did it emerge, and where is it going, then read the article. To be really brief, the Internet of Things is the state by which any device with a processor is connected to the Internet so that it can be controlled by other devices (smartphone, for example), can collect data during its use, and can share that data with something else. The benefits are thousands of devices that know us and serve us like we like to be served, and the risks are that bad players misuse the information that things collect and use it against us. Wired

dis-rup-shun: According to Wired, an inflection point for consumer IOT was the birth of Amazon Alexa, in 2014, following Apple’s Siri, several years later. Alexa took the mystery out of smart home and IOT products for some, but solidified the distrust of “big brother” for others. When all of our devices are dependent upon Wi-Fi to run, what do we do when our service goes out?

Sony Pictures Exec hired to run Amazon Prime Video

Mike Hopkins, formerly chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, will run Amazon’s Prime Video and Amazon Pictures units. Hopkins will report directly to Bezos, being one of a few direct reports. CNBC

dis-rup-shun:  The lines between traditional TV services and the new world of streaming continue to blur. Streaming services must have their own studios, period, as content is the primary differentiator. In this way, the new face of video will look a lot like the early days of movies, when a handful of movie studios owned movie theaters around the country and controlled distribution of their content. Today, streaming distributors control the studios making the content, hence becoming more vertically integrated.

Microsoft’s first Android phone is spotted

Spy photos captured pictures of Microsoft’s self-branded Surface Duo, which runs Android. The photos demonstrate that the clam shell of thin glass can be oriented in multiple way to create multiple layouts — including several screens of different content, or content across multiple surfaces. The device, while open, appears to be smaller than an iPad mini, but larger than the largest Samsung Galaxy phone. Arstechnica

dis-rup-shun:  Is it too late for Microsoft to hew out a share of the mobile phone market? Missing the smartphone market was one of Steve Ballmer’s biggest blunders, and one that nearly cost the company its position as a tech giant. The company was too determined that its bloated WindowsCE operating system would eventually prevail, and dismissed Nokia’s and Motorola’s early designs until it was too late. Microsoft’s Surface line caters to premium buyers, so there is a chance that the surface can garner a slice of the premium and profitable end of phablet buyers, and perhaps the company will use its foothold to take a bigger share of the smartphone market.