What We Lose In A Streaming Music World

Richard Anderson on the downside to streaming music services:

It feels like the move to streaming music means we’re losing something. What happens to music that isn’t available on a streaming service? How will you explore the music of a surprisingly good opening band when they don’t exist in the library of Apple Music, Spotify, or TIDAL? So much music that has touched my soul, you can’t stream it for love or money. I had to seek it out on my own, pawing through used music bins, or going to shows. When there’s an all-you-can eat buffet for $9.99, what’s the incentive to order something that isn’t on the menu?

While services like Apple Music and Spotify have their place in the music industry, I still love my physical collection of music (both vinyl and in iTunes).

Google I/O 2016

Many exciting announcements from Google today. I’m particularly interested in Google Home. I was a potential Amazon Echo buyer until I found out they don’t ship to Canada.

Twitter to Stop Counting Photos and Links in 140-Character Limit

Bloomberg:

The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them.

About damn time.

Meet Gboard

Earlier this week, Google released an alternative keyboard for iOS:

With Gboard, you can search and send all kinds of things—restaurant info, flight times, news articles—right from your keyboard. Anything you’d search on Google, you can search with Gboard. Results appear as cards with the key information front and center, such as the phone number, ratings and hours. With one tap, you can send it to your friend and you keep the conversation going.

My initial reaction was – ‘I wonder how much personal data Google is gaining from this’ – but after reading their privacy statement, it appears they aren’t taking much:

Privacy

We know the things you type on your phone are personal, so we’ve designed Gboard to keep your private information private.

What Gboard sends to Google:

  • When you do a search, Gboard sends your query to Google’s web servers so Google can process your query and send you search results.
  • Gboard also sends anonymous statistics to Google to help us diagnose problems when the app crashes and to let us know which features are used most often.

What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:

  • Everything else. Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.

This doesn’t mean their privacy statement won’t change, but it does make me wonder why Gboard doesn’t sync with Google or send more user data. Maybe it was their decision, or perhaps, it was forced by the App Store review process.

Currently Gboard is only available in the US App Store.

 

Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot Is Coming

Neil Cybart on Apple’s increased R&D spending:

People are focusing on the wrong thing when analyzing Apple’s path forward in the face of slowing iPhone sales. Instead of debating how much Apple will try to monetize the iPhone user base with services (not as much as consensus thinks), the company is instead planning its largest pivot yet. There are only a handful of logical explanations for Apple’s current R&D expense trajectory, and all of them result in a radically different Apple. In a few years, we are no longer going to refer to Apple as the iPhone company.

Neil makes some astute arguments and suggests Apple is serious about making a car:

In reality, people are grossly underestimating the odds that Project Titan will lead to Apple actually shipping an electric car. At this point, I peg odds of Apple selling its own electric car to be at least 80 percent. There is one very simple reason for my high degree of confidence: Project Titan is a long-term pivot. I don’t consider Titan to be just another project that Apple has been tinkering around with in the lab for years like an Apple television set or Apple Pencil. Instead, Project Titan is much more about building a foundation for Apple that will literally represent the company’s future.

It would be one hell of a pivot.

Budweiser Renames Its Beer "America"

Fast Company:

With the backdrop of the Olympics and a comically botched election, this summer is bound to be what Ricardo Marques, a vice president from Budweiser, calls “maybe the most American summer ever.”

So Budweiser is going to potentially ingenious, potentially absurd branding extremes. The company has kept the same can you already know, but when you look closely, you’ll realize that it has swapped out its own name, “Budweiser,” for “America.” That’s right, Budweiser has renamed its beer America for the summer.

I’m not American, but this strikes me as over the top.

The Real Reason Apple Made the Apple Watch

Tim Bajarin on the origin of the Apple Watch:

I have long been observing these key moves around healthcare, which accelerated after Jobs’ death. It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers. I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died. And while Apple’s products define Jobs’ legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple’s greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.

It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born. Apparently, Apple was looking at ways to deliver on Jobs’ goal of making their customers healthier by using technology to help monitor and track health related data points. It became clear to them that they would need some type of mobile device platform to do this. They concluded that a standard fitness tracker couldn’t do the types of things Jobs and current Apple executives really wanted to see. That’s how the Apple Watch came about.

I’m skeptic this was the only reason for the introduction of the Apple Watch. One hell of a dying wish though.