Daily Crunch

Daily Crunch: Apple unveils new iPhones

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Here’s everything Apple announced today at the iPhone 11 event

The biggest announcement was a new lineup of iPhones, including the iPhone 11, with a new dual-camera system, as well as two iPhone Pro models with three cameras each. Cameras galore!

In addition, the company announced new iPads and Apple Watches, as well as pricing and launch dates for Apple Arcade (launching September 19) and Apple TV+ (November 1).

2. California passes landmark bill that requires Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees

The bill says that if a contractor’s work is part of a company’s regular business, then they must be designated as employees. And thus, these workers will get access to more protections such as minimum wage, the right to unionize and overtime.

3. Peloton plots $1.2B Nasdaq IPO

In an amended S-1 filing released Tuesday afternoon, the developer of internet-connected stationary bikes and treadmills announced a proposed price range of $26 to $29 per share, allowing the company to raise as much as $1.2 billion in its public offering.

4. Uber lays off 435 people across engineering and product teams

Speaking of Uber, the company laid off about 8% of the workforce, with 170 people leaving the product team and 265 people leaving the engineering team.

5. Mozilla launches a VPN, brings back the Firefox Test Pilot program

The Test Pilot program allows users to try out new features before they are ready for mainstream usage.

6. Aerospace Corp CEO Steve Isakowitz to talk how to raise non-dilutive capital at Disrupt SF

Aerospace Corp is not that widely known outside space circles, but its 59-year-old R&D legacy is remarkable. The nonprofit works with the U.S. Air Force and other government space programs to identify emerging technologies from the commercial sector that could apply to future space programs.

7. What the iPhone 11 says about Apple’s present — and future

Let’s wrap this up with some thoughts on what yesterday’s announcements mean for Apple’s strategy — particularly the company’s growing focus on content and services, and its new thinking on how to position the iPhone. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Facebook Dating comes to the US

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook Dating launches in the US, adds Instagram integration

The integration means users will be able to add their Instagram accounts to their dating profiles and add Instagram followers to their “Secret Crush” lists.

If you’re wondering how this stacks up against other dating apps, the Secret Crush feature seems particularly interesting: While you won’t see your Facebook friends among your regular dating matches, you can list them as a crush that will only be revealed if the feeling is mutual.

2. Sonos gets portable

At six pounds, the Sonos Move is best positioned as augmenting a home setup. It’s a compelling device for barbecuing in the backyard, or taking out to the garage.

3. Federal judge rules that the ‘terrorist watchlist’ database violates US citizens’ rights

A federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush has ruled that the “terrorist watchlist” database compiled by federal agencies violates the rights of American citizens who are on it.

google search app ios

4. Google launches an open-source version of its differential privacy library

That means developers will be able to take this library and build their own tools that can work with aggregate data, without revealing personally identifiable information either inside or outside their companies.

5. A huge database of Facebook users’ phone numbers found online

The exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on users based in the United States.

6. Why Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi

Flipkart’s major bet on Hindi — a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India — illustrates a growing push from local and international companies as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond India’s urban areas. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Ashton Kutcher, Ann Miura-Ko and Mamoon Hamid are coming to Disrupt!

Specifically: They’re going to be judging the finals at the Startup Battlefield, hosted by yours truly.

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Daily Crunch: Apple will unveil the next iPhone on Sept 10

Posted by | Apple, Daily Crunch, hardware, Mobile | No Comments

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple will unveil the next iPhone September 10

Apple has sent out invites confirming rumors that its next major press event will happen on September 10. The event is expected to focus on the iPhone 11, unveiling three different models — the standard 11, as well as two Pro options.

If this happens, it would mark a subtle-but-significant shift in the way Apple structures its phone lineup. With a lower-priced flagship replacing the budget XR, the company could appeal to consumers who’ve been turned off by the rising prices for higher-end options.

2. Uber and Lyft are putting $60M toward keeping drivers independent contractors

In the event that California’s Assembly Bill 5 passes — forcing Uber and Lyft to make their drivers W-2 employees — each company is putting in $30 million to fund a 2020 ballot initiative that would enable them to keep their drivers as independent contractors.

3. Google lets David Drummond do the talking

Anyone wondering if Alphabet might reprimand its chief legal officer David Drummond for a long-ago extramarital affair with a former subordinate (which recently resurfaced in a much-discussed blog post), the answer seems to be . . . not right now.

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Image via Getty Images / vladwel

4. ‘Filmmaker Mode’ will automatically turn off all the dumb motion smoothing and noise reduction on new TVs

Most new TVs come with a bunch of random junk turned on by default; things like motion smoothing that makes epic movies look like soap operas, or noise reduction that can wash out details and make an actor’s skin look cyborg-y. With Filmmaker Mode, you’ll be able to push a button and all that crap gets turned off.

5. Nike Huaraches get updated for the smartphone age

Slowly but surely, Nike has made its self-lacing motor technology more accessible. The next step: Bringing the tech to its Huarache line next month.

6. What is Andela, the Africa tech talent accelerator?

To put it succinctly, Andela is a startup — backed by $180 million in venture capital — that trains and connects African software developers to global companies for a fee. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Marc Benioff will discuss building a socially responsible and successful startup at TechCrunch Disrupt

Benioff is coming to TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco to discuss how to build a highly successful business while giving back to the community.

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Daily Crunch: Smartphone sales decline again

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Smartphone sales declined again in Q2, surprising no one

After years of growth, the smartphone market’s recent slide has continued in the second quarter of 2019, according to Gartner.

It’s not a huge decline — 1.7% year over year — but this could turn into an ongoing problem for manufacturers. And the biggest hit is coming at the high end of the market, as higher prices combine with longer refresh cycles and fewer compelling features.

2. Yelp will let users personalize their homepage and search results

If you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re a parent who’s usually looking for kid-friendly restaurants, you no longer have to reenter that information every time you do a search. Instead, you can enter it once and Yelp will prioritize those results moving forward.

3. Ron Johnson’s e-commerce startup Enjoy raises $150M, expands in U.K.

Through partnerships with other companies, including AT&T, Sonos, Google and now EE, Enjoy creates an online mobile store where customers can shop for devices and receive same-day delivery. They can also opt to have an Enjoy expert deliver the item and help them get set up, free of charge.

Fairphone main Google

Fairphone 3 running Android 9 out of the box

4. Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics?

Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise that’s on a mission to rethink the waste and exploitation that underpins the business of consumer electronics, announced its third smartphone today.

5. Facebook is working with HackerOne on a bug bounty program for its Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook is moving ahead with its cryptocurrency project, even as government regulators have called for the company to suspend it while they assess its legality.

6. The BBC is developing a voice assistant, code named ‘Beeb’

Why is a publicly funded broadcaster ploughing money into developing a voice assistant? A BBC spokesperson said the intent is to “experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else’s permission to build it in a certain way.”

7. How to use Amazon and advertising to build a D2C startup

In-depth tips from VMG Ignite, a consultancy that’s worked with dozens of direct-to-consumer startups trying to both find product-market fit and achieve scale through Amazon and online advertising. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 10

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. This is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and 10+

The landscape has changed dramatically since the Galaxy Note was first unveiled in 2011, with Samsung pulling the rest of the industry into a world of bigger screens.

Now, the question is how to make the latest updates compelling. With the Note 10 and 10+ (available August 23 at a starting price of $950), Samsung is splitting the line into two distinct devices, and it’s getting rid of the headphone jack.

2. Google launches ‘Live View’ AR walking directions for Google Maps

The Live View feature isn’t designed with the idea that you’ll hold up your phone continually as you walk. Instead, in provides quick, easy and super-useful orientation by showing you arrows and big, readable street markers overlaid on the real scene in front of you.

3. Lyft’s stock is a roller coaster after its Q2 earnings release

Despite big losses, what made Wall Street happy was Lyft’s optimism for Q3, as well as the full-year 2019.

Netflix app icon iOS

Photo: TechCrunch

4. Netflix signs multi-year deal with ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal is worth $200 million. This follows expensive Netflix pacts with other high-profile showrunners, including Ryan Murphy ($300 million) and Shonda Rhimes ($100 million).

5. Instagram ad partner secretly sucked up and tracked millions of users’ locations and stories

Hyp3r, an apparently trusted marketing partner of Facebook and Instagram, has been secretly collecting and storing location and other data on millions of users, violating the policies of the social networks, according to Business Insider.

6. Sperm storage startups are raising millions

Both Dadi and Legacy recently raised funding, hoping to leverage venture capital dollars to become the dominant men’s fertility brand.

7. How to fundraise in August

Danny Crichton argues that although August is generally considered a black hole for VC, using it effectively for fundraising is perhaps the single most important factor for success in the coming season. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Yep, Apple is buying Intel’s modem business

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple acquiring most of Intel’s smartphone modem business in $1B deal

Apple has entered into a deal to acquire a majority of Intel’s modem business, including Intel IP, equipment, leases and employees — it’s bringing over 2,200 new roles and 17,000 wireless technology patents.

The deal confirms earlier rumors that Apple would acquire the business in order to permanently uncouple itself from Qualcomm, the source of much contention for both parties over the last several years.

2. SoftBank announces AI-focused second $108 billion Vision Fund with LPs including Microsoft, Apple and Foxconn

Worth noting: The second Vision Fund’s list of expected limited partners does not currently include any participants from the Saudi Arabia government.

3. Twitter Q2 beats on sales of $841M and EPS of $0.20, new metric of mDAUs up to 139M

The U.S. continues to be Twitter’s revenue engine, the company said. It accounted for $455 million of its sales, up 24%, while international revenue was $386 million, up just 12%.

(Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

4. Trump threatens Apple with tariffs, Google with investigation on Twitter

The president of the United States called out two of the nation’s largest tech firms in a pair of tweets this morning.

5. Google says it doubled Pixel sales year-over-year

It looks like the mid-range Pixel 3a is the hit Google surely hoped it would be. The news came as part of the solid earnings that parent company Alphabet reported yesterday.

6. SpaceX succeeds with first untethered StarHopper low altitude ‘hop’ test

StarHopper is a scaled-down test vehicle designed to help SpaceX run crucial preparation trials for the new Raptor engine ahead of building its full-scale Starship reusable spacecraft.

7. Africa’s ride-hail markets are hot spots for startups and VC

The big players such as Uber and Bolt are competing in Kampala and Nairobi — where, in addition to car service, they offer rickshaw taxis. Meanwhile, many ride-hail companies in Africa are adapting unique product solutions to local transit needs. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Google’s not making any more tablets

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Google says it’s not making any more tablets

“For Google’s first-party hardware efforts, we’ll be focusing on Chrome OS laptops and will continue to support Pixel Slate,” the company said in statement.

Google SVP Rick Osterloh took to Twitter to emphasize that while Google’s hardware team will be “solely focused on building laptops moving forward,” the company will still be working with partners on Android and Chrome OS tablets.

2. Slack’s value rockets as stock closes up 48.5% in public debut

At the close of trading yesterday, Slack’s market cap sat well above $20 billion, or nearly 3 times its most recent private valuation of $7 billion.

3. One of NASA’s robotic astronaut helpers just flew on its own in space for the first time

The robot — called “Bumble” and one of a series of Astrobee robots that NASA developed to work along with astronauts on the ISS — is the first ever to fly on its own in space.

4. Samsung exec says the Galaxy Fold is ‘ready to hit the market’

Just last week, Huawei noted that it was holding off on its own Mate X release. But Samsung, at least, may finally be ready to unleash its foldable on the world, two months after the planned release.

5. Meet your new chief of staff: An AI chatbot

Mailbox’s founders are back with their second act: An AI-enabled assistant called Navigator meant to help teams work and communicate more efficiently.

6. Terry Gou resigns as Foxconn’s chairman to run for president of Taiwan

Gou, who founded Foxconn 45 years ago and is also its biggest shareholder, will remain on the company’s board.

7. A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Built in collaboration with WB Games, Wizards Unite is a reimagining of Pokémon GO’s real-world, location-based gaming concept through the lens of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Telegram faces new attack in China

Posted by | Apps, Daily Crunch, Mobile, Telegram | No Comments

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Telegram faces DDoS attack in China… again

The popular encrypted messaging service Telegram is once again being hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in Asia as protestors in Hong Kong take to the streets.

As they look to evade surveillance measures by government officials, Telegram is one of the tools that organizers have turned to. Four years ago, a similar attack struck the company’s service, just as China was initiating a crackdown on human rights lawyers in the country.

2. Bird confirms acquisition of Scoot

This acquisition means Bird may finally get to operate shared electric scooters in San Francisco.

3. LaLiga fined $280K for soccer app’s privacy-violating spy mode

Users of the LaLiga app were outraged to discover the smartphone software does rather more than show minute-by-minute commentary of football matches: It can use the microphone and GPS of fans’ phones to record their surroundings in a bid to identify bars that are unofficially streaming games.

4. Google leaks its own phone

Details of the Pixel 4 have been swirling around this week, so Google decided to just leak the design of its next phone via its official Twitter account, revealing the backplate and new camera module on the smartphone.

5. NFC gets a lot more powerful in iOS 13

This opens up a range of new application possibilities, Apple said, including the ability to create apps that read passports and contactless smart cards and interact with NFC-enabled hardware.

6. Facebook collected device data on 187,000 users using banned snooping app

The social media giant said in a letter to Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office — which TechCrunch obtained — that it collected data on 31,000 users in the U.S., including 4,300 teenagers. The rest of the collected data came from users in India.

7. Uber’s annual flying taxi summit reveals Uber Air has a ways to go

We talked to Uber Director of Engineering for Energy Storage Systems Celina Mikolajczak at the company’s third annual Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C. this week. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Uber will deactivate low-rated riders

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Uber will start deactivating riders with low ratings

Uber drivers have been able to rate their passengers before this, but those passengers were never really at risk of deactivation — until now. In a blog post, Uber’s Kate Parker said that while only “a small number of riders” should be affected, “it’s the right thing to do.”

The company isn’t announcing a specific rating cutoff. Instead, it says it will deactivate users who fall significantly below a city’s average, after “several notifications and opportunities to improve his or her rating.”

2. Huawei files motion to challenge sweeping US ban, calling it ‘not normal’

The Chinese hardware giant has filed a motion for summary judgement that questions the constitutionality of the section of the National Defense Authorization Act that the Trump administration used to halt imports.

3. Flipboard hacks prompt password resets for millions of users

Hackers stole usernames, email addresses, passwords and account tokens for third-party services. According to Flipboard, “not all” users’ account data were involved in the breaches, but the company declined to say how many users were affected.

4. Amazon just launched a $90, 5.5-inch Echo Show

The Echo Show 5 (that’s “five” for inches) doesn’t replace any existing Amazon smart screen, even though the price point will no doubt make many think twice about the $130 Spot.

5. Talkspace picks up $50 million Series D

Talkspace launched back in 2012 with a mission to make therapy accessible to as many people as possible. The platform allows users to pay a subscription fee for unlimited messaging with one of the company’s 5,000 healthcare professionals.

6. NYC subway riders will be able to swipe in with Apple Pay starting Friday

Apple Pay is hitting select subway stations this Friday, May 31. New Yorkers will then be able to swipe their iPhones or Apple Watches to catch a ride.

7. Q&A with J Crowley, Head of Product at Airbnb Lux, on what makes a great PM

Crowley has run product at three big-name companies: Foursquare/Swarm, Blue Apron and now Airbnb. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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Daily Crunch: Samsung delays the Galaxy Fold

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Samsung reportedly pushes back Galaxy Fold release

Four days out from the Galaxy Fold’s official release date, Samsung is pushing things back a bit, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. There’s no firm time frame for the launch, though the phone is still expected “in the coming weeks.”

TechCrunch’s reviewer Brian Heater says he hasn’t experienced any issues with his device, but a number of others reported malfunctioning displays.

2. Tencent’s latest investment is an app that teaches grannies in China to dance

Called Tangdou, or “sugar beans” in Chinese, the app announced that it has raised a Series C funding round led by Tencent.

3. SiriusXM’s new streaming-only ‘Essential’ plan targets smart speaker owners

The company has launched a new plan called SiriusXM Essential, targeting those who listen in-home and on mobile devices. The streaming-only plan is also more affordable — $8 per month, versus the $15.99 per month (and up) plans for SiriusXM’s satellite radio service for cars.

4. Confirmed: Pax Labs raises $420M at a valuation of $1.7B

That’s right, $420 million for a vape maker. CEO Bharat Vasan said, “This financing round allows us to invest in new products and new markets, including international growth in markets like Canada and exploring opportunities in hemp-based CBD extracts.”

5. Sony launches a taxi-hailing app to rival Uber in Tokyo

The service is a joint venture between Sony, its payment services subsidiary and five licensed taxi companies. Because ride-hailing with civilian cars is illegal in Japan, the service will focus on connecting licensed taxis with passengers.

6. The Exit: an AI startup’s McPivot

An in-depth interview with investor Adam Fisher about the recent McDonald’s acquisition of Dynamic Yield. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

This week’s episode of Equity addresses the aforementioned cannabis vaping round, followed up by an Equity Shot about the Fastly S-1. Meanwhile, on Original Content we reviewed Donald Glover’s “Guava Island” and discussed the new season of “Game of Thrones.”

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