Apple's big promises

Also in this newsletter: Spotify makes moves and Google decided you should be paying for Photos storage.

👋 Welcome to the FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.

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In this edition

💻 Apple revealed new MacBooks with its own M1 Arm processor

🎧 Spotify makes moves

💬 Other tech, media, gaming, audio & podcasting news

👻 BONUS: Last week I wrote another column for The Fix titled Journalism for the next generation.

Apple goes its own way, without Intel

📸 by Apple

On Tuesday Apple held another event, hopefully, the last this year.

There were new MacBooks (Air and Pro) and a new Mac mini. Though, at first sight, you wouldn’t know, the change is “only” inside.

The big change is Apple’s own, Arm-based 5-nm M1 processor. It’s a bold move, to introduce a new chip and go for three different product categories. Signals Apple is confident.

Apple event

If you haven’t watched it, here is the event in 10 minutes:

The big promises

I counted three big promises Apple made on Tuesday regarding its own chip:

  1. Better performance (faster CPU and graphics)

  2. Longer battery life

  3. All apps will run smoothly

If everything goes as Apple promised, this will be a generational leap. I still take issue with anyone using numbers without disclosing proper data and showing a chart where it seem the new product is so much faster and better than “something”. Which Apple did several times during the event.

Apparently, I am not the only one.

Anyway, Apple might be pulling ahead of the pack here with the new processors. But the transformation is not complete yet and the company stressed it will take two years. Probably meaning, the other pro models (Mac Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro) have to wait for an even more powerful chip (M1X? M2?).

For now everyone is waiting for review dropping hopefully sometimes next week.

Some additional stories pointing out specific things I liked:

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In other news


😲 The end of free, unlimited Google Photos storage. As of June 1, 2021, all uploads to the cloud-based storage service will count against your 15-GB data cap. [Wired]

Once you do go over, expanded storage plans start at $20 per year for 100GB, and go all the way up to $50 per month for 10 terabytes. Google has introduced a tool to estimate how long your storage will last, based on your current rate of uploads, and will next year will start making it easier to find uploads you might want to delete: blurry or dark photos, say, or long videos.

As Platformer’s Casey Newton pointed out on Twitter (below), though, the real losers here are not Google Photos users. It’s still a great product in many ways. The losers are all the rival photo apps that Google Photos crushed on its way to the top, including startups such as Everpix, Loom, and Picturelife. 

#️⃣ Joe Biden surrounded himself with Big Tech employees. Biden’s agency review teams include tech employees from companies including Airbnb, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Dell, DropBox, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Lyft, Stripe and Uber. Most of them are volunteering. The team also includes technology critics. Hard to say what it means at this time. [CNBC]

😶 TikTok hasn’t heard from the Trump administration in weeks. They must hate the Chinese music app so much that they don’t even care anymore (kidding). This was definitely the headline of the week. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, wants to finish the “technology partnership” with Oracle. On the other side, the Trump administration has been so occupied with elections that they just let this go. Nobody knows. [CNBC]

A November 12 CFIUS deadline calls for ByteDance to “divest any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance’s operation of the TikTok application in the United States.”

But the CFIUS order doesn’t say what happens if ByteDance does not divest assets. That uncertainty prompted TikTok to file a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Tuesday, calling for a review of actions by CFIUS.

📱 Strategy Analytics: in Q3, Samsung sold more smartphones in the US than Apple for the first time in three years. [Yonhap News Agency]

🔎 Simple Search for Google. A new browser extension from The Markup team. [The Markup]

We built a browser extension, Simple Search, to show you just the “traditional” search results. The extension places them in a box above the plethora of search engine products. You can tab through pages of results, submit new queries, and go back to the full results page easily. It is available for Firefox and Chrome browsers and works for both Google and Bing search engines.

🛒 Antitrust: EU vs. Amazon. [NY Times]


👩 An interesting case of a double disgraced journalist. The Atlantic gave Ruth Shalit a ‘second chance’ 25 years after a media scandal. It ended with a retraction. [Washington Post]

😞 Three quarters of journalists experience lockdown-related stress. A new survey from my friend John Crowley sheds light on how the coronavirus pandemic and working from home have affected journalists' mental health. The report urges news leaders to heed concerns from staff about their mental well-being. I have mentioned several times before in this newsletter that the pandemic is affecting employees’ well-being and journalists are not different. Now we have data to back it up. []


🎙️ Spotify is considering a subscription service just for its podcasts. The company was seen conducting a survey asking whether users would pay for a podcast only plan. Yes, without music. I like the idea, would be great to introduce podcast subscriptions to wider audiences. As social media has shown us (and subsequently the news industry), having to rely heavily on ads makes you vulnerable. [NiemanLab, The Verge]

🎧 Spotify has made another big acquisition into the podcast world. This time it acquired the podcast hosting company Megaphone for $235 million. Spotify already hosted its own shows there so this move is not very surprising. If you are asking, what is the deal? Well, it’s all about ads. Spotify can provide Megaphone clients (some include very popular podcasts with large audiences) with Spotify’s ad insertion tech and so enlarge the streaming giant’s ad inventory. [Vulture, The Verge]

🔊 Podcast Marketing Strategies That Work. From Jack Rhysider, the creator of Darknet Diaries, here is a very comprehensive presentation as it was presented at Podcast Movement. It’s more than 90 minutes long, but well worth your time. [Lime Link]

🗣️ Another study says host-read ads outperform. What can I say, at this point this should be pretty clear to everyone. [Midroll]


👾 Pokémon Go has its best year ever with more than $1 billion in revenue. Interestingly, you don’t hear about the game so much but anytime I read about it I am stunned it generates every year more revenue than the previous. [CNET]


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