This week, Leo returned the Microsoft Surface Duo folding phone because while he liked the hardware, he thought the software wasn't ready for prime time yet, as a daily driver. So, instead, he picked up the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2. Leo was pleasantly surprised. It actually has three screens. One in the folded position, and then when you unfold it, there are two screens on the inside. Leo says you can see the fold, and it's kinda worrisome, but after a while, the crease simply disappears and all you see is a huge tablet size screen.
This Week in Tech News
September 20th was supposed to be the day that Chinese social media companies TikTok and WeChat were supposed to be turned off if both weren't sold to a US company. In the eleventh hour, ByteDance, which owns both companies, has managed to avoid the shutdown thanks to a tech partnership with Oracle and Walmart. The new company, dubbed TikTok Global, will also have a 40% minority stake in US investment, plus a 19% stake to Oracle and Walmart. That's a majority that pleases the commerce department and the White House. So the shut down has been delayed for a week.
Leo says that Apple is a mature company now, and new versions of existing hardware just aren't providing the room for growth that Tim Cook desires. So now services are the next growth opportunity and as such, Apple is shifting part of its focuses to monthly services that will bring in consistent revenue. Beginning with Apple Music, Apple has added a news service, TV service, gaming service, and now an all you can eat service with Apple One. Apple One will offer unlimited use of music, tv streaming, magazines, and now Fitness with Fitness Plus.
Caught in a battle for months, which culminated with NBC threatening to pull content from all eleven of its streaming channels, both streaming platforms have come to an agreement that will put Peacock on the Roku platform soon. Maybe within weeks. Leo says brinksmanship is becoming the norm, with a battle having to be waged before parties come together with a mutual agreement.
The popular social media video platform TikTok may stop working in the US on November 12th if a deal isn't made to sell it's US operations to a US company by then. Leo says that while Oracle was reported to have agreed to purchase the platform, the company has said they would only have a vested interest in the company that would route all traffic to their servers. Walmart is also believed to be interested in investing in a new arrangement, Leo says probably for eCommerce rights. But it's all for naught if a deal isn't reached that will meet presidential approval.
This week, Apple announced a new Apple Watch Series 6 and a new 8th Gen iPad and iPad Air. But no mention of an iPhone, which Leo believes will be announced in October. The iPad Air looks more like an iPad Pro and has many of the same features. That's it. watchOS and iPadOS were also announced and shipping this week.
The iPhone was announced to be delayed due to the CoVid19 pandemic but could come next month, definitely by the holidays.
This Tuesday at 10am PDT, Apple will be streaming an event called "Time Flies," and Leo says it hints at a new, sixth-generation Apple Watch. Leo wonders though, just how much more you can do with a smartwatch. And he also thinks that maybe it'll be the release of a new version of watchOS 7. Other new features will include an expanded sleep feature and more software additions. But he also thinks there really isn't much more you can do hardware-wise. We are in essence at peak watch.
Leo got the Microsoft Surface Duo Android device this week, the first Android phone that Microsoft has ever produced. The oversized "phablet," has dual screens and opens up like a paperback book. Both screens can work in concert or independently, and Leo says with the Kindle App, it's the best digital reading experience he's ever had. It has also given him all-day battery life, so it's quite usable.
But the Duo has its buggy issues. It can crash and freeze up, forcing one to reboot. Microsoft has pushed out an update, but it hasn't really helped. It also has a terrible camera.
Another indication of the world content changing, the Trump Campaign is moving nearly all their advertising dollars away from TV to YouTube. Leo says that this just shows how people are getting the content they crave, and that it's wiser to send your message where they currently are, and that's YouTube.
This week, the FCC ruled that cable cards or "navigation devices" are being eliminated from their mandated reporting requirements. The FCC has determined that at less than a half-million users, with it dropping by 50,000 every year, it is no longer required for cable companies to have to report them or support them.