According to a , Apple is working on a feature that would let you pair your iPad with your Mac to turn your iPad into a secondary Mac display. That feature codenamed Sidecar could ship with macOS 10.15 this fall. If you’ve been using or , you’re already quite familiar with this setup. Those third-party hardware and software solutions let you turn your iPad into an external display. You can then extend your Mac display, move windows to your iPad and use your iPad like an external display. And it sounds like wants to turn those setups into a native feature. It could boost iPad sales for MacBook users, and MacBook sales for iPad users. Apple wants to simplify that feature as much as possible. According to 9to5mac, you would access it from the standard green “maximize” button in the corner of every window. You could hover over that button and send the window to an iPad. By default, apps will be maximized on the iPad and appear as full screen windows. Maybe you’ll be able to send multiple windows and split your display between multiple macOS apps, but that’s still unclear. Graphic designers are going to love that feature as you’ll be able to use the Apple Pencil. For instance, you could imagine sending the Photoshop window to your iPad and using your iPad as a Wacom tablet. Sidecar will also be compatible with standard external displays. It should make window management easier as you’ll be able to send windows to another display in just a click. Finally, 9to5mac says that Apple is also working on Windows-like resizing shortcuts — you could drag a window to the side of the screen to resize it to half of the screen for instance.
announced that there are now that have committed to use clean energy for Apple production. It doesn’t mean all suppliers are using renewable energy, it also doesn’t mean that they use 100 percent clean energy for all their clients. But it’s still good news. All of Apple facilities on clean energy, such as offices, retails stores and data centers. But Apple is well aware that it manufactures a ton of devices and works with a ton of suppliers. That’s why the company has created a fund to help finance renewable energy projects in China. Apple is also allocation $2.5 billion in green bonds. Thanks to these initiatives, Apple has financed solar rooftops in Japan, a custom alloy made of recycled aluminum that you can find the MacBook Air and Mac Mini and more. Overall, Apple expects to reach its 2020 goal of injecting 4 gigawatts of renewable energy into its supply chain well before 2020. In fact, the company now says that it will indirectly generate around 5 gigawatts of clean energy. Suppliers in the program include Foxconn, Wistron, TSMC, Corning, STMicroelectronics and dozens of names that are mostly unknown to end customers.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a new report about future products — 9to5mac the report. The company could be working on a new 31.6-inch external display with a 6K resolution that could work particularly well with the Mac Pro. New iPad and MacBook Pro models with better displays are also in the works. Apple used to sell but stopped selling the latest model in 2016. The 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display had an aluminum case and an LED-backlit LCD display. It had four times less pixels than the 27-inch 5K iMac with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels. And it never made the switch to Thunderbolt 3. When that it was working on a Mac Pro, the company confirmed that there would be a new external display. “We want them to know we are going to work on a display for a modular system,” Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller told Matthew Panzarino. According to Ming-Chi Kuo’s report, the new display will come earlier rather than later. Apple plans to launch the device during the second or third quarter of this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement at WWDC. As for new iPad and MacBook Pro models, Ming-Chi Kuo has learned that Apple will use mini-LED technology to improve color gamut, contrast ratios, etc. This new technology should also improve battery performance compared to traditional LED displays. Those new devices with mini-LED displays will arrive on the market at the end of 2020 or at some point during the first half of 2021. It’s unclear if Apple plans to update the MacBook Pro before then.
“Works with AirPower mat”. Apparently not. Looks like Apple doesn’t treat customers with the same “high standard” of care it apparently reserves for its hardware quality. 9 days after launching its headphones touting compatibility with the forthcoming Apple AirPower inductive charger mat, . It’s an uncharacteristically sloppy move for the “it just works” company. This time it didn’t. Apple clearly knew AirPower was borked before launching the new AirPods wireless charging case on March 20th. Failing to be transparent about that is an abuse of customer trust. That’s especially damaging for a company constantly asking us to pre-order new products and that’s known for planned obsolescence. It should really find some way to make it up to people, especially given it has $245 billion in cash on hand. . “After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering in an emailed statement today. That comes as a pretty sour surprise for people who bought the $199 wireless charging AirPods that mention AirPower compatability or the $79 standalone charging case with a full-on diagram of how to use AirPower drawn on the box. Apple first announced the saying it would arrive the next year along with a wireless charging case for AirPods. But when the new AirPods launched March 20th with no mention of AirPower in the press release, suspicions mounted. Now we know Apple was concerned about devices overheating, so it decided not to ship what could become the next Galaxy Note 7 fire hazard. The new AirPods with wireless charging case even had a diagram of AirPower on the box. Image via There are plenty of other charging mats that work with AirPods, and maybe Apple will release a future iPhone or MacBook that can wireleslly pass power to the pods. But anyone hoping to avoid janky third-party brands and keep it in the Apple family is out of luck for now. Luckily, some who bought the new AirPods with wireless charging case are still eligible for a refund. But if you got yours personalized with an engraving (I had my phone number laser-etched on since I constantly lose them), there are no refunds allowed. And then there are all the people who bought Apple Watches, or iPhone 8 or later models who were anxiously awaiting AirPower. We’ve asked Apple if it will grant any return exceptions. Combined with the on new MacBooks and where it announced Apple Card, TV+, and Arcade despite them being months from launch, the world’s cash-richest company looks like a mess. Apple risks looking us unreliable as Android if it can’t get its act together.
Today, announced… a credit card. The Apple Card is designed for the iPhone and will work with the Wallet app. You sign up from your iPhone and you can use it with Apple Pay in just a few minutes. Before introducing the card, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a few numbers about Apple Pay. This year, Apple Pay will reach 10 billion transactions. By the end of this year, Apple Pay will be available in more than 40 countries. Retail acceptance of Apple Pay is always growing. In the U.S., 70 percent of businesses accept Apple Pay. But it’s higher in some countries — Australia is at 99 percent acceptance, for instance. But let’s talk about the Apple Card. After signing up, you control the Apple Card from the Wallet app. When you tap on the card, you can see your last transactions, how much you owe and how much money you spent on each category. You can tap on a transaction and see the location in a tiny Apple Maps view. Every time you make an Apple Pay transaction, you get 2 percent in cash back. You don’t have to wait until the end of the month, as your cash is credited every day. For Apple purchases, you get 3 percent back. As previously rumored, Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to issue the card. Apple doesn’t know what you bought, where you bought it and how much you paid for it. And Goldman Sachs promises that it won’t sell your data for advertising or marketing. When it comes to the fine print, there are no late fees, no annual fees, no international fees and no over-limit fees. If you can’t pay back your credit card balance, you can start a multi-month plan — Apple tries to clearly define the terms of the plan. You can contact customer support through text messages in the Messages app. The Apple Card isn’t limited to a virtual card. You get a physical titanium card with a laser-etched name. There’s no card number, no CVV code, no expiration date and no signature on the card. You have to use the Wallet app to get that information. Physical transactions are eligible to 1 percent in daily cash. When it comes to security, you’ll get a different credit card number for each of your devices. It is stored securely and you can access the PIN code using Face ID or your fingerprint. Find more details on security in . The card will be available this summer for customers in the U.S.
is holding a keynote today on its campus in Cupertino, and the company is expected to talk about new services. Don’t expect any new device, today’s event should be all about content. At 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 5 PM in London, 6 PM in Paris), you’ll be able to watch the event as the company is streaming it live. Rumor has it that the company plans to multiple new services. The most anticipated one will be a new video streaming service that should compete with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and others. In addition to that service, Apple will unveil an Apple News subscription to access magazines and premium articles for a flat monthly fee. But we might also hear about a mysterious and a subscription service. Details are still thin, so it’s going to be interesting to hear Apple talk about all those services. If you have an Apple TV, you can download the Apple Events app in the App Store. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones. The app icon was updated a few days ago for the event. And if you don’t have an Apple TV, the company also lets you live-stream the event from the on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. So to recap, here’s how you can watch today’s Apple event: Your favorite web browser on the Mac or Windows 10. An Apple TV with the Apple Events app in the App Store. Google Chrome on your Android phone. Of course, you also can read if you’re stuck at work and really need our entertaining commentary track to help you get through your day. We have a team in the room.
The Wall Street Journal has published on Apple’s media push. The company is about to a new video streaming service and an Apple News subscription on Monday. According to The WSJ, you’ll be able to subscribe to multiple content packages to increase the video library in a new app called TV — it’s unclear if this app is going to replace the existing Apple TV app. The service would work more or less like . Users will be able to subscribe to HBO, Showtime or Starz for a monthly fee. The WSJ says that these three partners would charge $9.99 per month each. According to a previous report from , it differs from the existing Apple TV app as you won’t be redirected to another app. Everything will be available within a single app. Controlling the experience from start to finish would be a great advantage for users. As many people now suffer from subscription fatigue, Apple would be able to centralize all your content subscriptions in a single app. You could tick and untick options depending on your needs. But some companies probably don’t want to partner with Apple. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find Netflix or Amazon Prime Video content in the Apple TV app. Those services also want to control the experience from start to finish. It’s also easier to gather data analytics when subscribers are using your own app. Apple should open up the Apple TV app to other platforms. Just like you can play music on Apple Music on Android, a Sonos speaker or an Amazon Echo speaker, Apple is working on apps for smart TVs. The company has already launched iTunes Store apps on Samsung TVs, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise. The company has also spent a ton of money on original content for its own service. Details are still thin on this front. Many of those shows for Monday. Do you have to pay to access Apple’s content too? How much? We’ll find out on Monday. When it comes to Apple News, The WSJ says that content from 200 magazines and newspapers will be available for $9.99 per month. The Wall Street Journal confirms that said that The Wall Street Journal was part of the subscription. Apple is also monitoring the App Store to detect popular apps according to multiple metrics, The WSJ says. Sure, Apple runs the App Store. But Facebook faced a public outcry when people realized that Facebook was with a VPN app called Onavo.
is about to some new services on Monday. While everybody expects a video streaming service as well as a news subscription, a new report from Bloomberg says that the company might also mention its gaming subscription. Cheddar first back in January that Apple has been working on a gaming subscription. Users could pay a monthly subscription fee to access a library of games. We’re most likely talking about iOS games for the iPhone and iPad here. Games are the most popular category on the App Store, so it makes sense to turn this category into a subscription business. And yet, most of them are free-to-play, ad-supported games. Apple doesn’t necessarily want to target those games in particular. According to Bloomberg, the service will focus on paid games from third-party developers, such as Minecraft, NBA 2K games and the GTA franchise. Users would essentially pay to access this bundle of games. Apple would redistribute revenue to game developers based on how much time users spend within a game in particular. It’s still unclear whether Apple will announce the service or launch it on Monday. The gaming industry is more fragmented than the movie and TV industry, so it makes sense to talk about the service publicly even if it’s not ready just yet.
has just announced the second-generation AirPods. The new AirPods are fitted with the H1 chip, which is meant to offer performance efficiencies, faster connect times between the pods and your devices, and the ability to ask for Siri hands-free with the “Hey Siri” command. Because of its performance efficiency, the H1 chip also allows for the AirPods to offer 50 percent more talk time using the headphones. Switching between devices is 2x faster than the previous generation AirPods, according to Apple. Here’s what Phil Schiller had to say in the : AirPods delivered a magical wireless experience and have become one of the most beloved products we’ve ever made. They connect easily with all of your devices, and provide crystal clear sound and intuitive, innovative control of your music and audio. The world’s best wireless headphones just got even better with the new AirPods. They are powered by the new Apple-designed H1 chip which brings an extra hour of talk time, faster connections, hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ and the convenience of a new wireless battery case. The second-gen AirPods are available with the standard wired charging case ($159), or a new Wireless Charging Case ($199). A standalone wireless charging case is also available for purchase to $79. We’ve reached out to Apple to ask if the wireless case is backwards compatible with first-gen AirPods and will update the post once we know more. Update: Turns out, the wireless charging case works “with all generations of AirPods,” according to the . It appears that older models are still for sale, as well. Two times faster switching and 50 percent more talk time might sound like small perks for a relatively expensive accessory, but I’ve found that one of my biggest pain points with the AirPods are the lack of voice control and the time it takes to switch devices. The introduction of “Hey Siri” alongside the new H1 chip, as well as much faster switching between devices, should noticeably elevate the user experience with these new AirPods. After a search through the Apple website, it appears that old AirPods are no longer available for sale. The new Airpods are available to order today from Apple.com and the Apple Store app, with in-store availability beginning next week.
has refreshed its iPad lineup with . The company is (finally) updating the iPad mini and adding a new iPad Air. This model sits between the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad and the 11-inch iPad Pro in the lineup. All new models now support the Apple Pencil, but you might want to double check your iPad model before buying one. The new iPad models released today work with the first-gen Apple Pencil, not the new Apple Pencil that supports magnetic charging and pairing. So let’s look at those new iPads. First, the hasn’t been refreshed in three and a half years. Many people believed that Apple would simply drop the model as smartphones got bigger. But the iPad mini is making a surprise comeback. It looks identical to the previous 2015 model. But everything has been updated inside the device. It now features an A12 chip (the system on a chip designed for the iPhone XS), a 7.9-inch display that is 25 percent brighter, features a wider range of colors and works with True Tone. And it also works with the Apple Pencil. Unlike with the iPad Pro, the iPad mini still features a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a Lightning port and a headphone jack. You can buy it today for $399 for 64GB. You can choose to pay more for 256GB of storage and cellular connectivity. It comes in silver, space gray and gold. Second, the iPad Air. While the name sounds familiar, this is a new device in the iPad lineup. When Apple introduced the new iPad Pro models back in October, Apple raised the prices on this segment of the market. This new iPad Air is a bit cheaper than the 11-inch iPad Pro and looks more or less like the previous generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro — I know it’s confusing. The iPad Air now features an A12 chip, which should represent a significant upgrade over the previous generation iPad Pro that featured an A10X. The iPad Air works with the Smart Keyboard. You can buy the device today for $499 with 64GB of storage. You can choose to pay more for 256GB of storage and cellular connectivity. It comes in silver, space gray and gold. The $329 iPad with a 9.7-inch display hasn’t been updated today. It still features an A10 chip, 64GB of storage and a display without True Tone technology or a wider range of colors. — Tim Cook (@tim_cook)
Apple devices continue to lead the wearables market, according to a out today, which claimed the Cupertino-based company shipped a total of 46.2 million wearables for the year. The firm also reported the worldwide market for wearable devices grew 31.4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018, to reach 59.3 million units shipped, while shipments for the year grew 27.5 percent for a total of 172.2 million. Apple retained its No. 1 position in wearables again in Q4, with 16.2 million wearables shipped — 10.4 million of which were Apple Watches, the report said. Smartwatches together grew 54.3 percent in 2018, and accounted for 29.8 percent of all wearables. Apple Watches accounted for nearly half that market, the report said. IDC forecasts that Apple’s growth in wearables will continue, thanks to a strong start for the newer Apple Watch Series 4. In addition, IDC noted it recently revised its “ear-worn” category of wearables to include wireless headphones that allow users to call upon a smart assistant through either a touch of a button or hot-word detection. That means devices like Apple’s AirPods, Google’s Pixel Buds, Bose’s QC35II and others are now being counted among the wearables category. Much of the growth in wearables was also attributed to the increasing number of these sorts of ear-worn devices, like Apple AirPods. In Q4, for example, ear-worn devices grew 66.4 percent from the year-ago quarter to capture at 21.9 percent market share. The firm said the growth was due to a combination of factors, including the increasing popularity of smart assistants and the ditching of the smartphone’s headphone jack, led by Apple. “The market for ear-worn wearables has grown substantially this past year and we expect this to continue in the years to come,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement. “It is the next battleground for companies as these types of headphones become a necessity for many given the exclusion of headphone jacks from modern devices. Add to that the rise of smart assistants and in-ear biometrics and companies have the perfect formula to sell consumers on a device that’s complimentary to the device ecosystem that lives on their wrist and in their pocket,” he added. Meanwhile, smartwatches grew 55.2 percent to capture a 34.3 percent share. Wristbands reached a 30 percent market share, thanks to launches from Xiaomi, Huawei and Fitbit. Xiaomi was in second place for the quarter, behind Apple, with a 12.6 percent market share compared with Apple’s 27.4 percent. The company remains strong in its home country of China, but sales of its Mi Band 3 have also done well. Of note, its Mi Band 3 accounted for more than 30 percent of all wristbands shipped during Q4. Behind Xiaomi was Huawei, which grew by a sizable 248.5 percent thanks to Huawei and Honor phones being bundled with wearables, along with other product launches. Fitbit and Samsung rounded out the top 5, with the former returning to growth thanks to the Charge 3 and promotions around its Versa, and the latter also by bundling wearables with its smartphones. Samsung shipped 4 million wearables in Q4, compared with Apple’s 16.2 million.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (played by John Moore) raises a smartphone in a scene from “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.” (Seattle Opera Photo / Philip Newton) You shouldn’t expect to glean startup tips from “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” the one-act opera playing at the Seattle Opera. And don’t expect to hear the brand names “Apple” or “iPhone” or “Microsoft” sung. But you can expect to see and hear the tangled story of Apple’s enigmatic co-founder told on a literally operatic scale. There’s also a message for techies that can be boiled down to the first words flashing on the supertitle screen, even before the first note sounds: “Look up. Look around. Be here now. And turn off your devices.” Devices like Apple’s iPhone figure heavily in the staging of “(R)evolution”: Even the set elements that swirl around the stage and serve to project backdrops are proportioned like giant iPhones. The first big aria in the work, with music by Mason Bates and libretto by Mark Campbell, celebrates the iPhone’s introduction in 2007: “Only one device / Does it all / In one hand / All you need.” But devices are never all you need, even for an introspective, obsessive genius like Jobs. Rather than focusing on the gadgetry, the core of “(R)evolution” focuses on the connection that he failed to keep up with an early lover, and the connection he was able to maintain with a later lover. It helps to know the basic outlines of Jobs’ life, which was cut short in 2011 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. To know, for example, that he had difficulties acknowledging a child by one woman — but had three other children with another woman who became his wife. Or that he was ousted from Apple for a time, but returned to Apple’s CEO post after “going back to the garage” and creating a different company called NeXT. It also helps to know postmodern classical music: Bates’ score blends lush symphonic melodies and guitar tunes with the clicks of electronica and the tinkle of Buddhist prayer bells. If you’re comfortable with Philip Glass’ opera about Mahatma Gandhi, or John Adams’ you’ll be in familiar musical territory. If you’re not, you could be in for a challenging hour and a half. In the opera, Jobs’ character (played by John Moore) is guided through the scrambled scenes of his life by the shade of his Zen teacher, a Buddhist monk named Kōbun. “What are you doing here? You died five years ago,” Jobs says when Kōbun (played by Adam Lau) walks on stage. “I’m your spiritual mentor. I’m always around,” the monk replies. Kōbun takes Jobs through a timeline that zips back and forth through his childhood in the ’60s, the origins of Apple (and Jobs’ first child, Lisa) in the ’70s, Jobs’ rise and fall and rise at Apple in the ’80s and ’90s, and his 21st-century apotheosis and death. The twists and turns trace Jobs’ arc as detailed in Walter Isaacson’s definitive biography, right down to the acid trip that he took in a field just outside Sunnyvale with Lisa’s mother, Chrisann Brennan (played in the opera by Madison Leonard). “All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach,” Jobs told Isaacson. “It was the most wonderful feeling I had in my life up to that point.” Bates picks up on that epiphany in the “(R)evolution” score, and the scenery goes psychedelic. For what it’s worth, Campbell’s libretto includes the disclaimer that his work doesn’t purport to depict actual events or statements, and that the story has not been authorized or endorsed by Apple, Jobs’ family or by anyone depicted in the opera. (I can hardly wait to see what composers and librettists do with the operatic arc of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ life.) “(R)evolution” isn’t exactly structured like an arc. Instead, it’s a circle, like the Ensō ring that plays such a significant role in Zen iconography. Even the smartphones in the opera are branded with the Zen circle rather than the trademarked Apple logo. It’s up to the character of Jobs’ widow, Lauren Powell Jobs (played by Emily Fons), to help close the circle by imagining what “Version 2.0 of Steve” might say to the masses peering at the iPhones that are so much a part of his legacy. “Look up, look out, look around. Be here now,” Lauren sings. “And then he’d say, ‘Please buy them, but don’t spend your life on them.’ “
According to a new report from , Apple and Goldman Sachs are partnering on a different kind of products for both companies — a credit card. The Mastercard-based card would be focused on Pay and feature some deep integrations in iOS. This card could launch later this year in the U.S., which would coincide with the next iPhone. An Apple credit card would be a good way to take a bigger cut on transactions. Instead of splitting fees between the card issuer, the card network and Apple, Apple would get a portion of the fees for the card issuer. It could also be a way to evangelize Apple Pay. While most cards are now compatible with Apple Pay in the U.S., many people still don’t think about paying with their iPhone or Apple Watch. This is also uncharted territory for . According to the WSJ, the new card would represent Goldman’s first card. The company could be investing as much as $200 million to build a support team and the IT infrastructure to handle payments. You could expect a cash back on some purchases. More interestingly, Apple could also be working on an Apple Wallet overhaul for this credit card. You would be able to set up spending goals (like the rings in the Activity app), get notifications about your spending habits (like Screen Time) and track your rewards. It’s unclear if Apple plans to open up those new features to other banks. By partnering with Apple, Goldman Sachs would get a great distribution channel. And by launching a card, Apple would prove once again that, given enough time, all companies eventually become banks.
analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is quite reliable when it comes to Apple’s road map. And he shared a ton of information over the weekend in a new report . In 2019, you can expect a bigger MacBook Pro, a new display and upgrades to iPhones, iPads and AirPods. Let’s start with the Mac. According to Kuo, Apple has been working on a MacBook Pro with an all-new design. It’s unclear if those future models will retain the same keyboard, as many users have been complaining about the reliability of the butterfly keyboard. But Kuo learned there will be a bigger model, with a 16 to 16.5-inch display. Let’s hope that Apple is going to trim down the bezels around the display. TechCrunch already reported that Apple will release in 2019. But Kuo believes the company is also going to release a high-end display to go with this Mac Pro. It could be a gigantic 31.6-inch display with a 6K resolution. When it comes to iPhones, Kuo believes that Apple will release three models just like in 2018. They should retain the same screen sizes and Lightning connector. Some models may have three camera sensors on the back of the device. Face ID and wireless charging could both receive an upgrade with bilateral wireless charging. It means that you could charge a second device using your phone, which is a great idea when you know that updated AirPods with a wireless charging case are also coming in 2019. On the iPad front, the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad could become a 10.2-inch iPad with slimmer bezels. iPad Pro models will receive an update with faster processors. As , a new iPad mini is still on the road map, as well as an updated iPod touch. Finally, it sounds like the Apple Watch might only receive a minor update with ECG coming to international markets as well as a return of the ceramic option for the next version of the Apple Watch.
has just bought up the talent it needs to make talking toys a part of Siri, HomePod, and its voice strategy. Apple has reportedly acquired PullString, also known as , according to . The company , artificial intelligence to power those experiences, and toys like and Thomas The Tank Engine toys in partnership with Mattel. Founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, PullString went on to raise . Apple’s Siri is seen as lagging far behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, not only in voice recognition and utility, but also in terms of developer ecosystem. Google and Amazon has built platforms to distribute Skills from tons of voice app makers, including storytelling, quizzes, and other games for kids. If Apple wants to take a real shot at becoming the center of your connected living room with Siri and HomePod, it will need to play nice with the children who spend their time there. Buying could jumpstart Apple’s in-house catalog of speech-activated toys for kids as well as beef up its tools for voice developers. PullString did catch some flack for being a “child surveillance device” back in 2015, but by detailing the security built intoHello Barbie product and saying it’d never been hacked to steal childrens’ voice recordings or other sensitive info. Privacy norms have changed since with so many people readily buying always-listening Echos and Google Homes. In 2016 it rebranded as PullString with a focus on developers tools that allow for visually mapping out conversations and publishing finished products to the Google and Amazon platforms. Given SiriKit’s complexity and lack of features, PullString’s Converse platform could pave the way for a lot more developers to jump into building voice products for Apple’s devices. We’ve reached out to Apple and PullString for more details about whether PullString and ToyTalk’s products will remain available. The startup raised its cash including Khosla Ventures, CRV, Greylock, First Round, and True Ventures, with a Series D in 2016 as its last raise that PitchBook says valued the startup at $160 million. While the voicetech space has since exploded, it can still be difficult for voice experience developers to earn money without accompanying physical products, and many enterprises still aren’t sure what to build with tools like those offered by PullString. That might have led the startup to see a brighter future with Apple, strengthening one of the most ubiquitous though also most detested voice assistants.
The Pi Foundation just a brand new project — an actual . If you live in Cambridge in the U.K., you can now buy a bunch of sweet Raspberry Pis to tinker and develop some cool stuff. The Raspberry Pi has always been about making coding more accessible. And a physical retail space fits the bill. The foundation has developed a lineup of insanely cheap computers with an ARM-based processor, a bunch of ports, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The latest flagship model, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ costs only $35. But if you want something smaller and cheaper, there are other models for various needs. Maybe you just need a tiny computer for some internet-of-things project. You can opt for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ for $25 in that case. It has a bit less RAM and fewer ports, but it works pretty much like any Raspberry Pi. There’s also power-efficient models that cost less than $10 — the Raspberry Pi Zero models. I never really thought about Raspberry Pi stores. But the introduction video makes a strong case in favor of such a store. The product lineup is getting a bit complicated and it’s always good to be able to talk to someone about your projects. Moreover, the foundation can use this store as a showcase for some cool examples. You can also buy goodies, such as mugs and plushy toys. Those white-and-red keyboard and mouse look cool too.