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Benedict's
Newsletter

This is a weekly newsletter of what I've seen in tech and thought was interesting. I work at Andreessen Horowitz. See more or subscribe at www.ben-evans.com.
News

The year's iPhones (and maybe Apple Watches) will be announced on Wednesday. Small deal: dropping the headphone socket. Big deal, perhaps: totally new camera system. Interesting: seems there's no new case design this year, breaking the every-other-year pattern. There are rumours floating around of a really big new design with new materials for next year, leading to another super-cycle sales surge, as for larger screens last year. Other than cameras and (in the next few years) VR, the performance and feature gains for smartphones are slowing down - we're getting towards the top of the S-Curve. Link

Google is launching a Waze-based ride-pool service in SF, limited to employees at certain companies and priced to avoid creating professional drivers. Probably intended as a learning experience, but interesting in what it points to as the future of autonomous cars. Link

Following Intel last week, Qualcomm also announced a VR reference platform. Makes strategic sense, but we're still several years a way from mass-market high-quality VR hardware. Link

The EU says mobile networks cannot block ads, as that violates network neutrality. Somewhat academic given half of smartphone traffic is on wifi and most use is within apps, where it's much easier to stop ads being blocked. Link

Google continues to clean house - 'Project Ara', which wanted to make modular phones, has been shut down, apparently. This looked very cool, in a TED Talk kind of way, but was at odds with the economies of scale of the broader ecosystem, and with the fact that you get far better performance, battery life, cost and durability from tighter integration. Link

Apple app store curation - outdated and abandoned apps will be removed. Link

A Space X rocket (Elon Musk) blew up on the pad, taking with it a satellite built for Facebook that was supposed to deliver internet backhaul coverage in Africa. Oops. There's a reason satellite companies report 'EBITDA before insurance'. Link

Reliance's Jio Indian 4G network launched, with some very aggressive data pricing. Link

Blog posts

Long and very detailed piece from Autocar on everything Apple is doing around cars. When, not if. Link

Chris Milk on VR and entertainment: working out a new form. Link

"Will Amazon kill Fedex?". Logistics, logistics, logistics. Link

Subscription retail. Link

Stanford '100 Year Study' report on the state of AI. Link

The Japanese cucumber farmer using Tensorflow and AI. Link

Video: some reasons why autonomous cars could reduce traffic congestion. Link

Facebook's software-based 360-degree video stabilisation. Link

Search engines versus EU - worrying mainly because though this won't work, it suggests the EU might try something more damaging later. Link

What will electric vehicles do to the oil industry? Link

Statistics

Pew on US reading - ebooks remains flat at under 30% of readers, reading overall slightly up. Link


 
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