Apple & Facebook Q1 results, Youtube’s redesign, Snap’s original shows, Twitter live programming, Amazon’s next Echo, App friction points & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📰 Seen on the news
- Apple’s mixed Q1 results: $52.9B revenue, up 4 percent year-on-year ($53.1B expected); sold 50.8M iPhones (51.4M expected); projects Q2 revenues of $43.5B to $45.5B ($45.7B expected). Apple Pay usage is up 450 percent year-on-year, though exact numbers remain unclear; the payments service is now available in 15 countries, and accepted at 20M locations worldwide. Also, Apple’s revenue in China has dropped 34 percent over two years; decline in the country is in contrast with gradual growth across the rest of Asia. Last, Apple announced heavy investment in US firms with a $1B advanced manufacturing fund; Tim Cook says the company has selected its first investment, which will be announced later this month.
- Apple updates App Analytics with discovery sources: App Store browsing, search, the web and from other apps; enables publishers to customize marketing campaigns based on top-performing discovery channels and referrers.
- Google Maps, Amazon and eBay no longer support watchOS; it’s unclear why the app extensions were removed, or if they will return.
- Facebook ($441B market cap) Q1 beats: $8.03B revenue, up 49 percent year over year ($7.83B expected); $3.06B profit, up 76 percent year over year; now claims 1.94B monthly active users (up 18 percent from one year ago) and 1.28B daily active users.
- Facebook updates Marketplace with improved search and filtering; new category icons: accessing a category now takes one tap instead of two; also easier to jump to a category section; filters can remain in place when switching categories.
- Facebook launches a Wi-Fi hotspot service in India, offering internet access for $0.15 to $0.30 per day; Express Wi-Fi is set to provide 700 hotspots in four states, including Gujarat and Rajasthan; the firm is also partnering with Airtel, who will operate an additional 20k hotspots.
- WhatsApp’s Status tab reaches 175M daily users; the feature is similar to Snapchat Stories, which by comparison claims about 160M daily users. The announcement comes shortly after a global outage; Facebook says the chat service was out of action for a few hours on Wednesday; the cause of the problem was not disclosed.
- YouTube rolls out a new design for desktop, still in development; activate here; based on Material Design, features updated theater mode and optional dark mode; simpler layout with more space, closer to the look of YouTube’s mobile apps.
- Snap is in talks with CBS and Fox to create original Snapchat shows; comes as the firm is expected to announce a deal with Scripps Networks, owner of Food Network; Snap is aiming to present two to three original episodes each day via the Stories feed.
- Twitter announces live programming from MLB, WNBA, The Verge, BuzzFeed News and more; it’s unclear when the shows will begin streaming, though a previous report suggests Bloomberg’s news content will start this fall. Also announced a partnership with Live Nation to begin streaming live concerts; the first will be Zac Brown Band on May 13, with shows from Train, August Alsina and others scheduled
- A Google Docs phishing scam may have affected as many as 1M Gmail users; Google said the spam campaign affected less than 0.1 percent of all Gmail accounts; the service has more than 1B users; Google says it was able to stop the scam roughly an hour after it was discovered. An anti-phishing pop-up for Gmail on Android was introduced shortly after; a threat warning will appear when a suspicious link is clicked; it’s unclear if or when it’ll become available on other platforms.
- Google launches Project Sunroof in Germany; the firm is working with local energy supplier E.ON to help customers calculate the potential for solar energy collection at their property.
- Slack launches a machine learning-powered search function for paid accounts; when a user searches a given topic, a People & Channels panel appears at the top of the screen; reveals coworkers most knowledgeable or appropriate for a particular search, and channels in which to contact.
- SoundCloud announces The Upload: a daily, personalized playlist to help users discover music published within the previous few days; tracks are algorithmically selected based on user listening habits.
- Weeview launches a Kickstarter for SID, a 3D camera with support for live streaming and AR filters; includes auto follow and the ability to adjust the parallax view; raised $24k of a $25k goal, ends Jun 10.
- Collaborative product design platform InVision acquires TrackDuck, which provides visual feedback for design and development; TrackDuck integrates with Atlassian’s JIRA, Trello and HipChat.
- Microsoft unveils Windows 10 S, targeting education; partners will begin shipping computers with 10 S this summer; restricted to Windows Store apps, so no third-party background updates; Office will be available; educators can switch from Windows Pro to 10 S and vice versa for free.
- Microsoft announces the Surface Laptop: starts at $1k and features an i5 or i7 processor, 13.5-inch touch screen and fabric-covered keyboard; promises 14.5-hour battery life; ships with Windows 10 S, which only supports apps from the Windows Store; users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $50, but will see a drop in battery life; launches June 15.
- Dan Seifert of The Verge reviews Samsung’s DeX: a $150 dock that enables Galaxy S8 to function as a desktop computer, connected to external monitor, keyboard, mouse; far ahead of Microsoft’s Continuum, with more (and better optimized) apps; best phone-as-a-desktop solution yet, but the hardware isn’t as impressive as the software.
- Amazon is considering a custom-fit clothing service and has explored M&A in the space; the company has patented a manufacturing system for on-demand custom apparel; several analysts estimate Amazon will become the largest apparel seller in the US this year.
- AFTVnews discovers an image of what might be Amazon’s next Echo product, internally codenamed Knight; the image depicts a color display (possibly touch screen) and camera, potentially indicating a video calling feature.
- Amazon to open an Alexa-focused R&D center in Cambridge, UK this fall; will house 400 engineers and scientists; the company’s center in eastern England will develop Prime Air; Amazon plans to create 5k jobs in the country this year.
- Ultrasound-based haptic feedback company Ultrahaptics raises $23M Series B; uses inaudible sound waves to give users the sensation of touching objects in mid air; applications in gesture UIs; provides an SDK and plans to offer a library of sensations; raised $40M to date.
- PayPal launches Business in a Box for US SMBs; created in partnership with Xero and WooCommerce, provides a storefront, on and offline payments, accounting tools; businesses can apply for capital from PayPal.
- South Korea government approves Samsung for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads; previously approved Hyundai for testing, and Samsung will be using a modified Hyundai for its tests.
- Tablet shipments declined for the tenth consecutive quarter in Q1, according to IDC; includes slate and detachable tablets; 36.2M units shipped globally, down 8.5 percent from a year earlier; Apple remained in top position with 8.9M shipments and 24.6 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 6M shipments and 16.5 percent market share.
📚 Good reads
- Scratch, the programming language that’s helping to develop the next generation of hackers. The guys at Backchannel explain how a kids’ programming language is gaining popularity while imparting lessons in sharing, logic, and hackerism.
- How Leaders Can Make Innovation Everyone’s Day Job. Lisa Kay Solomon writes for SingularityHub on what takes successful leaders and companies to keep a ruthless innovation culture. Looks at examples of Amazon or Pixar and highlights few principles like embracing uncertainty or starting with the customer.
- Why we write tickets. John Cutler shares a raw and straightforward message about why or why not teams should write tickets (e.g. Jira).
- The coolest workstations. ProductHunt asked members to send pics of their working desks. Here’s a selection of some spectacular, beautiful, fun or inspiring spaces that people use to get things done.
- Meetup, a Usability case study. Jessica Chen dissects Meetup aiming to redesign the App through a well documented design process. In the process she will unveil some pain points and propose solutions aimed to maximise the odds for users to accomplish their tasks.https://hackernoon.com/11-laws-of-product-development-dc8ece0a8a1b
- 11 Essential Laws of Product Development. Sean Johnson highlights few timeless and universal principles to keep in mind when building products. If there’s a single one I’d highlight: “Stay close to your users as long as you possibly can.”
- Common friction points that may be pushing users away from your Apps. Hannah Levenson writes for InVision on frequent (and frequently unnoticed) user experience pain points and how to go about them. Complement this read with 7 must-have UX principles, by InVision too.
🎯 Quote of the week
“The real measure of progress is when you need a new measure of progress.” — Pedro Domingos, author of The Master Algorithm.