Hello friends, welcome back A week in review!
I’ve taken the past few weeks to relax and make sure my 2022 hot shots are as hot as possible, or at least as insightful as possible. This week we’re talking about what I’m sure could be one of Apple’s biggest scandals of the decade so far: the itty bitty AirTag.
You can have this in your inbox every Saturday morning from Newsletter pageand follow my tweets Tweet embed
the big thing
AirTags is a very useful product from Apple that pretty much works as advertised.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem.
There has been a fair amount of controversy lately about how Apple rolled out these devices and how while these are great devices for keeping track of your keys, they can also easily be misused to stalk someone. This is not a purely theoretical issue, it actually happens.
It’s not a particularly unique scenario where technology can be used for both good and bad – just think of the decades-old conversation about encryption – which she said I have a feeling this is a scenario in which Apple will lose and also be more embarrassing than any mistake in recent memory.
Apple has arranged a lot of wearable marketing over the past few years around how its devices work in high-end use cases. The last several generations of the Apple Watch have focused on health tracking features that can help identify rare conditions or assist users in life-threatening situations. TV ads have documented the individual stories of users who have found the Apple Watch to be a life-saving tool. With AirTags, there is potential for some of the same good, but there are also more downsides. Next year, we’ll undoubtedly see examples of AirTags being used in nefarious ways that bundled together work as the antithesis of one of these Apple Watch commercials. It may end up being a product set with its serious deficiencies.
Apple made its own post-launch effort to toughen up how it detects AirTags that don’t belong to a particular user, but these notifications proved bugs and often waited too long to alert users. Add to the fact that Apple seems to have treated Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership in order to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence seems more serious.
I highly doubt that Apple will be able to design its way out of this problem. No matter what they ship on iOS to undo issues, Android’s cracked ecosystem means guarantees won’t reach a massive number of people to target.
For an emerging category of products with such potential PR responsibility, it’s hard to see how Apple justifies continuing to sell AirTags. It’s a unique mistake by Apple that the company delivered exactly what it initially promised but failed to consider the full scope of the immediate consequences of that initial promise.
Here are some stories this week that I think you should take a closer look at:
Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of 4 of 11 counts
Finally, the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, came to a verdict. Now, we await the verdict as well as further guidance on whether to retrial Holmes on several charges on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. “Holmes was convicted of conspiracy to defraud investors, as well as deVos family investors, hedge fund manager Brian Grossman, and former real estate and trust attorney Dan Mosley. My colleague Amanda reported that she has not been found guilty of charges relating to patient fraud.
Google violated Sonos tech commercial court rules
Google’s smart speakers infringed on key patents held by Sonos, a US regulator, this week, and the company will no longer be allowed to import infringing products that are made in China. Google has already started rolling out design changes that it hopes will cut short its ability to sell smart speaker devices. Sonos has seen its early leadership in the smart speaker war dissipate as the tech giants throw their weight in, but the smaller hardware company hasn’t shrunk.
Smaller and quieter CES
The Omicron wave prevented the TechCrunch team from making our way to Las Vegas to check out the latest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show, but we were in the show in our spirit and watched it along with countless live streams. While it was certainly a less significant year, there were still plenty of innovative tools this year. Here are some of the best we’ve seen.
Some of my favorite reads from this week’s TechCrunch+ subscription service:
How Startups Can Prevent Accumulating Technology Debt
“…favoring a short-term plan for a faster-to-market option is not always a bad thing, provided the company has a back-up plan to deliver well-designed code that will simplify future iterations and innovations. But for startups, rework is difficult because deadlines Ultimate and the resource crunch prevent developers from producing clean, perfect code. Startups prioritize short-term plans and focus more on adding functionality to achieve milestones, sign up marquee clients or raise funding. Modifying this roadmap and ignoring the long-term vision leads to technology leverage…”
5 Marketing Growth Predictions for 2022
“…it’s been a crazy year in marketing growth, and what happened with the rapid rise of TikTok and the drastic shifts in iOS privacy and $240 billion poured into startups in the US as of September 30th. All of this new money means bigger investments in marketing growth. Throughout 2021. The heaviest investments have occurred in times of uncertainty, as startups scramble to find ways to measure iOS conversions and open TikTok as a new channel…“
3 things founders need to know about mergers and acquisitions
“…M&A is particularly beneficial for startups struggling with operational expansion because they primarily buy the cash flow, revenue, and traffic of other businesses, which means that startups capture a larger share of their markets. It’s also a good way for startups to find Their value propositions, merging and experimenting with them. But the problem is that most founders don’t know how to get started on M&A and succumb to the shadows of the big players. But mergers are accessible and beneficial to companies of all sizes…”
Thanks for reading, and again you can have this in your inbox every Saturday morning from Newsletter pageand follow my tweets Tweet embed
I had a fun week!