Here are my “business links” for the week. Make sure you scroll to the end for the two bonus references: 1) IDC Wearables Shipments Forecasts through 2020, and 2) the slide deck from the Microsoft Linkedin deal.
Apple: Is iPhone 7 Already Doomed?
According to Mark Hibben, a Credit Suisse analyst, the following features are expected in the next two new iPhones:
The major upgrade group Apple is targeting is holders of the 6, so will the usual processor upgrades and the items above do the trick and in the US, will consumers want to shell out $30 or more a month just to have it? Probably not. A lack of major upgrades on the iPhone 6s is a main reason why the iPhone is growing older, as detailed by CIRP on the chart below.
Apple is facing a two-prong problem here. The first is that iPhone unit sales are falling currently, which obviously hurts revenues as well as earnings. The other issue is that the new small screen iPhone SE retails for well below what Apple has been averaging overall for iPhone prices.
Apple reveals iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, revamped apps/services at WWDC
At the Apple developer conference it was announced that Siri would be opened up to developers looking to provide their Siri-powered voice assistant services. Apple also opened up Maps to third-party extensions. However, the rumored iMessage Android app didn’t arrive.
Amid concerns Apple is falling behind Google, Amazon and others when it comes to AI-powered services, Siri is getting a fresh AI infusion – “intelligent suggestions” are provided based on a user’s typing. Meanwhile, AI is being deployed within Maps to suggest local places of interest, and within the Photos app to detect faces/objects and group relevant pictures. The Photos features have much in common with what Google Photos does, but its AI work will be handled on-device rather than in the cloud.
Some of the first apps supported by iMessage. Source: The Verge.
macOS – the renamed Mac OS X – is getting Siri and the ability to see the same desktop on multiple devices. The Apple Watch/watchOS now supports Apple Pay and can have apps instantly load and show refreshed data, and Apple TV/tvOS is getting YouTube voice search and a revamped remote app.
While nothing earth-shaking was announced at Apple’s WWDC, Apple did open up more platforms to developers than expected, and also showed a greater embrace of AI than expected. Both moves show a healthy understanding of what the competition is doing, and of what’s needed to avoid having core apps and services get marginalized as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and especially Google bet big on AI-driven cloud services that can be leveraged by third parties.
The view from here: Best practices to thrive in Canada’s current & future VC environment
By Boris Wertz, Founding Partner, Version One Ventures
With Q1 2016 data reflecting Canadian VC investments at an all-time high, what better time to reflect on the state of the Canadian VC landscape? In a nutshell: We’re building a healthy ecosystem, but also facing cyclical market and tech challenges (and opportunities, but I’ll get to that later).
So now that we have a lay of land, where does that leave us? Here’s how to thrive in the current VC environment: 1) Go beyond borders 2) Raise your expectations 3) Specialize 4) Be fearless.
Marc Andreessen: A lot more tech M&A is “in the pipeline”
The high-profile VC asserts Microsoft/LinkedIn is a sign of things to come. “We see more M&A activity happening sort of in the pipeline. We see more deals kind of in consideration or in negotiation now than we have in probably four years… I think for the last three or four years, a lot of public companies just kind of sat back and watched kind of all the drama play out in [Silicon Valley]… They’ve piled up lots of cash. They have very good businesses, and they have to go shopping, and they have to go shopping because they have to fill in gaps in their portfolio.”
As the co-founder of one of Silicon Valley’s biggest VC firms, it’s in Andreessen’s interests to talk up the buyout potential of his portfolio companies. Nonetheless, a combo of a tougher funding environment for unicorns that have seen slowing growth and the weak performance of some 2015 tech IPOs could make more tech upstarts open to selling.
Facebook begins linking online ads to store visits and sales
Facebook has partnered for a while with data providers such Acxiom and Datalogix to get a better read on how Facebook ads drive offline sales. With the help of anonymized location data Facebook is now providing retailers with numbers on how often users seeing a retailer’s ads visit their stores, as well as tools for optimizing ad campaigns based on visits. It’s also partnering with Square, IBM Corp., Marketo, and others to match an advertiser’s retail sales data with their Facebook campaigns, and providing a Store Locator feature for ads.
A dearth of hard data on how online ads drive offline sales has long been a concern for retailers and brand advertisers. Providing it gives those running successful Facebook ad campaigns a big incentive to up their ad spend, and lets those running unsuccessful campaigns know they need to recalibrate. Google mobile ad VP Jason Spero responded to Facebook’s move by noting his company has tracked over 1B store visits over the last 18 months. An eMarketer analyst points out, Facebook’s ability to match offline activity with its user demographic data could be a unique selling point for retailers.
The 3 Ways Ego Will Derail Your Career Before It Really Begins
When we’re young and just setting out in our careers we tend to assume that the greatest impediments to our progress and success are external to us. We blame our bosses and “the system” but we rarely think that we might be our own worst enemies, sabotaging ourselves right when we are beginning on our path.
Too often the obstacle that impedes our progress the most is internal — our own ego.
Yes, all of us, with all our talent and promise and potential, if we don’t control our ego, risk blowing up before we start. Talent, as Irving Berlin put it, is only the starting point. What we also need is self-management, self-control and humility.
Bonus reference 1:
IDC Forecasts Wearables Shipments to Reach 213.6 Million Units Worldwide in 2020
Bonus reference 2:
Slide deck from the Microsoft Linkedin deal