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Happy Friday! Here’s a roundup of this week’s industry news:
President Obama spoke openly about his stance on encryption as a keynote speaker in SXSW Interactive. Spurred by the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015, technology intelligence leaders have argued against the government’s request to create a universal, encryption-breaking hacking tool. While Mr. Obama declined to comment on the Apple vs. F.B.I. case in San Bernardino, he asserted that the government, specifically law enforcement, should be able to legally collect information on electronic devices. He added that without government access, “everyone is walking around with a Swiss bank account in [their] pocket.” Mr. Obama’s SXSW comments signified a new divide between him and Silicon Valley, who supported the president in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.
Instagram will be switching to a Facebook-like scrolling formula in the next few months, according to the app’s official blog. Rather than scrolling in reverse chronological order, Instagram will prioritize photos based on user interest and engagement. “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post,” the site explained. Facebook, who purchased Instagram in 2012, uses a similar formula that organizes newsfeeds by “relevance.” Instagram cited the growing 400 million app users and an overcrowded homepage as reasons why it is switching.
Apple is expected to announce a new version of the iPad at their press event on March 21. Insiders predict the new tablet will have a “Smart Connector”, an interface where external keyboards can attach magnetically, and offer connectivity with the new Apple Pencil stylus, to name a few features. Apple may also unveil the newest iPhone and Watch bands at the event. The new iPad hasn’t garnered much buzz; the tablet’s profitability has been in decline since 2014, and recently dropped by 25 percent in sales in Apple’s Q4 2015 report. This may be due to the “phablet," also known as a phone-tablet hybrid. When Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus, consumers chose to own a bigger iPhone rather than a smaller tablet, and affected sales in both industries.
Uber launches stand-alone app for food delivery - USA Today
Uber launched UberEATS in five cities this week, due to the growing popularity of food orders in their primary ride-sharing application. The delivery service is currently available in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. “We learned quickly that requesting a ride and ordering a meal are two very different experiences. They each deserve their own home,” said Chetan Narain, UberEATS Product Manager. UberEATS will be joining an established group of food-delivery applications, like GrubHub and Eat24. The company is planning to expand the service internationally to Melbourne and Paris in the upcoming months.
Inc. published an interview with Mike Kulich, the man who oversaw Martin Shkreli’s publicity from January to February 2016. Shkreli, the infamous “pharma bro” who raised the price of a malaria drug to $750 per pill, was offered representation by Kulich over a direct message on Twitter. After being hired as an independent contractor, Kulich managed Shkreli’s appearances through the FBI investigation of security fraud and $2 million Wu Tang album feud. Kulich had no previous experience in crisis PR, and proposed fame rather than image rehabilitation. After representing him for two months, Kulich regards Shkreli as “the Steve Jobs of Millennials.” Inc. senior writer Christine Lagorio-Chafkin goes more in depth with Kulich on the public’s opinion of Shkreli in the article.
Read any interesting tech news this week? Give us a shout out on Twitter @WalkerSands
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