Weekly Roundup

Posted March 25th 2016


Apple Review

  • Key points from Apple’s launch event: At a small gathering at its Cupertino headquarters, Apple unveiled new products, including an upgraded 4 inch iPhone called the iPhone SE, and a new, smaller, iPad Pro to replace the iPad Air 2. It also officially released its iOS 9.3 software, launched “CareKit” for patients to use their iPhones in healthcare, and new nylon watch bands. [via The Guardian
  • Squeezing new juice out of old ideas: It’s great that we can customize our Apple Watch bands and now choose between a myriad of colors, storage capacity options, and screen sizes for tablets and smartphones. At the same time, however, it gets harder for a company to stand apart for its simplicity while slapping a new name and processor into a four-year-old phone and updating a tablet it released just six months ago. In its search for new customers, Apple is trying to squeeze new juice out of old ideas and the wear is beginning to show most prominently in how these products can be told apart. [via The Verge
  • Tim Cook ‘won’t back down’ over encryption: “For many of us, the iPhone is an extension of ourselves,” Cook said. “We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and over our privacy. We did not expect to be in this position, at odds with our own government. But we have a responsibility to help you protect your data and protect your privacy. We owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. We will not shrink from this responsibility,” he said, to rousing, prolonged applause. [via USA Today


Food Delivery

  • David Chang’s new restaurant will be delivery only: The man behind the fast-growing Momofuku empire is launching a food-delivery service this spring in New York City, which will be called Ando. Ando customers will order via a mobile app, and UberRush will handle the actual delivery. [via Fast Company]
  • The efficient food delivery system David Chang also invested in: Maple’s kitchen operating system is centered on an app with a drag-and-drop interface that moved orders from “cooking,” “plating,” and “ready to be bundled for delivery” status, much like a paper ticket that moves down a cook line at a diner. There’s a separate app that shows cooks the predicted demand for orders (using simple machine learning techniques that base forecasts on past performance and menu mix), another that helps workers who plate dishes keep the system updated on the number of completed meals available, and a third that shows workers who bundle orders for delivery what to pack in which courier’s bags. [via Fast Company]
  • Domino’s bringing robotic pizza delivery to New Zealand: The pizza chain announced that it will trial a battery-powered delivery robot in the capital city of Wellington, describing the bot as “the world’s first autonomous pizza delivery vehicle.” Known as DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit), the four-wheel robot is capable of completing deliveries within a 20-mile radius on a single charge. DRU stands at just under three-feet tall, and uses an array of sensors to avoid obstacles. Up to 10 pizzas can be stored in the bot’s heated compartment, which can be unlocked with a code that customers are given when they order. [via The Verge


Company Perks

  • Millennials more likely to get free food than health insurance: Millennials are gaining a reputation as the generation that can’t stand still. They’re more likely to embrace the gig economy, and the length of time they stick with any company is shortening. But what the young adults lack in stability, they make up with free food. That’s the top job perk reported by those between 18 and 29. Thirty-five percent of them say their companies provide them with free snacks and meals—a benefit that’s become more common than health and dental insurance for this demographic. [via Quartz
  • Benefits packages that pay back student debt: Imagine a world in which the standard benefits package at work includes health insurance, 401(k) contributions, and a few thousand dollars to pay off your student debt. More companies than ever are offering that last perk, but it’s still a fringe benefit. Two bills making their way through Congress could change that, by giving companies a tax incentive to help employees repay their student loans. Companies offering the student debt benefit say it will help employees start putting away for retirement earlier. One survey found that just a couple of hundred dollars a month can save debt holders thousands of dollars in interest. [via Bloomberg
  • On-demand employees that still get stock options: Over the next five years, office management service Managed By Q will give 5% of the company to its workers. The two-year-old startup provides cleaning and other office management services, like handyman work, through an app-based platform that allows its clients to communicate directly with workers, request special projects, and coordinate schedules. The company, which employs about 500 people in four cities (including its cleaners, who are employees and not contractors), provides fully paid health care, 401k, bonuses, and paid time off to its workers. [via Fast Company


Aging Communication

  • Email is dying among mobile’s youngest users: According to a report from App Annie, email is effectively dying among this crowd. Those aged 13 to 24 now spend more than 3.5 times overall usage time in messaging apps than those over 45 years old, while the older users still default to apps that replicate desktop functions, like email and web browsers. [via Techcrunch]
  • As Twitter turns 10, how can it convince young users to show up to the party? Over the course of interviews with some two dozen industry figures for this story, what becomes clear is that Twitter still has potential for growth among younger and older consumers alike, though communicating the platform’s strengths remains a challenging exercise, to put it mildly. [via Adweek]