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Two decades ago, Apple Inc. was close to bankruptcy – Now, it’s worth nearly 7 Jeff Bezoses.

Apple just reached the $1 trillion market cap this past Thursday meaning the company has both the cash and stock to buy anything it wants if it decides to venture into self-driving cars or video content. Using the $244 billion in cash, on hand – it could buy: Tesla, Twitter, Spotify, Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb and still have $10 billion left in cash.

“While we have much to be proud of in this achievement, it’s not the most important measure of our success. Financial returns are simply the result of Apple’s innovation, putting our products and customers first and always staying true to our values.” – Apple CEO Tim Cook.

For Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, other moments in the company’s history hold far more prestige than Thursday’s $1 trillion mark crossing, but he says he has no favourite one. “Of course I’m proud of Apple, but I don’t measure the world by human simplifications like round numbers – A company is great because it is great.”

How did it get here?

It wasn’t a rosy ascent – the journey has been marked by rapid innovation, a series of smash-hit products amid controversy, tragedy and challenges. Apple was almost bankrupt in the 90s before Jobs came back. He introduced the iMac in 1998 that allowed Apple’s business to recover and reestablish the company. They later boldly moved into the music frontier by introducing the iPod and iTunes using the same approach and aesthetics they had developed with computers. Of great value was when they launched the iPhone that literally changed the shape of the smartphone industry.

What is driving this growth?

Apple’s rise has been propelled by the sustained success of the iPhone developed under the late co-founder Steve Jobs in spite of critics pointing out that its Apple’s “Services” business — which includes Apple Music and the App Store. The iPhone category added the most revenue by far, up more than $5 billion and the majority of Apple’s $7.9 billion of new revenue in the last quarter. This could change again, likely next month when new iPhones are introduced.

What’s next for Apple to get to the $2 trillion mark?

The question now regarding Apple’s future is whether they’ll use their services, accessories or identify and lead one of the next major paradigms of computing in futuristic categories like augmented reality and figure out a business model nearly as good as the iPhone’s that could all help fuel future growth. As for me, I’m expecting even more expensive iPhones, low quality charging cables and more dongles. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In the meantime, our eyes are on who’s going to be the next trillion-dollar company.

Facebook has begun testing its dating product internally with a “This is not meant for dating your coworkers” warning

Early this year, during its annual F8 developer conference, Facebook announced that it will be taking on Tinder with new dating app features that would be added to its main app. Well, they have begun testing the product internally with their employees. “The purpose for this dogfooding is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI. This is not meant for dating your coworkers,” the screenshot reads. Features include “Conversation Starter” that shows you a pickup line to break the ice and  “Community” specifically where users can view their mutual communities. This might be Facebook’s take on “Groups” on Tinder Social. The stock price of the owners of Tinder and OKCupid, Match Group, fell 17% after this announcement.

It is worth pointing out that internal tests do not necessarily mean that these features will go live to the public – most of these products get killed before they launch based on the testing results.

Google goes oriental as it plans to launch a government-censored search engine and a news app in China as projects part of an initiative code-named Dragonfly

Google pulled its search engine from China in 2010 after it discovered a “highly sophisticated” attack from the country and this new move — if implemented, possibly with a local partner — would be a major shift in Google’s China policy. The search engine would block websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest in compliance with local censorship laws. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai travelled to China and met with Xi’s top aide Wang Huning in Dec 2017, a secret meeting viewed by Pichai as “a success” according to sources. The same month, Google announced an AI research centre in Beijing. Another issue of concern is at which extent will Google’s unnamed China-based partner provide user data to the Chinese government?

Google is also developing a new, heavily censored “news” app which they have been working on since last year and had been meeting with Chinese regulators to discuss the project. Of interest is how Google is going to message its headlong rush into the Chinese market, where it will routinely be asked to aid and abet an authoritarian regime, often in the service of quashing dissent.

Some Google employees are already upset about this new push and the company is struggling to contain the uproar with employees transferring to different roles at the company on the grounds of ethicals concerns with Dragonfly.

Other headlines you might have missed

Facebook

  • Facebook and Instagram added dashboards to help users manage their time on social apps – a first time that they’re both introducing a product together — a sign of Facebook’s increasing influence on Instagram. The new Time Well Spent-inspired usage dashboards, which also let you set in-app reminders to stop idly thumbing through your feed after an interval you specify. Some features include an activity dashboard, a daily usage reminder and a feature to mute notifications.

  • For a brief moment, there was a new addition to Facebook‘s menu of reactions: a tiny aeroplane. It disappeared as quickly as it appeared but users still wanted to use it and they did some weird rituals to get it even coming up with “#AddPlaneReact.” But even if we got it back, what would we use it for?
  • Facebook is redesigning its mobile app’s by personalizing the navigation bar to show people shortcuts for the products they use most frequently like Marketplace, Groups, or Watch

  • Following the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, Facebook says it will shut down Partner Categories, an ad tool that allows advertisers to target users based on third-party data, by October 1 around the world. Third-party data brokers are being forced off the Facebook platform. What that means for advertisers. [Read More]

Other interesting Facebook reads:

Twitter

  • Following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company has been tightening up its API in hopes of preventing misuse of data. Twitter announced Tweets and Retweets will no longer automatically cross-post to Facebook. I can’t imagine anyone ever particularly enjoyed seeing tweets automatically posted to Facebook. Users will instead have to copy a tweet’s URL if they want to share a tweet to Facebook going forward. Please don’t do this either!
  • Should tweets be transient? There’s a growing school of thought that people should delete their old tweets and use technology (The Verge has a guide here) to automatically delete future posts after a short period of time since tweeps are increasingly finding themselves embroiled in controversies over old tweets that are racist, sexist or homophobic coming back to haunt them. Here’s an unpopular opinion: maybe don’t tweet those things in the first place.

Snapchat

Teens are seeking cosmetic surgery to look like their favourite Snapchat filters – this is a very sad trend and it has a name now “Snapchat dysmorphia”. People are getting plastic surgery because they’re worried they don’t look as good in real life as they do on Snapchat. American Medical Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery says 55 per cent of clinicians saw patients who “wanted to look better in their selfies” in 2017. [Read More]

Spotify

Spotify will now let you ruin your favourite songs by setting them up as an alarm with the Clock app. When you wake up, users can press the “continue playing” button, which keeps the music rolling as you take your morning deuce and make breakfast. Hopefully not at the same time. The feature’s available with both free and premium Spotify subscriptions, but sadly only works on Android devices.

YouTube

Following its mobile apps, YouTube now supports different aspect ratios, including vertical video, on its web player. YouTube removed the formerly-permanent 16:9 frame around every video, allowing them to appear larger and better adjust to different window sizes making it socially acceptable to post vertical videos to the platform

I hope this doesn’t encourage the government to shutdown the internet more in the name of fostering innovation

A Cameroonian startup launched an SMS car-tracking app after the government blocked the internet in its town. The same government that shut down the internet, awarded the company an award, The President’s 2018 Grand Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research and Innovation, that comes with a cash prize of $17,500. [Read More]

 

Read previous editions of Clicked here.

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