Hello friends and welcome again week in review,
I’ve taken the last few weeks to relax and make sure my 2022 hot take is as hot as possible, or at least as long as possible. This week, we’re talking about what I’m sure may be one of the biggest scandals of the decade for Apple to date: the itty bitty AirTag.
You can get it delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning newspaper page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.
Airtags are a very useful product from Apple that work exactly as advertised.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem.
There’s been a lot of controversy lately about how Apple rolled these out and how they’re great tools for keeping track of your keys, yet they can easily be misused to chase someone. This is not a purely theoretical issue, it is already happening.
It’s not a particularly unique scenario where the technology can be used for good and bad purposes – just think of the decades-long conversation around encryption – that said I think it’s a scenario where Apple going to lose and it’s going to be more embarrassing than any wrong move in recent memory.
Apple has structured its wearable product marketing so much over the years based on how their devices function within edge use cases. The past several generations of the Apple Watch have focused on health tracking features that can help identify rare conditions or help users with life-threatening conditions. TV commercials have documented personal stories of users who have found the Apple Watch to be a life-saving device. With airtags, there is likely to be some of the same good, but there are a lot more downsides as well. Over the next year, we’re undoubtedly going to see examples of Airtags being used in nefarious ways to serve as the antidote to one of these Apple Watch commercials bundled together. It may eventually become a product defined by its gross shortcomings.
Apple has strengthened its post-launch efforts to improve how airtags that do not belong to a certain user can be detected, but these notifications have proven to be buggy and often used to alert users. Have waited too long. Add to that the fact that Apple treats Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence looks a little more dire.
I highly doubt that Apple is going to be able to work its way out of this problem. Even though they ship on iOS with back issues, Android’s fragmented ecosystem means that security measures won’t reach many people who might be targeted.
For a nascent product category with such liability potential, it’s hard to see how Apple continues to sell Airtags. This is a unique error from Apple in that the company delivered exactly what they initially promised but failed to consider the full scope of the direct consequences of that initial promise.
Here are some stories this week that I think you should take a closer look at:
Elizabeth Holmes convicted on 4 of 11 counts
At long last, the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes reached a resolution. Now, we await further guidance on sentencing as well as whether Holmes will be tried again in a number of cases on which the jury could not reach a verdict. Holmes was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud investors as well as defrauding investors of the DeVos family, hedge fund manager Brian Grossman and former estate and trust attorney Dan Mosley. He pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding patients. Wasn’t found,” said my colleague Amanda.
Google violates Sonos tech, trade court rules
Google’s smart speaker infringed a key patent from Sonos, a US regulator that ruled this week, and the company will no longer be allowed to import infringing products manufactured in China. Google has already begun making design changes it hopes will hinder its ability to sell its smart speaker devices. Sonos has seen its early lead in the smart speaker war as the tech giant has shifted its weight around, but the smaller hardware company isn’t shrinking.
A Small, Quiet CES
The Omicron wave stopped the Nerdshala team from heading to Las Vegas to see the latest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show, but we were in on the show with excitement and watching with countless livestreams. While it was certainly a more low-key year, there were still a lot of wild gadgets this year. Here are some of the best we saw.
Some of my favorite reads from our Nerdshala+ subscription service this week:
How startups can prevent tech debt from accumulating
“… it’s not always a bad idea to support a short-term plan to get the option to go to market faster, provided the business has a backup plan in place to deliver well-designed code that can be used in the future. Simplify iterations and innovations. But for startups, rework is difficult because time limits and resource constraints prevent developers from creating clean and correct code. Startups prioritize short-term plans and achieve milestones, Marquee focuses more on adding functionality to get customers to sign up or raise funds. This roadmap for a longer-term outlook triggers reshuffle and neglect technical debt…”
5 Growth Marketing Predictions For 2022
“…it has been a crazy year in development marketing, what with the meteoric rise of TikTok, the radical iOS privacy shift and A staggering $240 billion invested in US startups until 30 September. All this new money means a huge investment in growth marketing throughout 2021. There have been huge investments during uncertain times, with startups scrambling to find ways to measure iOS conversions and unlock TikTok as a new channel.,
3 things founders need to know about M&A
“… M&A is particularly beneficial for startups that struggle to scale operations because they inevitably buy into the cash flow, revenue and traffic of other companies, which means startups can make up a substantial portion of their markets. They are also a good way for startups to discover, consolidate and experiment with their value proposition. However, the problem is that most founders don’t know how to get started with M&A and go big. Resign yourself to the shadow of the players. But mergers are accessible and beneficial to businesses of all sizes…”
Thanks for reading, and again, you may get it in your inbox every Saturday morning newspaper page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.
Have a nice week!