#tech

The Stand-Along App

The most interesting thing about Instagram’s new app, Hyperlapse, isn’t that it’s a stand-alone app, it’s that it’s only a lens.

A lot has been made in recent months of companies “unbundling” their apps to create simpler, more streamlined experiences for users. The jury is still very much out on this strategy actually working. But again, I don’t view the Instagram move with Hyperlapse as the same thing exactly.

The thing is, on the surface, there isn’t much to Hyperlapse itself. It’s a video camera which allows you to speed up the playback after shooting (there’s obviously a lot more going on behind the scenes to make this work and seem as simple as it does). You can then share those videos to either Facebook or Instagram (not Twitter, naturally and stupidly), but there is no Hyperlapse social element beyond this share functionality. The real social component of Hyperlapse stays on the existing Facebook social backbone (since Facebook also owns Instagram, of course). And even the editing beyond the playback speed occurs on Instagram still.

So in this regard, Hyperlapse is “only” a layer on top of those existing services. It’s sort of like a new lens you might attach to your camera – albeit a tricked-out lens that can speed up time!

I think this secondary app strategy is a much more clever one than the typical “unbundling” one. Just look at the App Store top lists now; there are dozens of apps for altering the output of existing popular apps – Vine, Snapchat, and yes, Instagram, amongst others. Why wouldn’t the app-maker want to play in this space as well? The end result is just making their core app more popular. And they get to remain in control of the user experience.

Not a stand-alone app, a stand-along app.

As an aside, in my mind, the oddest thing about Hyperlapse is that it does something that not even its parent does: work natively on the iPad.

(Written on my iPhone)

Christina Bonnington:

The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.

After 6 years of false positives, it appears that NFC may actually stand for more than “No Fucking Chance” with the iPhone 6. We’ll know soon enough!

Charles Arthur on the likely initial usage of Amazon’s Fire:

Therefore even allowing for margins of error, it seems unlikely - based on Chitika’s data and the ComScore data - that there were more than about 35,000 Fire Phones in use after those 20 days.

If that’s even remotely the case, the Fire Phone is a disaster right now for Amazon. This is a product they’re promoting on their homepage. You should be able to sell at least hundreds of thousands of anything on that page.

I’ll go ahead and renew my call for a VP of Devil’s Advocacy.

[via @counternotions]

We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone. It wasn’t profitable for us. We were losing money for two years on those phones. So for now we’ve decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold.
Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group, in an interview with WSJ. Worth noting that his comments on Windows Phone are still slightly better than those about Tizen, which has says has “no chance to be successful.”

The writing is very clearly on the wall here: Radio Shack seems screwed. And that’s too bad, because it was once such a great retail chain.

No one is asking, but my plan would be to create an “Apple Store for everything and everyone.” That is, use their current weakness, their insanely large store footprint, as an advantage. Create an Apple Store-like experience for more than just Apple products, all over.

Apple can’t do this for obvious reasons (they’re not going to sell Android devices). Neither can Microsoft (they’re not going to sell iPhones). Neither can the carriers (well they potentially could but they’re far too greedy). And Best Buy is just a bloated mess at this point.

It sounds like RadioShack is starting to do some of this. But I’ve seen the new stores. They’re not going far enough.

Horace Dediu:

The graph lets us answer the question “What would have happened if Apple had not paid any dividends, bought back shares and taken on debt?”

The answer is in the blue line. It would be about $210 billion today. There are about a dozen companies other than Apple worth more than that amount.

Even more insane: had Apple not instituted the dividends and buy backs, they would be well on their way to having $1 trillion in cash.

A trillion dollars.

Tallinn on the decrease in crime around the developed world in recent years:

But the sheer scale of the drop—and its broad persistence in the face of the deepest economic depression in a century—make a new crime wave seem unlikely. Policing is still improving; heroin and crack-cocaine consumption continue to fall; and no one is likely to reintroduce lead into petrol. The period of rising crime from the 1950s through to the 1980s looks increasingly like an historical anomaly.

A portion of the theory reminds me a bit of Minority Report’s “pre-crime”. No, not the knowing the future part, but the fact that would-be criminals realize their actions are more likely to be caught in some way, so they are simply thinking twice about doing anything in the first place.