TRAY.IO HAULS IN $37 MILLION SERIES B TO KEEP EXPANDING ENTERPRISE AUTOMATION TOOL
Spark Capital led the round with help from Meritech Capital, along with existing investors GGV Capital, True Ventures and Mosaic Ventures. Under the terms of the deal Spark’s Alex Clayton will be joining the Tray’s board of directors. The company has now raised over $59 million.
WHEELY RAISES $15 MILLION FOR ITS LUXURY RIDE-HAILING APP London-based startup Wheely has raised a $15 million Series B round led by Concentric with Oleg Tscheltzoff, MishaSokolov and other investors also participating. The company wants to build an Uber competitor focused on the luxury market.
The company is currently live in London, Moscow and St. Petersburg — Paris is coming this summer. It works with 3,500 drivers and it currently has a run rate of $80 million in gross bookings.
APPLE Q2: IPADS UP, IPHONES DOWN Today’s big story for Apple revenue was once again focused on services. That’s likely to be the tale for the foreseeable future, as the company continues to pump billions into product offerings like Apple TV+. As predicted, hardware was more of a mixed bag for the company. The iPad, a bright spot in an otherwise stagnant tablet market, also marked a key highlight for the quarter, as revenue jumped 22% year over year. Notably, the company now offers its largest range of slates, with recent quiet refreshes to the Air and Mini following last year’s big Pro update.
Last quarter was a rough one for Apple devices, as iPhone revenue dropped 15% year over year. Tim Cook attempted to soften that blow with lowered guidance, pointing specifically to a less than spectacular showing in China. That, in turn, was the result of several factors, including a slowing Chinese economy and plateauing global smartphone numbers. This quarter notably saw an iPhone price drop in China.
GOOGLE FIT COMES TO IOS Google today announced that Google Fit, the company’s fitness tracking app that launched on Android back in 2014, is now available on iOS. It definitely took Google a while to bring the app to iOS. Until today, the only way to get your Fit data on your iPhone was in a special section of the Wear OS app on the iPhone. Without a Wear OS device, though, that section would’ve been empty. If you’ve seen the Fit app on Android, then the iOS version will look very familiar. It features the same focus on Move Minutes and Heart Point, as well as the ability to pick up different activities based on your movement. You can also connect the app with apps connected to Apple Health like Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club or Headspace can also sync with Google Fit.
TIM COOK WANTS YOU TO PUT DOWN YOUR IPHONE Tim Cook thinks people should get off their iPhones and decrease their engagement with apps. The Apple CEO, speaking at the TIME 100 Summit today, was discussing the addictive nature of our mobile devices and Apple’s role in the matter when he made these comments. He said the company hadn’t intended for people to be constantly using their iPhones, and noted he himself has silenced his push notifications in recent months.
These are just a few of many possible iterations. A company like Apple could have easily come up with even more ideas. But the fact of the matter is that Apple’s notification platform was built with the idea of increasing engagement in mind. It’s disingenuous to say it was not. At the very least, Apple could admit that it was a different era back then, and didn’t realize the potential damage to our collective psyche that a continually buzzing iPhone would cause. It could point out how it’s now working to fix this problem by putting users back in control, and how it plans to do more in the future.
The fact that Facebook — and every other app — later leveraged the iOS push notification platform to better its own business without regard to how that would impact users isn’t entirely app developers’ collective fault. The notification platform itself had left the door wide open for that sort of psychological abuse to occur, simply because of its lack of user-configured, user-friendly controls.
Every time you pick up your phone, it means you’re taking your eyes off whoever you’re dealing with, are talking with, right?,” Cook continued. “And if you’re looking at your phone more than you’re looking at somebody else’s eyes, you’re doing the wrong thing,” he said. “We want to educate people on what they’re doing. This thing will improve through time, just like everything else that we do. We’ll innovate there as we do in other areas.
APPLE EXPANDS GLOBAL RECYCLING PROGRAMS, ANNOUNCES NEW MATERIAL RECOVERY LAB IN AUSTIN Apple announced today a further investment in its recycling programs and related e-waste efforts, which includes an expansion of its recycling program for consumers and the announcement of a new, 9,000-square-foot Material Recovery Lab based in Austin, Texas, focused on discovering future recycling processes. The company also reported the success of its existing efforts around recycling and refurbishing older Apple devices, and keeping electronic waste from landfills.
The company announced today another significant investment in its recycling efforts with the opening of a Material Recovery Lab in Austin, which will work with Apple engineers and academia on coming up with more solutions to recycling industry challenges. The lab also houses large equipment, typically found at e-waste facilities, to aid in this research (see above).
NEXT IPHONE COULD FEATURE AN ULTRA-WIDE LENS A new report from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuoobtained by 9to5Mac details the cameras in the next-generation iPhones. The report confirms previous rumors — the successors of the iPhone XS and XS Max will have three camera sensors on the back of the device. In addition to the main camera and the 2x camera, Apple could add an ultra-wide 12-megapixel lens. Many Android phones already feature an ultra-wide lens, so it makes sense that Apple is giving you more flexibility by adding a third camera.
APPLE PARTNERS WITH VA TO BRING HEALTH RECORDS TO VETERANS Apple announced this morning it has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make the Health Records feature on iPhones available to veterans. The deal will allow veterans to view their medical information across participating institutions, including the VA, organized in the Apple Health app. These health records include allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals, and will be displayed alongside other information, like Apple Watch data. This gives VA patients a more comprehensive view of their medical history and health data, Apple says.
XIAOMI’S MI 9 INCLUDES A TRIPLE LENS REAR CAMERA AND WIRELESS CHARGING Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s annual shindig, is next week, but Xiaomi can’t wait to reveal its newest top-end phone. The Chinese company instead picked today to unveil the Mi 9. Once again Xiaomi’s design ethic closely resembles Apple’s iPhone, with a minimal bezel and notch-like front-facing camera, but Xiaomi has gone hard on photography with a triple lens camera. There are two models available, with the regular Mi 9 priced from RMB 2,999, or $445, and the Mi 9SE priced from RMB 1,999, or $300. A premium model, the Transparent Edition, includes beefed-up specs for RMB 3,999, or $595.
GOOGLE’S WEAR OS GETS TILES Google announced an interesting new Wear OS feature today that makes a number of highly used features more easily available. Google calls this feature ’tiles’ and it makes information, like the local weather forecast, headlines, your next calendar event, goals and your heart rate, as well as tools, like the Wear OS built-in timer, available with just a few swipes to the left.
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