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April 28, 2021
💻 Good morning! Samsung’s Unpacked event happens later today, in about three hours from when this newsletter hits your inbox! Before then...
iMessage and Android
ios imessage green bubble

With a new deposition made public as part of the Epic vs Apple case, we start to peek more and more into how Apple’s braintrust thinks and acts, and where anti-trust issues may lie. 

  • We already saw a 2016 email from Phil Schiller explaining that “moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us.”
  • The latest revelations somewhat add to the argument that Apple’s business model is both about execution and quality, and creating obstacles where others can’t play.
  • Sony is probably the most similar big players I can immediately think of, both famously loathe to allow cross-play despite the help this would give users, though both have gradually changed their approaches over time.

The latest:

  • As spotted by The Verge, Apple’s senior VP of software and services, Eddy Cue, pushed to bring iMessage to Android back in 2013.
  • “Cue wanted to devote a full team to iMessage support on Android, only to be overruled by other executives,” notes the report.
  • The Verge pieced together that Google has tried to buy WhatsApp for $1B before Facebook muscled in and paid 19 times that amount.
  • Cue emailed with Craig Federighi, pushing the idea that iMessage should be expanded to help Apple dominate messaging apps, regardless of platform. 

Here’s the emails stitched together in the report:

  • Cue: We really need to bring iMessage to Android. I have had a couple of people investigating this but we should go full speed and make this an official project…. Do we want to lose one of the most important apps in a mobile environment to Google? They have search, mail, free video, and growing quickly in browsers. We have the best messaging app and we should make it the industry standard. I don’t know what ways we can monetize it but it doesn’t cost us a lot to run.
  • Federighi: Do you have any thoughts on how we would make switching to iMessage (from WhatsApp) compelling to masses of Android users who don’t have a bunch of iOS friends? iMessage is a nice app/service, but to get users to switch social networks we’d need more than a marginally better app. (This is why Google is willing to pay $1 billion — for the network, not for the app.)…In the absence of a strategy to become the primary messaging service for [the] bulk of cell phone users, I am concerned [that] iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.

Your opinion at this point if this really matters probably depends on your location:

  • In the US, the dominant messaging service is iMessage and it’s just easier to be on an iPhone or Mac to message people, where it’s more like a social network you can only be truly part of with an Apple device.
  • Most other places are more cross-platform app-based. 
  • In China, you use WeChat. In Japan, LINE. 
  • WhatsApp is essential in most other places, including Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and Facebook Messenger is almost as used, plus Telegram and Signal in the wake of the WhatsApp privacy bungle.
  • But Epic’s angle here is the argument that Apple uses their platform leverage in a way that’s anti-competitive. This is what courts will decide upon, along with many other vectors from Apple and Epic.
  • Apple also filed expert witness testimony ahead of the trial, with MacRumors rounding these up ahead of the court case next week.
Roundup

📈 OnePlus sees huge growth in Europe, doesn’t see global chip shortage affecting it: up 388% (Android Authority).

😬 Report: Android’s exposure notification data could be abused by system apps, now patched (Android Authority).

👉 Asus Zenfone 8 teaser hints at a farewell to the flippy camera (Android Authority).

🆕 Amazon’s latest 11th-gen Fire HD 10 tablets include a premium Plus model, which adds more RAM, a “premium” soft-touch finish, and wireless charging. Sadly, still sporting the same SoC from 2019. (Android Authority).

🔜 Google I/O 2021: Here’s what to expect when the show kicks off on May 18th (Android Authority).

🍎 Report: Apple’s M2 chip has entered production and will ship as soon as July, new Macs at WWDC (June 7-11) looks more likely (Ars Technica).

🔊 Spotify has added paid podcasts to its platform. For now, in the US only, no commissions during the first two years, then 5%. Apple’s equivalent podcast subscription takes 30% (Spotify).

🚗 Also: Two weeks with Spotify’s Car Thing(Engadget).

🛰 Whoa: FCC lets SpaceX cut satellite altitude in half to improve Starlink speed and latency — satellites will now be between 540-570 km above Earth. Rival space satellite companies opposed the move, but to no avail (Ars Technica).

🏠 3D printing’s new challenge: Solving the US housing shortage (AP).

🥨 I wrote this for new site, Pretzel: How to buy actually good used & second-hand smartphones (and why you should) (Pretzel.io).

🏀 “Why does a ball bounce higher, the more air pressure it has?” (r/askscience).

Wednesday Weirdness

You know how squeezing out the last few globs of toothpaste is a monthly or so challenge? Colgate knows it too. 

colgate toothpaste liquiglide

The company has a new tube of toothpaste which uses LiquiGlide, a chemical compound developed at MIT back in 2012 that works to make the tube non-stickable via superhydrophobic properties, meaning the toothpaste just keeps coming out with minimal effort.

LiquiGlide showed this innovation back in 2012 with a ketchup bottle and it’s taken until now to get more commercial usage. The press release from LiquiGlide yesterday also notes working with a Swiss manufacturer, which is using LiquiGlide to reduce yield losses in production, along with savings in “wash water, energy and labor.” 

  • The good news is the new Colgate tube is recyclable!

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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