The Financial-Markers Edition Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Apple Launches Path To Apple Card, A 4-month Credit Worthiness Improvement Program, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Declined Apple Card applicants may begin seeing notifications on their device later today that offer them the Path to Apple Card program. It’s an opt-in program that can run for up to 4 months. It leverages the information that Goldman Sachs used to determine their credit worthiness to outline why they were declined and to help them improve the specific financial markers that would make them more likely to get approved next time.

Once a user opts in on their device, they get a once-a-month update on their progress on specific tasks that are personalized to their rating.

How The Apple Watch Tracks Sleep -- And Why, by Scott Stein, CNET

Sleep patterns can be tracked in Apple's Health app, but there's a conscious move away from pinging people to fix bad habits or alerting them to nights with suboptimal sleep. Instead, notifications and reinforcements are all positive, similar to what Apple has done previously in the Health and Activity apps. If a sleep goal is met or beaten, there's positive feedback. If the goal isn't met, the app will aim not to flag it.

"There could be anxiety that people have about going to sleep, and that anxiety itself can actually cause more problems in terms of going to sleep," Lynch says. "Many people are already well aware that they haven't been getting enough sleep, and so we're not adding to that, but we are positively acknowledging when you have achieved your goals."

Apple Began Work On The Watch’s Hand Washing Feature Years Before COVID-19, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Unlike other rush initiatives undertaken by the company once the virus hit, however, the forthcoming Apple Watch handwashing app wasn’t built overnight. The feature was the result of “years of work,” VP of Technology Kevin Lynch told TechCrunch. In typical Apple fashion, the product was a result of years of trial and error, according to the executive.


The system uses machine learning models to tackle different methods, but the system gets an additional nudge from the Watch’s microphone. Along with motion, the app listens for the sound of running water. Even that’s not enough, though — after all, eco sinks have become increasingly popular, meaning that there’s often less water sound to be listening for. The sound of squishing soap takes care of that last bit. It’s got a unique enough audio signature so as to confirm that handwashing is taking place.

Relationship With Customers

Apple News Just Lost The New York Times, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The New York Times has announced that, as of today, it will no longer be distributing articles in the Apple News app, making it one of the largest publishers to end its association with Apple’s publishing platform.

In a memo announcing the change, Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer at the Times, said the company wants “a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers, and the nature of our business rules.” She added that the paper’s “relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters.”

Newsonomics: The New York Times Is Opting Out Of Apple News, by Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab

On its own, that may seem like just one more move in the chess game between major news companies and the platforms. But it could also be an indication of a more geologic movement. Will the rest of 2020 bring tectonic shifts in platforms’ power over news — or just a few more small tremors?


“It’s time to re-examine all of our relationships with the big platforms,” New York Times COO Meredith Levien told me. “And we’re reexamining them on three axes that are all interrelated, but different with each of the players.”


Apple Design Awards For 2020 Awarded To Eight Developers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Typically, the Apple Design Awards have been held on the evening of the first day of WWDC. With the conference online this year, Apple held off until today to announce the winners. This year, in a collection that has a distinct iPad focus, the company announced four app winners and four game winners.

Apple Camp At Home Registration Now Open With Free Creative Activity Book, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple announced earlier this month that Apple Camp was going virtual for 2020, and today, registration for the at-home sessions has opened. Parents and kids interested in signing up can apply on Apple’s website and download a free Activity Book.

6 Truths About Your Phone's Battery Life: All About Overcharging, Overheating, Fast Charging, by Clifford Colby, CNET

But now that fast charging is so readily available for phones, we have questions: Can a high-capacity charger damage your phone's battery in the short term? Can it degrade your phone's power-storing capability over time? And what causes unnecessary wear and tear on your phone's battery anyway?

To get the answers, we spoke with several battery researchers and engineers about the effects of quick charging on your phone's battery life. Here's what we learned.


Smartphone Apps Are Now A Weapon In International Disputes, by Tom Simonite, Wired

By banning the apps, India adds to a swelling global pushback on China’s technology sector in a way that brings consumers more directly into the conflict.


App store operators such as Google and Apple will now be asked to prevent users in India from downloading or updating the banned apps. The government is also expected to ask internet service providers to block access to banned services, cutting off apps that have already been downloaded. Those tactics mirror China’s own system of internet control, which includes government controls on app stores, and the Great Firewall that filters internet traffic.

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How long more before the New York Times is also one of the big tech?


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