Slack Adding Voice, Video, and Screen Sharing

Around the same time we started building Slack, another team began building their vision; a service specializing in voice, video and screen sharing that would allow people working remotely to work as if they were in the same room, and people in the same room to work better than ever.

That team was Screenhero. And the more we got to know them, the more we liked the cut of their jib.

I'm a huge fan of Slack (it's one of my must-have iPhone apps) and I can't wait to see how this new integration will work. 

YouTube Drops Flash for HTML5 Video As Default

Five years ago when the iPad was introduced, tech analysts predicted the iPad would fail without Flash support. This is Reason #5 from an article titled: "5 Reasons The iPad Will Fail.

"Around 90% of video you watch on the web is powered by Flash. Countless sites integrate Flash into their designs. No flash support means a lousy web experience. Yet another area where netbooks clearly outperform the iPad."

Clearly Flash support wasn't enough to maintain the Netbook market and the iPad has been a huge success for Apple.

Steve Jobs said it best when he talked about the future of Flash:

"So we try to pick things that are in their spring, So we have a history of doing that, we went from the 5-inch floppy disk to the 3.5 inch with the Mac and sometimes when we get rid of things like the floppy disk drive on the original iMac, people call us crazy. But sometimes you have to pick the things that look like the right horses to ride going forward. And Flash looks like a technology that had its day, but is waning. And HTML5 looks like the technology that is on the ascendancy now."


"New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."


Of course we can't forget his thoughts on Flash.

One of The Best Films At Sundance Shot Using an iPhone 5S

Plenty of amateur films have been shot using iPhones, but by all reports, this is the first movie at the Sundance Film Festival to be shot almost entirely on an Apple device. It was a decision that indie writer and director Sean Baker made to accommodate the film’s small budget. But you’d never guess the camera, to look at it: Tangerine was shot in a widescreen, 2:35:1 aspect ratio, and its camera zooms through the streets of LA with a fluidity you’d never expect from a handheld device. And yet despite his camera of choice, Baker says the iPhone made for a good partner. "It was surprisingly easy," Baker says. "We never lost any footage."

That this can be done with an iPhone makes me appreciate the technology that is packed into these small devices even more.

Bad Assumptions

Ben Thompson on some incorrect assumptions about Apple:

It’s difficult to overstate just how absurd this is, but here’s my best attempt: last quarter Apple’s revenue was downright decimated by the strengthening U.S. dollar; currency fluctuations reduced Apple’s revenue by 5% – a cool $3.73 billion dollars. That, though, is more than Google made in profit last quarter ($2.83 billion). Apple lost more money to currency fluctuations than Google makes in a quarter. And yet it’s Google that is feared, and Apple that is feared for.

I think he makes a lot of good points and his post is well worth the read. The assumption I'm sick of hearing is 'if Apple doesn't make a cheap iPhone, they are doomed.'

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 first quarter ended December 27, 2014. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion and record quarterly net profit of $18 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $57.6 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $2.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.9 percent compared to 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The results were fueled by all-time record revenue from iPhone® and Mac® sales as well as record performance of the App Store℠. iPhone unit sales of 74.5 million also set a new record.


Snapchat: Introducing Discover

Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. This is not social media.

Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.

Discover is different because it has been built for creatives. All too often, artists are forced to accommodate new technologies in order to distribute their work. This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.

Snapchat is taking an interesting approach to advertising, and I think it may have a shot.

iPhone Closing In on Samsung Smartphone Sales

Samsung overtook Apple as the biggest smartphone maker in the third quarter of 2011, according to research firm Canalys. Since then, Samsung has maintained its lead — in shipments if not profits — by offering a wide range of phones.

But Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

Enter Apple’s new bigger-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which went on sale in September. Analysts polled by Fortune forecast that Apple sold 66.5 million iPhones in the quarter ended Dec. 27, up 30% from a year earlier. Some analysts expect iPhone sales to eclipse 70 million units in the quarter.

“It’s going to be closer than it’s ever been since Samsung took the lead,” said Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys.

If anything, this shows market share isn't the best indicator of success in the smartphone market. One area which is a good indicator, profit, Apple leads by a long shot.

Overcast's Smart Speed vs. Real Time

A great test by Evan Pederson on the usefulness of Overcast's Smart Speed feature:

I used Instacast for Mac alongside the application AirServer to AirPlay Overcast on my iPhone 5S to my Mac and into Audio Hijack. I then adjusted Instacast to the left channel and Overcast to the right channel.

It is immediately evident how efficient it is. Hardcore History usually runs between 1.20x and 1.40x. Dan Carlin’s style includes a lot of breaks and pauses which Overcast discards. Overall, I achieved 1.158x saving 12 minutes 48 seconds. That’s incredible.

Smart Speed was the main reason I shelled out $4.99 for Overcast. It's saved me countless hours of listening to seconds of dead space during podcasts.


☆ On Apple Watch Battery Life

There's been a lot of talk surrounding the battery life of the Apple Watch following a scoop by 9to5Mac:

Apple initially wanted the Apple Watch battery to provide roughly one full day of usage, mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use. As of 2014, Apple wanted the Watch to provide roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…

Apple has also been stress-testing the Apple Watch’s battery life with pre-bundled and third-party applications. Our sources say that Apple is targeting 2.5 hours of “heavy” application use, such as processor-intensive gameplay, or 3.5 hours of standard app use. Interestingly, Apple expects to see better battery life when using the Watch’s fitness tracking software, which is targeted for nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.

Initially I thought those numbers were brutal, but after some consideration I think 3.5 hours of standard use will suffice for most users.

Here's why.

Apple has consistently said the Apple Watch would require daily charging.

As an example, my 'day' begins at 6 AM and ends at midnight when I go to sleep, which means the Apple Watch would need to last 18 hours to make it through a full day. If we do a little bit of math given the estimated 3.5 hours of battery life, it means the Apple Watch could be 'active' - as in, the display is on and being used - for 20% of my day.

20% seems like a pretty high percentage, especially considering my iPhone is still my main source of communication. Of course, there will be people who try to game on the Apple Watch and who will be disappointed when it shuts off after a couple hours. Those will be the same people who will complain through every medium they can that the Apple Watch is a failure. For the average person however, I suspect 3.5 hours will be sufficient for all-day use.

Luckily, I don't think we will have to wait much longer for some answers from Apple.

50% of U.S. Smartphones Activated Last Quarter Were iPhones

Apple enjoyed historic sales this holiday season, and while the company won’t reveal its official earnings until January 27th, based on the latest smartphone activation report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Apple dominated the holiday shopping season and accounted for 50% of all smartphone activations in Q4 2014.

Tim Cook is likely to announce another record breaking quarter as Apple nearly doubled the number of activations of its closest competitor Samsung, which accounted for a modest 26% of the market.

Yeah, I think Apple is in trouble (/sarcasm).

Apple Should Be Forced To Bring iMessage To Blackberry

“Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality,” Chen writes. “Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service.”

We all need a good laugh every now and then.