Every morning at the break of day, the Apple doom birds begin to sing their song. “Doom!”, they wail. “Doooooooooooom!” We’ve been ignoring them for years, but eventually, like stopped clocks, they’ll be right. Could that be happening right now? Maybe! And Apple isn’t the only tech firm with troubles. Flash is finished, Java is a has-bean, and Twitter’s going down the… er, toilet. It’s Week in Tech!
Apple: from boom! to doom?
Everybody knows what to expect from Apple’s financial results: big numbers, and a big increase in iPhone sales. Not this quarter. For the first time, Apple has reported slowing iPhone growth. It’s still selling, but its soaraway trajectory appears to be flattening and Tim Cook expects a decline in the next set of results. The doom-mongers are delighted, of course, but as John McCann points out, Apple still has quite a lot of reasons to be cheerful.
And it may have a new one: VR. As Michelle Fitzsimmons reports, Tim Cook said that VR isn’t niche and “has interesting applications”: she argues that “Apple has built its brand on doing a few products very well, and it would no doubt bring its penchant for premium builds to a VR headset, which, while good for Apple, could be just as good for virtual reality.” Here’s hoping.
The next iPhone: no big deal?
The mists are clearing around Apple’s next iPhone, and it isn’t the iPhone 7: it’s the iPhone 5SE, which we’re expecting to see in March. It’s aimed mainly at the emerging markets where Apple doesn’t currently do much volume, and it’s going to be a four-inch device because people in those markets have really small hands. We made that last bit up, but the four-inch screen appears to be real.
Google: computer says Go
Computers have been able to kick humanity’s backside at chess for some years now, but beating us at Go is much, much harder. So the news that Google’s AI, AlphaGo, has beaten reigning European Go champion Fan Hui not once but five times leads us to the obvious conclusion: EVERYBODY PANIC! “Where does artificial intelligence go from here?” ponders Parker Wilhelm. “Dungeons and Dragons?”
A great week for gamers
If this week is any indication, it’s going to be a great year for gamers: not only have we experienced The Witness, the brand new game from Braid creator Jonathan Blow, but we’ve also been indulging in all kinds of owl-related tomfoolery in Far Cry: Primal. The former is a beautiful puzzler set in a gorgeous 3D world, and the latter is Far Cry, with owls. Dan Griliopoulos likes it a lot: it takes “the series’ overpowered brutality back to something extremely primitive – the days of the caveman, 10,000 years ago.”
Spotify: now with pictures
Have you ever listened to Spotify and thought “hey, I wished this had video!”? Spotify hopes so, because it’s put a whole load of effort into developing a new video streaming service. It’ll come to Android devices first and then roll out to iOS shortly afterwards, but apparently that’s it: Spotify has no current plans to bring the service to the desktop. So that’s video for when people are on the move, but no video when people are sitting down at a desk. Brilliant! Expect short, shareable clips rather than, say, The Godfather Part III.
It’s getting bitter at Twitter
To lose one senior executive is unfortunate; to lose four is a sign that something’s up. So what are we to make of the news that four Twitter execs are stepping down, just three months after founder Jack Dorsey came back to save Twitter’s soul? James O’Malley explains: “The problem Twitter faces is that it isn’t growing fast enough. Facebook, its rival and pacemaker, counts its users in terms of billions. Twitter is languishing around the 300 million mark – and the simple truth is that, month on month, that figure isn’t increasing as fast as investors would like.” That makes Twitter the social media equivalent of Mad Men to Facebook’s X Factor. Can Twitter satisfy investors without scaring off the users that made it what it is today?
We’ll miss Flash, not because it’s good but because we like using that headline. But the ageing format is on life support: according to data collected by cloud media processing service Encoding, Flash’s share of media is down from 21% to just 6%. “Its days are numbered,” says the report. So are Java’s: the Java plugin will be killed off in the next iteration of the Java Development Kit, which is currently in beta. Chances are you’ve already disabled it in your browser, as it’s a notorious source of security vulnerabilities.
LG finally fixes its boot loop problem
Do you have an LG G4? Is it stuck in an endless loop of reboots for no good reason? You’re not alone, and LG has a solution. The issue is because of a hardware defect, a loose contact between components, and the good news is that a repair is covered by your warranty – or at least, it is if you bought your G4 from a mobile phone carrier. Other customers’ warranty conditions “will differ”, LG says.
Pokémon Easter eggs: gotta catch ’em all!
“Earlier this week we got a first look at the Pokémon Super Bowl TV spot, which commemorates 20 years of the Pocket Monster franchise,” Hugh Langley says. “Having noticed several YouTube commenters highlighting the hidden Easter eggs, we decided to go through and pick out all the ones we could find.” Did we catch ’em all? See for yourself.