Do Not Read Until Monday – June 12

It’s time to head home for some rest and relaxation this weekend. Come Monday, read up about the HomePod, ARKit, Snap’s DAUs and other stuff you can’t talk about in casual conversation for the next couple days.

 

APPLE DEVS BOW DOWN & TREMBLE BEFORE THEIR NEW OVERLORD, THE HOMEPOD
…and other stuff from WWDC 2017
Apple HomePod
Gaze Into Its All-Seeing Eye

Rumored for at least as long as the iPad and Apple Watch (and similarly late to market), the HomePod – Apple’s answer to the Echo and Google Home – debuted at WWDC Tuesday. As relatively few third parties work with Apple’s HomeKit technology, which connects smart appliances, Apple framed the device more as an intelligent, spatially aware speaker, which can read the dynamics of a room and adjusts its woofer and 7 tweeters based on acoustics. Yeah, OK, that sounds pretty cool.

The catch: You can’t get it until December.

But, knowing that Beats technology informs its design means it stands a good chance to disrupt the Google-Amazon lock on smart speakers. Speaking of, despite Apple downplaying her importance initially, Siri’s coming along for the ride – or, more accurately, driving. Apple actually removed the onerous hardware requirement for HomeKit, which has been restricting third-party integration, meaning she may have many more friends to play with this winter.

Other gee-whiz announcements from WWDC 2017:
– Business iMessage. Apple’s looking to get into the customer service messaging arena. Given there’s at least 700 million iPhone users out there, it seems worth looking into.

– ARKit. “The largest AR platform in the world” also debuted. With Google, Facebook, Snapchat and others employing the technology, Apple’s stepped in with a developers’ alternative that’s uncharacteristically fewer strings attached than its rivals. And it uses something called “visual-inertial odometry”, so we definitely live in the future now.

A bad / dad weed joke. High Sierra has performance and feature improvements for macOS, but the biggest news here may be that Safari will use machine learning to prevent advertisers from easily tracking users across sites.

 

This Week in Snapchat vs. The World: DAU D’oh

Apple’s entry into AR may spell trouble for the already beset ephemeral messaging originator …or maybe it will end up helping by battling Snap’s chief foe, Facebook. In the meantime, Snapchat offered up a small creative feature this week in its ‘friend filters’, filters for personal messages that incorporate users’ Bitmoji for custom designs. Neato.

In bigger news, Snap also just picked up a start-up tying ad impressions to IRL purchases and store visits. The acquisition of Placed will help tremendously in proving the efficacy of Snap Ads as new users come to the platfo—oh wait, they seem to be stopping that. Snap’s latest troubling numbers come courtesy of SensorTower, an app analytics company, with CNBC acting as the bearer of bad news.

Additionally, an eagle-eye developer caught the PayPal SDK in Snapchat’s apps, and had some good insights on why it may have been added. RIP Snapcash.

The Verdict: You can’t track in-store visits for users who don’t exist, so Snap takes an L this week.

 

Facebook wants to look at you, looking at it, looking at you

While debating a topic to close out this week’s newsletter, I happened across Digiday’s “Why images are the next frontier for ad targeting“. It’s a good read, and true, but its examples stop a little short of demonstrating of what’s entirely possible in using visual data to inform advertising and targeting.

Leave it to Facebook to take up the slack. The company, led by alleged-human-being-but-more-likely-alien/clone Mark Zuckerberg, has filed a patent to read a user’s expression as they consume content on Facebook on a mobile phone. Facebook could then use that visual data to provide content accordingly, including paid advertising.

Slightly less ghoulish is the patent to read expressions and create a custom emoji. A third patent doesn’t focus on visuals, but “could … take advantage of data from a smartphone’s sensors to get a handle on how its user feels, based on accelerometer information and other measures,” according to Mashable.

Facebook responded that it “often seek[s] patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans,” but yeah right.

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