Smartwatches & more news

8 minutes estimated reading time


Let’s Face It: Smartwatches Are Dead | Variety – interesting that Variety covered smartwatches. Apple is king of smartwatches. That market is at best immature, at worst dead in the water. Of course all this could change in an instant with a compelling use smartwatches case from a killer app – rather like Apple’s LaserWriter and Aldus’ PageMaker software completely changed things for the Apple Macintosh. Luxury as a sector has fallen down for smartwatches, health looks like a better candidate.


Lessons from the Kingston Smith’s annual agency profitably survey | Chris Merrington | Pulse | LinkedIn – The top 30 independent digital agencies’ margin declined to 4.9%. 30% of them are making a loss

Will Hong Kong’s OOCL be eaten up by the world’s biggest container lines? | Hongkong Business – expect further consolidation, Hamburg Sud has been acquired by Mearsk.


VIDEO: Embattled LeEco Sued in HK as Bills Pile Up | Young’s China Business – fascinating rise and probable fall.

Consumer behaviour

Men, Please Stop Manthreading | Gizmodo – errr no, this isn’t a gender issue despite the weak rationale


WSJ City – US Businesses Reconsider UK and EU Investment – interesting reading; serious implications for agencies who act as a hub or work on global briefs

Major cut in EU migrants risks long-term damage to UK economy – report | The Guardian – and this all doesn’t seem to be taking into account automation and foreign competition reducing demand…

As Brexit approaches, signs of a gathering economic storm for Britain – The Washington Post – “I can’t see any circumstance in which we’re going to get a good deal,” he said, noting the E.U.’s incentive to deter future defections by driving a hard bargain with Britain. “The U.K. is going to come out of this very badly. The impact hasn’t even started yet.” 


Apple Extends Discounts on USB-C Adapters and Accessories Until March 31 – Mac Rumors – the MacBook Pro disaster continues. Having blown fortune on dongles to make my laptop work. I am now faced with 10 years of battery chargers, power adaptors for planes and automobiles and a variety of connectors that are now up for the scrap heap. Not exactly environmentally friendly design. A second thing is that the MagSafe connector is far safer than the new USB C connectors.


Perfecting Cross-Pollination | HBR – research on more than 17,000 patents suggests that the financial value of the innovations resulting from such cross-pollination is lower, on average, than the value of those that come out of more conventional, siloed approaches. In other words, as the distance between the team members’ fields or disciplines increases, the overall quality of their innovations falls. But my research also suggests that the breakthroughs that do arise from such multidisciplinary work, though extremely rare, are frequently of unusually high value—superior to the best innovations achieved by conventional approaches


The Sunk Cost Fallacy and the Future of Silicon Valley — The Information – an oblique criticism of Silicon Valley no longer being known for ‘hard’ innovation (paywall)

AI Winter Isn’t Coming – Despite plenty of hype and frantic investment, a leading artificial intelligence expert says hardware advances will keep AI breakthroughs coming – hmmm not so convinced most of it is building on 1980s work rather than really moving things forward


Tokyo Thrift special: ‘It’s a Sony’ exhibit shows off decades of decadent design – The Verge – basically a love letter to Sony’s product design and obsession for engineering


Tour guides accuse South Korean departmental store of exploiting expatriates | SCMP – interesting given who Chinese shoppers are overwhelming large parts of central Seoul


The UK’s Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court • The Register – Section 56(1)(b) creates a legally guaranteed ability – nay, duty – to lie about even the potential for State hacking to take place, and to tell juries a wholly fictitious story about the true origins of hacked material used against defendants in order to secure criminal convictions. This is incredibly dangerous. Even if you know that the story being told in court is false, you and your legal representatives are now banned from being able to question those falsehoods and cast doubt upon the prosecution story. 

Potentially, you could be legally bound to go along with lies told in court about your communications – lies told by people whose sole task is to weave a story that will get you sent to prison or fined thousands of pounds.


Luxury Daily – Unwed, digitally savvy millennials affecting luxury jewellery business – and the luxury digital devices generally look hideous


Harvard Business Review – whiteboard videos on Facebook – apparently successful tactics with roughly 100,000 views per video


Vice Media Forms Alliance With Guardian Newspaper | Variety – interesting move in terms of media

The Methbot operation | Whiteops – video ad fraud business worth $3-5m/day (PDF) Well worth reading despite the bot network name….

Europe Presses American Tech Companies to Tackle Hate Speech – The New York Times – only 40 percent of material flagged as possible hate speech online (albeit in a relatively small sample of 600 posts, videos and other online material) had been reviewed by the Silicon Valley companies within 24 hours. Of those 600 postings, just over a quarter was eventually taken down

China e-sports industry entering golden age, says IDC | DigiTimes – (paywall)

Finding New Ways To Be Fearless | Media Post – content before channel – interesting take I would see them as having equal footing

Case study: 3 years, 5M WeChat followers, and 300M RMB valuation – Uncle Tongdao, a WeChat Official Account about astrology just had an exit at a RMB 300 million valuation – character licensing. LINE (Brown and Cony) and WeChat are the platforms for the new Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse

Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker | MIT Technology Review – a certain amount of conceit as the author is a sci-fi writer, but a great read

China, new economies driving ad market growth: GroupM | Advertising | Campaign Asia – China continues to exceed expectations, with GroupM China revising upwards its initial forecast of 6.6 percent growth to 7.8 percent. This contrasts with the Magna report, released yesterday by IPG Mediabrands, which initially forecast China’s ad market growth at 8.4 percent and revised it down to 7.2 percent


Vine Update – Medium – Vine becomes a feature (officially). Vine made the classic web 2.0 mistake of confusing being a feature with being a fully featured but minimal service for optimal user experience design. This is a hard line to walk during the web 2.0 era, let alone in the face of super-apps like WeChat that compress a whole operating environment into one app at a moderate sacrifice in usability


OONI – urandom.pcap: Belarus (finally) bans Tor – double edged sword. On one hand good for a government that wants oversight like Investigatory Powers act; on the other Tor users flag themselves interesting by their use of it. I would expect an MP driven ban in the UK at some point

Freedom of Press Foundation Asks Canon, Nikon, and Other Camera Manufacturers to Sell Encrypted Cameras | WIRED – another issue is that cameras are more likely consumer electronics than computers – firmware updates are often not used and cameras have a long life

Congressional group says backdoor laws would do more harm than good – The Verge – smarter approach to cryptography than many politicians. There is a clear dichotomy between politicians desire for personal privacy and their clear advocacy against it in the name of national security. This sense of the other highlights the gap between politicians and the people. The congressional group conclusions are refreshing.

YouGov | The risk of Britain being attacked by another country in the next 30 years; Websites used/ trusted – website data is interesting but I bet the self reporting percentages aren’t backed up by observed behaviour


Tencent: Inside China’s ‘killer app’ factory | FT – (paywall)


MacBook Pro Launch: Perplexing | MondayNote – quite shocking review by Jean-Louis Gassée of his experience with the new MacBook Pro – less than 5 hours of battery life, buggy peripherals and software glitches don’t inspire confidence

Web of no web

Protecting the Apple iWatch Standby screenshot as a trademark Device in China? Sorry not possible. – too complex to be protected as a trademark: WTF. China still has ambitions with smartwatches, as part of a wider emphasis on wearables and 5G. Apple’s smartwatches are the only ones that are distinctive in nature and this could bring about copycats. More related posts here.


Apple Explores Dual-SIM Capability in iPhones, Patent Filing Reveals – Slashdot – I’d have been more surprised if they didn’t look at it

iPhone Camera Quality: Flickr Data Shows How Insanely Popular It Is | BGR – interesting that Flickr skews towards iPhone users

Apple (AAPL) is opening up a bit on the state of its AI research — Quartz – still governed by Apple’s focus on computing power per watt

Above Avalon: Milking the iPhone – interesting analysis