Google announced its plans to acquire Fitbit for $2.1 billion back in November. As of this writing, the deal has yet to go through, courtesy of all the usual regulatory scrutiny that occurs any time one large company buys another. EU regulators are often a key hurdle for these sorts of deals, and this time it may be no different.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Reuters notes that Google may be facing down some scrutiny in the form of an EU antitrust investigation if it doesn’t make some concessions. The heart of the concern here is a matter of health privacy. Fitbit — like many other wearable companies — collects a tremendous amount of health information from wearers.
Google, of course, is a company tremendously invested in data and advertising. Critics of the deal have suggested that purchasing Fitbit would provide yet another rich vein of data for Google to mine. As such, the deal could hinge on the promise that Google will never use health data to sell ads.
The stipulation is in keeping with a promise the company made when the acquisition was first announced, with the company’s head of hardware Rick Osterloh promising, “[P]rivacy and security are paramount. When you use our products, you’re trusting Google with your information. We understand this is a big responsibility and we work hard to protect your information, put you in control and give you transparency about your data.”
In a follow-up to this week’s reporting, the company noted that it believes the acquisition would increase competition. While Fitbit has a sizable footprint, Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei currently dominate the category, due in part to Fitbit’s late start in the smartwatch category. Google’s efforts to make inroads through Wear OS have largely come up short, though the company did also purchase a chunk of smartwatch tech from Fossil last January.
A spokesperson also attempted to put to rest potential regulatory fears, stating, “Throughout this process we have been clear about our commitment not to use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads and our responsibility to provide people with choice and control with their data.”
Regulators are set to decide on the deal by July 20. Google reportedly has until July 13 to present its concessions.
Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers? – TechCrunch
Improve your retention rates, but don’t do it for the 85/15 split
Ever since Apple opened up subscription monetization to more apps in 2016 — and enticed developers with an 85/15 split on revenue from customers that remain subscribed for more than a year — subscription monetization and retention has felt like the Holy Grail for app developers. So much so that Google quickly followed suit in what appeared to be an example of healthy competition for developers in the mobile OS duopoly.
But how does that split actually work out for most apps? Turns out, the 85/15 split — which Apple is keen to mention anytime developers complain about the App Store rev share — doesn’t have a meaningful impact for most developers. Because churn.
No matter how great an app is, subscribers are going to churn. Sometimes it’s because of a credit card expiring or some other billing issue. And sometimes it’s more of a pause, and the user comes back after a few months. But the majority of churn comes from subscribers who, for whatever reason, decide that the app just isn’t worth paying for anymore. If a subscriber churns before the one-year mark, the developer never sees that 85% split. And even if the user resubscribes, Apple and Google reset the clock if a subscription has lapsed for more than 60 days. Rather convenient… for Apple and Google.
Top mobile apps like Netflix and Spotify report churn rates in the low single digits, but they are the outliers. According to our data, the median churn rate for subscription apps is around 13% for monthly subscriptions and around 50% for annual. Monthly subscription churn is generally a bit higher in the first few months, then it tapers off. But an average churn of 13% leaves just 20% of subscribers crossing that magical 85/15 threshold.
In practice, what this means is that, for all the hype around the 85/15 split, very few developers are going to see a meaningful increase in revenue:
Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE – MacRumors
Today’s the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we’d give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch.
Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On!
When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like the Apple Watch Series 5 with the larger, thinner display introduced with the Series 4 and 40 and 44mm size options, so there are no surprises there.
We couldn’t get one of the new colors delivered on Friday, but the Series 6 aluminum models come in new blue and (PRODUCT)RED aluminum shades along with the standard silver, space gray, and gold options. You can’t get those new colors with the Apple Watch SE because it only comes in silver, space gray, and gold. The SE also isn’t available in stainless steel or titanium like the Series 6.
Neither of Apple’s new watches comes with a 5W power adapter for charging, so hopefully you have a few already on hand. You do still get the 1m charging cable, though. Apple said when introducing the watches that the power adapter was removed for environmental reasons, and we’re also expecting to see the power adapter nixed from the iPhone 12 boxes too, based on rumors.
The new Apple Watches look like the Series 5, but there are some differences between them. The Apple Watch Series 6 has the same Always-On display that was in the Series 5, but it’s brighter outside. We had a hard time telling a difference, but it may be more obvious in some conditions.
The Always-On display in the Series 6 also lets you use Control Center and check notifications without having to raise your wrist. The Apple Watch SE has no Always-On display at all, so it’s the same old blank screen when your wrist is down that you may be used to from prior Apple Watches.
Both watches have new Always-On altimeters for hiking, skiing, and other activities that involve elevation changes. You’ll see the altimeter in real-time on the Series 6 thanks to that Always-On display.
There’s a faster A6 chip in the Series 6 while the SE has the same S5 chip that was in the Series 5, and there’s a noticeable jump in performance when using the Series 6. It feels faster and more powerful when navigating through the watchOS operating system.
If you flip the two watches over, there’s a difference when it comes to sensors. The Series 6 is equipped with green, red, and infrared LEDs to support the new blood oxygen monitoring feature which is the big new health change. Blood oxygen monitoring and ECG are Series 6-exclusive features.
The LEDs and infrared light in the Series 6 shine light onto your wrist and photodiodes detect the color of your blood to determine the oxygen percentage. Bright red blood is well oxygenated, while darker blood has less oxygen. The Apple Watch reads all of that information and provides an oxygen level reading between 70 and 100 percent.
It can be a little tricky to get a blood oxygen reading because you need to make sure to hold still. You can get readings on demand or the Apple Watch will occasionally take measurements in the background. It’s neat to have the option, but it’s not really clear what we’re supposed to do with blood oxygen levels.
Healthy people are going to have a SpO2 level that ranges from 95 to 100% and rarely fluctuates, so like ECGs, this may be a feature that most people aren’t going to take much advantage of. For those who don’t feel the need to have the specific ECG and blood oxygen monitoring capabilities, the Apple Watch SE does just about everything else the Series 6 does at a more affordable price point, which makes it a good value.
You still get key health features like the optical heart rate sensor, fall detection, noise level monitoring, and emergency SOS, and it has the same general health and fitness functionality outside of the blood oxygen detection and ECG.
Apple also introduced new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands with the Series 6 and SE, and we picked up a Solo Loop. These bands have no clasps or buckles and are meant to stretch to slide over your hand. Apple sells them in nine sizes, and you have to measure to make sure you get the right fit. MacRumors videographer Dan ordered a size 10 which ended up fitting his wrist well, and he said it’s “incredibly comfortable.” The rubber of the band stretches quite a bit, which makes it easy to get on and off.
All in all, if you have a Series 5, there may be no need to upgrade unless you really want the blood oxygen monitoring capabilities and the faster S6 chip, and if you have an older watch and don’t need ECG or blood oxygen monitoring, the SE may be the better choice for you.
We’ll be doing some more in-depth videos on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE next week, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors.com and subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel.
Xbox Series X, S All Access financing won't go live in Canada until after pre-orders open – MobileSyrup
Xbox has confirmed that Canadians won’t be able to sign up for Xbox All Access financing options on September 22nd, the day that Xbox Series X and Series S pre-orders to go live in Canada.
In an update to its blog post about region-specific pre-order availability, Xbox noted that “pre-orders with Xbox All Access will not be available in Canada, France, Poland and South Korea on September 22nd, but the program will be available in these countries before the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launch this holiday.”
Xbox All Access is confirmed to be coming to Canada this holiday exclusively to EB Games, although specific details like pricing have not yet been provided. For now, then, this means that you’ll only be able to place a standard pre-order for the Series X or Series S, without the financing options.
For a bit context, All Access in the U.S., lets consumers break down the cost of the $299.99 USD ($379.99 CAD in Canada) Series S into $24.99 USD (about $33 CAD) monthly instalments, or the $499 USD ($599 CAD in Canada) Series X into $34.99 USD(about $46 CAD) monthly payments for the Series X.
These payments must be made over a 24-month period, although they do include Game Pass Ultimate as part of the monthly fees. Canadian pricing for All Access has not yet been confirmed.
Given that console pre-orders can often sell out quickly, this might put consumers in a bit of a dilemma. The financing options no doubt make the consoles’ prices more palatable to people, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic when money is likely tight for many. However, with All Access not being ready when pre-orders go live, this means that consumers might not be able to wait for the program to officially launch at EB Games if they want to guarantee a pre-order.
Further, it’s not yet clear whether those who secure a pre-order for either console at EB Games Canada will be able to retroactively apply All Access financing to that order. Even if that does prove possible, this would only benefit those who were able to pre-order at EB Games. If people want the peace of mind of securing a pre-order on September 22nd, they may very well look to another retailer, like Best Buy, Walmart or Amazon, where they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of All Access anyway.
MobileSyrup has reached out to Xbox Canada and EB Games Canada for more details on Xbox All Access and will update this story once a response has been received.
The Xbox Series X and Series S will launch in Canada on November 10th. Sony’s $629 PlayStation 5 will release two days later, with pre-orders already having gone live (and since sold out) at major Canadian retailers.
Image credit: Xbox
Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers? – TechCrunch
UK study finds new Covid-19 rapid test that gives result within 90 minutes – Deccan Herald
Venus is a Russian planet — say the Russians – CTV News
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- Tech7 hours ago
PS5 Disc And Digital Pre-Orders Continue To Sell Out Nightmarishly Fast – Forbes
- Politics21 hours ago
Playing Politics With a Vaccine – The New York Times
- Tech22 hours ago
Upgrading to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14? Good, but do this first – CNET
- Tech21 hours ago
Here are the new features to check out on Apple's iOS 14 (PHOTOS) | Venture – Daily Hive
- Business21 hours ago
Speeding Tesla driver caught napping behind the wheel on Alberta highway – CBC.ca
- Health23 hours ago
Staff and students from Fellowes High School tested for COVID-19 following school closure – The Sudbury Star
- Business18 hours ago
Desperation sets in as CERB is set to end; these three Canadians are among the millions living on the bubble – Toronto Star
- Sports21 hours ago
Phil Mickelson Implodes with Opening 79 at U.S. Open: 'I Just Played Terrible' – Golf Channel