From #BendGate and Beats Music to South Park, here are the top stories from 9/20 to 9/26:
1. #BendGate dominated the tech headlines this week. For those unfamiliar with the “saga,” several reports suggested that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will bend when left in a pocket for a prolonged period of time. The iPhone 6 Plus in particular garnered the most attention. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are hardly the first Apple products that bend. Similar reports came out with the iPod Touch, iPhone 5, and iPhone 5s. This is nothing new, and Apple isn’t the only one that has bendy products. For more on the phone bending, check out YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger’s video of himself bending all the new phones.
2. Apple plans to sunset the Beats Music brand. It’s unclear what Apple wants to do in streaming music, but it seems quite possible that the Beats Music product could be rolled into iTunes rather than being ‘shuttered.’
3. Are today’s on-demand and local services really about catering to the lazy rich, or are they about a new way to book services from local providers by satisfying demand more efficiently? Technology will still augment and improve our everyday lives, but we need to build something different (like making push-button mom-and-pop commerce work or creating on-demand mental health help). Sarah Perez argues that “we need to aim higher than than butlers-on-demand. Instead of finding ways to turn the technology into the thing that destroys, make it an enabler of good.”
4. Ello is the hottest new social network. No ads and no real names. We’re not entirely sure why Ello is blowing up, but we have a few theories.
5. Oculus gave the world the first look at its new prototype Crescent Bay last Saturday, and Josh Constine got the very first hands-on demo. Virtual reality is here, and Oculus wants to transform gaming, entertainment, and how we interact with one another.
6. There is currently a battle for San Francisco’s soul, but Danny Crichton argues that there’s another battle brewing in the region: bankers versus artisans.
7. Ron Miller took a tour of Facebook’s hardware lab. Facebook scale requires them to rethink the old rules and let engineers imagine outside industry standards.
8. We ran a few features related to the new iPhone’s camera. Darrell Etherington suggests that the camera on the new phone is so good that he has finally been able to ditch his compact camera. Matthew Panzarino wrote a piece about the manual camera finally arriving for the new iPhone. Speaking of photography, Jordan Crook offered a warning about the new iOS: The camera shortcut in iMessage will automatically send photos the moment you release the shutter button.
9. Dan Kaplan wrote an intriguing piece about the evolution of human intelligence and how digital telepathy is the next step.
10. We continued our discussion of Benchmark venture capitalist Bill Gurley’s comments regarding the risk-driven nature of Silicon Valley and companies’ proclivities to burn up money. Ron Miller wrote a feature on Monday, followed by Alex’s piece on Thursday. Ron also covered Andreessen’s tweet storm, and Alex and Ron co-wrote a piece on Box’s IPO.
11. If you watch one bit of television this week, please let it be the most recent episode of South Park. Why are we writing about South Park? The episode is a hilarious smack down on the NFL’s inability to do anything, the Washington Redskins name controversy, and startup culture.
Other popular stories this week included a feature about Cirque du Soleil and drones and a video of 3D printing using the power of the sun. It was also interesting to see PayPal enabling bitcoin transactions for merchants selling digital goods. This could be a key turning point in the acceptance of digital currencies.
That’s all for this week. What did we miss?