California Gig Economy Bill Clears Senate; McRobots at McDonald’s Drive Through; Amazon Grabs Unique Seattle Warehouse; AppleCare+ New Subscription Model

California’s Senate has passed and sent back to the Assembly a bill that will be a profound change to gig economy workers if passed. The Assembly will have to ok some amendments, then it is on to governor Newsom’s desk, and he has said he will sign it. Venturebeat.com reports that it will not only affect Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, but will ripple throughout all sectors. The gig economy has relied for years on companies utilizing contractors, and touting the benefits of flex time….but most companies have retained such a great degree of control over the hours and duties that of people have felt like they were misclassifying employees as contractors just to dodge paying benefits and a competitive salary. This law would change that. The bill actually codifies a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling, Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court, which set out a new standard for determining whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors. The court said workers are a company’s employees under state wage laws when the company exercises control over their work, or they are integral to its business.

Soon, when you order some McFood at McDonald’s, you may be talking to software and not a person. According to cnet.com, Mac’s is testing out software from an AI company it acquired called Apprente. The Silicon Valley-based startup was founded in 2017 to create voice-based platforms for “complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering,” which McDonald’s plans to incorporate in its drive-thrus initially. The system has already been tested at a few restaurants, so maybe you’ve been talking to robots about your Big Mac and Fries. As testing proceeds, McDonald’s plans to add the AI tech to its mobile ordering and kiosks in the future.

Amazon has lease a half million square feet in a first of kind warehouse in Seattle. The goal of the online giant is to cut down delivery times as it moves to one day shipping. Geekwire.com says the warehouse setup is common in other parts of the world, but unique to the US so far in that it features the ability of trucks to access multiple levels via ramps. Home Depot has apparently also leased 100,000 square feet in the unique warehouse. Amazon has noted that their expenses are higher than expected so far with the changeover to single day delivery, so this will be a step towards rectifying that issue.

With the blizzard of Apple announcements yesterday, here’s one you may have missed hearing about. Last year, Apple rolled out an option to pay monthly for some of its two and three year AppleCare+ plans for iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that Apple has moved it to a subscription model. Here’s what they say about it now:

For Monthly Plans, your Plan Term is one (1) month. Your Plan will automatically renew each month unless cancelled as set forth in the “Cancellation” Section 9 below, including in the event that Apple is no longer able to service your Covered Equipment due to the unavailability of service parts, in which case Apple will provide you with thirty (30) days’ prior written notice of cancellation, or as otherwise required by law.

This sounds like you can continue your AppleCare+ plan until Apple can’t service the device any more. Many people are likely to sign up if they just get hit with a small monthly fee like $3.99 instead of dropping $191 or $149 right up front.

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