3 Months Free Disney + With New Chromebooks; iPhone-5G Surge from China Orders; Seattle Raises Uber & Lyft Fees; Toshiba- 13 Cancer Tests from Drop of Blood

Google has announced it is bundling 3 months of free Disney+ with new Chromebooks. 9to5google.com reports that the deal will be good for activations made between yesterday (November 25th) and January 31, 2020. It should be a good deal not only for Chromebook buyers, but also for Google (and Disney.) Google doesn’t have a true streaming service competitor right now, since YouTube Originals is mainly focused on creator content and not big ticket TV shows and movies like Apple TV+ and Amazon.

Speaking of Disney+, they have added a ‘Continue Watching’ section. This is a feature they probably should have had on rollout, as Netflix, Hulu, and pretty well all competing streaming services already offer it. It is apparently a server side update…no app update is needed, and they made no big, formal announcement. Cord Cutters News claims that the feature was already built in, but that Disney disabled the feature for rollout while they tried (and failed) to handle the crush of new users.

Apple is expecting a surge in iPhone orders next year when they introduce 5G to the handsets. According to businessinsider.com, Cupertino has told suppliers to be ready for over 100 million orders. Just a month ago, they were projecting 80 million. The bump in orders is expected to come from increased China sales. China is about 20% of iPhone sales right now, and was up 6% in September and October. The increase is partly due to the $50 cut in price for the entry level iPhone 11. Apple is expecting to ‘make it up in volume.’

Seattle’s City Council passed a unanimous ordinance yesterday that would establish a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers and raise per-ride tax to pay for city programs. Geekwire.com says it’s part of the ‘Fare Share’ program introduced in September as a way to extend Seattle’s worker protections to gig economy drivers. A new tax of 51 cents per ride on Uber or Lyft will go to funding affordable housing and also towards the streetcar project. Seattle has already been extracting 24 cents per ride for wheelchair accessible taxis and to cover costs of regulating the industry. The total Seattle tank on Uber and Lyft rides will be 75 cents a ride. It’s estimated to raise $133 million in new revenue by 2025. The minimum wage details are still being wrangled over, but a minimum is expected to take effect by July 1, 2020.

Toshiba says it has developed a tech in conjunction with the National Cancer Research Institute and Tokyo Medical University that may, in ‘several years,’ be able to detect 13 types of cancer from a drop of blood…with 99% accuracy. According to japantimes.co.jp, cancers included are: gastric, esophageal, lung, liver, biliary tract, pancreatic, bowel, ovarian, prostate, bladder and breast cancers as well as sarcoma and glioma. Trials on the tech start next year. They are using microRNA molecules from the blood sample, and claim the tech not only has and edge in accuracy, but also the time required and cost. The device with the chip they have developed can diagnose in under two hours, and a test is expected to cost $184 US dollars!


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