Apple May Announce ‘Apple Car’ Partner before Summer; Twitter Explores Subscriptions; New Lens Tech Could Juice Smartphone Sales; Tesla Buys $1.5 Billion Bitcoin, May Accept it For Payment

Apple may announce a partner for its Apple Car EV in the first half of this year. Appleinsider.com reports that it’s a matter of ‘when, not if,’ citing a report from analyst Daniel Ives. Although Hyundai (and subsidiary Kia) have now said that all talks have ended, the analyst thinks that is a smokescreen. Apple HATES when a prospective partner blabs about a possible deal. According to Ives, the two front runners are in fact Hyundai and Volkswagen. He says its a better than 85% chance the announcement will come in the next 6 months. 

In a move to be less dependent on ad revenue, Twitter is exploring subscriptions and even tipping. According to engadget.com, there have been rumblings of a ‘Rogue One’ subscription, details of which haven’t been leaked, and also Twitter is thinking of charging extra for Tweetdeck or getting a premium fee for advanced profile customization. As for tipping, that might allow you to get access to special content from accounts you follow. Twitter did just buy newsletter creation service Revue, and has looked at a subscription button, although they haven’t pulled the trigger on that as yet. While subscriptions do provide steady revenue, there is a limit to the number of things people will pay for, so Twitter may have to carefully balance between subscriptions and ads. 

The cameras get better every year in smartphones, but they may be poised to take an even bigger jump. Wired.com says that up to now, it’s all been software, sensor size, and megapixel count. Now, a company called Metalenz may blow things up using a new tech called optical metasurfaces. A camera built around this new lens tech can produce an image of the same if not better quality as traditional lenses, collect more light for brighter photos, and can even enable new forms of sensing in phones, all while taking up less space. In other words, better pictures without any sort of ‘lens bump’ on the back of the phone. The iPhone 12 Pro, for example, uses 7 lens elements. More lenses makes for cleaner pictures. The Metalenz tech uses nanostruuctures in a single lens that are 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair! Metalenz plans to go into production by the end of this year. 

Tesla reported in an SEC filing that they bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin. That is somewhat interesting, but Elon Musk has been a big proponent of cryptocurrency for years. What’s more interesting is that Tesla may be getting ready to accept bitcoin in payment for their cars. Techcrunch.com reports that Tesla stated that they “expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for [its] products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which [it] may or may not liquidate upon receipt.”



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