COVID Lockdown at Apple Chinese Factory Lifted; DoorDash Announces Layoff; Starlink Jacks Up Ukraine Prices; Honda ‘Sensing 360’ Coming

The world’s largest iPhone plant in Jung Joe in central China will reopen after a COVID lockdown. CNN reports that Apple has lost about a billion dollars a week with the Foxconn factory closed. There are normally about 200,000 workers employed at the complex. There have been protests there predating the wider ones across Chinese cities, with some workers escaping guards and fleeing. In the 5 years between 2014 and 2019, Apple cut reliance on Chinese production of its product line from 47% to 44%. That dropped to 41% in 2020, and 36% in 2021. They are still moving more iPhone production to places like India, though. With 70% of iPhones made in just China, Apple will move more production out…not only to India, but also to Vietnam, Taiwan, and even the US. 

DoorDash will cut 1250 workers in what the company says is an adjustment in size after the company grew too fast during the pandemic. According to, the laid off workers will get 17 weeks of compensation, their February 2023 stock vest, and healthcare benefits through the end of March 2023. 

With widespread loss of mobile networks and net access in Ukraine, Starlink (which is owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX) has started jacking up prices for the dishes and service, citing ‘market conditions.’ In what sounds like good, old fashioned price gouging, says the prices are going up from $385 earlier this year to $700 for new Starlink customers. The monthly fee had been dropped from $100 a month to $60 to celebrate Ukraine Independence day August 24th…those will now go back up to $75. No comment from either SpaceX or Musk on the price increases. 

Honda’s level 2 driver assist system, which is already rolling out in China, should be getting to the US a bit at a time over the next few years…with the whole suite standard by 2030. reports that the Sensing 360 and Sensing Elite systems use 5 millimeter wave sensors in addition to the monocular camera on present models to give 360 degree sensing. This will allow hands free lane changing (which several other manufacturers already have) as well as help avoid ‘abnormal conditions.’ Honda didn’t say what those might be. Some of the features will be hitting higher end Hondas like the touring models next year, but again…the entire suite of features won’t be standard on all models until 2030. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now. 


3 Months Free Spotify Premium; Musk v Apple; Create With Alexa for Kids; Cyber Monday Sets Record

Everyone likes a freebie, and here’s one from Spotify for the holidays. reports that you can get 3 months of Spotify Premium if you sign up for the Individual Premium Plan before the end of the year. After that, it will automatically renew for $9.99 a month unless you cancel. In addition to that…if you ever signed up for Spotify Premium before, but canceled before October 28 of this year, you can sign up again, and get 3 months for the price of one, $9.99. As with the other deal, it renews for the $9.99 a month after the third month. If you’ve been wanting ad free Spotify, here’s your chance.

It’s been all over the news, but Elon Musk is taking on…of all firms…Apple…the richest company on earth. He is accusing them of being against free speech by ditching advertising on Twitter. Apple had previously been one of the platform’s major advertisers. According to Media Matters, Twitter has lost half its top 100 advertisers since Musk started changing things. Those firms spent some $750 million with Twitter in 2022 up to that point. Musk is also claiming Apple has threatened to take Twitter off the App Store due to the lack of moderation now. I think Matt Gertz summed things up pretty well in this Tweet: ‘I dunno if you’re going to try to make an example of one of your advertisers in an attempt to keep others from dropping you maybe shouldn’t start with the richest company on the planet which can also killshot your business?’

As we have reported before, Amazon is losing money with Alexa devices. Now, they’ve come up with a way to try to hook kids in to using them more, to pump things up. says they are rolling out ‘Create With Alexa’ on Echo Show devices. The system uses AI to let kids guide the creation of animated stories using kid-friendly prompts. Note that it works whether the device is in Amazon Kids mode or not. There are only 3 themes available at start: space exploration, underwater, and enchanted forest. The child can pick the scene, pick the hero, then color scheme, etc. When it’s done, they can watch the story, which is saved so your kid can show it to you again and again ad nauseam. 

Black Friday was up this year, and now the data is in, and Cyber Monday was up even more. Driven by deep discounts, Cyber Monday hauled in $11.3 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics. That was up 5.8% over the day last year. Cyber Monday continues to be the biggest day of the Thanksgiving weekend. This year, Thanksgiving Day had $5.29 billion in sales, and Black Friday $9.12 billion….both up from last year. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.

Twitter Being Spammed in China; WhatsApp-Message Yourself; Tesla Refreshing Model 3; Black Friday Sales Set Record 

With the protests all weekend going on in China, one the draconian COVID policy there, and with some calling for a regime change, there is now Twitter spam that is flooding timelines…and apparent effort by the Chinese government to make it harder for people to get information about the protests in China’s largest cities. According to, most of the spam centers around porn or gambling. Local activists use Twitter through a VPN to avoid Chinese government censorship of the protests on domestic social networks. With Twitter’s Elon Musk wiping out over half the platform’s staff, they are having a heck of a time trying to keep up and get rid of the spam. The spam bots appear to be prompted when a person keys in the names of the cities in Chinese characters. Meanwhile, the protests continue, with crowds holding up blank sheets of paper. 

WhatsApp has introduced an interesting feature, which should be handy you are on the app a lot, and haven’t ever gotten into the habit of using the notes feature on your phone. reports that you will be able to message yourself. In fact, that’s what they are calling it…Message Yourself. It’s a good way to make a quick note of something or send yourself a reminder. Again, if you don’t use the notes feature on your phone, you could even message yourself your shopping list. The feature is rolling out now, and should hit all iOS and Android devices in the next few weeks. Signal has a similar feature, but with WhatsApp, you can set it to put your reminder at the top of the contact list so you can find it more easily. 

Tesla has a refresh of the Model 3 in the works. says it will have fewer interior components (and it is already pretty stark inside) with a slightly redesigned exterior. The goal is to cut production costs and increase appeal. Whether they will pass on the savings is anyone’s guess right now. The freshened model should be rolling off the Shanghai lines in the 3rd quarter of 2023, and will be built at the Fremont factory as well…but no date has been mentioned for that as yet. Although it was hyped as the affordable Tesla, at $35,000, it only hit that price point for a minute. Right now, the cheapest Model 3 has a base price at $46,900.

Despite inflation and worries by some of recession, Black Friday online sales hit a record $9.1 billion. That was up 2.3% from last year, according to…with the data coming from Adobe Analytics. Electronics were the big segment…up 221% over all. Smart home items were up 271%, audio equipment up 230%, toys were up a whopping 285%, and exercise equipment increased by 218%. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Techified’ for now. 

More Twitter Litter; Galaxy S23-Maybe Better Satellite Than Apple; Mercedes-Pay Up, and Go Faster; LG Will Build EV Batt Cathode Plant in US

Yesterday, people were all a-Twitter (sorry) about Elon Musk announcing a ‘general amnesty’ for suspended accounts starting next week. reports that Musk will allow those that may post horrible but legal things back on the platform…free speech, ya know. There may be a fly in the ointment with this…besides more people leaving Twitter. Except the US, most countries don’t have anything like the 1st Amendment, and he may be fined billions by the European Union.

As famed pitchman Ron Popiel would say…’but wait…there’s more!’ Yes, the blue checkmarks for paid accounts will resume December 2nd..BUT with company. It will be called ‘Verified,’ not Twitter Blue, AND there will be different colors of checkmarks. Basically, companies will get a gold check, governments a gray one, and individuals will have the blue ones. Individual public officials will have a ‘tiny logo’ showing their organization if it is verified. Hive, Mastodon and Post are licking their chops at even more users bailing on Twitter for their platforms.

A ‘killer feature’ of the new iPhone 14 models is the emergency satellite connectivity. Now, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S23 may outshine them with something better. According to, Samsung is partnering with Iridium to use their low orbit satellites to not only give users emergency messaging, but also the ability to transmit text messages and low-capacity images. In addition, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is supposed to be getting a new fingerprint sensor that will have better speed and accuracy. The S23 phones should be out in February. 

Mercedes-Benz is one of the car makers taking a page out of Tesla’s book for its electric vehicles. says the German car maker will have an ‘acceleration increase’ feature on it’s EQ electric vehicles…BUT…you will have to pay $1200 a year for the privilege of having neck-snapping acceleration. Tesla has charged thousands in fees for years for their ‘Full Self-Driving’ feature…which of course, isn’t really full self-driving. Tesla’s fee isn’t yearly, though. BMW has already joined the fee for features club, but with a much lighter touch…you want heated seats? $18 dollars a month, please. 

As car makers work to introduce and sell more and more electric models, battery availability becomes an issue. Now, LG Chem has announced a factory to be built in Tennessee to make cathodes for EV batteries. reports that the new $3 billion plant will be in Clarksville. When up and running in 2027, it will be able to supply cathode material for some 1.2 million EVs. It will bring 850 jobs to Tennessee, too.

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘technified’ for now. 

Alexa Loses Big Money; iPhone 15-Rounded Back,Titanium Case; Musk Claims Twitter Hiring Again; Domino’s Readies for All-EV Delivery Fleet

Apparently, Meta’s Metaverse project isn’t the only big tech company division that’s losing huge money. reports that Amazon’s Alexa division is on its way to joining the ‘lose $10 billion a year’ club! One difference, however. In the 10 years Alexa and Alexa devices have been around, they have been considered something of a loss leader by Amazon. The problem is that the losses from the Alexa division are twice the amount of any other Amazon unit. Most of the Echo devices, which are among the “best-selling items on Amazon, most of the devices sold at cost.” The idea has been to make money on your using Alexa, not on the devices. Google is also not making any money on Google Assistant. Apple never did try to sell their Siri powered gadgets like the HomePod at cost…like Apple has EVER sold anything at cost…so they don’t seem to be in such a hole. Are voice assistants doomed? Stay tuned, we may find out before long.

Since Apple leaked into the first story, here is a new rumor about their iPhone 15. According to, quoting a leaker called ShrimpApplePro…who has a good, but not perfect record…the new iPhone 15 models may have a titanium casing, and rounded back. The titanium may only go to the Pro or Ultra models, though. The idea is to lighten the weight with the titanium. As for the rounded shoulders on the back, that is intended to help people pick the phones up off a surface. Even with the camera bump, you can’t always quickly grab your phone off a desk or table. The square corners top, rounded bottom isn’t completely foreign to Apple…the latest MacBooks also feature that design. 

Despite a few more layoffs this week, Elon Musk told an all hands meeting Monday that the company is done with layoffs and actively recruiting for engineering and sales help (like some of those he recently fired. The company is down to about 2700 employees from the 7500 before Musk took over. also noted that Musk said “This is not a right-wing takeover of Twitter. It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter.” In looking at what accounts he has allowed back on…from Trump to Marge Taylor Green…although drawing a line in the sand at Alex Jones, not many people would agree that it is a moderate take over!

Domino’s is going big on electric vehicles. The pizza delivery company has ordered 800 Chevy Bolt EVs for its delivery fleet. says the cars are sans any bells and whistles, but will be wrapped with custom Domino’s branding. The 855 EVs won’t mean one for each of Domino’s 6135 locations, but it will be a heck of a start! Domino’s thinks with local deliveries, the cars shouldn’t need to be charged more than every other or every 3 days. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now. 

Disney-Iger’s Back; US EV Market to Jump 20%; Twitter Copyright Strike System Broken; Apple Switches iPhones to Samsung Memory Chips

In a bombshell from the House of Mouse, an announcement came late Sunday that Bob Chapek was out, and Bob Iger back as CEO of Disney. CNBC reports that the change is effective immediately. Chapek had been widely criticized for his management of Disney. Disney stock jumped 9% on the announcement. The company earnings in the last quarter way underperformed Wall Street expectations. This, despite a surge in revenue from the theme parks. Iger will stay a couple more years, and help the board develop a successor CEO. 

If you seem to be seeing more electric vehicles on the road as you commute or just drive around…you’re right. According to, the US EV market share was up to 6.7% the first half of 2022, from just 1.8% in 2019. Mainly due to charger availability, EV market share is up even more: Germany has gone from 3% to 26%, the UK from 2.2% to 24%, and France from 2.8% to 21%. The climate incentives passed into law last summer in the US are expected to push US market share up over 20% before 2030…earlier than expected. Incentives are a big help, but the real key is building out charging stations to all but eliminate ‘range anxiety.’

There has been plenty of talk about Twitter completely breaking down in the aftermath of Elon Musk’s layoffs and now staff quitting over his demands to return to the office. As of this report, Twitter is still up, but some things are breaking. says one is the copyright strike system. A user posted the entirety of ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ movie in a series of some 50 tweets containing two minute clips. The thread has been up for a couple days now, without any apparent attempt or maybe ability to take it down. 

Since the US has imposed export controls on one of China’s top NAND flash chip makers, Apple is pivoting to Samsung for iPhone Memory chips. reports that Apple had been using chips from Yangtze Memory Technologies, but will now rely on Samsung starting in 2023. Unlike some other chip makers, Samsung hasn’t put production cuts in place in response to decreased market demands. The export controls are an effort by the US to slow China’s tech and military advances from copying US tech. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘technified’ for now. 

Twitter Even More ‘Musked; Up; Ticketmaster-Antitrust Investigation from Swift Presale Mess; Personalized 3D Meds-Almost Here; Google Improves Maps for EV Owners

Twitter descended further into chaos yesterday after more employees than expected refused to go for Elon Musk’s latest demand of ‘working long hours at high intensity’ or else. says enough refused that Twitter again locked down buildings and blocked badge access…fearing sabotage. Some reports have less than half the remaining 4,000 employees after Musk’s original purge deciding to stay. Thousands of contractors were also laid off. One former employee said “I know of six critical systems (like ‘serving tweets’ levels of critical) which no longer have any engineers,” the former employee said. “There is no longer even a skeleton crew manning the system. It will continue to coast until it runs into something, and then it will stop.” Meanwhile, Elon Musk is touting increased usage numbers…although a lot seem to be logging on to see if the platform has crashed yet. Stay tuned to see how ‘Musked up’ Twitter gets. A hat tip to my KGO in Exile colleague Nikki Medoro for ‘Musked up.’ 

The Taylor Swift presale chaos has gotten the attention of Tennessee’s attorney general. According to, that office is examining whether Ticketmaster violated consumer’s rights and antitrust regulations. Ticketmaster cancelled its public sales for Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour after the presale, citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.” In addition to the Tennessee AG, the presale mess has also piqued the interest of several Members of Congress. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tweeted that “Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they needed to be reigned in. Break them up.” 

In a crazy sounding yet cool story out of Finland, a startup there is working on #D printed, personalized medications. says the idea is to be able to make drugs in doses other than those offered by mass produced drugs, and even allowing for a different ingredient mix in the 3D made pills. They are aiming not just at medications for people, but also for veterinary use. It makes sense, as people come in all sizes, as do dogs and even cats…so getting personalized dosing could provide better care to patients. Curify Labs is the startup working on the tech. For humans, it would be particularly useful in producing lower dose meds for children…and even flavoring them like orange aspirin to get the kids to take them. Don’t expect these 3D pills in the next year or two, but they could ultimately be quite a sea change in providing meds to people and their fur babies. 

Google has pushed out a new update to Maps with a handy feature for owners of electric vehicles. reports that you can now filter EV charging stations in order to select ‘fast charging’ ones! On top of that, you can filter for plug compatibility. Both the new features should be available right now on both Android and iOS apps. Another new feature will show you if a business is wheelchair accessible or not. That feature is only in the US and Canada right now. 

I’m Clark Reid and you’ve been ‘technified’ for now. 

Apple Will Pivot to US Made Chips; Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2; Musk Demands Twitter Staff to Go ‘Hardcore’ or Quit; MacKenzie Scott-2 Billion Given Away in 7 Months

We reported earlier about Foxconn quadrupling employees in India, in a move to be less dependent on China. Now, reports that Apple’s Tim Cook disclosed at an internal meeting in Germany that Apple will start sourcing chips from the TSMC plant being built in Arizona. Cook said they should be using those US chips in iPhones in 2024. Taiwan Semiconductor is already looking to build a second chip plant in the US, and Intel is also building plants in Arizona that will open in 2024. All these plants are beneficiaries of some $50 billion in incentives from the US government that are a result of the Chips Act that passed last summer. At present, 60% of the world’s processor supply comes out of Taiwan…which he noted is probably not a good strategic position.

Qualcomm has announced its latest and greatest chip…the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. According to, the chip sports 4 performance cores and 3 efficiency cores. Qualcomm claims it has 25% improved performance over last year’s chip, and gets an efficiency boost of 40%. It also rocks a new 5G modem, and is Wi-Fi 7 capable. It should start showing up in new smartphones early in 2023.

From the world of Elon Musk, his latest antic is to demand that the Twitter employees still standing have to commit in writing to going ‘hardcore,’ or leave. says those who decide to bail will get 3 months severance. Twitter folks have until 5 pm Thursday, November 17th to choose to stay or leave. If enough leave, I wonder if Twitter will have to resurrect the old ‘Fail Whale’ when the platform crashes!

As Jeff Bezos recently announced he would give away most of his fortune, and gave $100 million to Dolly Parton to distribute to charities, his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott continues to give away money at a rapid clip. Scott says she has given about $2 billion to some 343 organizations…in the last 7 months! notes that Scott doesn’t even have an official foundation. With this $2 billion, Scott has now showered some $14 billion on around 1500 organizations. Come on, Jeff…time to play catch up and give away more of those Amazon billions a little faster!

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘technified’ for now.

iPhone 14 Emergency Satellite Capability Rollout; WhatsApp Companion Mode; Google to Improve Location Tracking; Jobs’ Old Sandals Bring Big $$

Apple today started rolling out the emergency satellite SOS system to iPhone 14 handsets. reports that it is initially only for the US and Canada. The service is free for the first two years, and so far Apple hasn’t said what it might cost after that. Emergency SOS via Satellite works by utilizing technology built into all ‌iPhone 14‌ models that allow them to connect to satellites in orbit around the earth to contact emergency services when a user is outside cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. It sends the user’s location (including altitude), battery level, and medical ID if you have that in your phone. The messages are sent directly to dispatchers or sent to a center of Apple‑trained specialists who can call emergency services on a user’s behalf. This is or should be a killer feature for anyone who hikes or travels into areas with no cell coverage. 

WhatsApp is testing ‘companion mode,’ which will expand use of your account on multiple devices. According to, the feature is in beta right now, but it is expected to drop soon. Up to now, there has bee account sharing between a phone and your computer. With this feature, you will be able to use your WhatsApp account on multiple phones, tablet, and computers. All your messages and history will follow you from device to device. Note that the present beta is only on Android so far…no iPhones yet. 

After a privacy investigation launched by the US government, Google has settled for $392 million and agreed to improve disclosures and controls around location tracking for Android users and account holders. says the investigation started in 2018 when it was discovered that Google was recording the location data of its Android users even when the users had turned off various location settings. Google has agreed to “provide even greater controls and transparency over location data.” Look for the changes in 2023. 

Probably more than you or I will pay for all the shoes we ever own all our lives…that’s what Steve Jobs’ raggedy old sandals he wore when he first started Apple brought. reports the shabby Birkenstocks brought $218,750 for the footwear. To sweeten the pot, the buyer also picked up a 360 degree NFT, or non-fungible token as well. Apparently, part of the reason for the pricing is that, according to Jobs’ estate manager Mark Sheff, is that Jobs kept very few things over the years. The sandals were only expected to bring $60,000 to $80,000. ONLY.

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘technified’ for now. 

Amazon Laying off 3%; Apple Still Staffing Up for AR Headset; Foxconn to Quadruple India Production; Meta Kills Portal & Smartwatch Project

The cuts will focus on Amazon’s devices organization, including the voice-assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources. The total number of layoffs remains fluid. But if it stays around 10,000, that would represent roughly 3 percent of Amazon’s corporate employees and less than 1 percent of its global work force of more than 1.5 million, which is primarily composed of hourly workers.

Apple is pressing ahead in development of their mixed reality headset, shooting for a 2023 release. Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter reports that there are job postings up for software producers and engineers…among others. The group is run by Mike Rockwell, VP of AR/VR, and Dan Riccio, former chief of hardware. Besides the mixed reality group, Apple is also bring back a former senior staffer to its self-driving car unit. Dave Scott had left along with some other car executives in 2021, but after a short run at a health related company, is back at Apple’s car unit, often referred to as ‘Project Titan.’

Meta has done a mercy killing on its pitiful Portal devices, and also its smartwatch project. notes that during the pandemic, there was a modest uptick in people buying the Facebook smart display, but the sales have now cratered. Meta had been focusing on trying to sell them to businesses lately. Still, the device never got over 1% share of the global smart display market. Along with putting Portal out of its misery, Meta has stopped development on a couple of smartwatches they had in the works. Some of the smartwatch team has moved over to the virtual reality hardware unit. 

With the continued disruptions due to COVID lockdowns in China, Apple supplier Foxconn is turning to production in India. According to, the iPhone manufacturer will quadruple the number of employees they have in India. They expect to be staffed up there in the next 2 years. Right now, Foxconn has 70,000 workers in India. Foxconn had been building the lower priced iPhones in India, with a lot of the production aimed at serving just that market, but now will be adding the other iPhones to their production lines as both they and Apple move away from being so dependent on an increasingly unpredictable China.

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘technified’ for now.