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Re/wind: Inside Apple's Secret Labs, Post-IPO Alibaba/Yahoo and More

Look at Apple's artificial butt to see how it simulates sitting on an iPhone.


Hello there!

If you missed the big headlines, don’t fret! Here’s the news that powered Re/code this week:

  1. Two weeks ago, Apple announced its newest product line. One week ago, it was selling millions of new devices. This past week, Apple’s been in damage control mode. After releasing a fix so people could get rid of the U2 albums Apple gifted them, the first iOS 8 update bricked a ton of people’s phones (here’s the second, fixed update), coinciding with reports that the iPhone 6 might actually provide users with too much flexibility. Though the “bending” crisis was debunked by Consumer Reports, and Apple reported only nine complaints of bent phones, the company let us inside its top-secret lab where it puts its iPhones to the test. And if you want to know more about the cost and profit margins of the latest iPhones, check out this.
  2. Alibaba had a big IPO last week. By big, we mean the Chinese commerce company is already way, way bigger than Amazon, and it had perhaps the most successful stock offering in the history of the NYSE. For Yahoo, an Alibaba investor now sitting pretty with $35 billion in cash and liquid assets after the IPO, this means the company could return a bunch of the Alibaba money to shareholders. An activist Yahoo shareholder contingent, lead by Starboard Value, published a letter arguing the time is ripe for an AOL-Yahoo merger. But let’s be real, that letter isn’t about AOL — it’s about getting Yahoo to give that Alibaba money to shareholders.
  3. On Friday, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office disclosed that it had charged an Uber driver with assaulting a passenger with a hammer. Uber had a rough week. The company hit legal hurdles in Germany, and was notified of potential legal action in California (along with other ride-sharing services) regarding, among other things, the process for driver background checks.
  4. We don’t have flying broomsticks (yet!), but we now have the beginnings of an invisibility cloak. A team at the University of Rochester has a new device that uses four lenses to bend light around an object, making it invisible to the viewer. It looks pretty cool! Here’s some info and a video.
  5. After a strangely titled TechCrunch article this week, Apple clarified what most assumed all along, which is that although the Beats Music brand may disappear, the Beats service is here to stay. Also, new figures on revenue from music streaming versus digital downloads further confirm why Apple bought Beats earlier this year.
  6. BlackBerry has a new phone! It’s kind of square, like BlackBerry’s target audience, but the company has managed to sell 200,000 units of the new Passport smartphone. For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 6 topped 10 million after its first weekend.
  7. Snapchat picked up top Google executive Jill Hazelbaker to run the ephemeral messaging app’s comms and policy operations. Before Google, she worked for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the presidential campaign of John McCain.
  8. Former Microsoft exec and Lotus Notes founder Ray Ozzie talked to us about his new app, Talko, which aims to help work groups collaborate more effectively over voice.
  9. The CEO of D-Wave Systems, Vern Brownell, told us that his company is going to make “computer science history” with the advance it’s making in quantum computing. We sat down for an interview with Brownell and a D-Wave investor, and made a video about what we learned. Check ’em out.
  10. We reviewed a thermal camera. You can use it with your iPhone, and you can use it to mess with your friends. Though it’s a bit pricey and kind of clunky, it’s a good look ahead at what thermal camera technology will eventually look like on a smartphone.

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