Weekend Roundup: ‘Sorry, The Ice Cream Machine is Down’

Welcome to your weekend! It was a busy week in tech, but that’s no surprise; when massive events such as Apple’s annual iPhone rollout occur, many companies either try to snipe some shine from Apple or just sort of limp out news they’d rather we not focus on.

Sorry Google, Facebook, Uber, McDonalds, Amazon, and… Payroll? We were watching!

Let’s jump right in!

Apple. Just… Apple.

This was Apple’s week, so we’ll just let them have the spotlight.

The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max are here. Although collectively an iterative update, the Pro models are where it’s at, friends. These are excellent handhelds, and if you want to know what it all means for you, we’ve written a nice roundup specific to technologists. Bottom line: the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are machine-learning monsters, and set up all the augmented reality dominos for Apple. So 2020 will be exciting!

The GM seeds for Xcode 11 and macOS Catalina are out, too. Though Apple didn’t talk about either during the iPhone event, the Catalina landing page says it’ll ship in October. Smart move; it’s all a mess right now, so we’re happy Apple isn’t pushing out Catalina just to serve some draconian shipment deadline. HomePod is also being updated this Fall with multi-user support, radio stations, and ambient noise channels.

Apps are required to start using the iOS 13 SDK by April 2020, which is good news, because Apple made some changes to its App Store algorithms.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Dice

Okay, Google

Google is doing some really cool stuff in the face of some absolutely devastating events. It is working on machine learning for the LLVM project, adding its MLIR compiling infrastructure to LLVM. This move “offers new infrastructure and a design philosophy that enables machine learning models to be consistently represented and executed on any type of hardware.” Seriously cool stuff.

It also updated Dart and Flutter to work with iOS 13, with Dart’s update bringing in machine learning code autocompletion. This will help code completion learn what you’re trying to do, rather than the existing model, which is like a puppy bringing you a stick, just not the stick you threw. With machine learning, code completion will better estimate what it is you’re trying to accomplish, and return relevant suggestions.

Google is also facing an antitrust investigation by attorney generals from every single state. And might be violating GDPR rules. So while Google is doing some good, lawmakers are starting to get aggressive.

Uber Office Dice

Final (Mc)Flurries

McDonald’s, which has kiosks in-store to facilitate ordering, acquired an A.I. company to automate drive-through orders. Insiders tell us the first thing it’s teaching the bots is: “I’m sorry, the ice cream machine is down right now.”

Meanwhile, Facebook plans to continue spying on users in iOS 13, even though the OS will warn users which services are using background location data. I know. You’re shocked. Maybe sit down, get some water. Do you need a pillow to lean into? Can we call anyone for you? Stay awake!

Uber laid off hundreds of engineers this week. The ride-sharing company says it’s just trimming the fat, and prior growth was unchecked. But it’s a publicly traded company now, so “grabbin some ‘za and rappin ‘bout automated cars, bro” is not gonna fly anymore, at least when it comes to market cap and stock prices. Buckle up.

Alexa might end up like Quora. Users can now add answers to questions Alexa doesn’t have an answer for, which will definitely go really smoothly and we’ll definitely get the right answer every time. Or it’s spyware and stop using Alexa, I dunno, whatever, just sayin’.

And finally, payroll company MyPayRollHR suddenly went out of business last week, which is odd enough… but in the wake of its shuttering, direct deposits were withdrawn. Because of all the confusion, some requests for withdrawals were made several times. Or thousands; one unlucky user had a negative account balance of $999,193.75 because of all the withdrawal requests. Technically, it was over a million, but the bank excused the fee for being overdrawn just this one time. That bank really, really needs some effective automation and machine learning.

Have a great weekend!

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