Instagram vows to fight hidden ads amid UK competition probe - CNBC
The changes apply to all Instagram users in the U.K. and anyone globally who directs their posts toward Brits.
LONDON Facebook-owned Instagram committed to take further action to prevent "hidden advertising," the U.K.'s competition watchdog said Friday. Back in 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began investigating the issue of social media influencers using their profiles to promote businesses without disclosing whether they'd been paid to do so. Last year, 16 celebrities including British singer Rita Ora and vlogger Zoella agreed to declare whether they were paid or otherwise incentivized to endorse products, after warnings from the CMA. The regulator now says it has gotten Instagram to crack down on hidden ads as well. A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC the social media giant was "pleased to be working with the CMA on our continued efforts to help people be transparent about when they are paid to post content on Instagram." According to the CMA, the new measures from Instagram will include: Asking users whether they've been incentivized to promote something and, if so, to disclose it; allowing all users to display clear labels on paid posts; and using algorithms to sniff out users that fail to disclose their post is an ad. "For too long, major platforms have shied away from taking responsibility for hidden advertising on their site," CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement Friday. "So, this commitment to tackle hidden adverts and overhaul the way people post on Instagram making it difficult for users to ignore the law is a welcome step forward." The changes apply to all Instagram users in the U.K. and anyone globally who directs their posts toward Brits, the CMA said. Instagram will also give the watchdog regular updates on its progress.
Boeing reports more 737 Max cancellations, deliveries fall - CNBC
Boeing lost another three orders for its grounded 737 Max jetliner in September, and delivered 11 total aircraft to customers, less than half the number from the same month a year ago, company data showed on Tuesday.
Boeing lost another three orders for its grounded 737 Max jetliner in September, and delivered 11 total aircraft to customers, less than half the number from the same month a year ago, company data showed on Tuesday. The closely watched monthly snapshot also shows that quality flaws on the 787 Dreamliner continue to hamper efforts to develop an alternative cash cow to the 737 Max, grounded after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. As Boeing works to win regulatory approval, potentially early next month, to fly the 737 Max again in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt demand for jets from both Boeing and European rival Airbus. Boeing said it lost orders for two 737 Max jets from leasing company BOC Aviation and another jet from an unidentified customer in September. That brings the total number of canceled Max orders, including those where buyers converted one type of jet to a different model, to 436 jets, Boeing said. Cancellations of all jet models stood at 448 for the year. On the delivery side, Boeing handed to airline customers 10 twin-aisle jets in September, down from 25 a year earlier and 12 in August. That brings total deliveries to 98 for the first nine months of 2020, down from 301 aircraft for the same period a year ago. Deliveries are a closely watched metric for investors since airlines hand over the bulk of the money for an order when they pick up their planes at Boeing. The September delivery tally included one P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, and three freighters: one 747 to United Parcel Service, one 767 to FedEx Corp and one 777 to Lufthansa Cargo, Boeing said. It also included seven 787 Dreamliner jets: one for leasing company AerCap Holdings, three for United Airlines , two for Turkish Airlines and one 787-10 to Taiwan's EVA Air, the planemaker said.
Americans might not be able to take full advantage of the 5G iPhone - CNBC
Speeds will be faster, but not necessarily fast enough to be a reason for upgrading until U.S. carriers finish building their networks.
On Tuesday, Apple is expected to release its first iPhone models that support 5G networks. Those iPhones will be able to tap into faster next-generation networks from Verizon, AT&Tand T-Mobile for faster download speeds and stronger wireless connections. In the United States, the carriers are still building their 5G networks. When the 5G iPhone comes out, depending on what bands it supports, some consumers looking for a sea change in terms of wireless speeds may have to wait until their carrier catches up with the phone's capabilities. Speeds for 5G will be faster, but not necessarily fast enough to be a reason for upgrading until U.S. carriers finish building their networks. So far, 5G download speeds are just 1.8 times faster than 4G LTE speeds in the United States, according to data from Opensignal, a firm that tracks wireless network speeds around the world. But in other countries with 5G networks that use what's called "mid-band frequency," speeds are five times as fast as LTE, according to Opensignal. 5G is not a monolith. There are three different versions of 5G connections, which each use different radio frequencies and come with their own advantages and different speeds. Ultimately, carriers are aiming to build out all three different kinds of 5G in the next two or three years, but so far, no U.S. carrier has yet built all three different kinds of 5G into their commercial networks. "In the U.S., when you see millimeter wave, and you see low-band, that isn't 5G, that's just two parts of 5G," said Ian Fogg, vice president of analysis at Opensignal. "5G will have mid-band, too. What we're seeing in the U.S. right now is version .9 or version 1.0, it's going to improve a lot." That's a lot of technical jargon to dig through, so let's break down each type of 5G to make it as simple as possible. High band, also known as millimeter wave, mmWave or ultra wideband This is the fastest kind of 5G, but it has limitations based on the wireless frequency it uses. It can't travel as far as other waves, which means that carriers need to build more stations to distribute it and it will primarily be aimed at dense, urban areas. Verizon has bet big on millimeter wave, which it calls ultra wideband, although it is currently only available in 36 cities, according to its website. The advantage is that the max speeds from a millimeter wave connection can top 1 gigabit per second, according to carriers like Verizon. That will blow away current 4G LTE networks, potentially allowing users to download movies in seconds. AT&T and T-Mobile are also currently building millimeter wave into their networks in major cities. So far, millimeter wave is a U.S.-based phenomenon, Fogg said, and other countries haven't launched commercially available networks, only trials, although that could change if the new iPhones support millimeter wave. Mid-band Mid-band is the most common kind of 5G around the world, but it has not yet been widely built out in the United States because carriers need the FCC to sell rights to specific wavelengths they need to operate the network. Auctions are scheduled for later this year and next year. Fogg said it is the "Goldilocks band" for 5G that will balance distance it can cover with significantly higher speeds that U.S. consumers will notice. In South Korea, more than 10% of wireless subscribers are currently on 5G, which means mid-band in the country. Mid-band speeds can range between 100 and 300 Mbps, which is comparable to a cable broadband connection. In the United States, T-Mobile released commercially available mid-band 5G in some cities and states in September, using rights to wavelengths it got from the Sprint merger. Low-band This is what advertisements from U.S. carriers boasting about their "nationwide 5G" coverage are referring to. It's faster than 4G networks, but it's the slowest kind of 5G. Its biggest advantage is that it provides the best range, and in the U.S., the wavelengths needed to operate it are already available to carriers. Currently, AT&T and T-Mobile offer low-band 5G in a lot of different regions and states. In T-Mobile's case, it is already advertising that it is available in all 50 states. But users will see the least improvement in terms of speed with low-band 5G, and it may not be worth upgrading to a 5G phone if only low-band is available. On average, the speeds won't feel much faster than the 4G connection you're used to. Ultimately, carriers will offer all three kinds of 5G, and smartphones will be able to connect to multiple bands for better performance. "We're really right at the start of the 5G era. We're seeing different U.S. carriers lead with one part of the 5G service," Fogg said. Eventually, carriers will offer service using millimeter wave in urban locations to provide very high speeds, mid-band to cover the majority of area with good speeds and good coverage, and low-band to reach large swaths of area. An event like the 5G iPhone launch could also spur a wave of announcements from carriers around the world that they are expanding or turning on 5G networks. In countries like the U.S. and Japan where a large part of the population uses iPhones, having 5G iPhones on sale could build a critical mass of 5G users that prompt carriers to accelerate their network plans.
How to change the default email app on your iPhone so you can use Gmail or Outlook instead - CNBC
Choose your favorite email app, and when you click an email address link, iOS 14 will launch that app instead of Apple's.
Apple's new iPhone update, iOS 14, launched on Sept. 16. One of the big features in it lets you change your default email app from Apple's Mail app to another one if it supports the feature. If you're like me, and use Outlook and Gmail instead of Mail, this is a big deal. Normally, if you click a link to an email address somewhere, your iPhone will just open Mail and start a new message, usually from your Apple iCloud account. It's annoying when this happens, since your email might not come from your regular work or personal account, and you might miss responses that are sent to an inbox you don't use. The change was first announced in June, when Apple revealed iOS 14, in what appears to be an attempt by Apple to address complaints from competitors. It's easy to change your default email app in iOS 14 and just takes a few seconds. I've changed mine to my work Outlook account, since that's the one I usually send emails from. But lots of other apps support this too. Before we begin, first make sure you're running iOS 14.0.1, which fixed a bug in the feature in the first version of iOS 14. You can check by opening Settings > General > About. If you need to update, do this:
- Plug in your iPhone and connect to Wi-Fi.
- Open Settings.
- Tap General.
- Choose Software Update.
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down to the email app you want to use. (I'll use Gmail for this example, but it works the same for any that are supported.)
- Tap the icon for Gmail.
- Tap "Default Mail App."
- Change to the app you want to use.
Oil prices likely to continue to struggle in the fourth quarter as demand lags - CNBC
Oil prices are expected to rise just slightly in the final quarter of the year, held back by a deep chill in global travel.
Oil prices are expected to rise just slightly in the final quarter of the year, held back from further gains by a deep chill in global travel and a still healing economy. Analysts forecast the prices of Brent and West Texas Intermediate should rise to the low to mid-$40s per barrel, but they also see risks tilted toward another drop in oil prices. "If anything, they're vulnerable to falling into the low $30s. The oil market is taking Covid the hardest of all of the asset classes out there," said John Kilduff, partner with Again Capital. "Demand is just not coming back, especially for jet fuel." Oil prices have clawed back from a crushing decline earlier this year, as the global economy shut down. Oil futures prices were even temporarily negative, as the market reacted to huge oversupply and a big drop in global demand. WTI futures fell below $40 this week and settled at $38.71 Thursday, falling 3.9% amid worries about the coronavirus and reports of a rise in OPEC output. "It looks really bleak right now. This was a bust for the ages," said Kilduff. "The demand just isn't picking up." Bank of America expects oil prices to remain range bound in the mid $40s to year end. "In terms of downside risks, a big second Covid-19 wave was always going to rank first, but a warm winter now ranks second given the persistent surplus in distillate fuels," according to Francisco Blanch, managing director of commodities and derivatives at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. Blanch expects little price movement even though he expects the oil market could move into a 4.9 million barrel a day deficit, due to OPEC cuts if demand does rise. "Yet diesel and jet fuel/kerosene make up by far the largest petroleum product group in the oil market," notes Blanch. He said that means crude oil prices cannot gain real traction until distillate demand, including jet fuel, recovers to a more normal level. The oil industry has been cutting back on production and spending on further development. Royal Dutch Shell, for instance, is looking to slash up to 40% of the cost of producing oil and gas in an effort to preserve cash so it can overhaul its operations and focus more on renewables and power, according to Reuters. The industry is also debating how much of the Covid-related cutbacks could be permanent. A recent report from BP supported a longer-term view that fossil fuel demand may have already hit its limit and may not be likely to fully recover from the impact of the virus. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) recently cut back its near-term demand outlook, and now expects demand to average 90.2 million barrels a day in 2020, down 400,000 barrels a day from its last forecast and a decrease of 9.5 million barrels a day from a year ago. "There are still these serious headwinds for oil in terms of the macro outlook," said Helima Croft, managing director and head of global commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets. "OPEC is very focused on compliance. It's just a question to me of how much more can you get out of these producers in terms of compliance." But news reports this week that OPEC output has risen slightly is raising a red flag. Libya production is now returning to the market, at a time when OPEC has committed to cutting back. Croft said the agreement to cut back on production by OPEC and other producers, like Russia, will be reviewed again in December. The OPEC+ group is currently holding 7.7 million barrels off the market, but in December they are expected to return some oil to the market and hold back just 5.6 million barrels, she said. "Looking at the concerns about a second [virus] wave, and I think about some of these OPEC issues, I think there are some downside risks," said Croft. "I think the question is can OPEC be nimble in response to a changing outlook ... It's a difficult decision but they shouldn't put 2 million barrels on the market." Citigroup analysts said OPEC members would be hurt by another dip into the $30s or even lower, and will be looking to defend the price above that level. The analysts said they expect OPEC+ to keep a floor under prices. "Unless there's a deep recession, we expect their mutual vulnerabilities will continue to provide the gel they need to largely keep their supply discipline intact," said Citigroup strategists. "What's more, the longer they wait, the more likely medium-term supply will flounder due to reduced capital spending." Blanch said OPEC will have to delay the return of more oil this year, unless demand picks up into the high 90 million barrels a day, not now expected by OPEC. "If it's a cold winter, maybe they get saved by the cold winter. If [virus] cases are not skyrocketing everywhere, they're in better shape," said Blanch. He noted one bright spot for the oil industry is that there has been no decline in petrochemical demand. The U.S. industry has dramatically cut back production, from a high of 13.1 million barrels to 10.7 million a day earlier in mid-September. Demand for gasoline remains much weaker than normal at about 8.5 million barrels a day, down from 9.35 million barrels a year ago. U.S. drivers are an important factor in the global oil market, as U.S. gasoline sales normally account for about 10% of world oil demand. "The economics are still not great for the U.S. but I think one of the big question marks is: 'If the U.S. started to come back would the Russians just say we're not going to do this anymore?' Constrained output is helpful in keeping the Russians on board with OPEC+," said Croft. Blanch said another factor for oil prices is the Libyan oil is expected to come back on line. "If they're back at full throttle, they'll be back at one million barrels a day. That's an extra million barrels they don't need," Blanch said. That could also pressure OPEC+ when it looks to return oil to the market. "If demand doesn't go into the high 90s [million barrels a day], OPEC is going to have some problems and they'll have to extend the cuts," he said.
Video games are about to get more expensive as the console wars return - CNBC
Major publishers are expected to bump up the standard price of AAA games to $70 for the new consoles.
Game enthusiasts and industry personnel walk between the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation exhibits at the E3 trade show on June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. LONDON Gaming can be an expensive hobby. Blockbuster video games typically cost around $60 at launch. Now, as gamers race to get their hands on a shiny new console this year, the industry is betting they'll be willing to pay even higher prices for their games. Microsoft and Sony are set to ship their respective next-generation machines next month. Consumers are already rushing to preorder them, with units quickly selling out within hours of listing. As a refresher, both Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5 cost around $500, while they're also releasing cheaper versions without disc drives. Sony's digital-only PS5 retails at $400 while Microsoft's more affordable Xbox Series S costs $300. Both consoles' manufacturers are promising much more powerful performance and better quality graphics than their predecessors. For example, each comes with storage devices called solid state drives to enable faster load times, as well as a feature known as ray tracing which offers ultra-realistic graphics by simulating how rays of light bounce off of objects. But with those premium specs, game publishers are expected to bump up their prices due to additional development and marketing costs. Take-Two Interactive, which owns the well-known Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead series, was early to the party, announcing in July that it would price its upcoming NBA 2K21 title at $70 on Xbox Series X and PS5. Then, earlier this month, Sony confirmed a price ceiling of $70 following the announcement of its PS5 release date and price. "Our own Worldwide Studios titles will be priced from US$49.99 to US$69.99 (RRP) on PS5," Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said in a blog post earlier this month. Such a price increase would end the standard $60 that has been the industry norm for 15 years. Microsoft hasn't comment on what Xbox's first-party games will cost yet, but Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in an interview with the Washington Post he thinks "the customer will decide what the right price is for them," adding: "I'm not negative on people setting a new price point for games." Microsoft wasn't immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. Could higher prices put gamers off? Bartosz Skwarczek, CEO and co-founder of video game reselling marketplace G2A, said increasing the price of AAA games "risks jeopardizing gaming for a new generation of young gamers." He warned that higher prices, coupled with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, may put cash-strapped consumers off buying new titles. "The rising prices of gaming add more weight to a consumer market already buckling under immense economic strain," Skwarczek wrote in a note emailed to CNBC. "The financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic have been well documented, and gamers will already be asking themselves whether they can pay $60 for the latest instalment of their favourite series, let alone more." Nine in 10 gamers believe a new video game should cost less than $60, according to a survey undertaken for G2A by research firm Censuswide. The study, which surveyed 1,031 Americans in August, found all respondents think a price of more than $60 is too much for a single game, while 59% say gaming has become too expensive. Those figures make grim reading for the industry's gamble that consumers will be willing to pay an extra $10 for their games. But some experts highlight there are now many more ways to access video games, sometimes without paying a penny. Free-to-play games are a common sight now thanks to Fortnite, and there are plenty of subscription services on offer that allow gamers access to a library of content for a monthly fee. Microsoft for example has been heavily marketing Xbox Game Pass, which offers access to a catalog of over 100 games and is being bundled in with monthly financing plans for the new Xbox consoles. Sony, meanwhile, has its PlayStation Plus service that gives players access to two free games each month. Microsoft's subscription offering also includes cloud gaming, meaning users might not even need a console to play their favorite titles. Companies from Amazon to Google are launching their own game-streaming services, however the space is still emerging. And some industry leaders are skeptical, with Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick recently saying cloud gaming won't be "nirvana" for the industry. Is now the right time to raise game prices? Many in the video game industry argue a price increase is well overdue. Call of Duty 2, credited with setting the current $60 standard when it launched in 2005, would cost almost $80 today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator. "There's no good time for a price increase," Steve Bailey, principal games analyst at research firm Omdia, told CNBC. "But saying that, there may be times where it's more suitable for there to be a price increase, and I think this is quite a suitable time." "If you have to bite the bullet with a change like this, it's best to do it in sync with major transitions," he added. Bailey said the gaming market has changed significantly over the years, with free-to-play games, digital discounting and subscription services now widespread on console. There are also "special edition" versions of games that cost an extra few bucks for additional content. According to Bailey, major game publishers already "have the data" on gamers' reception to charging extra for different tiers. Plus, given the demand the sector has seen during the coronavirus pandemic, it's clear why big publishers are making such a gamble. Gaming companies have reported rising earnings this year as a result of government-enforced lockdowns, while video game research firm Newzoo forecasts the global games market will generate revenues of $159.3 billion this year.
Medical historian compares the coronavirus to the 1918 flu pandemic: Both were highly political - CNBC
Unlike today, there was no CDC, but there was an epidemiologist much like Dr. Anthony Fauci who withstood criticism for publicly pressing for safety protocols.
Members of the American Red Cross remove influenza victims in 1918. In less than nine months, the coronavirus has quickly spread to more than 33 million people across the globe, killing more than 1 million and becoming the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind only heart disease and cancer. There is nothing in recent history that compares to a contagious crisis of this magnitude, according to historians who study infectious diseases and disasters. The H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 infected an estimated 60.8 million people in its first year, but the virus wasn't nearly as severe as Covid-19, killing between 151,700 and 575,400 worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MERS, another coronavirus that emerged in 2012, was much deadlier than Covid but significantly less infectious with only 2,494 reported cases. Covid-19 is "a scary virus and definitely one that you do not want to get," said Howard Markel, a physician and medical historian at the University of Michigan. "It's a very dangerous, very crafty, stealthy virus." The 1918 virus was also a "novel" virus, meaning it was brand new. Like Covid-19, no one had any immunity to it, and it was highly infectious, spreading through respiratory droplets that pass when an infected person coughed or sneezed. Different symptoms The viruses attacked the body in different ways. Covid-19 can be mild, sometimes causing no symptoms whatsoever, or severe putting patients in hospitals and on ventilators for weeks and leaving them with lingering effects of fatigue and coughing for months. Covid-19 can also be unpredictable, stressing virtually every system in the body, including the heart, kidneys and brain. The 1918 flu pandemic came in three waves, occurring in the spring of 1918, the fall of 1918; and the winter and spring of 1919, according to the CDC. The 1918 flu killed 50 million people worldwide from 1918 through 1919, including 675,000 Americans, according to the CDC. It is estimated that one-third of the world's population became infected with the virus. The first wave of the 1918 flu came with the usual flu symptoms: fever, nausea, body aches and diarrhea. The second wave was dramatically worse. It could set in suddenly, killing patients within days or even hours after symptoms began. The virus would cause their lungs to fill with fluid and the lack of oxygen would make their skin turn blue until they suffocated. There also wasn't a vaccine for the 1918 flu, and, like Covid-19, the crisis was highly politicized in the United States. "We were getting involved in World War I and it was a very patriotic effort. You know, the war to end all wars," Markel said. "They were sending off young men in parades. Women were left behind and starting Red Cross chapters and making bandages and all sorts of things, sending the men off in a proper way." The pandemic became mixed in with the patriotic fervor, he said. Like today, schools and businesses were closed and infected people were quarantined, according to influenzaarchive.org. 1918 mask mandates "You told people to wash your hands, don't cough on people, stay at home, stay away from other people," he said. "It was the patriotic thing to do to not cough on people or stay home if you were sick." But the thing that really drew public backlash were mask recommendations. As it turns out, resistance to wearing the face coverings isn't new. People during the 1918 pandemic called them dirt traps and some clipped holes so they could smoke cigars. In Europe, the Italian Supreme Command asked residents not to fail their cities by not wearing a mask. Several U.S. cities implemented mandates, describing them as a symbol of "wartime patriotism." In San Francisco, Mayor James Rolph said, "conscience, patriotism and self-protection demand immediate and rigid compliance," according to influenzaarchive.org. But some people refused to comply or take them seriously, Markel said. San Francisco residents considered masks a nuisance while others harbored resentment for being forced to wear them, he said. Some of them were arrested. "One woman, a downtown attorney, argued to Mayor Rolph that the mask ordinance was 'absolutely unconstitutional' because it was not legally enacted, and that as a result, every police officer who had arrested a mask scofflaw was personally liable," according to influenzaarchive.org. Pandemic news The news in 1918 didn't flow as quickly as it does today with the internet and smartphones, but it also couldn't be manipulated as much as today and newspapers published at least six or seven additions a day back then, Markel said. State public health departments also held regular public press briefings, he added. "If you wanted to partake on it, it was there," he said. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) lift a patient into an ambulance while wearing protective gear, as the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in New York City, New York, March 24, 2020. Some newspapers referred to the virus as the "Spanish flu," even though the first known case was reported at an army base in Kansas. Spain remained neutral throughout World War I and reported on the virus freely, giving the impression that the outbreak was bad there. Eventually, newspapers would just refer to it as "influenza" or the "influenza epidemic," Markel said. Woodrow Wilson vs Donald Trump Additionally, some reports have suggested that then-President Woodrow Wilson downplayed the virus, but that is a "wrong and a false trope of popular history," Markel said. Wilson, who would later contract the virus, was organizing and commanding the U.S. effort in World War I and once the war ended, he sailed for Paris, where he stayed until April of 1919 organizing a peace treaty and the League of Nations, Markel said. "The federal government played a very small role in American public health during that era. It was primarily a city and state role and those agencies were hardly downplaying it," he said. Unlike today, there was no CDC or national public health department. The Food and Drug Administration existed but consisted of a very small group of men. Additionally, there were no antibiotics, intensive care units, ventilators, IV fluids or vaccines. "You got a bed or maybe nursing care," Markel said. But there was an epidemiologist much like Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who withstood criticism for publicly pressing for safety protocols, according to Forbes. "At the center of public health efforts in both states was a practical, plainspoken, bespectacled scientist: Dr. Thomas Dyer Tuttle, who became a powerful, if polarizing, figure in the fight against the Spanish flu," according to Forbes. Scientists hadn't even seen a virus under the microscope at that point, said Graham Mooney, a medical historian at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They didn't have the technology and they knew almost nothing of virology, which was considered a nascent science because viruses are so small, he said. In fact, some scientists thought the 1918 virus was caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae, he said. "Now we have a much greater capacity to create a preventative mechanism through immunizations and vaccinations," Mooney said. Massive death toll The 1918 virus also tended to kill differently than Covid-19, Mooney and Markel noted. With World War I, there was a massive movement of men across all of America and Europe. While the coronavirus can be especially severe for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, the 1918 virus was unusual in that it killed many young adults, Markel said. "Influenza generally has a U shaped mortality curve, meaning it looks like a U, but the tops of the U are the most deadly," Markel said. "But in 1918 it was a W shaped mortality curve and that upside-down part of the W, the V, was young people between ages 18 and 40 dying like flies. That was odd. That was not typical for previous flu pandemics or subsequent ones." It's also important to consider population when talking about outbreaks or disasters, said Samantha Montano of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, who studies disasters. In 1918, the world population was much smaller with an estimated 1.8 billion people. Today, there are nearly 8 billion on the planet. Mooney echoed those remarks, saying, "We're talking about a global population that is sort of smaller than it is now." He said the death toll from 1918 virus likely had a great impact on the workforce who were unable to work from home or remotely like we can today. "You end up having major structural, economic and social readjustments when you have such a massive death toll like that," he said. "We have social welfare networks ... people travel around the globe. We have different societies and economies." Medical historians say the U.S. can learn from the 1918 virus. "It is utterly earth-shaking what we've done in the last century alone," Markel said.
Amazon's newest Ring device is a flying security camera drone - CNBC
The $250 autonomous security camera will be available next year.
Amazon is launching a new Ring security camera that's fixed on top of a flying drone. Called the Ring Always Home Cam, it's an autonomous indoor security camera that can fly inside your home and record footage of multiple viewpoints. Users set a path for the device to fly throughout the home. When the device isn't in the air, it locks into a dock that blocks the camera, in an effort to assuage privacy concerns. Amazon unveiled the device during its virtual hardware event on Thursday alongside a slew of new products. The company announced upgraded Echo and Echo Show models, new Ring security cameras for cars and launched its video game streaming service, Luna. Ring, acquired by Amazon in 2018, has tackled multiple areas of the smart security market, launching connected doorbells and smart home cameras that allow people to remotely check in on their homes. Jamie Siminoff, Ring's founder, wrote in a blog post that the Always Home Cam will allow people to monitor multiple areas of their home with just one device, instead of purchasing several cameras. The drone is connected to a Ring Alarm, the company's smart home security system. If the system detects suspicious activity, the Always Home Cam automatically flies over "to see what's happening." Ring devices have provided Amazon another avenue to draw customers in deeper to its ecosystem, integrating them with its Alexa virtual assistant. But the business has also been beset with privacy concerns, following controversy over Ring's decision to work closely with police departments to help investigate crimes. Lawmakers have increasingly stepped up their scrutiny of Ring and what customer video footage its employees have access to. Siminoff said the Always Home Cam was built with "privacy and security top of mind." Ring said the device only records when it's in flight and its motors are loud enough so that users can hear it move throughout the home. "It cannot be manually controlled, ensuring that it will only record and see what is important to you," Siminoff added. The Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 and costs $250.
What's missing from Apple's highly anticipated subscription bundle? The iPhone. - CNBC
The biggest thing missing from Apple One's bundle that would make it much more attractive: A hardware tie-in to the iPhone.
Apple on Tuesday announced its long-rumored Apple One bundle, a tiered system of subscription packages that give you access to a suite of the company's digital services like music, video, streaming fitness classes and iCloud storage for one monthly price. It's a move Apple watchers, investors and geeks have wanted for ages, and it comes right out of Amazon's Prime playbook: lock customers in with an attractive subscription bundle and keep them tied into your ecosystem forever, guaranteeing future sales. But Apple's offering falls short of the must-have nature of Amazon Prime, which gives you free one- or two-day shipping on orders, with sweeteners on top like access to streaming video, streaming music and discounts at Whole Foods. With the exception of Apple Music, there aren't any clear signs that Apple's services have been compelling enough to attract a meaningful subscriber base. Apple's newest slate of services are commodities that came late into the world already dominated by digital media rivals like Netflix, Disney-owned Hulu, Spotify and several successful mobile gaming firms. Even though the Apple One bundles will save customers money as opposed to signing up for each service individually, it still lacks the "wow, I gotta have this" factor that Amazon Prime has. Whereas Amazon starts its subscription with the attractive free-shipping option and adds bonuses on top, Apple is starting with the bonuses first and withholding the one thing that would make Apple One a blockbuster. So, what's missing? The iPhone. "We found the Apple One services announcement yesterday to be relatively underwhelming: Consumers can't select which services they prefer, savings from itemized purchases are not compelling relative to itemized purchases on annual plans and we believe it could be difficult to move users from competitive music, video or gaming services, where they are often entrenched," Needham analysts wrote in a note to investors Wednesday morning. "We continue to believe that Apple should look to more creatively bundle its hardware [and] services into integrated subscription bundles." Bingo. The Apple One bundles lack the "creativity" needed to really juice demand for the product. With so many incumbents already offering rival services to massive subscriber bases, it's unlikely you'll see many choose to switch to Apple's bundle just because it offers a discount. Apple didn't leverage its strength in hardware to make Apple One more attractive than any of its rivals, even though it already has the weapon it needs in its arsenal to do that too with the iPhone, the most profitable and popular product it makes. Apple already has an iPhone Upgrade Program, which gives you a new iPhone every year along with AppleCare service starting at about $35 per month. It's an attractive and popular program that not only drives new iPhone sales, but also helps boost the company's important Services revenue with AppleCare. Now imagine merging the iPhone Upgrade Program with AppleOne, and you suddenly have a compelling offer that'll be tough to pass up, just like Amazon Prime. The caveat to the Apple One announcement is that Apple didn't announce a new iPhone model for the first time at its September event since 2011. It's entirely possible Apple weaves an iPhone offering into Apple One when it announces the next iPhone 12 at another event expected in October. On the other hand, if Apple did plan to include the iPhone in Apple One, it probably would've saved Tuesday's announcement for next month. Apple's Services growth story is still impressive, and that business alone booked more than $13 billion in revenue in its fiscal third quarter. But if that line item is going to continue its rapid growth story without a game-changing new hardware product category on the immediate horizon, it'll have to look to the iPhone as the linchpin to keep up the growth.
Apple issues new rules for App Store that will impact streaming game services from Google and Microsoft - CNBC
The rules underscore the tension between Apple's control of its platform, which it says is for safety and security reasons, and emerging gaming services considered by many to be the future of the gaming industry.
Apple revised its App Store guidelines on Friday ahead of the release of iOS 14, the latest version of the iPhone operating system, which is expected later this month. Apple's employees use these guidelines to approve or deny apps and updates on the App Store. Those rules have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks from app makers who argue iPhone maker has too much control over what software runs on iPhones and how Apple takes a cut of payments from those apps. In particular, Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, is in a bitter legal battle with Apple over several of its guidelines, including its requirement to use in-app purchases for digital products. Apple removed Fortnite from its app store last month. One major update on Friday relates to game streaming services. Microsoft and Facebook have publicly said in recent months that Apple's rules have restricted what their gaming apps can do on iPhones and iPads. Microsoft's xCloud service isn't available on iOS, and Facebook's gaming app lacks games on iPhones. Apple now says that game streaming services, such as Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud, are explicitly permitted. But there are conditions: Games offered in the service need to be downloaded directly from the App Store, not from an all-in-one app. App makers are permitted to release a so-called "catalog app" that links to other games in the service, but each game will need to be an individual app. Apple's rules mean that if a streaming game service has 100 games, then each of those games will need an individual App Store listing as well as a developer relationship with Apple. The individual games also have to have some basic functionality when they're downloaded. All the games and the stores need to offer in-app purchase using Apple's payment processing system, under which Apple usually takes 30% of revenue. A Google representative declined to comment. The rules underscore the tension between Apple's control of its platform, which it says is for safety and security reasons, and emerging gaming services considered by many to be the future of the gaming industry. Gaming streaming services want to act as a platform for game makers, such as approving individual games and deciding which games to offer, but Apple wants the streaming services to act more like a bundle of games and says it will need to review each individual game. Apple does not have a cloud gaming service, but it does sell a subscription bundle of iOS games called Apple Arcade. Another change relates to in-person classes purchased inside an iPhone app. This spring, amid the pandemic, several companies that previously enabled users to book in-person products, like Classpass, started offering virtual classes. Apple's rules previously said that virtual classes were required to use Apple's in-app payment process. Apple's new guidelines say that one-on-one in-person virtual classes, like fitness training, can bypass Apple for payment, but classes where one instructor is teaching more a class with multiple people will still require apps to use Apple's in-app purchases. Apple also addressed an issue raised by companies like Wordpress and Hey, and loosened the requirement for free apps to use in-app purchases. A full log of the App Store changes is available on Apple's website.