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In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the impending iOS 16.2 update. Apple teased more than it delivered when announcing iOS 16, but we are about to see a lot more with the latest software update. That includes new robust security features, improvements to widgets on the lock screen, new apps, and, we are excited to say, a cool karaoke feature for Apple Music. In Twitter land, we look at two major announcements: the Blue verification subscription fees, which will be more costly for iOS users, and Elon’s plans to increase the character limit. We have news on Starbucks NFTs, Amazon tips for drivers, and a company entering web3 without using blockchains. The Stat of the Week looks at AI’s App Store dominance. And What’s dAppening has the latest on the FTX scandal as news breaks of the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried. 

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Takes 🎬

🍏🆕 Apple – iOS 16.2 Coming Soon With Lots of Cool Updates for Users

Apple will be releasing its iOS 16.2 software update any moment now. Back in September, the company teased us with lots of stuff for iOS 16 that wasn’t quite ready yet – well, it looks like Apple is about to take those pies out of the oven for iOS 16.2. We cover some of the best bits from iOS 16.2 in the latest What’s Appening video, but one of the highlights included Advanced Data Protection. Apple, of course, already encrypts your data when storing your data on the cloud. However, in the event of a security breach (someone using your credentials), it will also require a “trusted device” to unlock that data. Basically, someone will need to have your iPhone AND your 2FA login details in order to successfully steal your data. We can’t argue with the logic of an extra layer of security, but, you know, keep those devices safe. Elsewhere, one of the signature apps (iPad, iPhone) for iOS 16.2 is Freeform, a free collaboration tool that allows you to sketch ideas and projects with other collaborators. It looks great, but we don’t think its launch will be celebrated by other paid-for collaboration tools in the App Store. The big takeaway from the iOS 16 unveiling was the arrival of lock screen widgets and live activities, and Apple seems to have improved the experience for end users after facing criticism for bugginess and failing to put the “live” into live updates. A new sleep widget has been launched, and Apple plans to follow up with one to track medications. Finally, a bit of fun – Apple Music Sing. Using AI (the hottest ticket in town right now), you can turn down the vocals in any song in your Apple Music collection, allowing you to belt out some karaoke as you follow along to the lyrics. Go on: you know you want to try it out. #AppleUpdates Read more here.

✍️🐥 Twitter – Character Limit Rising from 280 to 4000

While Musk wages a culture war on Twitter, the core product is not escaping his wrath either. In one of his less incendiary tweets of late, he confirmed that the famed character limit of 280 will now be increased to 4000. To put that into perspective, the combined takes in this entire newsletter are around 4000 characters – so Twitter will no longer be a microblogging site. Now, we are certain that Musk will come up with a plan to compartmentalize the structure of tweets so that we don’t see long post after long post on the Twitter feed. But make no mistake about it – this is a risk. Twitter’s genius has always been its brevity, and even the increase from 140 to 280 in 2017 was met with opposition. Having long-form tweets will please some, but others believe the magic lies in remaining short and sweet. In other Twitter news, there was confirmation that the cost of Twitter Blue verification would be $11 for iOS users and $8 for all others. The extra $3 would offset Apple’s App Store cut. #LongFormTwitter Read more here.

📱🗣️ Apps – The Best of the Rest From the Tech World This Week

As ever, it’s been a busy week in apps, and we wanted to highlight some of the more interesting stories that have caught our eye. First up, it’s Amazon, which will now allow you to give your driver a $5 tip. All you need to do is say, “Alexa, thank my driver.” to your Amazon assistant. Well deserved in our view, as those drivers are approaching the milestone of 15 billion deliveries. However, there have been problems reported with the initiative, so check if your favorite driver is getting that tip. As we previously reported in September, Starbucks is plowing ahead with its NFT plans. Starbucks Odyssey is now live in Beta testing. We have signed up for the beta, and we will report back on all the good stuff. We have also been interested in Nillion, a web3 startup that proposes a decentralized network without the use of blockchain. It has bagged $20 million in funding for its unique venture. #WeekInApps Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 3 of Top 5 Apps

🤖🎨AI – AI Apps Take 3 of the Top 5 Positions in the Apple App Store We have talked a lot about AI recently, and spoiler alert: We are going to be talking about it a lot in the future. But it caught our eye this week just how well AI apps were doing in the app stores. At the time of writing, three of the top five free apps on iOS are AI apps: #1 Lensa AI (AI video and photo editing), #2 Dawn (AI avatars), and #4 AI Art (art generator). As we said last week, AI is the biggest story in tech right now, and it’s just getting started. #AITopsAppStore Read more here.   

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, NFTs and blockchain apps.

⚖️🧑‍✈️ FTX – Sam Bankman-Fried Is Arrested and Will Face Fraud Charges in the US

On 11th December 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested for running one of the most infamous Ponzi schemes in financial history. Fourteen years and one day later, a similar fate has befallen Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of fallen crypto exchange FTX. The 30-year-old was arrested in the Bahamas yesterday, where authorities have agreed on extradition to the United States. There, Bankman-Fried faces several charges of wire fraud. SBF’s actions have been far-reaching, hurting real people who thought their money was safe on the FTX exchange. The collapse of FTX has also caused huge mistrust in the crypto industry, one that has already been rocked by scandals in 2022. The technology behind web3 and crypto ensures it will survive in the long run, but the short and medium-term damage done here is still not fully known. For now, people want answers – and justice to be served. #SBFArrested Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

3Advance UX Designer, and resident cool person, Jingdi, does Berlin. Let’s hear more about it!

First up, how was your trip? It was amazing! I had a great time and can’t wait for my polaroids to print to fully commemorate. 📸Why’d you choose Berlin? It was a bit of a whim. My friend said to pick London or Berlin, and I always thought people from Berlin looked really cool, unbothered, and fashionable. I told her that’s how I want to be, so we should go there. 💅What were some interesting things you got to do? Got to go to a lot of Christmas markets, took the U-Bahn, got lost on the U-Bahn; bar-hopped in Neu-Köllns; befriended some ex-pats and transplants; visited famous sites like the hotel where Michael Jackson stayed; enjoyed the DM drugstore, where everything is like 1 euro; listened to a lot of Biggie and Eminem in cafes. 🎅Any tips for traveling to Berlin? Dress in layers and always in black if you want to look cool. Don’t wear heels, there are a lot of cobblestone streets. Really prepare for the TSA. Germans are very thorough.🕴Will you be going back? I’d go back right now if it was possible. 🏃

Cheers, Jingdi! We’re so glad you had a blast. 

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