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In this week’s What’s Appening, it’s Apple WWDC! We didn’t get AR glasses at the annual developer conference, but we did get a taste of iOS 16 and a bunch of other cool stuff as Apple put on a show. Elsewhere, we look at a bit of wizardry from YouTube that will end TV remote control frustration for many of us. Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down; what kind of legacy does she leave behind? Our Stat of the Week looks at browser users and an Apple milestone. And What’s dAppening has huge news on crypto regulation.  

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Takes 🎬

🍏 📷 WWDC – Apple’s Developer Event Delivers Lots of Goodies, But Few Surprises

WWDC usually focuses on Apple software being beta-released ahead of an official September launch (often coinciding with new phones). This year was no exception, and Apple did what they do best: put on a show. There were an awful lot of small improvements but nothing mind-blowing or totally unexpected. What will be noticed most by the average iPhone user is perhaps the ability to undo and edit messages in iMessage. Apple’s native Mail app (on iOS and Mac OS) has finally got some attention and included similar features as well as a send later option: take note bosses, stop emailing your staff at 2am. You can schedule it to be sent at a reasonable hour… And yes, we mocked Google a few weeks ago for copying Apple, but these features already come as standard in Gmail, and a bunch of other apps, including On Second Thought, a startup client’s Android app that 3Advance built way back in 2014! But back to today… Other noticeable changes coming to your iPhone include customized lock screens, and notifications that will now pop up from the bottom, not the top. It finally seems that Apple has realized where our thumbs hold the phone! Better sleep tracking, heart monitoring and other improvements to health and fitness apps across both iOS and Watch OS. Dictation is getting better, and so are HomeKit, SharePlay and many other little things. One of the highlights for us was not for iPhone or Watch or Mac, but for cars. The new CarPlay goes much further than just media management, and Apple is now allowing their iOS-style UX to integrate much deeper with the car itself. The Dashboard user experience in most of today’s autos is pretty horrific, so we’re all for giving your Ford the Tesla treatment.

Finally, Apple did release some hardware – a better MacBook Air is, well, better – but the best news for the Mac you have today is that they’re allowing you to replace that crappy camera. Kind of. You’ll need to buy yourself a clip (or sticky-tape), but come September, Camera Continuity will allow you to use your iPhone’s super-duper camera for video calls you make on your MacBook. Yes, this is another example of Apple taking a popular AppStore product, and turning it into a feature. This has become somewhat of a theme at WWDC. #AppleEatsDevelopersLunch Read more here.

📱 📺 YouTube – TV and Phone Synchronization Spells Death to the Remote Control

If you’ve experienced the frustration of using your remote control to use YouTube or similar platforms connected to your TV, then you’re in for some good news. YouTube has rolled out a new feature that better connects your phone with your TV, allowing you to leave the remote down the back of the sofa and control YouTube from your phone. When watching YouTube on a TV, you can hit “connect”, which switches control over to your phone. You can then comment, like & subscribe, queue up videos, and do all the other annoying stuff that’s hard to do with a clunky remote. A good way to think about it is that your phone becomes a synchronized companion to the TV, meaning you don’t have to worry about stuff like Wi-Fi configuration. On the face of it, this seems like a simple (and neat) little hack for users, but, for YouTube, there is something bigger at play. TVs are YouTube’s “fastest-growing surface”, and it is hoping to improve the experience for the 135 million (in the US alone) people who access YouTube on their TVs every day. Ending the frustration of typing with a remote control seems like a great start to us. #DeathToTheRemote Read more here.

🙋‍♀️ 🤝 Meta – Sheryl Sandberg Steps Down As COO Leaving Complicated Legacy

When it comes to Meta, it’s Mark Zuckerberg who mostly gets hauled up in front of Congress, whose face appears in a 1000 memes, and who takes (most of) the credit when things go right for the Big Tech company. But Meta’s engine room has always been governed by its COO, Sheryl Sandberg. She, perhaps more so than any other individual, is responsible for the ad-driven revenue model of web2 that dominates the internet today. Sandberg was with Google in its early days, helping grow its ad sales team from four people to four thousand before she left. When she hopped over to Facebook in 2008, it had ad revenues of $777 million; last year, it was $117 billion. Some see Sandberg as a divisive figure, not able to see her name without thinking of phrases like “data mining”, “fake news”, and “Covid misinformation”. It’s fair to say all of Facebook’s ‘problems’ will be part of her legacy, but she’s also responsible for shaping one of the most influential companies the world has ever seen. She is set to step down in the fall, but Sandberg will remain on Meta’s board. The big question is what comes next for the most powerful woman in tech. #SayonaraSheryl Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week – 1B Safari Users

While all the focus went on Apple WWDC this week, Safari – Apple’s default web browser – hit an interesting milestone, becoming the second browser to surpass 1 billion active users. Safari still trails Chrome (3.378 billion users) by a good distance, but it can look in its rear-view mirror and see poor old Microsoft Edge struggling to keep the pace around 212 million. Samsung Internet (it’s a thing), Firefox and Opera all clock in with over 100 million users. But as we were talking of Sheryl Sandberg’s legacy earlier, we should make a quick mention of the crypto-based browser Brave. It passed 50 million monthly active users this year, and it upends the “Sandberg model” by paying YOU when you see ads. Keep an eye on it. #SafariOneBillion Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

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

🏛 📜 Crypto – Bipartisan “Bitcoin Bill” Raises Hopes (and Fears) of Regulation

Crypto has two staunch friends in Congress, Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). The pair have been frequenting crypto events up and down the country in recent months, banging the drum for their respective states to become hubs for cryptocurrency and to create a regulatory framework for cryptoassets. They have got the ball rolling with the latter with the bipartisan Responsible Financial Innovation Act. 3Advance has always been more interested in the utility of crypto, NFTs and blockchains than the financial side, but this is a big deal for the industry. The Lummis-Gillibrand bill is 69-pages long, so we can’t cover it all here. But broadly, it wants to classify cryptoassets as commodities (like oil or wheat). This, in turn, opens up a new wave of regulation, taxation, consumer protection and oversight. In the simplest terms, it integrates cryptoassets into existing financial laws. While most in the crypto industry will welcome regulation (it’s inevitable), the main fear is whether it will stifle the innovation of the decentralized web3 movement. Of course, this is Congress, so there is no guarantee that the bill will be passed, and some observers have already predicted that it will be broken up into smaller chunks before becoming law. But it’s a start. #CryptoBill Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

As Paul and Darren prep for their trip to the (OG) Big Apple for NFTNYC, they decided to take the plunge, and fall for the NFT promotion run by NOMO SOHO. For the low (hey, it’s NYC!) price of 0.51 ETH, you can purchase an NFT that unlocks a 3-night stay at this hotel in Lower Manhattan. So that’s exactly what they did. It was a fun experiment, and one that’s not quite over yet. To get the lowdown, check out this week’s What’s Appening video episode over on Youtube! And of course, if you’re going to NFTNYC (June 20th-24th), be sure to let us know.