Tech's Coronavirus Risk


COVID-19 Disrupts Production

Apple’s warning this week that it would not meet its quarterly earnings forecast signals how the coronavirus is creating real problems for the tech industry, Axios reports. The virus, still in what could be the early stages, is already stressing supply chains. The slowdown in production is likely to be felt by a wide swath of the industry, which relies heavily on China for production.


What Amazon's First Employee Thinks Now


Jeff Bezos once called him “the most important person ever in the history of,” Recode reports. Now, Amazon’s very first employee, Shel Kaphan, says a breakup of Amazon “could potentially make sense.” In an interview for a new PBS Frontline documentary about Amazon, he said: “On one hand I’m proud of what it became. But it also scares me.”


Apple Seeks to Halt Publication of 'Confidential' Book

Apple has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the author and publisher of a new book, "App Store Confidential," claiming that the former Apple manager reveals business secrets, 9To5Mac reports. The German-language book was published yesterday as an ebook and paperback.


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What the Kickstarter Union Vote Could Mean


After more than two years of worker protests, employees of New York-based crowdfunding firm Kickstarter will move forward with high-tech's first collective bargaining process for full-time employees, Protocol reports. "This is the future," said Clarissa Redwine, a former Kickstarter employee who was fired during the union drive. "Tech is organizing." 


Groupon Won’t Sell Goods Anymore 


After recent earnings fell way short of expectations and caused its stock to plunge, Groupon says it will stop selling physical goods and merchandise and will refocus the company around providing local experiences, Gizmodo reports.


Uber Lets Older Riders Skip the App

Uber has test-launched a new phone-booking feature, 1-833-USE-UBER, designed for older adults to request a ride without needing to download the app, Mobile Marketer reports. The update was based on feedback from older adults who said they’d prefer live conversations and a simpler user experience.


The First Developer Preview of Android 11 Arrives


Google this week announced the first developer preview of Android 11, which is now available as system images for Google’s own Pixel devices, starting with the Pixel 2, TechCrunch reports. For developers, Android 11 has a slew of new capabilities for apps, such as enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media and camera capabilities, and machine learning.


Ring and Nest Have Turned Us into Voyeurs

For all the worries about hacking, owners of Internet-connected cameras say they love watching people silently from afar—often their own family members, the Washington Post reports. The cameras’ offering of secretive observation, some customers told the Post, often felt too enticing to ignore.


Photoshop Celebrates 30 Years with New AI-Powered Features

Adobe Photoshop has turned 30. After launching its app on iPad last year, Adobe is bringing four AI-powered features to its desktop and iPad apps, The New Web reports.


Never Too Late for an Encore


Whitney Houston soon will appear on the concert stage again. Eight years after her death, reports, a holographic Houston will embark on a European tour Feb. 25, with U.S. dates expected to follow. The tour will feature Houston projected onto a nearly invisible scrim on a stage with real dancers and a live backing band.