Apple’s next move may be an iPhone hardware subscription service, Meta loses top AI scientists, and Amazon has spent over $4 million on consultants to prevent the unionization of its warehouses.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, April 4th, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.
Apple is working on an iPhone hardware subscription service that will squeeze more revenue from its user base, Bloomberg reports. The company’s in-the-works iPhone hardware subscription service will change up the process of buying an iPhone, allowing users to essentially lease their device and get a new model annually. At the moment, this type of service will only target major Apple fans who like to upgrade their devices as a new one launches. A subscription service will ultimately make Apple more money. Most iPhone users update their phones every three years, and the average iPhone sales price is about $825. This means Apple is generating over $800 from the typical iPhone customer every three years. But with Apple’s subscription service, the company could potentially boost that $800 to $1,000 and get the old phone back to sell on the secondary market, generating more money.
Meta has lost some of its artificial intelligence scientists in 2022 as the company continues its journey towards its metaverse. At least four top members of Meta AI have departed in recent months, a CNBC article reported citing people familiar with the matter. These scientists have published dozens of academic papers in world-renowned journals and made multiple breakthroughs that Meta used to enhance its social platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Karl Hermann, an AI entrepreneur who used to work at rival lab DeepMind, told CNBC that Meta could lose up to half a dozen, adding that the company’s AI lab in London had seen an alarming number of exits. In addition, one of Meta AI’s research engineering managers left in the last few weeks to join a new company, Inflection AI. Outside of Meta’s AI lab, the company has seen other major exits in 2021.
Amazon spent around $4.3 million on consultants last year to attempt to prevent the unionization of its warehouses, according to company filings with the U.S. Department of Labor. Workers had to attend meetings led by the consultants who discussed anti-union talking points ahead of union votes in Bessemer, Alabama and Staten Island, New York, according to a HuffPost report. Companies have to disclose financial details when consultants speak directly to workers about unionization. However, very few have ever spent even $1 million on union avoidance over many years, while Amazon spent multiple times that in just 2021 alone. Some consultants were even paid up to $3,200 per day. The meetings are legal and usually held when employers discover efforts to organize unions. The consultants will typically focus on union dues and potential loss of wages due to work stoppages. They also help companies come up with strategies to defeat unions. Amazon workers recently voted in two union drives in Bessemer and Staten Island.
Scientists have revealed the first audio recordings on Mars. The recordings reveal a quiet planet with occasional gusts of wind where two different speeds of sound would have a strange delayed effect on hearing. After NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars last February, its two microphones began recording, letting scientists discover what it sounds like on the planet for the first time. In a study published in the Nature journal last week, the scientists gave their first analysis of five hours of sound picked up by Perseverance’s microphones. The audio revealed previously unknown turbulence on Mars. The study also confirmed that for the first time the speed of sound is slower on Mars, travelling at 240 meters per second, compared to 340 meters per second on Earth. They discovered there are two speeds of sound on the surface of Mars. One of them is for high-pitched sounds and another for lower frequencies, which means that human ears would hear high-pitched sounds slightly earlier.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.