Episode 616 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Poor iPhone demand, GST drags down Kogan

revenue from its “global brands” category, which includes premium third-party products from the likes of Apple and Samsung, had dropped 46.7 percent in the first half of the 2019 financial year.

The blame was pinned on the introduction of new GST laws in July last year, requiring online retailers to charge a goods and service tax on imported goods worth less than $1000.

It’s not just the added tax that’s cut into revenue, according to Kogan, which once again claimed that a number of foreign websites that sell into Australia are actively avoiding collecting GST. Chief executive Ruslan Kogan brought up the same grievance in October, claiming GST avoidance had become widespread in Australia and was eroding his company’s gross margin.

Glenn: Tax is good for the country, to buy from a foreign website you lose consumer rights, kogan return policy is crap – you are unable to talk to them and it is slow going

Google G Suite price hike coming

on 2 April, the cost of G Suite Basic, the introductory tier, and business, the intermediate tier, will both be elevated by 20 percent for month-to-month subscriptions. The cost of the enterprise tier will stay fixed.

G Suite Basic will go from US$5 to US$6 a month and see a steeper increase from US$50 to US$72 for a year’s commitment. G Suite Business, which offers more enterprise-grade features, will climb from US$10 to US$12 a month, and a proportional US$120 to US$144 per year.

Among the upgrades introduced over the last year has been an infusion of artificial intelligence into all tiers of the product, and the release of an enterprise version of Google Voice, a telephony service long popular with consumers.

While comparing G Suite to Office 365 is an apples-to-oranges exercise, the price increase will make Google’s product the more expensive option for many businesses.

G Suite boasts 1.4 billion individual users, across more than 4 million businesses, the company revealed in July at its Google Cloud Next 2018 conference in San Francisco.

Domino’s Pizza defeated in court over app

Domino’s Pizza has been told its website and app must be made fully accessible to blind people, after losing a legal case in the US.

It follows a complaint from a blind customer who said he first struggled to change toppings and then was unable to complete a pizza’s purchase using the company’s iPhone app.

The plaintiff’s case was initially dismissed in 2017 but was successful on appeal.

It may now set a precedent for others.

Mr Robles said both the company’s app and website lacked the labelling required for him to use its Pizza Builder facility or to complete an order.

In addition, he said, he was unable to make use of discount vouchers.

This, he argued, put the company in breach of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, which says it is unlawful for businesses to deny individuals with disabilities access to their goods and services unless the effort involved places them under an “undue burden”.

Microsoft Australia smashes $2 billion milestone

Microsoft Australia has smashed through the $2 billion revenue milestone by more than doubling its sales and net profit in the 2018 year

$2.28 billion in the financial year ending 30 June 2018, a massive jump from the $1.13 billion revenue in 2017. At the same time, net profit also jumped from $47 million in 2017 to more than $100 million.

The most recent financial year saw Microsoft Australia pay $175 million in income tax, though the company only incurred $53 million in income tax expenses over the year.

Microsoft Australia noted that after the 2018 financial year ended, the company adopted a new accounting standard, requiring its 2017 results to be restated. Revenue from 2017 was restated from $1.05 billion to $1.13 billion.

Microsoft Australia employed 1404 staff as of 30 June 2018.

Apple boss Tim Cook sees $4 million pay hike In 2018

Cook reported total compensation of US$15.7 million (A$21.87 million) in fiscal 2018, up US$2.9 million from the US$12.8 million he received the prior year, according to a proxy filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cook’s total pay included US$3 million in base salary, which was almost unchanged from the last year. He also received US$12 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation and US$682,219 in other compensation. Not included as part of Cook’s total pay: Apple shares worth an estimated US$121 million that vested in 2018, according to the proxy.

Other compensation” included Apple’s contributions to Cook’s account under its 401(k) plan in the amount of US$16,500; term life insurance premiums paid by Apple in the amount of US$2964; vacation cash-out in the amount of US$57,692; security expenses in the amount of US$310,981; and personal air travel expenses worth US$294,082.

Apple’s stock closed up 1.9 percent to US$150.75 on Tuesday with a total market cap of US$715 billion.

Sofia Coppola to direct Bill Murray in Apple’s first film

News of the film, titled On the Rocks, comes ahead of the expected launch of the apple’s own streaming platform.

Rashida Jones will star with Murray in the film, which tells of a young mother who reconnects with her playboy father.

Apple is also working with Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon on various TV projects.

There’s no date for the launch of Apple’s streaming service, but there has been speculation that it will appear in 2019. The company will spend up to $1bn on original content, according to Variety.

Broke teen who sold kidney for an iPhone now bedridden for life

A Chinese man is now bedridden for life after he sold his right kidney as a teenager to the black market to buy the latest Apple products.

Wang Shangkun was 17 years old when he made the fatal decision. Shortly after the illegal surgery he began suffering from a decreased level of kidney function.

Eight years on, the 25-year-old is now bedridden for life after his remaining organ failed.

Mr Shangkun had sold his kidney to black market organ harvesters in April 2011 where he received AUD$4500 — purchasing a iPhone 4 and iPad 2 with the funds.

“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he said in reports at the time.

Nine people were arrested in connection with the case and five, including the surgeons who harvested his kidney, were jailed in 2012.

His family was eventually awarded about $300,000 in compensation later the same year, The Mirror reported.

Mr Wang allegedly sought the new iPhone in order to show off to his friends.

His family lived in one of China’s poorest provinces and could not afford it, so he turned to other means to raise the money.

Royole’s 2nd Generation Cicada WingTM Smartphone with Fully Flexible Display

https://www.royole.com/flexpai

  • FlexPai is the world’s first commercial foldable smartphone with flexible display, a combination of smartphone and tablet. It was officially launched on Oct. 31, 2018 in Beijing. Disrupting traditional concept of a smartphone, FlexPai can be used either folded or unfolded, giving it the portability of a smartphone plus the screen size of a high-definition tablet.
  • The FlexPai’s screen is virtually unbreakable and extremely durable passing tests where the screen has been bent over 200,000 times. Its screen provides fantastic color range, high contrast, wide angle, and high-resolution for outstanding picture quality. Its got this new optical film coating process with a dual curved surface design. check out the link in the show notes to see what that looks like, also it will have a link to Linus youtube talking about this phone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VsGhBSP7Z0

Do the LG story straight afterwards.

LG’s upcoming G8 flagship may have an attachable second screen

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/1/16/18186058/lg-g8-second-screen-attachement-mwc-2019

  • Apparently, the second screen will be an optional attachment, like a case, that will be designed to extend the screen size of the device. It’s not immediately clear how that would work or if it would be included in the box or sold as a separate accessory. But LG is expected to show off the device next month at the annual Mobile World Congress expo in Barcelona.

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Whirlpool Announces 4 New Google Assistant Integrated Products at CES 2019

https://voicebot.ai/2019/01/16/whirlpool-announces-4-new-google-assistant-integrated-products-at-ces-2019/

  • Tech followers everywhere are predicting that 2019 will be the year of assisted products, in particular google and alexa assisted products.
  • At CES 2019 this week, Whirlpool and its sub-brands WLabs and KitchenAid announced four new products with Google Assistant integration in them……The KitchenAid Smart Display, The KitchenAid Connected Range, The WLabs Smart Countertop Oven, and the Whirlpool Smart All-in-One Washer & Dryer.

The KitchenAid Smart Display  – features all the Google Assistant functionality like entertainment from music, podcasts, radio, YouTube, Hulu, HBO Now, step-by-step recipe instructions, shopping lists, and smart home control. It is being advertised as the central hub for home cooks with” Voice and visual meal planning, as well as guided cooking functionality, which is offered by Yummly on the KitchenAid Smart Display. For those that dont know Yummly is a personalized food discovery app available for iOS, Android, and web browsers. It allows users to browse photographed, easy-to-follow recipes and is actually owned by Whirlpool. The Smart Display has a 10-inch display and is IPX5 rated for resistance to faucet water. There is no official word as to when this smart display will launch, but Android Police website reports it will likely go on sale in the second half of 2019 for somewhere between $200 and $300.


The KitchenAid Connected Commercial Style Range combines an oven and stove and is also said to eventually support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa giving users the ability “to control the appliance remotely with simple commands, from another room of their home, if needed.” There is no word on specific’s queries yet , but would eventually be able to give the range, some simple commands.  One can assume might be available are asking whether the range or oven is still on, or what temperature/setting the oven/range is set too. Perhaps users will also be able to control the oven and range settings with voice commands. The Connected Commercial-Style Range features burners and convection that allows for both baking and cooking, as well as KitchenAid App Connectivity. The KitchenAid app allows users to monitor and control the oven with a smartphone or tablet. The range is planned for release in 2019.

WLABS SMART COUNTERTOP OVEN – This oven makes some hefty claims that it has food identification technology [that] automatically recognizes the food type and temperature for selected foods, and selects the appropriate cooking algorithm designed specifically for that food. The algorithm controls the time and temperature for perfectly cooked broccoli, chicken, pizza and more, regardless of whether it’s frozen or fresh. In addition to food identification technology, the Smart Countertop Oven features a touch-screen interface, a wooden cutting board, and both Google Assistant and Alexa integration. Live-look-in, cooking status notifications, a smart food thermometer, multi-functionality of 11 cooking modes, one-touch start, preheat times, and scan-to-cook technology are all included features too. The Smart Countertop Oven will be available for pre-order in a limited quantites at wlabsinnovations.com/smartoven, for around $799.

The Whirlpool Smart All-in-One Washer & Dryer – is a combination of a washer and a dryer, allowing for one load to be completely washed and dried in one machine. Now the interesting thing about this one is that the unit is ventless, and Whirlpool says it will fit in a variety of  places, “including under the kitchen counter, in closets or laundry rooms and also in bathrooms for those with limited space.” The features of the smart washer and dryer include automatic dispensing of detergent with Load & Go Bulk Dispensing, it will have alert notifications through the Whirlpool mobile app, It will have suggested cycle times to help users tailor their specific laundry load, and also have Alexa voice commands. Users can ask their Alexa-enabled device to start the washer and dryer, run the wrinkle shield option, and ask if the washer or dryer is currently running, as well as ask for the time remaining on a cycle. The All-in-One Washer & Dryer is available for purchase now, at $1799.00.

Google  today announced that it is raising the price of its G Suite subscriptions.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/16/google-raises-its-g-suite-prices/

  • The prices of G Suite Basic and G Suite Business editions will increase by $1 and $2 per user/month, respectively, while increases in other regions will be adjusted according to the local currency and market. However G Suite Enterprise pricing will remain the same.

    The new pricing will go into effect on April 2; those on annual plans will pay the new price when their contract renews after that date. Usually, a $1 or $2 price increase wouldn’t be a big deal, but this is the first time Google has raised the price of its G Suite subscriptions. The company argues that it has added plenty of new services — like video conferencing with Hangouts Meet, team messaging with Hangouts Chat, increased storage quotas and other security and productivity tools and services — to the platform since it first launched its paid service with its core productivity tools back in 2006.

Well I’m glad i didn’t subscribe to it earlier this year

Some of the Latest Smart Office Tech

from CES 2019

Say – (Click the link in the show notes to see the photos)

https://www.techrepublic.com/pictures/photos-the-best-smart-office-tech-at-ces-2019/

Humanscale’s line of sit/stand desks and smart office tech make it easier to have a clean and organized workspace.

  • HANDL debuted a new line of smartphone cases that will reach retail stores later in 2019. The case has a built-in grip feature that lays flat when not in use
  • Parcel Guard by Danby is a Wi-Fi connected smart mailbox that has an IP motion activated camera, a tamper alarm and gives you mail notifications too.
  • A Da Vinci color mini 3D printer which utilizes CMY inkjet technology to produce 3D models–in color. The compact, wireless printer offers millions of color options, free 3D modeling software and gallery, an upgradeable Laser Engraving Module, auto-loading filament, and auto calibration. It has a printing resolution of 100~400 microns and a print size of 5.1 x 5.1 x 5.1 inch which is 13cm x 13cm x 13cm. Not bad for a small 3D printer.
  • PhoneSoap 3 UV sanitizer – You can’t wash your phone, but you can sanitize it with PhoneSoap. PhoneSoap 3 UV sanitizer neutralizes the bacteria on your phone and allows you to charge your phone too.
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