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​Apple’s new iPad Pro aims to keep enterprise momentum

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Apple’s iPad Pro launch in Brooklyn is about providing a refresh for fans of the tablet as well as the Mac, but there is a bigger picture worth noting. Apple needs an updated iPad Pro to drive enterprise adoption and ensure its iOS ecosystem continues to be the go-to mobile platform for business.

Sure, the iPad Pro is likely to have more screen and less bezel. There will also be options for keyboards and multi-tasking will be easier. Toss in Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro may be able to lure creative pros. Adobe’s move to preview “full Photoshop” for the iPad with availability in 2019 certainly won’t hurt.

However, the importance of the iPad Pro refresh launch isn’t necessarily about some big-bang upgrade cycle. The iPad Pro–a quasi laptop experience for some–is about keeping enterprises interested in the ecosystem. Apple has been slower with its Mac and iPad hardware upgrades relative to the iPhone. But if Apple wants to keep business pros interested it needs some real meat and potatoes–especially when you consider the competition from Microsoft Surface and its alternatives.

The iPad Pro launch fits the bill. If anything the new iPad Pro is likely to keep the enterprise ecosystem flywheel rolling.

Apple in the Enterprise: A Strategic Guide | Best Apple iPad Pro alternatives you can buy right now

Consider recent events:

  • Adobe at its Max conference outlined how Photoshop CC updates will fully support the iPad. Adobe executives even noted that Photoshop was more natural on the iPad given its Apple Pencil and power. Clearly, Adobe has built Photoshop CC for the new iPad Pro.
  • At the Jamf User Nation Conference, IBM CIO Fletcher Previn announced that his company will open source its Mac@IBM enrollment app. IBM has invested for three years on deploying the macOS in its company. In 2015, there were 30,000 IBM employees using Macs. In 2018, that IBM Mac user base is 134,000. IBM also took the lessons from the Mac@IBM program and used it for its PC deployments at the company.
  • Jamf said SAP will use Jamf Pro to manage its Apple devices as one ecosystem. SAP has 17,000 Macs, 83,000 iOS devices and 170 Apple TVs in the field.
  • Microsoft will connect its Microsoft Enterprise Mobility _ Security platform with Jamf Pro to enable users to log into a new Mac with Microsoft Azure Active Directory credential.
  • Salesforce is the latest enterprise giant to partner with Apple on optimizing apps for iOS. Salesforce joins Cisco, Accenture, SAP and IBM. as enterprise partners.

With that backdrop it seems obvious that the iPad Pro launch with a few Mac updates isn’t about the tech press, consumer buzz or influencer relations. These hardware launches are all about keeping the enterprise gravy train going.

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Facebook tests a new option for cross-posting your Facebook feed posts to Instagram – TechCrunch

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Facebook already allows users to cross-post their Instagram Stories and Reels to Facebook. Now it’s testing a new feature that would see posts flowing in the other direction, too. The company recently rolled out an option that allows users to cross-post their Facebook updates that include photos or videos over to their Instagram. For people who are active on both platforms, the feature could save you from having to upload the same media twice in two different apps. It also gives Facebook an easy way to seed Instagram with more content at a time when the company is invested in ensuring Instagram remains a popular social media platform with younger users in the face of increased competition from apps like Snapchat and TikTok.

Facebook said the feature, which has yet to be formally announced, first began to roll out earlier this month. However, the company noted the option is currently a global test that’s only available to a small group of people who already have their Facebook profiles linked to a personal, creator or business account on Instagram.

If available, you’ll see the feature in Facebook’s compose box where you create posts. The new toggle appears besides those for editing the audience for your post and creating a new album.

Image Credits: Screenshot from the Facebook app on iOS

When tapped, you’ll be taken to a new screen where you can choose to share the individual Facebook post to your connected Instagram account, as well. The screen informs you this option will only apply to the post in question — it won’t become the default setting going forward.

If you do want to change your defaults, though, you can visit the linked “Accounts Center,” where you can now toggle on an option to automatically share all your Facebook Posts to Instagram, in addition to automatically sharing your Facebook Stories to Instagram Stories. (The latter was previously available.)

Image Credits: Screenshot from the Facebook app on iOS

The company told us users will be able to cross-post to Instagram single photos, single videos or multiphoto albums up to 10 photos — the max that’s supported through Instagram’s carousels. Other formats, like GIFs, polls, photos albums with more than 10 photos, Feed reshares, text-only posts and any media that’s too tall for Instagram’s Feed are not eligible for cross-posting at present.

Facebook has been working to make its suite of apps more interoperate in recent months — and not just by making cross-posting an option for those who use multiple apps.

The company last year introduced cross-app communication between Messenger and Instagram, allowing Instagram users to chat with friends who use Facebook and (as of last month) vice versa. It’s also been working on making Messenger more of a “connective tissue” for Facebook’s growing number of real-time experiences and has been testing a way that Facebook users could make voice and video calls right on Facebook without having to switch to the Messenger app. And last month, it revamped its ad products to include more tools that would allow people to message businesses on any of Facebook’s chat platforms, instead of just the one where they’re seeing the ad. That means users could click an Instagram ad to chat with a business on WhatsApp, for example.

If this all makes it a bit more confusing to determine what content lives where and who’s using which app, that could be by design. The tighter integrations may make it more difficult to fully exit Facebook, as content and communications flow between the Facebook suite of apps. In addition, the complexity could be hard to unravel in the case that regulators decide to break up Facebook into separate businesses, if it were to be declared a monopoly at some point in the future.

Facebook did not say how long the global test would run or when it would roll out more broadly.

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Google eyes TaskMate global launch after Kenya rollout – TechCrunch

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Google has today launched TaskMate in Kenya, a crowdsourcing app that lets people use smartphones to do tasks and get paid, tapping the growing gig economy. The tech giant said it has rolled out the beta version after a year-long experiment in the East African country, and is preparing to introduce it to other countries across the continent. The app is available in India too, where it’s also in the pilot stage.

TaskMate mobile app users fulfill skilled and unskilled tasks such as translation or photography for businesses – that are approved by Google to post on the platform– world-over. 

TaskMate joins a growing list of apps and services launched by Google that offer people payment for services carried out. They include a rewards app that lets people get paid for filling out surveys and local services ads that link businesses, at a fee, with clients within their vicinity.

“Today we have launched TaskMate, and it’s the first time we have opened it in Africa and across the world,” said TaskMate product manager, Mike Knapp.

The pilot started in Kenya late last year and users were able to carry-out different tasks including taking photos of plants for a research project carried out by Penn State University. ​​The app’s gigs are defined as either sitting or field tasks.

“We went to a pilot phase where we had 1000 people use the app, and they gave very positive feedback. And so now we’ve moved to the beta phase. And we’re really experimenting at a bigger level at this point,” said Knapp.

“And we’re looking for businesses and startups, to come and experiment with us on the platform, to see how this can help them solve the difficult problems that they’re working on,” he said.

Businesses posting tasks on the platform have the option of making it available to a select group of people or can invite specific people to carry it out. TaskMate users in Kenya withdraw the money earned through mobile-money payment platform M-Pesa, run by Safaricom, the biggest telecommunication company in the East Africa region.

“This is a crowdsourcing platform that simplifies the distribution and accomplishments of tasks from business, for businesses and organizations. It is also an app that provides opportunities to Kenyans, whether it’s community building or earning extra taxes. This is Google’s commitment to build for and with Africa, and its digital transformation journey,” he said. 

The launch happened as Google announced that it had disbursed $10 million in loans to help small businesses across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa make economic recovery brought about by the COVID pandemic. Google is disbursing the loans through Kiva, a San-Francisco based nonprofit lending organization. The funding is part of the $1 billion it said a fortnight ago it will invest in Africa.

Google’s investment will include a subsea cable, which will cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe. It will offer faster internet and create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows, they said.

Africa’s digital economy is expected to grow as integration continues, offering newer growth opportunities as more people get connected. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 303 million, 28 percent of the population, are currently connected to the mobile internet according to the 2021 GSMA mobile economy report. This number is expected to grow to about 40% by 2025, offering a bigger market to internet-based businesses and services such as TaskMate that are tapping internet connectivity and Africa’s youthful population.

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Clubhouse gives musicians a new high quality audio mode – TechCrunch

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Clubhouse added a new “music mode” this week, doubling down its commitment to centering social audio in all its permutations. The new music mode will give musicians who play live on the social network their own special set of tools to optimize sound quality and will hit iOS first before rolling out to Android.

Clubhouse didn’t get too into the audiophile weeds with the announcement, but the company said the new feature would allow users to “broadcast with high quality and great stereo sound” — prerequisites for a rich listening experience. The company says that music mode will also make it possible to hook pro-level audio equipment like mixing boards and mics into Clubhouse.

Image Credits: Clubhouse

In late August, Clubhouse made another investment in audio quality with spatial audio, a feature that gives listeners a sense that different speakers in one of its group audio rooms are speaking from different physical locations — an effect more akin to how we’d perceive a real-life social interaction.

To turn on music mode as a speaker, tap the three dots in the upper right corner and choose “audio quality” then select “music.” Clubhouse’s replayable clips will also support the higher quality audio in their recordings. Beyond music mode, Clubhouse is moving its search bar to the top of the feed, and users can now wave at each other through the search bar on iOS.

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