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His iPad Pro was bent. An Apple Genius found a sneaky way to get it replaced

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They can be of kindly spirit.


Apple

Of late, Apple’s been flexing its disciplinary muscles.

Publicly berating Facebook for flagrantly ignoring Cupertino’s app store rules, for example.

Also: An Apple saleswoman says this is the only reason to buy an iPad Pro

It’s always been known for its harsh internal disciplinary methods.

You can’t imagine, then, that Apple store staff would ever circumvent company rules just to have a little fun. Or, imagine, to help customers.

Yet a customer who experienced the profound pain of a bent iPad Pro 2018 offers a different tale.

Revealing his story to the refined audience on Reddit, he said he was told by the Apple Genius that there were two possible outcomes: “Bend is within tolerance, no action taken.” Or “Bend is outside of tolerance, paid replacement needed.”

After the iPad Pro Bendgate — oh, it must be Apple Bendgate 7 by now — the company insisted it was all perfectly normal, merely a “subtle deviation in flatness.”

I suppose that’s a little like iPhone sales suffering a subtle deviation in magnitude.

The Redditor — handle u/hexcrucher — said that his Genius offered a subtle deviation in the rules.

“The genius kindly said, ‘Well, if you had connectivity issues with your WiFi for example, I would have to order a replacement. So what is wrong with your iPad?”. I replied, ‘The WiFi I guess.’”

It’s a beautiful tale of one human simply trying to help another, rather than be bound by corporate strictures.

What was even more moving, however, is that in the comments to this post, more tales of Apple Geniuses’ sleight of mind emerged.

One commenter revealed: “I had a 2016 MacBook Pro with a bad battery. Way out of warranty. I was going to get a repair quote. I had to wait 15 minutes past my scheduled time. The genius gave me a brand new MBP for my wait and took the old one off my hands.”

This seems like elevated humanity. How could the Genius do this?

A former Genius, who says he left in 2015, said: “I would use a couple ‘customer service codes’ throughout the year. There’s too much bullshit that consumers, myself included, have to put up with when it comes to device support.”

BS from Apple? Is that possible?


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Naturally, I asked Apple whether it views such acts of customer service generosity with admiration, or whether it’s trying to track the miscreants down in order to flog them at the stake. I’ll update, should I hear.

Another Redditor claimed that such goodwill doesn’t extend beyond corporate-owned stores. It seems that some non-corporately owned stores are even penalized for not finding a problem with a device.

“Partners and Apple Authorized Service Providers are graded and compensated according to metrics, including No Trouble Found. If the reported symptoms are not present and reproducible it will negatively impact the partner,” said one with apparent insider knowledge.

Ultimately, it’s not wise to waft into your Apple Store and ask for a Genius’s sneaky indulgence. These tales may be exceptions, rather than norms.

The Genius may be having a good or bad day. They might like the look of you or, well, dislike it rather a lot, especially your color matching. Please don’t imagine they’re all just looking to be loved.

Why, not so long ago an Apple Genius told me, in withering terms, that I was charging my iPhone wrong.

The shame hasn’t left me yet.

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Instagram tests ditching video posts in favor of Reels – TechCrunch

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Instagram is testing a change that turns video posts into Reels, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The company says the change, which is currently being tested with select users around the world, is part of Instagram’s plan to simplify video on the app.

“We’re testing this feature as part of our efforts to simplify and improve the video experience on Instagram,” a spokesperson from Meta said in an email.

A screenshot posted on Twitter by social media consultant Matt Navarra shows that people who are part of the test will see an in-app message that says “video posts are now shared as Reels.”

The message indicates that if your account is public and you post a video that ends up being turned into a Reel, anyone can discover your Reel and use your original audio to create their own Reel. If your account is set to private, your Reel will only be visible to your followers. The message also notes that once you post a Reel, anyone can create a remix with your Reel if your account is public. However, you can prevent people from remixing your Reels in your account settings.

As with any other test, it’s unknown when or if Instagram plans to roll out the change more widely. If the change does become permanent, it may pose some challenges. For example, it could be difficult to post a horizontal video if it gets uploaded in a vertical Reels format. In addition, Instagram did not say how this change will affect current videos on Instagram.

The test comes as Meta has been betting big on Reels. As part of its Q1 2022 earnings, the company revealed that Reels now make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram. It’s not surprising that Instagram is looking to expand Reels even more by replacing video posts altogether. If the company does end up making this change permanent, it could boast about people spending even more time viewing Reels. 

Last year, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the app was “no longer a photo-sharing app,” noting the company was prioritizing a shift into video amid significant competition from TikTok and YouTube. The company then took a step toward its larger goal of making video a more central part of the Instagram experience by combining IGTV’s long-form video and Instagram Feed videos into a new format simply called “Instagram Video.”

If Instagram decides to turn all video uploads into Reels, it would consolidate the company’s video elements even further. Last year, when Mosseri laid out Instagram’s priorities for 2022, he said the company would double down on video and focus on Reels. He even hinted that Instagram would consolidate all of its video products around Reels and continue to grow the short-form product, which indicates that this change may have always been the plan.

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Crypto wants its own iPhone – TechCrunch

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Image Credits: TechCrunch

Apple’s relative hostility to the desires of crypto developers hasn’t gone unnoticed, and as the industry buckles down for a bear market, some of its proponents are pushing forward plans to rebuild the iPhone with their own industry’s best interests at heart.

Hello and welcome back to the Chain Reaction podcast, where we unpack and explain the latest crypto news, drama and trends, breaking it down block by block for the crypto curious.

This week, my co-host Anita was off, so I was joined by TC+ Senior Crypto Reporter Jacquie Melinek, who discussed some of the wild happenings in crypto, including FTX’s flirtations with Robinhood and the latest drama at Celsius.

We also talked about the big surprise announcement of the week: the Solana-backed Saga smartphone. The new device will operate with crypto capabilities baked into its silicon while serving as a regular Android-based smartphone as well. The device doesn’t ship until next year, allegedly, and Jacquie and I had plenty of thoughts, so listen along above!

Our guest: Doodles CEO Julian Holguin

This week, I chatted with Julian Holguin, who is the CEO of the NFT project Doodles. The collection of 10,000 NFT profile pictures is one of the most popular crypto projects on the web and Holguin just banked funding from Alexis Ohanian to push the startup behind the art even further.

Chain Reaction podcast episodes come out every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us every week.

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Visby Medical tests positive for a Series E extension at $1B+ valuation – TechCrunch

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Medical diagnostics company Visby Medical raised $100 million in a Series E round earlier this year. Today, the company told me it extended that round by an additional $35 million at the same valuation as the rest of the round. This financing will enable Visby Medical to scale production capacity from tens to hundreds of thousands of monthly tests. It will also further expand its product lineup to include COVID + influenza A/B combination testing, antimicrobial resistance panels, and deliver at-home PCR diagnostics to consumers.

“The valuation is just over $1B post-money,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch over email. “The extension is at the same valuation as the rest of the round, which we think demonstrates that these are long-term investors, not influenced by short-term fluctuations in the public markets.”

The company told me it consciously sought out investors that would be eager to continue to invest long-term. The original $100 million was led by Ping An Voyager Partners and joined by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The round also included participation by existing investors including John Doerr, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, ND Capital, Artiman Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors and Nissim Capital.

The extension round of an additional $35 million was led by Lightrock, who joined existing Series E investors including John Doerr, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, ND Capital, Artiman Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors and J Ventures.

“At Visby Medical, we are revolutionizing patient care by developing diagnostics that healthcare providers can use to test for any infection at anytime, anywhere,” said Visby Medical Founder and CEO Adam de la Zerda, PhD in a statement to TechCrunch. “Especially during these times of market slowdown, our investors have shown significant confidence in Visby’s innovative technology and mission. This funding will enable us to further our goal to provide the world’s first instrument-free handheld PCR platform to accurately and rapidly test for a variety of serious infections to anyone who needs it.”

Visby’s PCR diagnostic technology is being developed in multiple therapeutic areas and is aimed to address a critical and growing global need: to combat the significant rise in infectious diseases, including on-the-spot STI rapid testing solutions.

The financing goes to show that there’s still money out there, and it’s encouraging to see that companies are more forthcoming about announcing both round extensions — which traditionally have been frowned upon by the investment community — and valuations as part of their funding journey.

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