It’s been nearly a full day since Apple announced a long list of software features and enhancements for nearly all of its core hardware products at WWDC. The iPhone and iPod Touch will get iOS 13, MacOS 10.15 Catalina gains the ability to run iPad apps thanks to Project Catalyst, and the Apple Watch will see its share of improvements.
Also: WWDC 2019: Mac Pro, iPadOS, iOS 13, WatchOS 6, and everything Apple announced
Apple announced a lot on Monday, but for me, the most intriguing announcement was giving the operating system that runs on the iPad its own name. By unbundling the iPad from the same OS that runs on the iPhone, Apple can add iPadOS specific features without having to worry about confusion or the resources required to bring the same features to the iPhone.
Not only does the name change give Apple more freedom with new features, but it also signals that Apple is taking the iPad and its future as a computer replacement more seriously. To be clear, the main features of iOS 13 are still present in iPadOS. Dark mode, Appel Sign In, the new Find My app, and everything else Apple announced on Monday is part of iPadOS.
There’s a lot to like about the direction Apple is taking the iPad with iPadOS. Here are the features I’m looking forward to the most, and one feature that somehow is still missing.
Widgets and smaller app icons are coming to the iPad’s homescreen in iPadOS. If you so choose the Today view, which currently lives to the left of the homescreen, it can be permanently pinned to the homescreen.
I never really use widgets right now other than to quickly glance at battery percentages, check the weather, and glance at the day’s agenda. The process now requires me to purposely seek out that information. By bringing the Today widgets to the homescreen, I can passively monitor the information I’ve deemed important.
What I’m most excited about with the new homescreen is that the addition of always on display widgets will force developers to come up with new and creative uses, adding to the iPad’s functionality.
I’ve griped about Safari on the iPad many, many times. The third-generation iPad Pro is still the best tablet I have ever used (I recently purchased one after Apple’s loan period expired), and I’ve used it daily for work, but it still has the same mobile Safari experience that I have on my iPhone. On a phone, it’s fine, but on the iPad, it’s nothing but disappointing and frustrating.
In iPadOS, Apple has revamped Safari to be what it calls a “desktop-class browser.” Safari will default to the desktop version of all websites you visit and will optimize the site for touch interaction on its own.
Apple even specifically named Google Docs, WordPress, and Squarespace as websites that now work in Safari on the iPad during the keynote.
There’s even a download manager in Safari now! If Apple can nail a desktop-class version of Safari in iPadOS, it will fully replace my MacBook Pro, and that’s something I desperately want to happen.
With iPadOS, you’ll be able to create multiple windows of the same app. Each window acts as a standalone version of that app, so you can work on a budget spreadsheet in one window, and use another window to work through a sales spreadsheet. The windows can be used next to each other, or in split view next to another app.
The demo shown during the keynote looks promising, but I couldn’t help but feel as if there’s going to be a steep learning curve. How do you open windows? How do you know you can open a new window? What about managing windows?
Slide Over was also improved, with the ability to stack apps in Slide Over. The feature looks a lot like multitasking on the iPhone XS Max, with a swipe across the bottom of the app to quickly switch between other apps currently available in Slide Over. A swipe down on the bottom of an app’s Slide Over window will reveal the complete underlying stack of available apps.
All this looks like it will make quickly switching between iPad apps and multitasking better than it currently is, but I’m afraid I’ll have to wait until well after the public beta program launches in July, when developers begin releasing updated iPad apps before we can truly see how effective the new approach is.
External storage support
The new Files app looks a lot like the Finder app on MacOS, and that’s a good thing. Mac users who have decided to ditch an older computer will have a level of familiarity with managing files and folders on iPadOS.
I’ve always wanted a better way file management system on the iPad. I was never a fan of having to remember which app I saved a file to, and then have to figure out how to move that file from one app to another — especially if one of the developers had failed to implement file sharing properly.
In addition to what appears to be a more intuitive Files app, Apple has also added support for external storage to iPadOS. Meaning, you can connect a USB thumb drive or an external hard drive to your iPad and manage files on the drive, copy files to/from the drive, and do all the normal file management stuff you’re accustomed to doing on a computer.
I never bought into Apple’s thinking that iPad users don’t want to use external storage as a reason for the lack of support, and the addition in iPadOS is the right move.
Where’s multi-user support?
Lack of multi-user support in iPadOS is disappointing. The keynote kicked off by taking a look at the next version of TvOS for Apple TV, showing off its support for multiple users, and instantly my confidence in the iPad getting the same feature grew.
Alas, the keynote came and went and we’ve yet to see any reports, leaks, or rumors after developers were able to install the beta that showed multi-user support hidden somewhere in iPadOS.
I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of the iPad after seeing Apple’s initial iPadOS release. This isn’t a release that provides one or two features with building blocks for future releases. Arguably, Apple added more features to the iPad in a single release than it ever has.
Once the public beta launches, I plan on taking a closer look at iPadOS and how it performs overall.
Cymulate snaps up $70M to help cybersecurity teams stress test their networks with attack simulations – TechCrunch
The cost of cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate of 15% per year, projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. To cope with the challenges that this poses, organizations are turning to a growing range of AI-powered tools to supplement their existing security software and the work of their security teams. Today, a startup called Cymulate — which has built a platform to help those teams automatically and continuously stress test their networks against potential attacks with simulations, and provide guidance on how to improve their systems to ward off real attacks — is announcing a significant round of growth funding after seeing strong demand for its tools.
The startup — founded in Tel Aviv, with a second base in New York — has raised $70 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue expanding globally and investing in expanding its technology (both organically and potentially through acquisitions).
Today, Cymulate’s platform covers both on-premise and cloud networks, providing breach and attack simulations for endpoints, email and web gateways and more; automated “red teaming”; and a “purple teaming” facility to create and launch different security breach scenarios for organizations that lack the resources to dedicate people to a live red team — in all, a “holistic” solution for companies looking to make sure they are getting the most out of the network security architecture that they already have in place, in the worlds of Eyal Wachsman, Cymulate’s CEO.
“We are providing our customers with a different approach for how to do cybersecurity and get insights [on] all the products already implemented in a network,” he said in an interview. The resulting platform has found particular traction in the current market climate. Although companies continue to invest in their security architecture, security teams are also feeling the market squeeze, which is impacting IT budgets, and sometimes headcount in an industry that was already facing a shortage of expertise. (Cymulate cites figures from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology that estimate a shortfall of 2.72 million security professionals in the workforce globally.)
The idea with Cymulate is that it’s built something that helps organizations get the most out of what they already have. “And at the end, we provide our customers the ability to prioritize where they need to invest, in terms of closing gaps in their environment,” Wachsman said.
The round is being led by One Peak, with Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and strategic backer Dell Technologies Capital also participating. (All five also backed Cymulate in its $45 million Series C last year.) Relatively speaking, this is a big round for Cymulate, doubling its total raised to $141 million, and while the startup is not disclosing its valuation, I understand from sources that it is around the $500 million mark.
Wachsman noted that the funding is coming on the heels of a big year for the startup (the irony being that the constantly escalating issue of cybersecurity and growing threat landscape spells good news for companies built to combat that). Revenues have doubled, although it’s not disclosing any numbers today, and the company is now at over 200 employees and works with some 500 paying customers across the enterprise and mid-market, including NTT, Telit, and Euronext, up from 300 customers a year ago.
Wachsman, who co-founded the company with Avihai Ben-Yossef and Eyal Gruner, said he first thought of the idea of building a platform to continuously test an organization’s threat posture in 2016, after years of working in cybersecurity consulting for other companies. He found that no matter how much effort his customers and outside consultants put into architecting security solutions annually or semi-annually, those gains were potentially lost each time a malicious hacker made an unexpected move.
“If the bad guys decided to penetrate the organization, they could, so we needed to find a different approach,” he said. He looked to AI and machine learning for the solution, a complement to everything already in the organization, to build “a machine that allows you to test your security controls and security posture, continuously and on demand, and to get the results immediately… one step before the hackers.”
Last year, Wachsman described Cymulate’s approach to me as “the largest cybersecurity consulting firm without consultants,” but in reality the company does have its own large in-house team of cybersecurity researchers, white-hat hackers who are trying to find new holes — new bugs, zero days and other vulnerabilities — to develop the intelligence that powers Cymulate’s platform.
These insights are then combined with other assets, for example the MITRE ATT&CK framework, a knowledge base of threats, tactics and techniques used by a number of other cybersecurity services, including others building continuous validation services that compete with Cymulate. (Competitors include the likes of FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Randori, AttackIQ and many more.)
Cymulate’s work comes in the form of network maps that detail a company’s threat profile, with technical recommendations for remediation and mitigations, as well as an executive summary that can be presented to financial teams and management who might be auditing security spend. It also has built tools for running security checks when integrating any services or IT with third parties, for instance in the event of an M&A process or when working in a supply chain.
Today the company focuses on network security, which is big enough in itself but also leaves the door open for Cymulate to acquire companies in other areas like application security — or to build that for itself. “This is something on our roadmap,” said Wachsman.
If potential M&A leads to more fundraising for Cymulate, it helps that the startup is in one of the handful of categories that are going to continue to see a lot of attention from investors.
“Cybersecurity is clearly an area that we think will benefit from the current macroeconomic environment, versus maybe some of the more capital-intensive businesses like consumer internet or food delivery,” said David Klein, a managing partner at One Peak. Within that, he added, “The best companies [are those] that are mission critical for their customers… Those will continue to attract very good multiples.”
Open-source password manager Bitwarden raises $100M – TechCrunch
Bitwarden, an open-source password manager for enterprises and consumers, has raised $100 million in a round of funding led by PSG, with participation form Battery Ventures.
Founded initially back in 2015, Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden operates in a space that includes well-known incumbents including 1Password, which recently hit a $6.8 billion valuation off the back of a $620 million fundraise, and Lastpass, which was recently spun out as an independent company again two years after landing in the hands of private equity firms.
In a nutshell, Bitwarden and its ilk make it easier for people to generate secure passwords automatically, and store all their unique passwords and sensitive information such as credit card data in a secure digital vault, saving them from reusing the same insecure password across all their online accounts.
Bitwarden’s big differentiator, of course, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open-source codebase, which for super security-conscious individuals and businesses is a good thing — they can fully inspect the inner-workings of the platform. Moreover, people can contribute back to the codebase and expedite development of new features.
On top of a basic free service, Bitwarden ships a bunch of paid-for premium features and services, including advanced enterprise features like single sign-on (SSO) integrations and identity management.
It’s worth noting that today’s “minority growth investment” represents Bitwarden’s first substantial external funding in its seven year history, though we’re told that it did raise a small undisclosed series A round back in 2019. Its latest cash injection is indicative of how the world has changed in the intervening years. The rise of remote work, with people increasingly meshing personal and work accounts on the same devices, means the same password is used across different services. And such poor password and credential hygiene puts businesses at great risk.
Additionally, growing competition and investments in the management space means that Bitwarden can’t rest on its laurels — it needs to expand, and that is what its funds will be used for. Indeed, Bitwarden has confirmed plans to extend its offering into several aligned security and privacy verticals, including secrets management — something that 1Password expanded into last year via its SecretHub acquisition.
“The timing of the investment is ideal, as we expand into opportunities in developer secrets, passwordless technologies, and authentication,” Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell noted in a press release. “Most importantly, we aim to continue to serve all Bitwarden users for the long haul.”
downgrade the ‘middle-men’ resellers – TechCrunch
As well as the traditional carbon offset resellers and exchanges such as Climate Partner or Climate Impact X the tech space has also produced a few, including Patch (US-based, raised $26.5M) and Lune (UK-based, raised $4M).
Now, Ceezer, a B2B marketplace for carbon credits, has closed a €4.2M round, led by Carbon Removal Partners with participation of impact-VC Norrsken VC and with existing investor Picus Capital.
Ceezer ’s pitch is that companies have to deal with a lot of complexity when considering how they address carbon removal and reduction associated with their businesses. Whie they can buy offsetting credits, the market remains pretty ‘wild-west’, and has multiple competing standards running in parallel. For instance, the price range of $5 to $500 per ton is clearly all over the place, and sometimes carbon offset resellers make buyers pay high prices for low-quality carbon credits, pulling in extra revenues from a very opaque market.
The startup’s offering is for corporates to integrate both carbon removal and avoidance credits in one package. It does this by mining the offsetting market for lots of data points, enabling carbon offset sellers to reach buyers without having to use these middle-men resellers.
The startup claims that sellers no longer waste time and money on bespoke contracts with corporates but instead use Ceezer’s legal framework for all transactions. Simultaneously, buyers can access credits at a primary market level, maximizing the effect of the dollars they spend on carbon offsets.
Ceezer says it now has over 50 corporate customers and has 200,000 tons of carbon credits to sell across a variety of categories. and will use the funds to expand its impact and sourcing team, the idea being to make carbon removal technologies more accessible to corporate buyers, plus widen the product offering for credit sellers and buyers.
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