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Postscript wants to be the Mailchimp for SMS – TechCrunch

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Email is certainly not dead, despite many such exclamations, but there’s no question that it’s a bloated, seeping hog of a platform on which it’s incredibly difficult for businesses to develop meaningful relationships with customers.

Postscript, a startup launching out of Y Combinator’s latest class, wants to learn from what email marketing got right and translate that to the next frontier of B2C communications: SMS. It basically wants to be the Mailchimp for texts.

“We are witnessing the decay of email,” Postscript president Alex Beller tells TechCrunch. “User behavior is all SMS now and e-commerce traffic and web traffic, in general, are so heavily mobile.”

The startup specifically wants to focus on shaping how consumers and businesses engage in the relationship around online commerce. Do you have a subscription to some cook-at-home meal startup? Then maybe they’ll shoot you a message asking if you want to add a new dessert option to your meal this week. Reply “YES” to add. That’s it.

The startup handles ensuring that businesses have proper consent from users to get text messages sent to them. From there businesses are able to segment users, plan SMS campaigns with text and media and have everything backed up by a decent analytics suite so that customers can see what happens on the other end of the texts. Beyond campaigns, communications can be automated based on customer actions so they get some feedback after they make a purchase or other action.

Being at the forefront of a new frontier for communicating with customers seems to have its advantages. Postscript claims a 95+ percent open rate and 35 percent click-through rate, numbers that are pretty wild for marketers that have dealt with the stats on email campaigns.

Given that people are used to SMS as a means of conversation, people are also a lot more likely to respond and ask questions inside the chain, something the Postscript founders were a bit surprised by but soon built into their feature set alongside integrations with customer support platforms.

“We rushed out this inbound feature when we realized how much [communication] we had coming in from users,” Postscript CEO Adam Turner told TechCrunch. “It’s all about engagement, not just clicks… and a one-way communication channel.”

As a consumer, the idea that my text messages are soon going to be inundated by #brands elicits a gut reaction to burn it all down, but there’s an air of inevitability that SMS will become the next place that businesses want to infiltrate. We’re already getting updates from food delivery services and UPS; Postscript wants their platform to let people expand and manage these relationships.

There are a few reasons why you don’t have to gravely fear your texting app turning into a corporate dump. The opt-in process for phone communications is already a bit more codified in the U.S., and as companies attempt to stay in the good graces of GDPR for fear of the EU god, it might be more likely they tread carefully. Additionally, while SMS fees aren’t substantial, there’s certainly a more baked-in cost than with forwarding an offer to a huge bank of emails. Lastly, users just have to punch out a quick “UNSUBSCRIBE” to get out of messages from which they’ve gotten their fill, a standard across carriers.

Right now the company is closely integrated with Shopify so users can add this to their storefronts. Pricing varies based on the amount of messages you’re sending. There’s a free tier for sending 100 messages per month, $50/month for sending 1,000 and a few more tiers topping out at a 40,000 SMS per month/$1,500 tier.

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Apple May Bring Major Design Changes To Entry-Level iPad

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The changes aren’t skin deep, of course, and the next base iPad is expected to sport changes that may make it more appealing to the casual consumer. At the top of that list is the anticipated switch from the Lightning connector to USB-C, something that all other iPad models have already received. This would not only open up the entry-level iPad to more use cases like hooking up external displays but would also break compatibility with plenty of accessories, particularly the first-gen Apple Pencil.

The first Apple Pencil charges using a Lightning port, but with this connector gone from the upcoming iPad, what would no longer be possible. Given its expected switch to flat edges, it’s likely that the iPad 10 will support the second-gen Apple Pencil. That, in turn, means the days of the original Apple Pencil are numbered, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple immediately halts its production.

With the changes to the design and Lightning port would also come a change to the one other legacy connector that has been present since the first iPad: the 3.5mm headphone jack, which will supposedly be making its exit from the iPad this year. If that rumor proves true, Apple’s transition away from wired headphones — at least as far as a direct connection goes — will be complete. These changes also mean that accessory makers will have to alter their designs, as well, especially case manufacturers. The magnetic Smart Cover’s design, for example, no longer has a place in this flat-edged world.

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BMW Is Testing Electric Cars With Four Motors For Its Fiercest M EVs

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The company’s M xDrive four-wheel drive system is currently in the testing phase, but has already produced some very promising results. The system gives each wheel its own electric motor and runs through a “highly integrated control unit” that takes action based on the driving conditions and the driver’s choices. Along with the driving surface, several other factors are taken into consideration, including accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and wheel speeds. All of this is continually monitored and the optimal amount of power and torque is given to each wheel. The decisions the control unit makes are put into action within milliseconds.

BMW has already tested this technology and claims it delivered a number of benefits, including “significantly higher cornering speeds” even in tough conditions, like rain-soaked or snow-covered roads. A specific example the company gave involved the control unit eliminating understeer by temporarily giving more power to the rear outside wheel. The motors also recoup energy when braking. This has been a common feature on many EVs and hybrids for several years, but BMW’s experimental drive train may be the first to optimize energy recovery on all four wheels.

The concept is being tested out on a modified BMW i4 M50 with the front end based around an adapted body strut concept taken from an M3/M4 chassis, and a radiator unit configuration modeled on current high-performance sports cars. The test car is designed to have high torsional rigidity during dynamic driving situations.

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The Truth About Porsche’s Complicated Model Number System

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Why did it start with the number seven? According to the book “Porsche, Excellence Was Expected” by Karl Ludvigsen, the designers didn’t want Wanderer to “think they were a bunch of novices.” And if you want to get really technical, the very first car Ferdinand built was the Egger-Lohner C2 Phaeton (designated P1) in 1898. Remember, literally every project the company worked on received a successively higher number, from axles to suspensions, gearboxes, and even tractors. Yes, Porsche designed an even slower vehicle than the Volkswagen Thing.

In 1932 came type 22, its first Grand Prix car, the 16-cylinder Auto Union race car. For Porsche, the race was indeed on as figuratively as it was literally. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH worked on all sorts of things, from steering components for Citroën and Fiat to axels, plane and motorcycle engines, and yes… the type 60 KdF-Wagen for Volkswagen (and Hitler), which would go on to fame as the VW Bug. However, the system got a little wonky during World War II, when many numbers in the 200 range were simply skipped over (via Ingenieurbüro Kukuk).

By 1948, its internal numbering system had gotten up into the mid-300s. In June of that year, the first vehicle that displayed the official Porsche name rolled into existence with the now iconic Porsche 356, according to the automaker. But it came with a new wrinkle: as the 356 evolved with the latest technological advances, each subsequent model was designated with letters (A, B, C). Alphabet soup with your zip codes, anyone?

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