News you need to know
Microsoft's health revolution is here, starting with a $199 fitness tracker
The biggest news of the week was Microsoft has jumped head-first into the wearables game by building a device of its own. The company's new device, dubbed the 'Microsoft Band' is a bracelet that has sensors for everything from tracking your location on runs to the UV light you're exposed to during the day. This looks like the most compelling device available right now.
Samsung's smartphone division is in trouble
The company experienced a huge plunge in smartphone sales this quarter, to the lowest it's been in three years. Samsung is promising to 'revitalize' it's smartphones, but is struggling against Apple and new entrant Xiaomi.
Apple Pay's biggest competitor has already been hacked
Last week the news broke that a company called CurrentC was forcing some US retailers to drop Apple Pay as it competed with a solution they were working on which will use QR codes for payments(!).
Shortly after, it emerged that many of the email addresses being used in the testing program for CurrentC have already been leaked. QR codes for direct payments from bank accounts seems like an awful idea, too.
Tim Cook: 'I'm Proud to Be Gay'
The media has already reported on Tim Cook being gay, but he finally came out and spoke for himself this week in this incredibly humbling column on Businessweek. Many others wrote about how they were inspired by his bravery, like this great piece on The Verge
Office 365 subscribers now get unlimited cloud storage
Hot on the heels of Dropbox announcing its new 1TB pricing plan, Microsoft has jumped to unlimited storage for Office 365 users. Is it enough to entice people to switch? I don't think so; many consider 1TB already too much to fill.
Here's the real reason Apple killed the iPod classic
After Apple's September iPhone event, the humble iPod classic disappeared from the company's store without so much as a word from Apple. As it turns out, it's because it's impossible to get the parts anywhere in the world anymore.
Fitbit announces three new activity trackers, including a GPS watch
Fitbit doesn't want to be forgotten in the wearable game either, with the company announcing a new range of wearable activity trackers including a device that can track GPS on runs and has a number of smartwatch features on top. I haven't had good experiences with Fitbit, but these new devices look like a great step forward.
The creator of Google Wallet is back to give credit card terminals a facelift
Those ugly credit card machines haven't gotten much love lately, right? A new startup called Poynt has come to the rescue, bringing new hardware and software to the table that hopes to make the entire experience easier for companies and shoppers alike.
The Most Fascinating Profile You'll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup
Heard of Slack? It's the new chat app for businesses that's taking the world by storm; I use it almost every day for work and love it. This is a great, in depth look at Stewart Butterfield, the man behind the company that built Slack (and Flickr!).
Slack just raised $120M in funding and is now valued at $1 billion, after a year of explosive growth. It's not every day a company creates a tool that business users adore.
Mobile Is Eating the World
Benedict Evans gave this fantastic talk earlier in the week to share how mobile is eating the world. Smartphone shipments are quickly surpassing that of computers, with 2-3x more smartphones than PC's expected to be in use by 2020. The graphs in this slide deck will floor you.
What went wrong with Sapphire screens for the iPhone 6?
Remember all those rumors about the iPhone 6 getting an almost indestructible sapphire screen? Obviously the screens never made it to the latest iPhone, most likely because the company that was contracted to deliver them failed to meet its delivery obligations in August, then went bankrupt after Apple's September event.
The ugly afterlife of crowdfunding projects that never ship and never end
Many of us have backed a device or service on Kickstarter and are still waiting for it to show up. It's not particularly uncommon, but what happens when a crowdfunding campaign just never dies?
The Apple Media Distortion Field
A great look at the manoeuvres that Apple uses to control the media and the message they spread about its new devices. Everything from event invitations to how the company orchestrates device briefings.
Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail
I hate voicemail. It piles up. Many of my friends don't check theirs either. Why is that?
We Are All Confident Idiots
We've all said something to hide our cluelessness before, right? As it turns out, perhaps we're all just confident idiots that aren't able to admit we're wrong.
Android users can now track their health data from wearables and sensors on their smartphones in one, simple place. Google is getting really good at design, too.
My Morning Routine
This site interviews interesting people from around the world on their morning habits, their time of waking and other interesting tidbits so you can discover just how people get stuff done so early in the day. I want to get up earlier and some of these routines are inspiring.
Chrome's new bookmark manager
The bookmark manager in Chrome has always been a bit... average, but the company has released an extension that breathes new life into it! It sports a new design, pulls in website thumbnails and makes it easier to organize everything.
The Final Word
I have some news of my own this week! After a few years of writing in my spare time, I've made the jump to join The Next Web full time! It's been a hard decision and I'm sad to be moving on from Hoist, but so excited to join the world of full-time journalism from November 11.
Charged will carry on as it does now, in case you were worried. I'll be in San Francisco for two weeks from tomorrow, too, so the newsletter might be a little shorter than normal for a little while.
That's all for now, folks! Owen