Sorry guys, even Elon Musk can’t fix MoviePass…

Well, Elon Musk sure had a good run at fixing the world’s pressing problems. Stuff like climate change — with those fancy electric sports cars, built in a fancy tent. Or those fancy solar roof tiles. (Fancy rockets aren’t really a ‘fix’ at this point but he’s thinking about the extraterrestrial future of humanity, okay.)

There was also that kid-sized sub he hastily put together this summer to try and save boys trapped in a cave in Thailand (that endeavor didn’t end so great for Musk though).

He’s even offered to fix Flint’s polluted water.

But it appears that even a well-greased God Complex knows its limits. Because the problem that Musk himself has said is too big for Musk to fix is, well, cash-strapped MoviePass.

At least that’s what Musk said to BuzzFeed reporter Samir Mezrahi via twitter….

So, sorry movie lovers. Musk and his billions might have been your only hope — against price read more

Apple nears a $1 trillion market cap as it clears another quarter ahead of expectations

Apple is inching closer and closer to becoming a $1 trillion company today after posting third-quarter results that beat what analysts were expecting and bumping the stock another few percentage points — which, by Apple standards, is tens of billions of dollars.

The company’s stock is up around 2.5 percent this afternoon after the report, which at a prior market close with a market cap of around $935 billion, is adding nearly another $20-plus billion to its market cap. A few quarters ago we were talking about how Apple was in shooting distance of that $1 trillion mark, but now it seems more and more like Apple will actually hit it. Apple is headed into its most important few quarters as we hit the back half of the year, with its usual new lineup of iPhones and other products and its accompanying critical holiday quarter.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers:

  • Revenue: $53.3 billion, up 17 percent year-over-year compared to analyst expectations of $52.34 billion.
  • Earnings: $2.34 per share compared to analyst estimates of $2.18 per share.
  • iPhones: 41.3 million, up 1 percent year-over-year though revenue on the iPhone line was up 20 percent year-over-year. Analysts expected 41.79 million iPhones sold.
  • iPhone average selling price: $724
  • iPads: 11.55 million, up 1 percent year-over-year but ahead of analyst expectations of 10.3 million.
  • Macs: 3.7 million, down 13 percent year-over-year and behind analyst expectations.
  • Services: $9.6 billion, up 31 percent year-over-year.
  • Other products: $3.7 billion, up 37 percent year-over-year.

So in all, the shipment numbers were hit or miss at a granular level, but at the same time the iPhone is generating read more

Spotify now offers motion comics starring Archie

Spotify has been experimenting with incorporating non-musical formats over the last couple of years, including videos and multimedia podcasts. Next up: Motion comics based on new Archie stories.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of the comics incarnations of Archie and his friends, the title was recently rebooted by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). While I was initially skeptical about the need to mess with the characters’ classic designs, I found the first collection to be a perfectly enjoyable combination of teen comedy and soap opera.

Now, as announced in Nerdist, the first six issues have been transformed by digital comics startup Madefire with music and voice acting.

It’s still a comic book, and you can still see Staples’ gorgeous art, but it’s a story that you hit a “play” button to experience, rather than turning any pages. ( read more

Uber and Lyft encourage NYC customers to oppose proposed ride-hail cap legislation

Uber is making calls to some of its customers in New York City, offering to connect them to local council members to express their opposition to the proposed legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, Buzzfeed first reported. Meanwhile, Lyft is also reaching out to its NYC-based riders, asking them to contact their local officials.

For context, the NYC city council is currently considering legislation that would limit the number of ride-hail drivers on the road. Specifically, the proposal wants to place a one-year hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, unless the vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

This legislation would affect Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via — all of which operate ride-hailing services in the city. The deadline to submit an amended version of the proposal is tonight at midnight, so the clock is ticking.

Anyway, some people seem to be a bit upset about receiving calls from Uber, but Uber Director of Public Affairs Jason read more

Four million people are using Apple’s OS betas

For the past few years, Apple has made early versions of its operating systems available to those willing to brave the bugs. Through its beta software program, anyone willing to deal with spotty battery life or a crash or three could load up pre-release builds of iOS, macOS, watchOS or tvOS.

Ever wonder how many actually take advantage of it?

According to Tim Cook on today’s earnings call, more than four million people are currently running on the betas.

Alas, that’s as detailed as he got. He didn’t break down which platforms had the most beta users (though I’d bet iOS or macOS lead the way), nor what percentage of that beta group was developers (accessing the beta to debug their apps before the update) versus consumers (who just want to poke around the new goods early).

For reference: As of February of 2018, Apple had 1.3 billion active devices across Apple TV, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac. So if each of the users Tim Cook mentioned is running a beta OS on one device, that’s read more

Midterm attackers cited Black Lives Matter in false flag Facebook rally

Unknown midterm election attackers that Facebook has removed were hosting a political rally next month that they pinned on Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other organizations, according to third-party event websites that scraped the now-removed Facebook events.

Facebook provided an image of the deleted “No Unite The Right 2 – DC” event as part of its announcement today that merely showed its image, title, date, location, and that a Page called “Resisters” was one of the hosts of the propaganda event. But a scraped event description TechCrunch discovered on Rallyist provides deeper insight into the disruptive information operation. Facebook won’t name the source of the election interference but said the attackers shared a connection through a single account to the Russian Internet Research Agency responsible for 2016 presidential election interference on Facebook.

“We are calling all anti-fascists and people of good conscience to participate in international days of read more

Test.ai nabs $11M Series A led by Google to put bots to work testing apps

For developers, the process of determining whether every new update is going to botch some core functionality can take up a lot of time and resources, and things get far more complicated when you’re managing a multitude apps.

Test.ai is building a comprehensive system for app testing that relies on bots, not human labor to see whether an app is ready to start raking in the downloads.

The startup has just closed an $11 million Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. Also participating in the round were e.ventures, Uncork Capital, and Zetta Venture Partners. Test.ai, which was founded in 2015, has raised $17.6 million to date.

“Every advancement in training AI systems enables an advancement in user testing, and test.ai is the leader in AI-powered testing technology. We’re excited to help them supercharge their growth as they test every app in the world,” Gradient Ventures founder Anna Patterson said in a statement. “In a couple years, AI read more

U.S. adults now spend nearly 6 hours per day watching video

If you’ve been wondering why every major media platform has been doubling down on its video efforts in recent months, Nielsen’s new report has the answer. According to the firm’s research, U.S. adults are now spending almost 6 hours per day on video, on average. That includes time spent watching both live and time-shifted TV, watching videos in an app or mobile website on a smartphone or tablet, watching video over a TV-connected device like a DVD player, game console or internet device such as Roku, and watching videos on a computer.

That data on video viewing was collected during the first quarter of 2018 – and accounts for a sizable chunk of the 11 hours per day Americans spend listening to, watching, reading or otherwise interacting with media.

The nearly six hours of video (5:57) of video viewed daily represents an 11 minute increase in video consumption over the prior quarter, with 6 of those 11 minutes from from TV-connected devices.

Notably, traditional media platforms read more

Skyline AI raises $18M Series A for its machine learning-based real estate investment tech

Skyline AI founders Iri Amirav, Or Hiltch, Guy Zipori and Amir Leitersdorf

A mere four months after coming out of stealth mode with $3 million in seed funding, real estate investment startup Skyline AI announced that it has raised an $18 million Series A. The round was led by Sequoia Capital, a returning investor, and TLV Partners, with participation from JLL Spark, a division of real estate investment management firm JLL. The strategic funding will allow Skyline AI to add more asset classes to its platform, which uses data science and machine learning algorithms to help institutional investors make better decisions about properties.

Skyline AI says its technology is trained on what it claims is the most comprehensive data set in the industry, drawing from more than 100 sources, with market information covering the last 50 years. Its technology is meant to provide faster and more accurate analysis than traditional methods, so investors can react more quickly to changes in the real estate read more

Freshworks raises $100M

Freshworks, a company that offers a variety of business software tools ranging from IT management to CRM for sales and customer support software, today announced that it has raised a $100 million funding round co-led by Sequoia and Accel Partners, with participation from CaptialG.

The company’s last funding round came in the form of a $55 million Series F round led by Sequoia in 2016. Today’s round brings the San Bruno-based company’s total funding to $250 million, at a valuation that’s now north of $1.5 billion, the company tells us. Freshworks also today noted that it now pulls in over $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

In addition to the new funding, Freshworks also today announced that it has hired a former AppDynamics VP of finance and treasury Suresh Seshardi as its CFO. Seshardi helped AppDynamics prepare for read more