Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we talk about the launch of the iPhone 6 and Watch, Amazon cutting the price of the Fire phone, Twitter testing a Buy button, and Microsoft’s potential purchase of Minecraft.
Apple launches two new iPhones and Watch
How did your Tuesday go? For Apple fanboys and fangirls, Tuesday was a little slice of heaven, as the company announced two new iPhones and the Apple Watch.
Apple is joining the trend of larger screen sizes to match key Android competitors Samsung, Motorola, and LG; the iPhone 6 has a 4.7″ screen, while the iPhone 6 Plus joins the phablet ranks at 5.5″. New features include:
- Near-field communications (NFC) capability to facilitate Apple Pay, which will allow you to pay for purchases with your iPhone
- An improved 8-megapixel camera
- Ability to use third-party keyboards
- Interactive notifications
- Many more
Pre-ordering of the phone started this morning at 12AM PT, but has been plagued with issues already.
Oh, one more thing. Apple also launched the Apple Watch, its first foray into wearables, joining competitors Pebble and Android Wear watches. The Watch acts more like a mini-computer rather than a complement to a smartphone, which is a key differentiator compared to existing smartwatches. Oh yeah, another difference is that it’s beautiful.
Amazon cuts Fire Phone’s price to 99 cents
While Apple is launching new phones, Amazon is struggling to sell theirs, prompting an on-contract price cut from $200 to just $0.99.
Reviews of the Fire phone were mixed. While it has some cool features, less software compatibility and the weaker Amazon ecosystem held back consumers from choosing the Fire phone over more robust Android and iOS competitors, especially at the initial price points. Analysts estimated that only about 30,000 Fire phones have been sold to date.
Twitter is testing a Buy button
Twitter is testing its social commerce potential by experimenting with a Buy button.
The Buy button allows users to make purchases directly from tweets with a few taps or clicks. The company has partnered with artists including Demi Lovato and Eminem, brands like Burberry and The Home Depot, and nonprofits like DonorsChoose and (RED) for the pilot program.
Commerce is a natural extension of the service. It’s an additional stream of revenue and if successful, can prompt businesses to be more active and buy more advertising on the platform.
Microsoft to buy Minecraft
Mojang has sold over 54 million copies of Minecraft, making it the third highest-selling video game of all time. Most sales are on gaming consoles, which fits very nicely with Microsoft’s XBox business. Mojang also has two games, Cobalt and Scrolls, in development.
Gaming is huge and looks to get bigger and bigger.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.