Apple could charge $9.99 per month each for HBO, Showtime and Starz

The Wall Street Journal has published a report on Apple’s media push. The company is about to unveil a new video streaming service and an Apple News subscription on Monday.

According to The WSJ, you’ll be able to subscribe to multiple content packages to increase the video library in a new app called Apple TV — it’s unclear if this app is going to replace the existing Apple TV app.

The service would work more or less like Amazon Prime Video Channels. Users will be able to subscribe to HBO, Showtime or Starz for a monthly fee. The WSJ says that these three partners would charge $9.99 per month each.

According to a previous report from CNBC, it differs from the existing Apple TV app as you won’t be redirected to another app. Everything will be available within a single app.

Controlling the experience from start to finish would be a great advantage for users. As many people now suffer from subscription fatigue, Apple would be able to centralize all your content subscriptions in a single app. You could tick and untick options depending on your needs.

But some companies probably don’t want to partner with Apple. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find Netflix or Amazon Prime Video content in the Apple TV app. Those services also want to control the experience from start to finish. It’s also easier to gather data analytics when subscribers are using your own app.

Apple should open up the Apple TV app to other platforms. Just like you can play music on Apple Music on Android, a Sonos speaker or an Amazon Echo speaker, Apple is working on apps for smart TVs. The company has already launched iTunes Store apps on Samsung TVs, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise.

The company has also spent a ton of money on original content for its own service. Details are still thin on this front. Many of those shows might not be ready for Monday. Do you have to pay to access Apple’s content too? How much? We’ll find out on Monday.

When it comes to Apple News, The WSJ says that content from 200 magazines and newspapers will be available for $9.99 per month. The Wall Street Journal confirms a New York Times report that said that The Wall Street Journal was part of the subscription.

Apple is also monitoring the App Store to detect popular apps according to multiple metrics, The WSJ says. Sure, Apple runs the App Store. But Facebook faced a public outcry when people realized that Facebook was monitoring popular apps with a VPN app called Onavo.

Apple could announce its gaming subscription service on Monday

Apple is about to announce some new services on Monday. While everybody expects a video streaming service as well as a news subscription, a new report from Bloomberg says that the company might also mention its gaming subscription.

Cheddar first reported back in January that Apple has been working on a gaming subscription. Users could pay a monthly subscription fee to access a library of games. We’re most likely talking about iOS games for the iPhone and iPad here.

Games are the most popular category on the App Store, so it makes sense to turn this category into a subscription business. And yet, most of them are free-to-play, ad-supported games. Apple doesn’t necessarily want to target those games in particular.

According to Bloomberg, the service will focus on paid games from third-party developers, such as Minecraft, NBA 2K games and the GTA franchise. Users would essentially pay to access this bundle of games. Apple would redistribute revenue to game developers based on how much time users spend within a game in particular.

It’s still unclear whether Apple will announce the service or launch it on Monday. The gaming industry is more fragmented than the movie and TV industry, so it makes sense to talk about the service publicly even if it’s not ready just yet.

This is what the Huawei P30 will look like

You can already find many leaked photos of Huawei’s next flagship device — the P30 and P30 Pro. The company is set to announce the new product at an event in Paris next week. So here’s what you should expect.

Reliable phone leaker Evan Blass tweeted many different photos of the new devices in three different tweets:

As you can see, both devices feature three cameras on the back of the device. The notch is getting smaller and now looks like a teardrop. Compared to the P20 and P20 Pro, the fingerprint sensor is gone. It looks like Huawei is going to integrate the fingerprint sensor in the display just like Samsung did with the Samsung Galaxy S10.

mysmartprice also shared some ads with some specifications. The P30 Pro will have a 10x hybrid zoom while the P30 will have a 5x hybrid zoom — it’s unclear how it’ll work to combine a hardware zoom with a software zoom. Huawei has been doing some good work on the camera front, so this is going to be a key part of next week’s presentation.

For the first time, Huawei will put wireless charging in its flagship device — it’s about time. And it looks like the P30 Pro will adopt a curved display for the first time as well. I’ll be covering the event next week so stay tuned.

Paris to tax scooter and bike services

According to the City of Paris, there are 15,000 free-floating vehicles of all forms and shapes in the city, from electric scooters to fluorescent bikes and motorcycle-like scooters. And the City of Paris announced today that companies that operate free-floating services will have to pay a tax depending on the size of their fleet.

If the plan goes through and if you’re running a bike-sharing service, you’ll have to pay €20 per bike per year. For scooter companies, they’ll pay €50 per scooter per year. Motorcycle scooters will be taxed €60 per scooter per year.

According to Le Parisien, it will be a tier system. Every time you go over the basic tier, you’ll have to pay more. Companies will pay 10 percent more for vehicle No. 500 to vehicle No. 999, 20 percent more for vehicle No. 1,000 to vehicle No. 2,999, and 30 percent more for any vehicle after No. 3,000.

Paris is a tiny city — it’s smaller than San Francisco when it comes to geographical footprint. And it’s also impossible to park a car and drive in Paris. That’s why a vast majority of people who live in Paris don’t own a car. It’s simply much faster and cheaper to use the subway or other transportation methods.

That’s why bikes, scooters and motorcycle scooters are thriving. Having fewer cars on the road is a great thing, but it has created some unexpected challenges.

Bike-sharing services thrived when the city’s bike-sharing system was more or less useless during a network upgrade. GoBee Bike, oBike, Ofo and Mobike all launched their services in the streets of Paris. But they’ve all failed. GoBee Bike shut down, Ofo still has a few bikes but no team, Mobike is scaling back international operations…

That was a bad start for free-floating services, as many broken bikes are littering the streets of Paris. The dock-based bike-sharing system Vélib is now working, fine with more than 1,200 stations and tens of thousands of rides per day — you basically see them everywhere.

On the scooter front, there are now nine companies operating in Paris. Yes, you read that number correctly. They all have funny-sounding names too — Lime, Bird, Bolt, Wind, Tier, Voi, Flash, Hive and Dott.

They’re quite popular because there are a ton of bike lanes in Paris. Most people still don’t wear helmets and there are a lot of injuries — but that’s another issue.

Like many other cities, many people complain about scooters crowding the sidewalk. If you’re in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller or if you’re visually impaired, navigating the sidewalk can be difficult these days.

The City of Paris wants to make those companies accountable. They need to take care of their fleets in order to maximize the number of scooters that actually work and remove the broken scooters. And I’m sure there will be some consolidation and bankruptcies in the space.

When it comes to motorcycle scooters, Cityscoot and Coup have been putting more scooters on the road. There’s no reason they would be excluded from the tax. Sometimes, they are cluttering bike parking space, for instance:

Let’s see if that strategy works to avoid a dumping strategy. Free-floating services have a huge impact on the environment. Scooters only last a few weeks before they need to be replaced. The solution isn’t to throw more scooters at the problem.

Markforged raises $82 million for its industrial 3D printers

3D printer manufacturer Markforged has raised another round of funding. Summit Partners is leading the $82 million Series D round with Matrix Partners, Microsoft’s Venture Arm, Next47 and Porsche SE also participating.

When you think about 3D printers, chances are you’re thinking about microwave-sized, plastic-focused 3D printers for hobbyists. Markforged is basically at the other end of the spectrum, focused on expensive 3D printers for industrial use cases.

In addition to increased precision, Markforged can manufacture parts in strong materials, such as carbon fiber, kevlar or stainless steel. And it can greatly impacts your manufacturing process.

For instance, you can prototype your next products with a Markforged printer. Instead of getting sample parts from third-party companies, you can manufacture your parts in house. If you’re not going to sell hundreds of thousands of products, you could even consider using Markforged to produce parts for your commercial products.

If you work in an industry that requires a ton of different parts but don’t need a lot of inventory, you could also consider using a 3D printer to manufacture parts whenever you need them.

Markforged has a full-stack approach and controls everything from the 3D printer, software and materials. Once you’re done designing your CAD 3D model, you can send it to your fleet of printers. The company’s application also lets you manage different versions of the same part and collaborate with other people.

According to the company’s website, Markforged has attracted 4,000 customers, such as Canon, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, General Motors, Volkswagen and Adidas. The company has shipped 2,500 printers in 2018.

With today’s funding round, the company plans to do more of the same — you can expect mass production printers and more materials in the future. Eventually, Markforged wants to make it cheaper to manufacture parts at scale instead of producing those parts through other means.

Doctolib is now a unicorn with new $170 million round

French startup Doctolib has raised a new round of funding of $170 million (€150 million). The round is led by General Atlantic, with existing investors Accel, Eurazeo, Kernel and Bpifrance also participating. Some German healthcare entrepreneurs are also joining the round — the company isn’t detailing the names of those investors.

But Doctolib is detailing an important metric — its valuation. Based on this new round, Doctolib now has a post-money valuation of $1.13 billion (€1 billion). There’s a new unicorn in town.

Doctolib first started with a scheduling service for health practitioners. For €109 per month ($124), you can replace your calendar with Doctolib and let the startup take care of your week. Patients can book an appointment on Doctolib’s website and everything stays in sync between your own calendar and your public calendar.

More recently, Doctolib expanded to new countries and new types of practitioners. The company is now live in Germany and now also works with hospitals. Some hospitals have completely switched their scheduling system to Doctolib. Doctolib essentially became the leading cloud service for healthcare scheduling.

There are currently 75,000 practitioners and 1,400 healthcare facilities using Doctolib. The company works with 750 people and has offices in 40 different cities — it sounds like you need to have a local team in order to convince doctors in a specific area.

And now, the startup wants to expand to new services. In January, the company launched its telemedicine service. Existing Doctolib customers can now flip a switch and start accepting remote appointments.

This is a natural extension of Doctolib’s booking service. In addition to finding the right doctor and booking an appointment, you can now have a video consultation with a healthcare professional and get a digital prescription in your account.

Doctolib has focused on a limited feature set for years. But the company now has a shot at becoming a sort of Salesforce for the healthcare industry — a software-as-a-service company with a range of services to help practitioners switch from traditional software suites to browser-based applications.

For instance, Doctolib could expand beyond patient-to-doctor relationships and facilitate doctor-to-doctor collaboration as well.

With today’s funding round, the company will double the size of the team within the next three years across the board. In addition to sales people, the company will also double the size of the technology, product and design teams in order to launch new products. And finally, Doctolib will also expand to new countries.

Here’s how you’ll access Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service

Google isn’t launching a gaming console. The company is launching a service instead, Stadia. You’ll be able to run a game on a server and stream the video feed to your device. You won’t need to buy new hardware to access Stadia, but Stadia won’t be available on all devices from day one.

“With Google, your games will be immediately discoverable by 2 billion people on a Chrome browser, Chromebook, Chromecast, Pixel device. And we have plans to support more browsers and platforms over time,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said shortly after opening the conference.

As you can see, the Chrome browser will be the main interface to access the service on a laptop or desktop computer. The company says that you’ll be able to play with your existing controller. So if you have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch controller, that should work just fine. Google is also launching its own controller.

As expected, if you’re using a Chromecast with your TV, you’ll be able to turn it into a Stadia machine. Only the latest Chromecast supports Bluetooth, so let’s see if you’ll need a recent model to play with your existing controller. Google’s controller uses Wi-Fi so that should theoretically work with older Chromecast models.

On mobile, it sounds like Google isn’t going to roll out its service to all Android devices from day one. Stadia could be limited to Pixel phones and tablets at first. But there’s no reason Google would not ship Stadia to all Android devices later.

Interestingly, Google didn’t mention Apple devices at all. So if you have an iPhone or an iPad, don’t hold your breath. Apple doesn’t let third-party developers sell digital content in their apps without going through the App Store. This will create a challenge for Google.

Stadia isn’t available just yet. It’ll launch later this year. As you can see, there are many outstanding questions after the conference. Google is entering a new industry and it’s going to take some time to figure out the business model and the distribution model.

Apple updates iMac Pro options

While Apple refreshed the iMac lineup this morning, the default iMac pro that you can buy for $4,999 remains the same. But Joe Rossignol from MacRumors spotted some changes in the configure-to-order options.

You can now buy an iMac Pro with 256GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 ECC memory — not storage, RAM. But that will cost you a small fortune as you need to spend an extra $5,200 to jump from 32GB of RAM to 256GB of RAM.

But if you don’t need that much RAM, the good news is that other RAM options are now cheaper than before. For instance, upgrading from 32GB to 64GB of RAM now costs $400 instead of $800. Given that you can’t easily replace the memory on the iMac Pro, this is a nice change for people planning to buy an iMac Pro.

When it comes to GPU, Apple has added a new top tier GPU — the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64X with 16GB of HBM2 memory. It’s unclear whether the Vega 64X is much faster than the Vega 64 GPU. But once again, Apple is lowering the price of the Vega 64 upgrade, from $600 to $550. It costs $700 to get the Vega 64X.

Finally, SSD upgrades are now a bit cheaper as well. Upgrading from 1TB to 2TB now costs $600 instead of $800. And upgrading from 1TB to 4TB now costs $2,400 instead of $2,800.

The iMac Pro targets a specific market — people who need an incredibly powerful and stable computer when it comes to CPU, GPU, memory and connectivity. If you know you need a bottomless pit of performance, it’ll cost you a lot of money. But it’s good to see that there are now more options and more ways to configure the iMac Pro to your needs.

Watch Google unveil its mysterious gaming project live right here

Google is holding a press event at the Game Developers Conference today in San Francisco. The conference starts at 10 AM Pacific Time, 1 PM Eastern Time, 5 PM in London and 6 PM in Paris.

While many game companies rely on Google Cloud Platform for their server and infrastructure needs, today’s conference is going to be different.

The company has been working on something called Project Stream for more than six months. In its initial technical test, the company let you play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in your Chrome web browser. The game would run on a server in a data center near you, and you’d see the video stream in your browser and interact with your character from your computer.

And it sounds like Google is ready to launch its cloud gaming service for real. So let’s see how Google plans to sell this service and the initial game lineup.

Axeleo Capital raises $51 million fund

Axeleo Capital has raised a $51 million fund (€45 million). Axeleo first started with an accelerator focused on enterprise startups. The firm is now all grown up with an acceleration program and a full-fledged VC fund.

The accelerator is now called Axeleo Scale, while the fund is called Axeleo Capital. And it’s important to mention both parts of the business as they work hand in hand.

Axeleo picks up around 10 startups per year and help them reach the Series A stage. If they’re doing well over the 12 to 18 months of the program, Axeleo funds those startups using its VC fund.

Limited partners behind the company’s first fund include Bpifrance through the French Tech Accélération program, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Vinci Energies, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Caisse d’Épargne Rhône-Alpes as well as various business angels and family offices.

The firm is also partnering with Hi Inov, the holding company of the Dentressangle family. Axeleo will take care of the early stage investments of Hi Inov, which represent $11.3 million (€10 million).

Axeleo is focusing on early stage rounds, from $565,000 to $4.5 million (€500,000 to €4 million) in anything B2B, from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and SaaS. So far, the team has invested in Alsid, Vectaury, 365Talents, Jenji, Ermeo and others.