Watch how fast iOS 9 is being downloaded, in real time

ios9 download

Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, launched to all Apple mobile device users today.

The rate at which people adopt the new OS might say a lot about the new features and functions included.

Mixpanel, which makes a predictive analytics product that developers pull into their apps via an SDK, is tracking the uptake of the new OS.
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Click on the chart above to see the real-time adoption tracking. 

“We’re drawing data from people using applications that Mixpanel’s SDK is in,” said Mixpanel CEO Suhail Doshi in an email to VentureBeat.

“We work some of the biggest companies in the world (Uber, Spotify, Whisper, etc.) and tens of thousands of other apps to derive highly statistically confident data. We’ve done this report over the last 3 years with both iOS and Android and it’s been highly accurate,” Doshi said.

As you can see on the chart, the bottom line of red dots representing iOS 9 is just starting to take off. And the number of iOS 8 users is beginning to dip.


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Apple reportedly acquires mapping visualization startup Mapsense

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Apple has reportedly acquired the San Francisco-based mapping data visualization company Mapsense.

The deal was struck earlier this month, according to a report by Re/code, which cites several unnamed sources.

The report says Apple paid somewhere between $25 million and $30 million for Mapsense and all of its 12 employees, who will join the rest of the Apple folks down the Vally in Cupertino.

Mapsense makes tools for analyzing and visualizing location data, assets that Apple can use to keep pace with Google in mobile mapping technology. The cloud-based technology can overlay massive amounts of data on various map templates so that users can quickly derive meaning from the data. For instance, the technology could intake data from millions of crimes, overlay it on U.S. cities, and allow the user to display criminal events over time.

The technology was originally aimed at financial institutions, advertising firms, government agencies, and large corporations. The mapping tools will likely now evolve and become integrated into Apple products.

Mapsense raised a $2.5 million seed round in May, led by General Catalyst and with participation from Formation 8, Redpoint Ventures, and others.

Mapping and geo-location startups are hot right now. Just last week the mapping and geo-location startup CartoDB raised $23 million in venture capital.


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BlaBlaCar smashes France’s VC record with $200M round, $1.6B valuation

BlaBlaCar's headquarters in Paris.

BlaBlaCar, the Paris-based ride-sharing service, announced today an astonishing funding round of $200 million.

The amount blew past reports last week that the funding round would come in at $160 million.

The money certifies BlaBlaCar’s status as one of Europe’s hottest startups. It’s also a massive boost to a French Tech scene that has been gaining momentum, but is still looking for some high-profile successes.

BlaBlaCar, founded in 2006, is now valued at $1.6 billion. Having grown to cover much of Europe, the company has been expanding into markets such as Russia, Turkey and India.

“It has been exhilarating to see our vision resonate with so many people globally, as BlaBlaCar’s community has rapidly scaled and flourished in every new market,” said BlaBlaCar founder and chief executive Frédéric Mazzella, in a press release. “We’ve built a unique activity based on the values of true sharing, and this funding will help unleash even more of its potential over the coming years.”

BlaBlaCar says it has more than 20 million members in 19 countries. The company has no immediate plans to enter the U.S. market. In an interview with the New York Times, however, one executive hinted strongly that such a move could be in the company’s future, thanks to the latest funding.

This new round comes just over a year after BlaBlaCar raised $100 million to fuel its expansion outside of Europe, where it has become hugely popular. It tops the $115 million raised by Sigfox, a French IoT company based near Toulouse, that previously held the current French VC record.

BlaBlaCar focuses on ride-sharing over longer distances between cities, rather than local short-haul rides like those covered by Uber and Lyft.

A BlaBlaCar driver who is planning a trip offers space in their car to other passengers for a fee. Because those fees technically help cover the cost of a ride the driver already plans to make (rather than generating a profit), BlaBlaCar has avoided the regulatory headaches that have confronted Uber in Europe.

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Downloads: The future of streaming

Downloading

The subject of “downloads” has been a major talking point in the video-streaming realm this month, with three major companies all laying their offline-viewing cards on the table.

Kicking off on September 1, Internet juggernaut Amazon announced it was finally letting Prime Video subscribers on iOS and Android download some movies and TV shows for offline access.

Yesterday, U.S.-based entertainment network Epix revealed it too would allow subscribers to download movies directly to their mobile devices. And last week, Wuaki.tv, the Europe-based on-demand video-streaming service owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, announced it was bringing offline access to Android and iOS devices, calling it an “innovative feature,” while boasting that it had “beaten Netflix to offline downloads”.


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The elephant in the room among all this hullaballoo is, of course, Netflix. One of the world’s most prominent online video brands has steadfastly refused to offer downloads, leaving no room for doubt through its explanations that offline viewing simply isn’t on its radar. Last year, it said that offering downloads would disguise the bigger problem, vis-à-vis the quality of Wi-Fi which it says will only improve. Last week, the company added further clarity to its position, saying that it would add needless complexity to the service.

So contrary to Wuaki.tv’s claims, it hasn’t really beaten Netflix to anything. Netflix could’ve offered offline access a long time ago, but it has always been clear about its plans — it isn’t in a race with any company to enable downloads. Moreover, Wuaki.tv and Netflix are very different propositions — the former is a pay-as-you-go video streaming service for all the latest hits (and older classics), whereas the latter is a subscription video service that gives you access to a bunch of pretty good TV shows, movies, and a host of Netflix original titles. The two services aren’t in direct competition.

Furthermore, is Wuaki.tv’s new offline offering really as “innovative” as it claims?

Before Amazon introduced offline access for Prime subscribers a few weeks back, it already let users of its pay-per-title Amazon Instant Video service download titles for some time. And Google Play Movies & TV has also offered offline access to its library of videos for a while. Offline access among video-streaming services is hardly a new thing.

Netflix says it bases its business decisions on hard data backed up by actual experiments it conducts on its customer base. However, three big video-streaming companies all ramped up their offline viewing credentials this month, and there’s a reason why — customers want it.

This month may not be remembered for anything particularly innovative in the digital media realm, but it helped demonstrate one thing: the future of streaming very much leans on downloads, despite Netflix’s nay-saying.










Salesforce and Microsoft expand partnership: Office and Skype integrations, Salesforce1 for Windows 10 Mobile

A 2014 photo of Benioff and Nadella from Benioff's Twitter feed.

Salesforce and Microsoft — companies that traditionally compete in the customer relationship management software (CRM) market — today announced a deeper partnership, building on the big one they announced last year. The new partnership will lead to integrations of Microsoft’s Skype for Business, OneNote, Office Delve, and Office Graph software products into Salesforce.

And Salesforce will come out with a Salesforce1 mobile app for Windows 10 in the second half of next year.

Content from Salesforce will become available in Office Graph and Office Delve in that time frame, too.

Salesforce users will be able to make voice and video calls with Skype for Business (formerly Lync) and and take notes with OneNote inside the recently unveiled Salesforce Lightning Experience design in preview in the second half of next year.

Perhaps the best way to look at this is Microsoft continuing to open up its core software for usage on non-Microsoft platforms. Think back to Office for iPad, Cortana for Android, and most recently Office apps (and perhaps also Cortana) on the Android-based Cyanogen OS.

Of course, the unspoken context here is the rumored Microsoft acquisition of Salesforce that never happened. Microsoft was willing to buy Salesforce for $55 billion, but Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s bold chief executive, had wanted Microsoft to pay as much as $70 billion, as CNBC reported back in May.

Now the companies have put aside any concerns that might have emerged as a result of all the acquisition buzz and are getting a little closer.

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Apple launches Switch to iOS app for Android users

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It really should surprise no one that the first app Apple built for Android helps you ditch the platform.

In addition to launching iOS 9 today, Apple also released Switch to iOS, a new Android app that helps users of Google’s mobile operating system switch to Apple’s mobile platform by moving their data for them. Aside from Beats Music for Android, which Apple acquired, this is the company’s first Android app — you can download it now from Google Play.

Update: The app is getting killed by one-star reviews.

Apple didn’t announce Move to iOS along with iOS 9 at WWDC 2015. Instead, the new app was quietly listed on Apple’s What’s new in iOS page that same day.

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As its name implies, the app lets you migrate your content from your Android phone or tablet to your new iOS device. Move to iOS transfers contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars.

A future version will be able to help users rebuild their app library. Your Android apps, or rather their iOS counterparts, will be automatically added to your iTunes Wish List. As long as the app exists on both platforms, regardless of whether you paid for it or not, Apple will suggest that you get it again.

In the app store description, Apple explains how Move to iOS works:

When you choose to migrate your data, your new iPhone or iPad will create a private Wi-Fi network and find your nearby Android device running Move to iOS. After you enter a security code, it will begin transferring your content and put it in the right places. Just like that. Once your content has been transferred, you’re ready to get going. iOS will also set up your default mail account.

Move to iOS supports phones and tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. On the Apple side, you’ll need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 9.

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iOS 9 tells you who that unknown caller is

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This single feature may make upgrading to iOS 9 worth the effort.

About 10 times every day some “Unknown” person calls my phone, and fearing an untimely/uncomfortable/tedious/unnecessary conversation, I often don’t pick up. They often don’t leave voicemail, so I’m left to wonder if I just refused a call from somebody important.

Apple’s new iOS 9 mobile operating system contains a very cool new feature that attempts to help you out with that problem.

When an unknown person (or bot) calls, the OS searches through your email for names that might be associated with the phone number calling. When it finds a possible match, it says “Maybe [person’s name]” underneath the phone number on the screen.

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This can totally change your decision on whether or not to take the call. You may have no problem talking to the person during business hours but have no desire to talk to them in the evening, for example.

Actually, our Paul Sawer called for this feature in his story “10 apps that should be core smartphone features” last month. Sawer points out that TrueCaller already offers the caller ID functionality in its app. The TrueCaller app also allows users to form block lists for telemarketers, scammers, and other undesirables.

TrueCaller

Above: TrueCaller

Of course iOS 9 comes with all sorts of other enhancements, such as a smarter Siri personal assistant, multi-tasking functionality on the iPad, and new “press and hold” contextual menus on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

See our full iOS 9 coverage here.


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China’s DiDi invests $100M in Lyft as the two team up to challenge Uber

Lyft Didi1

Today Lyft and Chinese ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing (formerly DiDi Kuaidi) unveiled a major partnership allowing users of each service to hail rides from either app. Specifically, the deal will enable Lyft users to hail DiDi rides while in China and vice versa.

Lyft shared the news during a media event in New York and revealed that DiDi invested $100 million in the company “earlier this year.” The partnership was first revealed by the Wall Street Journal.

Lyft president John Zimmer called the deal “our first step towards global coverage” during the event. “It’s just the start of our broad partnership, which will include financial components, and technological, product components.”


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This announcement follows an earlier report from the WSJ, which claimed that DiDi participated in Lyft’s May $150 million funding round, alongside Tencent and Alibaba. That $150 million round was led by activist-investor Carl Icahn. At the time, Lyft said Icahn contributed two-thirds of the round.

Everyone vs. Uber

Increasingly, the global ride-hailing war isn’t everyone versus everyone; it’s everyone versus Uber.

Last we heard, Uber’s China entity has raised at least $1.2 billion — more than Lyft’s raised in total. Meanwhile, Uber’s competitors in China have merged and they’re throwing punches.

DiDi Chuxing is the result of the merger between former rivals Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. And as we wrote last week, “Uber believes it is the victim of anti-competitive behavior” because “one of DiDi biggest investors, Tencent, seems to have blocked Uber” from using its incredibly popular messaging app, WeChat.

And in India, a handful of DiDi’s investors have also invested in ride-hailing app Ola.

By partnering with Lyft, DiDi and its investors continue the entertaining trend of throwing money at just about anything that isn’t Uber.

DiDi also made headlines today for a rumored partnership with food delivery startup Ele.me.

 


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LearnUp, A Startup Closing The Skills Gap For Entry-Level Job Seekers, Raises $8M From NEA, Shasta

alexis-ringwald-2 In the time leading up to starting her next company, LearnUp co-founder Alexis Ringwald spent six months at unemployment centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area trying to learn exactly what was holding job seekers back amid the recession. One of the things she saw was a mismatch between the kinds of customer service and entry-level skills employers wanted to see with new and untested… Read More