GameVice has a gamepad solution for newly announced mobile Apple products

GameVice mobile controller

I hate two things about mobile phone gaming. One is playing a game using an onscreen gamepad. The other are the giant thumb smudges that build up, which I wind up having to peak around to see what’s going on.

GameVice found a solution to this problem by designing a product that clamps the mobile device in the middle of two opposing halves of a gamepad controller. An analog stick and a D-pad sit on the left side, and a second digital stick and four face buttons (Y, X, A, and B) sit on the right. A set of bumper and trigger inputs sit on the top of both sides. On paper, this sounds like a good setup for a stubborn anti-touchscreen player like myself.

The GameVice is currently available for the iPad Mini for $100, but the company just announced that they are going to be releasing an iPhone 6-series compatible product later this year for $100 (this includes the newly announced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus). They are also pushing out an iPad Air compatible version this October, also for $100.

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iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus: What Apple changed

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 2.28.22 PM

At its September 2015 event in San Francisco today, Apple announced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, succeeding the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus respectively. Apple’s ninth-generation phones are now official.

Preorders begin September 12, and the devices will begin shipping September 25. Before you get your credit card ready, and assuming you’re not enthused by what’s coming in Android 6.0 Marshmallow or in Windows 10 Mobile, you might want to see what exactly you’re getting. The comparison tables below show you what Apple has changed, comparing the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 6s Plus.

iPhone 6 iPhone 6s
Price on contract $199, $299, $399 $199, $299, $399
Price off contract $649, $749, $849 $649, $749, $849
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 16GB, 64GB, 128GB
4.7-inch display 1334×750, 326 ppi 1334×750, 326 ppi, 3D Touch
Contrast ratio 1400:1 1400:1
Processors A8 64-bit, M8 motion A9 64-bit, M9 motion
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Touch ID
Rear camera 8MP, 1.5µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 12MP, 1.22µ pixels, ƒ/2.2
Video recording 1080p at 30fps/60fps 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps/60fps
Front camera 1.2MP photos, 720p video 5MP photos, 720p video
FaceTime Over Wi-Fi or cellular Over Wi-Fi or cellular
Assistant Siri Siri
Navigation GPS and GLONASS GPS and GLONASS
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, NFC Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Talk time on 3G Up to 14 hours Up to 14 hours
Internet on LTE Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Internet on 3G Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Internet on Wi-Fi Up to 11 hours Up to 11 hours
Video playback Up to 11 hours Up to 11 hours
Audio playback Up to 50 hours Up to 50 hours
Standby time Up to 250 hours Up to 10 days
Height 5.44 inches (138.1 mm) 5.44 inches (138.3 mm)
Width 2.64 inches (67.0 mm) 2.64 inches (67.1 mm)
Depth 0.27 inch (6.9 mm) 0.28 inch (6.9 mm)
Weight 4.55 ounces (129 grams) 5.04 ounces (143 grams)
SIM card Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Connector Lightning Lightning
Colors Silver, Space Gray, Gold Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Rose Gold

 

And now for the phablet comparison:

iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6s Plus
Price on contract $299, $399, $499 $299, $399, $499
Price off contract $749, $849, $949 $749, $849, $949
Storage 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 16GB, 64GB, 128G
5.5-inch display 1920×1080, 401 ppi 1920×1080, 401 ppi, 3D Touch
Contrast ratio 1300:1 1300:1
Processors A8 64-bit, M8 motion A9 64-bit, M9 motion
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Touch ID
Rear camera 8MP, 1.5µ pixels, ƒ/2.2 12MP, 1.22µ pixels, ƒ/2.2
Video recording 1080p at 30fps/60fps 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps/60fps
Front camera 1.2MP photos, 720p video 5MP photos, 720p video
FaceTime Over Wi-Fi or cellular Over Wi-Fi or cellular
Assistant Siri Siri
Navigation GPS and GLONASS GPS and GLONASS
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, NFC Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Talk time on 3G Up to 24 hours Up to 24 hours
Internet on LTE Up to 12 hours Up to 12 hours
Internet on 3G Up to 12 hours Up to 12 hours
Internet on Wi-Fi Up to 12 hours Up to 12 hours
Video playback Up to 14 hours Up to 14 hours
Audio playback Up to 80 hours Up to 80 hours
Standby time Up to 384 hours Up to 16 days
Height 6.22 inches (158.1 mm) 6.23 inches (158.2 mm)
Width 3.06 inches (77.8 mm) 3.07 inches (77.9 mm)
Depth 0.28 inch (7.1 mm) 0.29 inch (7.3 mm)
Weight 6.07 ounces (172 grams) 6.77 ounces (192 grams)
SIM card Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Connector Lightning Lightning
Colors Silver, Space Gray, Gold Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Rose Gold

 

In short, for the extra $100, you’re getting a slightly bigger and heavier iPhone with a lot of new features.

Check out all of our coverage from Apple's big Hey Siri event right here.









How To Watch The Apple iPhone Event Live (Even On Windows!)

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.54.04 AM You woke up, and it felt like a regular Wednesday. And then you realized that today is actually Apple iPhone day, where each year the internet crashes over what is, essentially, a new internet device. Like most everyone, you want to watch the event as it unfolds live. But how? When? Where? If you’re a Mac/iPhone/iPad/Apple TV user, it’s very simple. Just hit up this dedicated… Read More

Twitter updates its iOS app for a ‘more unified’ experience across iPhone and iPad

image_1_3

Twitter said today that it’s intent on delivering a “more unified” experience across iOS devices, admitting that the experience of using the microblogging platform is still “very different” on iPhone and iPad.

The update comes the day before Apple’s big event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday, where it’s expected to announce new iPhones, iPad Pros, Apple Watches, a revamped Apple TV, and a new home automation platform called HomeKit.

“Now, Twitter apps on these devices will be more consistent regardless of which one you’re using,” the company said in a blog posting. “Starting today, iPad users will be able to create and see revamped quote Tweets, explore trending topics in search, visit product and place pages, and more.”

The company has taken some flack for what some in the industry perceive as a slowness to change, and lack of innovation in key areas of its business as other services push ahead — though not everyone agrees.


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Twitter also shuffled its product team at the start of the month, after dropping back down to its 2013 IPO price on August 20. And on top of that the company is still looking for a new chief executive.

“Although they shared some code, Twitter for iPad and Twitter for iPhone were originally developed and designed separately,” the company said. “Each app was tailored to its platform — but required a lot of extra effort to develop. All too often, this meant that Twitter for iPad features lagged behind other updates. To fix this, we had to rethink our approach.”

It’s calling this new, responsive design framework “adaptive UI,” and it’s something that app developers have really been able to take advantage of since Apple rolled out more flexible size classes for apps in iOS 8.

While it won’t be of interest to the average user, the blog posting dives a bit deeper into some of the changes:

We think of it as a pyramid: most things simply respond automatically, like content width responding to text size changes; some things need to be modified like the Profile header, which would take up half the screen on a large device if we didn’t modify the layout; only a few things need to be rethought, like Direct Messages, where the list of conversations can sit side-by-side with the conversations when you have a wide enough screen.

Along with Apple’s new slew of devices, there will also be more light shed on iOS 9, the next major update to its mobile operating system. Twitter specifically touches on the update, which allows for multi-tasking (two apps running side by side), and how its new design framework will be better able to take advantage of such functionality.

Getting design and responsiveness nailed down is important to the user experience, but Twitter also knows it has to become more profitable as a business to please Wall Street. To that end, it expanded its self-service ads platform to more than 200 countries at the start of the month.

“Ultimately, it’s no longer Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for iPad: it’s Twitter for iOS,” the company concluded, “and it will now be optimized for different contexts. That’s a freedom which helps us to make Twitter the best experience it can be for everyone, regardless of device.”

This is a good (and overdue update) to the iOS app, but it’s only just the beginning. Twitter still has a lot of work to do across its business on a whole range of fronts this year and next — and it knows it.

image_3_0

 

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Apple TV must undo the company’s history of contempt and apathy for gaming

Apple has supported gaming on the TV using its AirPlay feature, but now the Apple TV may finally get a gaming App Store of its own.

Apple makes billions of dollars from games every year, and starting tomorrow, it might introduce a device that could help it make a few billion more. But that will come despite the company’s historical ambivalence toward the hobby.

Tomorrow, Apple holds one of its semiregular events to announce new products, and we’re expecting to get the details about a gaming-centric Apple TV microconsole. The machine will likely come with the latest iPhone processor, a motion-sensing remote, and support for Bluetooth controllers. We’ve already talked about what we know about the upcoming device and the games we’d like to play on it, but now let’s take a quick look back at why it’s strange to see Apple embracing games so deeply for one of its premier products.

Mac vs. PC

When I was a kid, my mom bought us a computer from one of her friends. It was an Apple IIe, and it came with a stack of games on those giant 5.5-inch floppy disks.

This was a golden time for Apple and gaming. It kickstarted classic franchises like Ultima, Prince of Persia, and Castle Wolfenstein. Hell, Nintendo’s Donkey Kong even made it onto the Apple II. Eventually, hundreds of games came out for the Apple II, and just about anyone who owned one was bound to have a stack of their favorites.


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But by 1984, Apple moved on to the Macintosh computer and away from games. And this forced the community of developers that had previously supported Apple to move onto to PC

The big reason Mac wasn’t great for games in those days was because it didn’t come with a built-in programming language. That made it difficult for the kinds of people who were making games at the time. Developers were primarily hobbyists who made games by themselves, and the PC’s toolset was far more welcoming. The Mac’s hardware was also limited in terms of RAM and speed, and it would’ve had performance issues many games.

At the same time, Apple wasn’t exactly worried about providing support to game makers. The company didn’t want people thinking of the Macintosh as a toy, and it instead positioned it as a productivity device for professionals. That’s a position the company maintained for the most part over the next 30 years.

But the Mac still had games. The 1990s gave rise to Myst, which was one of the best-selling releases ever. And Destiny developer Bungie started out making Mac-first shooters like Marathon in 1994.

And it was always understood by anyone who paid attention to Apple or its founder, Steve Jobs, that gaming wasn’t important. Here is Jobs in 1990 talking in the past tense about the “video game phenomenon.” He explains that the hobby is trivial until you try to use the medium as a learning environment for something important, like a “sophisticated macro-economic model of how France might have functioned in the time of Louis the XIV.”

Apple did almost nothing to encourage the growth of gaming even in a direction where it could simulate complex economies — which is something we did eventually get in the form of games like Crusader Kings II.

The only exception to all of this was the Apple Pippin.

The Pippin is a Mac-based multimedia console that debuted in 1995. A Job-less Apple designed the Pippin with games in mind and then licensed the technology to partners like the Japanese toy company Bandai.

But Apple did nothing to market Pippin. It let Bandai spend $93 million to do so itself, but Apple wouldn’t let the advertising materials refer to Pippin as a “computer.”

Obviously, the Pippin never caught on. Bandai only ever sold around 12,000 Pippin units.

 

When Jobs returned in 1997, the Pippin was one of the very first projects he killed. And that helped cement the company’s apathetic attitude toward gaming.

To Apple, games are a lesser medium

Of course, Apple is one of the biggest gaming companies in the world today. Mobile games could generate $30 billion in spending worldwide this year, and the iPhone and iPad are responsible for most of that.

But that influx of cash still hasn’t undone Apple’s contempt for games. Instead, we’ve seen the company repeatedly treat the medium as if it were nothing but toys for children.

Here is a direct quote from Apple’s developer guidelines that illustrates how it feels about games:

“We view apps different than books or songs, which we do not curate. If you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app. It can get complicated, but we have decided to not allow certain kinds of content in the App Store.”

This isn’t just a passive opinion. The company has used this rule to ban games from its App Store. Affected releases include games that explore the Syrian civil war, the American Civil War, and sweatshops in developing nations.

And now the new Apple TV

Apple’s view on games hasn’t changed. At least it hasn’t publicly come out and reversed its stance that it will curate games for content in a way it won’t for books or music. But it doesn’t look like it will stop the company from moving ahead with an Apple TV that prominently features games as one of its big features.

That makes sense for both Apple and developers. The company has the potential to disrupt how gaming works on televisions in a major way for the first time since the earliest consoles. It could swoop in and succeed where the Ouya Android-based microconsole failed and where others, like Razer and Nvidia, are struggling.

And if Apple does succeed in this space, it will likely do so as it has done with iPhone and iPad. By providing a platform for developers to reach a large audience that already has its credit-card information saved with iTunes.

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Apple keynote: Will new iPhones help prevent first ever drop in unit sales?

Apple logo

Since the release of the first iPhone back in 2007, Apple has maintained a remarkable streak. Each quarter, the company has sold more units of the iPhone than it did in the same quarter the previous year.

As the company prepares for its latest iPhone event Wednesday, some observers are wondering: Can the company keep that streak alive?

There are some analysts projecting that the company will see a year-over-year decline in quarterly unit sales during the holiday quarter (Apple’s FY2016 Q1). And others point to the first three months of 2016 (Apple’s FY2016 Q2) as the point for a possible drop.


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Why?

In some ways, the company may be a victim of its own success. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were such monster hits, and so many people upgraded, that some analysts believe the expected iPhone 6s is going to have a hard time matching that momentum. There just aren’t enough differences in design or features to generate the same enthusiasm.

There is also concern that China’s economy continues to stall, though Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently said the company is performing strongly there despite these headwinds.

Personally, I would still be a bit shocked to see an actual drop in the number of iPhones sold. In terms of units, I think there is going to be a big surge when, as expected, Apple drops the price of the iPhone 6. The company typically does this for its mid-tier phone, and the iPhone 6 will represent a huge deal that may trigger another wave of upgrades.

I still have an iPhone 5, but my wife got an iPhone 6 this summer. And while my 3-year-old iPhone 5 still works great, the quality of photos from the iPhone 6 has left me more than a little jealous.

In any case, whether growth just slows a bit, or whether actual numbers drops, it’s going to be interesting to see how Apple manages Wall Street’s expectations. The company has been here several times in recent years, its demise or decline widely feared.

And each time, it’s kept its head down and just kept moving forward. No matter how much the rest of the world may freak out, I’d expect the company to ride through this next potential rough patch with the same attitude.
Statistic: Global Apple iPhone sales from 3rd quarter 2007 to 3rd quarter 2015 (in million units) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

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Keys to the next iPhone’s success: Better photos and video, and a lower price

An Apple iPhone 6 is seen on display at the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015.

The new iPhone 6S — as we expect it to be called — is by no means a surefire hit. Like every other phone launched into the market, the new iPhone 6 will have to contain some legit improvements over its predecessor, the iPhone 6.

The new iPhones will be announced at a press event September 9th in San Francisco.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are hugely popular phones, mainly because the contain a major improvement that users had been howling for: larger screens. Measured diagonally, the iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen. Their predecessor, the iPhone 5S, has a 4-inch screen.


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The iPhone 6S won’t have have to luxury of a big, obvious, and desired improvement like a size increase. The 6S will be the same size as the 6, if a little bit thicker.

So what’s the trick that will get iPhone owners to trade up to the new phone? Based on what we know right now, the answer is a screen with Force Touch control and haptic feedback, as well as better cameras.

Force Touch, which lets you press and hold on the screen to bring up new menus or navigation options, is a nice feature, but likely not enough to move someone to invest in an expensive new phone.

The camera, on the other hand, might move some people to consider the 6S. That’s because you don’t have to be a pro photographer to appreciate the quality of the camera on your phone. Anybody can zoom in on their vacation photos, or show them on a desktop display, and see the limitations in the current iPhone 6 camera.

The new phone is expected to have a 12-megapixel camera sensor on the back, which should create an improvement in photos and video that is easy to see. It would also bring Apple back into parity with the premium cameras on competing phones from Samsung, LG, and Microsoft.

This improvement in the camera could touch off that “I’ve got to have that” feeling we get shortly before we lay out the plastic for a new Apple device.

The iPhone 6S will offer many other feature upgrades, too, like a faster chip, (possibly) a brighter screen, better quality aluminum, a faster 4G radio chip, and more colors. But it’s hard to see any of these being something that moves people to buy.

Apple may be able to close the sale on the iPhone 6S with all these individual features, the new cameras, and a lower price tag — all wrapped up in a nice little package. Any one of these components, by itself, likely won’t be enough.

And Apple should be feeling a little bit of pressure on the price point. In the Android world there’s been an obvious movement toward selling devices with premium feature sets at below $400. See the OnePlus 2 and the Nextbit Robin phones for examples. This, experts say, is where Android phone makers need to compete, because trying to sell $750 premium phones against Apple and Samsung is a very tough game. Just ask HTC.

I don’t think the story ends there, however. Some people who would normally pay that $750 for the next iPhone might be tempted to save some money and buy a less expensive OnePlus, Motorola, or Nextbit phone. Add this to falling component prices, high competition, and falling consumer price expectations, and Apple probably can’t hang onto its high prices forever.

Now would be an excellent time for Apple to start making the downward price adjustment. It’s better to sell more phones for a little less money than it is to risk selling way fewer phones at iPhone 6 prices.

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Apple starts Twitter account dedicated to gaming

An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015.

Apple makes billions of dollars from selling mobile game, and now it is finally embracing the hobby on social media.

The company launched @AppStoreGames on Twitter today as a place where it will share information about new releases and deals. This feed will deliver content directly from Apple’s App Store editors, which is the same group of people who determine the Featured Apps you see when you boot up the marketplace. So far, the account has made references to Zelda (a series that is not yet on iOS) and shared promotions from mobile developers.

While this might indicate that Apple is finally starting to soften up about its approach to gaming — a medium it treats with some contempt — the timing of this Twitter accounts arrival is probably more telling even than that. Apple has an event planned for next week, and the rumor (as first reported by 9to5 Mac) is that the company will introduce a new Apple TV that will have a heavy focus on gaming. This means a full App Store for TV-based games, Bluetooth controller support, and more. Mobile gaming is worth $30 billion worldwide, and Apple’s store is responsible for the majority of that. Now, the company may try to expand on that by incorporating a different screen in your house.

Read everything we know about the next Apple TV right here.

Up until this point, Apple has established itself as a major player in the gaming space almost by accident. The App Store has produced dozens of popular and lucrative games on iPhones and iPads, and Apple has reaped the reward. The vast majority of spending on the App Store is for game content, and the company could potentially re-create that success on televisions with an Apple TV-style console.

If the September 9 Apple event does lead to a set-top box with deep support for gaming, we will once again watch the Mac company enter a market sector that others have failed to solve. In this case, the most notable example is the Android-based Ouya microconsole, which debuted to much hype after a successful Kickstarter. But that TV gaming system failed to find an audience and — even worse — failed to produce any successful third-party developers. That led to hardware manufacturer Razer acquiring the Ouya brand, store, and patents in July.

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The next iPhone: The new features we expect to see September 9

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus camera lenses

Apple is expected to announce its next iPhones at a press event in San Francisco September 9th. The rumors of what the new phones will look like and act like have been flying for months, and VentureBeat’s own sources have given us some reliable insights on the devices.

The new phones — likely called the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus — will be an upgrade from the existing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones. Apple’s challenge was to build into these devices an attractive enough feature set to tempt current iPhone 6 owners, and owners of earlier iPhones, to upgrade. And these are the features we expect to see that might tempt them to do so.

Force Touch

As we reported in early June, the new iPhone 6S will get a front screen with Force Touch and haptic feedback.

Here’s how it works. When you press harder on the screen, sensors in the screen detect the increased pressure by measuring the increased surface area occupied by the finger. The device then responds with haptic feedback — a tap — that gives you the illusion you’ve pressed down on a physical button.

The point of Force Touch is to add a new type of navigation tool to the phone’s user interface. For instance, by pressing down on a location on a map you might automatically trigger driving directions to the location without having to press the “route” button. A Force Touch might also bring up a whole menu of actions related to a specific piece of content, such as a song in the Music app.

Faster processor

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are expected to run on Apple’s new A9 processor, which is said to be significantly faster than the A8 chip in the iPhone 6. This might be most readily apparent in game play and video playback. The new phone will also have 2GB of RAM, which should give the phone still more horsepower.

Better front and rear cameras

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have 1.2 megapixel camera sensors and f/2.2 aperture, which Apple said lets in 81 percent more light than earlier iPhones. The larger 12-megapixel rear-facing camera in the new iPhone 6S should make for brighter and sharper selfies and FaceTime video.

The iPhone 6 has an 8-megapixel camera, and the limitations of that camera can be clearly seen in the washed-out details of images.

4K video

The 12-megapixel rear camera sensor on the iPhone 6S will have the capability to shoot video in full 4K high-definition resolution. The existing iPhone 6’s 8-megapixel camera shoots 1080p video.

While 4K does offer a better, sharper look, for many consumers the new feature won’t immediately make a difference. Relatively few have purchased the new 4K TVs or monitors needed to watch the higher-quality video.

Brighter display

The pictures and video users shoot with the 6S’s improved camera will look better when viewed on the phone itself. VentureBeat sources said last spring that Apple was working with a far brighter OLED screen for its next phone. We expect this to ship with the new 6S.

Better cellular radio

It’s common for new iPhones to get a cellular radio upgrade. The iPhone 6S likely will too, in the form of a new Qualcomm MDM9635M chip that is theoretically about twice as fast as the cellular radio in the existing iPhone 6.

Harder aluminum

Yep, Apple was paying attention to the “Bendgate” controversy, spurred by a video showing a dude bending an iPhone 6 with his bare hands. Apple has strengthened the metal in the inner wall of the iPhone 6S’s back plate around the volume buttons — the place where the iPhone 6 was shown to bend. The screws that hold everything together are also in different places inside the phone.

More colors

And finally, we believe the rumors that the new 6S will come in two new colors — Rose Gold and a darker shade of Space Gray.

The new iPhones are not expected to sell quite as well as the iPhone 6, the first Apple phone to offer a larger screen in years. But then the 6 is a hard act to follow. After the launch of the iPhone 6, Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2014, a new record. In the following quarter, Apple sold 61 million iPhones, which is seasonally slower.


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Mobile Exits Drop Below Investments For First Time Since 2013

mobilemarket It’s been party time for mobile, with massive growth and disruption helping VCs to raise huge funds, entrepreneurs to raise massive rounds, and valuations to skyrocket. With 89 mobile Internet unicorns now worth almost $1 trillion, it’s no surprise that folks from Silicon Valley to Shanghai are asking what’s going on with return on investment. Read More