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Big Revolution - A notch above

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Apologies for the delay to today's edition. I've had an unusually, and unexpectedly, hectic morning.
 
May 31 · Issue #95 · View online
Big Revolution
Apologies for the delay to today’s edition. I’ve had an unusually, and unexpectedly, hectic morning. Life, eh?
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report is here. This is a keenly anticipated slide deck each year. Recode has the details.
- Some good interviews to catch up on from the Code conference: Uber could run Waymo self-driving cars on its network, Spotify admits its drive to ban controversial artists from its playlists was poorly implemented, and Airbnb sets out its vision for the future.
- Uber is on track for an IPO next year, its CEO tells CNBC.
- Get ready to raise an eyebrow: troubled headphones maker Monster is planning a $300m ICO to try to turn itself around. It will sell “‘monster money tokens’ to build the 'Monster Money Network,’ a new e-commerce site for selling its products,” according to Coindesk. Quite how this will make people want to start buying Monster headphones again, I’m not sure.
The big thought
The iPhone X, proudly sporting its notch
A notch above
Bloomberg yesterday published supposed details of the next Pixel phones from Google (The Verge has a summary if you get caught by Bloomberg’s paywall). 
Bloomberg’s reporting says the devices will launch in October, and that the larger of the two devices will have a ‘notch.’ The notch – that little dip in the screen as seen at the top of the iPhone X and an increasing number of Android devices – has become a divisive bit of smartphone design in recent years. 
There’s clearly consumer demand for the notch (it’s trendy!), and from a practical point of view, it’s somewhere to put a front-facing camera and other sensors on phones that otherwise lack bezels. Until it becomes easier to build entirely bezel-free smartphones, we’ll probably have to live with notches.
But for me, the notch shows something else – how there’s room for more creativity in the shapes of phone screens. Back in the 90s and early 2000s, Nokia used to experiment with all sorts of fun designs like the conch-esque 7600 and the dual-screen e90 Communicator. We’ve lost that sense of adventurous design. Even a giant like Samsung, pumping out multiple Android devices at all sorts of price points each year, sticks the same basic 'flat glass rectangle’ format.
Where are the phones with circular screens? Egg-shaped screens? Star-shaped screens? 
A sensible reader will point out market dynamics, mass production costs, operating system limitations, and all sorts of other good reasons why all smartphones look roughly the same. But when phones are such a big part of our lives, it’s a shame they don’t vary in appearance to better reflect our personalities and individual tastes.
And if Apple took a big leap forward in smartphone design with an out-there look, you can bet the rest of market would follow pretty damn quick.
One big read
Cutting short Gavin Williamson was the most popular thing I’ve ever done | Richard Madeley
Even if you’re from outside the UK and don’t know the people referred to in this piece, you’ll be able to relate to the idea of a TV presenter finally having had enough of politicians who keep stalling so they don’t have to answer difficult questions.
One big tweet
Probably the best tweet ever from a pharmaceutical firm. It comes after Roseanne Barr said her racist tweet was due to taking sedatives made by this company.
Sanofi US
People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.
2:57 PM - 30 May 2018
That’s all for today...
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