Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple’s R&D Spending is Surging

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Friday, March 16


1. Apple Pencil 2 wishlist: iMore‘s Serenity Caldwell offers some good suggestions for a next-generation Apple Pencil, including integration of Apple’s W1 or W2 chips for improved pairing, haptic feedback, wireless charging, and multiple nib options both for improved friction and design.

Commentary: Apple today invited the media to an education-focused event on March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The artwork for the invite suggests the Apple Pencil could be one focus of the event, with the possibility of both a new version and support added for the 9.7-inch iPad.

2. An Apple R&D bonanza: Above Avalon’s Neil Cybart notes that Apple is on track to spend $14 billion on research and development in its 2018 fiscal year, nearly double the amount it spent on R&D just four years ago. $14 billion would also be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011 combined.

My theory on the dramatic rise in Apple R&D expenditures is that management is becoming more ambitious. Apple’s future is found in new industries. Just as Apple moved from desktops/laptops to personal music players, smartphones, and watches, the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant. This is not a company that is holding onto the iPhone as tight as possible for fear of change. Apple management is investigating new ideas and processes in order to support future moves into new industries.

Commentary: Apple’s dramatic increase in R&D spending likely signals the company’s interest in a number of new areas. Cybart believes that two new items on Apple’s roadmap that are driving the recent surge in expenditures include augmented reality glasses and a Netflix-like streaming video service.

3. French cosmetics company L’Oréal acquires ModiFace, a Toronto-based startup that developed augmented reality innovations allowing customers to try on cosmetics using its mobile apps or in-store smart mirrors.

Commentary: ModiFace has iPhone and iPad apps for simulating new photo-realistic hair colors, eye colors, cosmetics, teeth whitening, and more. Ahead of the public release of iOS 11, the company also shared an ARKit demo showcasing a lipstick previewer and virtual beauty gallery in a cosmetics store.

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Losant secures $5.2 million in Series A financing to meet surging IoT solutions demand

Losant, a US-based startup that helps enterprises build IoT solutions, prepares itself to meet the surging demand for next generation connected solutions by securing a sum of $ 5.2 million in a Series A financing round.

Securing the amount, Charlie Key, CEO of Losant, said: “We’re excited to see our platform power intelligent solutions across a gamut of industries and use-cases. Our customers are pushing new boundaries in industrial equipment monitoring, asset tracking, smart buildings, and more. With endless possibilities, Losant is uniquely positioned to help thousands of companies in their IoT journey.”

The round was led by CincyTech. Revolution’s new Rise of the Rest seed fund, TechNexus, and Vine Street Ventures also took part.

Mike Venerable, CEO of CincyTech, said: “Connected experiences are going to transform business and personal experiences for all of us in the next decade. Billions, not millions, of connected devices are being deployed across all domains. Losant's reliable and scalable platform for IoT is being used in an accelerating number of scenarios that represent the connected future.”

JD Vance, Rise of the Rest seed fund managing partner, said: “Losant’s use of next generation IoT solutions has the potential to change every industry and business and the fact that it’s a promising Ohio-grown startup makes it that much more exciting. We are thrilled to invest in Losant alongside CincyTech, who has been helping entrepreneurs build successful technology companies in southwest Ohio for a decade.”

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