I’ve been thinking a lot lately about buying a larger smartphone, not just because I’m distracted by shiny new objects. To be perfectly frank, squinting at apps that haven’t factored eyes-of-a-certain-age into the interface design has become frustrating. My screen suddenly seems so small. Kudos to the developers that actually include reasonable “accessibility” options. You have my gratitude.
This stream of consciousness was triggered by an MIT Technology Review article talking up the expanding demographic of American workers who now stay on the job well into their 70s. The number is almost 6% now but expected to swell to 8.3% by 2022. As work becomes more digital, the tech industry needs to pay more collective attention to color choices in software applications, screen width options, or even the sensitivity of a computer mouse.
Last week, the AARP and JP Morgan Chase teamed up on a $40 million fund dedicated to inspiring the creation of applications and technologies designed for those over the age of 50. Some of that money is focused on winning over neophytes and Luddites, making technology more “intuitive.” The sort of things talked up in the press materials include sensor applications for safety, fitness apps, telemedicine, and software for maintaining cognitive health. Companies that wind up in the fund will have access to the association’s powerful marketing services. Did I mention that the purchasing power of these Americans will grow to $13.5 trillion by 2032?
Smart millennial technologists would do well to remember that there’s plenty of life after 50. Even grandparents love taking selfies.
Minutes ago, Twitter officially named its new CEO. Its decision is daring, if not surprising. Read on for the early details.
TOP OF MIND
Twitter drops “interim” in Jack Dorsey’s CEO title. The social media company has decided its co-founder can handle two companies after all. In a decision that will come as a surprise to few, Jack Dorsey is now in charge of both Twitter and mobile payments disruptor Square, which he is taking public later this year. The man himself tweeted the news prior to the stock market open. President Adam Bain was promoted to chief operating officer. Stay tuned for more details on Fortune.com after the company’s briefing this morning with investors.
Watch out IBM, Amazon plans big push into analytics. The cloud services leader is preparing a business intelligence service, codenamed Space Needle, that will let companies run big data jobs such as sales forecasting. The market for data visualization should reach $163 billion by the end of 2016. (Wall Street Journal)
Activist investor increases GE stake. Nelson Peltz has amassed almost $2.5 billion in stock since May through Trian Fund Management. The 1%-ish stake makes him one of the company’s top 10 shareholders. Peltz mostly sees eye-to-eye with GE CEO Jeff Immelt, but the fund has some ideas about where changes should be made. (Journal)
Legally speaking, Google is now Alphabet. The name change and new corporate structure are officially in effect Monday. The stock symbol is still the same, but the “don’t be evil” code of conduct is gone. (Wired, Time)
Coming soon, the controversial new Steve Jobs movie. Friends and family believe the eponymous drama, written by the same screenwriter who penned “The Social Network,” paints a one-dimensional portrait of the late Apple co-founder’s mercurial temperament. The movie will be released Friday. (Journal)
Microsoft redials smartphone strategy, invests in 3D technology. The company seeks a niche among business users with its latest batch of high-end Lumia smartphones, to be unveiled Tuesday. Meanwhile, the company last Friday revealed it is paying Intel an undisclosed sum to buy 3D technology company Havok, a favorite among gaming enthusiasts. Havok’s “physics engine” powers games like “Halo.” The company also had a hand in the visual effects for movies like The Matrix” and “Troy.” (Journal, Verge)
LinkedIn will pay $13 million for sending too much email. It agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit centered on its practice of sending extra automated sign-up notices to individuals on members’ contact lists. (Verge)
Welcome to the age of robotic sales clerks. Suitable Technologies thinks its robots can sell themselves. There’s very little human supervision in its Silicon Valley concept store. Instead, the display models are topped with a 10-inch screen connected to remote offices. Potential customers interact with sales representatives via live video conferences. (Journal)
BITS AND BYTES
Rare late-stage investment for Cisco-backed network chipmaker. Aquantia scored another $37 million, bringing its total to almost $200 million. Cisco disclosed its decade-long involvement with the IPO-aspiring company last week. (Journal)
Apple’s latest acquisition should make Siri smarter. British software company VocalIQ uses deep learning technology to improve speech recognition and synthesis. (Journal)
Almost one-third of corporate IT spending this year will go toward cloud data center expansion. That includes both public services and what businesses are building in “private” locations. (IDC)
The latest iPhone’s unsung new feature. It’s more water-resistant than most smartphones. (Wired)
Get yourself an editor. Poor grammar and sloppy spelling are increasingly being penalized by search engines. (Journal)
See you in court. Little-known patent licensing company Unwired Planet owns more than 2,000 mobile patents. Starting this week, it’s wielding them in British court against Google, Huawei, and Samsung. (BloombergBusiness)
And the top brands are … Apple and Google, a distinction the tech giants have held for three years. (New York Times)
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
GM already has 1 million connected cars on the road by Heather Clancy
AT&T helps Maersk keep its cool with connected containers by Stacey Higginbotham
ONE MORE THING
People who need people. A controversial new app will let you rate someone’s character, much like you would review a product. (Fortune)