Skip to Content

Data Sheet—Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Michal Lev-Ram is a senior writer at Fortune.

Most Data Sheet readers would probably agree that software is eating the world. But it’s surprising to see how much “eating” remains to be done—many products and industries are just now being reinvented using new technologies.

Late last week, a Bay Area company called Naya Health started taking orders for its Smart Pump, a breast pump that uses a water-based hydraulic system instead of the typical air-based suction used in such products. That technology, says company chief executive Janica Alvarez, allows for a machine that more closely mimics the motions of a nursing baby. It is also quieter and has fewer parts to clean than current pumps, claims the CEO and mother of three. (Those of you who have had to replace torn or lost breast pump “membranes” will share my appreciation for the latter feature.) Lastly, the Smart Pump comes with a connected iOS app that tracks pumping sessions.

“To significantly improve the experience, we needed to completely overhaul the breast pump,” Alvarez says.

The former pharmaceutical researcher got the idea for the souped-up milk machine after she had her first baby and struggled with her traditional breast pump. “It was painful,” she says.

Most nursing mothers would rather track their babies’ bowel movements on an Excel spreadsheet (yes, this is really a thing) than pump milk. If the experience isn’t painful for them, it’s certainly time-consuming and frustrating and loud, which can make it hard to participate in conference calls while pumping. To be sure, I have no idea if the Smart Pump truly feels like a superior experience—there’s only one way to find out, and the lactating phase of my life is over—but it does seem quieter than most pumps. And it’s certainly not as much of an eyesore.

Not surprisingly, the Smart Pump costs a premium at $599. It will start shipping in August. More accessories will be added shortly after, including smart bottles that will be able to track your baby’s milk intake. “The mission is making the work experience better for working moms,” Alvarez says.

It will take a lot more than connected breast pumps to make that happen. Now, if only technology could help push for more equal parental leave policies.

Michal Lev-Ram
@mlevram
Michal_LevRam@timeinc.com

Share this essay: http://for.tn/1T4bZof. Find past editions of Data Sheet.

 

 

BITS AND BYTES

Apple’s historic growth spurt ends. The tech giant recorded its first quarterly revenue decline since 2003, largely because iPhone sales are slowing down along with the rest of the smartphone market. Apple also recorded far slower sales in China, which has been a big growth engine for the past several years. On a brighter note, the company now has more than 13 million paid subscribers for Apple Music. (Fortune, Fortune, Fortune)

Twitter’s results spook investors. Revenue for its first quarter was at the low end of analysts’ expectations. Even worse was the social media company’s revelation that it will undershoot sales for the current one by at least $88 million. Its stock plummeted at least 14% after-hours. What could help it regain momentum? Its live video strategy. (Fortune)

More regulatory scrutiny for Google? Getty Images is preparing a formal complaint in Europe over “piracy” of digital images, reports the Financial Times. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Google unfairly prioritizes its own search tools and other mobile apps on devices that run its Android operating system. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

StubHub is eBay’s new PayPal. The online ticketing service was the fastest growing piece of the e-commerce company’s business during the first quarter. (Fortune)

DirectTV acquisition boosts AT&T’s profit. The nation’s second largest wireless carrier added almost 330,000 new customers for the satellite TV service it bought last year. But, oops, it also lost more than 380,000 subscribers for its Internet and cable services. (Reuters)

Alphabet wants to help build smart cities. Google’s parent created a division last year called Sidewalk Labs focused on “urban technologies” such as smart street lights and autonomous vehicles. That group is considering a plan to create “proving grounds” for its ideas, reports The Wall Street Journal. The executive behind the group, Sidewalk CEO Daniel Doctoroff, was responsible for New York City’s economic development under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Wall Street Journal)

The FBI doesn’t want you to know how it hacked the iPhone. The agency is recommending against sharing technical details about how it cracked the code on the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting suspect’s smartphone. (Wall Street JournalBloomberg)

THE DOWNLOAD

The race to make virtual reality an actual (business) reality. By now you’ve probably heard the hype about the coming wave of virtual reality (VR) and the miracles that it can render in video games, entertainment, and exploration.

By some estimates, the market for VR will be worth $150 billion within four years. A decade from now, who knows? It’s impossible to say because no one’s clear on what the platform is best suited to do. But the race is on to figure it out.

For now, workplace applications for VR tend to be rather prosaic—think virtual conferencing—and much of the effort to create compelling content is focused on games and entertainment. But more intriguing applications are emerging. Airbus is using the technology to demonstrate airplanes for potential customers, while Ford is testing new automotive design ideas. These experiments—and others—provide a striking vision of the potential reach and practicality of VR in the future. (Fortune)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Twitter isn’t worried about Facebook Live by Erin Griffith

T-Mobile is growing fast, even as customer credit quality improves
by Aaron Pressman

Box and Dropbox vie for more credibility with businesses
by Heather Clancy

Tech interns will make bundles of money this summer by Don Reisinger

The real reasons behind the tech skills gap by Dean Hager

How business can thrive in the digital age by Klaus Schwab

Mourning Bill Campbell by Adam Lashinsky

ONE MORE THING

What would you pay to have lunch with Tim Cook? It will cost you at least $130,000, but the proceeds will go toward protecting human rights. (Fortune)

 

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.
@greentechlady
heather@heatherclancy.com