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Data Sheet—Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It’s hard to get excited about yet another iPhone, even on the day of the company’s fall product launch.

The all-touchscreen cell phone was revolutionary when it debuted nearly 10 years ago. But, well, that was nearly 10 years ago. I still remember covering the launch from Apple’s downtown Palo Alto, Calif., store back in June 2007. A line of camped-out fanboys and fangirls stretched all the way around the block. Steve Jobs (and his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs) made an appearance. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. This was, after all, a phone that was unlike any other mobile device we’d seen before. And not only did it alter mainstream phone design, it also changed the way we use our devices.

Fast-forward to today, and the most exciting thing about the upcoming iPhone 7 is that it will reportedly come in two new black options: dark black and “piano” black, at least according to one analyst. And that the latest version of the device won’t include an industry-standard headphone jack. Yes, there will likely be more significant improvements, but these are iterative, not revolutionary.

It’s no surprise, then, that Apple’s stock price has declined 1% over the past year, and that sales projections for new iPhones aren’t what they used to be. That said, Apple is still just as exciting of a company—and a trendsetter—as always. It just so happens that some of its recent “innovations” haven’t been on the product side.

As analyst Brian White with Drexel Hamilton pointed out earlier this week, Apple has become the “Jason Bourne of Tech.” Its recent run-ins with the FBI and the EU have given us plenty to watch and will very likely set new precedents for tech companies. It’s no shiny new object, but I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of those too from Apple in the near future—and I’m not talking yet another iPhone.

Michal Lev-Ram is a senior writer at Fortune. Reach her via email. Share this essay: http://for.tn/2bXF2PI.

BITS AND BYTES

Dell logs modest growth ahead of EMC merger. The company reported revenue of $13.1 billion for the quarter ended July 29 and improved its share of the commercial personal computer market by about 0.9 percentage point. CEO Michael Dell plans to address the official close of its $60 billion merger with data storage giant EMC on Wednesday. (Wall Street Journal)

Palantir sues major early investor. The secretive data analytics company alleges that Marc Abramowitz betrayed it by requesting confidential information about key projects in fields like cyber insurance and clinical drug trials, and then filing for patents based on what he learned. (Fortune)

HP Inc. is caught up in the Hanjin debacle. It’s waiting for the delivery of 500 containers that are on ships stranded at sea because of the South Korean company’s financial problems, including 142 destined for the United States. Lengthy delays could cause “irreparable harm” to its personal computer and printer sales for the upcoming holiday season. (Wall Street JournalFortune)

HSBC is swapping PINs for selfies. The world’s sixth largest bank is allowing businesses to open new accounts that are verified by facial recognition, using a selfie that is matched with a photo from a passport or driving license. (Fortune)

IBM and Box unfurl first app written from scratch. Box Relay, due by January 2017, is a workflow system that will streamline certain business processes that require team approvals before they can be advanced throughout an organization such as sales contracts or  reviews of marketing collateral. (Fortune)

Qualcomm and AT&T join forces on big drone project. The two want to test how easily flying robots can use wireless networks to transmit aerial photography and other data back to data centers. (Fortune)

PayPal and MasterCard team up on store payments. The partnership, which echoes an early deal with Visa, will allow PayPal customers to use its digital services in “real world” merchants more easily. (Reuters)

Microsoft takes its cloud to the U.K. The software giant has added data centers in Britain, its second biggest market for cloud services outside the United States. The offering should appease British companies that want to store data locally. (Reuters)

THE DOWNLOAD

Why this software scuffle should matter to non-techies. There’s a battle brewing in the world of software development concerning how companies build and update the applications they use internally and, perhaps more importantly, those they use to serve outside customers. It involves Docker, which is becoming the standard way for packing up the pieces of these applications in a way that makes them easier to run and update quickly.

Docker Inc. has been the keeper of the core Docker code, but it’s also adding new management and orchestration features atop that core. One of its additions, a technology called Swarm, has made life difficult for the company’s rivals such as CoreOS, Mesosphere, Joyent, Hashicorp, and Apprenda—many of which back Kubernetes, a way of managing Docker containers pushed by Google.

While some industry insiders think there might be a place for multiple container specs, others would prefer to see this spat resolved amicably with just one. (Fortune)

 

WATCH FOR IT

Software sale speculation abounds ahead of HP Enterprise results. Of the two companies created through the split of Hewlett-Packard, the one focused on selling servers, networking, and other data center technology has fared better with investors—its stock is up about 30%. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s fiscal third-quarter results are due after the market close Wednesday, with analysts anticipating $12.6 billion in revenue. They’re also hungry for a status report on the company’s software division, which it’s said to be shopping for $10 billion. (Wall Street Journal, Seeking Alpha)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Survey Software Firm Toluna Buys Nielsen-Backed Digital Media Startup, by Heather Clancy

Apple Is Falling Way Behind in the Global Wearable Market,
by Jonathan Vanian

There’s a New AI-Focused Fund in Silicon Valley, by Dan Primack

Instagram Kills Photo-Maps Feature, by Leena Rao

Verizon Is Teaming With Qualcomm to Push Smart Devices,
by Aaron Pressman

ONE MORE THING

How Facebook’s most hated feature became the future of the company. The social network’s real-time news feed, the core of the service for more than 1.5 billion people, was born 10 years ago. The initial response was overwhelmingly negative. (Fortune)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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