While Meta and TikTok use in-app browsers to help measure advertising efficacy in a post-ATT setting, Apple could respond to potentially malicious activity and privacy risks by restricting app developer usage of WKWebView, a more customizable and flexible application programming interface (API) than the Apple-recommended SFSafariViewController. Apple is unlikely to ban the use of in-app browsers altogether, but it could restrict WKWebView-based browsers, limiting the amount of traffic going to third-party websites and, as a result, any incremental ability of social platforms to measure the impact of their ads.
2. Yeast Could Enable The Production Of Anti-Cancer Medicine
Synthetic biology involves genetically engineering small organisms like bacteria, giving them abilities that improve medicine, manufacturing, and agriculture. Thanks to the convergence of high-throughput, low-cost platform technologies like CRISPR gene-editing and next generation sequencing (NGS), synthetic biologists are designing, building, and testing organismal designs faster and more cost-effectively than ever, leading to an explosion in innovation.
Sponsored by one of Novo Nordisk’s global research groups, a team of scientists recently installed one of the largest biosynthetic pathways––a series of biochemical reactions that occur inside an organism––into a strain of brewer’s yeast. This modified yeast strain produced Vinblastine, a popular anti-cancer medication that relies on a rare plant called the Madagascar periwinkle that fell victim to COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks. Novo Nordisk’s synthetic biology breakthrough solved that problem for this much-needed anti-cancer medicine.
In our view, this accomplishment offers a glimpse into the enormous human and economic value that synthetic biology is likely to create. Moreover, most of the research is generalizable across more than 3,000 natural products closely related to Vinblastine. Among them is vinorelbine—a chemotherapy recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an essential medicine. As artificial intelligence (AI), genomic sequencing, and genome editing continue to improve, we are excited to see the strides that synthetic biology will make in producing medicine cost-effectively and at-scale.
3. Apple Unveils New Products At Its Far-Out Annual Event
Last week, Apple released its annual lineup of new iPhones and upgraded peripherals. For the same $799 price point as the iPhone13, the new iPhone 14 features an upgrade to the A15 Bionic chip that improves battery life and photography. It priced its larger-screen option, the iPhone 14 Plus, at $899. Holding the $999 price point, the Pro series also featured notable upgrades, including a brighter and always-on display, an improved camera with more professional photo and video capabilities, and a “dynamic island” that tightly integrates hardware and software to display adaptive, persistent notifications––a nice touch.
Catering to extreme athletes, the new ruggedized Watch Ultra boasts longer battery life, more accurate dual-frequency GPS, a dedicated activity button, better waterproofing, and an emergency siren. Priced at $799, this new premium watch will compete head-to-head with Garmin’s range of high-end sports watches.
While we believe it is likely to sell many Watch Ultras, Apple probably will be unable to poach many from Garmin’s loyal customer base. Importantly, comparable Garmin watches offer battery lives of more than 15 days, compared to fewer than three days, and many more connectivity options for data-hungry endurance athletes who pair their watches with multiple sensors like power meters and cadence sensors.
Throughout the event, Apple highlighted its health and safety features, including new car crash detection in the iPhone and Watch, enhanced menstrual cycle tracking on Watch, and an emergency SOS iPhone feature that connects via the Globalstar satellite network if cellular networks are out of reach. The phones require clear line of sight, however, forcing users to track satellites. Importantly, only the new iPhones enable the SOS capability––in contrast to the forthcoming T-Mobile and SpaceX offeringwhich works with existing devices.
As its form factors mature, relying on incremental improvements to processors, displays, cameras, and batteries, Apple’s ability to deliver shock-and-awe iPhone updates appears to be waning. New features like the “dynamic island” and crash detection do depend, however, on the integration of software and hardware at which Apple excels. If the future confirms recent rumors, Apple will take that skillset to new form factors like its mixed-reality headset next year, or perhaps an autonomous car in the next five years.
4. Robots In The Nuro/Uber Eats Partnership Will Deliver Dinner To Your Door
Last week, Nuro launched a ten-year partnership with Uber Eats to deliver food with Nuro’s autonomous robots. Without knowing if meals will arrive in robot bellies or human hands, customers will get refunds for tips meant for humans, not robots. All other delivery fees will be the same.
ARK estimates that robot food delivery at scale could cost as little as $0.40 per trip. Today, Uber Eats’ fees range from $10 to $20 per order. In the Nuro partnership, we wonder if Uber will lower delivery costs, increase its profit margins, raise the wages of the humans still involved in the process, or all three?