apple-tech-croppedChief Designer Jony Ive is Leaving Apple, Erasing $9B in Overnight Market Value

Apple’s Chief Designer Jony Ive is leaving the company to launch his own design firm. A fixture at Apple for many years, the announcement wiped out a whopping $9 billion in the company’s market value in after-hours trading on June 28, according to Bloomberg.

“Apple Inc.’s chief designer Jony Ive is leaving after decades at the iPhone maker to form an independent company -- with Apple as one of its primary clients,” writes Mark Gurman of Bloomberg. “Ive is responsible for the look of the company’s most iconic products. LoveFrom, his new firm, will continue to work with Apple on projects, he said in an interview with the Financial Times.”

From my perspective, the move will create more freedom for Ive and unleash even more of his amazing creativity. I predict that Ive’s departure from Apple will prove beneficial to users of technology all over the world – which pretty much covers all of us.

car-battery-croppedTesla Working to Develop its Own Battery Cells

Tesla hopes to gain a measure of independence from a key supplier by developing its own battery packs and battery cells, according to reports. If successful, the strategy would enable Tesla to offer lower priced automobiles.

Tesla is developing the means to manufacture its own battery cells, according to five current and recent employees, something that the electric vehicle maker has relied on Panasonic to do since the companies signed an extensive partnership deal in 2014,” writes Lora Kolodny of CNBC. “The move could help Tesla offer cheaper, higher-performance electric vehicles than it does today, without having to pay or share data and resources with outside vendors or partners. The battery pack and battery cells are the main cost component in an electric vehicle, according to research by IHS Markit.”

Although Tesla isn’t planning to sever its ties to Panasonic and other battery manufacturers, the company hopes to achieve greater flexibility by building more of its own components.

currency-croppedRegulators Wary of Facebook’s Digital Currency

Last week, Facebook unveiled plans for a new digital currency called Libra. Calls for tighter government oversight have already begun.

“The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on Facebook's Libra for July 17, one day after a planned Senate banking committee hearing on the digital currency,” writes Clare Duffy of CNN Business. “The company says Libra, which will be managed by an independent nonprofit organization, has the potential to become a universally accepted digital currency that could fundamentally change payment systems and improve financial inclusion. But U.S. regulators want to know what that will mean for the American financial system, as well as consumers and investors.” 

From my perspective, Facebook’s decision to back a digital currency makes financial sense. Libra would definitely represent a bold move in a new direction for the social network. But the move comes with significant risks, including far more oversight from government regulators.

internet-electricity-croppedThe Internet of Electricity?

Long before it became one of the largest corporations in the world, GE was an electric company. GE is still a major player in the global electricity market, and it’s working on a new device that will help bring electric grid technology into the 21st century. The small aluminum device is called MDS Orbit, and GE hopes it will revolutionize the world’s electric grids.

“In a way, the Orbit is the Swiss Army knife of communication devices. Unlike home modems typically capable of accommodating just one source, be it a phone line cable or Ethernet, this device can receive and send encrypted data over a variety of wireless communications links and protocols including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G, and public and private 4G LTE networks, as well as specialized radio,” writes Tomas Kellner of GE Reports.

I like the direction GE is taking. This is precisely the kind of tech innovation that moves the world forward by improving an existing system and enabling it to serve new purposes. If the Orbit pans out, this could be the beginning of the Internet of Electricity.