Hashtag Trending Dec. 9 – Apple’s 5-year deal with China; Snapchat Spectacles; Instagram’s new features

With files from Samira Balsara

Apple made a secret $275 billion dollar deal with China, Snapchat steps into the metaverse, and Instagram announces new features to protect teens and control app use.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending, it’s Thursday, December 9, and I’m your host Tom Li.

A report released this week claims that when Apple was dealing with regulatory activity in China, CEO Tim Cook visited the country in 2016 where he signed an agreement with the Chinese government. According to Apple Insider, the deal would have Apple improving China’s economy and tech profile with various investments and training its workforce. Allegedly, the total value of the five-year deal was worth $275 billion dollars. As part of the agreement, Apple said it would work with manufacturers to create “the most advanced manufacturing technologies” and “support the training of high-quality Chinese talents.”

Following Facebook’s (now Meta) announcement about the metaverse, other social media platforms are immersing into the world in their own way. This week, Snap, the creator of Snapchat, is holding Lens Fest, an event that highlights the company’s growing community of over 200,000 creators of augmented reality (AR) filters. As of now, they have created over 2 million AR filters to date. Now, Snap’s latest focus is a wearable called Spectacles. The latest version of the device is futuristic sunglasses that “moves beyond the realm of mere camera glasses and into true AR smartglasses territory,” according to an article from Quartz. The newest version of Spectacles is only available to Snap’s developer community and partners due to the slight imperfections in the design such as battery life and occasional beta product issues.

In more social media news, Instagram is rolling out a plethora of new features, focusing on the protection of teenagers and younger users. The Take a Break feature will let users know when they have been on the app for too long and encourage them to take a break. It will be available first to users in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. Users can turn on the feature in the settings section of the app and set how often they want to be alerted. To help protect teenagers, Instagram is allowing younger users to delete content they’ve posted in bulk to help control their digital footprint. The company also announced it would soon implement a feature that will prevent people from tagging or mentioning teens on the platform if the teens don’t follow them.

And now for something a little different. Vishal Garg, CEO of mortgage company Better.com fired 900 of his employees via a Zoom call on Wednesday. During the call, Garg stated, “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off.” While giving reasons for this move Garg cited market efficiency, performance and productivity. Garg announced that this was about 9 per cent of its workforce according to a CNN article.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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