Today in Tech News Digest, Twitter flatlines, Firefox updates, MacBook Air cheapens, Xbox One lands, Udacity expands, and Vsauce measures.
Twitter Is Flatlining
It sucks that twitter has ruined every experience that one could possibly ever have huh
— matt (@mattbuchanan) April 23, 2014
Twitter has reported its financial results for Q1 2014 [Broken Link Removed]. The figures can be spun a number of ways depending on your point of view, but the ultimate truth lurking behind them all is that Twitter is flatlining to an alarming degree.
The financials aren’t too bad. Twitter brought in revenues of $250 million during the last quarter, with earnings of $0.00-per-share. No, that isn’t a typo, but as Wall Street had expected a loss, flat earnings are being considered a reasonable result.
Unfortunately, the usage statistics are less positive. Twitter did manage to add 14 million users during the quarter, with the total number rising from 241 million to 255 million. That’s a 5.8 percent increase for the quarter, and a 25 percent increase year-on-year. Timeline views also only grew 15 percent year-on-year for the quarter, compared to 26 percent last quarter.
This all suggests user growth is slowing to quite an extent, and those users that are present aren’t staying as engaged as they should be doing. The stock market was quick to express its worries for the future, with Twitter’s share price dropping 10 percent in after-hours trading.
This is a shame, because there are a number of valid reasons to use Twitter. Unfortunately, it seems most people have decided they just don’t need another social network in their life.
Firefox 29 Brings Radical Redesign
Firefox 29 has been released to the general public, and it reveals a radical redesign for the Web browser called Australis that Mozilla has been working on for almost two years. The new UI looks very different, with rounded edges and a much simpler approach across the board.
Beyond the visual changes, Firefox 29 brings more customization options than ever before, an improved bookmarks manager, and major improvements to Firefox Sync, to name just a few of the new and updated features.
In many ways this is Mozilla taking a leaf out of Google’s playbook, with Firefox 29 looking and feeling a lot more like Chrome than ever before. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time for Chrome users to give Firefox a second look. Especially as Internet Explorer is currently off-limits.
Apple Updates MacBook Air
Last year’s MacBook Air was already my fav laptop on the market. Faster with even better battery life for $100 less? No brainer.
— Tim Stevens (@Tim_Stevens) April 29, 2014
Apple has ever-so-slightly improved the MacBook Air, while cutting the price at the same time. The improvements made to the line-up are new 1.4GHz Intel Haswell chips (up from 1.3GHz), better baseline storage, and an incremental improvement in battery life. And that’s all.
These aren’t exactly huge changes, but when coupled with a $100 price cut for all models the MacBook Air is a more attractive option than it was previously. However, another hardware update which will finally make the MacBook Air with Retina display a reality is expected before the end of the year. So now may not be the time to prise open your wallets and purses.
Microsoft Takes The Xbox One To China
Microsoft is taking the Xbox One to China, with a September launch now confirmed. This is a big move for the Xbox One considering games consoles were banned in China for many years. And even though the ban has now been lifted, there are still restrictions on the types of games available to play, with titles that promote “obscenity, drug use, violence or gambling” not allowed. All the fun titles, in other words.
Udacity Comes To iPhone
— Charles McFarland (@CGMcFarland) February 21, 2014
Udacity for iPhone is now available, with the online learning platform now offering MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to users of Apple’s smartphone. A total of 12 full courses and 26 free courses are accessible through the iOS app, with an Android version also in the works.
Vsauce Puts Humanity In Perspective
And finally, Vsauce has just demonstrated how insignificant the human race is by showing how little room the total population of the world would need if piled together in the Grand Canyon. The rest of the video is well worth watching, but this extraordinary visual is right at the start. Mind blown.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Neil Milne via Flickr