Toby Shapshak

Editor, columnist, strategist and speaker; Toby writes and speaks about Innovation. And Africa. Most eloquently about Innovation in Africa. Through a range of media, from newspapers to television and radio, he speaks regularly on the trends in technology and innovation; and where they are going.

The defining device of the portable music era is headed for history: RIP iPod

As it announced unexpected strong sales of its iPhone last week, Apple said it is killing off the music device that made it all possible: the iPod. The renamed iPod Classic was discontinued in 2014 and last week it was the turn of the smaller iPod Nano and Shuffle to be dropped from Apple’s online store. They were the last of the music players that made Apple into the mobile titan it is toda...[Read More]

With its affordable, mass-market Model 3, Elon Musk’s company is changing the automotive industry

Last week an epoch was reached in the automobile industry when the first of Tesla’s mass market electric cars, the Model 3, was delivered to the first happy customer. Unlike the luxury models that Tesla has been making, the Model 3 is its play for a much broader market. It will come in two versions, but it’s the entry-level $35,000 (R462,000) model that is the most exciting. It’s...[Read More]

Google’s newest feed — the search giant is trying a new look for its most iconic service

The most famous page on the internet is about to lose its minimalist status. Google last week announced its famously blank main page – launched in 1996 – is going to give up its white space. Instead it will get a Facebook-like news feed, much like the mobile version which has been suggesting stories based on your search history. This functionality has been available for quite a while and tends to ...[Read More]

The internet never forgets

There’s a fascinating ethical debate unfolding in Europe as EU lawmakers are tackling Google about the so-called “right to be forgotten”. If you did something in life that was picked up by a search engine and the circumstances have now changed, European law allows you to request those search results to be deleted. Like all such ethical laws, there are specific terms and condition...[Read More]

Last week’s anniversary a reminder that mobile internet was propelled by the iPhone

Ten year ago last Thursday Steve Jobs stood on a stage in San Francisco and told a thrilled audience the most famous of his “one more thing” lines. It was the iPhone. And it changed everything. The world has never been the same again. The internet moved from our desktops to our pockets. It took on a centrality in our lives that we could never have imagined when we were thrilling at how...[Read More]

Bell Pottinger has been forced into taking its Twitter account private by angry South Africa tweeters

There’s a delightful irony to how despicable PR firm Bell Pottinger has been publicly shamed through Twitter, the medium it used to create “racial hatred” in South Africa. Last week the UK company that represented the Guptas, and whose unethical and dispensable behaviour has been revealed in the #GuptaLeaks emails, was forced to make its Twitter account private. This follows an o...[Read More]

How bad can it get for Uber — the ride-hailing service keeps making absurd mistakes

The only company experiencing worse bad press than Eskom, or any related to the Guptas, is rail-hailing app Uber. The world’s most valuable start-up at US$69bn has undergone a slew of disastrous revelations about its executives’ conduct, corporate culture including pervasive sexual harassment, and intellectual property theft for its autonomous car project. Then there’s the ongoin...[Read More]

The years-long DTT scandal seems to have a Gupta link, denying SA better broadband and TV

This is about government policy, so you’re going to have to bear with me. Last week, the previous communications minister (Faith Muthambi) won her Constitutional Court case against the policies of her predecessor (Yunus Carrim) and of her own party. This final legal step might lead to a conclusion to this epic, ten-year saga, you might foolishly believe. But this is the ANC government and we are w...[Read More]

Stung by criticism, Apple rejuvenated its computers while launching a home voice assistant

If you were expecting the traditional “and one more thing” from Apple’s big announcements this week, you would’ve been disappointed. Those days are long gone. Under the tyrannical rule of Steve Jobs, where suppliers and would-be leakers were terrified of the omerta imposed by the fanatical and secretive co-founder, such leaks would never be tolerated. This chokehold has slo...[Read More]

Although bookstores are making a comeback, Amazon’s reading device is a thing of beauty

Last week Amazon, the online bookstore that put so many other bookstores out of business, opened its first store in New York. Called Amazon Books, it’s the ecommerce giant’s second store, after it opened a bricks-and-mortar store in its hometown Seattle in 2015. As curious and ironic as it is, it’s a good thing. The world can never have too many bookstores, which are a bastion of liter...[Read More]

Voice assistants are just the tip of the iceberg for a new way of interacting with a computer

The war for voice assistants is hotting up. Amazon’s Alexa is the current champion, having stolen a march on everyone else’s by the speaker unit being installed as an extension of the e-commerce giant’s sales strategy. It’s part of the Prime initiative – which, for $100 a year, offers free two-day delivery and where Amazon’s video and music services were first offered...[Read More]

The doomsday scenario of malware taking over the world happened last Friday

Last Friday, science fiction became reality. In countless movies about the future terrors of our digital world, doomsday scenarios have ranged from hackers taking over nuclear power stations to siphoning off millions from bank accounts. But on Friday the most improbable of terrible predictions of cybercrime came true. A massive ransomware attack affected over 100 countries, crippling courier giant...[Read More]

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