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Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ event gained massive attention with iPhone 12 series and MagSafe accessories. While talking about innovation, Tim also mentioned how eco-friendly the device is.

Well, it wasn’t the first time Apple shared its contribution towards a sustainable future. In the last few years, Apple keeps mentioning its vision to 100% carbon neutral by 2030. However, the question is, ‘going carbon neutral is truth or a hoax to boost its sales?’

I mean why a $2 trillion tech giant will invest a fortune in building a sustainable future? While this might save them money in the future, today, they need tremendous efforts, investment, and commitment.

I’m not much of a Spiderman movie fan, though I have a special place for what Peter’s dad told him once, “With great power, comes great responsibilities.” Don’t you think that the quote well-defines the era in which we live?

While on one side, technology is making our life simpler, directly or indirectly, it is putting-together trouble for the planet we call our home. Hardly there’s a day when we don’t come across a story related to rising global temperature, plastic contaminating our oceans and land, rising atmospheric CO2level, species & ground resources on the verge of getting extinct, and the list goes on.

Let’s try and closely analyze the entire Operandi, followed by the brand to being environmentally friendly.

Who is Responsible for the Depleting State of the Environment?

The fact is both companies, and the users are playing a role in it. Considering that these innovations help us in many ways, creating them can be considered a necessity today. However, doesn’t that become our responsibility to create them in an environment-friendly manner and use accordingly? 

Undoubtedly it does. Then what’s stopping?

While the users are getting addicted to the ease, companies don’t want to take any risk in compromising with their current offerings. However, few companies take the risk of bringing the change. These companies look for all possible ways to identify the tiny things that can eventually make a more significant impression to save the planet in the long run. 

In a Forbes list of companies for the environment by Industry, unlike its competitors, Apple marked its position at number 16 on the list.  

Apple’s Contribution to Saving the Environment

Wondering how it managed to make that place? Or what challenges it would have faced reaching the mark? Let’s try to find an answer to these with steps taken by Apple.

Renewable Energy

Apple reported that all its stores, offices, and data centers located across 44 countries are 100% powered by renewable energy sources. Not just this, on September 3, 2023, Apple announced that it had installed two world’s largest on-shore wind turbines in Denmark. It is expected that they’ll together produce 62-gigawatt energy every year. Having said this, the said power is enough to serve almost 20,000 homes.  

The mentioned power will support Apple’s data Center in Viborg, and the remaining energy will go to the Danish grid.  

Not just Apple, even its manufacturing partners, have adopted clean energy. Since the launch of this transition, its 72 manufacturing partners, located in 17 different countries worldwide, pledged adherence to this transition.

Going with calculations, if these commitments fall in place, we would be able to circumvent more than 14.3 million metric tons of CO2e annually. This is equal to taking off 3 million cars from the road YoY.

Resources

Considering that hundreds of millions of products are manufactured every year, Apple took the resources pretty seriously with a firm belief that this will deliver a significant change. Hence, it worked on creating a circular supply chain. Let’s understand them individually.

Sourcing and Efficiency

Apple did mention its plans to use only renewable and recycled materials in 2023. And they are making steady progress in the segment. According to the suppliers’ report 2023 issued by Apple, 10% of the total materials shipped in 2023 were made using the same standards. Not just this, the same report reveals that in the four products launched in the preceding year, 17% of the total material used was recycled or renewable.

In the mentioned share, 40% is accredited alone to the MacBook Air. To attain this, the tech giant first closely analyzed and created Material Impact Profiles of 45 elements. Out of which they prioritized 14. Here is the list of products and their respective usage. Now that you know the elements Apple uses and their purpose let’s get to the second stage circular chain.

Product Longevity

Just because they are recycling doesn’t mean they compromise with products’ durability and life. Apple gives a special consideration that their products can withstand some of the unforeseen day-to-day circumstances.

They are designed in a manner that you get the best output of the materials that are used to create them. To further add to longevity, Apple includes numerous features, upgrades in the software, hardware, and high-end repair services.

If we closely look at the journey of any Apple product, we’ll realize how far it has traveled since inception considering features like durability, dust resistance, water resistance, spill resistance, and many others. The devices today come with ratings and certification acclaiming their robust built.

Besides this, Apple also takes its repair services sincerely. Till date, it has more than 5000 AASPs (Apple Authorised Service Providers) and Apple Stores that provide seamless and professional services to its buyers. Apart from these, there are also more than 265,000 independent Apple-trained professionals committed to giving flawless services. Let’s now get to the third and final stage of a product’s journey.

Product End of Life

Let’s accept that no matter how your product is built, how well you maintain, and how efficient are its repair services. There’s a point where a product meets the end of its life. That’s when the question arises; What will happen to the materials used to build it? Apple ensures that once a device doesn’t function anymore, the way it’s supposed to, its accessories, and other parts may still serve a purpose. This is why it recovers all such products and look for a way to use them in the most resourceful manner.

As far as the parts or materials that can’t be reused, they recycle it to use the materials inside. The entire process subsequently helps Apple diminish the wastage and save the environment in the most creative and friendly manner.  To perform this vital task, they have an in-house recruited robot, Daisy, at their Material Recovery Lab located in Austin, Texas.

As shared by Apple in the same report, a recycler successfully recovered 1.4 metric tons of copper and gold from Daisy modules.  Need to mention, this is equivalent to 150 metric tones of mined ore. Perhaps this further inspired the team to onboard Dave, another robot that can disassemble the Taptic engine to recover steel, tungsten, and rare earth elements.  

Smarter Chemistry

Apple follows international design protocols to ensure that the utmost safety is taken while prioritizing manufacturing processes and materials. Having said this, the materials are prioritized based on their sustainability and impact over the long-term. In its 2023 environment report, Apple shared that more than 900 supply chain partners share their chemical information through a dedicated portal. As a result, till the year, they have collected chemical information for more than 45,000 parts. 

This smarter chemistry approach focuses on three main areas, including Mapping and engagement, Assessment, and Innovation. If we closely analyze, the mentioned areas are a chronological step to build innovation. Apple keeps the doors open for suggestions from its supply chain partners and maps whether the implications are followed religiously.  

The assessment subsequently helps it learn the feasibility of the vision that they have. Once it is affirmative, that’s when the product reaches the market with those materials, under the badge of an innovation.  

How the iPhone 12 is Environment Friendly?

Whatever we learned so far applies to all of the products made by Apple. However, at its ‘Hi, Speed’ event, Apple emphasized how the iPhone 12 lineup contributes to environmental safety. Its environment report for the device claimed that this is the first smartphone with 100% recycled rare earth elements in the magnets. But many users still have the question, How iPhone 12 won’t damage the environment? I tried to learn about its materials and production cycle for better understanding. The following chart will help you have a sneak in their production cycle.

The mentioned emissions are calculated using ISO 14040 and 14044 methodology for life cycle assessment and are based on iPhone 12 64GB.  

The entire cycle mentioned above goes as per the points we mentioned earlier in the article. The only difference is with the figures. Let’s have a look at some key numbers. 

iPhone 12 is made using 99% recycled tungsten, and 98% recycled rare earth elements.

The production cycle utilizes 100% renewable energy from the beginning to the end.

The device is energy efficient. This means it consumes 53% less energy than the battery charging standards set by the US department of energy.

The smarter chemistry section we mentioned above has its distinct essence here. The iPhone 12 series devices are free from chemicals like arsenic, mercury, brominated flame retardant, PVC, and beryllium.

While 93% of packaging is done using fiber, 100% of the wood fiber used is recycled. The duo adds commendably to the brand’s vision.

How Is This Beneficial for Users?

Apple has been a risk-taker, and perhaps no other brand can gamble its user-base to bring a change and save the environment. Also, kudos to the buyers that believe in Apple’s vision. However, still, there might be many how this entire thing will benefit the users. 

Let’s not forget that our planet is going through a storm of natural calamities every year. These are the result of the disturbance we have created in the name of innovation. Renewable energy and recycling processes eventually play a vital role in subsidizing the damages and giving us a better place to live.  

Now and then, Apple would announce to either remove earphones from the package or the adapter. All these steps are part of a more excellent vision. While these things helped the company minimize its packets’ size, they ensured that new buyers don’t have to shell-off a lot of money to buy the missing accessories. To do so, they lowered their prices.  

The need is to look at the bigger picture instead of finding minor loopholes based on assumptions. Apple doesn’t come forward and gives clarifications because it has maintained the utmost transparency by releasing annual reports. The only need is to surf through them.  

Or maybe you can ask Siri, “How Apple is contributing to saving the environment?” after all, a friend in need is a friend indeed.  

READ MORE: –Apple’s First-Ever Laptop: An Origin Story

Author Profile

Mayank

Mayank is a published author and a tech-blogger with over ten years of writing experience for various domains and industries. At iGeeks, he mostly writes about blogs that solve user-problems and guide them on unleashing the full potential of their Apple Device. He can often be found with his headphones on, typing to the rhythm of some country song.

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The Best Cases For The Iphone 12 Mini

Technically speaking, the iPhone 12 mini isn’t the smallest iPhone Apple has ever made. However, it certainly feels small in the hand. As such, you may need a case to help keep it safe.

So we’ve put together a list of some of the best cases you can pick up right now for the iPhone 12 mini. Each of the cases are available now, offering a range of designs, protection levels, and price points. So let’s just get right to it.

Related: check out our roundup of the best cases for all iPhone 12 models

The best iPhone 12 mini cases Spigen Ultra Hybrid

The Spigen Ultra Hybrid case is designed to be thin and lightweight, but still offer up plenty of protection for daily use. It has a durable PC back and a TPU bumper, and it’s crystal clear transparency (on the back) means you can still show off your iPhone 12 mini’s original color.

There are raised bezels on the front to protect the display, and raised bezels on the back to help protect the rear cameras. The case offers cutouts for the speakers and Lightning port, and the pronounced buttons on the side make it easy to feel them and press when needed.

The Spigen Ultra Hybrid case is available now from Amazon in several colors: Crystal Clear, Red, Matte Black, and Sand Beige.

Buy Spigen Ultra Hybrid iPhone 12 mini case for $11.99 – $13.99

Apple Silicone Case

Apple’s back with another silicone case for its newest iPhones. This one for the iPhone 12 mini will fit perfectly with the small handset, and offers a silky, soft-touch exterior that should feel great in the hand. Meanwhile, inside there is a microfiber lining to help prevent scratches with daily use.

Apple says the case has a “magical” attach and detach experience, which is due to the MagSafe support in this case. It has precision magnets in the case to help the accessory attach to the iPhone 12 mini. Those magnets also make it so the silicone case supports wireless charging through MagSafe.

Apple tests the silicone case over thousands of hours. The silicone case from Apple is available now from Amazon in Kumquat, White, Plum, Pink Citrus, Cypress Green, Deep Navy, (PRODUCT)RED, and Black.

Buy Apple Silicone iPhone 12 mini Case for $49.00 – $49.99

Totallee

The Totallee thin case for the iPhone 12 mini keeps things minimal. It is only 0.02 inches thin, so it’s not going to be adding any bulk to your small iPhone. So if you purchased the iPhone 12 mini for its pocketability, this case will certainly help with that goal.

There is a raised lip around the cameras on the back, helping to protect them through daily use. This thin case is designed to fit perfectly with the phone, so it will have a snug fit and not peel off over time. There are cutouts not only for the Lightning port and the speaker on the bottom, but also the side buttons as well.

The Totallee iPhone 12 mini case is available now from Amazon in Green, Frosted Black, Clear (soft), Navy Blue, and Frosted Clear. However, keep in mind that some cases will be in stock at a later date, while others are available now.

Buy Totallee iPhone 12 mini case for $39.00

OtterBox Commuter Series

The OtterBox Commuter cars for the iPhone 12 mini will add a bit of bulk to your small iPhone. However, it offers plenty of protection for the trade-off. For instance, it features a lasting antimicrobial technology on the outer shell that helps prevent the build-up of common bacteria. That includes a silver-based growth to stop the growth of bacteria.

The exterior buttons on the case are pronounced, making them easy to press. There are ports for the speaker and the Lightning port for when you want to charge with a wire. The inner area of the case is soft to help prevent scratches with daily use.

The OtterBox Commuter case for the iPhone 12 mini is available now from Amazon in Aqua Sail, Blazer Blue, Black, and Pink.

Buy OtterBox Commuter iPhone 12 mini case for $39.95

Apple Leather Case

The Leather Case from Apple will fit nice and snug in the iPhone 12 mini. It’s made from specially tanned and finished leather, and it will develop a natural patina over time. It’s soft to the touch and should be comfortable to use over time with daily use. And thanks to MagSafe, it will snap or detach quickly and easily with the precise magnets. That means it supports wireless charging as well.

It’s not a thick case, but it will help protect your device from small drops and what not. And the inside of the case  is soft as well, making sure not to scratch the handset.

The Leather Case for the iPhone 12 mini is available now from Amazon in (PRODUCT)RED, Saddle Brown, Black, Baltic Blue, and Black.

Buy Leather iPhone 12 mini case for $59.00

Gear4

The new MagSafe-compatible case from Gear4 is designed to offer a clear case so you can still see the color of your phone, while offering up plenty of protection. The case offers up 13 feet of drop protection, the Crystal Palace Snap case is constructed from D30 Crystalex. And Gear4 says the case won’t yellow over time due to the materials being what they are, even with daily use.

The case from Gear4 is also made in part from recycled materials, so it’s an eco-friendly case as well.

The major benefit is the MagSafe compatibility. With this, Gear4’s case works with MagSafe attachment accessories, including wireless charging. The case also “snaps” into place thanks to the built-in magnets. So even with the case installed, the iPhone 12 mini will still see perfect alignment for the best possible wireless charging speeds (dependent on the wireless charger, of course).

The Gear4 case is available from Amazon.

Buy Gear4 Crystal Palace Snap case for $41.89

Apple Clear Case

If you want to go with a clear case, and want to pick up an Apple-official option, then here you go. The case is manufactured from a blend of clear polycarbonate and flexible materials. It will fit exactly onto the iPhone 12 mini, and fit right over the buttons so they are easy to use. Meanwhile, the interior and exterior of the case have a scratch-resistant coating to keep the phone safe for daily use.

The case also features an anti-yellowing coating as well, so it shouldn’t get discolored over time.

And, as you can see from the image above, it features MagSafe technology as well. The Clear Case will attach magnetically to not only other MagSafe accessories, but also MagSafe wireless chargers. It will perfectly align with a wireless charger to offer the best possible wireless charging. It works with Qi-certified chargers, too.

The Clear Case for the iPhone 12 mini is available now from Amazon.

Buy Apple Clear Case for $49.00

Speck

Here’s another clear case option (there are a lot of these for the iPhone 12 mini), but this one’s from Speck. It’s a company that has made a name for itself over the years by building some top-notch accessories. The Presidio case is no exception. It offers plenty of protection, while keeping a slim profile. And while the case has a clear design (except the Obsidian color options), it also offers a pop of color, too.

The Speck case features the company’s IMPACTIUM shock barrier design, which means it can survive a fall from up to 13 feet. The clear coating will resist discoloration over extended use periods, and it won’t yellow, either. And with Microban, the case will remain clean even with daily use.

Raised bezels will help protect the display and the rear cameras.

The Presidio case from Speck is available now for the iPhone 12 mini in Clear with Gold Glitter/Clear, Clear/Atmosphere Fade, Clear/Black, Clear/Clear, Clear/Clear Grip, Clear/Rosy Pink, Clear/Vintage Rose, Obsidian/Obsidian, Obsidian/Obsidian Grip.

Buy Speck case for the iPhone 12 mini for $37.29

Mous

The Mous case has a lot going for it. It’s thin, so it doesn’t add bulk. It’s designed to offer up superior drop protection. And it has its own magnetic features built right in. However, it’s worth noting that this is not a MagSafe accessory. So while it can work with a MagSafe wireless accessory, it won’t line up perfectly and it can’t wirelessly charge as quickly as a MagSafe-compatible case.

With that in mind, the Mous Limitless 3.0 case does offer up the company’s own magnetic charging technology called AutoAlignPlus. This will work with Mous’s other magnetic accessories, including a suction mount, a wireless charger, and a card wallet.

With Mous’s AiroShock technology, the case can survive plenty of falls. The case offers raised bezels to protect the display and the rear cameras. And, finally, the cases are made from high-end materials.

The Mous Limitless 3.0 case is available now from Amazon in Bamboo, Black Leather, Aramid Fibre, Speckled Black Leather, and Walnut.

Buy Mous Limitless 3.0 for iPhone 12 mini for $49.99

Review: Here’s Why The Moft Flash Has Become My Favorite Magsafe Wallet For Iphone

Moft recently launched its newest Apple accessory: the Flash dual-purpose MagSafe wallet for iPhone. Along with carrying two to three cards, the clever design means you’ve also always got a handy stand for both portrait and landscape use. After spending the last month with it, here’s why the Flash has become my favorite wallet.

Moft Flash MagSafe Wallet & Stand specs

MagSafe connectivity

Made with soft vegan leather

Storage for 2-3 cards

Bi-fold/flip design with open window for quick display/tapping of cards

Adjustable stand angles, portrait or landscape use

Available in night black, hello yellow, oxford blue, windy blue

Price: $34.99

Materials and build

Moft Flash in hello yellow

The Moft Flash MagSafe Wallet has a solid build quality with a very nice vegan leather. It’s soft right out of the box – even a bit softer than Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet (which I’ve had for going on two years).

The stitching quality is precise and clean – again I would put it on level with Apple’s Leather Wallet and the hinge is made from what looks like steel hardware.

The very inside of the wallet where your cards live has a soft fabric with the outer-inside area made from a smooth rubberized material – similar to Apple’s silicone cases but not as sticky.

Cleverly, this design is just 3/32 of an inch (2.3 mm) thicker than Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet with the Moft Flash offering the super handy stand functionality.

Left: Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet, Right: Moft Flash

I’ve found Moft’s MagSafe magnets to be as strong as what Apple uses in its wallet too.

Moft Flash Wallet in use

As I gave away with the title, the Moft Flash has become my go-to wallet. I just love the valuable form and function.

You’re not giving up a slim wallet for the extra features and there is a range of benefits I’ve found over Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet.

I enjoy having a flexible iPhone stand always on hand and Moft Flash offers a nice amount of flexibility to get the right angle. Here are a few shots of that:

The other nice part of this design is the open window on the inside. It’s great being able to place your ID or an NFC/RFID card on the inside and have quick access to show or tap to pay, etc. without having to take your card out.

This design means you also just flip up the wallet – even slightly – to push your cards out. That’s nice as you don’t have to fully remove the wallet to use cards as you do with Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet.

Even though Moft recommends carrying two cards with the Flash, I found you can do three, it’s just a snug fit.

Best iPhone MagSafe wallet conclusion

Pros:

Super slim bi-fold design

MagSafe connectivity with built-in stand

Easy access to cards or to show ID/use NFC

Great price at $34.99

Cons:

With 30 days of testing, I don’t yet know how this will age/hold up compared to Apple’s Leather MagSafe Wallet but so far so good!

All things considered, I give the Moft Flash a 5/5 rating for its great features, build, and price.

You can pick up any of the four colors direct from Moft or the black on Amazon.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Digital Advertising Is Not The Next Internet Bubble – Here’s Why

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

For decades, marketers have been trying to achieve the “holy grail” or marketing perfection: reaching the right person, with the right message, at the right time.

And throughout that time, generation after generation of marketers have come away with the same realization.

What is simple in theory is maddeningly difficult in practice and near-impossible at scale.

Behavioral Advertising

The holy grail is finally within reach.

Shifting the outcome of a presidential election.

Building dozens of “unicorns.”

Helping thousands more companies survive a once-in-a-generation pandemic.

But does it really work?

Or is it all just a fiction?

In his forthcoming book, “Subprime Attention Crisis,” Tim Hwang (the former policy director at Google) argues that the entire digital ad business is built on a series of frauds, which if exposed could bring the digital economy to its knees.

Wired recently reviewed Hwang’s book – and it is this review on which I’ll base this article.

As I understand it, Hwang’s argument goes something like this (also, this is an exciting opportunity for me to put that logic course from college to good use):

The digital economy plays a central role in the health of the overall economy.

If (5), then by (2), digital ad prices will fall.

If (6), then the profits referenced (3) will no longer exist.

Hwang’s argument seems reasonable and logical.

But (as with everything) things are not exactly as they appear.

Let’s take each premise and examine it – then return to the overall argument.

Does Digital Advertising Deliver the Value It Claims?

But perhaps this is due to a fundamental misunderstanding about the value of an ad, to begin with.

Hwang claims that the value of an ad is a user’s “putative attention” (which he claims is as worthless as a toxic security of 2007) – I’d argue that definition is incomplete.

When you buy a digital ad, you’re buying the probability that the ad contributes to a positive outcome that has some value (X) to your organization.

In short: you’re buying expected economic value (“EEV”).

Given that each organization is unique, the positive outcomes desired are unique, as are their economic values, risk tolerances, and the associated probability density functions.

Are All Ads the Same?

But this is less than one-third of total digital ad spend amounting to $333.25 billion per eMarketer.

What else is there?

There are also:

Private marketplace deals.

Each one comes with its own challenges, targeting and bidding processes, set of control levers, and level of transparency/accountability.

So, What’s the Value of an Ad?

And herein lies a critical difference between ad units and subprime mortgages – the value of the underlying asset in each case is fundamentally different.

On one hand, a subprime mortgage is a loan, with a set value (the principal), an expected return (interest rate), and a third-party assessment of risk (a rating).

Wired, in their articles, notes as much – and suggests that a more apt comparison would be comparing MBS to the stocks of Google and Facebook.

Unfortunately, this comparison also falls short – if for no other reason than stock prices rarely (if ever) reflect corporate fundamentals in the way the MBS prices reflect the value of their underlying assets (the mortgages that comprise the MBS).

This does (in some ways) resemble how algorithmic trading has come to dominate segments of the financial sector, but it is important to note that just because something is algorithmic, automated, or opaque does necessarily mean that it’s bad.

All it means is that additional scrutiny is warranted to ensure the automation performs as expected.

But What About the Waste, Fraud & Abuse (WFA)?

But while each of these is (in my opinion) a suboptimal business practice, none of it is new.

What about non-viewed impressions?

These rankings use calculated panel data to approximate how many people are watching a given show at a given time. But that’s all they are. Estimates. Extrapolated from sample data taken at a given point in time.

Even if we grant the estimation’s general accuracy, how many of us continue to sit on the couch during commercial breaks, eyes glued to the screen?

Likewise, many traditional ad units come with various forms of “shadow” pricing for agencies or media buyers – from commissions paid to the agency to a gross/net spread to various kickbacks (surcommissions, over-riders, backpools, volume deals, discounts, etc.).

This practice is, and has been, known for years.

And as with the above, I find it obscene.

It’s important to note, however, that this issue tends to be concentrated with holding companies and large agencies, who see it as an alternative revenue source at a time when their other fees are being squeezed.

Agency Holding Companies have engaged in various forms of media arbitrage for decades.

This isn’t new.

The ad units have changed, the nature of the arbitrage has changed (from “upfronts” back in the TV days to the arbitrage of programmatic ad space we see today) but the fundamentals are the same.

But they aren’t new.

Brands have caught on to many of these tactics – including CMOs of prominent brands like Proctor & Gamble – who have publicly shared what they’ve learned.

While these shady practices are being exposed and (hopefully) phased out, it is important to remember that these deals account for only a small fraction of all programmatic ad buys, which themselves account for a small fraction of total media spend.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

What About the Bad Data?

This is especially true given the mountains of data being fed into platform bidding algorithms, both from:

Platform-enabled trackers (cookies, pixels, tags, app data and the like that capture online activity).

This data is of varying quality, accuracy, and relevance – and mixing it all together can have disastrous consequences to the overall accuracy of the data.

As an analogy, consider what would happen if you were to mix perfume with odorous excrement – the result is would still be quite unpleasant.

The same thing happens with great data is augmented with poor data.

And when that poor data enters other ecosystems, it can pollute those as well.

Making things more complex is the fact that this process is often automated, with many machine learning algorithms defaulting trusting the validity of the data being inputted and assuming that the view is complete (i.e., that all relevant data is included within the set).

Both of those things are almost never true – so most of the data that flows through these algorithms is somewhat flawed.

As a practical consequence of this, many algorithms are quite good at flagging when a user’s purchase intent rises, but dreadful at pinpointing when it falls.

While this is a specific example, it’s illustrative of the broader issue:

Ad dollars being wasted (directly or indirectly) on users who simply are no longer relevant to the brand in question and are not going to buy.

The cynic in me believes this is intentional. After all, having larger “in-market” audiences expands auction participation, and in so doing, would seem to make platforms more money (more bidders = higher bids = more money for ad platforms).

The technologist in me believes that (i) fusing massive data sets in near-real time, each of which is generated by sources of varying quality and (ii) then relying on those data sets to understand user intent and behavior is an insanely difficult problem to solve in a vacuum – and virtually impossible at scale and without perfect information.

All data deteriorates – there’s no escaping this – the question is how effective are platforms at removing rotten data before it pollutes more of the data set.

To me, the more relevant question is: does that really cause as big a problem as Hwang suggests?

After all, in Hwang’s argument, the flawed data is akin to bad coordinates being passed to a Tesla rocket – just a small error is sufficient to result in a big boom.

This seems fundamentally misguided.

To illustrate why, consider an alternative analogy: betting on a game of roulette.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, placing a $1 straight up bet (a bet on the ball dropping on a given number – all of which pay out 35:1) in a U.S. game of roulette (38 spaces – 18 red, 18 black, 2 green) comes with an expected value of -$0.053 (35*(1/38)+(-1*(37/38)).

In the short term, you could win a bunch or lose a bunch in a row, but over the long term, you’ll likely lose about a nickel each time you bet a dollar on a specific number.

Ironically, the rate of hitting on a straight-up bet is about the same as an average online conversion rate (~2.6%), making this analogy all the more appropriate.

So, where does data come in?

Data – even data of mediocre quality – can help remove spaces from the roulette wheel by filtering out non-winners.

Even removing a single space cuts the expected value loss in half.

Remove just a quarter of the board (9 spaces), and you’ve shifted from losing $0.053 per play to gaining $0.25 on every spin.

Bad data is just less reliable in removing bad spaces (and maybe removes some winners, too).

Great data is more efficient and effective at removing bad spaces from an audience.

No.

Regardless of what any marketer tells you, there’s always a bit of luck involved in a positive outcome.

What About the House of Cards Created by Digital Advertising Profits?

Newspapers will collapse without the lifeblood that is ad revenue.

Pandemonium will reign supreme.

In my view, this is both laughably and demonstrably false.

Others include:

Subscription services (newspapers have embraced this recently).

Freemium models.

Direct sponsorships/private deals (i.e., influencer agreements, private marketplace deals, direct deals).

Affiliate links.

Direct ecommerce.

And if you find all that unpersuasive, there’s always history: whenever a platform rises to prominence (either in the real world or the virtual world), businesses have been willing to pay a premium for the opportunity to reach those individuals.

Today, those platforms are online – and more than ever, people are turning to the internet for everything from research and product discovery to shopping, schools, employment, and more.

According to recent stats:

The average U.S. adult spends about 451 minutes (nearly a full work day) with digital media.

The average smartphone user touches his/her phone more than 2,600 times each day.

87% of purchases start with an internet search.

The centrality of the internet to our lives is increasing with each passing day – and (as they always have), brands continue to vie for a chance to capture just a small fraction of our attention while we’re there.

But What If Hwang Is Correct?

Even if Hwang is correct, and even if the entire $106 billion programmatic industry goes to zero overnight, the loss won’t cause a great recession or anything close to it.

The stocks of ad tech giants like Google and Facebook will surely feel the pinch in the short-term, but long-term, they’ll do what they’ve always done: find ways to leverage their data + audiences to generate revenue for their shareholders.

While $106 billion seems like a big number (and it’s objectively a lot of money), it’s worth mentioning that banks booked 5-10x that number per year in subprime mortgages from 2005-2007 (and plenty before then), with the size of the MBS-fueled market rising to nearly $10 trillion – about 40% of the entire global consumer credit market – between MBS, CDOs, Synthetic CDOs, CDO-Squared, and related securities by 2007.

The programmatic industry is a drop in the proverbial bucket relative to the consumer credit market – and one with far less centrality to the global financial system.

So, Where Does This Leave Us?

Returning to his initial argument, it’s pretty clear that Hwang is wrong about (1), (2), and (3) – and when those premises fail, the conclusion no longer logically follows.

Good news, crisis averted!

But there’s more to the story than just a guy with a flawed thesis.

To many of the readers of Search Engine Journal, I’m preaching to the choir on this point – but it bears repeating.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Hwang’s book brings more attention to these matters – and spurs more brands to scrutinize their digital media plans, purchasing, and efficacy reporting.

But does any of this entail that digital ad technology is the next internet bubble?

Hardly.

On the whole, it is improving (mostly) over time – largely due to major ad tech platforms building better, more accurate, and more complete data sets (which comes with its own set of issues, which Kirk Williams discussed here).

My only hope is that, as you run over them, don’t mistake a pothole for the Grand Canyon, as Mr. Hwang has done in his recent book.

More Resources:

Bitcoin: Was The Chinese Mining Crackdown Really About The Environment

The recent miner exodus from China has been one of the biggest bumps the Bitcoin ecosystem has faced since its inception. Initially marketed as a response to rising ESG concerns due to energy usage by miners, the Chinese crackdown entails much more. Its implications have been far-reaching as well, affecting both the market and network immensely.

The biggest impact on the network has been a loss of hash rate. Since reaching an ATH on 13 May, around 50% of the hash rate, which is almost 90 exahash, has been plugged out of the network. A mid-range estimate of energy powering that is around 5-6 gigawatts, and going back to the ATH is going to be a long road.

In a recent podcast, The Block’s Asian region editor Wolfie Zhao also pointed toward the effects this has had on the market. Most of it has been from the side of miners, who have had to sell off their holdings and exit the space. He said:

“A lot of the miners in 2023, when they were expanding their mining equipment or infrastructure, they borrowed a lot of money, taking leverage using their bitcoin. I think right after the crackdown came, there was a lot of pressure on them from their loan providers or LPs in terms of liquidating the collaterals.”

Authorities have also been worried about cryptocurrencies disrupting the economic order and facilitating money laundering. Analysts have even concluded that Beijing suspects that Bitcoin could prove to be a strict competition to the digital yuan under development. On the issue, Zhao said:

“After 2023, when they issued the ICO ban, and the market has been pretty much going down in the following years. Retail investor interest picked up in China after the ATH at the end of last year. It’s getting a lot more financial risk.”

Moreover, while the exchanges are still functional, the banks have been barred from funding OTC trades threatening serious repercussions. Hence, new money hasn’t been entering the Chinese market as an OTC trade is required at some point by any new investor to convert their fiat currency into tether. Although leverages and futures have not been affected, Zhao added.

Nevertheless, a silver lining has emerged for the United States amidst all this chaos. While many miners have exited the business, many others are looking to flee to other regions where regulatory environments are more inclusive. Zhao stated that:

“So far the US has a better regulatory environment to do business, there is a public appeal legal system, there’s like a process. I guess people consider that as a big factor… The miners want to move out but they can’t find enough facilities and capacity.”

Additionally, the U.S. comes second only to China in terms of energy generation capacity. While Kazakhstan and Russia are also being considered as new mining hotspots, North American countries can also provide the miners with a familiar environment and language.

Stressing on the implications of the ban, the editor concluded:

“When people say China FUD, they tend to fudge it off thinking this is just another ban… But I think people probably underestimated the seriousness of the whole thing at the very beginning this time.”

Why You Should Wait For The Iphone 5

I was wrong about the iPhone 4s. I said it would be great. I predicted it would be the best phone ever built. The truth, it turns out, is that the iPhone 4s kind of sucks.

There. I said it.

And I might be wrong again with the headline for this column. I don’t have much faith in Apple to get it right for the upcoming iPhone 5, either. The iPhone 4s has shaken my confidence in Apple’s legendary ability to bang out hit after hit.

My confident, bullish prediction about the iPhone 4s was based on Apple consistently improving on each new iPhone upgrade, and on the company’s stellar achievement in getting the iPad so right the first time, and so super-right the second time.

The iPhone 4s is the first stumble by Apple since the company launched the original iPhone in chúng tôi me, there’s only one reason to buy and own an iPhone 4s: Siri.

Apple’s Siri voice-based virtual assistant technology is flawed, but well worth it. More on that below. First, let me tell you why the iPhone 4s isn’t the phone Apple said it would be at their October 4 launch.

The iPhone 4s should be a better phone than the iPhone 4. Looking at the specs, and the list of new features and capabilities, it should be everything the iPhone is, plus better, faster and easier to use.

Some aspects of the iPhone are better. Siri is very useful. Some of the accessibility features are fantastic, even for people without disabilities.

Beyond that, the phone is harder and more annoying to use than the iPhone 4 was. Here’s why.

I haven’t run objective tests, but I do have some “anecdata” for you: It feels like it has half the battery life of the previous phone. Personally, I can’t get through an entire day without charging it.

Again, this is unscientific, but the battery problems appear to be caused primarily by iOS 5. The reason I say this is that my wife installed the upgrade on her iPhone 4, and that phone also took a huge hit in battery life.

Other reasons are likely to be that Siri is always loaded and ready and battery consuming when you use it. Find My Friends, which is Apple’s Latitude-like family-and-friend stalker application, is constantly hitting the network.

These are all nice features. But being able to turn the phone on is also a feature, one that becomes unavailable when the battery dies. The battery life creates problems for iPhone 4s users.

The camera was supposed to be great, the best camera in any cell phone. Sometimes it is. But usually, it’s not.

That last bit, the “reduced motion blur” is flat-out wrong. Apple claims that because they say the camera has image stabilization. But this feature is undetectable in real life.

If you’re outside on a sunny day, or are taking pictures of subjects that aren’t moving, the iPhone 4s takes really great pictures. But reduce the light even slightly, and with your subject in any kind of motion, and your pictures will be so blurry you’ll simply delete them.

Most of the pictures I take with this phone are unusable because of motion blur. I can’t detect any image stabilization in videos, either.

I took better pictures, on average, with the camera in the iPhone 4.

The yellow is turned way up. As a result, the screen is unappealing to look at. Blues look greenish. The overall appearance of the screen is somewhat nauseating to look at.

Some say the problem affects mostly black phones, and not white ones.

When I put my old iPhone 4 next to a new black 4s as well as a white one, it was clear that the white 4s was a little too yellow, and the black 4s was way too yellow. It was also clear that the iPhone 4 screen has much better color than the new phones.

You expect improvements with new phones, not regression. But that’s what you get with the iPhone 4s — especially the black one — a reduction in screen quality.

Personally, I intend to exchange my black iPhone 4s for a white one.

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