9/12: Five Things In Tech You Need To Know This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things that happened in tech this week that have will impact your business.

Apple reveals new products and updates.

A big media event showcased the company’s new iPhones (now pressure sensitive, and feature new gestures with 3D touch and a better camera), a new Apple TV (which includes a remote that has touch screen and Siri functionality and a new operating system which opens up Apple TV to developers), a bigger and more powerful iPad Pro and a more robust Watch OS2 that will have more robust native apps, a fancy new Hermes watch band and two new watch faces.

How this impacts your business:  Apple still remains consumer driven but you and your people are relying more on mobile apps that are driven through iPhones and iPads, so the greater the functionality and power, the more your company can accomplish.  Also keep an eye on the Apple Watch because it may actually deliver some unique business applications some day.  Really, I mean it!

Android Pay is released. 

In a blog post, Google announced its rollout of Android Pay so that your customers can use their Android phones to pay at over one million locations across the U.S. Android Pay also stores gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on a user’s phone. The company is committed to adding more features, banks and store locations in the coming months, making it even easier to pay with an Android phone and says that Android Pay works with all NFC-enabled Android devices (running KitKat 4.4+), on any mobile carrier, at every tap and pay ready location across the US. And that Android Pay will support credit and debit cards from the four major payment networks: American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. The application will come preinstalled on new NFC-enabled Android phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

How this impacts your business:  someday, someway, customers are going to be paying for purchases using their mobile devices.  If you are a merchant or accept credit cards you’re going to need to be prepared to accept payment from customers’ iPhones and Android devices.  With Android Pay, that date is getting closer.

Microsoft confirms that Office 2016 is being released this month.

It’s official.  Per this report, the new Office will be available on September 22:  A number of key updates are coming with this latest version, including collaborative coediting features which have been available to Office Online users for a while. This basically allows multiple desktop users to work on documents at the same time and see all updates in real-time.  Office 2016 will also simplify the process of syncing documents from the desktop to the cloud, making it easier to edit the same document on multiple devices. Microsoft’s cloud credentials are a specific focus for chief executive Satya Nadella, who announced back in June that creating “the intelligent cloud platform” was to be one of Microsoft’s three key investments.The company also announced a new promotion for its Surface Pro tablets for business through partnerships with HP and Dell.

How this impacts your business:  When was the last time you upgraded?  Office is still by far the most popular application around for business and Microsoft continues to integrate its function into all aspects of your business, from accounting to collaboration to CRM.  And the Surface continues to gain traction as a great business device too.  Looks like you may need to revisit your technology budget for 2016.

Amazon extinguishes the Fire Phone. 

Know anyone who has an Amazon Fire Phone?  Neither do I. So it should come as little surprise that the company has discontinued the device, once touted as a much less expensive alternative to the iPhone and Android with special tie-ins to all things Amazon for easy purchases and information.  In this report it was noted that Amazon has been reorganizing its hardware lab and laying off a number of engineers. The Fire Phone’s discontinuation doesn’t mean that Amazon is done making phones forever, but you can expect something very different if it ever tries again.

How this impacts your business:  Hey, even Amazon makes mistakes.  All successful entrepreneurs fail until they succeed.  And even after they succeed they fail again.  Smart companies like Amazon know when to cut their losses and move on to the next project.

A vending machine dispenses fresh, hot french fries.

A Dutch collaboration has created a vending machine that dispenses cups of freshly cooked fries in less than two minutes.  God, I love technology.

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