Rock stars party, MCs invest

In the world of music, rock stars party while MCs invest.

Following the launch of Jay Z’s new VC vehicle, Arrive, earlier this month, we did a data pull on how music industry moguls spend their ducats. And hip hop artists are way ahead of rock stars when it comes to making tech investments, according to an analysis of Crunchbase data.

There are more than a dozen hip hop and pop stars in the Crunchbase data set who have invested in startups. Several of them have only done one deal or last invested years ago.

About six, however, are pretty consistent investors or are deeply enmeshed in the tech scene. Rock stars, by contrast, weren’t prolific investors, with the occasional exception like U2’s Bono, a co-founder of media and technology investment firm Elevation Partners.

 On the hip hop and pop side, here’s a rundown on the top celebrity investors and the deals they’ve done.
  • Snoop Dogg: Snoop’s portfolio is interesting because it contains investments in both cannabis and caffeine. It remains a matter of medical debate whether these two substances are a complementary or toxic combination. As investments, however, both appear to be growth sectors. Snoop is a co-founder of Merry Jane, a media site for the cannabis lifestyle, and a founder of Casa Verde Capital, an investment firm that has backed marijuana delivery service Eaze and pot packaging provider FunkSac. He’s also a backer of social media site Reddit and invested in the chain Philz Coffee, sports content startup GameOn and commission-free stock-buying platform Robinhood.
  • will.i.am: Though still most famous as a rapper, musician and founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am is well-known in techie circles, too. He’s founder of i.am+, a Hollywood-based technology company that developed a smartband and recently rolled out hip-looking Bluetooth earphones. He’s also made investments in Honest Dollar, a retirement savings app, and startup incubator Shellanoo Group, according to Crunchbase.
  • Nas: In addition to selling millions of records, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, has been a remarkably prolific investor, holding stakes in at least 42 startups, according to Crunchbase. Like Snoop, he’s invested in Philz Coffee and Robinhood. More recent investments include DoseDr, a mobile app for diabetics, and Exo, a maker of protein bars containing cricket flour. In addition to making personal investments, Nas is a partner at QueensBridge Venture Partners, a Los Angeles-based early-stage tech investor.
  • Chamillionaire: Much like his musical career, Hakeem “Chamillionaire” Seriki’s turn as a venture investor started out on a very lucrative note. He participated in a $1.5 million Series A round for digital media talent scout Maker Studios in 2010. The company sold to Disney a few years later for upwards of $500 million. Chamillionaire liked venture capital so much, he signed on as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Los Angeles VC firm Upfront Ventures two years ago.
  • John Legend: The Grammy-winning R&B singer is a co-founder of Bungalow Clothing, a seed-funded online clothes shopping service that pairs customers with personal stylists. He also invested in a Series A round for Thrive Market, a socially conscious online food retailer, and Gobbler, which offers media project management tools.
  • Jay Z: The rapper and business mogul has both a large portfolio of investments and a track record for generating exits or big follow-on rounds. In January, Sprint bought a 33 percent stake in Tidal, the online music service he co-founded, paying around $200 million according to some media outlets. He also participated in a $5.2 million Series A round for air travel startup JetSmarter, which closed on $105 million in Series C funding in December. His entertainment company, Roc Nation, has made a number of early-stage investments, too, leading to its involvement this month in the launch of Arrive, a platform for developing and funding startups.

Jay Z isn’t the only one on the active investor list who has invested in early-stage companies that have gone on to raise larger rounds. Snoop, for instance, joined a $10 million round for Eaze in 2015, and the company went on to close a $13 million round the next year. Legend, meanwhile, participated in a $33 million round for Thrive, which went on to raise $110 million a year later.

Still, when it comes to return multiples, it will be hard for anyone to top Chamillionaire’s Maker Studios investment. If he keeps making those kinds of deals, many are predicting he’ll have to change his name to Chabillionaire.

Clarity Money raises another $11 million to help users improve their financial health

Founded by serial entrepreneur Adam Dell, Clarity Money makes a personal finance app that aims to help users lower their monthly bills and improve their financial health along the way. Just three months after launch, the company is announcing another $11 million in funding from RRE Ventures and Citi Ventures.

Clarity Money uses machine learning and AI to identify actions its users can take to reduce spending or lower their costs. After downloading the app and linking up checking and credit card accounts, the app provides suggestions for subscriptions they can cancel, bills they can potentially negotiate lower and refinancing options that might be available to them.

The key value prop comes from reducing the friction associated with taking action on one’s finances. That means not only educating users about what’s happening with their money, but also enabling users to unsubscribe from services or take advantage of affiliate offers with a single click.

The company makes money from refinancing or low-interest credit card offers that people choose, but maintaining user trust means ensuring any decisions they make are in the consumer’s best interests. “We want to make sure people trust Clarity Money to present an option that is better for them,” Dell told TechCrunch.

To expand its business, Clarity is announcing another $11 million in Series A financing. That follows a $3.5 million seed round that the company raised eight months prior, from investors that included RRE, Bessemer Venture Partners, Soros Capital and Maveron Ventures.

 Having known Dell for about 25 years and having invested in his previous startup MessageOne, RRE Ventures managing partner Stuart Ellman was an early investor in Clarity. But he decided to double down on Clarity Money after Dell built out his team and brought the product to market. “Adam has the maturity and the gravitas to cut the deals they needed,” Ellman said. “This is a combination of the right product and the right people needed to roll this out.”

Citi Ventures managing director Luis Valdich also talked up the caliber of the team Dell has built. While Citi Ventures typically invests in companies that are a little further along, Valdich said he was impressed by how quickly Clarity Money was growing.

Their investment comes just three months after Clarity launched to the public. In that time, the company has already had more than 100,000 users sign up and link an account in the app. As a result it’s analyzed more than $10 billion in transactions and on average has saved users $300 by helping them cancel subscriptions.

Apple gives indie gamers a permanent home on the App Store

Breaking into the App Store can be difficult enough, but for small-time mobile game developers it’s even more of a challenge as they go up against billion-dollar, global publishers who dominate the top charts, like Supercell, Activision Blizzard, Niantic, EA, Tencent and others who can afford to invest millions in marketing budgets and advertising. Apple is now hoping to level the playing field a bit, by giving indie games a new and highly visible home on the App Store.

Throughout the week, Apple has been highlighting indie gamer content in a dedicated section on the App Store’s home page, where it often features new releases, favorites, staff picks and other recommendations.

This hub, dubbed “Celebrating Indie Games,” includes a number of new releases and debuts from independent game developers, but also some of the best, all-time titles for iOS gaming. Further down the page, indie games are further broken down into category spotlights – like lists of those with “incredible sound design” or “unforgettable stories,” for example.

The selections were chosen by the App Store’s Editorial team, and include a mix of both paid and free-to-play titles.

Initially, this collection appeared to be just another promotion meant to give indie titles a push. Apple often hosts featured collections like this on its App Store in order to showcase new releases, interesting apps and other exclusive content.

The launch of the hub was preceded by other promotions on indie games, including discounts and other prominent placements for new, indie releases. Apple said it would be highlighting indie titles throughout the month, from March 9th through 20th.

However, according to a tweet posted on Thursday by the App Store Games Twitter account, the indie games hub will be a permanent installation on the App Store, after the promotional period wraps. In March, Apple suggested its refreshing the content in the indie hub daily, but presumably that pace will slow when the “Celebrating Indie Games” push ends.

For indie developers – that is, those who are small, self-published, and self-funded, according to Apple’s definition – the change could greatly impact their discoverability on the App Store. A dedicated section for finding these titles offers developers a way to get in front of potential new users, without having to pay for App Store Search ads, or other ads on sites like Facebook.

Games remain one of the most popular categories of apps and account for the majority of App Store revenue. According to data from Sensor Tower, more than 80 percent of all money earned through Apple’s App Store came from mobile games in 2016. App Annie’s figures were slightly lower, at 75 percent of all App Store revenue.

Last year, mobile gaming also was poised to take a larger share than PC gaming with $36.9 billion in revenues, up 21.3 percent worldwide, Newzoo’s report said.

The promotional efforts seem to be working. Currently, titles like Botnicula, Surgeon Simulator and Prune – all of which are being featured in the new hub – are sitting high on the App Store’s Top Paid Apps chart at #7, #1, and #5, respectively.

LinkedIn open sources Flashback, a tool for mocking internet traffic

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals that is now owned by Microsoft, is making one of the tools that it has developed in-house for its own work open for use by others. The company today announced that it would be open sourcing Flashback, a tool for mocking internet traffic for developer tests, under a BSD two-clause license.

In a blog post, LinkedIn said that it had been using Flashback to test things like reliability, scalability, and speed on new code before deploying it more widely. You can see an example of how it works here.

Flashback was based on Betamax — not the old video standard, but a another tool developed to mock actions of web services and REST APIs in developer tests by “intercepting HTTP connections initiated by a web application, and then later replaying them.” (‘Betamax’ because it was inspired by another tool, the VCR library for Ruby.)

The key difference, write creators and LinkedIn engineers Shangshang Feng, Yabin Kang, and Dan Vinegrad in a blog post, is that Flashback can work in an isolated environment, whereas Betamax, like other proxies, requires internet connectivity to work.

“Flashback is designed to mock HTTP and HTTPS resources, like web services and REST APIs, for testing purposes. It records HTTP/HTTPS requests and plays back a previously recorded HTTP transaction—which we call a ‘scene’—so that no external connection to the internet is required in order to complete testing,” they write.

The reason for building a tool that didn’t require a connection to the internet was because of problems they encountered when using Betamax. These included the fact that LinkedIn’s test environment does not have internet access for security reasons; and the code had use cases that required authentication protocols like OAuth and OpenId, which required complex HTTP-based interactions that didn’t work with Betamax replays.

 This is not the first time that LinkedIn has outsourced some of the code that it originally developed for proprietary purposes. For example, in 2015, it also outsourced FeatureFu, a toolkit for building machine learning models.

The reason that LinkedIn open sourced FeatureFu was because it was no longer seen as a “business differentiator” for the company. That may have been the case here, too, but so was the fact that when LinkedIn presented the tool publicly, they saw requests from the developer community to use it for their own projects.

While LinkedIn is open sourcing Flashback, it’s also going to continue to work on it to expand its functionality — which could also point to what LinkedIn itself may be working on down the road for its 465 million users.

“We’d like to see if we can support non-HTTP protocols, such as FTP or JDBC, in the future,” they write, “and maybe even give users the flexibility to inject their own customized protocol using the MITM proxy framework. We will continue improving the Flashback setup API to make it easier to support non-Java languages.”

Feel the unique experience of bubble animation brought to tab via Java script advanced

Presently, rich, interactive and flexible web pages are a necessity today. To achieve all these things in a visually appealing website, javascript advanced and Ajax training is a must. In an effort toprovide with ample choice for enthusiastic learner, there is a vast library and frameworks available that helps youstructure a user friendly website.The training in the said course will proffer you to develop attractive and effective web portals. The main focus of the training is to help students with building interactive and visually attractive web applications.

Image result for Feel the unique experience of bubble animation brought to tab via Java script advanced

No wonder during the training period he will be able to get all the information that is needed to develop web applications. Out of ample frameworks he will be able to select the most suitableone and then write the code that facilitates easily maintainable, accessible and manipulated websites. JavaScript Advanced and Ajax Training in Sanjose helps in understanding basic and complex techniques that are a necessary part of developing a web portal. He gets to know about the models and collections and vent driven interfaces along with basic concepts of Java script and complex applications.

All through training period the student is taught the technics for organizing the coding using the JavaScript. All necessary stepwise instructions aregiven. Doubt sessions and training helps him iron out doubts and by the end of the learning session, he is able to create websites that are  appealing and attract visitors.

JavaScript Advanced and Ajax Training in Sanjosewill help in grasping

  • The difference between the modern and web applications.
  • Internet applications are taught to him.
  • Each and every programming feature is made easily understandable to him.
  • As JavaScript consists of many frameworks, the training facilitates how to use this framework for superior applications.
  • Training is provided in such a way that a student is able to create zero-error websites.

Experienced and trained professionals teach in such a way that the understanding of every concept becomes easier and is fully soaked in by the students. With the use of Ajax training he is able to fetch information from the net and effectively displays it on the web portal. The training is a sure pick by the programmers, developers, website designers, students and website developers. It also helps them do more creative things in their smart gadgets like giving bubble like expression to the tab, thus making it grab attention from the users.

If you are aiming to step into the world of web development then this is your pathway that will provide you with all necessary information starting right from the beginning till you are able to create your own websites. Enough demo and practice sessions are given to the students so that they understand each and every step and confident enough to develop a website.

Situation analysis for scaled agile

IT professionals are facing challenges every day. This particular industry is moving at such a pace, that new courses and certifications are ready to come in your dreams every night. With the new presentation of framework from Scaled Agile, things are becoming easier and significant for the firms. You might have been suggested for the Scaled Agile Framework Certification. that is the reason why you are here. However, before deciding whether to go for the training or not, try to identify the features of the framework and also find the related benefits from those. This will give you the complete idea, why you need the training.

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Updating feature

Every framework is constantly updating itself, with back-end researchers and programmers constantly working on it. Now, these updates can make your work even more easier. Scaled agile is ready to allow you the auto update features. This will reduce your planning time significantly. Downtime planning takes a lot of time – you know that very well. When that down time is shield and made faster, the entire process will be updated on every use. This is in fact, a key area, why companies do prefer agile framework.

VPN setup

It is important to accelerate the hardware function. As you will be working on the framework, more pressure will be felt on it. This will result in more pressure. Scaled agile is deep into the acceleration part and that is going to give you a perfect high performance over secured WAN connection. Better connectivity over WAN essentially means that you are deriving maximum from the framework. With agile you are getting that support at ease.

Traffic handling

More and more use of the framework is surely going to put pressure on the server, since traffic will make it congested. Being an user, you need to get the management service to work out with the traffic congestion. This is going to make the service even better in the future, Scaled agile is ready to manage the traffic in the server and that will help you work with different protocols at ease. You can continue working on the same without any sort of congestion.

Route setup

As server load will increase, you start facing connectivity issues. A proper management of the same is your necessity. When you go through the Scaled Agile Framework Certification In London, you will find that a continuous optimization of the route is going at the back-end of Scaled Agile. This is indirectly making the service quality improved for every use. Reliability in connection will increase and that will ultimately make the service faster than that was before.

Hence, one thing is very much clear – Scaled Agile is going to rock the IT world. If you wander around some information, you will fin that it has already started rocking. Hence, your task now will be to go through the training and make yourself ready for the demand of corporate firms. It career is always on, when you are under some or other training. Get trained in the latest tools – you will be deriving more value from your skills.

How to get the perfect appearance of masculine characteristics?

In the ongoing world, there is the requirement of perfect body appearance and people have become more conscious about it. Nowadays, it has become a trend to maintain the body but maintaining anything is not like a dime a dozen and its quite tough to maintain things properly. Apart from the healthy diet, what else is required for the perfect body or can say for the appearance of masculine characteristics?

For having the appearance of masculine characteristics, one requires adding the steroids in their diet. When talking about the steroids, let’s rephrase one thing that the steroids are the essential part of bodybuilding and it maintains your body appearance. When talking about these from the point of sports, it’s illegal and it’s prohibited to the players to take it but the normal people, who want to cut down the fat from their body and want to enhance their look, they can use it.

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Which is the best steroid for building the masculine character?

One of the best steroids for this work is Winsol. It is a quite famous steroid that works efficiently and rigorously to enhance the body look.  This is a legal drug that one can take as per the prescription. It increases the strength, ability and the endurance level of the body. It really cut the fat fast and work very prominently.

The effects of Winsol on body-

This drug reflects significant effects on the body and it plays a great role in building the body-

  • It increases the stamina as well as the endurance level and also works more on cutting the fat.
  • It aids in gaining the solid mass and also helps in increasing your work-out time.
  • It enhances the physical look and also improves the vascularity.

Is Winsol harmful to body?

Well, if this drug is taken from the point of view of prescription, this won’t be causing any problem. This drug is safe and secure from the health point of view and till now no bad results are found. There have been many people, who have used this drug and they all are very happy with the result they have found.

Where to buy this drug?

This drug is available at both the platform, online and offline. In few countries, this drug is not fully allowed means if you desire to use this drug then you need to have the prescription for it but in many other countries this drug is allowed so, one can easily find it from the online stores.

Deduction-

The drugs play a significant role in our lives; it’s quite hard to maintain a body without their use. But the guidance of the specialist is also needed, so whenever heading off for buying any of the drugs for the body must consider the advice of the doctor or the gym trainer. Everyone loves to have an enhanced and smart body look but also keep in mind that you shouldn’t use something that can be like you are compromising your health.

Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Others Decry Trump Action on Transgender Student Rights

US companies led by tech firms Yahoo, Apple, Alphabet, Dell, Microsoft, and Facebook criticised the Trump administration’s decision to revoke Obama administration guidance that allowed transgender public school students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Others Decry Trump Action on Transgender Student Rights

Their statements evoked the opposition expressed by many businesses last year when the state of North Carolina passed a law that forces transgender people to use public restrooms matching their gender assigned at birth.

The resulting boycotts have cost North Carolina more than $560 million in economic activity, according to the online magazine Facing South.

Companies lacked the same opportunity to protest with their dollars in this instance, since the Trump administration action pertains to schools, but still signalled they stood with the Obama policy of using the federal government to expand transgender civil rights.

“It’s ultimately going to come down to the business community to stop it because it’s so bad for business,” said Christopher Gergen, chief executive of Forward Impact, an entrepreneurial organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In unveiling the new direction on Wednesday, Trump administration officials argued that transgender policies should be an issue for the states to decide.

“The action taken by the administration is troubling and goes against all that we believe in,” Yahoo said in a statement.

Social conservatives have hailed the decision by the Justice and Education departments to defer transgender bathroom policies to the states, calling it a victory for privacy and traditional values.

But companies have tried to persuade state and local governments to side with transgender people.

“We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals,” Apple said in a statement.

Microsoft President Brad Smith looked to history as a guide, referencing the date that the Emancipation Proclamation took effect, when President Abraham Lincoln declared freedom for slaves.

“Since January 1, 1863, the federal government has played a vital role in protecting the rights of all Americans. Let’s not stop now,” Smith said on Twitter.
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey joined other tech firms criticizing the Trump administration’s position.

“Rolling back rights for transgender students is wrong,” Dorsey said in a tweet on Thursday. “Twitter and Square stand with the LGBTQ community, always.”

Alphabet said, “We’ve long advocated for policies that provide equal rights and treatment for all. We’re deeply concerned to see a roll back in transgender students’ rights.”

Dell said, “Dell team members receive fair treatment in the workplace regardless of race, gender identity or religion. We mirror that commitment in our corporate diversity and anti-discrimination policies. We look forward to working with state and local officials on policies that encourage fairness, economic growth and business development.”

Facebook said, “Facebook is a strong supporter of equality. We stand for ensuring equal rights for everyone, including transgender students, and will continue to advocate for more rights instead of fewer.”

IBM said, “”IBM has had an explicit policy of non-discrimination based on gender identity or expression since 2002, and we are opposed to discrimination in all its forms, including any policies that discriminate based on gender identity in education.”

Lyft said, “Removing protections for transgender students is wrong. We oppose this action and, as always, stand in support of the LGBTQ community.”

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff tweeted, “Let’s agree now to always love all our children, and that our schools will be safe places for all. #EqualityForAll”

In response to the North Carolina law, companies such as Deutsche Bank and PayPal canceled expansion plans, costing the state jobs.

By invoking states’ rights, the Trump administration is potentially emboldening legislatures in other states that are considering laws similar to North Carolina’s HB2.

T3 Drives: Volkswagen Tiguan is the most intuitive car we’ve ever driven

The Volkswagen Tiguan recently received a facelift along with improved efficiency, more space, and of course, a technology upgrade.

I’m a big fan of SUVs, and while this isn’t exactly designed for off-road use, just like the schoolgirl in the advert we couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and see if VW has created the ultimate compact SUV package.

VW claims the new Tiguan is cool, calm, and connected. Does this soft-roader live up to Volkswagen’s claims? Let’s take a look…

Features

Is it cool? We think it is! The updated Tiguan looks great (especially in Habanero Orange). It’s more modern, with sharper edges and a more boxy design. It looks more premium, and is a definite improvement over previous flabbier generations.

Is it calm? We drove a model with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive system which improves traction in challenging conditions, mated with 2.0-litre, 180PS petrol engine. The Tiguan is perfectly happy to calmly cruise down a motorway, but it’s also surprisingly fun to drive on twisty country roads as well. It’s a composed ride, and the automatic DSG gearbox is super smooth.

Is it connected? The Tiguan is surprisingly well equipped for a small SUV. There is driver assistance tech such as adaptive cruise control, park assist, electronic stability control, and lane assist, as well as an 8-inch touchscreen with Car-Net App-Connect and smartphone mirroring.

Our model also had an optional HUD, Dynamic Chassis Control and blind spot monitoring. So yes, it’s very connected, but what struck us was how intuitive the Tiguan is – this was the first VW I’d driven since a MKII Golf, but within five minutes of getting in I knew how all the controls worked – it’s a great UI.

Our Tiguan also had the optional 12.3-inch Active Info Display which replaces the traditional analogue speedometer. It’s a really clear, vivid screen, which plenty of options to customise the information on display.

The interior also reflects the car’s cool and calm nature. It’s not the most stylish interior we’ve seen, but it’s a functional, premium, and understated space to sit in.

Specs

Top Speed: 129 mph
0-62: 7.7 seconds
Engine: 2.0-litre TSI 180PS Bluemotion
Gearbox: 7-speed Auto DSG
Power: 180PS
Torque: 320 Nm
Fuel Consumption: 39.8 mpg
Carbon Emissions: 165 g/km
Weight: 2,150 kg

Performance

The Volkswagen Tiguan is comfortable, practical, and great to drive. Although it’s not the most engaging drive, the petrol engine and gearbox are smooth, and the optional Dynamic Chassis Control did a decent job of changing the car’s characteristics. It’s refined in most situations, and remains quite composed through corners.

Our review model featured 4Motion all-wheel drive, which also comes with underbody protection, as well as larger approach and departure angles. That’s handy to know, although we suspect most of these vehicles will never venture off-road.

If you want something with a bit more umph, VW also offers a Tiguan with a 237bhp 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine. This pumps out 500Nm of torque, and gets the SUV from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. That’s seriously speedy for an small-ish SUV.

 We were seriously impressed with the Volkswagen Tiguan, this compact SUV had plenty of tech inside to keep us entertained, and the ease of using said tech is unrivalled. The exterior and interior looks and feels premium, and we found the driving experience composed and capable.

It’s not perfect, however, there are more affordable rivals out there, and it’s not the cheapest to run. The price of the Tiguan also puts it up against rivals such as BMW and JLR, so brand snobs may want to look elsewhere.

Next Apple Watch might be charged by winding its digital crown

Running out of time before your Apple Watch battery dies? In the future, that may not be quite so big a deal, if a patent application from Apple bears fruit.

Apple’s “Connector-free magnetic charger / winder”, published by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office , describes a system which would see turns of a smartwatch’s digital crown converted into energy.

It’s a system that takes its cues from the world of mechanical watches, with a rotational magnetic field either moving an electric generator producing power for an internal battery, or winding a spring or coil to exert force on gears that produce energy in a system similar to traditional watches.

A crowning achievement

Apple’s current Watch line-up uses the crown to navigate its operating system, making use of light signals rather than the gears which used to be inherent to mechanical watches. But the system described here could be adapted to support both navigation and power generation.

The patent also describes how a similar system could be used to power smartphones or tablets, though notes that the winder would have to adapt its “angular velocity” between iPad and iPhone set-ups in order to generate substantial energy.

It’s not the first time Apple’s explored the area it would seem, with the filing acting as a continuation of an earlier patent. The coil component driving the power generator seems the part Apple is most keen to protect with this latest filing.

As with all patent applications, there’s no guarantee that this idea will ever go beyond the blueprint stage. Charging a tablet or phone this way seems particularly far fetched. However, if Apple could harness the idea in a way that would help stave off the full depletion of a battery at critical times (say during a long marathon run) with a few well timed turns, it’d be a great USP for Apple’s smartwatch line up.