360° IT Check #51 - US Chip Race, An Update on Next.js Layouts, (Potential) New Music Streaming Platform, And More!
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360° IT Check #51 - US Chip Race, An Update on Next.js Layouts, (Potential) New Music Streaming Platform, And More!

Aleksander Jess
Senior Content Marketer & Technical Expert
Jason Neale
Lead Generation Specialist

As the USA Is Investing in Chips, So Is the Rest of the World

In a move to make the USA more silicon-independent, the country has decided to invest heavily in chip making. The efforts of the North American country are not to be ignored – we are talking about $77 BILLION in “subsidies and tax credits.” Other nations around the globe had undertaken similar efforts much earlier, however.  

Decades ago, Europe and the US were both much bigger players than they are now. Currently, “the U.S. is roughly 30% pricier than Taiwan, South Korea or Singapore to build and maintain an advanced chip factory over a decade, according to SIA. The gap with China can be as high as 50%.”

The investment comes during the time the industry senses good times are ahead. “It [the semiconductor industry] approved some $153 billion in capital expenditures in 2021—about 50% more than before the pandemic started and double the levels from five years earlier, according to Gartner Inc., a market researcher.”

The Bottom Line

The move from Americans may be seen as too little too late. The US historically was always strong in this sector – with notable examples of TI, Nvidia, and Intel. The issue here is that the competition is never sleeping. Countries such as China or South Korea were trying to overtake the country with the capital in DC, and they did. Moreover, China also pledged to spend more in various forms of support. “China offers cash subsidies, preferential financing and tax breaks to its chip companies. It is providing funding worth more than $150 billion, based on an SIA estimate on the government spending from 2014 to 2030.”

If the U.S. wants to accelerate, then they need to do more than what they agreed on, if they want to still be respected in the area, and have some prospects in the industry. The country is lucky, because it has at least two giants in the industry, though without public help they could be overtaken by Eastern companies.

Amazon hikes Prime prices in Europe

Amazon has announced price increases for its Prime subscription service in various European markets. The price hikes differ depending on the country, with the highest price increases in some markets to 43%.  

Germany, Amazon's second-largest market after the U.S., will see a price hike of 30%, while the U.K. will get a 20% increase. The most significant increase goes to France at 43%.

Amazon has justified the cost increase by highlighting its expanded offer over the years and not raising prices in some markets for over five years. The new prices will take effect on September 15 for all new subscribers and renewals.

Amazon raised prices in the U.S. earlier this year and highlighted increased costs for wages and transportation in addition to the increased member benefits as reasons for the higher price for Prime.  

Bottom Line

The cost of everything seems to be going up this year. With inflation numbers hitting records in countries around the world, energy prices increasing with a winter Armageddon on the horizon, and workers asking for higher pay to compensate, businesses are looking to balance their books.  

Amazon does offer a plethora of services for their Prime subscription, and if you are an active user of Amazon's services, they are worth it.  

The question will remain, how much will the household budget be able to maintain all these price increases? Some subscriptions will undoubtedly be cut, with evidence of other services like Netflix seeing a drop in subscribers.

An Update on Layouts in Next.js  

The most popular React framework out there released a Twitter thread showcasing progress on the new set of features having to do with layouts.  

https://twitter.com/nextjs/status/1549841497822056454

The progress we could see on the videos is quite promising. The new features seem to be working, though we can’t tell how stable everything is, yet.

The Bottom Line

As we have already written before, Layouts have the potential to fix the most pressing issues of Next.js, and all users will benefit greatly: faster hydration, faster time to first byte, and others.

Some developers likened the changes to an attempt at copying the design of Remix, though in the open source world that’s not a bad thing at all. Remix itself copied the file-system-based routing system of Next.js, along with Nuxt.js and Sveltekit.

More Than 200 Car Patents and no Apple Car?

The story of an Apple Car is probably old news. The company has been filing patents regarding automobiles ever since 2010s. What is impressing, however, is the number of said granted applications. Right now, the number is at 248, and it is expected to grow.  

Patents cover self-driving technology, riding comfort, seats, suspensions, navigation, battery management, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity for car-to-car communication, and more. Apple has filed the most patents related to communication and navigation, followed by autonomous driving.

The Bottom Line

Observers expect Apple to revolutionize cars the same way the organization from California revolutionized mobile phones. Having only one pedal, being a self-autonomous vehicle, perhaps the engineers from the company have still some way to go until they have a working product. The key is to get it to “just work.” We won’t be seeing anything before that. Not to say that Apple never failed (they did).  

Spotify and Apple Music could face major competition...from TikTok?

TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for "TikTok Music" sparking rumors of a new service provided by the short video clip application.

This news shouldn't be a massive surprise, since TikTok has been linked to music since it was first called Musical.ly. Between the conspiracy theories, humblebrags, and various other content on the app, the heart of the app has always been short video dance clips.  

ByteDance has already ventured into the music streaming service space with a separate app called Resso, launched in 2020 in India, Brasil, and Indonesia.  

Resso is directly linked with TikTok in these countries and provides a seamless transition from the app to their music streaming app. When a user is interested in listening to the entire song featured in the short video clips, the app will take them to the full song. A great way to keep users in the ByteDance ecosystem.

Although there is no official announcement of a new app, the rumor mill is spinning. ByteDance applied for a trademark for the same terminology in Australia last Winter, which won't help put the speculation to bed.

Bottom Line

This newish direction looks to be a smart move for the music-centric app. The U.S. music streaming market is projected to be worth US$11.4 billion in 2022 and US$15 billion by 2027. So there is still plenty of room for ByteDance.  

Considering that over 50% of U.S. TikTok users are under the age of 29, with 30% not even old enough to buy alcohol legally in the States, there is a large group of potential users for the future. It's an excellent opportunity for TikTok to evangelize its users who may not have become loyal subscribers to Spotify, Google Play Music, or Apple Music.

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360° IT Check is a weekly publication where we bring you the latest and greatest in the world of tech. We cover topics like emerging technologies & frameworks, news about innovative startups, and other topics which affect the world of tech directly or indirectly.

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