Next in Tech - Apr. 8, 2023

April 8, 2023

Check out the piece and accompanying free launch NFT I shipped earlier this week about product launch NFTs!

Apple’s preparing to launch headsets, Twitter and Substack are at odds yet again, and Farcaster’s ecosystem and protocol are seeing some exciting new changes on this week’s Next in Tech:

Apple Headsets

Apple WWDC 2023

Apple recently unveiled that WWDC 2023, their annual developer conference where they’re rumored to be unveiling a mixed reality headset, will take place on June 5th. In a Bloomberg article covering this unreleased product, they explain that it’s a risky but potentially groundbreaking move for Apple, heralding mixed reality as its next major product category. At the conference, Apple is expected to showcase the headset, its xrOS operating system, as well as a software development kit and platform for developers to write new types of apps.

The conference will likely include a keynote presentation from the Apple Park campus streamed online, followed by hands-on time afterward at the headquarters. The headset launch could potentially change the way people interact with the world, offering a glimpse into the future where people interact with headsets instead of touch screens.

Twitter vs. Substack

Substack Notes

Substack and Twitter have been at odds this week, causing yet another stir in online communities.

First, early this week Substack launched a feature called Notes, which is their own version of short-form content like a tweet. It lets anyone on the platform leave comments or even share snippets of articles, which could work well given the platform has 35 million subscriptions and is becoming more popular than ever.

Second and more importantly, Twitter began flagging and blocking Substack links in an effort to support content creation directly on the platform. It also shows users with Substack links in their bios as blocked. This seems to be both a response to the Notes feature and a statement by Musk on his feelings about the platform, which seems to go against his vision for Twitter as an open digital town square. Sharing links is one of the most important things being done on the Internet, especially on Twitter, and so it would be a shock to see the platform take an even more hostile stance to external content.

Farcaster Corner

It’s been a fast-paced few weeks on Farcaster and so it only makes sense to have a Farcaster corner this week.

Jam released major updates to their mobile client that make it have feature parity with Warpcast. It also features the new sign-in mechanism, which routes users back to Warpcast to approve Jam as a signer, as opposed to making users import their seed phrase. In addition, Jam announced a feature called longcasts — expanding the cast length for users and storing the data on their own. It’s exciting to see a team shipping at such a fast pace and presenting cool new features.

Additionally, Farcaster co-founders Dan Romero and Varun Srinivasan held a Clubhouse room on Thursday. A topic that was highlighted in the space that I found particularly interesting was the idea of embeds, something I also touched on in a Farcaster post.

From what I heard in the Clubhouse room last night, each cast has two embeds at the protocol-level. Soon we'll see more native embeds that can let clients show more rich data. eg. instead of an OpenSea link for a NFT, you input the contract address/token ID/chain ID and the client can present a lot more info.

Another use-case that Dan mentioned -- which was timely bc/ of the new longcast feature by Jam -- is having a client quickly render long-form content from Jam/Paragraph/Arweave/etc in an instant, kinda like the instant reader view in Telegram Dan said Google AMP had hoped to be that snappy but they never got there.
Some other examples of embeds that Merkle team member Paul Fletcher-Hill touched on in GitHub discussions are YouTube videos, news articles, and casts.

Farcaster Embeds Discussion

What excites me even more is embeds enabling interactions across Farcaster-integrated apps. What if you could watch an Unlonely clip or RSVP for a stream directly from Warpcast? Or if you could see a graph with data generated from directly in a cast as an embed? There are infinite possibilities.

Interesting finds I’ve stumbled upon recently: