Consumer Electronics

Why Elon Musk Could Be Forced to Build a Smartphone

Rumors of Apple and Google banning Twitter from their App store could trigger Musk to develop a smartphone – and the controversial tech genius says he’s ready.

Reinstating Twitter Accounts

The most controversial move by Musk since his acquisition of Twitter has been the reinstatement of former President Trump’s Twitter account. Musk did so based on the results of his own Twitter poll, tweeting teh news with, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

Although Trump has not indicated any interest in returning to Twitter, and it has been over a week since Twitter restored the account, Musk has faced tremendous flack.

Musk says “Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.” Musk also reinstated other accounts, including those of professor Jordan Peterson, Babylon Bee, Project Veritas, Kathy Griffin, and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account.

Apple and Google Banning Twitter From App Stores

The possibility of Apple and Google banning Twitter from their App store could trigger Musk to develop a smartphone.

In a Washington Post article, Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law’s cyberlaw clinic, said, “Apple and Google need to seriously start exploring booting Twitter off the app store. What Musk is doing is existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities. It’s like opening the gates of hell in terms of the havoc it will cause. People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, and celebrations of violence. I can’t even begin to state how dangerous this will be.”

Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, in an op-ed for The New York Times, said, “There is one more source of power on the web – one that most people don’t think much about but may be the most significant check on unrestrained speech on the mainstream internet: the app stores operated by Google and Apple.”

Twitter has acknowledged the risks posed by the Apple and Google platforms. The Form 10-Q SEC filing in 2021 by Twitter states “Our release of new products, product features and services on mobile devices is dependent upon and can be impacted by digital storefront operators, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play Store review teams, which decide what guidelines applications must operate under and how to enforce such guidelines. Such review processes can be difficult to predict, and certain decisions may harm our business.”

App stores banning social media apps is not unprecedented. Once heralded as a Twitter replacement, Parler was banned from the Apple App store in 2021, shortly after Google also banned it from their Play store.

Monday Musk mentioned that “Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.” He also created a new poll asking everyone to vote if Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affects their customers.

Collision Course Between Twitter and App Stores

Last week, Phil Schiller, responsible for Apple events and the App Store, deactivated his Twitter account. Schiller regularly used his Twitter account to promote new Apple products, services, software, and initiatives. He also frequently interacted with customers through the platform. His account has had a following of over 200,000 people since it was created in November 2008.

Monday Musk called out Apple for halting advertisements on Twitter with a question, “Do they hate free speech in America?” He tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook in his tweet, demanding an explanation.

Musk has complained about the high app store fees as he plans to increase the amount of money Twitter makes through subscriptions. Apple currently charges between 15% and 30% of digital sales as app store fees.

In response to a Slashdot article regarding Google paying $360 million to Activision not to launch a rival app store, Musk tweeted, “App store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly. It is a hidden 30% tax on the internet.” In a follow-up post, he tagged the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, which is reportedly investigating app store rules.

Twitter reported $5.08 billion in revenue in 2021. If subscription growth meets Musk’s goal, hundreds of millions will be funneled to Apple and Google, reducing the profit margin for Twitter.

Tesla Model Pi Phone

Elon is no stranger to innovation. He is the founder of SpaceX, The Boring Company, and Neuralink. He has also had tremendous success as the CEO of Tesla, which propelled him to the top of the billionaires‘ list.

Investors who placed their faith in Elon Musk and his innovative capabilities have been handsomely rewarded. Over the last five years, Tesla increased in value by over 760%, handily beating investing in the S&P 500, which rose only 55%.

The Tesla smartphone has been the subject of rumors since March 2022, primarily driven by unofficial mockups on YouTube and Twitter.

Back in 2020, Musk squashed rumors of him creating a smartwatch and phone in a tweet, citing them as “yesterday’s technology.” Musk did hint, “Neuralinks are the future,” indicating that the current technology platforms are no longer at the cutting edge.

Only when Tesla confirms details about the Pi Phone will there be a reason to believe in its existence. The rumors list multiple features that read like science fiction.

  • Controlled by thoughts using Neuralink
  • Charging via a transparent solar panel on the back of the device
  • Starlink connection for the smartphone

The technology for some of the features has yet to be ready for mass production.

Musk is notoriously secretive, so it’s not unlikely that a Tesla Model Pi could appear in the next few years.

Since smartphones are still making a lot of money and Tesla is one of the most popular tech companies, there could be high demand for a Tesla smartphone.

The Pi phone is highly unlikely soon. However, Musk might be forced to create a simpler smartphone version if Apple and Google boot Twitter from their app store. In response to Liz Wheeler, Musk tweeted, “I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone.”

This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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