TIME Retail

6 Futuristic Retail Displays That Will Change Your Idea of ‘E-Commerce’

These digital displays merge online and offline shopping experiences

The death of the physical store has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, despite the growth of online-only giants, retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence still control between 94% and 97% of the market, according to Harvard Business Review. Half of the e-commerce pie is still squarely on their plates, and many are finding new ways to blend on and offline shopping, deploying technologies that mix and match experiences from both worlds. Below are six innovative displays that hint at how they might start slicing up the other half.

  • Bloomingdale’s Clothing To-Go WIndow

    Bloomingdale's Ralph Lauren
    Matthew Carasella—Bloomingdale's Processed with VSCOcam with e5 preset

    Bloomingdale’s Manhattan flagship store sought to convert passersby into paying customers this Father’s Day with six interactive window displays of Ralph Lauren clothing. Shoppers on-the-go could tap color swatches on a touchscreen facing the sidewalk. That same colored shirt, tie or pants would materialize behind the window. If they liked what they saw, they could text “POLO” for a link to a checkout page.

    “We wanted to create an interactive experience that would literally make you stop in your tracks with something theatrical and mesmerizing,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s Executive Vice President of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications.

    The experience also aimed to avoid slowing shoppers down — they could opt to have the clothing hand-delivered to the sidewalk, completing the entire impulse buy without ever setting foot in the store.

  • Rebecca Minkoff’s Interactive Dressing Room

    Rebecca Minkoff eBay Enterprise
    eBay Enterprise

    The mirror in the fitting room of Rebecca Minkoff’s SoHo store doubles as a personal shopping assistant, inviting shoppers to reflect (in every sense of the word) on which designer handbag suits their taste. A touchscreen display suggests alternative designs and colors. Shoppers can flip through their options, make a purchase or even adjust the mood lighting.

    “You can come in here and be completely anonymous, or you can get VIP treatment,” Minkoff told TIME in an in-depth profile of the futuristic touchscreens. The mirrors are powered by inventory management software from eBay. Users can see precisely what the store has in stock, rather than ask an assistant to go rifling through inventory “in back.”

  • Samsung’s Virtual Fitting Room

    SAMSUNG CSC
    Samsung SAMSUNG CSC

    Korean electronics giant Samsung unveiled a 55-inch LED display earlier this month that can drape a virtual necklace over the user’s reflection, among other interactive tricks.

    Retailers can then situate a “virtual fitting room” anywhere within a shopping center and lure customers into “trying on” jewelry and clothing without lifting a finger — well, maybe one finger to tap an item of interest. Three-dimensional cameras do the rest, mapping a floating image to the contours of shoppers’ bodies. Depth perception software developed by Intel helps secure the virtual item in place, “in order to deliver highly differentiated, exquisitely personalized customer experiences,” said Jose Avalos, worldwide visual retail director for Intel Corporation’s Internet of Things group.

    Retail is just the staging ground for the technology. Samsung envisions its smart mirror as a potential replacement to the typical silvered-glass mirror at home, which got its last technological overhaul circa 1835.

  • EBay’s Uncanny Personal Assistants

    eBay

    EBay has created an app called the Retail Associate Platform, which tracks a customer’s online shopping habits and arms retailers with an arsenal of personal information as soon as that customer walks through the door. As a result, sales assistants can have an uncannily personal conversation with shoppers, knowing, for instance, that they might be interested in a pink satchel that would perfectly match those new pink suede shoes.

    “If a customer walks in and doesn’t buy, the retailer has no idea they even exist,” said David Geisinger, head of retail business strategy at eBay Enterprise. “With this new technology, retailers will be able to gather more detail that can help them understand the customer and compete in a crowded commerce landscape.”

  • Microsoft’s Immersive Screens

    Microsoft

    Microsoft has a natural edge when it comes to deploying high tech displays in its retail stores, but it set a particularly high bar with a strip of wall-mounted LCD displays that wrap around the space, end-to-end, and can display a runner zipping from screen to screen in a continuous loop around the store.

    The display requires a specialized server that synchronizes the images as they play across the screens so the handoff appears seamless. The result is an eye-catching flow of information that’s as unmissable as a news ticker in Times Square.

    “Not only does the digital wall display beautiful images and provide an inviting and immersive experience, it is used to communicate ideas about how technology can be used to accomplish tasks, announce new trainings and entertain customers and includes localized information such as weather and events” Florin Gale, creative director of Microsoft stores, told TIME. “We even invite customers to play Xbox One on video walls in store, which are surrounded in directional sound that immerses the players in the gaming experience.”

  • Angry Birds Shopping Experience

    Dallis Willard—Orange Photography/Westfield

    Westfield Corporation unveiled a real-world version of the smartphone game Angry Birds at its San Francisco shopping center last month, proving that as much as retailers long to go digital, companies locked in the digital world may also want a room of their own.

    Game maker Rovio installed a gaming booth where shoppers could strap on Samsung Gear VR goggles and start slinging birds in three-dimensions. The booth was only an experimental display, one of many displays that Westfield Corporation set up for a showcase of innovative retail space uses. But it is perhaps the surest sign yet that the line between online and offline shopping could be relegated to a thing of the past.

TIME Gadgets

6 Action Cameras For Capturing Your Summer Fun

GoPro HERO4 Session
GoPro GoPro HERO4 Session

Adventures are fleeting, but memories can last a lifetime

Every summer has the potential to be an unforgettable one, but it’s up to us to get off our butts and make that a reality. Whether it’s in the mountains or underwater, there are adventures to be had all over the map.

But to look back on these days fondly — and clearly — you best be equipped with an action camera. Small, rugged, and always at the ready, these easy-to-use shooters can capture everything from breathtaking shipwreck dives to heart-stopping downhill runs, all without fiddling with your smartphone’s delicate touchscreen.

With plenty of action cameras on the market, there are good choices for every activity. Here are our picks for recording your favorite pursuits.

Made to Move:

Practically synonymous with “action camera,” GoPro is the first choice of extreme athletes and amateur thrill-seekers alike. And the company’s newest first-person-shooter, the GoPro HERO 4 Session, is sure to be a must-wear among these show-offs, too. 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the previous HERO 4 models (which were already impossibly tiny), this $399 cube-shaped camera has a 170-degree lens to gobble down all your death-defying feats in 60-frame-per-second, 1080p, high-definition style. Or, if you’re into slow motion shots, the 720p, 100-frames-per-second mode will reveal every wide-eyed, panic inducting detail.

With built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the Session’s clips will be ready to share via your smartphone in no time. And it’s even waterproof up to 10 meters — but if you’re taking it to the beach, you better invest in the floating case, because a camera this action-packed surely doesn’t float.

Read more: Hands-On With the Smallest GoPro Ever Made

Liked for Hikes

Able to withstand more cold (14°F) and bigger drops (6.5 feet) than you’re likely to face this summer (we hope), the $199 Pentax WG-M1 is one tough cookie. Dominated by an array of large, easy-to-press buttons, the camera’s dust-proof casing is great for a dirty day on the trails. Easy to clip onto the shoulder straps of a backpack, it’s ideal for hanging around until you’ve found something worth recording. Then its 14 megapixel CMOS sensor can gobble up all that amazing imagery.

With a 160-degree lens, it can capture widescreen 1080p video, and its rechargeable Lithium-ion battery will shoot for 150 minutes before throwing in the towel. And the WG-M1’s 1.5-inch LCD display can give you a peek at what you’re recording, so you know if you’ve got a dazzling vista or a solar flare until you reposition your shot.

Speed Freak Favorite

Adrenaline junkies and data wonks have one shocking thing in common: numbers. And to make the most of their highlight reels, daredevils can use the information and video recorded by the Garmin Virb cameras to amass their own collection of personal records. Able to calculate how fast, how far, and how heart-pounding the memories they’re recording are, the GPS-enabled $299 Virb X and $399 Verb XE action cameras are great for mounting on your body, board, or bike to create a true first person adventure flick.

With Ant+ connectivity, the camera can connect to a heart rate monitor, and with an onboard accelerometer it can keep track of how quickly you’re hurtling down a hill, through the air, or anywhere in between. Then, once the clips are collected, with Wi-Fi capabilities, the cameras can stream your media over to your smartphone for instant playback. So what’s the difference between the two? Speed versus more speed — the X shoots in 1080p at 30 frames per second, while the XE doubles the density at 60 frames per second.

Big for Stump Jumpers

Life moves pretty fast when you’re on a bike. To make sure you’re taking it all in, you’ll need a camera as quick as the Tom Tom Bandit. Like the Garmin Virb, this action cam comes from a GPS lineage, and because of that it’s loaded with built-in sensors able to detect speed, G-force, Altitude, Rotation, and even heartbeats (with the help of a third-party, Bluetooth chest strap).

But the canister-style camera is begging to be strapped onto some handlebars, making it an excellent choice for mountain bikers. Able to film up to three hours of video up to 4K quality, the Bandit has a pair of ingenious features that are sure to keep riders on their toes. First, the camera’s cable-free charging solution involves plugging the device’s “batt-stick” directly into a USB port (great if you happen to be toting an iPhone charger around). And second, the accompanying app’s shake-to-edit option lets users simply jiggle their phone to automatically create a montage of your best highlights of the day, all ready for posting online. Available soon in the U.S., the Bandit currently retails for £299 in the U.K.

Scuba Divers Buddy

When you’re under water, “keep it simple, stupid” is a good motto to live by, especially because when you’re battling nitrogen narcosis. The $199 Contour Roam3, with its straightforward controls, makes for an excellent diving buddy — especially because it’s waterproof to 33 feet without any extra protection or casing. Great for mounting on a dive mask (or other places), the Roam3’s lens rotates 270 degrees to make sure the camera is always even. And though the action cam lacks a screen (part of what makes it waterproof), it has a laser level to make sure your shots are on the up-and-up.

With a 3.5-hour battery, it will last in the drink longer than you will, but with no Wi-Fi-connectivity, you have to plug it into a laptop to liberate your 1080p videos. But the controls are what might save your life — or at least not scramble your brain. Just press the button to take a five megapixel photo, or hold it down to begin shooting video. That’s it!

Capturing on the Cheap

Having the latest and greatest specs is good and all, but why spend $400 when you can collect the same memories for a fraction of the price? The entry-level GoPro HERO is an excellent starter action camera, especially at its $129 price. For this cost, you not only get a small, 3.9-ounce, sturdy camera that can record in 30-frame-per-second 1080p high definition video, but it’s also compatible with the company’s line of mounts and cases. And since it won’t make as big a dent in your wallet, you’ll have more cash for other adventure gear, from water skis to scuba gear.

TIME technology

Photographing the Presidential Campaign With an iPhone 6

Brooks Kraft shares his tips to capture candid shots this election season

Photographer Brooks Kraft usually carries two camera bodies and four lenses with him when he covers a presidential campaign. This year, however, as six presidential candidates from parties descended on New Hampshire to campaign on Independence Day, Kraft left his cameras in his hotel room.

Instead, he went out with just an iPhone 6 Plus. “There are instances when I have to run or move quickly, and it was so much easier without the added weight,” he tells TIME, “not to mention trying to protect the gear swinging off my shoulders as I move quickly through crowds.”

It’s not the first time that Kraft has chosen to rely on an iPhone in his work. Last year, he photographed the Christmas decorations at the White House, where the subtler equipment meant he was able to capture more candid shots within the presidential residence.

This past weekend, his reliance on the iPhone proved useful when candidate Jeb Bush start running to keep up with a parade. “I was easily able to keep up with Bush,” says Kraft. “I became more aware of the impact constantly carrying the gear has on my mobility.”

Not only that, but Kraft says he was also able to capture images he wouldn’t otherwise. “With a DSLR, you are instantly recognized as a professional photographer, and sometimes people react quickly to your presence and either smile at the camera or turn away,” he says. “With the iPhone I found it was easier to move inconspicuously through crowds and capture moments, even up close, without impacting what I saw with my presence.”

Even the Secret Service had trouble identifying Kraft as a photographer. “At one point during the Clinton event, a Secret Service agent asked me if I was ‘media’ and asked me to display my credentials,” he says. “Campaign staff and security like to monitor (and control) the movement of media. There is frequently a lot more restriction put on the media then members of the general public in early primary events.”

This means that members of the public, sporting the same camera-equipped phones, have more opportunities to get photos of their favorite candidates. Kraft shares his tips on what to do and what not to do with an iPhone at such events:

  • Sometimes the most interesting photos do not include a candidate. Early primary scenes are full of colorful characters and iconic visual symbols of democracy in action. Because iPhones are so common, it is sometimes easier to capture natural moments with them than with professional looking cameras.
  • Shoot outdoors or in well-lit interior environments where the iPhone works best. Do not use the flash if possible.
  • Set your camera to shoot in the square format. This provides a nice contrast to the 2×3 DSLR format, and works well in some of the formal political environments. It also displays well on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.
  • Shoot wide views that show the setting, looking for angles that place a clean background behind the candidate. Signs and crowds right behind the candidate are distracting. For the same reason, avoid placing large objects or the backs of heads in the foreground.
  • Shoot close-ups. The iPhone is able to focus in very close to produce macro views.
  • Do not use the zoom. Because the iPhone does not have an optical zoom (yet), the image quality is poor when the lens is zoomed, and the aperture is also increased.
  • When there is action or a lot of movement, use the burst mode to get as many frames as possible. The iPhone does not always freeze movement unless it is extremely bright, and it’s best to have multiple frames to choose from.

Brooks Kraft is a freelance photographer based in Washington D.C. and a regular contributor to TIME. Follow him on Instagram @bkraft.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

Follow TIME LightBox on Instagram @timelightbox.

TIME Google Doodle

New Google Doodle Honors Monster-Movie Aficionado Eiji Tsubaraya

Google

Tsubaraya passed away in 1970, but his distinctive influence on special effects lives on

Want to know the man behind Japanese monster flicks Godzilla and Ultraman? Tuesday’s Google Doodle celebrates iconic film director Eiji Tsubaraya’s 114th birthday by allowing you to make your own short live action film through an interactive game.

Tsubaraya was one of Japan’s best known special effects directors. Through his monster movies, he coined a style called Tokusatsu, a Japanese form of live action film.

Tsubaraya passed away in 1970, but his distinctive influence on special effects lives on in films like Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and even the Power Rangers.

Through a series of ten steps, the Google Doodle helps you create a series of scenes for a short Tokusatsu monster film of your own. It includes giant stomping godzillas and even a superhero to fly in and save the day.

TIME the big picture

This Is Apple and Google’s Next Big Battleground

Inside The Google I/O Developers Conference
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Aparna Chennapragada, director of Google Now for Google Inc., speaks during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

The war for better artificial intelligence is only just beginning

For most of my 35-year technology career, fights over operating systems have dominated the landscape. First, it was MS-DOS againt the original Apple II OS. Then it shifted to Microsoft’s Windows vs. the Mac OS. Today it’s between Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Google’s Android and Chrome OS. These wars have become ideological, with fanboys and devout followers in each camp.

But there’s another fight brewing, too — the battle over artificial intelligence, or AI.

At Google’s I/O event this year, the company announced Now On Tap. It’s a new version of Google Now, which uses context to make your smartphone more useful. The idea here is that if you get a text from a friend asking to meet at a certain place, Now On Tap is smart enough to put that event on your calendar, give you directions to the rendezvous and serve you up a menu. It might even show the best nearby parking areas as well as stores that could be of interest.

A few weeks later at WWDC 2015, Apple announced a new version of Siri, giving the company’s digital assistant better contextual AI and search. And in May, Microsoft used its developers’ conference to launch an updated version of Cortana, another AI-based personal assistant that can take questions and put them into context to deliver better answers.

The consumerization of AI is set to be the next major battle in mobile as Google, Apple, Microsoft and more duke it out to offer shoppers the smartest smartphones. This fight will drive differentiation between devices, especially in mobile, where hands-free use is often critical. In an excellent piece in Fast Company, author John Brownlee asks whether user interfaces or artificial intelligence will win the day:

The thing is, Google knew something we didn’t. It knew that Apple’s taste was a temporary advantage. It knew that designing a host of functional, universally integrated services was harder than designing pixels. And in the protracted thermonuclear war between Apple and Google, which first started when the search giant launched Android in 2008, Google knew that ultimately, it would be AI, not UI, that would win the war.

On a personal level, the AI-assisted mobile future can’t come fast enough. My days have become packed with meetings, research and writing, and I admit that I tend to miss the little things. For example, I often head to an offsite meeting thinking I know where I’m going, only to get halfway there before realizing I’m lost. Too many times I’ve had to pull over, check my email and ask Google Maps for the way to go.

You might think I’m just unorganized. While that may be partially true, the reality is that I simply have information overload, and that deeply impacts my overall efficiency. And I have to admit my memory banks are overloaded, too. An AI-based personal assistant that anticipates my needs is something I would certainly pay for, and I suspect others would as well. For many of us, this could be our killer app.

Smartphone vendors can still differentiate around operating systems, design, and user interfaces. But I agree with Brownlee in that contextual, AI-based services will be where the biggest players in mobile — Google, Apple and others — make their biggest investments over the next few years. Users will start demanding more context-based services within the next two years. If done right, they could be a game changer for mobile devices, and will make life easier to boot.

Tim Bajarin is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists, covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. and has been with the company since 1981 where he has served as a consultant providing analysis to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry.

TIME apps

Your Instagram Photos Are About To Get Prettier

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Instagram
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Higher resolution photos are coming

Instagram photos have been stuck in 640×640 pixel resolution for as long as we can remember, but that’s finally about to change.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is getting ready to start displaying photos in 1080×1080 pixel resolution, according to The Verge. While Instagram hasn’t begun yet to display photos in that format, it has started to store them in that size, the source code of its browser-based version has revealed.

An Instagram spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that it’s indeed working to roll out the bigger format to its iOS and Android app. It’s unclear when all users will start to see their photos in the new resolution.

The higher resolution will likely improve the experience for many of Instagram’s 300 million users. Though the original format worked just fine when Instagram first launched in 2010, smartphone screens have since gotten bigger and better, begging for an upgrade on the photo side, too.

Read more: Instagram’s New Search Update Makes it Easier to Explore the World

TIME Web

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao: ‘We Screwed Up’

Users are furious at what Pao said is a "long history of mistakes"

Reddit Interim CEO Ellen Pao apologized Monday for a “long history of mistakes,” in an apparent response to the hundreds of thousands of the site’s users who have called for her to step down over management decisions.

“We screwed up,” Pao conceded in an announcement posted on Reddit. “We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes . . . The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit.”

Pao came under fire over the weekend when Reddit moderators — who are community volunteers, not company employees — began protesting the unexpected dismissal of Reddit’s director of talent, Victoria Taylor. Moderators said they had relied heavily on Taylor to host mega-popular Ask Me Anythings (AMAs), in which users can pose questions to influential or interesting people. Users and moderators speculate Taylor’s dismissal was related to a chaotic AMA she hosted with Rev. Jesse Jackson, though Reddit has denied the claim. (Reddit has not given a reason for Taylor’s dismissal.)

Outraged users also flocked to a Change.org petition demanding Pao’s resignation as CEO, which as of Monday afternoon had over 180,000 signatures. The petition, which was posted weeks before Taylor’s dismissal, accuses Pao of censorship and driving the website’s traffic into the ground. It also references Pao’s unsuccessful, high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, which denied Pao’s allegations and claimed Pao is “a manipulative individual who will sue her way to the top.”

In her apology, Pao outlined “three concrete steps” for Reddit’s future: to improve and build new web tools that complement moderators’ work, to improve administrative communication with moderators, and to allow moderators to default to the old version of search.

“I mean it when I say we screwed up, and we want to have a meaningful ongoing discussion,” Pao wrote. “I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now.”

Pao, formerly a junior partner at high-profile venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, joined Reddit in 2013. She became interim CEO late last year.

TIME space

What I Learned Watching SpaceX’s Rocket Explode

It felt terrible, but lives will be saved in the future

By now, everyone knows the outcome of the story. On the morning of Sunday, June 28, SpaceX CRS-7 launched in spectacular fashion from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Just two minutes and 19 seconds into flight, the Falcon 9 rocket and cargo-laden Dragon capsule exploded above the Atlantic ocean, incinerating approximately 4,000 pounds of supplies to be delivered to the ISS. The cause remains unknown.

Rundowns of the items aboard CRS-7 have been circulated throughout news reports and abbreviated in terse, 140 character tweets: student science projects, privately-funded experiments, food, water filtration systems, hardware, oxygen. The astronauts aboard the ISS are safe until October. The Russians launched a resupply mission last week; the Japanese have one set for August. Surely we can’t all fail.

I watched the Falcon 9 lift off that sunny morning in June while standing atop an empty causeway at Kennedy, as close as any civilian could hope to get to a launch. By the time CRS-7 failed, it was only a small speck of light high above my head. I squinted into the bright sun and craned my neck, turning to the woman beside me and asking: “Was that separation or an explosion?” We weren’t sure.

When the failure was confirmed by nearby NASA employees, I felt a sinking in the pit of my stomach, like waking up from a good dream and feeling it all slip away. Thankfully, there were no humans aboard the Dragon capsule that day. But all American space missions in today’s experimental age of public-private partnerships are defined by a sense of potential, carrying a degree of hope — the hope that one day, blasting equipment and human beings out of Earth’s atmosphere could be as routine as a neighborhood grocery run. While CRS-7’s failure won’t single-handedly kill that dream, it does remind us that future is a little father off than we might have thought.

I was on site at Kennedy to witness the launch that morning thanks to something called a NASA Social, part of a program run by the space agency’s public affairs department that invites high-profile social media users to get the same access to a launch or other major event afforded to the credentialed press.

On the morning of Friday, June 26th, approximately 48 hours before launch, 30 people assembled in the nondescript Press Annex that sits on site at Kennedy Space Center in direct view of the famous VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building). I was among them, an eager participant in NASA Social. Investment in unconventional social media ambassadors is nothing new for NASA. Its Curiosity Rover has been sending updates from Mars via a colorful Twitter account that boasts nearly 2 million followers, more than most sentient beings. But allowing space geeks with little connection to mainstream news outlets access to an otherwise inaccessible experience is a smart exercise in public relations.

“Our target audience is humanity,” NASA Social Media Manager John Yembrick told us of the NASA Social program. Our group was stuffed with such strange bedfellows as PhDs in theoretical physics and geology, a former wrestling star, a fashion photographer, Florida natives and a woman who flew from Australia. Human beings with vastly different skill sets and social audiences united for three days to furiously tweet, post, share, like and tag every second of the adventure.

We spoke with the likes of NASA Chief Scientist for the International Space Station Dr. Julie Robinson, SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann, and Microsoft’s Alex Kipman, who arrived carrying a HoloLens augmented reality headset he hopes will revolutionize communication between astronauts and Earth. We met young students who described an experiment they would launch on CRS-7: a genius proposition to use earthworms for trash composting aboard the space station. We toured the facilities where spacecraft are assembled and parts are created. We saw the second of two identical International Docking Adaptors meant to standardize the ISS docking process for different companies and countries; the first was already loaded on the ill-fated Dragon, now lost.

If NASA’s goal with the NASA Social program is to pay service to the Space Believers while cultivating new ones, it’s a rousing success — the sense of potential was palpable among the group. But none of that energy can change this immutable rule: space is hard, and we have much to learn. In his reply to my Facebook post about the loss I felt after watching the Falcon 9 rocket disintegrate into oblivion, NASA Astronaut Ron Garan offered the following: “The lessons learned from the failure will save lives down the road when Dragon launches crew.” He’s right, of course. But it’s still difficult to get swept up in the excitement of space travel, only to be confronted with an explosive reminder of how far the future remains.

Erin Sharoni is a Creative Strategist at biotech startup InsideTracker, a writer for DJ Mag and an electronic dance music DJ and producer.

TIME

Why GoPros Are the Only Camera Worth Buying Right Now

GoPro Inc. Cameras Ahead Of Earnings Report
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A GoPro Inc. HERO3 camera is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Your smartphone is fine for everything else

Apple’s latest ad campaign, “Shot on iPhone 6,” uses iPhone photographers’ gorgeous still images and video to ask one question: Do you really need a standalone camera anymore? For many, the answer is no—and that shows in camera companies’ performance. Nikon’s camera sales were down 15% in 2014, Canon’s by 7.3%.

But that pain isn’t being felt universally among camera makers. One in particular is doing just fine: GoPro, which in April posted a 54% year-over-year gain in revenue, though its stock price is floating at about half its all-time high Monday after going public last June.

GoPro is succeeding in selling cameras where its bigger, older rivals are failing because it’s taking advantage of a major shift in consumer tastes. For many people, smartphones are now good enough to replace typical compacts, like the Canon PowerShot line. There’s no reason to carry a comparatively bulky camera if your pocketable iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 can take snapshots of your family’s trip to the zoo just fine. That leaves Canon, Nikon and other brands catering to a far smaller crowd of hobbyist and professional photographers, hurting sales.

GoPro, meanwhile, has positioned itself as the go-to brand of choice for the so-called “action cameras” — tiny box-shaped gadgets with ultra-wide lenses that can be attached to helmets or handlebars for hikers, bikers and climbers to get rad selfies for Facebook and Instagram. Since the introduction of the entry-level GoPro HERO, the company’s cameras now start at $129.99 and go all the way up to $499.99, adding bells and whistles like 4K ultra-high resolution video, Wi-Fi communication for slicker smartphone uploading and quicker burst photography along the way. The company’s newest entry, unveiled Monday, makes the whole package even smaller.

GoPro’s cameras are great because they offer something your smartphone doesn’t. Sure, you could probably mount your precious iPhone 6 on your skateboard helmet before you go bomb that killer hill. But would you really want to? That’s why—for most people—GoPros are the only standalone cameras worth buying right now. For everything else, there’s your phone in your pocket.

TIME Internet

More Than 160,000 Sign Petition for Reddit Chief’s Ouster

Closing Arguments Made In The Discrimination Case Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC
Getty Images

Signatures add to the backlash over the removal of a popular employeee

An online petition calling for Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao to step down has gained more 160,000 signatures.

While the petition was started weeks ago, it’s gained significant traction after a popular employee, Victoria Taylor, who was Reddit’s director of talent and a facilitator of the Ask Me Anything feature, was removed from her position. The news resulted in the shut down of several popular message boards in protest. “I want to apologize to our community…” Pao told TIME last week. “We handled the transition in a way that caused some disruption, and we should have done a better job.”

The petition argues that when Pao stepped in as Reddit’s interim chief, “Reddit entered into a new age of censorship.”

Read next: Reddit’s Ellen Pao and Alexis Ohanian Explain Site Shut Down

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