Hi folks, and welcome to the latest edition of Week in Review (WiR), the weekly newsletter where we recap the past few days (or so) in tech news. We’d argue that there’s no better way to get your news fix, but we’d be biased. Still! Trust us when we say it’s a labor of love.
Before we get to the events of this week, don’t forget that Disrupt, TechCrunch’s annual flagship conference, is on the horizon. This year’s Disrupt will host six, that’s right, six standalone industry TC session events, with stages featuring industry-specific programming tracks. It will be worth the trip to San Francisco.
Before that, there’s our next TechCrunch Live session with SignalFire and ClassDojo. They will discuss ClassDojo’s mission to revolutionize education by building community in the classroom.
Now, without further ado!
fake drake: A song featuring vocals from Drake and The Weeknd called “Heart on My Sleeve” has amassed more than 250,000 streams on Spotify and 10 million views on TikTok. But the two musicians had nothing to do with the song: an artist by the name of “Ghostwriter” generated the song using AI. amanda has the story.
Apple digs into the savings: Starting this week, Apple Card customers in the US can open a savings account with Apple and earn up to 4.15% interest. Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs for the banking function; savings accounts are technically managed by Goldman Sachs, which means they are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Roman reports.
Apple considers opening: Apple has kept the iPhone app distribution system relatively closed up until now, allowing users to download apps only from the App Store. But the company may soon add some gates to its walled garden. Ivan reports that Apple is considering allowing people to download apps on iPhones and that we might see some announcement related to that at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
A massive Apple Watch update: Apple Watch software will receive the biggest update since its launch. Sarahciting a Bloomberg report, he writes that the updated watchOS 10 will “bring bigger improvements” than planned releases for iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, including an “updated interface” that will tell you “most of what you need to know about the Apple Watch in 2023”.
Love Is Blind, but sometimes cancelled: Netflix had some serious problems with the live streaming of their reunion episode “Love Is Blind”, amanda writes After a 75-minute delay, the streaming service pulled the plug on the live show due to seemingly intractable technical issues.
Microsoft leaves Twitter: Microsoft announced this week that it will remove Twitter from its advertising platform nearly two months after Twitter announced that it will begin charging a minimum of $42,000 per month to users of its APIs. With its $2.15 trillion market capitalization and roughly $100 billion in cash at the end of last year, Microsoft obviously has the money to pay Twitter what it wants, so the move appears to be a statement, even when Microsoft declines to provide further details about its decision.
Meta lays off more workers: Meta issued another round of mass layoffs this week, Rebeca reports. They are among 10,000 layoffs CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in March, many of which relate to “low-priority projects.” The massive job cuts are part of a broader restructuring at Meta that Zuckerberg has dubbed the “year of efficiency,” which began with 11,000 layoffs announced in November.
No more check-in kiosks: Alaska Airlines recently began a three-year, $2.5 billion project to improve the airport experience in its hubs and focus cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. As part of the project, the airline is looking to modernize the lobby experience, and as the company announced today, the most visible change here will be the removal of the old check-in kiosk. Frederick writes
Snapchat’s AI reaches everyone: Snapchat’s AI chatbot is opening up to a global audience, the company announced at its Snap Partner Summit this week. Initially released in February, the feature originally allowed paid Snapchat subscribers to chat with an AI chatbot powered by OpenAI’s GPT technology directly in their app. It will now be available for free and will be updated with features such as the ability to add the chatbot to group chats, get place recommendations on Snap Map and Lenses, and share Snaps with the chatbot to receive chat responses. Sarah has more.
Tesla cuts prices: Tesla has cut the price of its Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles for the second time this month. Tesla’s most popular models will now start under $40,000 before incentives.
Looking for podcast material to pass the time? TechCrunch has you covered, as always. This week, the Equity team taped at Early Stage, TechCrunch’s event for founders, covering topics ranging from skyrocketing to profits to how a certain company is cutting costs. At Found, Trevor Martin, co-founder of Mammoth Biosciences, discussed how the company is using CRISPR systems to detect and cure genetic diseases. Chain Reaction interviewed Jesse Pollak, Base leader and head of protocols at Coinbase. And on the latest episode of TechCrunch Live, Mark Batsiyan, co-founder and partner at Inspired Capital, and Brynne McNulty Rojas, co-founder and CEO of Habi, the Colombian real estate startup that achieved unicorn status last year. — talked about their respective experiences in technology.
TC+ subscribers get access to detailed feedback, analysis and surveys, which you know about if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
Photonics and AI: The increasing computing power needed to train sophisticated AI models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, could eventually hit a wall with conventional chip technologies. Are light-based chips, also known as photonic chips, the answer? Maybe, but it’s not clear yet.
There is always money in the coffee stall: Blank Street claims to have cracked the code on how to get a chain of 65+ brick-and-mortar coffee shops to have the right metrics to attract venture capitalists. They recently closed a $20 million Series B round in a year in which fundraising plummeted, even for companies with low overhead costs. Rebeca has the story.
Should you launch an AI startup?: It seems like the best time for founders thinking of launching an AI startup, especially with OpenAI releasing ChatGPT to the masses. But it could be the opposite, depending on which investors you ask. Ron try to get to the bottom.