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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
September 17, 2023

Before jumping in today, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone subscribing to, sharing, and faithfully reading Tech Talk. It means the world to me and the team at Boardroom. Let’s get to it.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Apple unveils iPhone 15 and more
  • Cyberattack at MGM Resorts
  • Copyright infringement trouble at OpenAI and Meta

The iPhone 15 and New Apple Watch Models are on the Way

Apple unveiled its iPhone 15 line with USB-C charging ports and new Apple Watch devices at its fall product demo earlier this week. The Big Tech giant also shared updates on its sustainability plans, featuring a rare skit with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer as Mother Nature. As expected, there will be an iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max ranging in price from $799 to $1,199. The Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra are also on the way with a notable new feature coined the double-tap gesture, which allows users to tap their index finger and thumb together twice to perform most of the common Apple Watch actions.

Preorders for Apple’s newest products kick off on Sept. 22. Here’s a full recap of everything you need to know from Apple’s fall event.

More updates from Apple:

  • Apple extended its partnership with Qualcomm to obtain 5G modems from the wireless tech software company for at least the next three years.
  • A French watchdog is working to halt sales of iPhone 12 models, claiming that Apple breached European Union radiation exposure limits.
  • Michael Lewis’ book focused on FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried‘s life will hit shelves on Oct. 3, and Apple already acquired the rights to it for $5 million.

Get on our list for weekly sports business, industry trends, interviews, and more.

MGM Resorts Is Under Cyberattack in Las Vegas

A ransomware group using multiple code names is claiming responsibility for a cyberattack that forced MGM Resorts to shut down some of its internal and external systems sporadically throughout the week in Las Vegas. A Russia-based operation called ALPHV/BlackCat guided a native English-speaking group of hackers called Scattered Spide through the attack, which started with a 10-minute call to MGM’s help desk. While MGM said via tweets that its dining, lodging, entertainment, and gaming offerings were operational throughout the week, casino goers reported that slot machines, payment systems, including ATMs, sports books, and other tech-enabled offerings, were down.

It gets worse. Caesars Entertainment reported on Thursday that it was also hit with a cyberattack at the hands of the same cyber attackers. The ransomware group told Reuters via Telegram that it stole six terabytes of data from MGM and Caesars. Caesar claims that the attack did not hault its casino and online operations, and maybe that’s because the entertainment giant paid a $15 million ransom to the group, CNBC reported.

Big Tech CEOs Head to Capitol Hill for AI Insight Forum

On Wednesday, the Senate held a three-hour closed meeting with Big Tech CEOs, including X’s Elon Musk, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and many others, to discuss artificial intelligence regulation efforts. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling the meetup the AI Insight Forum, with more sessions scheduled throughout the fall. The tech leaders discussed civilizational risks, transparency with AI systems, how AI can impact economic problems, and much more.

The inaugural forum comes as eight tech companies, including Adobe, IBM, and Nvidia, committed to following a standard of safety and security rules for their AI tools and systems. Meta, Google, OpenAI, Salesforce, and Stability AI have made similar commitments to the White House, which is also expected to release an AI-focused executive order before the year is over.

Chipmaker Arm Debuts on the Public Market With $65B Valuation

British software design company and computer chipmaker Arm made its public debut on the stock market with a boost to a $65 billion valuation. The chip design company hit the Nasdaq at a $54.5 billion valuation before its market cap jumped up $11 billion. Arm’s stock soared as much as 25% to $63.59 on opening day on Thursday. Now, the company’s shares are trading at around $60.75 at the time of this writing. Forbes marked Arm’s public debut as the largest IPO in 22 months. SoftBank maintains its 90% stake in the company.

I’ll be writing a breakdown soon of everything you need to know about Arm, a tech giant you want to know in the AI developmental race. As I prep to write this, I wonder if Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang regrets backing out of a $40 billion deal to buy Arm in September 2020. The companies had to fight regulatory concerns, but now, Arm is primed to be a worthy competitor for Nvidia in the chip-making market.

  • Another group of writers is suing OpenAI for copyright infringement, claiming that the AI leader illegally used their work to train the AI models powering ChatGPT.
  • While OpenAI defends its flagship platform, Meta is building data centers to create an open-source AI model that could launch as early as next year. The big tech giant is building a system that could rival the model that OpenAI built to power ChatGPT.
  • Binance.US lost its CEO. Brian Shroder has departed the crypto exchange and more than 100 jobs were cut. The Wall Street Journal reported that top legal and risk executives have also stepped down from their roles following mass job cuts at the company.
  • TikTok and Billboard announced a new weekly music charting system coined TikTok Billboard Top 50, which will track the most popular songs on the social network in the US. This week, Irish Data Protection Commission hit TikTokwith a $367 million fine, which alleges that the platform violated data privacy laws and mishandled children’s data.
  • It’s been a rough week for Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Stoner Cats, an animated web series starring the couple, agreed to pay a $1 million fine to the SEC for NFT sales, which the commission deemed as unregistered security offerings. The crypto crackdown isn’t just happening in the US, though, since the CEO behind Turkey-based defunct Thodex received an 11,000-year prison sentence for his involvement in the crypto exchange’s collapse in 2021.

With Hulu and Disney Plus price hikes on the way next month, I’m going to bet that a tech company like Roku, for example, will offer a bundle deal of all the major streaming platforms in the next year. It’s like we’re headed back to the cable era of television all over again.