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By Michelai Graham Boardroom's Tech Reporter
January 21, 2024
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.
Apparently, Tesla Cybertrucks keep getting stuck in the snow, and while I find it funny, I’m curious about what type of weather testing these vehicles went through before they hit the road.
A peek into today’s edition:
Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 get banned again
Samsung announces mobile AI system
Google employees brace for more layoffs
The Apple Watch Ban Battle Continues
Are Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 devices banned or not? There has been a lot of back and forth, but once again, a federal judge ruled against Apple this week. The Big Tech giant wasn’t able to overturn a US International Trade Commission ban on sales of the two watches with blood oxygen sensors. The commission found in October that Apple’s blood oxygen sensors infringed intellectual property owned by medical device company Masimo. The ban went into effect on Thursday, and I bet Apple has a lengthy legal battle ahead to get the newest version of its watches back on shelves.
More updates from Apple:
Apple Vision Pro presales officially kicked off on Friday, and if you plan on getting in line for a demo on Feb. 2, prepare to get your face scanned and sit for a rundown of the interface before actually diving into the 25-minute demo.
While Apple is depending on robust entertainment options to sell the Apple Vision Pro, the device won’t launch with a Netflix, Spotify, or YouTube app. But, it will launch with 3D movies from Disney Plus.
The Big Tech giant is shutting down a 121-person AI operations team based in San Diego and relocating some staffers working on Siri data operations to Austin.
iPhone 15 models were on sale in China for $70 this week as Apple attempts to attract more business in the region with steep competitors.
Samsung Unveils Galaxy AI at Latest Galaxy Unpacked Showcase
Samsung showcased the next class of its smartphone series, a new AI platform, and a fitness ring at its latest Galaxy Unpacked event. The electronics leader unveiled that its new Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24 Plus, and Galaxy S24 Ultra will be equipped with Galaxy AI, the bespoke AI model that operates on S24 devices and is accessible via the cloud. Galaxy AI boasts many features, including live translation, photo editing suggestions, note summaries, and chat assistance. The new tech is powered by Qualcomm’s mobile chipset.
Toward the end of Unpacked, Samsung teased a new device dubbed the Galaxy Ring in a short video. The health-focused hardware features various sensors on its inner ring, but the electronics company hasn’t elaborated on further specs or launch plans at this time.
Samsung’s new AI tech and devices come as Apple beat it for most smartphone shipments last year for the first time in over a decade. Samsung has previously held the top spot down every year since 2011. Maybe some native mobile AI tech will give Samsung the boost it needs to rise back to the top.
OpenAI Launches Master Plan to Combat 2024 Election Misinformation
OpenAI announced that it’s introducing some new policies and tools for its suite of offerings, including ChatGPT and DALL·E, in preparation for the 2024 elections later this year. The generative AI company is making some changes to prevent its flagship platforms from being used to spread election misinformation. OpenAI vowed to ban people from using its tech to impersonate candidates and government officials, and it will also begin rolling out digital watermarks for images generated with DALL·E. The company is also teaming up with the National Association of Secretaries of State to provide ChatGPT users with accurate voting information when they prompt related questions.
Also this week, OpenAI announced its first official partnership with a university. Arizona State University will get full access to ChatGPT Enterprise beginning next month to use for coursework, research, tutoring, and more. To gain access, faculty and staff must submit plans for using ChatGPT in three areas: “enhancing student success, forging new avenues for innovative research, and streamlining organizational processes,” according to a press release.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in an internal memo this week to brace themselves for more layoffs in 2024. The Big Tech giant has laid off over 12,000 employees since January last year, including 100 staffers at YouTube on Thursday.
Amid layoffs, Google’s AI research and development lab, DeepMind, announced a new system called AlphaGeometry that it claims can solve the most complex geometry problems. DeepMind built the system to unlock new innovations across mathematics, science, and AI.
Elon Musk is demanding 25% voting control of Tesla before agreeing to expand the electric vehicle maker’s AI and robotics plans. If he doesn’t get a quarter of the company’s voting control, Musk said he’d start building products outside of Tesla.
Microsoft announced a pro plan for Copilot targeted at consumers to broaden the network of paying customers of its flagship AI platform. Copilot Pro is priced at $20 per user per month and expands to Microsoft‘s suite of apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Amazon is developing a higher tier of its Alexa voice tech offering called Remarkable Alexa, which users will have to pay for, according to Business Insider. The new tech is expected to debut at the end of June, despite some bad early testing results. I’m going to bet that Amazon will revamp the project and push the release date due to unforeseen difficulties and testing result leaks.