Hello and welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering the biggest stories in tech over the past few days.
This issue’s agenda includes Disney’s innovative VR treadmill, OpenAI’s fix for its “lazy” artificial intelligence, and MIT’s high-capacity, fast-charging organic battery technology. We also cover Apple’s new stolen device protection feature, AI startup Rabbit’s nifty hardware, and app makers discuss the launch of an app customized for the Apple Vision Pro headphones.
There’s a ton of news to review this week, so let’s get started.But first, a reminder Register here If you haven’t done so already, get WiR in your inbox every Saturday.
Disney’s VR Treadmill: Brian writes that Disney developed a treadmill-like VR system made up of hundreds of small, round “tiles” that appear to be about the size of a silver dollar. Each tile acts as a kind of mini omnidirectional treadmill.
OpenAI fixes GPT-4: OpenAI dropped prices on some artificial intelligence models this week as it rolls out fixes for its “lazy” GPT-4 models that refused to work and new models for specific use cases.
Apple’s new device protection: Romain introduced Apple’s new Stolen Device Protection feature, which when turned on requires Face ID or Touch ID biometric authentication to perform certain actions, such as accessing stored passwords and credit cards.
Vision Pro app may: After Netflix said it would not release a dedicated app for the Apple Vision Pro, other app makers, including YouTube, followed suit. This trend doesn’t necessarily bode well.
Rabbit’s r1: Artificial intelligence startup Rabbit is developing a vision of the future that Darrell believes is better than the Apple Vision Pro. The r1 is said to do things a typical smartphone can do, but using generative artificial intelligence and natural language.
exist fairDuring the show, the cast discussed Plural VC’s announcement of a new fund, Fantuan’s partnership with Chowbus, Vroom’s departure from the car sales business, and Brexit.
at the same time, established Olipop co-founder and CEO Ben Goodwin highlights the gut-healthy soda brand, which has hit $200 million in sales just five years after its launch.
and chain reaction have Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko said on the Pod. Solana aims to help develop the first-layer blockchain Solana ecosystem.
TC+ subscribers have access to in-depth commentary, analysis, and surveys—if you’re already a subscriber, you know this. If you are not yet, Consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
Wave of layoffs at technology companies: Alex and Anna write about a surge in layoffs at tech startups in recent weeks, upending expectations for the year.
HPE and Juniper Networks deal: Ron and Alex weigh in on HPE’s decision a few weeks ago to acquire Juniper Networks for $14 billion. The point is, these companies think these numbers look pretty good, and they do match up pretty well (as long as HPE doesn’t screw up).
Fintech, down but not out: Fintech has been in trouble for a while, and with companies like Brex again laying off employees in an attempt to control costs, you might be forgiven for thinking the market for fintech products was struggling. But that’s not necessarily the case, Alex and Anna wrote.
Lamborghini licenses MIT battery technology: Writing at TechCrunch+, Tim reports that Lamborghini has licensed new battery technology from MIT that could overcome the limitations of today’s widely used lithium-ion batteries.