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Apple's In-House AI for iPhone 16 to Enhance User Privacy

+ 9 must-read tech stories.

TECH BRIEF

China's total integrated circuit output has surged 40% to 98.1 billion units in Q1. The National Bureau of Statistics attributes this to a stronger focus on manufacturing older-generation chips. A shift toward more local semiconductor manufacturing and high demand from sectors like new energy vehicles have contributed to this rise. Despite a US embargo on advanced chip technologies, Chinese investments are concentrated on mature semiconductors.

TikTok Shop is expanding its secondhand luxury goods category into the UK after a six-month US launch, introducing competition against others like The RealReal and Depop. The category allows UK customers to buy pre-owned upscale attire and accessories from five initial brands. TikTok reportedly aims to combat the concern of counterfeiting, promising full refunds for any counterfeit items, and requiring all US secondary brands to have authentication certificates.

Stanford's 2024 AI Index, highlighted Google's dominance in the AI industry, whereby it's estimated that the tech giant spent around $191m to train its Gemini Ultra AI model. The report outlined the growth of multimodal foundation models and increased interest in generative AI. Moreover, over two-thirds of models introduced last year were open-source, with the highest-performing ones coming from commercial entities leveraging closed systems.

Hans Tung, the managing partner at Notable Capital, discusses the positive aspects of "down rounds" in venture funding, arguing that they can lead to significant long-term valuations. Focused on investments in the U.S., Latin America, Israel, and Europe, Tung remains optimistic on fintech. His portfolio includes Airbnb, StockX and Slack. Notably, Notable Capital evolved from GGV Capital, marking another transformation in the VC world.

Apple is developing its own large language model (LLM) for on-device AI features in the upcoming iOS 18, enhancing privacy and service speed. Despite the possibility of comparatively limited capabilities, Apple may draw on provider tech from Google, among others, for refinement. Full plans will be unveiled at the June 10 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Amazon has developed an AI-based Package Decision Engine which optimizes the use of shipping materials, helping the company to substantially minimize waste. It interprets product pictures and descriptions to select ideal packaging. The new approach has reportedly saved 2 million tons of plastic and cardboard since 2015, and 60,000 tons of cardboard annually in North America, aligning with Amazon's sustainability commitments.

Tesla has reduced the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software in the US and Canada by $4,000. It has also discontinued the $6,000 Enhanced Autopilot option, offering existing owners an upgrade to FSD for $2,000. Simultaneously, the electric car manufacturer cut its FSD subscription cost to $99/month and reduced the starting prices of its Model Y, X, and S vehicles by $2,000.

Venture capital funding for Web3 firms experienced a 55% hike in Q1 2024, marking a positive shift in VC sentiment towards Web3 technologies. This trend is reflected in 0G Labs' $35M pre-seed round and Avail's $27M seed round, demonstrating sustained interest in blockchain. Notably, the AI and gaming sectors within the Web3 landscape saw significant funding resurgences.

Tesla has reduced the starting prices of its Model Y, Model X and Model S variants for US buyers by $2,000, also ending its referral program benefits across all markets. The announcement comes amid recent challenges for the company, including a Cybertrucks recall, 10% staff layoffs, and a decrease in Q1 deliveries.

Swedish gaming group Embracer plans to divide into three companies: Asmodee Group, Coffee Stain & Friends, and Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends. This move includes a €900 million financing agreement under Asmodee, intended to offset Embracer's debt. Asmodee is set for listing within a year, while Coffee Stain & Friends will list in 2025.

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