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  • ⌚ Ban on Apple Watches Temporarily Lifted Amid Patent Dispute

⌚ Ban on Apple Watches Temporarily Lifted Amid Patent Dispute

+ Google's 2023 Top Extensions | Amazon Ads Update | Apple's $50M AI Bet

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Welcome back, tech aficionados!

Today is Thursday, December 28, and I hope your Christmas was merry. As we approach the new year, we've selected key tech stories from the holiday period. As a reminder, our publication schedule remains reduced until next year, so let's catch up on the latest tech highlights:

  • OpenAI's Ascent - Climbing US startup ranks.

  • Musk's Legal Bind - X Corp's unpaid bonuses issue.

  • Apple Watch Update - Patent dispute development.

  • Amazon's Prime Shift - New ads and perks.

  • Apple's AI Revolution - Open Source LLM launch.

  • Apple's AI Investment - $50M in generative AI.

  • NY Times vs Tech - Brewing copyright battle.

  • AI Investment Trends - Winners and losers in tech.

  • Midjourney V6 - Innovative text-in-image feature.

  • Google's Top Extensions - The best for Chrome in 2023.

Let’s dive in!

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Tech Companies

OpenAI Eyes 2nd Spot in US Startups, Fuels Billion-dollar AI Revolution (6-minute read)

OpenAI could potentially become the second-most significant US startup after SpaceX, based on upcoming funding round predictions. Current discussions hint at a valuation that could elevate the AI company's status, although details remain in flux. AI innovations such as ChatGPT and investment raises propelled OpenAI into the limelight. The firm is also exploring a chip venture, codenamed "Tigris", and could secure billions from G42 for the project.

Elon Musk's X Corp Ordered to Pay Unpaid Bonuses: Lands in Legal Quagmire (8-minute read)

A US federal judge ruled that Twitter, now X Corp, breached contract by not paying millions of dollars in employee bonuses promised for 2022, according to the suit filed by former employee Mark Schobinger. The company also faces multiple other lawsuits alleging discrimination and failure to provide layoff notification.

Ban on Apple Watches Temporarily Lifted Amid Patent Dispute (3-minute read)

Apple has secured a temporary pause of the Apple Watch ban following a federal appeals court order. Apple hopes changes it is making to the watch might avert the patent dispute that prompted the ban. Apple can now resume selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 until a final ruling on the patent infringement case.

Amazon Adds Ads to Prime Video, Ups User Perks: Change Begins Jan 29 (7-minute read)

Starting January 29, Amazon Prime Video will introduce limited advertisements to its movies and TV shows. The move aims to facilitate increased investment in compelling content. The current price of prime membership remains unaffected, and an additional ad-free option is available for $2.99 per month.

Startup Scene

AI Corner

Apple's Game-Changing Open Source LLM: Here's What You Need To Know (8-minute read)

Researchers from Apple and Columbia University have released an open-source multimodal Large Language Model (LLM), called Ferret, as Apple continues its foray into the AI sector. Aimed at enabling more immersive visual experiences on consumer devices like the iPhone and iPad, the move coincides with Apple's breakthrough in deploying LLMs on iPhones, possibly altering the landscape of AI on handheld devices. As AI giants like Google and OpenAI make strides in the same arena, Apple's release of Ferret affirms its position in the multimodal AI space.

Apple's $50M Move into Generative A.I Using News Articles (9-minute read)

Apple is in talks with major news publishers for multiyear agreements worth at least $50 million, seeking permission to use their content in developing its own generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems. This effort aims to keep up with rivals in the race to produce A.I. that can generate human-like interactions and content. The news organizations reportedly contacted by Apple include Condé Nast, NBC News, and IAC. However, some publishers have expressed concerns about the broad licensing terms and potential legal liabilities.

NY Times Versus Tech Giants: Fierce Copyright Dispute Brewing (5-minute read)

The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing the tech companies of using its articles to build large language models for ChatGPT and Copilot without permission, allegedly infringing copyrights. The newspaper argues such actions have negatively impacted its reader’s relationship and revenue from subscriptions, licensing, advertising, and affiliates. The Times is seeking "billions in damages," claiming these firms earned massive profit from using its content.

Stability AI Unveils Paid Subscription for Commercial Use of Models (8-minute read)

AI model creator Stability AI, known for its text-to-image Stable Diffusion model, will now offer a tiered subscription service, changing the way customers use its technology for commercial purposes. The initiative was designed to balance profitability while maintaining openness in terms of usage. Only paid membership tiers will allow for commercial use. The move aims to fund future research and development efforts. The company is still refining its approach to pricing.

Big Tech's AI Investment Spree: Who Lost, Who Benefitted? (35-minute read)

In 2023, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon dominated AI investment, accounting for two-thirds of the $27bn raised by AI start-ups, outperforming traditional Silicon Valley investors. The rise in generative AI has attracted heavy investment, with large tech firms financing companies like OpenAI, Cohere, Anthropic, and Mistral. Start-ups have favored these partnerships due to significant resource requirements, pushing start-up valuations higher and making it challenging for VCs to invest in leading-edge technology.

Anthropic Eyes $750M Funding for $18.4B Valuation (5-minute read)

Anthropic, the AI startup formed by ex-OpenAI team members, is in negotiation for a funding round worth $750 million led by Menlo Ventures, targeting an $18.4 billion valuation, a significant leap from its $4.1 billion value earlier this year. The firm is known for its advanced AI chatbot, Claude 2, and had previously attracted investments from Google, Salesforce, and Zoom.

Midjourney V6 Unveils Revolutionary In-Image Text Feature: AI World Ripples (8-minute read)

Midjourney’s latest update, version 6 (V6), introduces major improvements in AI image generation, offering solutions to previous challenges with in-image text and taking a significant leap in the creation of photorealistic images. This innovative version, developed in nine months and released in an alpha version, puts Midjourney ahead in the AI models league.

Apps & Gadgets

Popular Budgeting App Mint Shuts Down: Top Alternatives Ranked (20-minute read)

Intuit will discontinue the widely-used budgeting app Mint on March 24, 2024, encouraging users to transition to its personal finance app, Credit Karma. Although Credit Karma isn't a direct substitute for Mint, a comparison of alternative money apps reveals viable replacements, many using Plaid's network for financial data access. Top alternatives include apps like Quicken Simplifi, Monarch Money, Copilot Money, NerdWallet and YNAB, catering to various budgeting methodologies, interfaces, pricing models and features.

Discover Google's Top 11 Chrome Extensions of 2023: What’s Your Pick? (8-minute read)

Google has revealed its favorite Chrome extensions of 2023. Standouts include Scribe, a tool using AI to streamline workflow documentation; DeepL Translate for real-time webpage translation; and QuillBot for email composition assistance. For note-taking, Transkriptor transcribes audio into over 100 languages, while the Coupert extension helps users find promotional codes for online shopping. Google compiled these picks in a dedicated webpage for easy access.

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