AI Milestones, Apple’s Legal Battles, and Gaming Industry Developments: Weekly Tech Roundup

Welcome to this week’s installment of our Weekly Tech Roundup! In the realm of artificial intelligence, tech giants such as Google, OpenAI, and Apple are making significant strides. Google’s Gemini 1.5 Pro promises enhanced performance, while OpenAI introduces Sora, a text-to-video generative model, and Apple unveils Keyframer, an innovative animation creation tool. As these advancements unfold, concerns about responsible deployment and potential misuse arise. In Apple-related news, recent rulings and calls for scrutiny underscore ongoing challenges, while the gaming industry sees hints at a possible Microsoft handheld console and delays in the release of the Nintendo Switch 2. Delve into these tech highlights, including our “Interesting Thing of the Week,” as we provide a condensed overview of the groundbreaking news this week.

AI News

This week saw significant advancements in AI across various tech giants. Google unveiled Gemini 1.5 Pro, a groundbreaking AI model built on MoE architecture, promising enhanced performance and long-context understanding. OpenAI introduced Sora, a text-to-video generative AI model capable of producing high-quality videos, raising concerns about potential misuse. Meanwhile, Apple showcased Keyframer, a prototype AI animation tool utilizing LLMs to animate 2D images based on text descriptions, aiming to democratize animation creation. These developments signify a major leap forward in AI capabilities, albeit accompanied by challenges and ethical considerations regarding responsible deployment and potential misuse.

Apple News

This week in tech saw the European Union ruling in favor of Apple and Microsoft, exempting their iMessage and Bing services from regulation under the EU’s Digital Markets Act. Despite this relief, both companies will still face new obligations aimed at curbing market power abuses in other areas of their businesses. Meanwhile, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has called for scrutiny of Apple’s actions regarding the Beeper Mini service, raising concerns about potential violations of FCC rules on accessibility and compatibility. This call for investigation comes amidst a broader debate over the importance of interoperability in the tech industry.

In other news, the Epic Games Store reported a significant increase in PC game sales for 2023, with a notable rise in revenue from Epic-produced titles. Despite declining third-party game sales, the store’s user base expanded, and new self-publishing options were introduced. Additionally, Apple’s reinstatement of Epic’s developer account allows the company to bring Fortnite back to iPhones as part of its EU iOS games store launch, coinciding with changes brought by the Digital Markets Act. Lastly, rumors surfaced regarding Apple’s development of an AI tool for developers, set to be integrated into the next major iteration of Xcode. This tool aims to enhance predictive and auto-completion features, reflecting a broader industry trend towards AI advancements within tech ecosystems.

Gaming News

On Thursday, Microsoft hosted its Xbox Business update, where Xbox CEO Phil Spencer hinted at potential forays into handheld gaming by discussing Windows optimization for portable play, sparking speculation about a Microsoft handheld console. Concurrently, Microsoft revealed plans to expand older Xbox game availability to other platforms, emphasizing their commitment to exclusive titles and the Game Pass service, set to include games from Activision Blizzard, starting with Diablo IV. Additionally, midweek reports surfaced of a delay in the release of the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch 2, pushing its launch from late 2024 to early 2025, surprising skeptics like myself who hadn’t anticipated the Switch 2 arriving this year.

Interesting Things of the Week

Wired interviews Kara Swisher about her new bookLink
Passkeys, explained: how they might really kill passwords – The VergeLink
Q&A with Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko – Zoë Schiffer/PlatformerLink

Other News

In other news, Stellantis has finally adopted the NACS for electric vehicle charging, sparking industry speculation without a corresponding deal with Tesla. Authy’s sudden termination of desktop apps has prompted a rush for alternative two-factor authentication solutions. Google One celebrates a significant milestone with 100 million subscribers, reflecting the growing reliance on cloud storage services. The upcoming launch of the Nothing Phone 2a on March 5 generates anticipation for potential smartphone innovation. Vudu’s rebranding to ‘Fandango at Home’ marks a strategic shift in digital entertainment branding.