Weekly Roundup: Apple’s auto rumors, GoPro’s new devices and CZI’s $3B pledge


This week, Yahoo came clean about a 2014 hack, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced a huge investment to cure disease, rumors swirled around possible car tech purchase targetsfor Apple and the AI startup space continued to heat up with a few chat bot acquisitions. These are the top stories of the week.

1.We got our hands on all of Apples new hardware. A few consensusinclude that with two new finishes, virtual buttons and water resistance for the iPhone 7, Apple is teeing up for the future. Apples AirPods indicate its hardware-first approach to becoming a true audio platform. While theyre reliable,theyrefar from audiophile quality. The Apple Watch has finally grown into itself with the launch of the Series 2. The second iterationdelivers on all the qualities a decent sport watch should have. macOS Sierra officially became available, too. While this may not be the most exciting update, it signifies that after 15 years and 13 major updates, the Mac is now a mature platform.

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  2. AirPods

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2.The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative took to Facebook Live toannounce its pledgetoinvest $3 billion over the next decade to help cure, prevent, or manage disease across the world. The money comes from the $45 billion organization Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan started to advance human potential and equality.

3.Rumors abound in Apples autotech sector. Apple is saidto be in acquisition talks withcar manufacturer McLaren and Lit Motors. McLaren told the BBC that the company isnt having any investment discussion with Apple right now, but the NYT wrotethat Apple and McLaren have been talking about a potential investment.McLarens statement could mean that its an acquisitioninstead of an investment, it has closed,or the discussion has ended.Time will tell which wayApple will turn.

4.GoPro debuted three new hardware devices includingthe GoPro Hero 5 and the new Karma Drone. Butthese products feel more like iterations than revolutions, even two years after the companysmajorrelease. Despite a huge amount of enthusiasm and great marketing, one cant ignore the sense that GoPro may be having trouble turning the page.

5.The plot thickens for Rothenberg Ventures, the SF-based venture firm that has been involved in an ongoing SEC inquiry. The firm is being investigated on the claims ofdeceptive financial practicesincluding wire fraud and bank fraud, among other financial mismanagements. Now, the situationhas attracted the attention of theFBI and the U.S. Attorneys General, says one source. A claim now states that Mike Rothenberg allegedly wired $5.2 million from Silicon Valley Bank without investor permission.

6.Another day, another hack. Yahoo confirmed its working with law enforcement to investigate a data breach which affected account info of at least 500 million users. Yahoo says that the user account information was stolen in 2014 by a state-sponsored actor. The stolen information includes peoples names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords.

7.Airbnb filed a $555millionround with the SEC led by Google Capital and TCV. However sources close to the deal say Airbnb has not yet closed the round, and that the company has the capacity to increase the ceiling to the a$850 million figure. If all goes according to the company,Airbnb wouldbecome the fourthmost valuable private startup.

8.Facebook came clean on a slight error in how it presented video view time on its platform. A mismatch in how average video view time is calculated and how it is defined resulting in that number being reportedly inflated by half or more, for a short period of two years.

9.While its hard to believe that it took this long, Twitter officially cut down on what counts toward your 140 characters.As a refresher, that means media like photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets no longer eat into your character count.But links still do. Yay?

10.Big tech companies are eating up AI startups. Google acquired API.AI, a company helping developers build conversational, Siri-like bots. Amazon also made an individual hire of Navid Hadzaad, formerly of chat bot building platformAngel.ai (once known as GoButler).Hunger for AI tech only proves that tech is ready to unlock new potential when it comes to voice.

11.An IT error gave the world a glimpse of North Koreas online ecosystem and its pretty meager. AnUber app security engineernoticed that North Korea had set itself to allow domain administrators to request a list of its national top-level domains. Engineer Matthew Bryant had set up a script to watch for this and it was automatically copied.There are only28 .KP domains registered.

12. It came to light thatPalmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift, was the money man behind a group of Trump supporters calling themselves Nimble America. They dedicated the non-profit to proving that shitposting is powerful and meme magic is real and their primary goals were (or are) to disrupt online conversations and create funny pictures of Hillary Clinton. Its not surprising thattechnologists would use their power to harm or confuse people. But doing so using ashitpostis.

13.Police use-of-force data is finally coming to light. Until recently, data proving the systemic racism that results in the police killings of unarmed black people has not been widely available to the public. But thisweek, the Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Kamala Harris and Y Combinator-backed nonprofitBayes ImpactunveiledURSUS, a statewide tech initiative to collect police use-of-force data from over 800 police departments.

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