Hello friends, and welcome to Week in Review, TechCrunch’s regular roundup of the top tech news of the past few days. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Saturday. Here we’re highlighting the top stories from the past week (Apple Vision Pro, anyone?) and other happenings around the TC universe, like analytics on TC+, our premium subscription service, as well as TechCrunch’s growing podcast collection.
It’s a substantive embarrassment, if I do say so myself – and hopefully a welcome relief to those on the East Coast swamped by smoke from the Canadian wildfires. As a bit of good news, AirNow.gov tells me that New York City’s air quality has returned to moderate levels, which I think is cause for celebration.
Now that the introductions are behind us, we can move on to the news.
Apple Vision Pro: TC’s intrepid Editor-in-Chief Matthew tried out the Vision Pro, Apple’s first attempt at an augmented reality (AR) headset, which was announced at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote — and came impressed away. A 30-minute demo convinced him that Apple had made nothing short of a real leap in the power and implementation of XR/Mixed Reality – certainly kudos. Darrell and Brian have other thoughts, which you can also hear discussing on this week’s TechCrunch Podcast.
New features in iOS 17: The Vision Pro should have dominated the headlines at WWDC on Monday. But as Ivan reports, Apple will also be rolling out a major update for iOS later this year. The upcoming iOS 17 will introduce a number of different “nice-to-have” features such as: B. Personalized call posters, stand-by mode, live voicemail and an improved sticker experience.
Massive medical breach: Hackers stole the personal and health information of half a million people in a ransomware attack on a technology provider earlier this year. Zack writes that Intellihartx, a Tennessee-based company that manages patient balances and collections payments, filed a notice with the Maine Attorney General’s Office that patient information was stolen in the cyberattack on its provider Fortra.
WhatsApp Introduces Channels: Meta is rolling out a broadcast-based messaging feature called “Channels” on WhatsApp – similar to a recent update sent to Instagram – as the social juggernaut experiments with offering more conversational options to its 2 billion users. Ivan reports that there is one obvious aspect – that the company aims to monetize the feature later.
Apollo no more: Popular Reddit third-party app Apollo is being retired as a direct result of Reddit’s recently announced new API pricing plans. Apollo’s developer, Christian Selig, says the pricing would cost Apollo $20 million a year to continue its business, an untenable claim for an indie developer.
Green light for automated driving: Mercedes-Benz has received approval from California regulators, allowing the German automaker to sell or lease in the state vehicles equipped with a partially automated driving system that provides unattended driving on certain freeways allows driving. Kirsten points out that Mercedes-Benz is the fourth company to receive authorization to use autonomous vehicles in California and the first company authorized to sell or lease vehicles with an automated driving system to the public.
Splitting of Sequoia: Sequoia plans to split into three entities – Sequoia Capital in the US and Europe, peak complex geopolitical landscape. The split comes amid rising geopolitical tensions between China and the US, the world’s two largest economies.
NestAway Sells for Less: Proptech company Aurum is acquiring NestAway, a once-successful Indian startup operating in the same industry, for up to $10.9 million. For the investors in the startup, this means an almost complete loss of value. Eight-year-old NestAway has raised $115 million over the years and was valued at $227 million in a 2019 funding round.
Looking for a TechCrunch podcast to while away the time? You are right here. Check out Equity, which this week recaped WWDC and covered Affirm’s partnership with Amazon, Cava’s IPO, all things SEC and crypto, and how real estate can impact the climate crisis. Found hosted Eli Ben-Joseph, co-founder and CEO of Regard, a startup using AI to streamline the clinical side of medicine to reduce physician burnout. Meanwhile, Chain Reaction interviewed Paul Grewal, the chief legal officer of embattled crypto company Coinbase.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and polls – what you know if you’re already a subscriber. If not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Investing from the Ashes: As smoke from Canada’s wildfires blankets much of the East Coast, millions are trapped, gazing out at orange skies and hazy cityscapes. It may come as a shock to investor systems. Tim writes that if the past is the prologue, VCs should prepare for a tidal wave of climate tech startups over the next year.
European startups are slowing down: The downturn in venture capital firms has long proven to be a global phenomenon, and according to a new report by VC firm Atomico, this “adjusted market reality” will continue – including in Europe. There is a clear decline, but not necessarily a cause for concern, writes Anna.
Beating the SaaS Blues: Data suggests that public software companies added fewer sources of annual recurring revenue in the first quarter of 2023 than a year earlier. But not every startup reports poor results. Alex writes how Samsara, which went public in late 2021, recently proved that it’s still possible to expand rapidly, and perhaps more impressively, that it’s possible to retain value even if you end up with one VC bubble is listed.