Apple’s device protection, OpenAI fixes the ‘lazy GPT-4’, and Disney’s VR treadmill

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Hey, folks, and welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering notable happenings in tech over the past few days.

On the agenda for this edition is Disney’s innovative VR treadmill, OpenAI fixing its “lazy” AI and MIT’s high-capacity, fast-charging organic battery tech. We also cover Apple’s new stolen device protection feature, AI startup Rabbit’s nifty hardware and app makers debating launching apps tailor-made for Apple’s Vision Pro headset.

There’s a decent chunk of news to recap this week, so let’s get to it. First, a reminder. Sign up for our newsletter to receive WiR in your inbox every Saturday if you haven’t already done so.

News

Disney’s VR treadmill: Disney has developed a treadmill-like system for VR composed of hundreds of small, round “tiles” that look to be about the size of a silver dollar, Brian writes. Each one is a mini, omnidirectional stairway.

OpenAI fixes GPT-4 OpenAI dropped prices on a number of AI models this week as it rolled out a fix for its “lazy” GPT-4 models that refused to work — and launched new models for specific use cases.

Apple’s new device protection: Romain writes about Apple’s new stolen device protection feature, which, when turned on, requires Face ID or Touch ID biometric authentication for some actions, like accessing stored passwords and credit cards.

Vision Pro apps a maybe: After Netflix said it wouldn’t release a dedicated app for the Apple Vision Pro, other app makers, including YouTube, are following in its footsteps. The trend doesn’t bode well, necessarily.

Analysis

Rabbit’s r1:Darrell is working with AI startup Rabbit to create what he believes is a more accurate vision of the future compared to the Apple Vision Pro. The r1 can purportedly do what a typical smartphone can do — but using generative AI and natural language.

Podcasts

The following are some of the ways to get in touch with us. The Equity, the crew talked about Plural VC announcing a new fund, Fantuan teaming up with Chowbus, Vroom leaving the car-selling business and what’s happening over at Brex.

Meanwhile, Find out moreBen Goodwin is the co-founder, CEO and founder of Olipop. This gut-healthy soda has a gross sales of $200 million just five years after it was launched.

You can also read about how to get in touch with us. Chain ReactionYou can also read about the following: Anatoly Yakhenko, cofounder of Solana Labs on the pod. Solana wants to grow the ecosystem of the layer-1 blockchain Solana.

TechCrunch+

TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, Consider signing up. Here are some highlights from the week:

The tech layoffs surge:Alex and Anna discuss the recent surge in staff reductions at tech startups, which has flipped the script for expectations this year.

HPE’s deal for Juniper: Ron and Alex weigh in on HPE’s decision to buy Juniper Networks a few weeks back for $14 billion. The gist is, the companies think the numbers look pretty good — and they really do match up well (so long as HPE doesn’t mess it up).

Fintech: down but not out Fintech has been in the dumps for a while now, and with companies like Brex once again cutting staff as they try to rein in costs, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the market for fintech products is struggling. But that isn’t necessarily the case, Alex and Anna write.

Bonus round

Lamborghini licenses MIT batteries:Tim, a writer for TechCrunch+ reports that Lamborghini licensed new battery technology from MIT. This could help overcome the limitations of lithium-ion cells currently in use.

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