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Apple finally supports RCS in iOS 18 update

Image Credits: Rawpixel.com (opens in a new window) / Shutterstock (opens in a new window)

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review — TechCrunch’s newsletter recapping the week’s biggest news. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

This week, Apple finally added support for Rich Communication Services (RCS) to Messages as part of the second developer beta of iOS 18. Until now, iPhone users could only send SMS or MMS messages from the Messages app to people who didn’t have an Apple device. Now you can share high-quality images and get read receipts and typing indicators while messaging with Android users — but text bubbles are still green.

OpenAI is delaying the release of its new Voice Mode. The company had planned to start rolling out advanced Voice Mode in alpha to a small group of ChatGPT Plus users in late June but said that lingering issues forced it to postpone the launch to sometime in July. Depending on internal safety and reliability checks, Advanced Voice Mode might not launch for all ChatGPT Plus customers until the fall, the company says.

The FCC proposed an easier way for consumers to unlock their phones from their carriers, suggesting that all devices must be unlockable just 60 days after purchase. The rule would potentially allow phones to work with different mobile networks after that time period, but it may run afoul of today’s phone and wireless markets.

News

OpenAI releases ChatGPT for Mac: ChatGPT is now available to all macOS users via a new app. Mac users can quickly call up ChatGPT by using the keyboard combination of Option + Space after installing the new app. Read more

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Apple reportedly won’t integrate Meta’s AI models after all: Days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Meta were in talks to integrate the latter’s AI models, a Bloomberg report says Apple shelved the idea over privacy concerns. Read more

Waymo ditches its waitlist in San Francisco: Waymo announced that now anyone can download its app and immediately hail a robotaxi in San Francisco, removing the final obstacle for customers keen to use the self-driving technology. Read more

Zuckerberg disses “closed” AI: In a new interview, the Meta CEO said he doesn’t believe there will be “just one AI” and emphasized the importance of open source AI. Zuckerberg also said closed source AI competitors are trying to “create God.” Read more

Andrew Ng’s AI Fund wants to raise a lot of cash: According to a new SEC filing, Andrew Ng’s AI Fund plans to raise upward of $120 million for its second effort. The startup incubator backs small teams of experts looking to solve key problems using AI. Read more

Gemini AI comes to Gmail: Google is rolling out a Gemini AI side panel in Gmail to help you draft emails and find information from your inbox. The Gemini side panel will also be available in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. Read more

OpenAI continues its M&A tear: OpenAI has acquired Multi, a startup developing an enterprise-focused, video-first collaboration platform. A source familiar with the matter tells TechCrunch that most of Multi’s team will join OpenAI following the deal’s close. Read more

An eerie smiling robot with living skin: Will robots ever have living, human skin? Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Harvard have been exploring the question — and they’ve come up with some pretty unsettling results. Read more

Meta’s chatbots head to India: After a few months of testing during the general elections, Meta is making its Llama 3-powered AI chatbot available to all users in India. But Meta AI currently only supports English. Read more

Prosus zeroes out its stake in Byju’s: One of Byju’s largest investors said its once-$2.1 billion stake in the Indian edtech startup is now worth nothing. However, Prosus is still hopeful that Byju’s can be salvaged. Read more

Analysis

Silicon Valley is being weird about DEI again: DEI has become incredibly divisive. A prime example of the tension is the conversation sparked by startup Scale AI founder Alexandr Wang, in which he discussed moving away from DEI to instead embrace “MEI” — merit, excellence, and intelligence. But Dominic-Madori Davis and Kyle Wiggers write that, according to the data, a “meritocracy” is not better than DEI. Read more

What Ayana Parsons’ resignation means: Fearless Fund’s co-founder Ayana Parsons is stepping down. The announcement follows continued legal trouble and the pendulum swing in tech that has resulted in increased anti-DEI sentiment. Julie Bort and Dominic-Madori Davis explore how the latest developments for Fearless Fund, and the switch to publicly panning DEI, are a sad reflection on the VC world for Black women. Read more