From the Wire

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

In this week’s edition of TechCrunch’s Week in Review (WiR), you’ll get a quick recap of the top stories in the tech world. From Tinder’s ultra-premium subscription to Amazon’s investment in AI startup Anthropic, and Apple’s explanation of its new AirPods features, there’s a lot to catch up on. Additionally, find out about Reddit’s new program that pays users in cash, OpenAI’s plan to raise more funds, Telegram’s expansion into a super app, and Uber’s unexpected partnership with taxi companies. With so much happening in the tech industry, let’s dive right in and stay up to date.

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

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Table of Contents

Tinder goes ultra-premium

Introduction to Tinder’s new premium subscription

Tinder, the popular dating app, has recently introduced a new ultra-premium subscription called “Tinder Select.” This subscription, priced at $499 per month, offers users unique perks and privileges that are not available to regular users. While the price may seem steep, Tinder is banking on the exclusivity and prestige associated with the premium tier to attract a select group of users who are willing to pay for the enhanced experience.

Price and perks of the subscription

With the new Tinder Select subscription, users gain access to a range of exclusive features and perks. These include increased visibility, allowing users to be seen by more individuals, including Tinder’s “most sought-after profiles.” Additionally, users can now send direct messages to others without having to match with them first, which opens up new avenues for communication and connection. The high price of the subscription is intended to create an air of exclusivity and cater to a niche market of individuals looking for a more premium dating experience.

Exclusivity as a selling point

One of the main selling points of Tinder’s ultra-premium subscription is its exclusivity. Tinder has made it clear that less than 1% of users will be allowed to gain access to the premium tier, creating a sense of exclusivity and desirability. By limiting access to a select few, Tinder is positioning the premium subscription as a status symbol and a way for users to stand out from the crowd. This exclusivity factor may appeal to individuals who are looking for a more upscale and curated dating experience.

Amazon invests in Anthropic

Details of Amazon’s investment in Anthropic

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, has recently made a significant investment in the AI startup Anthropic. The investment, which could reach up to $4 billion, showcases Amazon’s commitment to the rapidly growing generative AI sector. This move is part of Amazon’s efforts to compete with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia, who are also heavily invested in AI research and development.

Competition in the generative AI sector

The generative AI sector is experiencing significant growth, with multiple tech giants vying for dominance in this field. Companies like Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia are investing substantial resources into developing advanced AI-powered systems that can analyze and generate text. Amazon’s investment in Anthropic is a strategic move aimed at gaining a competitive edge in this highly competitive sector. By backing Anthropic, Amazon aims to leverage the startup’s expertise and technology to strengthen its position in the market and drive innovation in the AI space.

Amazon’s rivalry with Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia

Amazon’s investment in Anthropic is indicative of the fierce rivalry between tech giants in the generative AI sector. Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia are all major players in this field and have been actively developing AI-powered systems with a focus on natural language processing. Amazon’s move to invest in Anthropic signals its intent to challenge these industry leaders and establish itself as a formidable force in the AI landscape. This rivalry is driving innovation and pushing companies to develop more advanced AI solutions to stay ahead of the competition.

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

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Apple explains its new AirPods

Interview with Apple executives Ron Huang and Eric Treski

In an exclusive interview, Apple executives Ron Huang, VP of sensing and connectivity, and Eric Treski, product marketing director, shed light on the new features of Apple’s latest-generation AirPods. The executives discussed the company’s approach to innovation and the extensive research and development that went into creating the new AirPods.

Overview of new features in Apple’s latest-generation AirPods

The latest-generation AirPods from Apple come with a host of new features designed to enhance the listening experience for users. Adaptive audio is one such feature that adjusts the audio output based on the surrounding environment, ensuring optimal sound quality in any situation. Personalized volume allows users to set their preferred listening volume, while conversational awareness enables users to hear and engage in conversations without having to remove their AirPods.

Adaptive audio, personalized volume, and conversational awareness

Adaptive audio is a revolutionary feature in Apple’s new AirPods that dynamically adjusts the audio output to match the user’s environment. This ensures that users experience the best possible sound quality regardless of whether they are in a noisy or quiet setting. Personalized volume gives users control over their listening experience by allowing them to set their preferred volume level. Conversational awareness is another notable feature that enables users to listen to conversations and interact with others without the need to remove their AirPods, providing a seamless and intuitive user experience.

Vision Pro connectivity in AirPods Pro 2

Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 introduces Vision Pro connectivity, which enhances the integration between the AirPods and Apple’s range of devices. This feature allows for seamless connection and synchronization, providing a truly immersive and integrated experience for users. With Vision Pro connectivity, users can effortlessly switch between their AirPods and other Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and Macs, without any interruption or loss of audio quality.

Reddit starts paying users — in cash

Introduction to Reddit’s contributor program

Reddit, the popular online community and discussion platform, has launched a contributor program that rewards users with real money for their valuable contributions to the platform. This program aims to incentivize high-quality content creation and foster a sense of community among Reddit users.

Eligibility criteria for users to earn real money

To be eligible for Reddit’s contributor program, users must meet certain criteria. They must be residing in the United States, be over the age of 18, and be able to verify their identity. Additionally, users must have had an account for more than 30 days to participate in the program. These eligibility criteria ensure that users who contribute to the platform in a meaningful and consistent manner are rewarded for their efforts.

Conversion of Reddit gold and karma into fiat currency

Reddit’s contributor program allows users to convert their accumulated Reddit gold and karma into fiat currency. Gold is a virtual currency awarded to users for their valuable contributions and can be used to unlock premium features and perks on the platform. Karma, on the other hand, represents a user’s reputation and engagement on Reddit. By converting these virtual currencies into real money, Reddit is giving users the opportunity to monetize their contributions to the platform and directly benefit from their participation.

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

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OpenAI looks to raise more cash

Discussion on OpenAI’s plan to sell shares

OpenAI, a leading AI research organization, is considering selling shares to raise additional capital. This move could potentially increase the company’s valuation to an estimated $80 billion to $90 billion. OpenAI’s plan to sell shares reflects its ambition to further expand its operations and accelerate the development of advanced AI technologies.

Potential valuation increase to $80 billion to $90 billion

OpenAI’s potential valuation increase to $80 billion to $90 billion showcases the market’s confidence and interest in the company’s AI capabilities. The demand for advanced AI technologies is growing rapidly, and investors are eager to support organizations that are at the forefront of AI research and development. OpenAI’s plan to raise more cash through share sales aligns with its long-term goals of advancing AI technology and driving innovation in the field.

Previous funding from investors and Microsoft investment

Prior to its plan to sell shares, OpenAI has already secured funding from prominent investors such as Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive, and K2 Global. Microsoft has also made a significant investment of approximately $10 billion in the company. These investments highlight the recognition and trust placed in OpenAI’s expertise and potential to shape the future of AI. By attracting substantial funding, OpenAI can continue to make significant strides in AI research and development.

ChatGPT gains a voice — and other features

Expansion of ChatGPT’s capabilities beyond text-based search engine

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s advanced language model, is expanding its capabilities beyond being a text-based search engine. OpenAI has recently announced the addition of new voice- and image-based intelligence to ChatGPT, making it even more versatile and powerful in understanding and generating content.

Addition of voice and image-based intelligence

The addition of voice and image-based intelligence to ChatGPT opens up a whole new range of possibilities for users. With the new voice-based feature, users can verbally interact with ChatGPT and even ask it to generate a bedtime story on the spot. ChatGPT can now read the story back in one of five different voices, providing a more immersive and engaging experience. The image-based intelligence allows users to upload images and ask ChatGPT questions or request information based on the content of the image, such as instructions for completing a task or descriptions of objects in the photo.

Bedtime story and image search functionalities

The introduction of the bedtime story functionality to ChatGPT adds a touch of creativity and entertainment to the language model. Users can now rely on ChatGPT to create unique and personalized bedtime stories for themselves or their loved ones. Additionally, the image search functionality enables users to leverage ChatGPT’s AI capabilities to understand and analyze images, providing them with valuable information and insights. These new features demonstrate ChatGPT’s evolution into a more dynamic and versatile tool for both textual and multimedia-based content generation.

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

Telegram expands its reach

Details of Telegram’s platform for third-party developers

Telegram, the widely popular messaging app, is expanding its reach by introducing a platform for third-party developers. This platform allows developers to create and integrate mini apps within the Telegram ecosystem, providing users with additional functionalities and services.

Comparison to WeChat’s super app approach

Telegram’s platform for third-party developers mirrors the super app approach adopted by WeChat, a leading Chinese messaging app. By enabling mini apps, Telegram aims to create an ecosystem within its messaging platform that offers a wide range of services and functionalities. Users can now access various apps, such as games, restaurants, and more, without having to leave the Telegram app, enhancing convenience and streamlining their digital experience.

Availability and interaction of mini apps on Telegram

With the introduction of mini apps on Telegram, users can easily discover and interact with a diverse range of services directly within the app. These mini apps seamlessly integrate with Telegram’s messaging interface, allowing for smooth transitions between conversations and app functionalities. This integration enhances user engagement and offers a centralized space for users to access various services without the need for multiple apps or platforms.

Uber gets tight with taxis

Partnership announcement between Uber and Los Angeles Yellow Cab

In a surprising move, Uber, a ride-hailing giant, has announced a partnership with Los Angeles Yellow Cab and its five partner taxi fleets in Southern California. This partnership aims to foster collaboration between Uber and traditional taxi services and opens up new opportunities for both parties.

Access to Uber trip referrals for taxi drivers

As part of the partnership, taxi drivers associated with Los Angeles Yellow Cab and its partner fleets will gain access to Uber trip referrals. This means that when Uber users request rides in areas where there is a high demand or limited Uber availability, they may be connected with a taxi driver instead. This arrangement benefits taxi drivers by providing them with additional income and expands Uber’s reach by utilizing the existing taxi infrastructure.

Scope of the partnership and number of vehicles included

The partnership between Uber and Los Angeles Yellow Cab encompasses six taxi fleets with approximately 1,200 vehicles. This wide scope allows for significant collaboration and integration between the two transportation services. By combining the reach and convenience of Uber with the established infrastructure of traditional taxis, both Uber and taxi drivers can tap into new markets and provide a wider range of transportation options to users.

Tinder goes ultra-premium, Amazon invests in Anthropic and Apple explains its new AirPods

TC podcast highlights

Summary of episodes from Equity, Found, and Chain Reaction

This week, TechCrunch’s podcasts delivered insightful discussions and interviews with notable figures from the tech industry. In the Equity podcast, the team spoke with Nathan Baschez, the CEO and founder of Lex, an AI-infused online writing tool. Found podcast recorded live at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 featured an interview with Window Snyder, a cybersecurity industry trailblazer. Lastly, Chain Reaction podcast featured Tiago Sada, head of product for Tools for Humanity, discussing the company’s mission to create a global ID, global currency, and an app for payments and transfers.

Guests and topics discussed in each episode

In the Equity podcast, Nathan Baschez shared insights into the AI-powered tools market, the potential of the generative AI movement, and strategies for pricing AI-powered services. On Found podcast, Window Snyder discussed the challenges and importance of cybersecurity in the ever-evolving tech landscape, along with the motivation behind launching her startup, Thistle. Chain Reaction podcast featured Tiago Sada, who shed light on Tools for Humanity’s vision and innovative solutions for global ID and currency systems.

TechCrunch+ subscription benefits

Overview of TechCrunch+ subscription

TechCrunch+ is a subscription service that offers subscribers access to in-depth commentary, analysis, and surveys from the TechCrunch team. With a TechCrunch+ subscription, users can stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the tech industry and gain valuable insights from industry experts.

Access to commentary, analysis, and surveys

TechCrunch+ subscribers enjoy exclusive access to a wealth of content, including in-depth commentary and analysis from TechCrunch writers and contributors. Subscribers can delve deeper into the stories, trends, and innovations shaping the tech industry and gain a deeper understanding of the implications and impact of these developments. Additionally, subscribers can participate in surveys and polls that provide valuable insights into user preferences and opinions.

Highlights from this week’s content

This week, TechCrunch+ subscribers had access to a range of compelling content. One highlight was the discussion on whether venture capitalists should back the FTC lawsuit against Amazon, exploring the allegations of illegal conduct and anti-competitive practices. Another highlight focused on how generative AI could make operating systems cool again, with a spotlight on Microsoft embedding generative AI technology in the latest version of Windows. Finally, there was an analysis of whether Bird’s acquisition of Spin could revive the company’s fortunes after being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. These highlights showcase the exclusivity and value that TechCrunch+ subscribers gain through their subscription.