Happy Independence Day! As we celebrate America’s 247th birthday, let’s catch up on the latest tech news. From groundbreaking innovations to cutting-edge gadgets, this summary article highlights the most significant developments in the tech world.
Rivian’s electric vans hit the road in Europe with Amazon
Rivian, the electric vehicle startup backed by Amazon, has delivered its first batch of electric vans to the e-commerce giant in Europe. The vans, which are part of Amazon’s goal to have 100,000 electric vehicles in its global fleet by 2030, will be used for deliveries in the UK, Germany, France and Italy.
Rivian’s vans are designed to be durable, efficient and safe, with features such as a digital cockpit, a large windshield, a 360-degree camera system and advanced driver-assist technology. The vans can travel up to 240 kilometers (150 miles) on a single charge and have a fast-charging capability.
Rivian and Amazon have been working together since 2019, when Amazon led a $700 million funding round for the startup. Rivian has also received investments from Ford, Cox Automotive and T. Rowe Price. The company plans to launch its own SUV later this year.
Pornhub blocks access in three states
Pornhub, one of the most popular pornographic websites in the world, has blocked access to its content in Mississippi, Virginia and Utah, following new laws that regulate online pornography. The laws require Pornhub and other similar platforms to verify the age and consent of the performers in their videos, as well as that the users who access them are adults. The laws also impose fines and penalties for non-compliance.
Pornhub claims that the laws are unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment rights of free speech and expression. The company says that it already has strict policies and procedures to prevent illegal and harmful content, such as child pornography, revenge porn and sex trafficking. Recent investigations, however, have exposed Pornhub hosting such content. Pornhub also argues that the laws are motivated by moral and religious agendas, rather than public safety and welfare.
The legal battles between Pornhub and the three states are likely to continue, as both sides seek to defend their interests and values. The outcome of these cases could have significant implications for the future of online pornography in the US.
Apple Vision Pro Faces Delays and Cuts Amid Low Demand
Apple’s ambitious plan to launch a high-end augmented reality headset, the Vision Pro, has hit some major roadblocks. According to a report by TechCrunch, the company has slashed its production target by half and pushed back the release date of a cheaper model.
The report cites sources familiar with the matter who claim that Apple is struggling to generate enough demand for the Vision Pro, which is expected to cost around $3,000 and require an iPhone connection. The device is also facing competition from rivals like Facebook, Microsoft and Google, who are offering more affordable and standalone AR glasses.
Apple had originally planned to launch a lower-priced version of the Vision Pro, dubbed the Vision Lite, in late 2023. However, the report says that the company has decided to delay it until 2024, in order to focus on improving the software and hardware of the Vision Pro.
The report adds that Apple is still confident in its AR strategy and believes that the Vision Pro will offer a superior user experience. However, it remains to be seen whether consumers will be willing to pay a premium for Apple’s vision of the future.
Valve denies banning AI-generated games from Steam
Valve, the company behind the popular gaming platform Steam, has issued a statement denying that it has banned games created by artificial intelligence (AI) from its store. The statement comes after several developers reported that their AI-generated games were removed or rejected by Steam without explanation.
According to Valve, the company does not have a policy against AI-generated games, as long as they meet the quality and content standards of Steam. Valve also said that it welcomes innovation and experimentation in game development, and that it supports the use of AI tools and techniques to create games.
However, Valve also warned that some AI-generated games may violate the Steam Subscriber Agreement or the Steam Distribution Agreement, which prohibit the use of bots, scripts, or automated processes to manipulate the Steam store or its users. Valve said that it will take action against any games that breach these agreements, regardless of how they were created.
Virgin Galactic makes history with first commercial spaceflight
Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded by Richard Branson, has successfully completed its first commercial flight to the edge of space. The flight, which took off from New Mexico on July 3, carried four passengers and two pilots on board the VSS Unity spacecraft.
The passengers, who paid $250,000 each for the ticket, experienced about four minutes of weightlessness and saw the curvature of the Earth from an altitude of 86 kilometers. They also received astronaut wings from the Federal Aviation Administration after landing.
The flight was a milestone for Virgin Galactic, which aims to launch regular spaceflights for paying customers in 2024. The company has already sold more than 600 tickets and plans to reopen sales soon. Branson, who flew on a previous test flight in 2021, congratulated the crew and passengers on their historic achievement.