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Daily Crunch: Apple powers up 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and Max chips

Good news — we are back with another round of events for TechCrunch, and we have early-bird tickets available to our Early Stage event in Boston in April. Woohoo! Today, we also particularly enjoyed Connie’s peek into the future as Sam Altman sees it. — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

An Apple a day…: Get ready to take a big bite out of Apple. Kyle and Brian peel off the cover to unveil the consumer tech giant’s M2 Pro and M2 Max chips that pack some power. The chips will be available in the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and if you are looking around for a new computer, the M2 Mac Mini arrives January 24, starting at $599. Cloudy with a chance of embedded analytics: Nothing but blue skies so far for Cumul.io, a low-code embedded analytics platform for SaaS companies. The company raised $10.8 million to continue developing its business intelligence platform that quickly “connects just about any data source, drag-and-drop specific features to customize their dashboards, and then copy-paste a snippet of code into their application to serve thousands of end-users,” Paul writes. The headline says it all: We couldn’t help but steal from the TC+ section because Tim’s headline is just so good: “Nest co-founder Matt Rogers’ new startup is trash.” We won’t ruin it any more for you.

Startups and VC

ChatGPT, the AI that can write poems, emails, spreadsheet formulas and more, has attracted a lot of negative publicity lately, Kyle writes. That’s perhaps why AI21 Labs, an Israeli startup developing text-generating AI systems along the lines of ChatGPT, tried a different tack with its newly released assistive writing tool, Wordtune Spices. A part of AI21’s expanding suite of generative AI, Wordtune Spices doesn’t compose emails and essays like ChatGPT. Instead, it suggests options that change the voice and style of already written sentences, also offering up statistics from web-based sources to “strengthen arguments.” Apropos robots that write…On the heels of raising at a $1 billion valuation last week, DeepL is taking the wraps off a new language product, the first extension for a startup that made its name from its popular AI-based translation tools, Ingrid, er, writes. Write is a new tool that fixes your writing — catching grammar and punctuation mistakes, offering suggestions for clarity and more creative phrasing and (soon) giving you the option to change your tone. There was a lot of fun startup news on the site over the past few days, so it was hard to choose just five to load up in our little recommendation engine, but here’s what we came up with: QR isn’t dead…: It’s the tech that won’t die, as Beaconstac lands a $25 million investment for its QR code management platform, Kyle reports. The DM says nah: Amanda reports that D&D publisher says “We rolled a 1” as it addresses backlash over controversial license. That price is un-Hinge-d: Dating app Hinge tests a pricier $60 per month subscription, similar to Tinder Platinum, Sarah writes. Want to buy that again?: CloseFactor raises $15.2 million to automate repetitive sales processes, Kyle reports. Time for 100 push-ups, stat: Darrell takes a closer look at Vitruvian’s Trainer+, writing that it is an all-in-one home gym that actually lives up to its promises.

7 space tech predictions for 2023

GettyImages-1244294229-2 At the time of this writing, Wikipedia notes that there have been eight successful spaceflight launches so far this year. New spaceports are entering operation, cell phone users will soon have connectivity from space, and the Artemis program backed by NASA is one of several ventures that will bring robots (and eventually human crews) to the moon. “Despite the economic uncertainty, we believe new records will be established in spacetech as giant commercial projects get funded,” says Mark Boggett, CEO and co-founder of Seraphim Space Manager LLP. Three more from the TC+ team: A feature does not a company make: Build a company, not a feature, by Haje. Mo IP, mo money: Cost-effective IP strategies can lead to massive exit valuations, by Kyle Graves. Here’s a flying crystal ball: Mark Boggett has 7 space tech predictions for you for the upcoming year. TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Extra, extra, read all about how the Royal Mail confirmed a cyberattack that disrupted postal service in the United Kingdom. Carly writes that the confirmation comes a week after the Royal Mail said it was hit by an unspecified “cyber incident” that caused it to not be able to dispatch items overseas. CEO Simon Thompson said he didn’t believe customer data was compromised, but notified authorities in case that changes. Some reports say the LockBit ransomware group is behind this, and Carly is working on confirming that. And we have five more for you: “Baby Yoda” back again: Get ready for more cuteness from a galaxy far, far away. Disney+ released ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3 trailer, Lauren writes. May the Force be with you. We see you: Frederic writes that Wyze is going back to its OG way with the Wyze Cam OG and OG Telephoto security cameras. Do you hear what I hear?: Ivan and Jagmeet paired up to report on a new pilot Google is doing of a “soundbox” in India for merchants to get audio-based payment alerts. If you like fast cars and you cannot lie: Get ready to burn rubber. Chevy unveiled its fastest Corvette yet, the electrified 2024 Corvette E-Ray. Matt has more. One company’s trash is another company’s treasure: If you’re thinking of getting a giant neon Twitter bird light for your home or office, Amanda knows where you can procure one. Daily Crunch: Apple powers up 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and Max chips by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch

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