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Weekly Roundup: Elon Musk’s master plan, Peter Thiel speaks at RNC and iPhone 7 leak

ICE Graveyard 22/07/2016 Anna Escher

History was made this week in tech as Peter Thiel wowed the crowd at the RNC, Elon Musk exposed Master Plan Part Deux and we saw yet another iPhone 7 leak. Want to receive the Weekly Roundup in your inbox? I would too. Now you can. Sign up for the Week In Review here.

1. Billionaire investor and Silicon Valley wild card Peter Thiel made history in a speech at the Republican National Convention, talking economic disparity, bringing Silicon Valley innovation to government and declaring that he is proud to be gay. He capped it off with his endorsement for Donald Trump. Whatever your thoughts on Thiel, it was a moment worth paying attention to.

2. Will Tesla cars fly? Why did Tesla buy SolarCity? Why is Elon Musk tweeting about crack? It was a big week for Tesla as CEO Elon Musk released a part two to the “Master Plan” he wrote 10 years ago. The plan detailed intentions to steer Tesla towards fully autonomous driving, car sharing, and cargo transport. Here are the 7 steps to the master plan.

3. Another day, another iPhone leak, this time pointing to a new iPhone 7 Pro. In addition to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the Pro model would feature a dual-camera system as well as a smart connector at the back.

4. Softbank made a bold IoT move as it acquired ARM Holdings for £24.3 billion ($32 billion) in cash. ARM is known for its chip designs for mobile handsets (Apple is a customer) as well as for processors to power hardware in Internet of Things networks. Softbank’s CEO also confirmed to us that the pound decline in wake of Brexit did not affect his decision.

5. A few major tech companies reported earnings this week, and the highlights are as follows. Netflix fell 15% after missing subscriber expectations. Microsoft beat street expectations with $22.6B in revenue and $0.69 EPS. Pandora shares dropped after it rejected a $3.5B buyout from SiriusXM. PayPal ticked up 2% after showing $2.65 billion in revenue. Yahoo’s stock went nowhere, echoing the company’s story of the past few years. Now it’s just a question of when it’s assets will be snapped up. Verizon seems close.

6. Dollar Shave Club joined the unicorn club as it was acquired by multinational consumer goods company Unilever for a reported $1 billion value. We spoke with Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin about ecommerce, improv, and the acquisition.

7. It’s been a year since Reddit cracked down on revenge porn and offensive subreddits. But the company still seems to be struggling to clean up internally. According to our sources, numerous women and people of color have been quietly leaving the company by way of layoffs and resignations across multiple departments. “Management is terrible, a complete reflection of what the site is like,” one source said.

8. There’s a red-hot new photo app blowing up the iOS app charts. Prisma morphs your photos into classic-style art, and we’ve heard they’re in talks with investors about raising funding. We talked to Prisma co-founder and CEO Alexey Moiseenkov about what’s going to happen next – will it be a raise or an acquisition?

9. We’ve been following Berlin-based Number26 for awhile, and this week the banking startup became an official bank. The company now has a banking license to operate in Europe, meaning that Number26 can now build its own financing products, such as savings accounts, investment products and credit offerings. In other words, the startup will become a full-fledged bank faster.

10. It was a loud week on Twitter. Twitter finally banned Milo Yiannolpoulos, one of its most notorious trolls. The expulsion came after the Breitbart editor urged on a hateful mob that harassed ‘Ghostbusters’ actress Leslie Jones. The internet is a weapon and it’s only going to get worse.

11. The internet lost its most prolific source of illegal movies as KickassTorrents founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland. Here’s the ironic catch: he was nabbed after buying something legally, on iTunes.

12. It was a week of milestones. Remember how Facebook coerced users to download Messenger as a separate app? Looks like it worked. Facebook Messenger hit the billion user mark, and here’s how it happened. Uber also smashed a record of its own as it completed its 2 billionth ride. It took the company six years to complete a billion rides around Christmas 2015. Now, just six months later, the company announced that they have completed their two-billionth ride. Six months is 180 days, meaning the company was providing an average of 5.5 million rides a day, or 230,000 an hour to hit a billion rides in six months.

13. Big Data by all accounts is supposed to help humans perform better by augmenting our limited brain power. More data should come deeper understanding, but what happens when there’s too much data and it surpasses our human ability to understand it in a given moment?

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