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Apple Bows to Beijing: WhatsApp, Threads Silenced in China

Here is the top trending news from the world of technology. News that every tech enthusiast should keep a tab on.


Apple Bows to Beijing: WhatsApp, Threads Silenced in China

Tim Cook Apple CEO

Apple has confirmed that it has removed Meta owned platforms WhatsApp and Threads from its Chinese app store. Apple was forced to take this decision following crackdown orders by Beijing, which cited WhatsApp and Threads as national security threat for the country. However, China did not specify how these apps posed security threat for the country. China has had a history of censoring and banning foreign internet companies. This incident is likely to adds fuel to the ongoing tech war between the US and China. Existing WhatsApp users in China might still be able to use the app for a while, but new downloads and updates have been already blocked.


Musk plans to integrate ‘X’ into Tesla Cars

Elon Musk has announced that Tesla cars will soon have integrated access to X. This means fans of ‘X’ fans will soon experience the ease of accessing the platform directly from their Tesla’s touchscreen with new features like voice-activated tweets or hands-free news updates. However, critics worry about the potential distraction this integration could pose while driving. Reading or composing tweets could take a driver’s attention away from the road. Besides, integrating X with in-car systems raises also raises the questions about data collection and user privacy. It’s unclear how Tesla and X will handle driver’s data privacy. Musk still hasn’t given a specific timeframe as to when this feature will be launched.


Is the Mona Lisa Going Pop? Microsoft’s AI Makes Her Belt Out a Tune

Last week, Microsoft released a new AI application called VASA-1, which can bring still images to life with animation. VASA-1’s capabilities were showcased in a video featuring the iconic Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The video depicts the Mona Lisa lip-syncing and moving her head realistically to the song “Paparazzi” by Anne Hathaway. The video immediately went viral as netizens were amazed by the realism and creativity of VASA-1. However, critics expressed concerns the potential misuse of this AI tool especially for deepfakes, which is increasingly being used to spread misinformation or damage reputations. However, VASA-1 is still not publicly available and Microsoft has not issued any launch date either.


Price Plunge! Tesla Cuts Costs amid falling sales  

Image Credits: Flickr SAUD AL-OLAYAN

Tesla has implemented a wave of price cuts across several key markets, including China, Germany, and others, following similar reductions in the United States. The starting price of the revamped Model 3 in China has been reduced by 14,000 yuan to 231,900 yuan, while the price of the Model 3 rear-wheel-drive variant in Germany has been trimmed to 40,990 euros from 42,990 euros. Price cuts were also implemented in many other countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Tesla has been forced to cut the prices amid declining sales and increasing competition especially in China. The company’s car deliveries for the first quarter of 2024 fell for the first time in nearly four years.


Kyrgyzstan bans TikTok

Kyrgyzstan has become the latest country to ban TikTok. The Kyrgyzstan government cited concerns about the app’s potential negative effects on children’s mental health and intellectual development. Kyrgyz mobile operators and internet providers has already restricted access to the video sharing application, making it largely inaccessible to users in the country. TikTok has faced repeated criticisms from regulators and politicians around the world for various reasons, including data privacy concerns and the potential for harmful content. As a result, the app has been banned in quite a few countries including India and Nepal. Even the US Congress is preparing to pass a bill to impose ban on TikTok in the US market.

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