Here are the five most important stories we are tracking today — Friday, November 17, 2023.

Apple will begin support for RCS messaging

After years of shunning it in favour of its iMessage platform, Apple is planning to introduce support for RCS messaging on iPhones, potentially rolling out this feature as early as 2024.

Before now, there have been issues with messaging incompatibility between iPhone users and Android phone users, leaving the two platforms to rely on outdated SMS and MMS systems to bridge the digital divide. The specifics of how RCS will function on iPhones remain unclear, but reports suggest that it won't involve opening up iMessage to other platforms. Instead, RCS will replace SMS and MMS, coexisting separately from iMessage when available.

Apple's move to integrate RCS into its messaging infrastructure not only aligns with industry trends but also indicates a collective shift away from the limitations of SMS. As RCS becomes more universally supported, enabling higher-resolution photos and videos, the eventual death of SMS as the primary messaging system appears increasingly likely.

The move coincides with mounting regulatory scrutiny, particularly from the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which could compel major companies like Apple to make their services interoperable with other platforms.

Meta launches AI-based video editing tools

Not just one, but two new AI-based features for video editing – Emu Video and Emu Edit – are being introduced to enhance the creative capabilities of Facebook and Instagram users, thanks to Meta's newly released Emu model which was trained using 1.1 billion pieces of data, including photos and captions shared by users on Facebook and Instagram.

Emu Video will allow users to generate four-second long videos with a prompt of a caption, photo or image, paired with a description, while Emu Edit will allow users to more easily alter or edit videos with simple text prompts. The tools are similar to existing AI tools provided by Adobe, Google, and Canva, providing a way for users to remove or replace objects and people from photographs.

As of now, no specific timeline has been provided for the integration of these innovative AI-powered video editing tools into the Facebook and Instagram platforms, but their introduction signals Meta's ongoing commitment to enhancing user experiences and fostering creativity within its social media ecosystem.

Microsoft unveils custom chips to drive AI advancements

The tech giant is making its foray into custom-designed computing chips with the introduction of two innovative models – Maia and Cobalt – as it shifts towards alternative suppliers to Nvidia, the current leader in AI processors.

The Maia chip, designed to accelerate AI computing tasks, will power Microsoft's subscription software offerings and bolster its Azure cloud computing service, while the Cobalt chip is a central processing unit (CPU) designed to serve as an internal cost-saving measure and serve as a competitive response to Amazon Web Services (AWS)'s Graviton series of in-house chips.

Microsoft has been making a commitment to enhancing AI capabilities in recent years and providing innovative solutions to its customers within the rapidly evolving technology landscape.

Microsoft launches Loop, a Notion competitor

Loop, a new app that competes with Notion, a popular collaboration and project management platform, will soon be available to the public.

The tool helps you manage tasks and projects that sync across Microsoft 365 apps and services, such as Outlook, Teams, Word, and OneNote, as well as create and share flexible canvases called Loop pages, where you can organize Loop components and other elements. Loop components are real-time blocks of content that can be embedded into other apps, such as lists, tables, notes, polls, and more. Loop also offers Loop workspaces, where users can see and group everything related to their projects, such as documents, files, data, and co-workers.

Loop also features CoPilot in Microsoft 360. Currently, there are two versions of Loop available, the web version for commercial customers, and the mobile version for consumer customers.

Google is stopping attacks with its new Titan security key

The latest versions of the Titan security key are now available in the Google Store with either a USB-C connection for $35 or a USB-A connection for $30.

Google's Titan security key aims to provide a higher level of security and prevent phishing and account hacking by requiring users to have both the physical key and the verification method to access their accounts. Unlike passwords, which can be stolen or reused, the Titan security key offers a unique and unphishable credential that is tied to the user and the service.

According to Google, both new versions will supersede the existing USB-A and USB-C devices, offering NFC capabilities, and facilitating swift connections with mobile devices. They also can store over 250 unique passkeys, enabling users to register them across various preferred services supporting passkeys.

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