ICYMI: the week's 7 biggest tech stories from iOS 18's AI features leaking to Netflix announcing a Minecraft show

ICYMI
(Image credit: Future)

We might not have been treated to another major tech event this week, but that hasn’t slowed down the flow of hardware and software updates from Apple, OpenAI, and Beats.

To help you keep on top of all the latest goings on, we've rounded up the seven biggest tech news stories from the past week and given you a brief overview of them all (including links to the original stories if you want to dive in deeper).

We’ve got some big tech shows coming up, including Apple’s WWDC 2024 (more on that below), so be sure to check back next week for another quickfire catch-up.

7. Apple invited us to WWDC 2024

Apple WWDC 2024 Special Event Invite

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has sent out press invites to WWDC, confirming that 2024’s iteration of the annual developer conference is scheduled for 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 6 PM BST on June 10 (3 AM AEST, June 11).

Unlike some of its previous invites – like the Let Loose event, which showcased the flashy new iPad Air and iPad Pro – this WWDC invite is missing a tagline and features a very simple design. It’s a simple, colorful circle that mimics the shape of the main ring building at Apple Park, the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

At WWDC we expect to see the next generations of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and visionOS, as well as the debut of Apple’s approach to AI. Compared to its rivals like Meta and Microsoft, Apple is sorely lacking in this field, but WWDC 2024 could be when it finally announces its comeback – perhaps with the help of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

6. iOS 18 leaks gave us a taste of Apple’s rumored AI treats

An iPhone on a blue background showing the Siri logo

(Image credit: Apple)

With Apple’s WWDC 2024 event just over a week away, the iOS 18 rumors are building – and this week, we got a generous helping of informed predictions about the AI features potentially coming to iPhones.

Alongside a more conversational version of Siri, it sounds like on-device AI will soon power automatic Voice Memo transcriptions, photo retouching, and Safari improvements. The bad news? Some of these features might be restricted to models from the iPhone 15 Pro onwards.

Still, with Apple also reportedly sealing a deal for integrating ChatGPT with Siri, there should be plenty of iPhone improvements to go around at WWDC 2024 on June 10.

5. AI hype isn’t reflecting reality, a new study revealed

A hand holding a phone running ChatGPT in front of a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Feeling a bit worn down by AI hype? You’re not alone, according to a fascinating new study that landed this week. It reveals how ordinary folk are using AI tools like ChatGPT. The answer, it seems, is not a whole lot.

The survey of people across six countries revealed that only a tiny minority are using ChatGPT daily. In fact, a significant chunk of respondents (47% in the US and 42% in the UK) hadn’t even heard of OpenAI’s AI assistant, showing how far it is from mainstream acceptance.

For those who are using generative AI, the survey helpfully breaks down what the average person is using the tech for – including “writing emails,” “a job application/interview,” and, more worryingly, “answering factual questions." While AI adoption is slow right now, most people also still agreed that the tech will have “a large impact on ordinary people in the next five years”.

4. ChatGPT Plus became obsolete (for now at least)

ChatGPT logo

(Image credit: ilgmyzin/Unsplash)

OpenAI finally released its GPT-4o features to free users this week, giving them access to a range of things like the ability for ChatGPT to analyze files and photos you upload and access the internet to inform its responses.

However, users who pay for ChatGPT Plus have been left wondering what their subscription now gets them. While it does include higher usage caps for GPT-4o and the ability to create custom GPTs, that’s currently it – though when Voice Mode launches "in the coming weeks," they’ll get that too.

Nevertheless, $20 (around £16 / AU$30) a month is a lot to pay for an experience that isn’t all that much better than the free version. So if you’re thinking of subscribing to ChatGPT Plus right now, don’t – at least not until something like GPT-5 rolls out in early access to them.

3. Your Android phone got some useful new skills – including editable texts

Google Pixel 8 review Pixel 8 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

If you have an Android phone, you'll soon be able to edit text messages sent to other Android phones, just like iPhone owners have been doing for years. The message has to have been sent via the RCS protocol in Google Messages rather than a traditional SMS, and you can only edit it if the message was sent in the last 15 minutes.

Google is also adding new Google Home widgets and smartwatch controls to let you more effortlessly control your favorite smart home appliances. These are fantastic additions if you rely on Google Home, as the software has not offered enough shortcuts and quick paths to control the lights, thermostats, and other smart devices in your home. With the new widget and Wear OS options, Google Home should be much more user-friendly.

The update also features new Emoji Kitchen combos, and an expansion of Android's digital car key capabilities.

3. Netflix announced a Minecraft show

It’s time to Netflix and Craft, as the streaming platform has announced it’s working on a Minecraft animated show. The brief teaser didn’t show us much but heavily featured the Nether – a dangerous world players can visit that’s full of lava and gold-loving Piglins – suggesting this could be the show’s main setting (rather than the typical Minecraft overworld).

This will be the latest in a long string of animated gaming adaptations for one of the best streaming platforms, joining the likes of Arcane (based on League of Legends) and Castlevania. Other highly anticipated animated shows Netflix is working on include A Devil May Cry series, a Tomb Raider show, and an animated spin-off of the incredibly popular Netflix TV Original Stranger Things.

If you prefer live-action antics, Warner Bros. is also developing a separate Minecraft movie, which will feature Jack Black, Jason Momoa, and Kate McKinnon, among others. It’s slated to arrive in April 2025. 

Unfortunately, we don’t know when the animated show will launch, as the trailer ends vaguely with “Coming Soon.”

2. Apple revealed its favorite iPhone apps of the year so far

Apple Design Award 2024 logo

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced the shortlist for this year’s Design Awards – a prestigious accolade given to the best apps and games you can enjoy on your iPhone, iPad, and now Apple Vision Pro.

The full list features seven categories, with everything from Hello Kitty Island Adventure (which is nominated in the Delight and Fun category) to Copilot Money (a financial tracking app nominated in the Innovation category).

If you’ve been looking for some new software to improve your iPhone experience, this list is an excellent place to start .

1. Beats announced its smallest and most affordable wireless earbuds ever

Beats Solo Buds held in a hand

(Image credit: Beats)

In the market for a new pair of earbuds? Don’t want the purchase to break the bank, or are you focused on scoring a compact pair? Beats' forthcoming Solo Buds might fit the bill, and the Apple-owned audio brand confirmed a launch date of June 20 this week.

The $79.99 true wireless earbuds offer some nice feature parity across Android and iOS, including quick-pairing and FindMy support, all in an ultra-compact design. The Solo Buds look like a more compact version of the Studio Buds Plus and live in a surprisingly small carrying case that will easily fit in the palm of your hand.

To get the size down, Beats removed a better from the case, meaning that when you need to recharge the buds, you’ll place them in the case and plug them in via USB-C to refuel them. Luckily, Beats promises 18-hours of playback, which we’ll put to the test. Solo Buds also don’t support Spatial Audio, active noise cancellation, or a transparency mode.

Beats served some excellent colors, including a unique ‘transparent red.” Solo Buds will be up for preorder on June 18 and officially launch on June 20.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.

With contributions from