Top Tech News of the Week: June 23

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This week, the tech industry saw Beats join forces with one of the biggest stars in K-pop, Jennie, to model its new Solo Buds and Solo 4 headphones. On the app side, Instagram is now allowing users to broadcast their Live exclusively to Close Friends.

Over at TikTok, meanwhile, the app has introduced AI avatars of real people as a new tool for creating branded content. And to wrap it up, CEO Adam Mosseri spoke to Hypebeast about strategy and new developments at Instagram.

Instagram Launched Live for Exclusively Close Friends

Instagram has updated its Live feature to allow users to host sessions solely for Close Friends. While Live would previously be broadcast to all of a user’s followers – or anyone on the platform, if the account is public – they’ll now be able to share a Live with only to Close Friends.

Additionally, up to three friends can now be added to a Live to serve as co-hosts. Instagram has been rolling out subtle but long-awaited updates. Along with the new Live feature, the app now allows users to add a song to carousels that also include videos – the feature was previously only available to photo-only carousels.

Adam Mosseri Spoke About Instagram’s Innovation and Strategy

CEO Adam Mosseri dove into all things Instagram in a recent interview with Hypebeast. Among the subjects discussed throughout the conversation were secrets to success on the app, how Instagram differentiates between brands and creators and the chronological timeline.

Mosseri also gave a preview on what Instagram is working on improving over the next 12 months.

“One is improving recommendations, helping to better connect people with content they’re interested in, particularly in video — I think there’s a lot of room to improve there,” he said. “And another is to find ways to help people express their creativity more, either by extending or cleaning up existing products, or, in some cases, inventing new ones. I think you’ll see that most of the work we do ladders up to one of those two ideas: helping you discover content you love, and helping you express your creativity.”

He also noted that regardless of the decision, there’s always a small sect of people that will oppose the decision, such as the chronological timeline.

BLACKPINK’s Jennie Unveiled Beats’ New Solo Buds and Solo 4 Headphones

Jennie has joined the Beats family. The K-pop star was tapped by the audio brand to unveil the new Beats Solo Buds, along with the latest iteration of its hit headphones, the Beats Solo 4.

Launching in “Matte Black,” “Storm Gray,” “Arctic Purple” and “Transparent Red,” Solo Buds arrive as Beats’ smallest piece of hardware, yet still pack 18 hours of battery life on a single charge. Dual-layer transducers offer an edge on a mechanical system, minimizing friction and circumventing the risk of mechanical failure.

As for the Solo 4, Beats has revamped the headphones to improve sound quality across environments. Spatial audio is considerably more adaptive, utilizing user head tracking to inform the direction in which sound is emitted. The pair also contains new plush ear cushions and offers 50 total hours of battery life.

Available now, the Solo Buds are priced at $79.99 USD, while the Beats Solo 4 run for $199.99 USD.

TikTok Started Creating AI Avatars of Real People

TikTok has an eerie new AI tool to shell out branded content. The video app has launched “Custom Avatars” that creators can specifically use for their sponsored content. Essentially, the purpose of the avatars is to enable creators to advertise in more regions, even when they don’t speak the language.

Creators can replicate their likeness, which will be paired with TikTok’s “AI Dubbing” tool to translate the ads into different languages, so it’ll look as if they’re speaking the language firsthand.

To take things a step further, TikTok is also letting creators sell their likeness with “Stock Avatars.” Creators will be able to license their image for commercial use. Brands can purchase Stock Avatars to record ads without the creator needing to do any additional work.

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