13 TechCrunch stories you don’t want to miss this week

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As Silicon Valley chills, Europe’s tech gets hotter

It was a busy week filled with all things Apple, Google NEXT, and Y Combinator Winter Demo Day. Next week we’ll have coverage of Microsoft Build, Tesla’s unveiling, and more. Until then, here are the top stories of the week.

1. During a keynote on Monday, Apple unveiled the iPhone SE, a smaller iPad Pro, new Apple Watch bands, and more. Here’s everything you need to know from the event. Following the event, Natasha Lomas wrote a piece explaining why the Apple Watch price drop makes sense. Likewise, Jon Russell gave his thoughts on the new iPhone launch, arguing that the iPhone SE is unlikely to make a splash in Asia.

iPhone SE - 8

2. A number of big announcements were at Google NEXT, including a new machine learning platform and the opening of access to Google’s speech recognition API.

3. Hopefully next week will be better for Microsoft with Build because the past week hasn’t been so hot. Last Thursday, Microsoft took some heat for a sexist party at GDC. This week, some Twitter users taught it’s new A.I. bot how to make racist remarks. Microsoft has since silenced the bot.

4. Tech legend and former Intel CEO Andy Grove passed away at age 79.

5. During the Apple event, the first thing Tim Cook addressed was the case with the FBI. Shortly after the event ended, rumors started swirling that the case would be postponed. It ended up being postponed. Later it was revealed that the FBI plans to work with Cellebrite to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone.

Tim Cook of Apple on Privacy

6. Crunch Network contributor Tom Hadfield wrote a feature about how Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store.

7. Gawker got body-slammed by Hulk Hogan. Hogan was awarded $115 million in a case related to a sex tape that was posted online by Gawker.

8. Mike Butcher did a live discussion with UNICEF Lebanon on Facebook.

9. Y Combinator held its Winter Demo Day. Here are the startups that pitched on day 1 and day 2, plus some of our favorites from day 1 and day 2.

10. Amazon began reselling Comcast services on its new site, the Amazon Cable Store. Sarah Perez notes that this is being touted as an exclusive for Amazon shoppers.

11. With the recent algorithmic update to Instagram’s feed, Crunch Network contributor Steve Feiner suggests that this is the death of Instagram for brands. “If your business relies heavily on Instagram as a channel, customer acquisition is about to come with a hefty price tag instead of a perfectly edited photo.” Josh Constine argues that algorithmic feeds force us to compete. A follow simply isn’t enough any more. You need to have the best content to win.

12. The CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, wrote a piece about the cloud wars. Levie argues that “computing costs will continue to drop by orders of magnitude and offerings will be launched to solve some of the most fringe but vexing problems in IT. The cloud wars are only beginning.”

13. Boom is a startup that wants to build supersonic planes, and they’ll be getting manufacturing and design help from Virgin.