Daily Crunch: Apple and Google announce contact tracing initiative

Apple and Google reveal a joint effort to track the spread of COVID-19, a new study shows how fringe coronavirus theories are making their way to the mainstream and — in happier news — we get some hints on Apple’s hardware plans for the fall. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 13, 2020.

1. Apple and Google are launching a joint COVID-19 tracing tool for iOS and Android

Apple and Google’s engineering teams have banded together to create a decentralized contact tracing tool that will help individuals determine whether they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

The first phase of the project is an API that public health agencies can integrate into their own apps. The next phase is a system-level contact tracing system that will work across iOS and Android devices on an opt-in basis.

2. Coronavirus conspiracies like that bogus 5G claim are racing across the internet

According to Yonder, an AI company that monitors online conversations including disinformation, conspiracies that would normally remain in fringe groups are traveling to the mainstream faster during the epidemic. The company estimates that it would normally take six to eight months for a “fringe narrative” to make its way from the edges of the internet into the mainstream, while that interval looks like three to 14 days in the midst of COVID-19.

3. Apple said to be planning fall iPhone refresh with iPad Pro-like design

Apple is readying a new iPhone for fall to replace the iPhone 11 Pro this fall, Bloomberg reports, as well as follow-ups to the iPhone 11, a smaller HomePod and a locator tag accessory.

4. Amazon to hire 75,000 more to address increased demand due to coronavirus crisis

The company said its hiring efforts can help mitigate some of the job loss and furloughing that has resulted from the economic crisis that is also occurring as part of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Amazon positioned its openings as an option for anyone looking to seek work “until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”

5. Checking on Utah’s startup scene as the economy slips

TechCrunch is taking a closer look at a few startup markets as the world changes. Following our dive into Boston late last week, we’re widening our scope and taking a peek at the state of Utah. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Tesla resurrects long-range RWD Model 3 for the Chinese market

Tesla is now producing and selling the long-range, rear-wheel-drive version of its Model 3 electric vehicle at its Shanghai factory. The move is notable because Tesla discontinued production of the long-range RWD Model 3 in the U.S. This also marks a shift from Tesla’s initial plan to sell a more basic version of the Model 3 in China.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

The latest full-length episode of Equity rounds up a bunch of different fintech stories (including SoFi’s $1.2 billion purchase of Galileo), while the Monday news roundup looks at some of SoftBank’s latest financial numbers. And over on Original Content, we had some pretty strong feelings about the initial content lineup at Quibi.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.