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Welcome, folks, to TechCrunch Week in Review (WiR), a digest of the past few days in tech happenings.

As I write this, snow’s gracing New York City — an increasingly rare treat thanks to our changing climate. And that feels fitting in light of the Apple Vision Pro’s imminent launch. After all, one of the promises of headsets like the Vision Pro is that they transport the wearer away from the stresses of everyday life to more optimistic realities — at least for a spell.

Brian went hands on with the Vision Pro this week. His impressions? It’s transporting, all right — but very pricey.

There’s a decent chunk of news to recap this week, so let’s get to it. But first, a reminder to sign up here to receive WiR in your inbox every Saturday if you haven’t already done so.

News

“Quiet supersonic” jet: NASA and Lockheed Martin have finally taken the wraps off the X-59, an aircraft that may shape the future of both military and civilian air travel, Devin writes.

Byju’s valuation cut: BlackRock has cut the value of its holding in Byju’s, slashing the implied valuation of the Indian startup to about $1 billion from $22 billion in early 2022.

Notion launches a calendar app: Notion, the incredibly popular note-taking and project management service, has launched a stand-alone calendar service. Frederic has the full story.

Samsung’s Galaxy S24: Samsung held a press conference this week where it announced its latest flagship phones — all powered by AI in some form or another.

Layoffs at Google: After laying off over 1,000 workers across multiple divisions last week and cutting 100 jobs at YouTube, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a memo to its staff warning more layoffs are expected this year.

Analysis

CES chases off sex tech: Despite being an industry that caters to a universal human experience, sex tech has always had an uneasy association with CES, Haje writes. And this year, the conference effectively managed to chase the sex tech industry off its show floors — for better or worse.

Podcasts

On Equity, Alex and Mary Ann chewed through funding rounds galore from Pomelo, Tandem and Briq — and also discussed how C-suite executives feel about AI and the enterprise.

Found featured Magic Spoon co-founder and CEO Gabi Lewis. Magic Spoon creates cereal flavors that play on our nostalgia for Froot Loops and Cocoa Puffs with a grown-up high-protein twist. 

And on Chain Reaction, Jacquelyn interviewed Monica Long, the president of Ripple, the blockchain-based digital payment network and protocol.

TechCrunch+

TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Unicorn club: Cowboy Ventures’ founder Aileen Lee penned a long-awaited follow-up to her original 2013 article in which she coined the term “unicorn.”

Private equity in 2024: Alex and Anna write about how PE firms could be the last resort for startups struggling to exit.

Reddit, IPOing: Reddit could finally go public this year. Alex examines what that could mean for the company — and others attempting IPOs this year.

Bonus round

Replacing gas cars: Hertz is selling off a third of its electric vehicle fleet, which is predominantly made up of Teslas, and will buy gas cars with some of the money it makes from the sales, Sean writes.

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