Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
1. Apple’s most expensive computer to date, the iMac Pro, is going on sale this week. The powerful machine will cost $5,000 (£5,000 in the UK), and comes with high-performance Intel Xeon processors, powerful AMD graphics card options, and a distinctive “space grey” finish.
2. Facebook has, unusually, hit back at a former exec who said he felt guilty about helping to make the social network. The firm said it was a “different company” when former growth VP Chamath Palihapitiya worked there, and that it was “working hard to improve.”
3. Google is opening an artificial intelligence research centre in Beijing, in recognition of China’s fast-growing AI talent pool. Google is banned in China but still has hundreds of employees in the country.
4. One major flagship phone could have an on-screen fingerprint sensor in the next year. Synaptics, which makes in-display sensors, has said it’s in mass production with one of the top five manufacturers globally but didn’t say which.
5. Groupon founder Andrew Mason has launched a new startup called Descript, which helps podcast makers to edit audio using text. Descript uses AI to transcribe audio, then lets you edit that audio by deleting the text.
6. Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus has joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, as bitcoin booms. Marcus was formerly president of PayPal.
7. Twitter has turned tweetstorming into an official product. The company has added a button beneath its update box which lets you add and thread extra tweets.
8. San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, has died at the age of 63. Lee was the first city mayor with Chinese ancestry, and presided over the city’s modern tech boom.
9. France is banning smartphones from schools. The measure will come into effect from 2018, and apply to any pupil from the age of six.
10. A third UK city has refused to renew Uber’s licence. York follows London and Sheffield in not renewing the firm’s operating licence, citing Uber’s massive data breach in 2016.