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Elon Musk Hints at Long-anticipated Starlink IPO as Mission Towards Universal Internet Access Continues

McKenzie Elyse

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Six years after it was announced to the public, Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service now utilizes more than a thousand global satellites and serves over ten thousand customers. Starlink sits at the helm of a revolution in broadband internet technology, using satellite internet constellations to provide high-speed, low-latency internet service to customers globally.

Last week, Starlink’s parent company SpaceX conducted a secret round of equity funding that brought in over $850 million, pushing the company’s valuation up to a whopping $74 billion — more than double its valuation last year. Many speculate that the cash will fund the Starlink project and the Mars-bound SN10 Starship. 

SpaceX and Starlink remain private companies for the time being, though investors have been itching to add one or both of Musk’s companies to their portfolio. Musk has indicated numerous times that he does not intend to take SpaceX public, however recently addressed a possible Starlink initial public offering on Twitter.

“SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable,” Musk tweeted February 8th. “Once we can predict cash flow reasonably well, Starlink will IPO.”

With Starlink accepting $99 preorders around the U.S. with promises of service as soon as this year, many expect to see an IPO for the internet company around the same time.

I'm a copywriter, journalist, and web content creator with a strong passion for my work. Crafting narratives of the world around me brings me an incredible sense of joy — there's nothing I would rather be doing. Besides writing, I enjoy cooking, mixology, music, and my weird cat named Marceline.

Business

Snowden NFT sells for $5.4 million amid the growing trend

McKenzie Elyse

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A piece of art by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has sold as an NFT for what was at the time valued at $5.4 million USD, or Ξ2,224.00 ETH (Ethereum Cryptocurrency). The image, titled “Stay Free,” shows Snowden’s face illustrated in the negative space of the pages of a US appeals court decision that ruled that the National Security Agency had violated US law. The artwork was created by Snowden himself using open-source software, and is the only known NFT produced by the former computer intelligence consultant. 

The proceeds of the sale will benefit the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden has held the position of president since 2014. The FPF states that their mission is to “protect, defend, and empower public-interest journalism in the 21st century.”

The Snowden NFT is currently the fourth most-expensive NFT to date, nearly doubling the USD sale price of Jack Dorsey’s infamous “First Tweet” of $2.9 million. Three weeks later, the current value of the Ethereum coin brought in by the Twitter CEO’s NFT sale on March 21st equals more than $3.7 million. The most expensive NFT to date is artist Beeple’s artwork titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” which sold for more than $69.3 million USD, or Ξ38,474.82 ETH on the date of sale. As of this writing, the same amount of ETH would be worth nearly $88 million USD.

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Apple

Here’s What Apple Announced at Today’s Event

Colin Edge

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Apple held its first event of 2021 today at Apple Park in Cupertino. Predictions and rumors preceding the event had reached a fever pitch regarding when it would happen and what it would reveal. Apple put speculation to rest in its hour-long “Spring Loaded” event.

The name choice proved appropriate. Apple was loaded with lots to announce.

Following black-t-shirt-clad Tim Cook on a stroll through Apple Park, the tech giant announced: Apple Card Family; an Apple Podcasts redesign; a new purple iPhone 12; AirTag; Apple TV 4K with a new Siri remote; a new iMac; the new iPad Pro.

While fans and insiders all-but expected the iPad Pro and even AirTags, conversation surrounding an Apple TV rehaul and an iMac makeover looked like an either/or situation. To have all four of these major products announced concurrently is like Christmas in April.

Not to mention a Ted Lasso season two trailer; that show is the bomb.

If the event could be boiled down to one key feature, it would be the M1 chip. The consolidated, superpowered, Apple-original chip will be integrated into the new iPad Pros and iMacs. The team at Apple is thrilled about it, and for good reason. The new and improved products will be state of the art in speed, performance, and battery efficiency. 

Starting with the big finale and working backwards through the “big four”, the long-awaited iPad Pro confirmed most industry suspicions about specs and features.

In a fun, Mission: Impossible-themed unveil (complete with an unmasking that revealed Tim Cook as the secret agent), Apple announced the new iPad Pro. The new Pro is enhanced with the M1 chip, a 10,000 mini-LED “Liquid Retina XDR” display (in 12.9-inch models), and Thunderbolt compatibility in its USB-C port. 

The iPad Pro’s camera sports the new “Center Stage” feature, enabling the camera to automatically stay on the subject as he or she moves around the shot. Finally, the Pros also feature 5G connectivity, a 2TB storage configuration, and a new white-colored magic keyboard. 

iMac may have been the most delightful surprise of the event. Also built around the M1 chip, the all-new iMac features a 24-inch screen, thinnest-ever design (11.5mm), and a 4.5k Retina display. Other specs include a new 6-speaker sound system, 1080p FaceTime camera, and 7 different bright and vivid color options.

Apple TV has been long overdue for a makeover, and today it got one. The new set-top box will house an A12 bionic chip, 4K high frame rate HDR, and enhanced compatibility with existing Apple devices like AirPods. Most notably, however, the new Apple TV comes with an updated Siri remote. A new remote became a point of speculation and debate after a coding leak revealed plans for a third-party Apple-compatible cable remote. Apple will now have its own new remote on the scene as well. 

Finally, the much-rumored AirTag will be available April 30th. The small disks can be attached to important personal items to keep track of them via the Find My app. Apple devices with the U1 chip (like iPhone 11 & 12) can now provide “Precision Finding”, directing you to your lost item with remarkable, step-by-step accuracy. AirTags can be personalized, and will naturally be accompanied by stylish accessories (and likely scores of third-party ones in the future). Apple assured users that privacy measures are taken to ensure AirTags are used ethically.

Apple also doubled-down on its commitment to the environment, as mentioned throughout the event. The company hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030, and all of this new hardware is made with 100% recycled aluminum. 

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Space

SpaceX wins bid to build NASA lunar lander for $2.9 billion

McKenzie Elyse

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Less than 6 months after its blatant Federal Aviation Administration launch license violation, SpaceX has won the contract to build NASA’s lunar lander spacecraft that will eventually put humans on the moon. SpaceX was among three companies under consideration for building the lunar lander, a cornerstone of NASA’s Artemis program. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Orchid and the somewhat lesser-known Dynetics out of Alabama both put in their own bids for the project, however SpaceX took the grand prize of the $2.9 billion contract.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s space exploration company has garnered much media attention in recent months; aside from the FAA violation, each of its Starship spacecraft tests have ended with an explosion. NASA hopes to launch a manned mission of the lunar lander by 2024 using a successful model the Starship fleet, which has yet to be developed. SpaceX has been fervently building new prototypes of the Starship to meet the rapidly approaching target date for the manned mission launch, which will mark the first human contact with the moon in over half a century.

The Starship spacecraft won’t actually carry the astronauts directly from the Earth to the moon; Boeing is currently developing the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket which will transport the space travelers from earth to the Gateway space station. From there, the astronauts will commute to the moon’s surface via the Starship.

NASA has struggled to secure funding for the Artemis program from Congress. The SLS program’s over-budget, behind-schedule operations have only compounded the issue, with many in the space community expressing their belief that the Starship can complete the entire mission without help. NASA has said that, despite the original plan to work with multiple contractors on the lunar lander project, price was a major factor for choosing SpaceX alone.

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