The Morning After: Thursday, June 22nd 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to Thursday morning. We’re reliving the ’90s through, as Sega launches a selection of classic hits both with ads and without. We’re also talking Instagram and its stealth shills, and new emoji. We hope you like fairies.


It should focus less on surprise and more on delight.Apple’s paranoia about leaks is misplaced

Apple’s inability to keep its secrets is so bad that even its internal presentation about confidentiality leaked. It reportedly conducted an hour-long briefing titled “Stopping Leakers — Keeping Confidential at Apple” for about 100 employees to make sure they understood the importance of not leaking information. But that concern is misplaced: Clamping down on leaks won’t help Apple’s bottom line.


The games are free, but you can pay $ 2 to drop the advertisementsSega Forever makes Genesis classics free on mobile

The Sega Forever collection is five titles meant to begin “a retro revolution that will transport players back through two decades of console gaming.” Starting today, the 1991 version of Sonic the Hedgehog, fan-favorite RPG Phantasy Star II, classic arcade-style beat ’em up Comix Zone, platformer Kid Chameleon and Greek mythology-themed beat ’em up Altered Beast will be available on Google Play and iTunes as free ad-supported games.


Can Travis Kalanick’s resignation fix Uber?Uber’s future is still tied to its founder

Uber’s disruptive effect on the taxi business, went hand in hand with throwing out the rulebook. Some of the rules avoided, however, included strict background checks on drivers, and safety laws to ensure that drivers didn’t work for too long, according to Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, who sits as chairperson of the company’s board. He said the team “failed to build some of the systems that every company needs to scale successfully.” Those systems included restrictions on employees sexually harassing their colleagues and preventing engineers from developing tools to hinder law enforcement investigations. Following Travis Kalanick’s resignation, can Uber change enough?


Your next set of emoji includes zombies, vampires, fairies and dinosaurs. The latest emoji update is a playful one

Finally, the monocle emoji.


A new tool could make hidden ads more obvious — if shills use it.Instagram gives social media influencers the benefit of the doubt

social media platform. The “Paid partnership with [enter brand name here]” post format is designed for users who want to advertise products on their page, letting them easily disclose when one of their posts is an ad. Instagram says this is an effort to bring the platform some much-needed transparency. The feature is set to roll out in the coming weeks to a “small number” of creators and businesses, according to the company. The question remains: Will influencers actually use the feature? And what will happen if they don’t?


The monsters caught with cheating tools may not behave normally.‘Pokémon Go’ will flag creatures caught using cheats

Niantic has decided that forcing Pokémon Go cheaters to a life of catching Pidgeys isn’t quite enough punishment. Now, any Pokémon caught using “third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay” will be marked with a slash in people’s inventories and “may not behave as expected.”

But wait, there’s more…

  • Airbus imagines a faster helicopter with wings
  • Google gets closer to building its own city in San Jose
  • Lenovo’s pro workstation is as light as a MacBook Air
  • An iPhone is your only option on Virgin Mobile
  • Self-driving shuttles are coming to U of M this fall
  • Todoist ‘Twist’ is supposed to be better than email, less annoying than Slack

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The Morning After: Friday, June 9th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

As this week wraps up we’re getting you ready for E3, and digging into Boston Dynamics’ new owner. Plus: A peek inside the new iMac.


The Japanese company has a ‘vision of catalyzing the next wave of smart robotics.’Softbank buys Boston Dynamics (and its robots) from Google

It’s been over a year since Google’s parent company Alphabet said it wanted to sell its robotics company Boston Dynamics, and now it has a buyer: Softbank. The Japanese company has been working on its own robots for years, including the helpful Pepper, and now they’ll be under the same umbrella as Handle, Big Dog, Atlas, WildCat and all the rest.


So many leaks that the company put out their own images.OnePlus shows off the OnePlus 5 – at an intentionally specific angle

It’s only been two days since OnePlus announced the June 20th launch date for its upcoming OnePlus 5 flagship phone, but it didn’t take long before leaks started to appear. With that dual camera, LED flash, antenna bands and shade of gray, commenters were quick to point out the heavy resemblance between this device and the iPhone 7 Plus, which is presumably why OnePlus decided to post the above image to make a point. Indeed, from this angle, the OnePlus 5 appears to feature a unique outline running from the side to the top. But, well, besides that, it still looks a lot like an iPhone.


It’s not done yetNASA’s Mars 2020 concept is perfect for Space Batman

NASA showed off a futuristic-looking concept of the Mars 2020 rover with a shiny black body and intimidating wheels at the Kennedy Space Center. If you think that it looks like it popped right out of a superhero movie or a video game than an actual vehicle meant to explore the red planet, then you’re right.


The ultimate GoProGoPro finally shows its all-in-one 360-degree shooter.

The first action camera from GoPro made for shooting 360-degree video is this Fusion. It has a 5.2K resolution but is still only a shade larger than the Hero5 Black. Despite this early preview, key facts like how much it will cost are still unknown.


Throw-and-go aerial selfie revolution isn’t quite here just yet.Flying the DJI Spark drone by waving your hand isn’t as great as it sounds

James Trew has been waving his arms at drones for the last few weeks. No, his brain hasn’t finally broken — he was testing out the DJI Spark. The drone, which can be controlled by gestures. may have an innovative new control method, but James believes it’s not quite the spontaneous, simple experience it needs to be for new drone owners.


But it isn’t easy and it will void your warrantyIt is technically possible to replace the RAM and CPU in a new iMac

While we tested what it’s like to use one of Apple’s newest all-in-ones, iFixit took their usual route of pulling one apart to see what’s inside. They found CPU and RAM that aren’t soldered to the motherboard which is a good thing for upgrades and repairs, but there’s just one small catch. Accessing them requires removing the screen and voiding your warranty.


And new ‘collaborative gameplay’ is on the way‘Pokemon Go’ anniversary celebration includes big IRL events

We’re coming up on one year since the launch of Pokemon Go, and after some ups and downs, it’s time to celebrate. The game’s developers are planning events worldwide as well as in game. More importantly, they also mentioned that gyms will shut down temporarily while they work on some new “collaborative gameplay” features that could bring head to head battles into the app.


It’s all CG, but it’s a start.‘Life is Strange’ studio’s ‘Vampyr’ arrives this November

The makers of Life is Strange, Don’t Nod, has decided to go full-tilt fantasy on its new game, Vampyr. A new trailer shows more of the studio’s supernatural take on 1918 London and confirms a November release date on PS4, PC and Xbox One.The new teaser, however, doesn’t reveal much in the way of gameplay, only showing pre-rendered footage of people lurking moodily in dark places. With the developers promising players a semi-open world, fast-paced combat, and an environment where every in-game action carries a consequence, it’s all sounding rather ambitious.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Those awkward AirPods will automatically link up to your Apple TV
  • Oppo’s 4K Blu-ray players are the first with Dolby Vision HDR
  • Roli expands its modular music gear with the touch-friendly Seaboard
  • Super realistic racing returns with ‘Project Cars 2’ in September
  • The trailer for life-creating sim ‘Everything’ could make gaming history and win an Academy Award

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What to expect from Apple at WWDC 2017

As a rule, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is predictable: New versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS are the stars of the show, and anything else is gravy. WWDC 2017, however, is shaping up to be different. Although there hasn’t been much talk about what the new software will entail, the rumor mill has kicked into high gear with word of new Macs, new iPads and even a smart speaker. All told, operating systems may actually be the least exciting part of Apple’s keynote. But which products are likely to steal the spotlight, and which ones are just wishful thinking? That’s what we’re here to sort out.

A Siri speaker in your living room

APPLE-DEVELOPERS/

Here’s something you haven’t seen in a while: the prospect of Apple introducing a completely new device at its developer conference. Rumors are swirling of that the company will unveil a Siri-controlled speaker at WWDC, overshadowing virtually anything else Apple would otherwise discuss at the keynote. It might not ship until sometime later in the year (likely to give developers time to support it), but production may have already started.

As you might expect, the speaker would represent Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It would likely handle many of the tasks that Siri already does on your iPhone, such as checking the weather, playing music and controlling HomeKit gear — you just wouldn’t have to pick up a gadget to listen to songs or turn on your lights. The speaker could be particularly important if you want to control your household when you’re away because you currently need to use an Apple TV or iPad as a hub to control your HomeKit-compatible devices remotely.

There hasn’t been much discussion of the speaker’s design, but Bloomberg believes it would stand out from the pack by focusing on audio quality. You’d enjoy louder, crisper sound than what you typically get from rivals like Echo or Home. It might also incorporate virtual surround sound that would provide a more immersive experience. There has even been talk of Apple including ambient noise sensors to adjust the volume when you’re talking, but it’s not clear that this feature made the cut before production began.

New MacBooks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A speaker might not be the only hardware introduced on stage. Apple is rumored to be updating its laptop line at WWDC, possibly in an attempt to underscore its renewed support for the Mac. The most credible rumors, again from Bloomberg, suggest that these would mostly be under-the-hood updates. Both the MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook would jump to seventh-generation Intel Core (aka Kaby Lake) processors that promise both faster performance and longer battery life. They might support more memory, too. Customers have complained that the MacBook Pro’s maximum 16GB of RAM isn’t enough to handle heavy workloads, and there have been hints that the laptop will support as much as 32GB with its next refresh. The more diminutive MacBook might also support as much as 16GB, although that’s clearly not as vital an upgrade given that it’s only designed for basic tasks.

There’s some tangible evidence to back up these claims. Apple recently delayed shipping times for 15-inch MacBook Pro orders, pushing their delivery to the day after the WWDC keynote. The Cupertino firm frequently stalls orders like this when it’s clearing out inventory for an outgoing device, so that’s as strong a sign as any that something is afoot.

Don’t get your hopes up for a MacBook Air update, though. Although the same Bloomberg rumor had Apple considering an Air refresh, neither the filings nor other clues point to an imminent upgrade. If there is one, we’d expect it to fly under the radar. This would be a maintenance update that does just enough to keep Apple’s most affordable system relevant in 2017 — hardly something you’d want to crow about in a keynote. You might see a switch to seventh-gen Core processors but not much more than that.

A 10.5-inch iPad

While Apple’s mainstream iPad just received an update in March, the iPad Pro is more than a little overdue. Neither Pro model has been touched for more than a year, and they’re based on a design that hasn’t changed much since the original iPad Air in 2013. Where’s a truly new iPad, one that pushes the concept forward? Thankfully, it sounds like you might get it at WWDC — there’s mounting buzz that an update is right around the corner.

If you believe Bloomberg, it’s the long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro that many expect to replace the 9.7-inch edition. This would be more than just an upsized version of the slate you see today. Slimmer bezels would give it a footprint roughly comparable to its smaller sibling, so you wouldn’t have to give up portability for the sake of a larger screen. The 10.5-inch tablet is likely to pack a faster processor (a souped-up version of the iPhone 7’s chip, possibly called the “A10X”), and it might have a higher-resolution display to match. One IHS Markit analyst believes it could have a 2,224 x 1,668 LCD that slots in neatly between existing 9.7-inch iPads (2,048 x 1,536) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2,732 x 2,048).

There isn’t much else to know about the specs at this point, but we have found a few clues. Case leaks from Twitter’s @ShaiMizrachi point to a familiar layout for the 10.5-inch iPad, including the stereo speakers you’ve seen on all Pro models so far. Also, Consomac has found Eurasian Economic Commission filings for four previously unknown iPad models split into two families. It’s easy to guess that these may be WiFi and cellular versions of both the 10.5-inch Pro and another iPad, possibly a refreshed 12.9-inch model.

Just don’t expect the iPad mini to get any attention at the same time. Apple only recently doubled the storage for the iPad mini 4, so it’s doubtful that you’ll see a more substantial upgrade a few months later. In fact, a BGR rumor claims that Apple might drop the mini in the long run. This tiniest of iPads reportedly doesn’t sell well compared to its larger counterparts, and the iPhone 7 Plus is close enough for some buyers. Bigger iPads are the future, and WWDC could reflect that.

Software: iOS, macOS and Siri’s future

Apple’s software plans would normally take center stage in one of our WWDC previews. This is a developer conference, after all. But thus far, there have been precious few credible hints as to what Apple will announce. This isn’t to say that this year’s updates will be low-key — it’s just that Apple may be keeping a lid on secrets this year.

In a Bloomberg interview, Apple’s Jimmy Iovine mentioned that iOS 11 would include a new Music app that does a better job with videos. Projects like Carpool Karaoke might fit better into the app, something that’ll help Apple push more exclusive video content going forward. Also, there are longstanding rumors of improved iPad support across all of iOS. You could use the Pencil to annotate all kinds of content, such as websites or email messages. This certainly makes sense if there’s a 10.5-inch iPad in the works, since Apple has been keen to demonstrate that iPads can serve as PC replacements.

When it comes to the Mac, there’s even less to say — we’re practically limited to speculation. One theory is plausible, though: Given that Apple File System launched on mobile devices with iOS 10.3, it stands to reason that macOS is next in line. If so, you could expect speedier, more secure storage that’s better-optimized for Macs with solid-state drives.

We haven’t heard anything about new versions of watchOS or tvOS, so any big features will come as surprises.

Instead, the greater focus might be on a common thread for all of Apple’s software: AI. It’s no secret that Apple has been making heavy investments in AI, and WWDC could be an ideal venue to showcase improvements, whether they apply to Siri or individual apps. Some of Apple’s acquisitions may indicate what’s on deck. Turi, for example, helps detect patterns and personalize content. Siri might be better at understanding your requests by recognizing what you tend to look for while iOS might be more proactive when suggesting photos or music.

Improvements to Siri could be particularly crucial this year. If there really is a Siri speaker, its success could hinge on high-quality AI; it has to answer common requests as well as an Echo or Home. And few would doubt that rivals like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana have distinct advantages over Siri on any device, such as Google’s access to its powerful search engine. Although we wouldn’t expect a total revolution in Siri’s abilities, it probably can’t remain as-is for much longer.

Wildcards: Mac Pros and iMacs

Apple Unveils New Versions Of Popular iPad

You can never completely rule out surprises at Apple events, even if WWDC’s focus limits the kind of introductions you’re likely to see. And there are certainly a few candidates this year.

One such possibility is a very early preview of the redesigned Mac Pro. Apple revealed the current workstation’s design at WWDC 2013, months ahead of its release, and it wouldn’t be shocking if there were a repeat showing as the company reassures developers worried about the fate of pro Mac desktops. But the new Mac Pro is still a long ways away (it’s not expected until sometime in 2018), and there may not be much point to showing it off if Apple isn’t ready to provide the finished specs.

Augmented reality might also show up, since Apple has been very open about its interest in AR technology. With that said, there aren’t any believable rumors of Apple having something it can show at WWDC. We’ve heard that it could be testing AR glasses, but they might not ship until 2018, if not later. At best, you’ll get a sneak peek.

If there’s a relatively realistic wild card, it might be the pro iMacs that Apple confirmed back in April. The company was only willing to commit to a “later in 2017” release at the time, but some of the hardware needed to make this all-in-one is available now. Notice how Intel’s new Core i9 chips have the abundance of cores that pros crave? No, they’re not Xeons, but they could easily fit the bill if you need to compile code or edit 4K videos. It may just be a matter of whether or not Apple is willing and able to use these parts quickly. We wouldn’t be surprised if these high-performance iMacs weren’t unveiled until the fall.

Image credits: Reuters/Stephen Lam; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The Morning After: Tuesday, May 16th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Squeezable smartphones, perhaps our first look at the glass-backed, iPhone 8 (don’t worry, unrelated), and the death of the graphing calculator? All this, and we’re only on Tuesday morning. Oh, and Toyota is musing on flying cars.


But can it play Drug Wars?Desmos app could kill off the graphing calculator

Overpaying for graphing calculators has been a rite of passage for as long as any millennials can remember, but the reign of the TI-84 may be coming to an end. That’s because of a new online calculator called Desmos that can run on any connected device and provide similar features. There are other internet-based calculators, but this one is embedded in the test itself and has backing from SAT administrator The College Board.


Squeezy phone.HTC’s squeezable U11 is its true 2017 flagship phone

After releasing the U Ultra, HTC is again attempting a top of the line smartphone with the U11. The specs behind its 5.5-inch curved Gorilla Glass display are just on par with other flagship devices, but the standout gimmick here is Edge Sense. Side-mounted pressure sensors can detect varying levels of grip and respond with associated shortcuts or app actions. Also, it can run up to three virtual assistants at once, with support for Google Assistant, Alexa and HTC’s own Sense Assistant. Finally, it loses the headphone jack but includes USB-C connected headphones that handle customized audio, as well as noise-canceling that runs off of the phone’s battery.


It’s the Shazam of foodThe ridiculous Not Hotdog app from ‘Silicon Valley’ is real

These days it’s even more difficult to tell parody apps from the real ones.


Android in autoVolvo and Audi are building Android into their new cars

Ahead of the Google I/O event later this week, Volvo and Audi have announced plans to base their next-generation infotainment systems on Android. There aren’t a lot of details yet, but the partnership promises support for Google Assistant, Google Maps and Android apps like Spotify running directly on the car’s hardware without requiring an Android Auto hand-holding from your phone.


ExclusiveiPhone 8 renders point to glass back and wireless charging

A reliable source in the accessory industry has told us that these renders represent Apple’s iPhone 8. If they hold up, they point to a new vertical orientation for the dual-camera setup, with the microphone and flash integrated into the camera hump. They also suggest that the dual-camera and wireless charging will be a standard feature, but we’ll have to wait until this fall to find out for sure — and to see the rumored tenth anniversary iPhone.


Meet the ‘Skydrive’Toyota wants flying cars in time for the 2020 Olympics

Larry Page isn’t the only one with a thing for flying cars — Toyota is backing a small startup working on a drone-like vehicle. The Skydrive from Cartivator would lift about 33 feet off of the ground and scoot along at up to 62mph. The plan is to have commercial versions ready ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. That seems optimistic, but it could provide one more reason to snag a ticket now instead of waiting.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Implanted pancreatic cells could cure diabetes
  • Plenty of blame to go around: The ‘WannaCry’ ransomware is a stark reminder of a broken system
  • What’s on TV this week: ‘Phantom Dust’ remastered, ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ and ‘Injustice 2’
  • United flight crew inadvertently shares cockpit door codes online
  • Engadget Podcast Ep 39: Rip Off
  • Motorola’s leaked 2017 phone lineup points to the return of the Moto X

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The Morning After: Wednesday, May 3rd 2017

Microsoft has announced a new laptop, in addition to a new lighter OS aimed at education (and Chrome OS), all in the middle of the week. YouTube also got a makeover, and we take a look at the most notable VR submissions at this year’s Tribeca festival.


There aren’t any special hinges or kickstands this time.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is built to beat Apple’s MacBooks

Microsoft has always tried to do something different with its hardware. The Surface and Surface Pro helped popularize the idea of hybrid laptops that could also be used as tablets. The Surface Book took that idea a step further with a bigger screen, a unique hinge and more powerful hardware. But with the Surface Laptop, it’s almost as if Microsoft is going back to basics. It’s basically a straightforward notebook, albeit one with the Microsoft’s slick Surface aesthetic. Most importantly, it’s the flagship device for Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s new streamlined OS targeted at the education market. Similar to ChromeOS, it’s meant mainly for web apps and software from the Microsoft Store, with an emphasis on security and battery life. The Surface Laptop launches on June 15th starting at $ 999 for the Core i5 model.


Eye-catching mouse design is back.
Microsoft’s lie-flat Surface Arc mouse is a new take on an old formula

The Surface Arc Mouse is an evolution of the well-established Arc Touch Mouse . While the new Bluetooth peripheral still has that eye-catching, travel-friendly design that snaps flat for stowing in your bag, there aren’t any distinct left and right buttons, or even a scroll strip. Instead, a touch-sensitive button handles all of that.


It trades app support in the name of security and performance.
Microsoft takes on Chrome OS with Windows 10 S

Microsoft has already taken some potshots at Google’s Chromebooks in the past — Windows 8.1 with Bing, anyone? Now, though, it’s going for the jugular. The newly introduced Windows 10 S (not Cloud like the rumors suggested) is a stripped-back, education-oriented version of the operating system that gives up some app support in the name of simplicity and performance. You can only run Windows Store apps (including Office 365 apps, which are coming soon), but that’s the point — schools don’t have to worry about the vulnerabilities that come with running any old Windows app. All in time for a big Minecraft Education Edition upgrade.


And we’re finally getting a “dark mode.”
YouTube’s latest redesign puts added focus on videos

Approximately 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Soon, its desktop website will be getting a makeover to make combing through all those cute cat clips a bit easier. Google is refreshing the look of its desktop site by applying its material design aesthetic to the site, basically flattening the UI. “We want to make content the star,” Fred Gilbert, Head of User Experience at YouTube, said during a recent interview. “Everything else should recede from that.”


But the Mac is up again!
iPhone sales continue their slow and steady slide

Apple couldn’t quite keep iPhone sales growing for the second quarter in a row. The company sold 50.8 million iPhones in the last quarter, down a scant one percent from the 51.2 million it sold a year ago. It’s worth remembering that last year marked the first quarter where iPhone sales didn’t grow year-over-year, so this decline isn’t exactly a surprise. Meanwhile, in the “other products” business, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, revenue jumped a whopping 31 percent. Perhaps Apple’s wearable is doing better than people give it credit for. Indeed, Cook said on Apple’s earnings call that Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year in the last quarter.


Chet Faliszek, who also worked on Steam VR, has left.
Valve has no more ‘Half-Life’ writers left

Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw, co-writers on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two, stuck around after Half-Life writing lead Marc Laidlaw’s departure from Valve last year. But not for long. Wolpaw departed Valve in February, and Faliszek has now also left the company. Faliszek was also key part of Valve’s push into virtual reality, from the early days of secret testing at the company’s Bellevue headquarters through to the public launch of the HTC Vive.


The Aura H2O can survive your next beach trip.
Kobo’s latest waterproof e-reader is sized for poolside reading

Kobo’s recent Aura One e-reader was potentially the dream device for anyone who likes to read in the bath or at the beach, but it had some catches. It was big, with a 7.8-inch screen, and came with a $ 229 price tag. Enter the just-introduced Aura H2O — just as waterproof, but shrunken down to a 6.8-inch touchscreen, while an accompanying tinier $ 180 price.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Republican Senators outline anti-net neutrality legislation
  • T-Mobile plans to launch a national 5G network by 2020
  • VR is telling deeper, more important stories

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Samsung’s chip business kept things looking up to start 2017

Samsung’s Q1 2017 earnings are in, showing the company’s highest quarterly profit since Q3 2013. That’s despite the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and a markdown in the price of its Galaxy Note 7, apparently because the company’s chip business (making memory, processors and camera sensors for phones) is booming. As a company, it brought home the $ 8.75 billion in operating profit expected, and looks forward to better results next quarter, since it will include sales of the new Galaxy S8 phones.

On a call with reporters, execs reaffirmed that reports of a reddish tint on some S8s are a “natural difference” in the OLED technology that it will let users tweak after a software update. Samsung also mentioned “the launch of a new flagship smartphone in the second half,” but didn’t tag the Galaxy Note name to whatever that presumably large-screened device will be. It also did not play into any expectations for an OLED iPhone that it could supply screens for, simply saying that “YoY revenue growth in the OLED business is forecast on the back of increased flexible panel shipments in the second half.”

Source: Samsung

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The Morning After: Friday, April 7th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

We’ve got a lot to cover, with a curious energy that can only mean it’s finally Friday. There are concrete details on the next Xbox, a new iPad to review, and an AI trying to paid while on “digital LSD”. They know how to party.


But is it too late?Xbox One Project Scorpio specs promise ‘the most powerful console ever’

Last year at E3 Microsoft overshadowed its own Xbox One S by revealing a more powerful version on the way. Now, we have some official hard specs for its Project Scorpio box, which uses a custom GPU and 12GB of RAM to power 4K gaming that even the PS4 Pro can’t pull off. In a demo for Eurogamer, it ran Forza Motorsport at 4K and 60fps without breaking a sweat. Even if you haven’t upgraded to 4K by the time it arrives later this year, Scorpio can run Xbox One games in high-res then downsample them to reduce aliasing on 1080p displays, just like the PS4 Pro does. Expect more information on games (and a price) at E3 in June.


It’s a free video editor that’s social-friendlyApple’s Clips app hits iOS today to make video creation a cinch

Clips, Apple’s new video-editing app, despite its dead-simple interface, is capable of some pretty impressive feats. After recording a video, you load it into a project’s timeline, and load it up with symbols, filters and emoji, and share away. If that sounds simple, well, it is. Mostly. After all, it’s meant to sit in between the pure automation of iOS’ photo memories and the more in-depth work that comes with using mobile iMovie. And sure, you could piece together a similar video project in an app like Instagram or a similar Snapchat store. Clips’ surprisingly handy list of features sets it apart. It almost feels like Apple baked extra bells and whistles into the app to give it a leg up on other social platforms without having to build a social network of its own. It’s available, free, on iOS now.


The My Passport SSD packs USB-C and a reasonable price.Western Digital unveils its first portable SSD

Western Digital only just started accepting that SSDs are ready for the mainstream, but it’s making up for that lost time by launching its first portable SSD just months after unveiling a desktop drive. The simply-named My Passport SSD gives you 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of flash storage in a pocketable and ever-so-slightly fashionable design. While it’s not the absolute fastest drive we’ve seen with a peak 515MB/s sequential read speed (it’s a bit faster than Samsung’s T3), the new drive is definitely keeping up with the Joneses. It’s designed for USB-C (there’s a USB-A adapter in the box), touts 256-bit hardware encryption and is tough enough to survive a 6.5ft drop.


You’d be hard-pressed to find a better tablet at this priceReview: Apple iPad (2017)

Apple’s newest iPad is a budget model that samples the best parts from past hits. We’ve got the original iPad Air’s body stuffed with the iPhone 6s’s A9 chipset and paired with a brighter version of the iPad Air 2’s display. We have no complaints about performance, and battery life is excellent. But, Apple’s compromises are evident in the tablet’s relative thickness and the glare-prone screen. What the iPad lacks in sheer thrills, it more than makes up for with adequate power and a price that’s hard to resist.


Wait, where are you going?Comcast reveals Xfinity Mobile

Now that AT&T, YouTube and others are biting into its TV business, Comcast is attacking in the other direction by launching a wireless service. Called Xfinity Mobile, it’s sort of like Google’s Project Fi because it will use a combination of Comcast hotspots and the Verizon network. If you’re a fan of the bundle, it does offer phone service with unlimited data, voice and text for as low as $ 45 ($ 65 if you only have Comcast’s internet service).


Futurecraft 4DAdidas is ready to make 3D-printed sneakers a mass market item

Adidas revealed its latest shoe with a 3D-printed midsole, the Futurecraft 4D, but that’s not the most interesting part of its announcement. While these shoes will have a very limited release this month, it claims that by using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis method, it will have 5,000 pairs ready for sale by the holidays. Carbon specializes in printing items from a liquid pool T-1000 style, and Adidas expects this combination will be able to produce 100,000 pairs of shoes by the end of 2018.


It’s like someone spiked your computer’s drink with ‘ASCIID’What AI sees and hears when it watches ‘The Joy of Painting’

Bay Area artist and engineer Alexander Reben has produced an incredible feat of machine learning in honor of the late Ross, creating a mashup video that applies Deep Dream-like algorithms to both the video and audio tracks. The results are… weird.


Who’s behind an account that’s tweeting from inside US immigration officesTwitter sues feds over attempt to identify anti-Trump account

Twitter is suing the government to resist giving up the identity behind @Alt_uscis, an account tweeting out anti-Trump messages. The account is allegedly run by rogue members of US immigration agencies. The suit is a twofold resistance to the government’s disclosure request, opposing both the method and the nature of demanding these particular identities. First, it openly attempts to block the Department of Homeland Security and CBP from “unlawfully abusing a limited-purpose investigatory tool to try to unmask the real identity of one or more persons who have been using Twitter’s social media platform, and specifically a Twitter account named @ALT_USCIS, to express public criticism of the Department and the current Administration.”


These phones are the best ones at this priceReview: Moto G5 and G5 Plus

Another year, another pair of great affordable handsets from Motorola. The smaller, 5-inch Moto G5 offers reliable performance thanks to Android 7.0 Nougat and a surprisingly good 13-megapixel camera. The design is a little uninspiring, and the display is hard to read in direct sunlight, but this little smartphone does everything you need it to for a bargain price


Just LED, no Q or OSamsung takes aim at Vizio with its ‘MU’ line of Ultra HD TVs

While Samsung’s latest QLED tech fights a picture quality battle with LG and OLED, value-conscious buyers will want to look at the MU line of TVs it’s rolling out. Still featuring 4K, HDR and other high-end options, they use standard LED edge lighting to keep the price down, no matter which version you might choose.


The DevLoop in Nevada has been ‘finalized’ ahead of testingHyperloop One’s test route is ready to run

It was August 2013 that Elon Musk, under pressure from Shervin Pishevar, published his white paper on the Hyperloop. Just three years and seven months later, and the world’s first Hyperloop tube has been declared ready for testing. Hyperloop One has announced that DevLoop, its Nevada test facility, has been “finalized,” and will serve as the testbed for the future of transportation.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Explore Japanese gaming culture in 360 degrees with MatPat
  • Zunum Aero’s hybrid-electric planes could halve the cost of US flights
  • Australian regulator sues Apple bricked ‘Error 53′ iPhones’
  • Xbox One now supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

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Apple iPad review (2017): No alarms and no surprises

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the iPad go from curious experiment to Apple’s vision for the future of computing. But we’ve also seen the tablet market dry up — not even the iPad has been immune to those changes. Still, it’s hard not to look at the new, 2017 iPad as a market mover, a $ 329 machine meant to appeal to newcomers and old-school iPad owners in need of an upgrade. While this iPad is priced for everyone, it’s not meant for everyone. It’s not as slim as older models, and it lacks some of the really neat features that appear in Apple’s Pro line. In other words, the 2017 iPad is a no-nonsense machine. But, it’s a damned good one.

Hardware

No, it’s not just in your head — this iPad feels very, very familiar. It’s as if a designer tore a hole in time itself, reached into the past to grab an original iPad Air and stuck some more up-to-date parts inside. That said, Apple wanted to keep these basic models distinct from more premium iPads, so you won’t find any Smart Connector pins on the iPad’s left side or a laminated display (more on that later).

This presents a fascinating problem for Apple and its loyalists: This iPad effectively replaced 2014’s premium iPad Air 2 as the best full-size, non-Pro tablet in the company’s lineup. That wouldn’t be a problem for some people if the 2017 iPad was as slim and sleek as the Air 2 was, but it’s not. Both pack a 9.7-inch screen running at 2,048×1,536, but the 2017 iPad’s 7.5m waistline is slightly thicker than the Air 2’s, and it’s a little heavier, to boot.

These extra millimeters and grams may be a point of contention for some in the Apple community, and to them I say, “Whatever.” Those minor changes barely registered after the first moments. (And this is coming from a guy who toted around an Air 2 until it died.) This thicker design was palatable once before, and while it’s not as technically impressive as Apple’s more recent iPads, I didn’t notice my hands, arms or wrists getting more fatigued than usual while reading Kindle books for a few hours. And there’s a plus side hidden inside this aluminum frame: Apple went with a 32.9Whr battery, which is much bigger than the Air 2’s and even a little more capacious than the original Air’s. Now, I miss the Air 2’s design as much as anyone else, but it’s nice to see a company — especially Apple — offer up better battery life, even if it comes at the expense of sleekness.

Also inside the new iPad is one of Apple’s A9 chipsets, which we first met in the iPhone 6s. It’s paired with 2GB of RAM and either 32 or 128GB of storage. And no, that’s not a typo: There’s no 64GB option available. As always, you’ll be able to shell out extra ($ 130, in this case) for an LTE-enabled model, which adds a few grams to the iPad’s weight. The new iPad is also home to an 8-megapixel rear camera that takes surprisingly good photos, and there’s something to using such a big screen as a viewfinder. But you’ll still look a little silly doing it, and your phone is probably the better camera anyway.

And then there are the little things. The Touch ID sensor embedded in the home button works as fast as the iPhone 6s’ — which is to say you’ll probably never have trouble with it. Oh, and Apple moved some magnets around, so most original iPad Air cases won’t work correctly with the 2017 model.

Display and sound

The 2017 iPad’s screen runs at the same resolution as the Air 2 and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but there are a few key differences. See, all of the new iPads Apple released in the past three years had optically-laminated displays; that is, the screen was physically bonded to the glass, leaving no gap between them. Not so with this iPad. This saves Apple some money in the manufacturing process but it keeps the iPad from feeling like a seamless window onto the digital world. That said, if you hate the hollow thunking sound that comes with tapping a nonbonded screen, maybe just stay away from this one.

You also won’t find an anti-glare coating on this iPad’s screen, either, likely another cost-saving measure that I wish Apple had reconsidered. The display itself is actually slightly brighter than the Air 2’s (500 nits, compared to the earlier models’ 400), which keep visuals nice and legible in most situations. Things get a little hairier when you take the iPad outside or into a bright room; reflections that seem dull on the iPad Pros are more distracting on this model. For an iPad that’s mostly great, this stands out as one of its most pronounced bummers.

Those compromises, while not ideal, aren’t deal-breakers considering the price. That gap doesn’t matter much when you’re looking at the iPad dead-on, where colors are bright and vivid. Viewing angles are still quite good, so (assuming you dodge those reflections) you won’t have trouble sharing videos with the people sitting next to you.

The sound, meanwhile, hasn’t changed much since the days of the Air 2. There’s a single row of speaker holes drilled into the iPad’s bottom, and the output gets plenty loud without distortion. You’ll miss out on some bass relying on these built-in speakers, obviously. But, thankfully, Apple isn’t taking a stand here — there’s still a headphone jack, so you can plug in your go-to cans.

Performance and software

While we’ve tested some faster iPads, make no mistake: Cheap or not, the 2017 model is a big step up from most earlier models. That’s all thanks to the included dual-core A9 chipset (clocked at 1.85GHz, or so Geekbench says) and 2GB of RAM, which allows for comfortable web browsing, app use and multitasking. Over my week of testing, I mostly used the iPad as a productivity and gaming machine, so I’d punctuate long stretches of email triaging and Slack messaging with a few rounds of that Elder Scrolls card game or cruising around in Galaxy on Fire 3. The iPad handled all of these tasks with only the occasional hiccup when I was trying to flummox it by rapidly jumping in and out of apps.

Engadget

It just works well, and that’s a pretty big compliment. I never found myself wondering why something was taking so long to load. Our usual slew of benchmarks bear out my experience: While less powerful than either of the two iPad Pro models, the 2017 iPad showed healthy gains compared with the iPad Air 2.


iPad (2017) iPad Pro 9.7 iPad Air 2
Geekbench 3.0 Multi-core 5,235 5,235 4,510
3DMark IS Unlimited 29,247 33,403 21,659
Google Octane 2.0 17,993 19,946 10,659

There’s really not much to say on the software front — the iPad comes loaded with iOS 10.3, which should be plenty familiar by now. You can check out the broad strokes in our iOS 10 review, but you’ll now benefit from Apple’s new, more-stable file system and the ability to locate errant AirPods. If nothing else, the iPad is a capable foundation for features like split-screen multitasking.

Running two apps in side-by-side windows worked well enough on my old Air 2, but the extra power produced by the new iPad’s A9 kept everything running more smoothly. It’s clear why Apple wanted this iPad to exist. It isn’t just because the company needed a low-cost tablet to boost its bottom line; it also wanted to provide a stronger base level of performance to help iOS really shine.

More important than the software that comes on the iPad are the updates it will eventually get. With the introduction of the 2017 model, people can go out and buy a relatively cheap iPad that’ll continue to be supported for years. That’s a pretty big deal when you consider the Air 2 — the previous budget-friendly 9.7-inch iPad — is more than 2 years old. Future versions of iOS and the apps they enable will continue to tax our hardware, and a longer support window is reason enough to buy this model over an aging Air.

Battery life


Battery life

iPad (2017) 12:41
iPad Pro 12.9 10:47
iPad mini 4 13:04
iPad Air 2 11:15
iPad Pro 9.7 9:21
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro 7:36
Surface Pro 4 7:15

I was concerned that Apple’s choice of chipset might have had some effect on battery life, but I shouldn’t have been. In terms of pure longevity, this is one of the best iPads we’ve tested. Consider the standard Engadget video rundown test, where we loop an HD video with the screen set at 50 percent brightness: The 2017 iPad lasted for 12 hours and 41 minutes. That’s well ahead of either the iPad Pro and the Air 2. (The only model that came out ahead was the iPad mini 4, which obviously had to drive a much smaller screen.) That’s also well past the 10-hour figure Apple trotted out once again, which isn’t exactly a surprise. Apple, after all, is notorious for low-balling its battery estimates. It holds up well when you’re doing more than bingeing on The Night Manager, too. When it came to my usual working-and-gaming cycle, the iPad stuck around for five or six days of consistent use before needing a recharge.

The competition

With a price starting at $ 329, there aren’t many good, direct competitors to the 2017 iPad. Devices like the new Galaxy Tab S3 are more expensive and are meant to stack up against the iPad Pro. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 could be a worthy alternative if you haven’t pledged allegiance to an operating system. It packs an incredible Super AMOLED display and a surprisingly clean, if not quite up-to-date, build of TouchWiz’d Android 6.0.

If you plan to pick up a low-cost tablet for gaming, you might also want to check out NVIDIA’s Shield K1, which starts at $ 199. It packs a smaller 8-inch screen, but the included Tegra chipset and mostly clean build of Android 7.0 Nougat make it one of the better inexpensive tablet picks. That said, the 2017 iPad would still be our pick — it’s the most tantalizing choice for the money.

Wrap-up

This iPad, perhaps more than any in recent memory, is an exercise in compromise. Yes, Apple has said that the iPad most clearly represents its vision of “people should get things done,” and the development of products like the iPad Pro speak to that belief. There is a time for innovation, and this wasn’t it. This time, Apple was just trying to build the best iPad it could for the masses. In that respect, it did a great job, even if the result isn’t as exciting as everyone hoped.

I feel for people who wanted something a little sleeker or more powerful: They have no other choice than to pay up for the Pro line. For everyone else, though — people who have never had iPads or people stuck with really old ones — this thing is a tempting buy that won’t let you down.

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The Morning After: Thursday, March 30th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Yesterday we focused on Samsung’s big Galaxy S8 reveal, and it didn’t disappoint. If you need to get up to speed in a hurry, we boiled the entire event down into one nine-minute video that you can watch here.


No more leaksMeet the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung has been waiting to get another flagship device into its customer’s hands. Now that the new Galaxy S8 family is here, we have new devices to talk about with new features like Bluetooth 5.0. Chris Velazco calls the S8+ “the most comfortable big phone I’ve ever held,” while Sean Buckley wants everyone to pump their brakes on the hype — it’s still just a phone. But it’s quite a phone, with Bixby AI, facial recognition and unlocking, and the DeX system that turns your smartphone into a desktop computer.


It’s good.Windows 10 Creators update release date & review

Microsoft finally has an official release date for its big upgrade to Windows 10: April 11th. Devindra Hardawar reviewed the OS, so you’ll know what to expect, which amounts to a series of tweaks and a few welcome new features. The Game Bar, upgraded Edge browser and Paint 3D are all useful additions, even if Windows doesn’t look very different after the update.


New Game+The Xbox One’s new UI is rolling out to everyone

While we wait for the Creators Update on Windows 10, Microsoft is pushing its latest software for the Xbox One. Already available to beta testers, this version brings a faster miniguide that pops up with a single button press, plus streaming with Microsoft’s Twitch competitor Beam. One thing, though, it’s time to say goodbye to the picture-in-picture Snap mode.


Six years after the premiere of ‘L.A. Noire’Hideo Kojima is headlining the inaugural Tribeca Games Festival

On April 28th and 29th the Tribeca Film Festival will have some company, as the Tribeca Games Festival takes place in New York City. Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima will speak, as some of the big names behind games like Bioshock, Max Payne, Firewatch and Overwatch. Also, Telltale Games promises a premiere and “crowd play” event for its upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy game. Tickets start at $ 30 and are available here.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Facebook opens up 360-degree live streaming to everyone
  • Lyft’s latest idea looks familiar because it’s a bus.
  • Take a look at the first interior photos of Blue Origin’s space capsule for tourists
  • Donald Trump is tweeting from an iPhone now
  • Bioware: Expect ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ support info Tuesday

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The Morning After: Wednesday, March 22nd 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

How would you like a stealth delivery of Apple announcements? Well you’ve got them. While there’s nothing earth-shattering, there is a new tablet, a vivid new iPhone and a new video app. Also in today’s Adult Week series, we digitally clear out our PC and feel all the better for it.


Say goodbye to the Air. Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad is its cheapest yet

Apple just simplified its tablet lineup in a big way. The company has introduced a new 9.7-inch iPad — not the Air 3, just… iPad. You’ll find a slightly older but still speedy A9 processor inside instead of the Air 2’s aging A8X chip, and Apple has doubled the capacities to give you either 32GB or 128GB of storage. There are some drawbacks, however, that come with that cheaper price tag.


Beats two different shades of black. Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now come in red

Apple has also just snuck out a new special edition red iPhone 7, with barely any fanfare. (Although rumors that something was afoot began earlier today when Apple’s online store went down.) The red aluminum iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be launching globally, adding some welcome color to the black and plainer metallic shades we’ve had until now. The pair of iPhones (with either 128GB or 256GB of storage) will launch in stores and online this Friday, March 24th, starting at $ 749.


The 16GB iPhone is dead.Apple doubles the storage of the iPhone SE and iPad Mini 4

Apple is also increasing the storage across all iPhone SE and iPad Mini 4 configurations. The lowest-capacity 4-inch iPhone SE is now 32GB, up from 16GB, and the 64GB model has been scrapped in favor of a 128GB version. Basically, Apple has doubled the storage and finally killed off the last 16GB iPhone, but good news: The prices haven’t changed.


You can try it out todayMeet Android O

Google has officially announced the next version of Android, and it’s O. There’s no dessert-themed nickname yet, but the next big update will have some tweaks aimed at extending battery life. They’ll work by managing how apps operate in the background, limiting services, location updates and broadcasts to help squeeze out more time between charges. Other new features include picture-in-picture on phones and tablets, and an autofill feature that should make it easier to use a password manager. If you want to get an early jump, there’s a developer preview available right now for several Nexus and Pixel devices.


It involves more than just emptying your Trash folder Adult Week: The life-changing magic of tidying up (your computer)

Now that many of us have terabytes of storage at our fingertips (or in the cloud), there’s a temptation to keep everything, from apps to old bookmarks. Despite that, Dan Cooper tried applying strategies from Marie Kondo’s famous book to his digital life, hitting the delete button on things that don’t provide some form of joy.


Deal from the middleThe hidden depth of mobile puzzle game ‘Where Cards Fall’

This top-down 3D puzzler will have players follow a handful of teenagers over the course of ten years, building houses of cards to navigate them along the way. Coming from the developers of Alto’s Adventure, Where Cards Fall will arrive later this year on iOS, Apple TV and Steam with more complex mechanics and story than we’re used to seeing in a mobile game.


How did it not have this already? iTunes movie rentals finally work across multiple devices

Nearly a decade after iTunes added movie rentals, Apple has finally made it work across devices. Previously, if you watched a rental on one phone, tablet or Apple TV, it would be stuck there until it expired. With the latest update, viewers can pause and resume on another iPhone or anywhere else they’re logged into the app. The only problem is that for now, the feature is limited to beta and developer builds, but it should be available widely soon enough.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Manually mark your parking spot in Google Maps for extra precision
  • UK also bans devices from cabins on flights from Middle East
  • Adult Week: I don’t know how to drive and I may never have to learn
  • Adidas ‘Knit for You’ pop-up shop uses robots to make your clothes on the spot

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