The Morning After: Wednesday, December 6th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to Wednesday, where the line between phones and PCs is blurrier than ever, and we’re entering a new round of Google vs. Amazon.


Thanks to mobile CPUs.‘Always Connected’ Windows 10 PCs have 20 hours of battery life

Late last year, Microsoft announced plans to make Windows 10 work on ARM CPUs — usually used in phones and tablets — and now we’ve seen the first real devices. The HP Envy x2 and the ASUS NovaGo both have Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chips inside, but run all your usual Windows programs. The best part is that, just like phones, they’re instantly on and promise incredible battery life. Plus, AMD is getting in on the trick.


Ooops.How not to store your bitcoin

Some finicky software, a broken laptop and the skyrocketing value of bitcoin combine to make for one epic tale.


Here we go again.Google is blocking YouTube on Amazon’s Echo Show and Fire TV

Amazon only recently brought YouTube back to its Echo Show, and now Google says it will block the company’s devices again. Google is ticked off because Amazon isn’t selling some of its hardware or making Prime Video work with Cast, putting the two at odds.We’ll see who blinks first (or ever).


Yes, we know you would rather use microSD.Samsung’s 512GB chip will put PC-like storage in your phone

So many podcasts.


Choose whatever carrier you like.Apple’s iPhone X is available unlocked and SIM-free in the US

If you’re paying $ 1,000 or more for a new handset, you should be able to choose your network at will, and now you can.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Marvel is making a scripted ‘Wolverine’ podcast for Stitcher
  • HQ’s live trivia is coming to Android in time for the holidays
  • The iPhone 8 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
  • Netflix cuts ties with Danny Masterson following rape allegations
  • Honor squeezed more screen into its budget View 10 flagship

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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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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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The Morning After: Wednesday, March 15 2017

Hey, good morning!

Welcome to Wednesday. Remember all those big, beautiful TVs from CES back in early January? Well, we have prices for both Sony and Samsung’s newest screens. And if you can afford a $ 5 OLED TV, how about a $ 1,650 smartwatch? Welcome to the big-spender edition of The Morning After.


Everything has a price.Sony’s first 4K OLED TV starts at $ 5k

After Sony unveiled the beautiful XBR-A1E during CES, our next question was how much will it cost? Now we know, the price-tags are $ 5,000 and $ 6,500 for the 55- and 65-inch models, respectively. That puts them squarely between the mid- and high-end models from OLED pioneer LG, and Sony says they’ll be in stores next month.


Are you ready Neo? There could be a ‘Matrix’ relaunch on the way

It’s early, but Hollywood news outlets are reporting that Warner Bros. is working on a plan for another movie version of The Matrix. Names tossed around in the rumors include writer Zak Penn and actor Michael B. Jordan, although there’s no word on any level of involvement from the Wachowskis. The only question now is if there’s any thing left that can recapture the magic of the original movie and its bullet-time action sequences that blew away audiences in 1999.


You can swap the smart part out for a mechanical timepiece TAG Heuer made a modular $ 1,650 smartwatch

When TAG Heuer released its first smartwatch two years ago, it had a price tag of $ 1,800 and was dubbed the most expensive Android Wear device on the market. Still, more than 56,000 people bought it, which is certainly enough reason for the Swiss watchmaker to delve into the smartwatch business once again. And so it has.


It’s artSamsung’s 2017 QLED TVs start rolling out

Samsung is also ready to deliver on its 2017 TV lineup, with LED sets ranging in price from $ 2,800 for a 55-inch Q7, to $ 6,800 for a 75-inch Q8. The top of the line Q9 series has yet to appear, however. The company also promised its second-gen Ultra HD Blu-ray player launches next month for $ 400, and showed off a quirky ‘The Frame’ TV that doubles as a piece of artwork when it’s not in use.


It’s not a mistake this time‘La La Land’ composer on electronica’s key role in the film

Where does a drum machine fit in with traditional jazz music? That question drives the plot of not-quite Best Picture La La Land, and provided a challenge to its composer Justin Hurwitz. That challenge paid off with an Oscar for Best Original Music Score, and in an interview at SXSW, Hurwitz explains how he pulled off being a both a revolutionary and a traditionalist.


Say hello to Orisa Your new ‘Overwatch’ hero is a four-legged robot tank with a lot to prove.

Orisa, the latest character to enter the Overwatch fray, will be widely available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 21st. Orisa is an “anchor tank,” as Blizzard calls it — this means she’s the kind of massive, damage-absorbing hero that an entire team can rally behind and use as a home base, even in the middle of hectic fights. Reinhardt is another example of an “anchor tank” in Overwatch. For experienced players, Orisa is described as a mix of Reinhardt (a big, healthy character with a giant shield) and Zarya (who has a laser gun and barriers she can throw onto her allies).

But wait, there’s more…

  • ‘Full Throttle Remastered’ will tear up the road this April
  • This self-cleaning bag freshens up your smelly gym clothes
  • Microsoft’s Slack-fighting ‘Teams’ app rolls out to all Office 365 users
  • ‘Fistful of Stars’ lets you experience a stellar birth in VR
  • Russia finds Apple guilty of fixing iPhone prices

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The Morning After: Wednesday, February 22 2017

Welcome to your Wednesday. And maybe the future. NASA has a big announcement today, Qualcomm is promising phone chips that’ll gulp down data faster than your current fiber connection, and more immediately, your next iPhone might pack a depth-sensing camera. Yes, we all find excitement in different places.


Tune in to NASA TV at 1PM ET
NASA has a new discovery to announce

This afternoon, scientists will reveal a discovery “beyond our solar system.” The new findings have to do with exoplanets, aka planets that orbit stars other than our own. We don’t know what they’ve found — if it’s Earth 2 then can we all promise not to tell Mat Smith? — but all will be revealed in a live streamed press conference at 1PM ET, followed by an AMA on Reddit.


This plan doesn’t use them to replace drivers
UPS tests drone/truck delivery combo

The FAA still needs to approve the system before it can roll out, but UPS just showed off an idea to use drones to deliver packages. Using tech we’ve seen before from the Workhorse Group, flying machines take off from a delivery truck. While the driver continues to their next stop, the drone delivers its package and returns to the truck autonomously.


1.2Gbps, to be exact
Qualcomm’s new LTE chip is faster than gigabit fiber

The X20 chip is capable of simultaneously receiving up to 12 streams of LTE data. That’s good for bandwidth as high as 1.2Gbps for your phone or tablet when it arrives in 2018. Bonding 4G streams together (it can also upload at up to 150Mbps) is the best we can hope for until proper 5G tech arrives, assuming you can find a tower nearby ready to deliver that speed (and bandwidth caps it won’t instantly exceed.)


After losing a speaking gig and book deal
Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart News

There’s no need to waste any more of our valuable ink on the details. Wait, this newsletter isn’t printed in ink? It should be.


It could power a car while also capturing carbon dioxide.
Tiny ‘engine’ turns natural gas into hydrogen

The dilemma with hydrogen is that while fueling your car with the stuff is faster than charging an EV, making and distributing it is inefficient and polluting. A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a four-stroke “engine” that converts natural gas (methane) into hydrogen from just about anywhere, while capturing the CO2. It could one day hook up to your natural gas line, letting you fuel your car from home in a non-polluting way like you can with an EV.


More G.Intel and Qualcomm are steadily gearing up for 5G

There’s still no unified 5G standard for the next generation of mobile communication, but boy, do some companies have plenty of ideas. Qualcomm and Intel are hoping to play essential roles in the 5G ecosystem, which is poised to be at least ten times faster than existing networks and offer features like near-zero latency.


Apple owns the company that helped build the original Kinect.
The next iPhone might have depth-sensing front camera

Rumors of what the next iPhone will be like are coming in hot and heavy. Last week, well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noted that the new handsets would nix the home button for a touch-friendly “function area.” Now, a KGI Securities report says that the upcoming OLED iPhone will feature a “revolutionary” front camera that’s capable of sensing 3D space via infrared. Intrigued?


Nothing is sacredThe Etch A Sketch got an LCD screen

So many feelings.

But wait, there’s more…

  • The reborn ‘MST3K’ will stream on Netflix April 14th
  • Alienware 13 Kaby Lake review
  • SodaStream recalls 51,000 bottles because they might explode
  • New brain-computer interface technology delivers faster and more accurate typing

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