The headline on this story — never buy hardware today based on a promise of software tomorrow — doesn’t really apply to the new iPad Pro, which I reviewed yesterday. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since I hit the publish button.
The phrase is a mantra we repeat over and over here at The Verge when there’s a promise that a future software update will fix a bug on a device we’re reviewing. It’s the default advice we give out when such a promise has been made, borne out of years of experience with these things.
These “bugfixes and improvements” rarely eliminate the original problem entirely, but sometimes you get surprised. We’re about to find out if Samsung can buck that trend with the focus hunting issues on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, which is getting an update globally right now.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found definitive evidence it does, but signs seem to look good based on some early user reports. Even more unfortunately, I have to admit that my review unit is locked up tight at my office where I absolutely can’t get it — so I may not be able to test the update myself for some time.
Anyway, the advice is on my mind after reviewing the iPad Pro even though — again — it only really tangentially relates. It’s because so much of the iPad is about its potential, which for years was always just one update away. First it was waiting for better multitasking, then a better web browser and USB device support, and now we’re waiting to see if that Magic Keyboard with its trackpad can unlock more capabilities on this thing.
I unfortunately haven’t had a chance to try out the new Magic Keyboard yet, though I did do some trackpad testing. Stay tuned for more on the trackpad next week — or just go on and try it yourself, as iOS and iPadOS 13.4 are out now with mouse and keyboard support for iPads, iCloud Drive folder sharing, and more. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, shoot me an email.
The standout new hardware feature this year, LIDAR, simply doesn’t have direct support from AR apps to justify itself yet. It makes you wonder if the next flagship iPhone will have LIDAR too. Its inclusion on the iPad Pro seems like a signal that Apple thinks truly good AR requires LIDAR, as Nilay Patel pointed out in the Vergecast last week.
Despite some recent travails with Catalyst apps on the Mac, Apple is generally really good at getting developers on board with its new capabilities, so I have a high level of faith that those LIDAR-enhanced AR apps will come. (Disclosure: my wife works for Oculus, which works on VR.)
There are fun things to do in AR today, but in the popular imagination it’s definitely one of the many “in five years it’ll be huge” technologies — alongside self-driving cars and robot butlers. Perhaps the timeline to widespread AR is considerably shorter, but it’s certainly not imminent.
I think Apple deserves more credit than it usually gets for taking big bets on its products. Usually, it has a reputation for being more conservative than other companies — it was late to 3G and wireless charging. But just as often, Apple risks unproven tech on important products.
Not all of them pan out, of course (looking at you MacBook keyboard and Touch Bar), but just as often they do: truly wireless headphones were kind of meh before the AirPods, consumers didn’t rise up and reject headphone jack-less phones, and even the iPad Pro itself was a risk. When it was first introduced, there was no guarantee that it could turn into what it’s become today.
Sometimes Apple’s bets are about pushing the entire market forward, intentionally seeding ideas that aren’t quite ready now in order to force the future it believes should come. That’s absolutely the story with USB originally and with the Great Port Cull on phones and laptops over the past few years. I think it’s likely a similar story with LIDAR and AR.
I have no idea if LIDAR and the idea of pervasive AR that people access by holding up big tablets will become bets that pan out or not. Unlike some of Apple’s other bets, though, the only hassle the LIDAR causes is the size of the camera bump and the cost of the part.
Which means that while I don’t think Apple’s big AR push is a reason for anybody to go buy the new iPad Pro (unless you’re an AR developer, I guess), I also don’t think it’s a reason to avoid it.
So: buy the iPad Pro for the screen, the speed, the microphones, or because you really do think it can replace your laptop. Those are all good reasons. Just don’t buy it for the LIDAR — never buy hardware today based on a promise of software tomorrow.
┏ The Redmi K30 Pro is Xiaomi’s new price-performance champion. If you wanted proof that what you’re paying for on a Galaxy S20 flagship isn’t the specs, the K30 Pro makes a very solid case for that.
┏ Wyze’s new Band wearable and smart scale are available today. Both of these seem much nicer than I would have guessed — though of course we’ll need to try them out directly to say for sure. I still think it’s a little odd to get these categories of devices from Wyze, but maybe you don’t.
┏ Impossible CEO says it can make a meat ‘unlike anything that you’ve had before’. I love this idea. Trying to make something that mimics beef means you’ll get judged by that standard — and there are some very good burgers out there, you know? But if the company can just lean into the strengths of its plants and not try to aim to mimic something, that could turn into something really special.
┏ Spotify is revoking support for all third-party DJ apps. You know, Spotify, not every company needs to make every single product. Sometimes being the base for an ecosystem of third party apps lets you become this little thing that people call a “platform,” and it helps you become the standard. Just a thought!
┏ Apple updates Safari’s anti-tracking tech with full third-party cookie blocking. Far ahead of Chrome, and honestly, much less breaks than you might expect.
┏ Firefox is launching a new test pilot with Scroll to pay web publishers. The Verge is part of the Scroll network. I still have some reservations about how much data Scroll is collecting (though I understand why it’s necessary, given how the web works) — but the CEO promises that options for deleting and anonymizing are on the way. I’m a subscriber, for what it’s worth.
And it may be self-serving to point this out, but paying directly for journalism is likely to become more important in the coming months as the ad market contracts.
┏ Europe turns off instruments on some of its deep-space probes during coronavirus pandemic. You can’t get much further away from the coronavirus than this, yet it still has a big effect.
┏ The true impact of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation on astronomy is coming into focus. Loren Grush gets deep into all the issues, but I found this part in particular particularly alarming:
As for what that means for these astronomy fields, one obvious concern is that a potentially hazardous asteroid could go unnoticed until it’s too late to act appropriately. It’s also possible observers will have to take expensive countermeasures to get the kinds of images they want. “It may mean you have to observe twice as long, if you have to throw away half your data,” says McDowell. “So that’s expensive. Or you may need to make changes to your telescope design, to stop reflections from a satellite.”
Two trends to keep an eye on. The first is continued reduction in bandwidth usage for video to help balance the internet’s overall load. The second sort of runs counter to that: more ways to be social with video or chat while consuming content.
┏ YouTube is reducing its default video quality to standard definition for the next month. I don’t know how much it will help, but I think I’m going to just let this default stand rather than manually switch it up to the higher resolution, just in case it’s a help to my neighbors.
By default, videos will start playing in standard definition (480p) quality, according to Bloomberg. People who want to watch videos in high definition can still do so, but they must manually select that option.
┏ Instagram will let you browse posts with friends over video chat to promote social distancing. This is honestly very clever:
Part of this new effort includes a new feature Instagram is calling Co-Watching, which will let you browse posts with your friends over in-app video chat. The feature can be accessed by starting a video chat through the Instagram Direct messaging tab and tapping the photo icon in the bottom left of the video chat screen. It lets you look at saved, liked, and recommended posts together as a group.
┏ How Half-Life: Alyx’s designers built an escapist dystopia with a spot of hope. There are a lot of contradictions in this game, and especially in this moment — Adi Robertson gracefully navigates them in this piece.
A $1,000 Samsung phone with a removable battery just went on sale in US – Android Authority
A not-so-new Samsung Galaxy phone with a removable battery just went on sale in the US. With internals that somewhat match those of the Galaxy S9, the Galaxy XCover FieldPro is a $1,100 phone that’s now up for grabs through AT&T.
The device was first introduced in October 2019 but its availability at the time was limited to enterprise customers.
The rugged phone has a removable battery and is designed for people like law enforcement officers, emergency workers, hikers, trekkers, technicians, and other users who basically need a rough and tough device for extreme conditions.
The phone carries US military standard certification (MIL-STD-810G) for durability and ruggedness. This gives it the ability to survive extreme temperatures, shocks, vibrations, and drops. It’s also IP68 rated for water and dust resistance.
Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro specs
As far as the specs of the phone are concerned, it features 2018’s flagship Exynos 9810 chipset. It also gets a 5.1-inch QHD display, 4GB RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a 4,500mAh removable battery.
In terms of cameras, the Galaxy XCover FieldPro houses a 12MP dual aperture primary shooter and an 8MP selfie snapper. The camera setup is exactly the same as the one found on the Galaxy S9.
There’s a fingerprint sensor at the back of the device and it uses a pogo pin connector for charging or attaching peripherals.
Just like the XCover Pro, the FieldPro also gets a dedicated push-to-talk button that facilitates two-way communication during emergencies.
You get a USB-C cable, a travel adapter, a pogo pin charger, a push-to-talk earphone, an an extra battery in the box.
This rugged smartphone doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the retail price listed on AT&T’s website is a whopping $1,104.99. This brings it in the same league as the Samsung Galaxy S20 series as far as premium pricing is concerned.
However, if you are looking to buy the device on the cheap, you can also pick it up with a 30-month AT&T instalment plan for $36.84/month. The carrier will start shipping the phone between April 13 and April 15. There’s also an option to pick it up from an AT&T retail outlet.
Like the idea of a rugged Samsung phone with a removable battery? Then you can check out the phone on AT&T’s website via the button below.
Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro A rugged phone with removable battery
Who says smartphones with removable batteries are dead? Certainly not Samsung, as its Galaxy XCover FieldPro is now available to purchase. You’re essentially getting a Galaxy S9 with a 4,500mAh removable battery and more rugged design.
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Cooking Mama dev shuts down rumours of Switch version mining crytocurrency – GamesIndustry.biz
The developer of Cooking Mama: Cookstar has assured that the Switch game does not utilise Nintendo’s hardware to mine for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.
Responding to various queries on Twitter, New York-based studio 1st Playable said “Those are all rumours.”
“As the developers, we can say with certainty there is no cryptocurrency or data collection or blockchain or anything else shady in the code,” the developer tweeted. “The Nintendo Switch is a very safe platform, with none of the data and privacy issues associated with some mobile and PC games.”
The rumours appear to centre around confusion over the game’s release. IGN has a detailed breakdown of the many oddities.
At the heart is the fact that Cooking Mama: Cookstar is — according to its own website — supposed to be available now. But it does not appear listed on Nintendo’s online store, Amazon is only selling copies through two third-party sellers, and Walmart is listing it as out of stock.
There are also reports that the game appeared briefly on the US eShop before being delisted and does not appear anywhere on the European eShop.
But some Twitter users appear to have received physical copies.
In another tweet, 1st Playable said it was “frustrated as everyone with the distribution situation,” although offered no further clarification.
This confusion, combined with a 2019 press release announcing Cooking Mama would feature blockchain functionality, led to the rumours that the game would be used for mining Bitcoin.
When presented with this press release, 1st Playable clarified that it was released back in February 2019, adding: “We presume [it was] hypothetical like most releases around blockchain are.”
The studio continued: “Blockchain was never brought up to us developers, and we were entertainment to hear about [it] in late 2019. Not happening anytime soon.”
Oddly, these tweets are the only activity from 1st Playable’s account since Novembr 2017.
GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to Nintendo and publisher Planet Entertainment via its PR agency Sandbox Strategies for clarification.
Distributor Koch Media responded but was unable to offer any clarification.
Airbus tells employees production rebound unlikely in short term – Bloomberg News – National Post
— Note: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy
A $1,000 Samsung phone with a removable battery just went on sale in US – Android Authority
Researchers have developed an battery that can be charged in seconds – AirQualityNews
7 April 2020 News release WHO and partners call for urgent investment in nurses – World Health Organization
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Popular Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours after man collapses outside restaurant – Vancouver Is Awesome
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