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Computing

Apple boss drops heaviest hint yet about future device

Apple is famous for keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to upcoming products, so comments made by CEO Tim Cook this week have surprised many observers.

Speaking in an interview with China Daily USA, Cook gave the clearest hint yet that Apple is working on a high-tech headset.

Discussing AR technology, Cook said, “Stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.”

Yes, that was pretty much it, but for Cook that’s saying a lot. It’s funny that he actually said, “sort of stay tuned …,” as if he couldn’t quite bring himself to be emphatic about it, because that’s not the Apple way.

Rumors about Apple’s interest in a headset have been swirling for a long time, but Cook, despite often expressing an interest in AR technology, has until now been careful not to give anything away.

Sure, we still have no concrete details on the product, but the person at the top has all but confirmed that a head-based device is on the way.

Speculation over the last few years has pointed toward Apple developing one but two products. A pair of AR glasses and a mixed-reality headset that incorporates both AR and VR.

To put it simply, a VR (virtual reality) headset offers an immersive experience in a digital world, and is popular for gaming. AR (augmented reality) specs, on the other hand, place digital overlays of text or images over what you’re seeing in the real world. An AR/VR headset (mixed-reality) combines both technologies.

In this week’s interview, Cook only ever talked about AR, saying he was “incredibly excited” about the technology and adding that he believes “we’re still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve.”

He continued: “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space,” before finishing off with his line suggesting folks “sort of stay tuned.”

Many expected that Apple might unveil its first headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, but it wasn’t to be. Recent reports have suggested the tech giant could unveil an AR/VR headset toward the end of this year, while the AR specs might not land until 2024. Perhaps that’s what Cook meant by “sort of stay tuned.” The expression usually suggests something will be along soon, but Cook’s unusual choice of words is perhaps his way of saying, “But don’t stay too tuned ‘cos it’s gonna be a while.”

To find out everything we think we know about Apple’s headset plans, Digital Trends has a carefully curated page featuring all of the incoming news.

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Game

8Bitdo’s SN30 Pro+ controller drops to $40 for today only

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Update, 1:17pm ET: The Lightning Deal on the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro+ has now expired.

8Bitdo controllers have been some of our favorites thanks to their charming designs and affordable prices. We called one of the latest, the SN30 Pro+, a near-perfect Nintendo Switch controller and now you can get that accessory at its best price yet. The SN30 Pro+ is down to $40 today as a Lightning Deal on Amazon, which means you have roughly six hours from the time of writing this to grab it before the price goes back up to $50. This is the same deal we saw on Black Friday, so if you missed it then, you have another opportunity to get it today.

Buy 8Bitdo SN30 Pro+ at Amazon – $40

The SN30 Pro+ will look familiar to those who loved the SNES. It has a similar design to that console’s controller with a D-pad, circular A, B, X and Y buttons and start and select buttons in the middle. But it also has handles for better ergonomics, along with analog sticks and two more buttons. It’s well-built and lightweight, making it easy to throw into a bag and take with you when you want to play with your Switch on the go. While plenty of people will want to use it with Nintendo’s console, the SN30 Pro+ is also compatible with PC, macOS, Android, Steam and Raspberry Pi.

Not only did we find the SN30 Pro+ to be even more comfortable than Nintendo’s own Switch Pro Controller, it also has the added benefit of a removable battery pack. It’ll last about 20 hours on a single charge, but in a pinch, you can take out that pack and replace it with AA batteries instead. That’ll come in handy on long flights, camping trips and other situations in which you can’t charge up for a while. We also appreciate that the 8BitDo Ultimate Software lets you personalize the controller a bit further by remapping buttons and creating custom profiles.

The few gripes we had with the SN30 Pro+ were its somewhat tedious syncing process with the Switch (but thankfully you only have to do that once), its lack of a headphone jack and its lack of support for iOS, Xbox and PlayStation. However, if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer for the gamer in your life, the SN30 Pro+ is hard to beat at this sale price.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.



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Game

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller drops to $50 for Cyber Monday

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While the Switch’s Joy-Cons are perfectly suitable for casual gaming, those who want a bit more control and comfort should consider springing for the Switch Pro Controller or something similar to it. Naturally, being an official accessory from Nintendo, the Pro Controller comes in at a steep $70 — but now it’s on sale for $50 at Amazon, which is $20 off and an all-time low.

Buy Switch Pro Controller at Amazon – $50

The design of the Pro Controller will be familiar to most gamers, and immediately recognizable as more comfortable than Joy-Cons with its side grips and left-side D-pad. It pairs wirelessly with the Switch and it comes with its own charging cable, too. Plus, since it’s a first-party accessory, features like an infrared sensor and vibration aren’t lost like they often are with third-party controllers.

The Pro Controller’s $70 price tag is its biggest downside, which is why we recommend waiting for a sale like this one to grab the accessory. And if you’re not on the market for a new controller for yourself, it also makes a good gift for the Switch fan in your life. Those looking to spend a bit less should check out 8BitDo’s Pro 2 controller, which is on sale for $45 right now.

Get the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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Game

Streamlabs drops ‘OBS’ from its app name after plagiarism complaints

Following accusations of plagiarism and copycat naming schemes, Streamlabs has announced that it’s removing “OBS” from the name of its popular livestreaming app. At first glance, the move is a direct response to the developers behind Open Broadcasting Software (OBS), who claimed that Streamlabs used their naming scheme against their wishes. The fast response, though, is more directly tied to criticism from top streamers like Pokimane and Hasanabi, who threatened to stop using Streamlabs’s software if it didn’t address the copycat concerns. 

Streamlab’s apology comes across as defensive, since it’s arguing that its software is also open source like OBS, one of the first tools built specifically for livestreamers. Streamlab’s app, which has been praised for being well-designed and feature-rich, is also based on a fork of OBS. Despite those shared beginnings, though, Streamlabs has always been a separate project. It also offers premium services on top of its free core app, so you could argue that Streamlabs was partially fueling its business based on OBS’s popularity.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Game

Astro Gaming Drops Sponsorship for Call of Duty League

Astro Gaming, which manufactures gaming peripherals and is widely known for its headsets, has allegedly dropped the Call of Duty League as a sponsor. A report from Charlieintel shows that the Astro Gaming logo has been entirely removed from the Call of Duty League’s MVP event website. The move comes amid a crisis for Activision Blizzard as it faces a major lawsuit over its company culture.

The peripheral manufacturer isn’t alone in leaving the Call of Duty League’s latest event as a sponsor. T-Mobile recently dropped not only the Call of Duty League as a sponsor just a few weeks ago but also ceased its sponsorship of the Overwatch League. At the moment, it’s not clear if Astro Gaming is still sponsoring the Overwatch League.

Numerous other companies have also dropped their sponsorships for the Overwatch League, including State Farm, IBM, and Kellogg’s. Currently, the Overwatch League’s partners page only lists three companies: Xfinity, Coca-Cola, and Teamspeak.

The mass exodus of sponsors from both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League comes after a lawsuit was filed against the publisher of both franchises, Activision Blizzard. The lawsuit, filed by the State of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleges — after a two-year investigation — that the publishing giant fostered a “frat house” culture in which sexual harassment, discrimination, and pay inequality were commonplace.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Activision Blizzard has undergone a massive upheaval. On August 3, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stepped down from his position, and late this past July, developers at companies owned by the massive publisher walked out in protest, demanding that changes be made to the company.

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Game

Amazon Prime Gaming drops August free games: Lost Horizon 2, Battlefield V, Indiana Jones

A new collection of games was revealed in Amazon Prime’s “Free Games with Prime” for August of 2021. Games are available for claim by Amazon Prime members for a limited time, then remain available for use from that time thereafter. The turnover from one month to the other ushers out the game Battlefield 1 and in Battlefield V, making July and August a real decent pair of months for users that’ve never played Battlefield games before.

The August 2021 Free Games with Prime collection with Amazon includes Lost Horizon 2, Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story, Planet Alpha, A Normal Lost Phone, Secret Files: Tunguska, Metamorphosis, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Battlefield 1 will be available for claim until August 4. After that, Battlefield V becomes the Battlefield you’ll be able to claim with Prime Gaming.

UPDATE: Actually Battlefield 1 is available for free until August 4, but Battlefield V becomes available for free starting August 2, 2021. It’ll be up there until October 1. August 2 will be the last chance to claim Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series, RAD, The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature, Portal Dogs, Automachef, and Tales of the Neon Sea.

As it’s been in the past, so too is it true here that you’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to claim these games. In some cases you’ll get codes, in others you’ll need desktop software from Amazon to download and play the games. Amazon Prime Gaming also delivers some in-game bonuses for games you might already own, including (for example) a Beetle Buddy Bundle + 6,500 Kudos in Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. You’ll just need to balance the value of the content you’re getting VS the possibility that you’ll subscribe to Amazon Prime and forget that you’ve done so, paying a subscription fee for the rest of time or until you remember to unsubscribe as such.

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Game

FaZe Clan Drops Players After Alleged Cryptocurrency Scam

Popular esports team Faze Clan has announced that it is dropping Kay and suspending Jarvis, Teeqo, and Nikan after an alleged cryptocurrency scam. Faze Clan put out a press release on Twitter stating that the team had no involvement with the incident and condemns the alleged behavior of these four teammates.

The four members of Faze Clan were involved with the Save the Kids Token, a cryptocurrency that claims that portions of it will be donated to charity. They, along with other big influencers, were ambassadors to the crypto and bought into it before its public launch. Kay and the other three members of Faze Clan talked up and hyped the crypto until its launch day.

A statement from FaZe Clan. pic.twitter.com/HnPXpAoSYX

— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) July 1, 2021

Before its launch, the Save the Kids Token had a rather high value, however, it plummeted the day it launched, with various ambassadors selling their shares. As of the time of writing, the site for the altcoin is currently down.

Because of the sudden drop in value the day it was publicly launched, the ambassadors were accused of committing a “pump-and-dump” scam. This is when a person or a group inflates the value of a thinly traded stock, or cryptocurrency in this case, and then sells all of it when it becomes more available to a larger audience.

Kay publicly apologized earlier this week, stating that he had no intention of promoting a possibly nefarious altcoin. Currently, Jarvis, Teeqo, and Nikan have not publicly said anything about Save the Kids following its public launch. Faze Clan has officially dropped Kay from the team and has suspended the other three players until further notice.

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Game

Samsung drops the curve for its latest Odyssey gaming monitors

Samsung has unveiled its latest batch of budget Odyssey gaming monitors including a flat, rather than a curved model that can do 4K at 144Hz. It also unveiled a QHD model with HDR10 support, along with a pair of budget oriented 1080P displays. 

Unlike Samsung’s curvy G9 and G7 models, the Odyssey G7 28 (G70) has a flat panel and uses IPS rather than QLED tech. With HDMI 2.1 compatibility, it can do 4K at up to 144Hz, meaning it’ll support Sony’s PS5 and the Xbox Series X models at 4K 120Hz with room to spare. It also delivers wide 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, 1-millisecond response times and compatibility with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and NVIDIA G-SYNC. 

Samsung's latest 28-inch gaming monitor is flat, not curved

Samsung

With IPS rather than QLED, it’s not nearly as bright as the curved G7 and G9 models, but still delivers VESA HDR400 support with average and peak brightness levels of 350 and 400 nits, respectively, though just 8-bit color support. That should make it decent but not amazing for entertainment chores.

The company also unveiled the G5 27 (G50A) a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) flat model with 165Hz refresh, a 1-millisecond response time and G-SYNC/FreeSync Premium compatibility. It’s also reasonably bright and color-accurate for an IPS monitor with 400 nits of peak brightness and 10-bit support, though it’s not VESA HDR400 compatible. Finally, Samsung unveiled a pair of 1080p models, the G3 27 and G3 24 (G30A) models with 144Hz refresh rates and a 1-millisecond refresh rate, along with AMD FreeSync Premium compatibility. 

The G3 models arrive at Amazon on July 1st for $250 and $220 for the 27- and 24-inch models, respectively. Samsung has yet to reveal pricing and availability for the new G7 and G5 models. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Game

The Razer Blade 15 drops to $1,000 for Amazon Prime Day

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Update 7:36am ET: The Razer Blade 15 has been discounted by an additional $50, bringing it down to $950.

If you’re looking for an adorable gaming laptop or a back-to-school computer for your child, Amazon has an intriguing Prime Day deal on the Razer Blade 15. The retailer has discounted the base model to $1,000, making $500 less than its suggested retail price and $100 less than the cheapest we’ve seen the computer sell for in the past.

Buy Razer Blade 15 at Amazon – $1,000

The entry-level model comes with a 10th-generation Intel i7-10750H processor, 16GB of 2,933MHz RAM, 256GB SSD and a NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti. If the small amount of base storage is an issue, the Blade 15 includes an open M.2 slot that allows you to add a second NVMe drive to the computer. The 15.6-inch display features a 1,920 by 1,080 pixel panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. In terms of connectivity, you get two USB-A ports, a single USB-C connection, an HDMI 2.0b output and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, plus WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 support.

While it’s a couple of years old now, the GTX 1660 Ti is still a solid GPU. If you mostly play competitive first-person shooters like Valorant and Overwatch, it will easily put up the 120 frames per second needed to take full advantage of the 120Hz refresh rate of the Blade 15’s display. At 1080p, it should also let you play more graphically demanding titles like Death Stranding and Cyberpunk 2077 at 60 frames per second — though you may have to tweak some settings. One thing to keep in mind is that the GTX 1660 Ti doesn’t include support for features like ray tracing and DLSS since it’s missing the RT cores found on NVIDIA’s more recent GPUs. It compromises on performance, to be sure, but at $1,000, the entry-level Blade 15 model is a solid gaming machine.

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.



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Game

Amazon Luna drops invites for Prime Day shoppers plus new cloud gaming deals

Amazon will open its Luna cloud gaming service up to Prime subscribers on its annual Prime Day sales event, allowing them to bypass the usual invite system for the Google Stadia rival. Come June 21st and 22nd, those sifting through Prime Day 2021 deals will also be able to get online with the Luna+ channel too, without having to request an early-access pass.

From there, they’ll be able to start a seven day trial of the service. Announced last year, Luna is Amazons’ response to systems like Google Stadia, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and NVIDIA GeForce NOW. Rather than running games locally – and requiring a potent console or gaming PC – it relies on cloud processing and then delivers the video to a phone, tablet, PC/Mac, or TV with one of Amazon’s adapters.

Luna+ is the subscription service to go along with that. Priced at $5.99 per month, it includes games like Control, GRID, and Metro Exodus, with streaming up to 1080p / 60fps. 4K is in the pipeline, Amazon says, and subscribers can stream on two devices at once.

Until now, though, Amazon has been controlling just how many people can actually sign up to Luna+ as it rolls out the service. Come Prime Day, though, anybody will be able to get started – assuming, that is, they’re already a Prime subscriber.

From today, meanwhile, Amazon is running a couple of promotions on Luna hardware. The Luna Controller – which is designed to directly link with Amazon’s gaming cloud, to reduce latency and avoid lag – will be $48.99 between now and June 22nd. That’s a 21-percent saving compared to its usual price of $69.99.

As well as working with Luna, the Luna Controller can also be used as a USB and Bluetooth controller for other platforms, such as with a smartphone.

If you don’t have an Amazon set-top box or adapter to get Luna onto your TV, meanwhile, there’s another deal there. The Fire TV Stick 4K and Luna Controller Bundle is usually $119.98, but Prime subscribers can get it for $73.98 between now and the start of Prime Day. Again, the controller itself links directly to the cloud via its own WiFi connection, as does the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Gaming in the cloud along with the potential for subscription services as a way to save money has been a big topic this past week, given some of the announcements at E3 2021. Microsoft, for example, confirmed yesterday just what was coming to its Xbox Game Pass service this year and in 2022.

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