First Click: The Verge redesign, MacBook Pro review, Google Home ships, and more in the week ahead

October 31st, 2016


Boo! It's Halloween so why not tune in at 11AM ET to watch Peter Thiel, Facebook board member and the vindictive boogeyman behind the destruction of Gawker Media, discuss his support for Donald J. Trump at a National Press Club event. The billionaire venture capitalist stands alone amongst the Silicon Valley elite in his willingness to publicly endorse Trump. Thiel's pitch will be followed by a Q&A at noon.

Tuesday, November 1st we’ll be celebrating our fifth birthday with a major brand refresh. We’ve already shared what it's like to run a publication like The Verge in the age of Google AMP and Facebook video. We’ve also shared our renewed mission which has evolved since November 1st, 2011, and tried to explain what it’s like to build and operate a media platform when the platform itself has become distributed. So come by tomorrow for the big unveil which also includes a redesigned Verge dot com. You'll want to stick around for the surprises.

This week we’ll have a little something to say about Doctor Strange as a supervillian; the worst Black Mirror episode yet; and a headphone review that’s been 10 years in the making.

You can also expect to see our review of the new MacBook Pro this week. Unfortunately, it won’t address the Touch Bar as that version of the MacBook Pro isn’t coming for another few weeks yet.

It’s also another big week for earnings starting with Sony’s report on Tuesday. Facebook, Qualcomm (which is purchasing NXP), Yelp, Alibaba, Solar City, Time Warner (which is being gobbled up by AT&T), and Fitbit are all reporting on Wednesday. GoPro reports on Thursday.

The week will close with the retail release of the $129 Google Home voice-activated speaker with far-field voice recognition technology. Google’s answer to the $179 Amazon Echo was first teased back in May, and features the Google Assistant instead of Amazon’s homegrown Alexa technology. It launches with fewer third-party integrations than Amazon which now boats more than 3,000 "skills." In October, Gartner predicated that the market for virtual personal assistants, as it defines the category, will reach $2.1 billion by 2020 (up from $360 million in 2015) thanks to many homes being fitted with multiple devices.

But that’s all yet to come. First let’s get caught up on the weekend that was.

  1. I took a photo with the Pixel that changed my mind about the iPhone

    A few moons ago, I wrote some words under the title of "The Google phone is almost as good as the iPhone," and while I stand by the content of those words, I now have to revise my conclusion. On...

  2. Tokyo Thrift: Sony's gorgeous VAIO P was stunningly unusable

    Never have I wanted a computer as much as the Sony VAIO P. Never have I been so wrong. Sony introduced the VAIO P at CES 2009, the height of the netbook boom, and its stunning design soared high...

  3. Why going to a haunted house can actually feel good

    An actress dressed as a killer doll with bloody scratches on her face is perched on a handrail, smiling wide as if she can’t wait to play with me. Just looking at her gives me the creeps. This is...

  4. Apple is ditching its iconic startup chime with the new MacBook Pro

    While the Apple product line has changed drastically since 1998, there’s one thing that has remained the same: the chime that signals that your computer is booting up. But with the new MacBook Pro,...

  5. Why Vine died

    The thing about Vine becoming the internet’s premiere tool for making short-form videos is that it happened almost completely by accident. Its founders had envisioned their tool for making 6-second...

  6. Check out Tesla's four different glass solar roofs

    Tesla released photographs of four different solar roofs that the company announced earlier today. Instead of adding bulky solar panels to an existing roof, the roofs themselves will be made of...

  7. The irrationality of voting: why shark attacks have influenced elections

    Take heart, everyone, the election is winding down. There are only a few more days until we can heave a sigh of relief — at least, until campaigning for 2020 begins in six months. It hasn’t been a...

  8. Why Fox is ditching Marvel’s superhero strategy

    A Deadpool sequel is in the works, but it’s in need of a director. The Wrap reported last week that director Tim Miller walked away from the project due to creative differences with star Ryan...

  9. Behind the scenes on the making of New York City's iconic Halloween parade

    For 43 years, New York City’s Village Halloween Parade has been showcasing the creative spirit of the city in the form of giant puppets, neon-colored floats, and thousands of participants in their...

  10. How Los Angeles became the heart of immersive horror

    Over the past month I’ve been indoctrinated into a cult, had my wife kidnapped by vampires, and been choked to the ground by a mad king while searching for a mystical land called Conscientia. And I did it all within a city that's become the unexpected, vibrant home of immersive theater: Los Angeles.

Making Friends of the day

Touching tentacles with Tiny Octopus.