It’s always nice to start the day with a bit of unambiguously good news, so it brings me great pleasure to report that Apple’s DIY repair service for iPhones and Macs has launched in select (read: eight) European countries. The service is still not perfect (Apple’s devices arguably need to be made easier to repair in the first place), but it’s a great step in the right direction.
Elsewhere, Meta is gearing up to fight a new bill in the US which would force it to negotiate with and pay publishers whose content gets posted on Facebook. “If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether,” writes Meta’s policy communications director Andy Stone. And in case you think the company’s bluffing, it did exactly that in Australia.
And now, here’s a silly tweet:
Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Friday, December 6th, 2022.
- Tim Cook: Soon, many Apple silicon chips can be stamped “Made in America.”
Today Apple’s CEO confirmed TSMC will make chips for Apple at its new Arizona plant.
The first plant is scheduled to begin production by 2024, with a second one lined up for 2026. Here’s our full report from the event.
Finding a lost tab in Chrome just got a whole lot easier
Chrome tab jockeys and bookmark hoarders, rejoice: you can now quickly shift through your whole browser mess with a new simple “@” shortcut in the address bar. Available on the latest Chrome version 108 for desktops, the feature will help simplify tasks like getting to that article tab you know you left open somewhere without needing to conduct another web search.Read Article >
If you’re like me, you might have a whole lot of troubleshooting articles saved as bookmarks, but when someone needs help with some specific problem, you just Google it again instead of looking for what you’ve saved. Now, you can type “@bookmarks” or just “@,” then hit the space bar and click “Search Bookmarks,” and start typing some key terms.
Apple’s new App Store policies add more price points, going all the way up to $10,000
Just days ago, Elon Musk took aim at Apple’s App Store policies while dragging it into the political and culture war crosshairs, highlighting how important the storefront is to so many developers and services. Today, Apple announced it’s changing long-standing App Store policies that put tight restrictions on what developers are allowed to charge their customers, following up on a pledge made last year while settling a class-action lawsuit.Read Article >
At the time, developers were restricted to fewer than 100 possible price points in the App Store, which Bloomberg reports previously started at a minimum of 49 cents for subscriptions and 99 cents for apps, with a max price of $999.99.
- Jury convicts The Trump Organization on 17 tax fraud charges.
Donald Trump’s real estate company was convicted on Tuesday of carrying out a more-than 15-year-long criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities... The Trump Organization - which operates hotels, golf courses, and other real estate around the world - faces fines over the conviction. The exact amount will be determined by the judge overseeing the trial in New York State court at a later date.
Dec 6, 2022What it’s like to be a person whose job it is to imitate a chatbot.
Writing in literary magazine n+1, Laura Preston tells us what it was like to impersonate Brenda, a chatbot whose fallbacks were “poets and writers with MFAs, but there were also PhDs in performance studies and comparative literature, as well as a number of opera singers.”
Getting this talent was possible because, at $25/hr, they got paid better than they would as adjuncts in academia.
The only way to keep pace with the inbox was to go into a state of focus so intense that at times I felt on the verge of astral projection. I heard nothing and felt nothing, not even the cues of my body. I sometimes became light-headed, and it would occur to me that I hadn’t been breathing. A senior operator watched our inbox stats at all times, and if a message went unanswered for more than a few minutes, we were in for a public shaming on Slack.
Dec 6, 2022
Apple still can’t figure out what kind of car it wants to make
Apple’s long-rumored car could cost less than $100,000 when it’s finally available to buy, according to Bloomberg. But the car may have less ambitious self-driving capabilities than first planned and arrive a year later than originally expected.Read Article >
While the car had been reported to be a fully autonomous car like prototypes from EV startup Canoo, the current design for the car will have more conventional car features like a steering wheel and pedals, Bloomberg reports. This new version won’t be fully autonomous; instead, users will apparently only be able to activate the self-driving features on highways, closer to driver-assist options like GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise. (Perhaps Apple is wary of running into the issues Tesla has faced with its Full Self-Driving technology.)
Dec 6, 2022
The global energy crisis ‘turbocharged’ renewable energy growth
Right now, there’s “unprecedented momentum behind renewables,” the International Energy Agency says. Renewable power growth has been “turbocharged” by countries scrambling to tackle a global energy crisis spurred on by war in Ukraine, according to new analysis from the agency. Over just the next five years, as much renewable power is expected to come online globally as was added over the past two decades.Read Article >
Renewables will make up a whopping 90 percent of electricity capacity expansion in that five-year span, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). By 2025, renewable energy is expected to topple coal to become the world’s biggest electricity source.
Dec 6, 2022
The FTC is investigating crypto firms for possible misconduct following FTX collapse
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating multiple crypto companies over allegations of deceptive conduct, as first reported by Bloomberg on Monday.Read Article >
“While we can’t comment on current events in the crypto markets or the details of any ongoing investigations, we are investigating several firms for possible misconduct concerning digital assets,” an FTC spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge Tuesday. “We cannot comment on the nature of the investigations.”
Dec 6, 2022
TikTok’s best of 2022 shows its most viral videos are getting smaller
TikTok’s roundup of the biggest moments of 2022 is here — there’s a giant chocolate giraffe, musician Rosalía chewing gum, and a viral remix of Tariq, aka “Corn Kid.” But one thing stands out: the view count on TikTok’s top clips is a lot smaller than in years past.Read Article >
The videos in TikTok’s FYFaves list all have millions of views and are supposed to represent the most viral content on the app. The list is curated, though, and leaves out other videos with high views and engagement, so it isn’t a direct representation of the top-performing clips on the platform this year.
HBO Max returns to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels
Good news for those who hate switching apps on their TVs: HBO is making a return to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels in the US. Customers who subscribe to Prime Video can add HBO Max for $14.99 per month and get access to all the Warner Bros. Discovery content like House of the Dragon in the same place they watch The Boys.Read Article >
Both Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery were reportedly in talks this summer to get their relationship rolling again. In 2020, WarnerMedia, the former AT&T-owned iteration of HBO’s parent company, launched the standalone HBO Max service that eventually replaced the previous HBO Go and Now streaming-only services. When Max went live, HBO began its attempt to transition to its new sovereign platform by removing its service from Apple TV Channels, and it wasn’t available on Amazon’s Channels, either.
- Microsoft could be eyeing its own ‘super app.’
Microsoft has been considering building a “super app” to challenge Google and Apple’s hold on mobile. The Information reports that the app would be a one-stop for shopping, messaging, search, news, and more.
Microsoft did hire a former Uber exec to lead a consumer apps effort last year after unsuccessfully chasing Discord and TikTok acquisitions. It’s not clear if this “super app” will ever materialize, though.
Dec 6, 2022
Disney’s CEO drama explained, with Julia Alexander
Today, we need to talk about Bob. Two Bobs, actually: Bob Iger, the former and now current CEO of Disney, and Bob Chapek, the man Iger handpicked as his replacement, who flamed out and was fired by the board, and then, on November 20th, was replaced by Bob Iger. Bobs, man.Read Article >
The heart of this whole thing is total Decoder bait. It’s a story about how to structure a company like Disney. Then you add in the complexity of the shift to streaming, the future of TV and movies generally, and the gigantic reputation of a character like Bob Iger, who many people think could plausibly run for president. There’s just a lot going on here.
Dec 6, 2022
Elden Ring is getting a free colosseum update for multiplayer bloodbaths
As if there weren’t enough stuff to do already in Elden Ring, Bandai Namco announced that the open-world fantasy game is getting a multiplayer update that adds a new colosseum environment made expressly for player versus player (PvP) bloodbaths. This update will arrive on December 7th for every platform the game is on (PC, PlayStation, Xbox).Read Article >
While you can already engage in PvP battles across many memorable Lands Between locales, there’s nothing like a flat, circular arena to do your bidding. And in the colosseum, you’ll be able to use your spirit ash summons in battle, as you can against the game’s many bosses.
- Ledger’s latest hardware crypto wallet tries on some iPod cachet.
Despite recent bad news around crypto, some people still think it’s the next big thing.
Enter this $279 credit card-sized Ledger Stax crypto wallet, “a usable way for you to take control of cryptocurrency and digital collectibles.”
It has an E Ink screen that wraps around its spine and wireless Qi charging, but its most important attribute is name recognition — it’s designed by Tony Fadell, who led the team creating the iPod. That’s supposed to suggest that, like the iPod, this will also become popular. We’ll see!
Dec 6, 2022
Mickey 17, the next film from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, is out in 2024
You’ll have to wait a bit to see Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s next project. The sci-fi film, called Mickey 17, will hit theaters on March 29th, 2024. The news was revealed via the briefest of teaser trailers, which shows star Robert Pattinson hanging around shirtless in some kind of tube.Read Article >
The film is based on the novel Mickey 7 by Edward Ashton, which is about a “disposable employee” out on a quest to colonize an icy new world for human habitation (no word yet on where all the extra Mickeys came from). In addition to Pattinson, the film stars Steven Yeun (Nope, Okja), Naomi Ackie (The Rise of Skywalker), Toni Collette (Knives Out), and Mark Ruffalo (everything with the incredible Hulk in it). Outside of the cast, Joon-ho is also working with some notable names behind the camera on this one, including production designer Fiona Crombie (Cruella), costume designer Catherine George (Okja, Snowpiercer), and Dan Glass, a visual effects supervisor known for his work on the Matrix movies.
- Green light.
Not to jinx things, but it appears we’ve gone five consecutive minutes without Sam Bankman-Fried popping up for another interview.
A few news items you may have missed:
Emma Roth and Mitchell Clark looked into some of the services teeming with ex-Twitter posters, like Mastodon and Hive.
Stack Overflow banned AI-generated answers.
The trouble with tech in trucking.
Google’s December feature drop is rolling out for Pixel phones.
There is no HBO, there is only “Max” (maybe).
Elon Musk’s Neuralink is reportedly facing a federal probe on animal welfare grounds
Neuralink, the brain implant company founded by Elon Musk, is reportedly facing a federal probe over the treatment of animals used in its experiments. Reuters reports that a probe was recently opened by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) inspector general and focuses on potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act. A spokesperson for the USDA inspector general declined to comment to Reuters on its report.Read Article >
Although Reuters says it’s unclear how wide-ranging the probe is, the news agency details a range of concerns over animal welfare raised in interviews with more than 20 current and former Neuralink employees. These include reports that, in one experiment, 25 out of 60 pigs allegedly had the wrong size of device installed as part of a study, while on another occasion, two separate pigs had devices installed on the wrong vertebra, leading to one needing to be euthanized to end its suffering.
YouTube is making its own Twitch-like emotes
YouTube is starting to roll out its own custom emotes. The Twitch-like emotes, dubbed YouTube Emotes, can be used across YouTube in comment sections and during live chats, though the platform previously allowed individual streamers to offer their own reactions and emotes. YouTube’s own initial emotes are focused on gaming, but there will be more over time.Read Article >
You’ll now see a list of YouTube emotes when you open YouTube’s emoji picker, and they’ll appear below a channel’s own existing custom emotes. Much like Twitch’s default system-wide emotes, YouTube’s ones also have specific names for autocomplete so you quickly type “:cat-orange-whistling:” for example, and it will automatically fill a comment with an orange cat whistling.
Dec 6, 2022
Meta Oversight Board demands changes to ‘cross-check’ program that protected Donald Trump
Meta’s Oversight Board has released an in-depth report on Facebook and Instagram’s controversial cross-check system, calling on Meta to make the program “radically” more transparent and beef up its resources.Read Article >
The semi-independent Oversight Board cited “several shortcomings” in cross-check, which provides a special moderation queue for high-profile public figures, including former president Donald Trump before his suspension from Facebook. It singled out a failure to make clear when accounts are protected by special cross-check status, as well as cases where rule-breaking material — particularly one case of non-consensual pornography — was left up for a prolonged period of time. And it criticized Meta for not keeping track of moderation statistics that might assess the accuracy of the program’s results.
Waze gets built-in car app for the first time
Waze is launching a dedicated app on two new cars with Google built in. It’s the first time Waze has been available as a standalone app in cars, thanks to Google’s embedded Android Automotive OS. It means drivers can access Waze’s real-time routing, navigation, and more, without the need to connect a smartphone.Read Article >
All of the usual Waze alerts, navigation, and routing options will be available on dedicated displays inside new Renault Austral Hybrid and Renault Megane E-Tech electric vehicles in Europe.
Google Search brings continuous scrolling to desktop
Google’s search results on desktop will load in a continuous scroll instead of dividing into pages, the company has announced. The move follows a similar change made on mobile in October last year, but isn’t quite an “infinite” scroll. Instead, Google will load six pages of results into a single scroll before offering users a “See more” button to show more results.Read Article >
Google says the change is rolling out first for English searches in the US, but judging by the rollout of the feature on mobile it seems safe to expect to see additional markets and languages added over time.
Apple’s DIY repair service launches in Europe
Apple’s self-service repair program, which is designed to let customers repair their own iPhones and MacBooks, is launching in Europe. The company announced today that genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals will be available to customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK to perform their own repairs.Read Article >
Spare parts are available via Apple’s self service repair store, which features a drop-down menu in the top right to select the correct country. As with the service’s launch in the US earlier this year, customers will be able to rent tools to perform the repairs rather than needing to purchase them outright, and receive discounts by sending in their replaced parts to Apple for refurbishment or recycling.
Dec 5, 2022
Apple may shift some iPad production away from China to India
After shifting iPhone production away from China, it now looks as if Apple’s got its eye on iPad production. According to CNBC, Apple is discussing producing some of its iPads in India to help diversify its supply chain.Read Article >
The news comes almost two years after reports emerged that Apple is considering manufacturing iPads in Vietnam, too. Apple is doing this as the company looks to move up to 30 percent of its manufacturing outside of China.
Dec 5, 2022
Facebook threatens to ban news in the US over journalism bill
Facebook warns it could ban news in the US if Congress passes a bill that would require the platform to negotiate with and compensate publishers for their content. Andy Stone, Meta’s head of policy communications, said on Twitter that Facebook will “be forced to consider removing news” from Facebook if the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) is passed. Facebook previously threatened to block news in Canada and Australia when similar laws were proposed.Read Article >
Introduced last year with bipartisan support, the JCPA would allow publishers to negotiate with platforms like Facebook and Google over the distribution of their content. It’s supposed to give news publishers leverage against Big Tech and could require Facebook to pay for including news on its platform, something that Facebook has fiercely fought in the past in other countries.