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Wednesday’s top tech news: Apple might make a touchscreen MacBook Pro

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Samsung has officially revealed a February 1st Unpacked event, when we’ll almost certainly see its Galaxy S23 series flagship smartphone lineup. If past years are anything to go by, the next three weeks will be filled with news about upcoming smartphones from official and unofficial sources alike. These teaser trailers from Samsung China fall into the former camp.

However, Wednesday morning got off to a bad start for travelers after domestic flight departures across the US were temporarily grounded due to a problem with the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system. Around 9AM ET, air travel resumed as normal.

Sticking with the gadgets is the news that Apple could include fancy new MicroLED displays that it’s designed in-house on future smartwatches and even, eventually, phones. MicroLED is a promising new display technology that could eventually combine the contrast ratio of OLED with the brightness of LCD, but so far, it’s only made it to super-sized (and super-priced) TVs from Samsung.

Chris Welch dives into the microLED technology to explain what Apple might be able to do with it on smaller and more mobile devices, but today’s big rumor comes from Bloomberg, where Mark Gurman reports Apple engineers are considering plans to release a redesigned MacBook Pro with OLED and a touchscreen, possibly around 2025.

Finally, things aren’t looking good for Parler, the social media network that styles itself as a “censorship-free” alternative to the likes of Twitter. It’s apparently laid off around 75 percent of its staff since late November according to sources, and when we tried to ask the company for comment, an external PR rep told us they no longer work there.

And now, here’s a silly tweet to start your day:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Wednesday, January 11th, 2023.
  • The union is certified at Amazon’s JFK8.

    A little less than a year after workers voted to organize Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse under the Amazon Labor Union, it’s now officially official. The National Labor Relations Board has certified the vote, despite Amazon’s objections.

    Now, the company will either have to start bargaining with the union, or request a review of the decision, according to NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado.

  • Apple’s Music and TV apps for Windows are now available in preview

    Illustration of the Apple TV Plus logon on a black, orange, and tan background.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Apple’s Music and TV apps for Windows have made an appearance, with preview versions of the apps being spotted on the Microsoft Store by The Verifier (via MacRumors). Last October, Microsoft announced they were coming to the platform, letting users finally ditch the old iTunes app and Apple TV web player for native software that is closer to the experience embedded in macOS.

    There’s also a third preview of an app called Apple Devices, which is meant to let you manage and sync things like iPods and iPads — functionality that’s currently handled by iTunes on Windows and Finder on the Mac. It also, apparently, contains some references to Reality OS and xrOS, two codenames that have reportedly been associated with Apple’s virtual reality headset.

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  • Mint Mobile, which is partly owned by Ryan Reynolds, might be acquired by T-Mobile.

    The two companies are apparently in talks about a potential acquisition, according to Bloomberg. Maybe T-Mobile really liked Reynolds’ new Mint Mobile ad written by ChatGPT.

    Reynolds became a part owner of the budget wireless carrier in 2019, and Bloomberg reports he owns approximately a fourth of the company. The Deadpool star also owns a Welsh pro soccer team with actor Rob McElhenney.

  • Google strikes back in search antitrust lawsuit

    An illustration of the Google logo.
    Illustration: The Verge

    Courts have unsealed Google’s motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit over its search engine — one that could fracture a core Google service in order to increase online competition. In a motion for summary judgment filed on December 12th, the company argues that the complaint misrepresents its agreements with browser developers and Android phone makers, unfairly punishing its success. “Requiring Google not to compete vigorously — or requiring browser developers to alter their product designs and provide a worse experience for their customers,” it says, “would turn competition law on its head.”

    The US Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general sued Google in 2020, part of a multi-pronged approach to limit the web giant’s power. (The state and federal suits were filed separately but largely consolidated.) The latest complaint alleges that Google used its incumbent power and its Android operating system to lock up the search market, denying competitors “vital distribution, scale, and product recognition.” It seeks structural changes that would limit Google’s power over new entrants.

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  • Emma Roth

    Jan 11

    Emma Roth

    Google Meet emoji reactions are finally here

    A screenshot showing emoji reactions during a Google Meet meeting
    Emoji reactions on Google Meet float up the left side of the screen and “burst” when multiple are used.
    Image: Google Meet

    Google is finally rolling out emoji reactions for Meet, something myself and other colleagues have been patiently waiting for since Google announced the feature last year. Now the video conferencing platform will let you silently send out reactions to colleagues during calls.

    The emoji don’t stay static like they do on Zoom, though. A line of reactions used during the call will instead float up the left side of the screen and will burst if multiple people use the same ones. Small emoji badges will also appear in the upper-left corner of your video tile, so you’ll get to see who reacted with what. While I haven’t gotten the chance to try it out myself yet, it seems like a fun way to liven up typically routine meetings.

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  • Apple might finally make a touchscreen Mac

    The M2 MacBook Air is opened, facing the camera. Its display is on, showcasing a psychedelic purple and black wallpaper created by The Verge’s art and illustration team.
    An M2 MacBook Air with a screen that doesn’t respond to touch.
    Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

    Apple is working on Macs with touchscreens, according to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. While it’s uncertain whether the devices will actually come to market, Gurman says in a tweet that we could see a touchscreen MacBook Pro as early as 2025. The report also notes that the screens may use OLED technology, as opposed to the Mini LED displays that are currently in the 14- and 16-inch models.

    The project seems to be in relatively early stages, with engineers being “actively engaged,” according to the report. Gurman says that there are no final plans for launching touchscreen Macs and that plans could always change — we’ve seen Apple scrap projects before, and the company has made prototype Macs with touchscreens that never saw the light of day, according to Craig Federighi.

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  • Meta Quest users can now track their heart rate in VR workouts

    Close up of Meta Quest headset
    Both heart rate and Android workout tracking integrations are necessary for VR fitness to become popular.
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Meta is adding two new fitness-related features to the Meta Quest. The first is Health Connect integration, meaning Android users can finally sync their Quest workout data automatically. Perhaps more exciting for VR fitness buffs: you’ll now be able to pair Bluetooth heart rate monitors and view your stats in real time.

    Health Connect is Google’s health API, which allows Android users to share health and fitness data between multiple apps and consolidate that information in one place. The integration means you can now link your Quest Move VR workouts to Google Fit without having to do anything. Meta enabled a similar integration with Apple Health for iOS users last year.

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  • Apple’s MicroLED dream: what it means for the Apple Watch and beyond

    Close-up of battery screen on Apple Watch Ultra
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    Apple is reportedly planning to build MicroLED displays into future Apple Watch models — either in 2024 or 2025, according to a January 10th report from Bloomberg. The move would continue Apple’s progression toward using the company’s own parts across its products without having to rely on components from outside suppliers. Another report from Mark Gurman just this week said that Apple is currently at work on an all-in-one chip that handles Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networking. The company’s in-house silicon already powers the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

    With all of these efforts, the end goal for Apple is to have greater control over future products with less risk of delays and setbacks that are out of the company’s control. With screens in particular, such a shift could impact the financial outlook for suppliers like Samsung Display and LG Display, which provide the bulk of Apple’s current panels.

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  • Meta confirms it’s rescinded some full-time job offers

    An image of the Meta logo.
    At least 20 signed, full-time job offers were withdrawn by Meta
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    According to a report by TechCrunch, Meta confirmed reports it has revoked full-time job offers that were extended to some candidates. Meta hasn’t commented on how many people or departments were affected by this action, but TechCrunch quotes a company spokesperson saying, “While this decision did not come lightly, it allows us to remain thoughtful as we readjust our hiring through 2023 to align with our highest-priority work.”

    A tweet from writer and software engineer Gergely Orosz claims that this action from Meta has affected at least 20 people that initially had offers to start in February. The tweet also points to a statement from Meta recruiters from last October to not rescind full-time job offers, with only part-time offers being at risk.

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  • The regulatory maze behind health tech vaporware

    Woman wearing Movano’s Evie Ring while holding a water bottle.
    Movano’s Evie Ring has been in the works for a while. It’s currently going through trials to get FDA clearance.
    Image: Movano

    Every year at CES, you’ll see a lot of fascinating health tech concepts and prototypes at-home urinary scanners, smartwatches that can noninvasively monitor blood sugar, and a wearable patch to prevent sexual dysfunction. And then, nothing ever seems to make it to market. Or if it does, it only happens years later, and often, the final product isn’t nearly as capable as the initial pitch. 

    There are three letters why: FDA. 

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  • Netflix adds the SAG Awards to its growing list of livestreams

    An illustration of the Netflix logo.
    It’s a small but notable step into livestreaming.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Netflix will live stream the Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards beginning in 2024, the company announced on Wednesday. The news marks another push from Netflix into livestreaming, an effort that already includes a live Chris Rock comedy special on March 4th.

    The annual SAG Awards recognize actors in movies and TV shows. While you won’t catch this year’s ceremony, the 29th iteration, directly on Netflix this year, Netflix is still involved with streaming it. Instead, you’ll be able to watch the show, which takes place on February 26th at 8PM ET, on the company’s YouTube channel. (You can see the full list of nominees on Deadline.) Next year, the show will be on Netflix, and presumably for many years after, as Netflix and the SAG Awards are calling their work a “multi-year partnership.”

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  • Microsoft 365 Basic is a new $1.99 a month subscription with 100GB of storage and more

    Illustration of Microsoft 365 logos around a man
    Microsoft 365 is getting a Basic subscription later this month.
    Image: Microsoft

    Microsoft is introducing a new consumer tier to its Microsoft 365 subscription offerings. Priced at just $1.99 per month, Microsoft 365 Basic is designed to replace the 100GB OneDrive storage option with some extra features that sit in between the free option and the $6.99 a month Personal subscription.

    Microsoft 365 Basic will be available worldwide on January 30th with 100GB of cloud storage, an ad-free Outlook web and mobile experience, and enhanced security features. The security features include data encryption for an Outlook mailbox, suspicious link checking, and virus / malware scanning for attachments. Existing OneDrive 100GB storage customers will be automatically upgraded to Microsoft 365 Basic at the same $1.99 monthly rate.

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  • 2023 Golden Globes: the complete list of winners

    Angela Bassett wearing a silver, sleeveless dress and holding her Golden Globe in the Golden Globes press room.
    Angela Bassett holding her Golden Globe at the 80th Golden Globes.
    Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / FilmMagic

    After concerns about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s ethics and egregious lack of diversity led to the Golden Globes not being televised in 2022, the long-running awards show returned last night with host Jerrod Carmichael headlining an evening of surprising wins. While the atmosphere in the room appeared to be a bit awkward and, at times, tense as the ceremony unfolded, it was also punctuated by a number of moving, poignant speeches from some of the industry’s brightest stars.

    While Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin and Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans took home the most awards on the film side of things this year, it was Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan who moved the Globes audience as they both became first-time winners for their respective roles in the film. 

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  • ITC judge says Apple infringed on medical tech company Masimo’s pulse oximetry patents

    Now, the ITC will decide on a possible import ban on Apple Watches with blood oxygen sensors: the Series 6, Series 7, Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra. A final decision won’t be made until May 10th.

    “We respectfully disagree with today’s decision, and look forward to a full review by the Commission,” Apple said in a statement to Reuters. Bloomberg Law, the case could give Masimo leverage to eke out $50-$300 million per year in royalties.

  • An FAA computer glitch grounded flights across the US

    Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

    A critical Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system suffered an overnight glitch, grounding flights across the US. The FAA posted an advisory notice early Wednesday that notes that the United States NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system “failed” but said just before 9AM ET that “normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually.”

    In a tweet Wednesday evening, the regulator said it was continuing to investigate the outage, and that it had traced it to “a damaged database file.”

    Read Article >
  • Today’s Vergecast: the smart TVs, Matter gadgets, and concept cars from CES

    I can’t stop thinking about that TV at CES that is not only wireless but also has a whole vacuum suction system on the back of it for mounting on a wall.

    Alex Cranz, Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, Chris Welch, and Andrew Hawkins dedicate some time to talk about it, as well as some other favorites from CES on today’s show.

  • Green light.

    Air travel is back on, big TVs are still booming, and Andrew Tate will apparently remain on lockdown for at least a few more weeks.

    How’s your Wednesday morning going?

  • Tesla is planning a $770 million expansion of its Texas Gigafactory

    An aerial view of the Tesla Gigafactory in Travis County, Texas.
    The Texas Gigafactory, constructed last year, serves as the Tesla global headquarters and is the “equivalent to three Pentagons,” according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
    Image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

    Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has notified the state of Texas of its plans to spend upward of $770 million expanding its already immense Austin-based factory.

    According to registration documents filed on January 9th with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (via CNBC and the Austin Business Journal), Tesla intends to construct additional facilities for what appears to be a battery cell testing lab, cathode and drive unit manufacturing facilities, a die shop, and an undisclosed 693,093-square-foot facility called Cell 1.

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  • Forget the Olympics, Peacock’s big shot at success is Poker Face.

    While Netflix may have the rights to Rian Johnson’s future Knives Out films, Peacock is the home of his Columbo-esque collaboration with Natasha Lyonne, Poker Face.

    The show isn’t a big gamble for Peacock, but it is a big chance for the streamer to pick up more subscribers in this new phase of the streaming wars. Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall sat down with the show’s two creators and a whole cast of other characters, including Benjamin Bratt and Chloë Sevigny, to talk about the murder mystery show collaboration and the two big brains behind it. If Poker Face is as wild as this profile it’s going to be great.

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 teasers hint at high resolution cameras and improved low-light photography

    The Galaxy S23 Ultra from the front and back.
    Unofficial renders of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
    Image: Onleaks / Smartprix

    Samsung’s upgrades for this year’s Galaxy S23 lineup include higher-resolution camera sensors and improved low light photography, according to a pair of teaser trailers posted by Samsung China. The new phones are expected to be officially announced in three weeks on February 1st at Samsung’s first in-person smartphone event since the start of the pandemic.

    Both teasers show off a trio of camera lenses, which are likely to represent the main, ultrawide, and telephoto cameras that’ll be seen on the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus (rumors suggest the S23 Ultra will have an additional periscope lens). One trailer says that “wow-worthy resolution is coming” with “megapixels that’ll make you say wooow.” The second says “stunning night photos are coming” with cameras that are “made for moonlight.” 

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  • Apple’s next custom hardware trick might be its own MicroLED screens

    A black-and-white graphic showing the Apple logo
    Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

    Apple is reportedly working on designing its own in-house MicroLED displays to use in devices like the iPhone and Apple Watch, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The report says that the screens could start showing up on devices as early as next year, following almost five years of planning and development.

    Currently, Apple uses displays designed and produced by a variety of vendors — the OLED panels for the iPhone 14s are reportedly made by Samsung, LG, and BOE. According to Gurman, Apple will likely still have other companies produce its displays, but they’ll be doing so using Apple’s designs and specifications rather than another firm’s.

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  • Parler’s parent company has laid off a majority of its staff

    The image shows the red Parler letter P logo with the company name.
    Illustration: The Verge

    Parlement Technologies, the parent company of “censorship-free” social media platform Parler, has laid off a majority of its staff and most of its chief executives over the last few weeks. The sudden purge of staff has thrown the future of Parler, one of the first conservative alternatives to mainstream platforms, into question.

    Parlement Technologies began laying off workers in late November, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. These layoffs continued through at least the end of December, when around 75 percent of staffers were let go in total, leaving approximately 20 employees left working at both Parler and the parent-company’s cloud services venture. A majority of the company’s executives, including its chief technology, operations, and marketing officers, have also been laid off, according to a source familiar with the matter.

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  • Samsung confirms February 1st Unpacked, its first in-person event in three years

    Three illustrated spotlights with text “Galaxy Unpacked February 1, 2023 live on”
    Samsung is bringing the spotlight back in an in-person event on February 1st.
    Image: Samsung

    Mark your calendar: Samsung is hosting its next Galaxy Unpacked on February 1st. The company is officially confirming a date that it kinda accidentally confirmed a few days ago. The event will take place at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, and although Samsung isn’t saying exactly what will be announced, it’s almost certainly the Galaxy S23 series.

    The company is also bringing back its preorder reservation incentives for those who are eager to claim a yet-to-be-named device. By putting in a reservation, you’ll get $50 of Samsung store credit if you follow through and preorder one device or $100 when you preorder two devices — that’s all assuming that people are actually able to place preorders, which proved tricky last year. There’s no obligation, thankfully, so you don’t have to purchase one sight unseen.

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