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Tuesday’s top tech news: CES kicks off 2023 with a bang

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2023’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially kicks off this week in Las Vegas, but as is tradition the announcements have already been coming thick and fast in the days leading up to the show. Most interesting for me are the TV reveals, not least because LG’s popular OLEDs finally have some proper competition from Samsung’s QD-OLED panels nowadays.

You can read about LG’s new TVs right here, and see some hints of what’s coming in Samsung’s 2023 lineup in this press release. The latter also has a huge array of monitors it’s announcing at the show including this massive 57-inch ultrawide model, these QD-OLED displays, and this 5K display. Oh, and it’s got some new transforming devices for good measure. Follow along with all our CES news right here.

Away from CES, Microsoft’s is still sparring with regulators as it attempts to purchase Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard. The latest twist is that Microsoft’s lawyers have claimed in a filing with the FTC that it doesn’t know when Call of Duty originally came out. I have no doubt that there’s some expert legal maneuvering going on here, but from a non-legal perspective it all seems pretty daft to me.

Anyway, 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: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023.
  • Asus’ convertible gaming laptops return with new hardware and more staying power

    The ROG Flow X16 is just one of three convertible laptops Asus showed off at CES 2023.
    The ROG Flow X16 is just one of three convertible laptops Asus showed off at CES 2023.
    Image: Asus

    The hits from CES 2023 just keep coming. Asus is rolling out a bevy of new hardware announcements for its ROG gaming brand, and among those are refreshed models of its Flow lineup. The Flow X13, X16, and Z13 are all getting hardware improvements, including the latest processors and mobile GPUs — but perhaps the most notable improvement with one of these gaming laptops is its larger battery.

    Asus’ Flow line is relatively unique among gaming laptops, sporting 2-in-1 displays and — in the case of the X16 and Z13 — compatibility with an Asus-made external GPU to boost gaming performance. However, the most recent iterations of these laptops suffered from abysmal battery life, something Asus is trying to amend with the new models of the X13.

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  • Razer’s Blade 16 and 18 laptops feature taller, brighter screens and faster guts

    A photo showing the Razer Blade 16 (left) and the larger Razer Blade 18 (right).
    The screens on the Blade 16 (left) and the Blade 18 (right) appear to have taller aspect ratios than what I’ve seen on Razer’s previous gaming laptops.
    Image: Razer

    Razer announced the Blade 16 and Blade 18 gaming laptops two days ago at CES 2023, but it shared much more information today on the two new sizes. This is the biggest shake-up to Razer’s popular, well-designed Blade lineup in a while, going well beyond processor and GPU spec improvements. Their screens are taller with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so you’re getting more screen real estate, plus the display “chin” near the bezel is significantly smaller. This change has some positive knock-on effects, such as allowing Razer to fit in bigger batteries compared to last year’s Blade 15 and 17. More on that below.

    Every configuration comes standard with Intel’s high-end 13th Generation Core i9-13950HX 65W CPU, while both models can be upgraded to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 mobile graphics. The Blade 16 starts at $2,699.99, while the larger size starts at $2,899.99. They’ll all release sometime in the first quarter.

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  • Samsung’s 2023 TV lineup bets everything on picture upgrades and AI tricks

    A photo of Samsung’s 2023 Neo QLED TV.

    Last year, Samsung radically shook up the TV market with the introduction of its first OLED model in many years. And it used a new QD-OLED (quantum dot) panel that produces superior color brightness compared to popular OLED sets from LG.

    2023 is going to be decidedly low-key by comparison. Instead of introducing yet another flashy new TV to its portfolio, Samsung is focused on improving everything down the line. And most of the refinements in this year’s Neo QLED (Mini LED in Samsung parlance), QLED (standard LCD sets), and OLED TVs are centered around AI and enhanced picture processing. Things like a greater and more three-dimensional sense of depth, improved upscaling, and more. The hardware features you’d expect on premium models, including VRR up to 144Hz, are all present. (There’s still no Dolby Vision support, tragically.) But Samsung’s really talking the most about software.

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  • Samsung announces bigger, even brighter 77-inch QD-OLED TV

    A photo of Samsung’s new 77-inch S95C QD-OLED TV.
    The S95C will be released later this year in three screen sizes.
    Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

    Last year’s S95B QD-OLED (quantum dot) TVs from Samsung were an exciting shakeup for the consumer market and gave LG and Sony some long overdue competition. But the S95B series was limited to just 55-inch and 65-inch models — because those are the only TV sizes that Samsung Display manufactured QD-OLED panels for. It’s brand new technology, after all.

    But only a year later, we’re going bigger. Samsung’s just-announced S95C QD-OLED TV will add a larger 77-inch model in addition to the previous sizes. Every TV maker claims that consumers are increasingly opting for larger and larger sets, so this was the obvious thing to do as Samsung builds out its OLED reputation.

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  • Phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty living space.

    This 14-inch gaming laptop is no lamp, but it’s still mind-warping to consider a mobile version of a massive RTX 4090 graphics card inside this notebook. And yet it’s real, promising AI-enabled DLSS 3 and enhanced ray tracing that will be available starting next month.

    Even if pure performance isn’t your goal, Nvidia claims that with its new tech and low-voltage GDDR6 memory, the mobile 4070 can deliver RTX 3080 performance while using one-third as much energy — saving your laptop’s battery.

  • Qi2: How Apple might finally harness MagSafe by giving it away

    Photo of an iPhone with a MagSafe charging puck on the back.
    Apple’s MagSafe puck, wirelessly charging an iPhone 12 Pro
    Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

    It’s safe to say that Apple’s MagSafe magnetic charging pucks for iPhone have not created the amazing snap-on accessory ecosystem we’d hoped. Instead of freely allowing manufacturers to create gadgets that power and/or communicate with an iPhone, the company chose its traditional tight licensing stranglehold. But this time, manufacturers realized they didn’t need to play Apple’s game, because the two main components of MagSafe — a Qi wireless charging coil and an array of magnets — were freely available. The result: a wide array of “MagSafe-compatible” accessories of varying quality.

    But now, Apple’s trying something different. With the blessing of competitors, Apple is about to change the Qi wireless standard itself. It’s contributing to a new version of Qi that works much like MagSafe — magnets, authentication, and all.

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  • Samsung’s recall fix for overheating washers is a software update — and a dongle

    Image of a person holding the Samsung dedicated update dongle.
    Put it in the museum of unique dongles.
    Image: Samsung

    As companies have announced smart appliance after smart appliance, some people (myself included) have questioned why on earth you’d want to connect something like a washing machine or refrigerator to the internet. Samsung, however, has come up with a very compelling, if admittedly niche, use case: the company announced in December that it's issuing an over-the-air software patch as part of the recall for some top-load washing machines that “can short-circuit and overheat, posing a fire hazard.”

    It’ll even send some customers a dongle in case their washers can’t connect to Wi-Fi.

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  • Apple’s market cap is down $1 trillion from its peak exactly one year ago.

    On January 3rd, 2022, the value of Apple’s shares briefly crossed $3 trillion.

    Today, on January 3rd, 2023, the value of $AAPL shares fell to 125.07 at the market’s close, a 52-week low that sets its market cap at a frankly piddling $1.99 trillion. Now analysts are predicting a slight decline in revenue when Apple releases its latest quarterly earnings report in a few weeks.

    The share price is down amid greater economic and interest rate concerns (see, it’s not just Tesla and crypto taking a beating), as well as gloomy news about both iPhone production and demand.

  • L’Oréal’s new makeup applicator uses AR to give you the perfect brow

    Close-up of L’Oreal’s Brow Magic device
    The Brow Magic is a type of “brow printer” with an AR component.
    Image: L’Oreal

    L’Oréal is no slouch when it comes to gadgets. Like Dyson, L’Oréal has been pushing the game in beauty tech for the past few years, announcing neat gizmos like wearable UV and pH sensors. This year is no different. For CES 2023, the company is announcing two makeup gadgets: Brow Magic, which uses AR to create and draw your perfect brow, and Hapta, an accessible lipstick applicator prototype.

    Brow Magic was developed with Prinker, which makes a temporary tattoo printer. Brow Magic works similarly. It’s got 2,400 tiny nozzles that can print up to 1,200 dots per inch. And when you think about it as a tattoo printer, it makes sense given popular brow procedures like microblading and microshading are also semipermanent tattoos. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of products you need to achieve a look. (Yours truly uses a brow pencil, brow gel, and sometimes brow powder.)

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  • Withings wants you to pee on its latest device

    Render of the Withings U-Scan and app screenshots
    The U-Scan is a noninvasive urinalysis test that you stick in your toilet.
    Image: Withings

    Withings is generally known for its sleek smartwatches, but it also shows up at CES each year with ambitious health gadgets. Last year, it was a smart scale that could also take EKGs and segmented body composition readings. This year, it’s the U-Scan, an at-home, hands-free “urine lab” that you stick in your toilet.

    Yes, you read that correctly.

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  • Nanoleaf’s new lighting kits sync up with the action on your TV

    The 4D TV Smarter Kit can be linked with other Nanoleaf products for a truly immersive experience.
    The 4D TV Smarter Kit can be linked with other Nanoleaf products for a truly immersive experience.
    Image: Nanoleaf

    Nanoleaf is expanding its lineup of addressable smart lighting along with some new tech aimed at providing a more immersive viewing experience for your TV. The Nanoleaf 4D TV Smarter Kit is a series of RGB light strips designed to reflect the colors on your TV with the aid of a small camera that remains pointed at the screen.

    The TV lighting kit is just one of the new products Nanoleaf is showing off at CES 2023, expanding its lineup of intelligent lighting and Matter-compatible products. The 4D Kit will be available in two sizes, one for TVs 55 to 65 inches and another for TVs 70 to 80 inches. What separates the 4D Kit from other light strips offered by Nanoleaf is the small camera that’s included.

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  • Nanoleaf’s new light switches will learn when you need them

    A dining room table with ceiling lights above it that look like a skylight.
    Nanoleaf Skylight will light up your ceiling.
    Image: Nanoleaf

    Nanoleaf is finally bringing its whole-home smart lighting ambitions to fruition with the launch of its first-ever smart switches — and they come with a twist designed to make them smarter than that of the competition. The smart lighting company announced the Sense Plus Smart Light Switch and Sense Plus Smart Wireless Light Switch at CES this week, both with built-in sensors designed to learn your lighting habits. (Think Nest Learning Thermostat but for lighting.)

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  • Google’s January 2023 Pixel update is rolling out now.

    If you have a Pixel 4a (or newer) Google phone, then there should be an update headed your way soon.

    According to the notes, this patch should bring Android 13’s support for spatial audio to “certain devices and accessories,” as well as tweaks for fingerprint recognition on the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7, Bluetooth improvements, and other fixes, including the latest security updates.

    If you don’t want to wait for the automatic rollout, there are images of the new OS available here for manual installation.

  • Wizards of the Coast is canceling at least five video games.

    Wizards of the Coast is known for tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, but it’s pulling back on some of its video game efforts, according to Bloomberg.

    However, in October, Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks (Wizards of the Coast is a subsidiary of Hasbro) said that “the trend is decisively in the direction that interactive entertainment is the future of entertainment,” so we’ll have to see if the company remains committed to video games over the long term.

  • Twitter says it will allow more political ads as it tries to claw back revenue

    Twitter’s logo
    Twitter had banned political advertising, but it’s going to “expand” what’s allowed.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Twitter is going to “expand” the political advertising it allows on the platform in “the coming weeks,” the Twitter Safety account tweeted on Tuesday. Twitter banned all political advertising in late 2019, but the company is apparently loosening its rules just a couple of months after major ad agencies recommended against buying ads on the platform.

    Exactly what will change under the new policies outside of what’s mentioned in the tweet is unclear. But the return of political ads could have a major effect on the platform, especially ahead of the 2024 US presidential election. We asked Twitter for details, but the company has dissolved its press office since Elon Musk took over, so we’re not expecting a response.

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  • The Fed, FDIC, and currency comptroller are warning banks about messing with crypto

    Gold coins on a red background.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Three federal financial agencies put out a joint statement on Tuesday warning banks about the “key risks for banks associated with crypto-assets and the crypto-asset sector.” The statement explains that while banks aren’t wholesale banned or discouraged from providing services to crypto firms, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency believe that issuing or holding cryptocurrency is “highly likely to be inconsistent with safe and sound banking practices.”

    The regulators say they’re still figuring out how to deal with banks and crypto, working on a case-by-case basis, and that they’re being “careful and cautious.”

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  • Windows 7 and Windows 8 will stop getting critical security updates in one week

    An image showing the Microsoft logo on a black, green, and purple abstract background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Microsoft’s cutting off Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 from security updates and technical support on January 10th. That’s just one week from today and also marks the launch of Microsoft Edge 109 — the last version to support the aged operating systems.

    But Edge isn’t the only major browser ditching Windows 7 and 8.1. In October, Google announced that Chrome will end support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on February 7th. Although both browsers will continue to work on these devices, they won’t receive any critical security updates or new features. Support for WebView2, the tool that allows developers to embed web-based content into their apps, is going away on January 10th, too.

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  • President Biden nominates Gigi Sohn for FCC — again

    Gigi Sohn
    Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool / Getty Images

    President Joe Biden renominated Gigi Sohn Tuesday to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, once again throwing his support behind the embattled pick whose confirmation has stalled for more than a year.

    Sohn, a public interest advocate and former FCC counselor, was first nominated to the post in October 2021. Since then, she’s struggled to gain the necessary support of moderate Democrats and has faced an intense opposition campaign staged by Republicans and telecom industry groups. But last November’s Democratic Senate midterm wins could be a boon for Sohn’s nomination, adding an additional Democratic senator into the mix and possibly securing her confirmation.

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  • Here are the next 36 fan builds that could become official Lego sets.

    My favorites are The Travel Suitcase and the Japanese Castle, though I’d be happy with many of them! Here’s the full list.

    Don’t get your hopes up for a Zelda castle or the house from Up, as Lego has repeatedly rejected designs like those before. And since Lego’s new Jazz Club already has a pizza parlor, I’m afraid the amazing Modular Arcade might not make the cut.

  • Twitch is recovering from an outage that took down everyone’s stream pages

    Twitch logo
    Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

    Twitch is recovering from its first major outage of 2023. During the incident, the streaming site showed blank pages for accounts or “an error has occurred,” which made it appear to some like a streamer deleted their account.

    The Twitch outage affected both desktop and mobile users, with iOS and Android users seeing an “error loading followed channels” when opening the app. The search feature didn’t let Twitch mobile users navigate to streamers, either.

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  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty to fraud, money laundering charges

    FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrives at Manhattan federal court on January 1st, 2023 in New York City. Bankman-Fried has been charged with eight criminal counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money-laundering offenses, which includes making illegal political contributions.
    FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrives at Manhattan federal court on January 1st, 2023, in New York City. 
    Photo by Gotham / GC Images

    CNBC reports that Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to the eight criminal charges he’s facing, accusing the former crypto billionaire of committing fraud and money laundering. Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, appeared in a New York City courtroom nearly two months after his crypto exchange FTX declared bankruptcy.

    Now, billions of dollars from investors and customers are missing, and the Department of Justice, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have all accused his empire of operating as a fraud practically from the very start.

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  • Louisiana now requires a government ID to access Pornhub

    Graphic by James Bareham / The Verge

    A Louisiana law requiring age verification for adult websites has kicked in, renewing long-standing concerns about online privacy. The policy, Louisiana HB 142, requires sites composed of “thirty-three and one-third percent” or more of pornographic content to verify that people accessing them are 18 or older. That includes services like Pornhub, which has started requiring a government-issued ID for access.

    Pornhub didn’t confirm the new policy, but video posted to Twitter apparently demonstrates what users see in Louisiana. It asks users to verify their age with AllpassTrust, which works with the Louisiana digital ID service LA Wallet. Vice confirmed the report using a VPN service, adding that other adult sites like XVideos didn’t appear to require verification.

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  • Microsoft has formally recognized the ZeniMax union.

    QA workers at Microsoft’s ZeniMax Studios have voted to join the Communications Workers of America and, true to its word, Microsoft has formally recognized the organization. That means that the National Labor Relations Board won’t have to litigate the election, and the company and the union can start negotiating.

    The approximately 300 workers in the union are looking to “put an end to sudden periods of crunch, unfair pay, and lack of growth opportunities within the company,” according to one employee quoted in the CWA’s press release.

  • Dell’s new 32-inch 6K monitor gives Apple’s ProDisplay XDR some competition

    An image showing Dell’s 32-inch monitor with a laptop attached
    Dell’s 32-inch 6K display comes with a 4K webcam and other handy features.
    Image: Dell

    With Dell’s new 32-inch 6K UltraSharp monitor, the Apple Pro Display XDR is no longer in a category of its own. Dell’s new monitor does things a little differently, though, blending elements from Apple’s $4,999 monitor and the $1,599 Studio Display, providing a possible best of both worlds when it comes to productivity and performance.

    Though the UltraSharp 32 matches the Pro Display XDR for size and resolution, it doesn’t quite have the same specs and construction. Dell’s 6144 x 3456 pixel monitor uses the LG Display-developed IPS Black technology, which allows for better contrast and deeper blacks, and provides up to “1.2 times better color accuracy” when compared to conventional IPS monitors. It supports 1.07 billion colors and 99 percent of the DCI-P3 color space as well. Meanwhile, Apple’s top-end screen uses local dimming and can hit peak brightness levels of 1,600 nits, while the Dell tops out at 600 (a level more in line with the Studio Display).

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  • The ROG Zephyrus G14 is getting a Mini LED screen

    Five Asus ROG Zephyrus models are laid out on a cross-shaped table in different positions.
    Here are a bunch of Zephyri.
    Image: Asus

    Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the hottest mainstream gaming laptops around, and its 2023 iteration is sure to be one of the most anticipated releases of this upcoming year. Not only is it one of a few gaming laptops that can provide all-day battery life but also it’s one of very few 14-inch gaming rigs that can achieve competitive frame rates on many modern games.

    It’s hard to imagine how Asus could improve on what was already such a successful package. But the company has found perhaps the one thing the G14 was really missing — and frankly, it’s been a long time coming. This year, the 14-inch Zephyrus will have a Mini LED display option.

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