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Wednesday’s top tech news: Sony’s Afeela EV and Amazon is laying off 18,000

Yesterday’s trickle of CES announcements has turned into a flood today. The best place to keep up with them is over on our dedicated CES 2023 page, but I wanted to use today’s roundup to highlight a couple that piqued my interest.

First up is this delightfully wacky gadget from Withings. It’s called the U-Scan, and it’s a small puck that you mount in your toilet to take urine samples as you pee throughout the day. It’s meant as a simple way to keep track of your reproductive health and nutrition, without the invasiveness of blood testing, and despite sounding a little gross, I’m really intrigued by this kind of ambient health monitoring.

Second are Samsung’s CES TV announcements, which are particularly interesting after it’s gotten back into the OLED game. Most exciting is a brand new 77-inch QD-OLED, but there are also new Mini LED, and quantum dot LCD TVs further down the range.

Finally, Qi wireless charging is getting an upgrade this year thanks to Apple, which is allowing MagSafe to provide the basis of the new Qi2 standard. It means the company’s ring of magnets might not be exclusive to iPhones for much longer. Check out Sean’s writeup for all the details.

Late in the day, Sony’s CES press conference included the debut of the Afeela name for its car project with Honda, while Amazon execs confirmed a plan for mostly-corporate layoffs that will let go of 18,000 workers.

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: Wendesday, January 4th, 2022.
  • Emma Roth

    Jan 4, 2023

    Emma Roth

    Coinbase fined $50 million over claims it violated anti-money laundering laws

    Coinbase’s logo on an abstract background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Coinbase has agreed to pay a $50 million penalty to the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) over allegations that the cryptocurrency exchange broke anti-money laundering laws. As part of the settlement, Coinbase is also required to invest an additional $50 million in its compliance program to help prevent future violations.

    New York regulators found that Coinbase had “wide-ranging and long-standing failures” in the company’s anti-money laundering program, potentially putting the platform at risk of “series criminal conduct” involving fraud, money laundering, activity related to child sex abuse material, and drug trafficking.

    Read Article >
  • Chris Welch

    Jan 4, 2023

    Chris Welch

    LG’s latest Signature OLED TV receives all of its audio and video wirelessly

    Every few years at CES, LG comes around with another of its Signature OLEDs. These are meant to encompass the company’s latest display technology and the very best that the TV maker is capable of, and they often come with sky-high prices to match. Back in 2017 we got the ultra-thin “wallpaper” OLED TV. A year later came the rollable OLED TV concept that eventually evolved into a real $100,000 product. LG’s Signature lineup is expensive, to say the least.

    We’ve reached that time again at CES 2023. But with the all-new Signature OLED M, LG isn’t so much concentrating on the panel itself. It’s a beautiful, bright, enormous 97-inch 4K screen, sure, but what else would you expect from LG? Instead, the gimmick is what’s outside the TV. The OLED M receives all of its video and audio wirelessly from a “Zero Connect” box that can be positioned up to 30 feet away. All of the processing happens in the box; the TV is just a panel and speakers. LG touts the OLED M as the “world’s first wireless OLED TV.” It obviously goes a few steps beyond your typical wireless HDMI transmitter.

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  • Victoria Song

    Jan 4, 2023

    Victoria Song

    Citizen’s new Wear OS watch will use AI to help you battle fatigue

    Woman crouching while wearing the CZ Smart Casual model.
    The second-gen Citizen CZ Smart comes with an AI-powered self-care advisor.
    Image: Citizen

    Last year was a big year for Wear OS smartwatches, and it looks like Citizen is continuing that momentum at CES 2023. The company announced its second-gen CZ Smart smartwatch, which will not only run Wear OS 3 but also feature an AI-powered “self-care advisor” that leverages the tech of NASA and IBM Watson.

    The self-care advisor comes in the form of the CZ Smart YouQ app. The app uses neural networks developed via IBM Watson to try to determine a user’s chronotype — basically, whether you’re a night owl, an early bird, or something in between — after collecting seven to 10 days’ worth of sleep data. Users can also take short daily gamified tests based on NASA’s Psychomotor Vigilance Test, which was originally developed to give astronauts feedback on their fatigue levels on the ISS. In this case, users will get an Alert Score.

    Read Article >
  • Ash Parrish

    Jan 4, 2023

    Ash Parrish

    Naughty Dog shared some new concept art for its forthcoming TLOU multiplayer spinoff.

    In a 10th-anniversary celebration post to keep the hype train at a steady hum in anticipation of the HBO premiere of its The Last Of Us adaptation,

    Neil Druckmann said that the multiplayer game will incorporate Naughty Dog’s signature approach to storytelling (so expect it to try to make you cry by killing a cute but fungi-fied creature) and that they would have more to share about the game later this year.

    For now, fans can content themselves with The Last Of Us Part 1 launching on PC on March 3rd and The Last Of Us’ HBO premiere on January 15th.


    Screenshot from The Last Of Us multiplayer game featuring a crashed and decrepit cruise ship
    Naughty Dog
  • Tom Warren

    Jan 4, 2023

    Tom Warren

    How to watch LG’s CES 2023 event.

    We’ve already got some details on LG’s 2023 OLED TVs, but that was just the beginning of LG’s TV announcements ahead of CES 2023.

    LG’s press conference starts today at 11AM ET, and we’re bound to see more TVs, home entertainment products, and the usual assortment of home appliances. You can tune into LG’s live stream at 11AM ET / 8AM PT in the YouTube stream below.


  • Sheena Vasani

    Jan 4, 2023

    Sheena Vasani

    The fitness-centric Beats Fit Pro are back down to their lowest price

    A photo of two pairs of Beats Fit Pro earbuds on a marble surface.
    You can save $40 on the noise-canceling Beats Fit Pro right now.
    Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

    The new year has arrived, which means many of us are looking to shed a few holiday pounds and embark on our annual — though often short-lived — fitness resolutions. Thankfully, if you need a good pair of wireless earbuds to keep you motivated at the gym, the Beats Fit Pro have returned to their all-time low of around $159.99 ($40 off) at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

    The Beats Fit Pro are a great set of earbuds for working out (especially if you’re a runner) and can help you stay focused while at the gym thanks to their built-in wing tips, excellent noise cancellation, and useful transparency mode that allows ambient sounds in when needed. The fitness-focused buds offer a host of Apple-centric features, too, making them our go-to earbuds for those already embedded in the Apple ecosystem. They’re even a great pick for Android users, even if they don’t offer wireless charging or the same level of integration as previous models like the Beats Studio Buds. Read our review.

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  • Chris Welch

    Jan 4, 2023

    Chris Welch

    Roku does the obvious thing and announces its own TV line

    An image of a Roku TV announced at CES 2023.
    Image: Roku

    Roku is making big news at CES 2023: the company long known for its streaming players and easy-to-use software plans to release its own lineup of TVs this year. There will be two lines, in fact. One will be called Roku Select, and the higher-end models will be branded as Roku Plus TVs. And Roku is going for broke in terms of screen sizes. “Available in 11 models ranging from 24 inches to 75 inches, the new Roku Select and Plus Series TVs will focus on the features that streamers have come to love,” the company said in a press release. Roku is also going aggressive on price; the 24-inch entry model will run $119, and the 75-inch TV will cost $999.

    Roku’s move into TV hardware has been rumored for some time now, and the company is lagging behind rival Amazon, which began selling Fire TV-branded 4K sets in 2021.

    Read Article >
  • Tom Warren

    Jan 4, 2023

    Tom Warren

    Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti review: a possible AMD challenger if the price is right

    Nvidia’s latest RTX 4070 Ti GPU sitting on a leather mat
    Nvidia’s latest RTX 4070 Ti GPU sitting on a leather mat

    The RTX 4070 Ti started off as something very different. Nvidia had planned to launch a 12GB RTX 4080 at $899, but after a backlash, the company decided to “unlaunch” that card. And now it’s back in the form of the RTX 4070 Ti, with identical specs and the same 12GB of memory. The only thing that’s really changed — apart from the branding — is the price. At an expected base price of $799, Nvidia is out to challenge AMD’s latest pricing on its Radeon RX 7900 XT ($899) and RX 7900 XTX ($999) RDNA 3 cards.

    It’s a price point that will likely divide the PC gaming community. I, alongside many others, wasn’t sold on the value proposition of the $1,199 RTX 4080 or even the $1,199 RTX 3080 Ti. But the RTX 4070 Ti comfortably beats the RTX 3080 Ti and even the RTX 3090 ($1,499) and comes close to the RX 7900 XT in many games. There’s a clear gap between the 4070 Ti and the 4080, though. The $799 base retail pricing is more affordable compared to the rest of the RTX 40-series lineup and even AMD’s new Radeon cards at first glance, but without a Founders Edition coming directly from Nvidia, the price of the RTX 4070 Ti you can actually buy in stores could be much higher in reality.

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  • Richard Lawler

    Jan 4, 2023

    Richard Lawler

    Green light.

    The CES madness in Las Vegas has begun, Twitter is broken in Australia, and someone else has probably scored 50 or more points in an NBA game since I started writing this.

    You can keep up with all the CES stories in our stream, and below, I’ve listed times for some of the events we expect to have news from today. Keep an eye on the front page here; if there are live streams available, we’ll post them so you can follow along.

    LG: 11AM ET / 8AM PT

    Samsung: 5PM ET / 2PM PT

    Sony: 8PM ET / 5PM PT

    AMD: 9:30PM ET / 6:30PM PT

    BMW: 11PM ET / 8PM PT


  • Roborock’s new vacuums take on one of Roomba’s best features

    The underneath of a robot vacuum
    The new Roborock S8 vacuums now come with two roller brushes.
    Image: Roborock

    Roborock, arguably Roomba’s biggest competitor in the world of robot vacuum cleaners, launched a new line of flagship robot vacuums at CES this week. The S8 Series starts at $750, and its big new feature is straight out of Roomba’s playbook: dual roller brushes. 

    Read Article >
  • Jay Peters

    Jan 4, 2023

    Jay Peters

    JBL’s earbuds with a touchscreen case are coming to the US

    Tour Pro 2 in black and white color options. The image shows two wireless earbuds with short stems above a small horizontal case with a mostly black-and-white screen presenting noise cancellation options.
    JBL’s Tour Pro 2.
    Product images: JBL

    JBL recently announced a set of wireless earbuds with a touchscreen on the charging case that let you control your music — but at the time, they were only headed to Europe. Now, at CES, JBL has announced plans to bring the earbuds to the US. JBL’s Tour Pro 2 headphones will launch stateside sometime this spring, and you’ll be able to pick them up for $249.95, or about the same price as Apple’s AirPods Pro.

    At 1.45 inches, the LED touchscreen on the Tour Pro 2 case won’t be able to show you much. For comparison, it’s even tinier than the 1.9-inch cover screen on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4. But the screen could be a useful way to do simple tasks like skipping a song, flipping on ANC, or glancing at your notifications if your phone isn’t nearby.

    Read Article >
  • Mitchell Clark

    Jan 4, 2023

    Mitchell Clark

    HP’s ‘enterprise’ earbuds (yes, really) have a touchscreen on the case

    Photo of the Poly Voyager Free 60 Plus case and earbuds on a desk next to a laptop.
    An OLED screen gives you several controls.
    Image: HP

    HP has joined the list of companies making wireless earbuds and then sticking a screen on the charging case, with its announcement of the Voyager Free 60 Plus. Oddly, the company’s marketing the earbuds directly toward enterprise users rather than gadget heads, but we’ll get back to that in a bit. Let’s talk about that screen first.

    It’s actually optional — the regular Voyager Free 60s come with a plain old charging case, which HP says will add 10 hours of talk time. The case for the Plus model, however, has an OLED touchscreen that lets you control music playback, volume, and settings, see your battery status, and accept or reject calls.

    Read Article >
  • Thomas Ricker

    Jan 4, 2023

    Thomas Ricker

    Twitter users in Australia are having a bad day.

    Elon Musk’s $44 billion hobby has been up and down for over 12 hours in Australia and New Zealand, according to Downdetector. Users are reporting slow load times when the site does actually load, causing some to fire up a VPN to access Twitter through the US.


    A sampling of Twitter users complaining about issues.
    A sampling of Twitter users complaining about issues.
  • Tom Warren

    Jan 4, 2023

    Tom Warren

    Microsoft to challenge Google by integrating ChatGPT with Bing search

    Illustration of Microsoft’s Windows logo
    Alex Castro / The Verge

    Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a version of Bing that uses ChatGPT to answer search queries. The Information reports that Microsoft hopes to launch the new feature before the end of March in a bid to make Bing more competitive with Google.

    By using the technology behind ChatGPT — which is built by AI company OpenAI — Bing could provide more humanlike answers to questions instead of just links to information. Both Google and Bing already surface relevant information from links at the top of many search queries, but Google’s knowledge panels are particularly widespread when it comes to searching for information about people, places, organizations, and things.

    Read Article >
  • Jon Porter

    Jan 4, 2023

    Jon Porter

    MacBook owners have two months to claim up to $395 over butterfly keyboard woes

    Apple has updated the options on the function row
    The infamous butterfly keyboard.
    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    If you bought an Apple MacBook with an ill-fated butterfly keyboard and ended up having to replace either individual keycaps or the whole keyboard, you may be eligible to claim part of a $50 million settlement reached after a class-action lawsuit. The law firm handling the settlement has been emailing class members since mid-December (judging by this MacRumors report) but we wanted to highlight that the deadline for making a claim is fast approaching on March 6th, 2023.

    Claims can be submitted via the keyboardsettlement.com website, which says that the settlement class includes “all persons and entities in the United States” who purchased a butterfly-equipped MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro between 2015 and 2019.

    Read Article >
  • Thomas Ricker

    Jan 4, 2023

    Thomas Ricker

    Two Samsung projectors can automatically create one giant image.

    We weren’t impressed by the $900 original, but the 2023 Freestyle has a neat little trick called Smart Edge Blending that automatically stitches the images of two projectors into a single ultra-wide display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

    Only catch? If buying one Freestyle wasn’t worth it, who’d actually buy two?

    Our roundup has more details about the refreshed Freestyle and the rest of Samsung’s new TV lineup.


    Two 2023 Freestyles projecting a single ultra-wide image at CES in Las Vegas.
    Two 2023 Freestyles projecting a single ultra-wide image at CES in Las Vegas.
    Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge
  • Chris Welch

    Jan 4, 2023

    Chris Welch

    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.

    Read Article >
  • Chris Welch

    Jan 4, 2023

    Chris Welch

    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.

    Read Article >
  • Sean Hollister

    Jan 4, 2023

    Sean Hollister

    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.

    Read Article >
  • Victoria Song

    Jan 4, 2023

    Victoria Song

    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.

    Read Article >