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Today’s Storystream

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It’s not just a widget spinner.

Christian Selig’s new Pixel Pals update also lets you play full-fledged games from iOS widgets. In a video on X, Selig shows a game featuring a wizard person; on my own iPhone, I tried out a game of 2048.

Overall, it’s a pretty charming little app.

MKBHD got to check out an Amazon + Rivian electric delivery van.

I’ll admit that I’ve been curious to see the inside of one of these, and Marques Brownlee did a full tour on his Auto Focus channel. It looks like, well, a delivery van, but clearly a very highly-engineered one. (He shot the video on the iPhone 15 Pro, if you are curious about how video footage looks from that phone.)

There and back again.

There’s a new cozy game in the works based on life in the Shire from The Lord of the Rings. Wētā Workshop and Private Division are working on the game, titled Tales of the Shire, which will be available in 2024.

I’m imagining a game that’s Hobbit life mixed with Stardew Valley, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Microsoft’s Surface and AI event: all the news and announcements

Microsoft’s big Windows and Surface event will focus on its AI vision of the future.

The Steam Deck as a DVD player?

It’s possible, as Verge alum Cameron Faulkner recently found out for Polygon. It’s also apparently his only DVD player?

Just read his post, it’s so good.

A photo of a Steam Deck with a DVD player attached.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / Polygon
The titanium edges of the iPhone 15 Pro can get discolored by your hands, but Apple says not to worry.

According to an Apple support document, you just need to wipe the edges with a lint-free cloth to get things looking good again (via MacRumors):

For iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the oil from your skin might temporarily alter the color of the outside band. Wiping your iPhone with a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth will restore the original look.

The side of an iPhone 15 Pro showing smudges from fingerprints.
You should be able to just wipe off the fingerprints, Apple says.
Photo: Nilay Patel / The Verge
Clickbait? In my antitrust trial?

Google says it’s more likely than you think! The company is still fighting with the DOJ over whether to admit a potentially “embarrassing” document into evidence — the one that led to public records of the trial getting pulled off the internet. Mehta says he’ll rule on admitting the document tomorrow.

And that’s right, it sounds like we also still don’t know if the Justice Department will be allowed to resume posting exhibits online. But we got some testimony from DuckDuckGo’s CEO on the company’s travails competing with Google.

External Link
Apple’s retail employees are getting lower raises this year.

Bloomberg reports that annual increases for Apple’s retail employees, including AppleCare technical support, will be about 4 percent this year, down from eight to 10 percent last year. Bloomberg cites labor shortages, inflation, and unionization efforts as factors in last year’s higher increases. Guess things are back to normal?

External Link
PG&E can now fly drones without boots on the ground.

PG&E — not the most popular utility — can now just press a button to dispatch a self-flying Skydio X2 for inspections. It’s setting up automatic drone docks at 12 substations by end of year, and California will let the drones fly along power lines up to two miles away.

While the utility’s BVLOS waiver doesn’t seem to waive the need to have someone watching the drone from the ground, PG&E says it doesn’t need them.

The Verge
You can now watch live TV on an Echo Show for free ... just say “Alexa, watch TV.”

Amazon’s smart displays now work with its new Fire TV Channels. These FAST offerings bring shows, live news, music videos, and sports from over 420 different providers to the Echo Show lineup.

I just tried it on the smallest Echo, the Show 5, and it started playing ABC News before I hopped over to America's Test Kitchen. Now, time for dinner.

Google’s AI-powered coding assistant is expanding to over 170 countries and territories.

After first rolling out Studio Bot to Android developers in the US in May, Google has announced that it’s launching the tool in over 170 different countries and territories. Google notes that it’s still “designed to be used in English,” however.

In addition to generating code, Studio Bot can also fix errors and answer questions about Android. It’s currently available in the canary release channel of Android Studio.

Image: Google
You may be able to use your Android phone as a webcam for your Android phone.

Android expert Mishaal Rahman found a setting in Android 14 that could let you use your device as a webcam — as long as you do a little tinkering first. Rahman posted a picture of what this might look like... and I can’t tell if it’s cool or kind of useless.

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Wait, Tether is lending again?

Controversial stablecoin Tether is making loans to its customers. Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine walks through why that’s kind of weird:

If you are in charge of Tether and someone shows up at your office to pitch you on a clever investment that will get you a higher return with only a little risk, you should put your fingers in your ears and scream “NO” and kick them out of your office. You can make billions of dollars of pure profit taking no risk!

Anyway, the implications are even weirder: Tether might be propping up crypto prices.

External Link
“I can’t say I was a rabid MLS fan.”

That’s a quote from Apple’s Eddy Cue in a new interview with GQ about the company’s ventures into sports streaming. Given the recent uptick in interest in the league thanks to Lionel Messi, I think he’s a bigger fan now.

The interview has a lot of interesting tidbits, and I suggest reading it in full. I just wish Cue had given GQ pictures of this:

At home, [Cue has] nine televisions arrayed in a grid, plus a digital ticker relaying scores—the sort of sports-viewing system you’d dream up if you were a wildly successful, sports-mad tech executive.

GTA Plus subscribers can now try out a rotating selection of Rockstar games.

The first games on offer are the three classic GTA games included with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. You can read more about it on Rockstar’s website.

The subscription, launched last year, costs $5.99 per month.

External Link
“We are eating your market share like a birthday cake and you can do nothing.”

There’s another Twitter spat going on, this time between market-makers DWF Labs, GSR and Wintermute. Worth keeping an eye on, because at least once when there was this kind of Twitter trash-talking — between FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance’s Changpeng “CZ” ZhaoFTX melted down.

And they call themselves... the future of finance!

Climate Week NYC: news and protests surrounding the UN Climate Ambition Summit

Hundreds of governments and thousands of protesters descended upon New York City this week to ramp up action on climate change.

No idea if I’ll use Microsoft Copilot, but this is absolutely my new jam.

Microsoft set its new Copilot ad to Amy McKnight’s “Rise Up Let’s Go.” Such energy... I might just keep it on repeat today!

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Some layoffs at Roblox.

The company confirmed to TechCrunch that it laid off about 30 people in its talent acquisition organization.


And also Pocket Casts!

This is such a hack and a workaround but I’m thrilled it exists.

Footy on your phone.

EA Sports FC 24, the first entry in EA’s new non-FIFA soccer franchise, launches next week. But so does a mobile version — and you can get a first glimpse at it in the reveal trailer below. The mobile game is out on September 26th, while the full PC and console release hits on the 29th.


Verge Score

Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max review: by the numbers

Apple didn’t choose the USB-C life, but boy are we glad it got here anyway.

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Apple updated Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.

The biggest feature might be the ability to work on a document together with somebody over FaceTime — but that’s probably not enough to get more people to use these apps. MacRumors has more details about the updates.

Razer finally heard us — it’s overhauling Synapse.

It’s the desktop peripheral control app PC gamers love to hate. Now Razer says a new streamlined version of Synapse, rewritten for multithreaded CPUs and coming Q4, is 30 percent faster. Razer’s breaking out a standalone Chroma RGB app too.

“Every single person, ourselves included, complained that when you plug in a new piece of hardware, you have to update the drivers in Synapse,“ says spokesperson Will Powers. “Not anymore.” Check the gallery below for a peek.