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The Verge

Latest IDC numbers reiterate Apple’s dominance of tablet market

The 2020 iPad Air has the same design and shape as the 11-inch iPad Pro
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Earlier this week during Apple’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said that the iPad had experienced its most successful June quarter in nearly a decade. And now IDC is out with its latest worldwide shipment figures that underline Apple’s commanding lead over the tablet competition. After refreshing the iPad Air in 2020 and launching an upgraded iPad Pro earlier this year, Apple is next expected to update the iPad Mini.

IDC estimates that Apple shipped 12.9 million iPads in the second quarter. Its nearest competition is Samsung, which hit 8 million shipments. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 tablets offer fantastic hardware and punchy OLED screens, but they remain hamstrung by Android’s less-than-stellar selection of tablet apps. Lenovo, which...

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 8:45 pm


Google pairs Stadia Controller and Chromecast as $100 ‘play and watch’ bundle

Image: Google

Google has recently been selling a combo-package of the Stadia Controller and 2020 Chromecast as a limited-time promotion. But as spotted by 9to5Google, the company has now made the pair a permanent bundle that it’s calling the “play and watch” package.

For $99.99, you get both the controller and streaming dongle. That’s a savings of $19 compared to buying both products separately. Google is also promoting the Chromecast ethernet adapter as a recommended accessory; if you want the absolute best Stadia experience, it’s probably a smart buy — and it’s a mere $9.99 ($10 off) when purchased alongside the bundle.

In an effort to clear out inventory of the old, puck-shaped Chromecast Ultra, Google is discounting its Stadia Premiere Edition...

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 7:00 pm


Thanks to the Rickroll, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hits 1 billion YouTube plays

Photo of Rick ASTLEY
Photo by Bernd Muller/Redferns

The official video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up” has surpassed 1 billion plays on YouTube. The song became a lasting part of internet culture thanks to the Rickroll meme and reached the impressive milestone a couple days ago. Astley took to the video’s comments to share his gratitude, saying “amazing, crazy, wonderful!” In a video posted to Instagram, he added “the world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky.”

With some songs having crossed as many as 7 billion views in recent years, the 1 billion club isn’t quite as prestigious as it once was. But the achievement goes to show the staying power of the Rickroll prank. The video hit daily views of 2.3 million on April Fools Day, according to B...

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 5:35 pm


A starter pack of Nanoleaf’s stunning canvas panels is $50 off at Costco today

Nanoleaf’s canvas light panels are easy to set up and can display more than 16 million colors. | Image: Nanoleaf

If you like your lighting to be on the adventurous side, rest assured that Nanoleaf’s canvas light panels aren’t made to be subtle. The touch-sensitive squares are flashy and versatile, with the ability to display more than 16 million colors and a modular design that lets you place them in a variety of patterns. The bright LED panels also work with all the major smart home platforms, and can cycle through a number of preset colors or respond to sound when in “Rhythm Mode,” a feature that’s just as suited for the ambient noise outside your bedroom as your favorite record. Right now, Costco members can purchase Nanoleaf’s Canvas Light Panel smarter pack with nine panels and everything needed to get started for $50, one of the better prices...

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 4:00 pm


Telegram’s group video calls can now have up to 1,000 viewers

Image: Telegram

Telegram has announced the latest new features and improvements making their way to the popular messaging app. Video is the focus this time around. After launching group video calls last month, those sessions are now able to tally up to 1,000 viewers. The maximum number of people able to participate and broadcast to the video call remains at 30, but you can have quite the audience now for “anything from online lectures to live rap battles,” according to the company.

Video messages will also now come through at a higher resolution, and you can tap them for a larger view of the clip. When recording your own video messages, Telegram says that audio from your device will now keep playing as you do so, “so you can now sing along to your...

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 2:30 pm


K-pop’s fandom platforms are changing what it means to be an idol

Illustration by Ari Liloan for The Verge

Digital fan clubs are turning into single-purpose social networks

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Published on 31 July 2021 | 1:00 pm


PSA: You might want to avoid the gobs of Halo Infinite spoilers Microsoft just leaked

If you’re invested in the story of Master Chief, Cortana, and the fate of the Halo universe, you might want to keep your head down and start muting some keywords on social media until Halo Infinite arrives later this year — because vast spoilers for the game’s entire story are now floating around on the internet.

Note: we’ll be keeping this post spoiler-free, though.

Halo Infinite creative director Joseph Staten confirmed on Twitter that Microsoft accidentally leaked “a small number of Halo Infinite campaign files” when it launched the game’s first multiplayer beta yesterday on July 29th, saying they “can ruin the campaign experience for everyone.”

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Published on 30 July 2021 | 11:45 pm


Here are the latest accusations Activision Blizzard employees have leveled at the company

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

More disturbing allegations of Activision Blizzard’s reported culture of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination have been reported in recent days, following a huge lawsuit filed against the company by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) last week.

Details in these stories may be challenging to read, so we are prefacing them with a content warning for descriptions of sexual harassment.

On Thursday, The New York Times posted a story of extremely distressing accounts of Activision Blizzard’s culture. Here is one from Shay Stein, a former customer service employee:

Ms. Stein, 28, who worked at Activision from 2014 to 2017 in a customer service role, helping gamers with problems and glitches, said she...

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Published on 30 July 2021 | 11:10 pm


After accusations, Twitter will pay hackers to find biases in its automatic image crops

The Twitter bird logo in white against a dark background with outlined logos around it and red circles rippling out from it.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter is holding a competition in hopes that hackers and researchers will be able to identify biases in its image cropping algorithm — and it’s going to be handing out cash prizes to winning teams (via Engadget). Twitter is hoping that giving teams access to its code and image cropping model will let them find ways that the algorithm could be harmful (such as it cropping in a way that stereotypes or erases the image’s subject).

Those competing will have to submit a description of their findings, and a dataset that can be run through the algorithm to demonstrate the issue. Twitter will then assign points based on what kind of harms are found, how much it could potentially affect people, and more.

The winning team will be awarded...

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Published on 30 July 2021 | 11:02 pm


Mastodon now has an official iPhone app

Decentralized social network Mastodon now has an official iPhone app. The nonprofit behind Mastodon launched the app on iOS today, supplementing an existing web version and several third-party apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms. The app is free and offers a similar feature set to Mastodon’s core service, although it doesn’t include Mastodon’s broad local and federated timelines.

Mastodon describes the app as particularly geared toward getting new users on board the nontraditional social platform. As we’ve outlined before, Mastodon looks similar to Twitter but is built around independently run communities (and the ActivityPub protocol) rather than a single central network. You can create your account on a community of your choice...

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Published on 30 July 2021 | 10:24 pm