Technology

Why Apple should give us custom app icons (but probably never will)

iOS 14 has a lot of iPhones looking pretty different these days — some with classy monochrome color schemes, others with pastel styles ripped right off of Pinterest, and some that look like they’re straight out of Animal Crossing or emulating Windows Mobile. The changes aren’t some new, radical shift by Apple, but rather a viral wave of enthusiastic users taking advantage of widgets and other tweaks to bring an unprecedented level of customization to the usually rigid Apple-enforced design of the OS. It turns out that lots of people have been dying to theme iOS, and as any number of viral videos displaying lavishly designed homescreens show, they’re going to great lengths to do it. It’s proof that Apple should continue to trend down this path and allow users to have even greater control ov...

Tesla reveals its Plaid powertrain will be available for delivery in 2021

As part of its Battery Day presentation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off video of the new “Plaid” version of its Model S sedan, a step up from its “Ludicrous” model. According to the specs on Tesla’s website, the long-awaited Plaid powertrain will have a range between charges of 520 miles, get from zero-to-60 in under two seconds, and a top speed of 200mph. The price is listed on Tesla’s website at $139,990. Musk has been teasing the Plaid for a while, and showed a video last year of a Tesla with the Plaid powertrain, noting it would “cost more than our current offerings.” (The name is apparently a reference from the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs.) The Plaid Model S debuted last September at the Laguna Seca raceway, where it ran the course in 1 minute and 36 seconds, seen in this video: [embe...

SXSW will attempt to hold its popular festival online in 2021… somehow

SXSW, the annual tech, music, and film meetup held in downtown Austin was canceled earlier this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The festival’s organizers announced today that it will host an online-only version of the weeklong event next year. SXSW Online will take place from March 16th through March 20th, 2021. Throughout the week, organizers say attendees will be able to check out film and music screenings and take part in other activities such as exhibitions and networking opportunities, but they’ll all be online. SXSW isn’t just a conference where you can substitute a digital stage I’m curious to see how it all goes. Unlike other events, SXSW isn’t just a convention. Sure, people go to the keynotes, but SXSW is a festival. Most years, it’s packed with opportunities for peopl...

Tesla to make EV battery cathodes without cobalt

Tesla will make electric vehicle batteries with cobalt-free cathodes, it announced during its Battery Day event today. The announcement came as part of the company’s move to make batteries in-house instead of purchasing them. Musk didn’t give a timeline for going to a zero-cobalt battery. Cobalt is the most expensive material used in batteries, so eliminating it from the mix was expected help to electric vehicles become as affordable as those that run on gas. Tesla now says it can make a $25,000 electric vehicle — $10,000 less than its cheapest model — because of the improvements it’s made to its batteries, including axing cobalt. “It’s absolutely critical that we make cars that people can people can actually afford,” Musk said today. “Affordability is key to how we scale.” The “blood diam...

Here are Tesla’s biggest announcements from Battery Day

At Tesla’s Battery Day event, CEO Elon Musk made some big announcements: the company’s moves toward eliminating cobalt in its batteries, a new Plaid powertrain for the Model S that could get to speeds of 200 mph, and a new cathode plant to streamline its battery production. And, with the new battery technology, Musk has said Tesla will make a $25,000 car. The socially-distanced outdoor event had Musk and other presenters addressing Tesla shareholders in parked cars, who honked their horns to indicate their approval of the speakers’ remarks— almost like a drive-in movie/shareholders meeting. Here are the main takeaways from Tesla’s 2020 battery day: Tesla plans to manufacture its own “tabless” batteries, which will improve its vehicles’ range and power. The new batteries will be produced in...

Microsoft is pausing Xbox Design Lab on October 14th, before you get to unwrap your Series X

If you are planning to design your very own Xbox controller ahead of the Xbox Series X and S launch on November 10th, you might want to act fast. Microsoft is temporarily shutting down its Xbox Design Lab on October 14th. Announced back in 2016, Xbox Design Lab brings a lot of flexibility and personal flair to the Xbox One controller. For $80, you have access to over 40 different color options for the various parts of the controller, adding up to over a million different combinations in total. A couple years ago, I designed one for a close friend and was amazed how much customization I could do; it didn’t feel like I was just creating another color variant, but a truly unique personalized product. My friend loved it, telling me they thought I’d bought a rare controller online. But starting...

Tesla announces it will build a new cathode plant

Tesla plans to build in a new cathode plant for its batteries in North America, to help reduce supply chain costs and simplify cathode production, CEO Elon Musk said today at the company’s battery event. The current process is not efficient, Musk said, and it’s making improvements to the process that will make cathodes 76 percent cheaper, and produce zero wastewater. The new process will eliminate many of the intermediate steps involved in cathode production, and it plans to diversify the cathodes it uses, because of low nickel supply. Musk didn’t get into specifics of where and when the new plant would be built, but he said at the start of his presentation that he wanted a Gigafactory on every continent. The company said in July it was building its next US factory in Austin, Texas, and Mu...

Tesla’s Elon Musk said a $25,000 electric car with next-gen battery in the works

Tesla announced that it will dramatically reduce the cost of its battery cells and packs — which means the company’s new goal is a $25,000 electric car. The company’s CEO Elon Musk said its new “tabless” battery cells, as well as by changing the materials inside the cell, will allow Tesla to “halve” the price per kilowatt-hour, which will make electric cars roughly the same price as combustion engine ones. The price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the unit of energy most commonly used to measure the capacity of the battery packs in modern electric vehicles. Those prices have been falling dramatically over the last decade, from $1,100/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019, a drop of 87 percent. Experts predict that the price will hit $100/kWh by 2023, but Musk said Tesla will kick off a three-year pro...

Tesla Battery Day: news and updates from Elon Musk’s announcement

Tesla’s “Battery Day” event, held on September 22nd, 2020, was a showcase for Elon Musk to show off his company’s latest battery improvements. Tesla unveiled plans to develop a “million mile” battery that could last an electric car’s entire lifetime on the road. It also outlined plans to dramatically reduce the cost of its battery cells and packs to $100 per kilowatt-hour, at which point experts believe electric cars will become comparable in price to combustion engine vehicles. Tesla is already the industry leader when it comes to squeezing range out of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, but its ability to continue to innovate on its battery technology helps explain why the company’s stock prices have soared in recent months. You Deserve to Make Money Even When you are looking for Da...

It looks like a bunch of soon-to-be-disappointed people accidentally bought Xbox One X’s today

Today, Microsoft launched pre-orders for its upcoming next generation console, the Xbox One X. Sorry, I meant the Xbox Series X. Can you blame me? There’s only one word of difference between the two names, and it’s the one in the middle. There are also three X’s. I might not be the only one who gets them confused, though. (Microsoft itself has, but I digress.) Despite today being pre-order day for the Series X (reminder: the new one), the One X (the old one) had a banner day on Amazon as well, at one point up 747 percent on Amazon’s “Movers & Shakers” sales charts. Note that Amazon’s charts only cover the past hour: it wasn’t #4 all day. It’s not hard to imagine how people could end up buying the wrong console. If you search “xbox series x” on Amazon, the top two search results are for...

Studio Ghibli releases 400 free-to-use images from eight of its classic films, with more to come

Studio Ghibli has released a treasure trove of 400 free-to-use images from eight of its classic movies. The images, which are available on the studio’s website, come from From Up On Poppy Hill, Ponyo, Spirited Away, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, The Secret World of Arrietty, Tales From Earthsea, When Marnie Was There, and The Wind Rises. Studio Ghibli says it will release images from all of its films over time. “From this month, we will provide scene photos of all Studio Ghibli works in sequence,” reads a Google-translated message at the top of the Studio Ghibli website. “This month, we will provide 8 works, mainly new works, for a total of 400 pieces. Feel free to use it within the bounds of common sense.” Ghibli movies are renowned for their incredible art, so this collection is a rea...

Amazon Prime Day will begin October 13th, multiple sources say

An internal Amazon email seen by The Verge confirms that its Prime Day shopping event will take place October 13th and 14th, and that the company will make an official announcement September 27th. In a separate internal email, Amazon warehouse workers were told no new vacation requests would be accepted between October 13th and October 20th, which suggests that the company needs all hands on deck for Prime Day. An Amazon spokesperson said in an email to The Verge that the company has not announced any dates for Prime Day. “Stay tuned for more details on Prime Day,” the spokesperson said, adding that customers can ask Alexa devices to keep them updated about Prime Day. The e-commerce giant is keeping a tight lid on any leaks about this year’s Prime Day, which was postponed from July due to ...