Apple is rolling out no fewer than three new smartwatches – and we’ve already spent a week with two of ‘em. While we’re still waiting to put the priciest Watch Ultra through its paces, the $399 Watch Series 8 is now Apple’s best wearable. Crash detection and a new skin temperature sensor for ovulation tracking are the key updates. But dollar for dollar, the new $250 Watch SE seems like a steal. The main features you might miss if you get an SE instead of a Series 8 are the Always On Display (AOD), ECG reader, blood oxygen app and the new skin temperature sensor.
If aesthetics are a priority, you may also find the SE’s thicker borders a little off-putting, but it has a larger screen than the last SE model. Both models are available now.
– Mat Smith
The biggest stories you might have missed
It now uses ‘proof of stake’ to approve new transactions.
Ethereum tokens will no longer be minted by “proof-of-work” that uses powerful computers to solve cryptographic tasks. Instead, a new “proof-of-stake” method requires users, called validators, to stake tokens for the chance to approve transactions and earn a small reward. Before now, mining Ethereum (and most cryptocurrencies) demanded vast amounts of energy, and made Ethereum challenging to scale and costly for small transactions.
New tricks deliver improved noise cancellation and other upgrades.
As I wait on upgraded AirPods Pro, there might be another option: Bose has massively improved how much sound it can cancel on the QuietComfort Earbuds II, cutting out more everyday noise, including voices. According to Engadget’s Billy Steele, the sound quality is also markedly improved and smaller buds offer a more comfy fit (and less awkward look). At $299, however, they’re still pretty pricey.
Ridley Scott will serve as an executive producer.
The long-teased Blade Runner sequel series is real. Variety confirms that Amazon has ordered production of a Blade Runner 2099 show for Prime Video, with original movie director Ridley Scott serving as an executive producer. The project could be another ambitious show for Amazon. The first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power reportedly cost $465 million to make, but it set a Prime viewing record on its debut.
Oh no, not my Zoom video meetings…
Zoom is recovering from a major outage that prevented users from starting or joining meetings Thursday morning. The company didn’t yet have an explanation for the problem but said it had “identified” the cause and will continue to investigate the fault. However, Zoom managed to fix the issue before 12PM ET.
‘Warzone’ is going mobile in 2023.
Call of Duty is doubling down on portable play with Warzone Mobile, a battle royale game heading to smartphones in 2023. The game will support a shared Battle Pass, social features and cross-progression with Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0, both of which are due out at the end of 2022. While the game is free, expect microtransactions. In-game purchases were part of Call of Duty: Mobile since its debut in 2019. The studio reportedly made more than $1.5 billion off Android and iOS players in less than three years.