Apple quietly stops selling Bose, Sonos and some Logitech gear — only Apple audio remains


Apple just made its rivals disappear — in its own retail store, anyhow. As Bloomberg reports, the company has abruptly stopped selling Bose, Logitech, and Sonos audio products, including the popular Bose noise-canceling headphones that would almost certainly be a direct competitor to the headphones that Apple has repeatedly been rumored to be ready to announce sometime this year.

When you go to find a product like the Logtech Ultimate Ears Megaboom speaker or those Bose headphones, you’ll find messages like these instead:

But Google’s cache shows these products were on sale as late as mid-September, if not more recently. Here’s an example from September 15th:

As a result, the Apple Store’s “headphones and speakers” product page consists entirely of Apple’s own devices, with no rival manufacturers to be found. And Bloomberg reports that Apple employees have been told to remove the products from physical retail shelves as well.

Bose and Logitech both confirmed to Bloomberg that Apple will no longer sell their audio products.

It’s not the first time that Bose products have disappeared from the Apple Store, and the last time was fairly brief, but it’s a bigger blow to Bose now — the company no longer has its own rival stores in shopping malls around the world, so it was relying at least in part on Apple’s stores filling that role. Logitech still sells all kinds of other accessories in the Apple Store, including keyboards and cameras, but Bose and Sonos don’t have other categories to offer.

Until now, Apple seemed mostly happy to carry some competing accessories in its stores, and let the best product win. I wonder what changed?



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YouTube Music now lets free users cast uploaded music to speakers


If you’ve decided against paying for YouTube Music but have still found yourself using the service as a cloud locker for your uploaded tracks, you can now cast that content to devices and speakers around your home. Initially, only premium subscribers were able to cast — a restriction that angered some people after they made the switch from Google Play Music to YouTube Music.

As noted by Android Police, YouTube Music also now works better with Google Assistant when it comes to your personal playlists. You can request them by name when speaking to Assistant, and the right playlist will come on. Somehow that didn’t work before, and it’s odd that it took this long for Google to make two of its own services work better together.

Browse through the YouTube Music app on your phone and you’ll notice another new thing: charts. An update to the explore tab has added top charts for artists, songs, and music videos in 57 countries.

These updates come as Google continues with its long-planned phasing out of Google Play Music, leaving YouTube Music as the company’s lone music service.



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Nvidia CEO anticipates supply shortages for the RTX 3080 and 3090 to last until 2021


If you are looking to get your hands on an Nvidia RTX 3080 or 3090 graphics card, you’re probably going to have to wait until 2021. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced today that the company expects shortages for both graphics cards will continue to for the remainder of the year, Tom’s Hardware and Wccftech reports.

During a Q&A with press to cover its GTC announcements, Huang responded to the continuous shortages for both graphics cards. “I believe that demand will outstrip all of our supply through the year,” Huang said.

The RTX 3080 and 3090 had extremely rough launches, with both cards selling out within minutes of preorders going live, but Huang says the issue is not with supply but rather the demand of both GPUs.

“Even if we knew about all the demand, I don’t think it’s possible to have ramped that fast,” Huang said. “We’re ramping really really hard. Yields are great, the product’s shipping fantastically, it’s just getting sold out instantly.” Nvidia has apologized for the launch of the RTX 3080 and the limited supply of the cards.

Nvidia has one more card in the RTX 3000 series it plans to launch this year: the $499 RTX 3070. Nvidia pushed the release date to October 29th in the hopes that the company can work with retailers to get the cards to more customers on launch day. But if it is anything like the last two launches, it’s going to be chaotic.

Of course, if you are determined to buy a new graphics card this year, you may want to see what AMD reveals on October 28th. The company is hosting a GPU event to reveal the Radeon RX 6000 series and possibly reveal its own GPU competitor to the RTX 3000 series.



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Slack has been having performance issues today


You’re not imagining it: Slack has been acting up all day. Per an official statement: “Users are experiencing degraded performance across devices and may be unable to connect.” The outage seems to be affecting all services across the platform.

The problems have been happening since 10AM ET, and Slack has been sharing updates over on its status page since people started reporting the disruptions. At 2:39PM ET, the company said the investigation was trending in the right direction, but by 4:20PM ET, it acknowledged that it was still working on resolving the issues. Here’s hoping the engineers figure out how to fix whatever’s gone wrong before too long. In the meantime, of course, there’s always Discord.



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How to text from your computer with Android Messages


Google has the ability to text from the web with Android Messages. The feature gives users a lot more flexibility in choosing how and where they can carry on conversations. As long as your Android smartphone is powered on, you can text from a desktop computer or even other mobile devices — including iOS products like an iPad if you just open up Safari. Aside from text, you can also send emoji, stickers, and images over the web.

Using Android Messages on the web requires using Android Messages as your main texting app on your phone. I like it just fine, and Google is clearly planning big things for the future, but if you prefer, say, Samsung’s default messages app or something else, the two don’t work together.

With that out of the way, getting started and setting things up is fairly simple.

  1. Make sure you’ve got the latest version of Android Messages installed on your phone
  2. Go to messages.android.com on the computer or other device you want to text from. You’ll see a big QR code on the right side of this page.
  3. Open up Android Messages on your smartphone. Tap the icon with three vertical dots at the top and to the far right. You should see a “Messages for web” option inside this menu.
  4. Tap “QR code scanner” and point your phone’s camera at the QR code on your other device. In less than a second, your phone will vibrate, and the two will be linked up. You should notice your conversations show up in the left column of the browser window. Google says that “conversation threads, contacts, and other settings will be encrypted and cached on your browser.”
    Note: this doesn’t mean your actual text conversations are encrypted. They’re not.

And that’s it. To make sure you don’t have to repeat the QR process, you can keep your computer paired with your phone by enabling “Remember this computer.” There will probably be a pop-up asking if you want to enable that the first time you use the web version of Messages. If you missed it, just go to the settings menu, which you can access from the web version of Android Messages by clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of “Messages.” (Of course, you shouldn’t turn this on if you’re using a public PC that other people can easily access.)

Which browsers work with Android Messages on the web?

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Safari

Remove a computer’s access to your messages

If you want to revoke a web browser’s access to your conversations and messaging, you can quickly do so from your Android smartphone. Go back to the “Messages for web” area of Android Messages, and you can choose to sign out of individual computers or all of them with a click.

There’s a dark mode!

Dark themes can be handy if you find that all an app’s whites and light grays might overload your eyeballs at night. If you want to enable the Messages dark theme on mobile, tap the same icon with three vertical dots and looking for “Choose theme.” You can go with light, dark, or the system default.

On the web app, you’ll find “Enable dark theme” in the menu that you get after clicking on the three-dot icon to the right of “Messages.

Keep your phone powered on

Android Messages on the web can’t work independently of your smartphone. So if your battery dies or if your phone shuts off for any reason, you won’t be able to send any texts from your computer.

Drag media into the Android Messages conversation

Sending a photo from Android Messages on the web is dead simple. You can either use the attachments icon — to the right of emoji and stickers — or just drag and drop media into the conversation window to send an MMS.

Update October 5th, 5:05PM ET: This article was originally published on June 19th, 2018, and has been updated to include minor changes made to menus.





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Asus’ new ROG Phone 3 is a 5G gaming phone launching in the US


Asus’ latest gaming phone, the ROG Phone 3, is now available in the US. The ROG Phone 3 has some of the highest specs out there for a smartphone along with a bunch of features and accessories meant to enhance the mobile gaming experience.

The device is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, a 6.59-inch OLED HDR screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, 512GB of UFS 3.1 ROM storage, and support for 5G. It has the same 6,000mAh battery as last year’s model.

The ROG Phone 3 comes in two configurations: one priced at $1,000 that comes with 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and another priced at $1,100 with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. 16GB of RAM is still a rare spec for phones, but it is available in a higher configuration of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The ROG Phone 3’s predecessor debuted at a starting price of $900.

To make this a better gaming experience than its predecessors, Asus says it has adjusted the phone’s ultrasonic buttons, called AirTriggers. Asus’ AirTrigger system places motion sensors on the edge of the phone to mimic shoulder buttons typically found on game controllers, as shown in the diagram below. The new AirTriggers also add the option to map an in-game command, such as reloading your weapon, when you shake the phone.

This image shows the gestures supported by its pressure-sensitive AirTrigger ultrasonic sensors, including the dual-partition triggers displayed in the top right.
Image: Asus

Asus is launching a handful of gaming accessories for the ROG Phone 3, too, including a $150 gamepad and a TwinView Dock that adds another display while gaming on the phone. There’s also a clip-on fan accessory, the AeroActive Cooler 3, that provides more airflow to the hotter parts of the phone, specifically in the area by the CPU and chipset.

Both configurations of the Asus ROG Phone 3 are available now on Asus’ website.

Asus ROG Phone 3

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Asus’ new 5G phone configured with 512GB of storage and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM.



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This climate activist says he was silenced on Twitter


A Ugandan environmental activist was suspended from Twitter in the midst of a high-profile campaign — a suspension he believes is connected to his opponents in the country’s government and industries linked to deforestation. Twitter won’t say what caused the account to be frozen, but environmental groups worry it’s part of a broader trend of powerful stakeholders exploiting Twitter’s moderation system to silence climate activists.

The suspension happened on the night of September 12th, after 22-year-old Nyombi Morris had just finished a television appearance about the preservation of the Bugoma Forest. The morning after the interview, he woke up to find his account was frozen without explanation. He says he contacted Twitter’s Help Center at least five times during the weeks his account was suspended but couldn’t figure out what had triggered the freeze, and began to suspect the suspension could be connected to his advocacy. Another Ugandan activist with Fridays for Future who fights deforestation, Leah Namugerwa, had her account frozen in September, too.

“I was very, very disappointed,” Morris told The Verge. “What I suspected is that because our government was trying to silence us about this Bugoma Forest, they used some people to suspend our accounts.” Morris regained access to his original account on September 30th, after The Verge contacted Twitter regarding the suspensions. Neither Morris nor The Verge was told why the account was suspended in the first place.

Twitter says that at least two of the suspended accounts belonging to environmental activists were caught in a spam filter and have since been reinstated. The social media giant didn’t give any more information on why those accounts might have been flagged as spam, what happened to other accounts, or how many in all have been suspended.

The suspension has drawn concern from around the world. Fridays for Future, the global movement that started with teen activist Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes in Sweden, posted a tweet on September 28th to call attention to numerous accounts suspended around the world this year. “This is unacceptable. Having a platform to talk about the climate crisis is crucial, especially for [people and areas most affected by climate change],” the group said.

Morris says the account freeze isolated him from other activists and stifled his ability to speak out. “We are not supported by our media. It is only social media which can support us, but if even on social media we are silenced — where will we go?” says Morris.

Deforestation has taken place at an alarming rate in Uganda, where 63 percent of forests have been logged in the past 25 years alone, according to the country’s National Forestry Authority (NFA). The contested Bugoma Forest is home to nine mammal species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, including about 600 endangered chimpanzees. Protecting the forest is also important for people, conservationists say, because locals depend on its resources, and it functions as an important carbon sink that soaks up and stores planet-heating carbon dioxide.

Parts of Bugoma Forest were leased to the sugar manufacturer Hoima Sugar by the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom in Uganda in 2016. (Uganda was made up of kingdoms prior to British colonization, whose rulers are recognized by the country today even though they’re not given sovereign power.) The National Forestry Authority, which manages Bugoma, took the Bunyoro-Kitara king and Hoima Sugar to court, claiming that the company didn’t have the legal right to clear the forest to make way for sugar plantations. The Uganda High Court ruled against the NFA in a decision last year, and the National Environment Management Authority approved the use of land for sugar plantations this year.

It’s still unclear what triggered Morris’ suspension, and there’s no hard evidence linking it to his political opponents — but its impact on his life and work is undeniable. He previously relied on Twitter more than any other social media platform because of its reach. He’d met activists around the world through Twitter, and he felt that he had the ear of influential people. Greta Thunberg followed him, he proudly mentioned. Twitter is also where he could learn more about the environment and issues in other parts of the world, he says.

With his account down, he began tweeting from another account for an advocacy group that he started. But it has far fewer followers, and Morris lost touch with some of his friends who didn’t know about his new account. It was as if his social media presence had been reduced to a whisper. He could see everyone talking, but he wasn’t being heard in the same way.

“I’m no longer teaching. Now I’m there [on Twitter] to learn, but I cannot teach. That’s the biggest challenge,” Morris told The Verge while his account was still frozen.

The experience went against everything that brought him to Twitter in the first place. “Social media doesn’t separate the rich and the poor, they allow everyone — that’s why I like it so much,” he says.

Social media has been an even bigger lifeline for environmental activists during coronavirus-induced lockdowns, especially when it’s paired with political turbulence. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is up for election next year. The pandemic curbed campaign rallies and protests since mass gatherings still aren’t allowed in the country, which has had some of the strictest measures in place in Africa to curb the spread of COVID-19. That’s led to people becoming more outspoken online, and the government subsequently attempting to crack down more on blogs and social media. Uganda has imposed a tax on using social media sites since 2018, which has been criticized as an attack on free speech.

When the pandemic first began to unfold, demonstrators, including Thunberg, moved their actions online and urged their followers to follow public health guidelines on social distancing. Some environmental activists returned to the streets on September 25th for a Global Climate Strike.

In Uganda, protesters were arrested for joining the strike — including Fridays for Future leader Leah Namugerwa. “Being a climate activist, it is becoming a crime. They are ready to arrest us if we go to the streets,” Morris says. That’s why he and others opted to post photos and videos of themselves with protest signs from their homes rather than hit the streets that day. Those who were arrested were eventually released, in part because others made a ruckus about it on social media, Morris believes.

Twitter suspensions have an outsized impact on activists working in places where it’s more dangerous to oppose industry and the government. Defending the environment where you live is a deadly business in many places around the world: 212 environmental activists were killed in 2019, the highest ever recorded by watchdog group Global Witness.

One of those killed this year was Randy Echanis, a longtime advocate for the environment, workers, and peasants, in the Philippines who was found stabbed to death in his apartment in August. Soon after, activists in the Philippines appealed to Twitter to reinstate the account of the left-wing political party, Anakpawis, that Echanis chaired. They said the account was suspended after the burial march for Echanis; it’s now back online. The month before Echanis was killed, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an Anti-Terrorism Act into law that human rights watchdogs say criminalizes people for simply criticizing his government, which has overseen the extrajudicial killings of thousands of Filipinos. The Philippines consistently ranks among the top three countries where land and environmental defenders are killed, according to Global Witness.

Twitter isn’t the only social media giant environmental activists have called out for stifling them. Facebook faced scrutiny last month after it suspended the accounts of more than 200 people connected to an event protesting the construction of the contested Coastal GasLink pipeline in Canada. “Facebook can silence much of the climate movement at their discretion, without explanation for any duration,” Lindsey Allen, chief program officer at Greenpeace USA, told The Verge in September. “That’s unnerving.”

Morris says he’s happy that he’s back on Twitter. Namugerwa’s account was restored shortly after Fridays for Future tweeted about the suspensions on September 28th. “I couldn’t believe it, I thought that I lost everything,” Morris says. He wants to raise awareness for other environmental activists frozen out of their accounts, which is especially important for those from places with less political clout that nonetheless bear the brunt of harms from climate change. What they’ll lose is up to the whims of the platform.





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Avast! Boss Audio’s new weatherproof touchscreen brings CarPlay and Android Auto to boats


Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are meant for, well, cars and automobiles, but despite the emphasis on landlubber locomotion, there’s technically no reason that one couldn’t use them for navigating the high seas. And that’s just what Boss Audio’s new aftermarket MRCP9685A head unit promises: a weatherproof module that offers the ability to use CarPlay and Android Auto not just in regular cars, but in off-road vehicles like Jeeps and even boats.

Installing an aftermarket head unit into a boat isn’t a new concept, but getting a weatherproof one that supports both CarPlay or Android Auto and the rigors of the seafaring life is more difficult. At least one enterprising Reddit user has already tried to jury-rig a similar implementation by installing a standard car unit, noting that CarPlay worked “perfectly,” but that they still had some work to do to make everything water-resistant.

But the MRCP9685A neatly dodges that issue: it’s designed with “marine-grade” weatherproofing, meaning you’ll be able to install it in any boat that accepts a standard double DIN head unit. In addition to support for CarPlay and Android Auto (over a standard USB cable, just like a car), the MRCP9685A also features support for Bluetooth audio, rear camera inputs for cars, and an integrated radio tuner.

Of course, being an aftermarket head unit, you’ll still need to install the MRCP9685A yourself (or hire a professional to do it for you). But if you’ve been dying for a way to use Android Nautical or BoatPlay out on the water, Boss Audio’s new setup seems like it could be the answer.

The MRCP9685A is available from Boss Audio’s website for $289.99.



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Dune delayed to October 1st, 2021


Dune is the latest movie to get pushed back to 2021, following a number of other highly anticipated blockbuster films, including Black Widow and No Time to Die. It’ll now be released on October 1st, 2021 — nearly a full year after the original December 18th release date, Collider and The Wrap have reported.

The Dune delay comes after Regal and Cineworld announced that it would be shuttering all of its theaters in the US and the UK, following the delay of No Time to Die last week. With more and more major films that were originally scheduled to debut this fall moving to 2021 due to concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there’s simply not enough new content for theaters to show right now.

Dune’s changed release date isn’t too much of a surprise, as studios are continuously trying to figure out the best time to release their biggest movies. Warner Bros. already delayed another of its movies, Wonder Woman 1984, from October to December 25th. Industry insiders assumed that with Wonder Woman 1984 moving to December, the same month that Dune was originally scheduled to be released, Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation would likely be punted to 2021.

That October 1st date is a bit confusing, though, given that Warner Bros. has already delayed a major 2020 film to that date: Robert Pattinson’s The Batman is already slated for the same day, meaning it’s likely that one of the two Warner Bros. blockbusters will be shifting again.

Warner Bros. is giving itself some wiggle room, though. When the studio premiered the first Dune trailer in September, the film’s release date was specifically left out. All the trailer said is “coming to theaters.” It seems like Warner Bros. learned from its experience with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which was delayed a few times leading to marketing kerfuffles.

Keeping dates out of trailers isn’t the only thing Warner Bros. learned from Tenet. The studio released the film internationally on August 26th, before bringing it to the United States and China on September 3rd. The film was only able to play in select cities and was kept out of key markets like Los Angeles and New York City. Tenet has only generated $36.1 million Stateside, but the film has seen much bigger success internationally, racking up more than $203 million. While that doesn’t make the film profitable for Warner Bros., it may be enough incentive to keep Wonder Woman 1984 in the December 25th spot, while moving Dune to a period when more people may be able to get to movie theaters.

Warner Bros. isn’t the only studio in this position, either. Disney has delayed many of its big films, including Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson’s standalone Marvel movie will now open on May 7th, 2021, instead of November 6th, 2020. This makes 2020 the first year without a Marvel Cinematic Universe film since 2009. As part of the delay, other Marvel titles like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and The Eternals are also delayed. Meanwhile, West Side Story and The King’s Man, two films Disney inherited from its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, also moved to 2021.

Is it fair to say that 2020 is mostly a wash for film studios? Sure. Only a handful of major blockbusters still remain on the theatrical schedule for this year, including Wonder Woman 1984, Free Guy, Pixar’s Soul, and Death on the Nile. Some films have performed well via digital rental platforms — Trolls World Tour allegedly made $100 million for Universal — but for the most part, executives are hopeful 2021 will be a much better year.



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Netflix just made it easier to find something new to watch


Netflix is trying to surface more new shows in one place. The company announced that it’s going to group some of its content rows together into a tab called New & Popular. This section will only show up on TV devices and is rolling out widely after first being tested in April.

The section will group together the New on Netflix row, the Coming Soon row, and the Top 10 row, which is debuted in February and is updated daily. It’ll also include a new row called Worth The Wait that’ll give subscribers a preview of the shows coming to the platform between the next 15 and 365 days.

The Worth The Wait section is especially important for Netflix because it gives users a way to save and set reminders for upcoming shows. That might keep them from leaving the service, even if there isn’t anything immediately available they want to watch. The company grew impressively during its last quarter, adding 10 million subscribers, but it came with newly urgent user-retention problems. Netflix lost subscribers for the first time last year, which, at the time, it blamed on price increases. At the same time, multiple new streaming services have launched this year and last, and competition is steep for well-known titles like Friends and The Office. Netflix needs to do everything it can to keep its subscribers anticipating and excited about new, original content — an effort that will go much further than a new interface panel.



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