Apple Watch Suffers Planned Obsolescence, Acer Commits to PCs, & More… [Tech News Digest]
Apple enacts planned obsolescence, Acer loves PCs, Valve admits defeat, make video calls through Facebook Messenger, play as a girl in Minecraft, and the five stages of watching Marvel movies.
Apple Watch Suffers Planned Obsolescence
Anyone who has either already bought an Apple Watch , or is planning to do so in the future, should be aware that there’s a whiff of planned obsolescence surrounding the product. Planned obsolescence, for those not aware of the term, involves intentionally designing a product to become obsolete after a certain period of time.
We know this because the results of the Apple Watch teardown by iFixit suggest Apple is unlikely to be able to offer upgrades to its latest wearable device. In fact, even “basic component replacements look nearly impossible” owing to the permanent nature of the glue, resin, and solder used in the manufacturing process.
Apple has been accused of embarking on a program of planned obsolescence for many years, but the Apple Watch may just be the most egregious example so far. Whether owners of the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition will be treated differently than the proles buying the cheaper models remains to be seen.
Acer Promises To Be the Last Man Standing
Jason Chen, Acer CEO: "4 or 5 remaining PC makers are all survivors…but we will be the last man standing" as segment stabilizes. #keepasking
— Eric Smith (@esmith_SA) April 23, 2015
Acer has committed to selling PCs for a long time into the future, despite falling sales thanks to the rise of the smartphone . According to Digital Trends, Jason Chen, CEO of Acer Corp. boldly claimed, “There are only four or five players in the PC industry, and all of us are survivors. We will be the last man standing for the PC industry.”
Chen was speaking at the start of a press conference in New York being held to announce a number of new products. This includes a new 2-in-1 Windows device, a 15-inch Chromebook, and a pair of new Iconia tablets.
During the press conference Chen also declared, “Every day Acer is selling more than 100,000 products. Every single day!” Which is impressive, but not quite up to the standards set by Apple . Which, love them or hate them, shift oodles of product.
Valve Stops Selling Mods After Backlash
Might I suggest to Valve that they open a Possible Outcomes Division, in which someone at the company has a think before they do a thing.
— John Walker Live (@botherer) April 28, 2015
Just a few days after launching paid mods on Steam , Valve has backed out of the plan, removing all payment options and refunding customers who had purchased any of the game modifications . This follows on from a huge backlash against the plans to allow developers to charge for mods, with Valve admitting this whole thing was something of a misstep.
The plan was to allow developers to sell mods, with Valve and the developers of the game being modded swallowing up 75 percent of all revenues generated. The company explained why it has shelved the system, saying, “We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing.”
This doesn’t mean this is the end of the road for paid mods, with Valve co-founder Game Newell stating during a Reddit AMA, “Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers. If something doesn’t help with that, it will get dumped. Right now I’m more optimistic that this will be a win for authors and gamers, but we are always going to be data driven.”
Facebook Adds Video Calling to Messenger
Facebook has added video calling to its Messenger app, letting you chat with your Facebook friends with an added degree of personality. That is if any actually have a personality. Starting a video call is as simple as tapping the camera icon in the top right-hand corner of the chat screen.
This feature is already available on both Android and iOS in the U.S., the UK, Canada, Mexico, France, and a host of other countries. Facebook is promising to roll it out further in the coming months. Facebook has made it so that Android users can even chat to their iPhone-owning friends this way. Which is actually rather refreshing.
You Can Now Play as a Girl In Minecraft
You can now play as a girl in Minecraft , with Mojang adding a female skin which players can choose right from the start of the game. Until now, Minecraft players have only been able to play as Steve at the beginning, but they can now play as Alex instead.
In a conciliatory blog post, Owen Hill from Mojang said, “Jolly old Steve doesn’t really represent the diversity of our playerbase. For that reason, we’re giving all players opportunity to play with an Alex skin instead. She brings thinner arms, redder hair, and a ponytail.”
This feels very overdue, as, unlike some games in which the male protagonist is absolutely integral to the plot, playing as a male or a female doesn’t change the nature of Minecraft . So, bravo, Mojang.
The 5 Stages of Watching Marvel Movies
And finally, we suspect a lot of you have either already seen The Avengers: Age of Ultron or are planning to do do in the next couple of weeks. Which makes this video demonstrating the five stages of watching a Marvel movie very timely indeed.
I recognized all of these behaviors in myself except Number 4, as I left the movie theater feeling a little deflated rather than amazed. Hence my decidedly average rating in our Age of Ultron geek review. Don’t worry, it’s completely free of spoilers. [H/T The A.V. Club]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you feel about the planned obsolescence of products such as the Apple Watch? Will Acer really be the last man standing in terms of selling PCs? Is Valve right to have listened to its users over the selling of mods?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.