Tech News

Apple Watch Suffers Planned Obsolescence, Acer Commits to PCs, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 28-04-2015

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 Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, other technology news not related to Apple. Honest. Read More , 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

Acer has committed to selling PCs for a long time into the future, despite falling sales thanks to the rise of the smartphone 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone You may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you're perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don't be. Read More . 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 Apple Makes Biggest Profit Ever, The Pirate Bay Rises from the Ashes [Tech News Digest] Everything is awesome for Apple, The Pirate Bay returns, hotels told not to block WiFi, YouTube dumps Flash, Grim Fandango Remastered arrives, and Budweiser transforms guy into Pac-Man. Read More . Which, love them or hate them, shift oodles of product.

Valve Stops Selling Mods After Backlash

Just a few days after launching paid mods on Steam Swiss Drones Deliver Mail, Valve Sells Steam Mods, & More... [Tech News Digest] Swiss delivery drones, Valve sells mods, Apple bans farting, Jay Z defends Tidal, Silent Hills goes silent, and HTC is the cure to Apple's iOS operating system. Read More , Valve has backed out of the plan, removing all payment options and refunding customers who had purchased any of the game modifications 3 Awesome Multiplayer Mods For Single Player Games These games were created as single player experiences, but enterprising players decided to build multiplayer mods for them, and they really change the gameplay. Read More . 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 Does Apple Use Green Bubbles to Make You Hate Android Users? Blue bubbles and green bubbles might seem like a small distinction, but to thousands of Twitter users they aren't. Let's look at this phenomenon. Read More 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 The (Latecomer) Beginner's Guide To Minecraft If you're late to the party though, don't worry - this extensive beginner's guide has you covered. Read More , 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 [Broken URL Removed], 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 Is Minecraft Really That Great? [Opinion] Minecraft is quite possibly the most viral and addictive indie game that we've ever come to see. Who knew that a concept as elementary as playing with toy blocks could become such a sensation? I... Read More . 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.

Related topics: Apple Watch, Facebook, Game Mods, Minecraft, Video Chat.

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  1. Scutterman
    April 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I seem to remember something about the Minecraft Alex skin a while back. Maybe it's been on PC for a while, and is now making it over to consoles?

  2. sleighter
    April 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    All apple products suffer the same fate. Try watching netflix or playing WordsWithFriends on an iPad 1. Granted, all computerized electronics become obsolete over time , but the time frame is far shorter. Also, while Windows XP is obsolete in my opinion, I can still feasibly use it to watch netflix.

  3. dragonmouth
    April 28, 2015 at 11:43 am

    "Apple Watch Suffers Planned Obsolescence"
    That's one way to guarantee an uninterupted revenue stream.