Beats Headphones Cost $20 to Make, Australia Blocks Pirates, and More… [Tech News Digest]
Cheap headphones beat Beats, Australia bans piracy, PS4 and Xbox One upgrades, Giphy adds GIFs to Chrome, Project CARS 2 is a go, and drone racing is a sport for the future.
The Markup on Beats Headphones
If you own a pair of Beats headphones then you’re probably a sucker. This is according to Avery Louie, a prototype engineer at Bolt. He embarked on an impressively detailed teardown of a pair of Beats headphones, and published his findings on Medium. Beats owners may want to look away now.
It turns out that Beats headphones are rather cheap and cheerful in terms of parts and construction, with the total cost of goods sold (COGS) without labor of shipping estimated to be just $16.89. These are then sold for $199 or more depending on the exact model.
Louie goes onto claim that “a little bit of weight makes the product feel solid, durable, and valuable. One way to do this cheaply is to make some components out of metal in order to add weight. In these headphones, 30% of the weight comes from four tiny metal parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight.”
By all means buy Beats headphones and enjoy them for what they are. Which is a fashionable brand favored by your favorite musicians and sports stars. But you should be aware that you’re mostly paying for the cost of branding and celebrity endorsements rather than a superior product. There are arguably better headphones costing less than $50 .
Australia Blocks All Pirate Sites
The Australian Senate has passed legislation blocking access to pirate sites. This means sites such as The Pirate Bay will be blocked by ISPs, with customers having no option but to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to bypass the blocks. That is as long as VPNs aren’t also targeted.
The authorities spent three months considering the merits of The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 before passing it into law. In the end it succeeded thanks to the Coalition and Labor both supporting the bill, with the Australian Greens and several independents rejecting it. The final vote was 37 in favor and just 13 against.
While the entertainment industry is obviously delighted with this success, many others are concerned about the lack of clear definitions included in the bill. The government could use the law to block access to services “facilitating” copyright infringement even if that isn’t their “primary purpose”.
PS4 & Xbox One Get 1TB Versions
Spoke to someone at work today who was on the verge of buying a PS4 before Xbox announced backwards compatibility. The hype is real #XboxOne
— Corp Roberts (@CorpRoberts) June 22, 2015
The PlayStation 4 1TB Ultimate Player Edition will arrive in Japan before the end of June, and land in Europe and North America in July. As well as the larger hard drive, the new PS4 is lighter and more energy-efficient than previous models.
The Xbox One 1TB, as revealed just before E3 2015, should already be available from selected retailers in the U.S. and beyond. As well as the larger hard drive, the new Xbox One features a new wireless controller with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Chrome Extension Adds Giphy to Tabs
Fans of GIFs can now see these animated images every time they open a new tab in Chrome. That is if they install the Giphy Tabs Chrome extension. This particular Chrome extension, which didn’t make our list of essential Chrome extensions , brings Giphy TV directly to your Web browser.
Giphy TV is a continuous feed of best GIFs around, as chosen by Giphy employees. And it’s rather addictive once you tune into the fleeting, random nature of it all. You should instinctively know whether the Giphy Tabs Chrome extension is for you or not based on your reaction to the GIF above.
Project CARS 2 Already in Development
Project CARS was only released in May 2015, and yet a sequel is already in development. The first game was entirely crowdfunded and honed to perfection by a community of fans, and the developer Slightly Mad Studios is heading down the same route for the sequel.
The aim with Project CARS 2 is to build on the success of the original, making everything bigger and better. So, 50 locations, 200+ tracks, a variety of disciplines including off-road racing, a co-op career mode, and a wealth of online and social features.
The page for Project CARS 2 is now live on the World of Mass Development, with reward tiers ranging from $50 to $10,000. Read our Project CARS review to see why we currently consider it to be the best racing game of this generation so far.
Drone Racing Should Be a Sport
And finally, drone racing could be the sport of the future. In fact, it’s already a sport in underground circles, with like-minded geeks meeting up in abandoned warehouses to race their drones around pre-determined routes.
This video shows one such race happening on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. The competitors get to flex their flying muscles, while spectators get to see the action from the drone’s point of view. Everyone wins. [H/T ABC News]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you own Beats headphones? If so, why? If you live in Australia, how do you feel about piracy sites being blocked? Will you be buying a new PS4 or Xbox One? Would you like to partake in or spectate drone racing as a sport?
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.
Image Credits: Garry Knight via Flickr