Verdicts on the new Apple TV, Google forms a ring around the world, Facebook culls Candy Crush Saga invites, Snapchat speeds up, slows down, and rewinds your videos, and watching iPhones drown is oddly satisfying.
The New Apple TV Reviews Roundup
Apple unveiled a host of new products in September, which we previewed with a hype-free guide to the latest Apple event. One of these products was the new Apple TV, which builds on everything the old Apple TV offered by adding games, a dedicated app store, a new operating system, and a multitouch remote.
We have offered our initial thoughts on the new Apple TV, but the reviews are now slowly trickling out of the major technology websites and newspapers. So, what’s the verdict?
CNET suggests the new Apple TV is for existing Apple fans, stating, “To get the most out of Apple TV you need to be invested already in the Apple universe, with games, TV shows and movies you’ve purchased from iTunes and the App Store. That’s a shame since it offers the best streaming experience today, and more potential tomorrow once app developers go to town finding ways to exploit the big screen and that slick remote.”
Re/code spends most of the review pointing out how disappointing the new Apple TV is, before concluding, “I don’t know when, if ever, Apple will reinvent TV. But this isn’t the moment. I can say that, if I were buying a streaming box right now, this is the one I’d buy, if only for the promise of lots of apps. […] In effect, while it may not have reinvented all of TV, Apple has reinvented the streaming set-top box.”
The Verge also spends most of the review pointing out the deficiencies of the new Apple TV, before concluding, “If you just want a new streaming box, you can happily buy a new Apple TV. (I would buy the $149 base model.) You’ll like it. But all of that is very much the best version of television’s present. Apple has a lot more work to do before the future actually arrives.” It then scores the new Apple TV a score of 9 out of 10. Which is surprising given the tone of the review.
The Wall Street Journal suggests you need to “think of Apple’s fourth-generation box as a way to turn your TV into a giant iPhone.” It maintains the same line of thinking throughout, concluding, “The TV of the future needs to be as powerful and easy to use as an iPhone, and this Apple TV is the first box—and the first Apple TV—to achieve that.”
Google Ups Its Project Loon Game
Google is committed to taking Project Loon to the next level; Project Loon being the company’s ongoing effort to bring the Internet to outlying parts of the world using giant balloons. Google has already announced plans to start testing Project Loon in the skies above Sri Lanka early next year.
According to BBC News, Google plans to form a ring of superpressure balloons around the world sometime in 2016. Google needs “about 300 balloons or so to make a continuous string around the world,” and once in place it will bring “some sort of continuous coverage for certain regions”.
So, expect the Internet to get even busier than it already is over the next few years as previously disconnected countries come online thanks to Google and others.
Facebook Vows to Cut Game Invites
I've blocked so many game invites on Facebook & so many people on Twitter that I wonder if I could be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
— Jo (@jestemjordan) October 20, 2015
Facebook looks set to do something about those pesky game invites we all get shoved down our throats on a regular basis. At least it is if Mark Zuckerberg keeps his word. The Facebook CEO was speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology in Dehli, India, when he said:
“I sent a message to the person who runs the team in charge of our developer platform, and I said that by the time I do this townhall Q&A, it would be good if we had a solution to this problem. She emailed me later that night, and said there are some tools — that are kind of outdated — that allow people to send invitations to people who’ve never used a game, and don’t play games on Facebook. We hadn’t prioritized shutting that down, we just had other priorities. But if this is the top thing that people care about, we’ll prioritize that and do it. So we’re doing it!”
Finally! It’s only taken years of people complaining about endless game invites to make Facebook sit up and take notice. Then again there is already a short-term solution. The next time you get an unwanted game invite, click the arrow in the top right-hand corner, and click Hide Post. That should hide that particular post and mean you see less of those types of post from now on.
Snapchat Adds Speedy New Filters
This snapchat update is about to get real annoying REAL fast
— Lauren Elizabeth (@LaurenElizabeth) October 29, 2015
The variety and complexity of Snapchat videos is set to explode as Snapchat adds a trio of filters for users to play around with. The three filters in question are Fast-Forward, Rewind, and Slow-Motion, all of which work exactly as you would expect them to do so.
These Speed Modifiers let you add different effects to a video after shooting it. So, if you have footage of your friend tripping over his own feet, you can fast-forward through the preamble, slow-mo the action, and then rewind the big moment to show it again. Your unfortunate friend may not thank you, but you’ll laugh anyway.
Watching iPhones Drown Is Satisfying
And finally, for all of the improvements Apple has made to the iPhone over the years, it has never bothered to make its handsets waterproof. If you drop your iPhone down the toilet the chances are it will suffer some damage. Wait, you want proof? OK, you asked for it.
This video shows YouTuber Zach Straley gluing 10 iPhones (from the iPhone 2G to the iPhone 6s) to a wooden board and drowning them in a bucket of water. And drown they do, as each and every one fails within two minutes.
The iPhone 3G held out the longest. Suggesting Apple has actually got worse at waterproofing its products. Oops! [H/T Digg]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Will you be buying the new Apple TV? Will Google’s Project Loon succeed or fail? Are you sick of Facebook game invites? Will you be making use of the new Snapchat filters? Are you surprised at how easily all of the iPhones succumbed to water damage?
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.