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Friday, July 12, 2024

The Leaked Quest 3 Headset Video Teases Meta’s VR Ambitions

It’s the unboxing video heard around the metaverse. There’s a fresh leak of Meta’s upcoming mixed reality headset, the Meta Quest Pro 3. A video posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, by user @ZGFTECH shows a pair of hands pulling the black and white headset and controllers out of a cardboard box and wiggling them around. The headset and the controllers appear to be more compact than previous versions.

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The device looks almost exactly like it does in the promotional materials Meta released in June, shortly before Apple sucked up all the oxygen in the virtual room with its long-awaited Vision Pro mixed-reality headset.

Meta’s metaverse machinations haven’t lived up to the company’s expectations of building a fully realized virtual world, mostly because barely anyone is spending much time in there. But that has not deterred the company from its VR vision. The company sank $21 billion into its Reality Labs division in a year and a half, so its hopes for the Quest 3 to perform well have got to be high. The company says the price for the Quest 3 will start at $500, which is nearly twice as expensive as the Meta Quest 2, but a long way from the Apple Vision Pro’s eyeball-melting $3,500 price tag.

Meta’s Connect event for developers takes place on September 27 and 28, and given how polished the Quest 3 looks to be in this leaked video, there’s a good chance the company will give us more details about the headset and announce a firm release date for the device during the event's keynote address.

Here’s some other news about gadgets.

Apple Gets Right About Repair

Apple wants you to know that it has changed—it really cares about repairability now, it swears. In a letter to California State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Apple expressed support for the senator’s right-to-repair bill that is currently going through the state legislature.

Apple's about-face comes after years of lobbying and pushing back against legislative attempts to secure people’s rights to repair their own devices. It’s such a big deal in the repairability world that the right to repair advocacy group iFixit likened the news to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. (Semi-related, Apple will soon have to pay out settlement money after getting in trouble for throttling slower iPhones.)

Apple has long been fiercely defensive of its products, but recently it has ceded some ground on its position. Apple introduced its own self-repair program in 2021, though the program kicked off with some problems as the repair kits were expensive and bulky. Apple did point out some caveats for its support in its letter to State Senator Eggman, which include not allowing third-party repair services to disable device security features, and that those repair services disclose when they don’t use official Apple parts.

Sony Couch Portal

Sony announced a new portable PlayStation product this week. It’s called the PlayStation Portal and it has some … quirks.

You might see the device and think, That just looks like a PlayStation controller with a phone stuck in the middle of it. But that's because it is pretty much just a PlayStation controller with a phone stuck in the middle of it—albeit a phone that can't make calls or surf the internet. No, the Portal is only capable of streaming games from your existing PlayStation console. Unlike other portable devices in the PlayStation lineup like the PSP and the PS Vita, the Portal is not a standalone device and will require a constant Wi-Fi connection to a console. It won’t even be able to stream games from PlayStation’s Plus cloud streaming service; you have to have the game on your own system for it to work.

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The controls have all of the same swanky features as the PS5's DualSense controller, such as adaptive triggers, vibration, and extra-sensitive touchpads. It will cost $199, which puts it at less than half the price of something like a Steam Deck. That's still quite a lot pricier than just streaming games onto your phone or laptop like PlayStation's remote feature has let you do for years.

Cops in Schools

When a kid gets in trouble at school, usually the behavioral issue or disagreement gets mediated by a school official like a teacher, counselor, or principal. But in Illinois, a state law known as SB 100 has given school officials license to resort to a much more serious form of discipline: getting the cops involved. Since 2015, some otherwise-mild schoolyard scraps have been escalated to law enforcement. When called, police officers can ticket and punish students for infractions committed on school grounds—like fighting, truancy, or even vaping. As you might guess, subjecting children to a system of fines and punishment that's been built for adults can have serious repercussions.

This week on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast, ProPublica reporters Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards join the show to share their reporting on what happens when the police charge children with crimes, and how something as minor as a case of misplaced AirPods can balloon into a full-blown jury trial.

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