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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Peloton Will Stop Making Its Own Bikes and Treadmills

Peloton’s existential crisis rolls on. This week, the beleaguered home workout company announced that it will stop producing its own stationary bicycles and treadmills.

Peloton has been spinning its wheels for months now. Demand for its spendy workout equipment (the Peloton Bike starts at $1,445) surged at the beginning of the pandemic, and an overzealous Peloton responded by ratcheting up production. Then last year, it recalled its Tread+ treadmills after a child died in an accident with one of the machines. Peloton sales then plummeted, due to a combination of bad press and lack of demand as the market became saturated and potential new customers started to leave their houses again. Peloton's stock crashed, it decided to temporarily suspend production of its bikes and treadmills, and company cofounder John Foley resigned as CEO and was replaced by former Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy.

The company tried to catch up and entice new users. It expanded its subscription service for streaming workouts. Despite its overstock problem, it even made new stuff, releasing a body-tracking webcam last April and announcing a rowing machine in May.

Now the company is backpedaling yet again. Peloton will still contract another manufacturer to build some of its equipment, it just won't do it in the company's own facilities. (Those are operated by Peloton’s subsidiary company, Tonic Fitness Technology.) Still, it's a big shakeup for a company that, until earlier this year, had planned to spend $400 million to build its own manufacturing plant in Ohio. Peloton is riding for its life, but there might not be much road left ahead.

Here’s some more news from the Gear desk.

Nikon (Might) Ditch Its DSLR Line (Maybe)

This week, a report from Nikkei Asia says that Nikon has turned its lens to the future and will no longer make single-lens reflex cameras. Citing unnamed sources, Nikkei says that Nikon will focus its camera efforts on mirrorless cameras instead of digital SLRs.

Nikon almost immediately denied the report, saying in a brief statement on its website that the company is “continuing the production, sales and service of digital SLR.” Still, the digital camera industry is clearly moving in the direction of more pocketable compact cameras. Canon has already announced that it will be phasing out its DSLR line. And Nikon already has plans to increase the price of many of its Nikkor lenses by August.

When you look through the viewfinder of a DSLR, what you’re seeing is actually being reflected through a mirror inside the camera body. When you press the shutter, that mirror flips quickly out of the way, and the sensor behind it captures the light coming through the lens. Mirrorless cameras use digital shutter systems that have no need for that flippy mirror action. That means they tend to be smaller and lighter than their mirror-having counterparts.

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Check out our guide on the best mirrorless cameras, and dive deep into all of WIRED’s camera coverage.

The Unmentionables

Twitter may be a nightmarish dumpster fire even when it’s not being sabotaged by a bored and horny billionaire. But luckily, now you can remove yourself from some portion of the toxicity that thrives on the social media service.

On Monday, Twitter announced a new feature called Unmentioning. It lets you untag yourself from conversations, meaning confabs you don’t want to be involved in won't pop up in your notifications. If someone @’s you and you’d rather not read all the angry ramblings of them and their followers, just tap the three dots in the corner of the tweet and select “Leave this conversation.” It will untag you and leave you blessedly free of whatever rabid responses are indirectly lobbed at you. Twitter says the feature is available for everyone on the platform.

It'll be a blessing for Bean Dads everywhere.

Android 13 Gets a Final Beta Update

On Wednesday, the latest beta update to Android 13 rolled out to developers, giving app makers the ability to complete a few more tweaks to ensure their programs work on the mobile operating system. It's the final release for the beta version. All that’s next for the Android 13 road map is a final launch sometime this fall.

There’s a bunch of new features coming with Android 13, including big updates focused on privacy and productivity settings like app grouping and individual language support for apps. There’s also an abundance of new visual customization options, and better support for large screens.

BMW Bets Big on Booty Burners

Hey, do you like it when your butt’s warm? Cool—that’ll be $18, please.

That’s the deal BMW is offering customers in a few countries, including South Korea, Germany, and the UK. Customers can pay to unlock features in BMW vehicles, activating hardware components that are already built into the cars, such as the aforementioned heated seats. Other options include heated steering wheels and the ability to play engine sounds in your car. (Vroom Vroom!) You’re already paying for a BMW, right? What’s a few more subscriptions to keep your high beams on or use cruise control?

After Jalopnik broke the news about the implementation of these micro-transactions, BMW issued a statement clarifying some details. The company said it has no current plans to bring these charges in the US, but it is currently offering the options in South Korea, the UK, Germany, South Africa, and New Zealand.

It’s a growing trend; Tesla has been charging subscriptions and unlocking fees for years, and GM has launched a similar program to deliver software-enabled upgrades. Welcome to the future.

Blowing Smoke

Last month, the FDA delivered what seemed like a death blow to e-cigarette manufacturer Juul. It ordered the company to stop selling its controversial vape sticks in the US, which would effectively end the company's reign over the vaping market. Juul fought back, and a judge stayed the order. Now, the company has found itself mired in a legal battle that could shape the state of the nicotine industry. But even as Juul may be drawing its last breath, competitors are moving in to claim the vape crown.

On this week’s episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, WIRED senior writer Arielle Pardes joins the show for a conversation about Juul, public health, and the future of techy nicotine products.

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