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Monday, July 22, 2024

Sony Pumps Up PS5 Prices

As if it wasn't hard enough to buy a PlayStation 5, now they're getting even more expensive. On Thursday, Sony announced that it plans to raise the price of its PS5 consoles in several countries. The increase doesn't affect the US, but markets in Europe, Japan, China, Australia, Mexico, and Canada will see a price jump equivalent to roughly 50 euros per console.

In a statement explaining the hike, Sony blames the move on high inflation and “adverse currency trends.” Issues with the global supply chain have made PS5s notoriously difficult to come by since the console launched in November 2020. For a moment it seemed like Sony was getting close to being able to meet demand when it said it would increase production back in May of this year. But this recent price change makes it clear that there are still some holdups.

Following Sony’s announcement, both Microsoft and Nintendo said they would not be raising the prices of their consoles, the Xbox and the Switch.

If you're still willing to pony up $400 for the digital-only version of the PS5—or $500 for the version with a disc drive—here's some tips on how to snag one.

And now some more news from the consumer tech world:

Apple Is Going to Space

Apple's next product announcement event will be on Wednesday, September 7. It will be a live show, coming from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters starting at 10 am PDT.

Apple likes to tease the themes of these events by dropping visual hints in the graphics that accompany its announcements, so take from this event's “Far Out” title and starry background what you will. Maybe it’s a hint at some astrophotography features coming to the iPhone cameras to rival what’s already in Google Pixel phones. Maybe it’s a reference to the company’s spaceship campus. Or, you know, maybe Apple just thinks space is cool.

These annual September events are usually when Apple likes to announce new iPhones, so expect to see a few iterations of the iPhone 14. Another Apple Watch or two is possible, as rumors about an upcoming, slightly beefed up “rugged” version of the Watch have been swirling for months. Apple announced its lineup of new MacBooks at its WWDC event earlier this year, so chances are there won’t be anything new on the PC front this time.

There is some MacBook news, though, as the company recently widened its new repair program to include some Mac laptops. It only applies to M1 MacBooks, and it has already taken some criticism for its limited scope, much like the other products covered by Apple’s self-repair program.

Meta Reveals More About Its Next VR Headset

Meta’s next VR headset is coming this October, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He announced the news on the controversial Joe Rogan Experience podcast—because of course he did. Rumors have pointed to the device being called the Quest Pro, a potentially pricey premium headset.

While no official specs have been released, Zuckerberg did tease a couple new features of the headset. Eye- and face-tracking tech is supposed to capture a person’s expressions and enable them to make eye contact in VR settings. This is all for the effort of building out Zuckerberg’s metaverse ambitions, where he envisions people interacting in VR on a regular basis. Hopefully, having tech that incorporates your actual expressions and emotions wil make you look less like Zuckerberg’s dead-eyed avatar.

Twitter Is Podcasts Now

Seems like it’s always a crazy time to be Twitter. On top of the ongoing Elon Musk drama, there’s the recent controversy that sparked when The Washington Post published a story about a whistleblower who accused Twitter of widespread security lapses. Still, Twitter is soldiering on like nothing happened, and this week it announced a new feature: podcasts.

On Thursday, Twitter posted on its blog that it has started incorporating podcast content into its audio-based Spaces feature. Twitter rolled out Spaces on the heels of Clubhouse’s popularity, and now it is expanding that audio category to include professionally produced sound bites. It will be a sort of hodgepodge of clips you can scroll through, with podcast chunks produced by outlets like NPR and Vox Media mixed in. Twitter says it's testing the feature with some users now, but could expand to everyone soon.

Make Way for the IRA

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act allocates $400 billion toward the pursuit of green energy tech in the US. That means tax credits, rebates, and incentives for people looking to make energy-efficient upgrades. Whether you want to get better home insulation, solar panels, or an electric vehicle, it’s possible you can use some of these credits to offset that cost. Only problem is, it’s all still just a teensy bit complicated.

This week on the Gadget Lab podcast, WIRED writers Aarian Marshall and Matt Simon parse through the Inflation Reduction Act and share tips on how you might be able to save some money on green energy tech.

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