September 23, 2020

The biggest headphone launch of 2020, and more tech news you need to know today

Early reviews say the best headphones just got better, and more tech news you need to know today.

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Friday, 7 August 2020

1. Finally: The new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones

sony WH-1000XM4

Credit: Tristan Rayner/ Android Authority

Oh hey the new Sony WH-1000XM4 are out!

We’ve been seeing some clues that the already excellent Sony WH-1000XM3 were being upgraded, and the new XM4s build on what was already very good.

  • The (legendary?) XM3s have been at the top of high-end active noise canceling (ANC) recommendation lists forever.
  • The main competitors have been the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 options, both of which were similarly priced, close matching options, with the 700 having almost better ANC.

But now the WH-1000XM4 is bringing a refined design, better ANC, new features including multi-device support, and all at the same price at around $350.

  • Early reviews are out, and there’s an enthusiastic response.
  • Engadget gives them an enthusiastic 94/100, noting “you won’t find a more feature-packed set of headphones right now, and it’s unlikely you will until Sony updates these again.â€�
  • The Verge is a little cooler at an 8.5/10, noting that they have Sony’s best noise-canceling capabilities, and is appreciative of the new features including dramatically better microphone quality.
  • Wired joins the praise at 9/10, again going for the ‘best just got better’ tagline.
  • Oddly, neither Wired nor The Verge note any real design changes, while Engadget and Ars Technica found a new, more premium tactile matte coating, plus a slimmer headband cushion and gentler curve for a better fit.
  • I’m going to wait for my colleagues at SoundGuys to offer their definitive opinion, but given the XM3s were already top of the table, we may expect good things.
  • Is it worth upgrading from the XM3s? That’s going to be interesting.
  • Shipping starts mid-August.

2. US President Trump has issued executive orders with effective bans of TikTok, WeChat, set for September 20. The detail is that Trump’s Executive Order focuses on blocking all transactions with Bytedance, TikTok’s parent corporation, and WeChat. The WeChat detail is new, but crucially the other aspects of Tencent’s business are not included, meaning its ownership of Riot Games and major stake in Epic Games, which makes Fortnite, are not affected, Yet, at least. And, the ban won’t apply to TikTok if the ByteDance-owned app is acquired by a US company (CNET).

On that note, Microsoft is now looking at buying all of TikTok’s global operations, not just select countries (Engadget).


3. Pixel 4a is already on Amazon, Best Buy’s bestseller lists (Android Authority).


4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus hands-on: A cunning copycat (Android Authority).


5. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review: Bold beans battle the AirPods (Android Authority).


6. Apple’s getting weird: Apple has confirmed cloud gaming services like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, and Google Stadia, violate its App Store guidelines. Why? Because Apple cannot review each game offered. That makes it an Android exclusive, for now (Android Authority). Apple doesn’t review every song offered by Spotify or TV show offered by Netflix. Games are different, but these games are streamed not installed. Weird grey areas at play here, I’m not sure that this is tenable by Apple – but read their statement and Microsoft’s statement here (The Verge).


7. Apple 27-inch iMac review (TechCrunch).


8. Intel investigating breach after 20GB of internal documents, source code, and data leak online (ZDNet).


9. Scientists have had to rename 27 human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates. Superb! (The Verge).


10. Appreciate the miracle that is ice (LifeHacker).


11. Eli5: What makes a 64bit OS better than a 32bit, and how does it relate to a bit? The top answer is brilliant and simple (r/explainlikeimfive)


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