Tuesday's iPhone 13 announcement brought out plenty of opinions, but the phrase I've seen repeated the most often is, "it's boring." While I admit that most of the presentation fell flat for me, largely because I'm not really interested in switching to an iPhone, there were two segments that highlighted exactly what it is I wish I could get from the phones I do buy: better video creation.
Over the past months, I haven't been shy about expressing my appreciation for the Pixel 5's physical dimensions. After years of carrying larger and larger phones, which culminated with the Pixel 4 XL, it felt great to go back to a smaller device that just fits in my hands and my tiny female pants' pockets, and where I don't have to stretch my thumb like Mrs. Incredible to reach the opposite top corner. However, for a brief moment, it looked like we were starting to dig the grave to bury the idea of smaller phones, but there's a new wind blowing and it breathed new life into the category.
I've been an Android user since the Nexus One, but I have to admit: the recent generations of iPhone have tempted me. Apple's industrial design is amazing as ever, the Magsafe accessory system is innovative and flexible, and the Apple Watch continues to absolutely stomp any wearable alternative. Don't get me wrong — I still love my Pixel 5, and I know I'd miss the hell out of all the sweet customization that Android enables and even encourages. But as a technology journalist, it wouldn't kill me to give the other side of the aisle a try for a while.
Apple announced the seventh iteration of its famous Watch today. The design and signature look remain, despite many small adjustments, but the biggest improvement that Apple touted is a 20% larger display compared to the previous Series 6. Looking at that big, beautiful screen, then glancing down at the Galaxy Watch 4 on my wrist, I couldn't help but sigh and wonder, once more, why we couldn't have more choice in the Android world. I would love to have a rectangular watch running Wear OS.
Just over a year ago, Microsoft launched the Surface Duo, its first Android phone. In some ways, the Duo was one of the most ambitious Android phones in the world with its unique dual-screen design. On the other hand, it was lacking some key features you'd expect from a $1,400 phone, like NFC, the latest ARM SoC, and a big battery. It also launched with Android 10 in the immediate aftermath of Android 11's release. Surely, that would just be a temporary issue, right? Well, here we are a year later, and the phone is still on Android 10.
A lot of virtual ink has been spilled about Google's upcoming flagship line-up. From leaks to quasi-announcements to teasers, we've nearly seen everything the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will offer, and through it all, one conviction has remained immutable in my head: I want that telephoto lens and I want it on a Pixel camera.
The Apple vs. Epic drama probably isn't over yet, but the courts have come to one conclusion. While it's far from the victory Epic may have hoped for, the court has issued an injunction against Apple that should at least allow developers to point customers to non-Apple payment options. It's a small bit of good news for iOS developers, but it leaves us in Android land wondering: How might this affect Google's Play Store billing enforcement changes, which are set to kick in at the end of this very month?
Children under the age of 13 can't create an unsupervised Google account for themselves. Instead, parents have to set up the accounts for them using Family Link, which is supposed to give them a lot of control over what apps and games kids can get, how much screentime they're allowed, and which websites they can visit. Parents can even get a streamlined overview of their kids' app usage à la Digital Wellbeing. But what does it feel like to sit on the receiving end of the system?
Bluetooth audio is hardly cutting-edge. Bargain bin buds can be had these days for $15 on sale, and folks buy them in droves. But they're not all created equal — different models and different phones support different standards with different qualities. Qualcomm, with its fingers in basically every part of the smartphone pie, decided earlier this year to roll out a new Snapdragon Sound certification: a single badge you could look for that means "this thing does the good audio stuff." And today, the company has announced that Snapdragon Sound will support lossless CD-quality audio, which is all the rage these days now that Apple Music has it.
Samsung's folding phones are proving to be more popular than you might expect. With sales growing and plenty of our readers seemingly snapping up the phones, some of you might be pondering what sort of case to get for your new $1,000-1,700 smartphone, and I'd recommend you give one of Samsung's first-party cases a try, for a few key reasons.