Cyber Week sales are still going: iPad Pro, Dell laptops, Nintendo Switch Lite, and more deals

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

As Cyber Week draws to a close, and retailers begin their sales leading up to the holidays, deals are coming and going quickly. In this transition between sales season, we’ve picked out a few worthwhile deals, and we’ll be updating our coverage to bring you more as the next season of deals kicks off. And some of these deals are even better than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Best Buy is offering sizable discounts on the 11-inch models of the latest iPad Pro. The savings range from $150 to $200 and each purchase comes with a free year of Apple TV Plus. We didn’t see any major deals on any iPad Pros over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but we have seen these…

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This AI text adventure game has pretty much infinite possibilities

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Credit: Nick Walton

What will video games be like when they can truly harness the power of AI? If the machine learning-powered text adventure AI Dungeon 2 is anything to go by, they’ll be open-ended, ludicrously silly, and bags of fun to play.

AI Dungeon 2 isn’t exactly a polished game, but more of a passion project from developer Nick Walton. He’s harnessed the power of a state-of-the-art, open-source text generation system built by OpenAI and fed it a bunch of texts in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure books. The result is a text adventure where, to modify a cliché, the only limit is the AI’s imagination.

You can play AI Dungeon 2 for yourself here. Once you’ve gone through a bit of…

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All I want for Christmas is this string light phone charger

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This genius combination of Christmas string lights and phone charger borders the line between kitschy and adorable, but I first saw it on Apartment Therapy, and I trust their judgment when it comes to cute items. It’s a 50-inch USB cable that comes in a Lightning charger cable version for iPhones, Micro USB for Android phones, and USB-C. And it is freakin’ delightful.

Is it worth buying a $12 charger from a random Amazon store that describes itself as, “Our brand name is: Cewuidy. Our seller’s name is YAGE TALE .”? That’s for you to decide, but for me, it is absolutely worth it. Reviewers say the lights won’t get hot even after being plugged in for 12 hours, and that it’s not absolute garbage because it still works after a year! The…

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Google Assistant adds topical podcast search and photo sharing via voice

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verg

Google Assistant is getting a few new skills to make the virtual assistant more useful, adding the option to share photos directly through voice commands, search for podcasts based on a specific topic, and integrate with more note-keeping apps like Any.do, AnyList, and Bring.

Podcast search is the simplest addition. Just ask Assistant to “find a podcast about holiday cooking” or “show me podcasts about New Year’s resolutions,” and Google will suggest episodes for you to listen.

Photo sharing also works the way you’d expect: you can pull up pictures by asking Google to show you a specific person or date, select your favorites, and then ask Google to send them to a friend. The new part here is the voice commands: instead of navigating the…

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Vergecast: Tesla Cybertruck first ride, Elon Musk’s bad tweets trial, and the departure of Google’s founders

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Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

The Vergecast is back after a Thanksgiving break and our Pirate Radio series with a new tech news roundup for the week. This week’s theme: billionaires doing weird billionaire things.

Dieter Bohn, Casey Newton, Andrew Hawkins, and Paul Miller begin the show discussing Tesla’s event when it unveiled its new electric pickup truck “the Cybertruck,” as well as Ford revealing its first electric Mustang. Who among the crew is on board for this weird billionaire thing?

In the second half of the show, deputy editor Liz Lopatto joins us from Los Angeles where she is covering Elon Musk’s defamation trial regarding Musk’s bad tweets. Liz explains how this lawsuit came to be and what has happened at the trial so far.

There’s a whole lot more in…

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Baby Yoda is key to the Disney+ takeover

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Disney+ has quickly become the only streaming service people want to talk about in the weeks since it launched, and a big part of that is because of The Mandalorian; specifically, the existence of one Baby Yoda.

The Mandalorian is an incredibly fun, well-crafted show on its own, and Baby Yoda is undeniably wholesome and adorable. Baby Yoda also happens to represent countless dollars in merchandise sales down the road, and The Mandalorian will soon include marketing for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Disney is partially using the show to do what it has always done best: market.

If a Disney property is really successful, it won’t just make $1 billion at the box office, pull in millions of subscribers or viewers every week, and make…

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Marriage Story brings rom-com energy to the agony of divorce

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Image: Netflix

There’s an inevitability to Marriage Story, a feeling of something like gravity: all-encompassing and firm, easy to forget it’s there as it slowly repels instead of attracts. Perhaps it’s due to director Noah Baumbach’s intimate direction and script, which, despite its wrenching subject matter, plays like a rom-com. There’s sharp dialogue, rich with double entendre and implied history, that’s delivered with an energy that makes it a real shame that it’s in the service of people falling apart, not coming together. Lines layer on top of and under one another, delivered with the easy rhythm of people who know each other intimately. The camera gets close, and we get to see them look at each other in ways that words fail to describe.

At the…

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The PlayStation 4’s Share button changed the way we play together

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Nobody games alone anymore. That’s never been strictly the case, anyway. Video games have always been relatively social, despite the old basement-dwelling, Cheeto-stained stereotypes. It’s 2019: we’re all gamers now. Part of that is because video games are more accessible now than they ever have been — smartphones are just tiny consoles! — but another part of it is also that games are more visible now. They go viral just like everything else does. (Honk!) That second bit, however, is relatively new. Games are more visible because the way we share them with each other has changed. And a big reason for that is the PlayStation 4.

It all started with the console’s design. Back in 2010, according to our friends over at Polygon, its designers…

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Samsung’s Galaxy S11 reportedly has a 108-megapixel camera and 5x telephoto

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OnLeaks

Early renders of Samsung’s Galaxy S11 suggested that the phone would have a large camera bump, and now we have a better idea of what that bump might contain. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Samsung’s flagship phone for 2020 will use a 108-megapixel sensor for its main camera along with separate ultrawide and 5x telephoto lenses. The phone is also said to include a time-of-flight sensor, like this year’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Samsung is reportedly further planning to use the 108-megapixel and 5x optical zoom cameras in its second foldable phone, referred to by Bloomberg as the “Galaxy Fold clamshell device” and said to be set for reveal around February. It’s unclear whether this phone will use the flip phone-like concept design…

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Early 16-inch MacBook Pro complaints include speaker ‘popping’ and display ghosting

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro finally righted Apple’s keyboard debacle, and it’s a beast of a machine in terms of performance. But early buyers have still managed to uncover some bugs with the latest MacBook Pro — and one hardware characteristic that might put off some people.

As noted by AppleInsider (and backed by this long MacRumors forum thread), owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are complaining about an intermittent “popping” sound coming from the speakers. It’s noticeable after audio playback is stopped. From AppleInsider:

If you get the problem, what happens is that when you’re playing any audio or video, when you stop it, skip to another part, or close the window, you get this sound. It’s similar to the clipping you can get when…

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Riot launches publishing label to create even more League of Legends games

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For its 10th anniversary in October, Riot announced a number of new initiatives meant to expand the League of Legends universe, including a fighting game, mobile spinoff, animated series, and others. But there are plenty more in the works. Today, Riot announced a brand-new publishing label, which will see the developer partner with smaller studios to create even more League of Legends games. In fact, multiple titles are already in development, though Riot isn’t ready to announce specific games or partners just yet.

According to Leanne Loombe, head of the new label — which has been dubbed Riot Forge — the company is looking to work with studios with an existing track record. “One of the key elements we often look for is the studio having…

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8c and 7c processors will power cheaper ARM laptops

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Qualcomm has had big ambitions for ARM-powered Windows laptops for years. At its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit, the chipmaker revealed its biggest play yet: the Snapdragon 8c and the Snapdragon 7c, two new processors that are designed to create a new lineup of ARM chips for Windows laptops.

The 8c is positioned as a replacement for the Snapdragon 850 processor, Qualcomm’s second-generation Windows ARM chip. The 7c is an entirely new entry-level product that’s meant to compete with budget Windows laptops on the low end of the hardware spectrum. Last year’s 8cx isn’t going anywhere; it’ll remain a top-of-the-line flagship option for those who want the absolute best performance.

On the spec side, Qualcomm says that the 8c will offer up to…

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Pokémon Go creator Niantic is working on AR glasses with Qualcomm

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Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Concept

Qualcomm

Qualcomm just announced a new virtual and augmented reality platform, and it’s working with Niantic — the company behind games like Ingress and Pokémon Go — on a smart glasses reference design. The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform is a follow-up to the earlier XR1 platform, and, like its predecessor, it’s specifically designed for AR and VR hardware. But it now supports 5G connectivity as well as voice-based interaction, eye tracking, and passthrough camera capabilities, among other features.

Qualcomm’s XR2 is a substantial upgrade to the XR1. It allows screen resolutions of up to 3K per eye at 90 frames per second as well as 8K resolution 360-degree video playing at 60 frames per second. It also supports up to seven concurrent cameras,…

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Popular manga art app Clip Studio Paint is now available on the iPhone

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Clip Studio Paint, the industry-standard software for manga artists, is now available on the iPhone. Unlike the iPad version, which is just an identical clone of the desktop app ported over for the tablet, the iPhone app is optimized for smaller screens. It features cloud integration so that work on the iPhone will also sync with files on the desktop and iPad versions. There’s no word yet on when an Android version will arrive.

Celsys, the makers of Clip Studio Paint, is clear to point out that “unlike the app versions of many popular desktop software kits, Clip Studio Paint for the iPhone offers all of the features and functionality of the desktop original in a mobile package, without the usual mobile compromises.” That may be a jab at…

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Google Nest Hubs include a Nest Mini, plus save on Philips Hue bundles

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but some pretty decent deals are popping up. The Google Nest Hub is $79 and comes with a free Google Nest Mini if you buy it from the Google Store or Target. That’s the same price the Nest Hub was during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the Nest Mini was on sale for $20 (now $35).

Here’s another deal: you can get the third-generation Echo Dot bundled with two Phillips Hue smart light bulbs for $34.99 on Amazon. This saves you $44.99, and starts your smart home system. You can use Alexa, the Echo Dot’s voice assistant, to control the light bulbs verbally.

This deal includes two A19 bulbs, and they’re Philips Hue’s newer Bluetooth models, so a hub isn’t necessary to get them working….

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Apple will reportedly release an iPhone without any ports in 2021

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a new research note predicting Apple’s next two years of iPhones, and there’s a wild new detail: Apple’s 2021 flagship iPhone will reportedly kill off the Lightning port, but USB-C fans (like myself) shouldn’t get too excited. According to Kuo’s note, Apple won’t replace the proprietary port with USB-C; rather, it will rely on an entirely wireless experience for charging and syncing, via 9to5Mac.

The change would be a big one for Apple, which has relied on the Lightning port for all of its phones since it was first introduced on the iPhone 5 in 2013. And while modern-day iPhones are certainly less reliant on physically syncing data, going to a fully wireless model would have huge ramifications across…

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Google’s Pixel 4-exclusive recording app is now available for the Pixel 2, 3, and 3A

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

The lack of a native audio recording app built into Google’s lean Android software has always brought a chuckle from people who use iOS. Google finally introduced the Google Recorder app with the Pixel 4, and it has now brought that app to a few older Pixel phones (via Android Police). If you own a Pixel 2, Pixel 3, or Pixel 3A, you can navigate to the Google Play Store and download the official Recorder app right now.

Frankly, there are a lot of recording apps to choose from in the Google Play Store, and if you’re just looking to record audio, many of them will suit. What sets Google’s Recorder app apart is its ability to automatically transcribe voices (English only, for now), even without an internet connection. Google also claims…

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It took two decades for PlayStation’s best JRPG series to find itself

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PS Vita

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

PlayStation is the console family for Japanese role-playing games. As the de facto home for RPGs following the Super Nintendo era, it’s enjoyed everything from Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears, and Suikoden to Ni No Kuni and Kingdom Hearts. Twenty-five years after the launch of the original PlayStation, however, its greatest offering is also its most improved: the Persona series, created by Atlus.

The developer’s most recent entry in the franchise, Persona 5, is a commercial success that’s sold more than 3.2 million copies worldwide — a long way from its beginnings as a niche spinoff series. In 1996, Atlus, best known for its work on demon-filled JRPG series Megami Tensei, released Revelations: Persona. While it didn’t completely trade away…

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Harmony Korine teamed up with Gucci and Snapchat to make a (meaningless) short film

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There is a peculiar kind of alchemy that happens at the point where massive amounts of money and highly regarded artists converge: everything in the vicinity becomes meaningless. (Call it an existential voidout.) Snapchat and Gucci collaborated with respected filmmaker Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers, The Beach Bum) on a pair of Snapchat Spectacles — the connected glasses nobody used — exclusively for this year’s Miami Art Basel. And then Korine shot a short film with them. Here is that film, which is titled Duck Duck. I’ll wait while you watch it.

I’m sure if I were an ambitious undergraduate film student, I’d be able to find some meaning here, some fragment of poetry, but what this triggers in me is a kind of existential despair. N…

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