Never buy hardware today based on a promise of software tomorrow

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Photo by Brennan King / The Verge

The headline on this story — never buy hardware today based on a promise of software tomorrow — doesn’t really apply to the new iPad Pro, which I reviewed yesterday. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since I hit the publish button.

The phrase is a mantra we repeat over and over here at The Verge when there’s a promise that a future software update will fix a bug on a device we’re reviewing. It’s the default advice we give out when such a promise has been made, borne out of years of experience with these things.

These “bugfixes and improvements” rarely eliminate the original problem entirely, but sometimes you get surprised. We’re about to find out if Samsung can buck that trend with the focus hunting issues on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, w…

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Dell now lets you control iPhones from its PCs

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The app lets you mirror your iOS device’s screen onto your Dell PC. | Image: Dell

If you’re an iPhone user with a modern Dell computer, you can now mirror your phone’s screen to your PC and control it using Dell’s Mobile Connect app. Version 3 of the iOS app lets you control your phone using your PC’s keyboard and mouse, and you can also drag and drop photo and video files to transfer them between the two devices. You can also now send SMS messages without needing to keep the iPhone app open in the foreground.

The features, which were first announced at CES earlier this year, brings the app’s iPhone functionality more into line with what it already offers on Android, where it has supported these features for a couple of years now. However, the two platforms haven’t quite reached parity. Dell’s website notes that file…

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Samsung’s S10 and Note 10 are getting updated with the S20’s best camera features

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The Single Take feature captures a number of different camera effects with a single press of the shutter button. | Image: Samsung

Samsung is bringing a host of the Galaxy S20’s new camera and software features to last year’s Galaxy S10 and Note 10 lineups in a software update, the company announced today. The new features include camera functionality like Single Take and Night Hyperlapse, as well as new gallery and sharing features. Samsung didn’t provide an exact date for the update’s release, but said that it would be rolling out to select markets, including the US, “in the coming weeks.”

We were particularly impressed with Single Take when we tried it out on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The feature lets you hit the shutter button once and let the phone automatically capture a bunch of different camera effects at once. Single Take might not produce the best quality…

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YouTube Music can now show lyrics on its iOS and Android apps

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube Music users can now read lyrics while listening to a song on the service’s iOS and Android apps, the company announced today. To see lyrics, when you’ve got a song open in the app, just tap the “i” button on the left side of the screen. The lyrics will then show up under the tracking bar for the song.

Here’s what the lyrics screen looks like for me for Tame Impala’s “One More Year” on the YouTube Music iOS app:

Apple Music and Spotify can also show lyrics while you’re playing a song, and on some songs, those services can advance lyrics forward in real time as the song is playing. Right now, all of YouTube Music’s lyrics are static, so you have to scroll down manually if you want to follow along with the track.

It…

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iOS and iPadOS 13.4 are out now with mouse and keyboard support for iPads, iCloud Drive folder sharing, and more

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple has released iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4, which add full mouse and trackpad support to iPads, iCloud Drive folder sharing, new nine new Memoji stickers, and more.

Arguably the biggest feature in today’s releases is the mouse and keyboard support for iPads, which Apple revealed last week when announcing its 2020 iPad Pros and the new Magic Keyboard accessory. iPadOS 13.0 introduced mouse support, but it’s significantly changed in iPadOS 13.4, and you can get an idea of all of the changes in this post from my colleague Dieter Bohn. Any iPad running iPadOS 13.4 will support the feature, and it will work with Apple’s Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 as well as third-party mice or trackpads.

Another welcome feature is the introduction…

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Stuck in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Ask a friend for help

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It’s impossible to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons wrong, but occasionally, you can miss crucial steps that will open up your island’s capabilities. If you’re finding yourself stuck — whether it’s a missing recipe or a location you can’t seem to reach — there’s an easier solution than tearing through your new home: invite some pals over or take a trip to one of their islands.

Like past games, New Horizons encourages players to spend some time with friends. It’s an easy way to hang with friends you can’t see in person right now and snag some new fruits, clothes, and other items for your island. People you spend time with online can also gift you items or make you tools, a handy trick that can help you speed past the game’s natural…

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Reddit’s new polls will let you vote on basically anything

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Reddit has rolled out a new post type, polls, which lets you ask questions and vote on pretty much anything. Polls can offer up to six answers, be kept open for up to a week, and subreddit moderators can turn them off if desired. You create them like you would any other post type.

Reddit says it was motivated to create the feature because people have been making polls on the service for years using third-party services. In an average month, it says that 15,000 polls are created across the entire site. Now, the process will hopefully be a lot easier since these can be made natively on Reddit.

Image: Reddit

Polls are created like any other post, and support up to six answers.

For an idea of what the new post type…

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Wyze’s new Band wearable and smart scale are available today

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Wyze

Wyze announced that both its Wyze Band fitness tracker featuring Alexa functionality and its Wyze Scale, its new connected weight scale, are available starting today. These fitness-focused devices are a departure for the company, which has focused on smart home tech like cameras, locks, and security sensors. Though, as you might have hoped, they both stick to Wyze’s tack for making tech that doesn’t cost much.

The Wyze Band wearable pictured above costs $25 plus shipping directly from Wyze (it’s launching on Amazon in April). The Band lets you control the Wyze devices you might already own instead of doing so by opening the app on your phone. It also has Alexa voice integration built in, so you can issue commands and queries or use it to…

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How to use Netflix Party to stream movies with your friends

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Social distancing has made many people miss all of the group activities we’re used to, like watching movies with friends, but there is a way to do it online. Netflix Party, a Chrome extension, lets you watch videos with your friends and chat together at the same time.

Here’s how it works: you and your friends log in to your separate Netflix accounts. Pick a movie or show to watch, and Netflix Party will sync the playback across your accounts, so you’re all watching the same thing at the same time from your individual accounts. Netflix Party includes a text chat function on the side of the screen (much like YouTube does during a live stream), so you and your friends can react and chat in real time.

To host a Netflix Party:

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The creators of Plague Inc. are adding a new game mode that lets you stop an outbreak

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The video game Plague Inc. allows you to play as a disease, with the goal being to wipe out humanity. Ndemic Creations, the game’s makers, however, are very pro-human: they’ve just donated $250,000 to help fund COVID-19 relief and are now adding a mode to Plague Inc. that lets players stop an outbreak.

“Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic,” said James Vaughan, Plague Inc.’s creator and Ndemic Creations’ founder, according to the website. That is hilarious! I didn’t have “pandemic” on my 2020 bingo card either.

The new mode came out of donation discussions between Ndemic Creations, the…

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Eero’s mesh Wi-Fi systems are more affordable than usual

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

If you’re working from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic, getting a mesh Wi-Fi system might help make the best of your home internet situation. Because you can place them around your home, they eliminate signal drop-outs as well as the need to stay close to your Wi-Fi router. Thus, you can get work done anywhere you see fit within your home.

Several of Eero’s mesh Wi-Fi products are discounted at Amazon and Best Buy right now. These have a slower throughput than Eero’s Pro lineup of mesh Wi-Fi gadgets, but according to our review by Dan Seifert, they’re simple to set up and manage. And importantly, they provide good wireless coverage. You can either buy a single mesh Wi-Fi router or a pack of three. And good news: if you only…

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The new MacBook Air and iPad Pro are already discounted on Amazon

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Photo: Apple

The 2020 versions of the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro don’t release until tomorrow, March 25th, but you save $50 on either device right now at Amazon (via 9to5Toys). It’s not common to get a deal on unreleased tech, especially Apple products, so it’s possible that this discount will get yanked once they launch tomorrow.

The new MacBook Air makes the jump to a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor with Iris Plus graphics, and importantly, it has the improved keyboard that Apple brought to the 16-inch MacBook Pro a few months ago. The base model of the latest iteration has 256GB of onboard storage instead of 128GB, and it costs $950 right now. This deal seems to exclude the gold version, but the silver and space gray versions of the laptop are…

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Anchor just made it easier to start a podcast while we’re all social distancing

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Anchor

Anchor, the podcast-making app now owned by Spotify, is launching a feature today that’ll make it easier for friends to record shows together from afar. The feature, called Record With Friends 2.0, allows people to record a podcast from their browser, even if they don’t have an account with Anchor. Up to five people can record at once, although the host still has to use the Anchor app.

To start recording, the host has to send an invite link to their friends. The guests then have to click that link and type in their name. It’ll open in their preferred browser on desktop or mobile, although Anchor says Google Chrome support isn’t live yet; it’s “coming soon.”

Given that most of the world is social distancing or being told to stay at home…

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How to put eyebrows on your villager in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the customization options appear endless. You can make your tools pink, change your bedsheets, and remix your villager’s style with fresh haircuts and clothes. But while dozens of animal villagers have rocked sets of eyebrows for years, the series’s developers have yet to include them as a default customization option for your own character. In the latest installment, the new face painting feature is filling that void.

In order to create your own eyebrow pattern, you’ll need to open up the Custom Designs app on your NookPhone. Don’t worry if you’re not that far into the game; you won’t need to purchase the Design Pro upgrade for this.

Once you’ve selected a space to save your pattern, use…

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Firefox is launching a new test pilot with Scroll to pay web publishers

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Image: Scroll

Mozilla and Scroll have made an earlier-announced partnership slightly more official today with the wider release of a browser extension called “Firefox Better Web.” It’s part of Firefox’s ongoing effort to combat tracking on the web, but with the small twist that it includes the option to sign up for Scroll.

Scroll, if you don’t recall, is the $5-a-month service that stops ads from loading on certain websites. It’s not technically an ad blocker, but rather lets publishers know they shouldn’t serve them in the first place when you visit. For a limited time, the subscription will cost $2.50 per month for the first six months.

The Mozilla partnership essentially builds Scroll into a package of tools that Mozilla offers as a test pilot….

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The right shape for big-screened, portable computers

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Last week, Tom Warren argued that Apple finally admits Microsoft was right about tablets by adding trackpad support to the iPad. I knew he was working on this piece when I wrote last Thursday’s newsletter, so I didn’t want to stop on his spot, but now that it’s out it has me thinking about the right shape for portable, big-screened computers.

I largely agree with Tom’s points, but want to put special emphasis on where he ends: “Now that Apple and Microsoft are aligned on what a tablet can offer in terms of hardware, the battle between PC and iPad will shift toward what both do in software.”

Pointing out that the iPad is about to work a lot more like a Surface isn’t about Nelson Ha Ha-ing Apple’s change. That’s fun for a day or two — but…

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The Redmi K30 Pro is Xiaomi’s new price-performance champion

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Xiaomi has announced the Redmi K30 Pro, its latest high-spec-low-price contender. It’s the sequel to the K20 Pro (in Asia) / Mi 9T Pro (in Europe), one of last year’s most buzzed-about phones — at least in the regions where Xiaomi actually sells phones.

Unlike the K20 Pro, the K30 Pro is visually quite a bit different from its non-Pro predecessor, which was launched in China in December. There’s a circular camera module with four lenses arranged in a square, and Xiaomi is also bringing back the pop-up selfie camera as opposed to the regular K30’s hole-punch cutout.

The K30 Pro has a Snapdragon 865 processor, which means it also offers 5G support. The 6.67 inch screen is a 1080p AMOLED panel with HDR10+, although it looks like the…

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I wanna dance with somebody (on Instagram)

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Ryan Heffington

Kristin Childers went to a dance party on Saturday in her pajamas. The clothes didn’t matter, because she never left her living room. The party took place entirely on Instagram.

A few minutes before, she’d been sitting on her couch reading the news, feeling like she was about to cry. Then she got a notification on her phone: Ryan Heffington, the two-time Grammy nominated choreographer behind Sia’s “Chandelier” music video, was streaming a dance class on Instagram Live. “The numbness I was feeling just went away,” she says. “I was like, ‘I’m just gonna do it.’”

As Childers danced, she saw comments and hearts pop up on the live stream. Almost 2,700 people were dancing virtually alongside her. “I was like, ‘Wow people are really…

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Apple may include improved image stabilization on one of the next iPhones

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

One of the next iPhone models could introduce sensor-shift image stabilization, potentially bringing image stabilization to the ultrawide camera, according to a new research note from tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that was seen by MacRumors.

Per Kuo’s note, the image stabilization tech could come to a new 6.7-inch iPhone. The technology moves the image sensor around inside the camera to offset hand shake. Currently, image stabilization is only available on the wide and telephoto lenses. For those cameras, Apple uses optical image stabilization, which uses lens movement (rather than sensor movement) to offset shake. It’s unclear if all three cameras will switch to sensor-shift stabilization or if some will continue to use optical image…

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HP is teasing a new VR headset in partnership with Valve and Microsoft

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HTC Reverb Gen2 (unofficial name) headset teaser

HP

HP is teasing a followup to its Reverb virtual reality headset made in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve. The announcement coincides with Valve’s release of Half-Life: Alyx, the year’s most anticipated VR game. There’s little detail, but HP’s website calls its new headset “a more immersive, comfortable, and compatible experience” than the Reverb, and an email from the company calls it a “no-compromise VR headset.”

The $599 Reverb was part of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality lineup, known for its high-resolution screen. HP’s reference to a “new standard in VR” suggests it’s not competing with the cheapest VR devices, like the $399 Oculus Rift S. But it might not cost as much as Valve’s $999 Index, either. There’s no release date,…

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