Windows 10’s lock screen ruined? Not for everyone, but new feature rolling out is a love or hate thing

Windows 10 is getting a new feature for the lock screen, furnishing it with some extras that you’ll either approve of or detest, if the reaction online thus far is anything to go by.

Ever-present leaker and keen delver into the hidden depths of Windows 11 preview builds, PhantomOfEarth, posted a screenshot of the new lock screen cards on X (formerly Twitter).

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As the leaker explains, this is a feature rolling out in Windows 10 in the Release Preview channel, with build 19045.4235, so not everyone will have it. But if it hasn’t reached them yet, testers can force the functionality to work using ViVeTool (a Windows configuration utility).

These lock screen cards show the current weather and other bits and pieces like scores from sports matches, stock market happenings, local traffic, and so forth. In other words, info you may – or may not – find useful.

As PhantomOfEarth points out, the weather card has been tweaked to make it look better, although there’s a sticking point here: you can either have all of these cards displayed, or none of them. There’s no option to pick and choose if you don’t want, say, the finance-related card.

Analysis: Bloat on the landscape

For those thinking – wait a minute, didn’t Microsoft stop adding features for Windows 10, and there is a comment to that effect on X – well, the firm adopted that as a policy for a short while, before having a rethink.

In short, work is still being done with developing new features for Windows 10, such as this particular addition – but don’t expect a massive amount to be piped through over the next year and a half of Windows 10’s remaining shelf life.

One cynical soul replying to the above tweet suggests the work that is being done is only there to make you upgrade to Windows 11, which is clearly very harsh, but the point being made is that there are folks who don’t like this change. They see these cards as rather pointless bloat that’ll slow down your PC a touch, perhaps.

Mind you, the info cards aren’t compulsory – you can turn them off if you don’t like them. Although as PhantomOfEarth says, it’d be nice if you could turn off selected cards, rather than just switching off the whole lot – choice is always good – but perhaps Microsoft will make it work this way in the future. We are still in the testing phase, after all, although this change will be coming to Windows 10 soon enough.

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Apple might have already ruined the Vision Pro for VR gaming

Apple claims to have broken the mold with its new Vision Pro mixed reality headset, which promises to revolutionize everything from video calls to general laptop use. But there’s one area the shiny new headset could fall down: VR gaming.

Although Apple’s WWDC 2023 showcase did highlight VR gaming experiences as a core part of the Vision Pro’s capabilities, new information reported by Mixed has revealed that there might be some design choices within the visionOS software that could seriously impact the VR gaming experience.

Recently-released Apple documentation explains that “the system defines an invisible zone that extends 1.5 meters from the initial position of the wearer’s head”, during ‘immersive experiences’ in VR. It goes on to say that “if their head moves outside of that zone, the experience automatically stops and passthrough returns to help people avoid colliding with objects in their physical surroundings.”

This sort of safety feature is commonplace in the best VR headsets, like the Meta Quest 2. However, Meta’s system allows users to define a set space around themselves for the purposes of spatial safety; while it looks like standard VR apps on the Vision Pro – as opposed to Apple’s ‘immersive experiences’ – will switch to transparent mode if you move just a meter from your starting point.

Locked in a (virtual) box

While the Vision Pro does boast a lot of great features, a one-meter limit could prove problematic for some VR apps – especially games. I own a VR headset (the excellent HP Reverb G2) which I use for gaming, and I definitely move my head more than a meter while playing most games, like dodging an oncoming slow-motion bullet in Superhot VR.

Immersion is king when it comes to gaming in VR; you don’t want to be pulled out of the experience, and the Reverb G2’s system – similar to the Meta Quest series – allows me to ‘draw’ the exact boundaries of my space, which is much larger than a meter. If I get too close to a physical object, the entire game doesn’t become transparent. Instead, I see a blueish outline of the closest objects that bleeds into the game to warn me I might be moving too much.

However, with just a single meter of space to move around before your in-game surroundings become transparent, it’s not hard to see how in-game immersion could easily be interrupted.

The Vision Pro also relies on hand gesture controls rather than the physical handsets used by most VR headsets, which could prove to be a significant barrier to developers porting their VR games to Apple’s product. Obviously, neither of these stumbling blocks is a concern for playing non-VR titles, where the Vision Pro simply 'projects' a gameplay screen in front of you.

I can only hope that this is merely the default setting and that Apple will allow Vision Pro users to tweak the boundaries of their ‘safe zone’ for VR gaming. All reports do point towards this being the greatest VR device ever made, and it would be a real shame to see Apple drop the ball here – especially since the tech giant seems to finally be getting serious about gaming.

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