Getting a handle on just how many Vision Pro mixed reality headsets Apple sold in its first weekend isn't easy but finding out if everyone legitimately bought one is even harder.
Estimates put the weekend Vision Pro sales haul at somewhere around 180,000 units, and while Apple hasn't confirmed there are some indications that the Cupertino tech giant sold out of the Spatial Computing launch product. However, a quick perusal of the popular auction site eBay turns up hundreds and hundreds of Vision Pro headsets.
Since Apple has yet to ship its first Vision Pro (pre-orders started on January 19 and it ships on February 2), the majority of eBay auction offers appear to be pre-order placeholders. In one auction listing, the seller wrote (all caps are his):
“THIS IS A PRE-ORDER ARRIVING ON FEB 2ND! I WILL SHIP OUT SAME DAY AS LONG AS IT ARRIVES TO ME BEFORE 4PM.”
Some listings show a marketing image of the Vision Pro while others are simply proof of an existing pre-order. Prices range from under $ 600 to over $ 7,000. The base 256GB model currently lists for $ 3,499.99 (Vision Pro is not shipping outside the US).
While markups on eBay offers are expected, it's hard to imagine anyone paying double for the still-untested mixed-reality headset. More worrisome are the sub-$ 1,000 offers. There's no way a seller will pay Apple's roughly $ 3,500 upfront costs and then take a loss. The low prices are simply a come-on to drive interest and bids.
Why all the excitement and the unsurprising eBay activity? Apple Vision Pro is special. It's Apple's first new product category since 2015's Apple Watch. Apple is trying with this high-end and powerful wearable computer (it has M2 and R1 chips inside) to launch an entirely new Spatial Computing category.
I've had four experiences with Vision Pro and can agree that it's not quite like anything on the market. I'm especially impressed with its gaze and gesture tracking and ability to shift fluidly from full immersion to partial and then finally complete passthrough with realistic augmented reality. It has the potential to change entertainment, communication, gaming, and productivity. It also stands a fair chance of flopping since consumers still don't entirely understand why they should spend thousands of dollars for something they can only use by putting it on their heads.
If you're thinking about bidding on any of these eBay offers understand that off-brand pricing is not your only concern. You can't order Vision Pro without doing a face scan to ensure you get the right light seal. The eBay seller did the scan and there's no guarantee your face sizes and shapes will match (some do list the size of the light seal to help you match your face size).
Moreover, if you wear glasses, you'll need special $ 99-to-$ 149 Zeiss inserts to correct your vision inside the Vision Pro. Otherwise, the systems' two 4K microLED displays will look terrible. Without using Apple's guided ordering system, you won't be set up to receive the right inserts at the same time you receive the headset from the seller.
I contacted Apple about the eBay listings to see if they have any concerns. I can imagine that they're not pleased about it.
Apple's been clear since the start that its Vision Pro mixed reality headset is launching in the US first and there are still no details about an international launch. Now, with Vision Pro preorders live, people are wondering if they can order in the US and then bring the spatial computing platform to their home in, say the UK. The short answer is yes but there are significant caveats.
For those unfamiliar with Apple's newest wearable, Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset that can provide a full-immersion VR experience, as well as an augmented reality one.
Vision Pro ships on February 2 when there should be thousands of platform-ready apps, as well as some written specifically to take advantage of its cutting-edge features.
The good news is that Vision Pro is a travel-friendly device. It has that battery pack, after all, and Apple is selling a $ 200 carrying case. In addition, there's a Travel Mode setting that will counter the motion of the airplane.
I'm not certain what would happen if you wore the headset on an airplane without the mode enabled, but while in flight, everything that works (or plays) at home in your Vision Pro, should work.
If all of that sounds good to you and you live outside the US, there are some things you need to consider.
Ordering from outside the US, or even as someone who is visiting the US or VPN-ing into the US Apple Vision Pro pre-order site, may find it impossible to get hold of a headset.
Your Apple ID region must be US-based and all the app purchases you made must be through that ID.
If you wear glasses and need the $ 149 Zeiss inserts, you can't present an eyeglass prescription from outside the US, and Zeiss won't ship lens inserts to international customers.
Even if you do manage to come to the US, buy Apple Vision Pro, and bring it back to another country, there are no guarantees that the content you downloaded in the US will work anywhere else (there are often region restrictions based on content licensing). The same goes for the music and Apple TV-based content you buy through the headset. If it's region-set to US, it won't work
Finally, if you just paid $ 3,4999 for Vision Pro, you'll want the best Apple Care available. Unfortunately, Apple Support for the Vision Pro is not available outside the US.
Put simply, it's probably best to wait to buy Vision Pro until it's officially on sale outside the US.
We know for certain that a new Samsung XR/VR headset is in the works, with the device being made in partnership with Google. But much of the XR product’s details (XR, or extended reality, is a catchall for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality) are still shrouded in mystery.
This so-called Apple Vision Pro rival (an XR headset from Apple) will likely have impressive specs – Qualcomm has confirmed its new Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chip will be in the headset, and Samsung Display-made screens will probably be featured. It'll also likely have an equally premium price tag. Unfortunately, until Samsung says anything officially, we won’t know exactly how much it will cost, or when it will be released.
But using the few tidbits of official info, as well as our industry knowledge and the rumors out there, we can make some educated guesses that can clue you into the Samsung XR/VR headset’s potential price, release date, and specs – and we’ve got them down below. We’ve also highlighted a few of the features we’d like to see when it’s eventually unveiled to the public.
Samsung XR/VR headset: Price
We won’t know how much Samsung and Google’s new VR headset will cost until the device is officially announced, but most rumors point to it boasting premium specs – so expect a premium price.
Some early reports suggested Samsung was looking at something in the $ 1,000 / £1,000 / AU$ 1,500 range (just like the Meta Quest Pro) though it may have changed its plans. After the Apple Vision Pro reveal, it’s believed Samsung delayed the device most likely to make it a better Vision Pro rival in Samsung’s eyes – the Vision Pro is impressive, as you can find out from our hands-on Apple Vision Pro review.
If that’s the case, the VR gadget might not only more closely match the Vision Pro’s specs it might adopt the Vision Pro’s $ 3,499 (about £2,725 / AUS$ 5,230) starting price too, or something close to it.
Samsung XR/VR headset: Release date
Much like its price, we don’t know anything concrete about the incoming Samsung VR headset's release date yet. But a few signs point to a 2024 announcement – if not a 2024 release.
Firstly, there was the teaser Samsung revealed in February 2023 when it said it was partnering with Google to develop an XR headset. It didn’t set a date for when we’d hear more, but Samsung likely wouldn’t make this teasing announcement if the project was still a long way from finishing. Usually, a more full reveal happens a year or so from the teaser – so around February 2024.
Then there’s the Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chipset announcement. Qualcomm was keen to highlight Samsung and Google as partners that would be putting the chipset to use.
It would be odd to highlight these partners if its headset was still a year or so from launching. Those partners may have preferred to work with a later next-gen chip, if the XR/VR headset was due in 2025 or later. So this would again point to a 2024 reveal, if not a precise date this year.
A lot of the new Samsung VR headset’s specs are still a mystery. We can assume it’ll use Samsung-made displays (it would be wild if Samsung used screens from one of its competitors) but the type of display tech (for example, QLED, OLED or LCD), resolution, and size are still unknown.
We also don’t know what size battery it’ll have, or its storage space, or its RAM. Nor what design it will adopt – will it look like the Vision Pro with an external display, like the Meta Quest 3 or Quest Pro, or something all-new?
The upshot is that this platform can now support two displays at 4.3K resolution running at up to 90fps. It can also manage over 12 separate camera inputs that VR headsets will rely on for tracking – including controllers, objects in the space, and face movements – and it has more advanced AI capabilities, 2.5x better GPU performance, and Wi-Fi 7 (as well as 6 and 6E).
What we want to see from the new Samsung XR/VR headset
1. Samsung’s XR/VR headset to run on the Quest OS
This is very much a pipe dream. With Google and Samsung already collaborating on the project it’s unlikely they’d want to bring in a third party – especially if this headset is intended to compete with Apple and Meta hardware.
But the Quest platform is just so good; by far the best we’ve seen on standalone VR headsets. It’s clean, feature-packed, and home to the best library of VR games and apps out there. The only platform that maybe beats it is Steam, but that’s only for people who want to be tethered to a PC rig.
By partnering with Meta, Samsung’s headset would get all of these benefits, and Meta would have the opportunity to establish its OS as the Windows or Android of the spatial computing space – which might help its Reality Labs division to generate some much-needed revenue by licensing the platform to other headset manufacturers.
Other factors (like a pandemic that forced everyone inside) probably helped a bit. But fundamentally, getting a solid VR headset for $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 is a very attractive offer. It could be better specs-wise but it’s more than good enough and offers significantly more bang for your buck than the PC-VR rigs and alternative standalone headsets that set you back over $ 1,000 when you factor in everything you need.
Meta’s Quest Pro, the first headset it launched after the Quest 2 that has a much more premium $ 999 / £999 / AU$ 1,729 price (it launched at $ 1,500 / £1,500 / AU$ 2,450) has seemingly sold significantly worse. We don’t have exact figures but using the Steam Hardware Survey figures for December 2023 we can see that while 37.87% of Steam VR players use a Quest 2 (making it the most popular option, and more than double the next headset) only 0.44% use a Quest Pro – that’s about 86 times less.
So by making its headset affordable, Samsung would likely be in a win-win situation. We win because its headset isn’t ridiculously pricey like the $ 3,499 (around £2,800 / AU$ 5,300) Apple Vision Pro. Samsung wins because its headset has the best chance of selling super well.
We’ll have to wait and see what’s announced by Samsung, but we suspect we’ll be disappointed on the price front. A factor that could keep this device from becoming one of the best VR headsets out there.
3. Controllers and space for glasses
We’ve combined two smaller points into one for this last ‘what we want to see’.
Hand tracking is neat, but ideally it’ll just be an optional feature on the upcoming Samsung VR headset rather than the only way to operate it – which is the case with the Vision Pro.
Most VR apps are designed with controllers in mind, and because most headsets now come with handsets that have similar button layouts it’s a lot easier to port software to different systems.
There are still challenges, but if your control scheme doesn’t need to be reinvented, developers have told us that’s a massive time-saver. So having controllers with this standard layout could help Samsung get a solid library of games and apps on its system by making it easier for developers to bring their software to it.
We’d also like it to be easy for glasses wearers to use the new Samsung VR headset. The Vision Pro’s prescription lenses solution is needlessly pricey when headsets like the Quest 2 and Quest 3 have a free in-built solution for the problem – an optional spacer or way to slightly extend the headset so it’s further from your face leaving room for specs.
Ideally, Samsung’s VR headset would also have a free and easy solution for glasses wearers, too.
You can now get Windows on your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Mac – sort of – with Microsoft’s latest innovation for its operating system, although this currently comes with a sizable catch (more on that later).
The application allows you to stream a Windows 11 desktop from a remote PC to your Apple device (or indeed another Windows device, or anything with a browser). Or alternatively you can stream a Windows 365 instance, or other options like Azure Virtual Desktop.
The Windows App is essentially a hub to facilitate streaming whichever instances you want to a given device. It packs support for multi-monitor setups, and device redirection to allow for the use of connected hardware like printers, webcams, speakers and so on hooked up to the device that the app is running on.
The Windows App is currently in preview – so expect potential flakiness – and available for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and Windows itself. Those streaming a Windows desktop instance via a web browser don’t have to install any software at all.
Analysis: A business move, but that could change
So, that catch we mentioned: as well as it being a beta, the Windows App only works for Microsoft business accounts, not personal accounts – yet.
But as The Verge, which picked up on the app’s release, points out, the login on the Windows version of the Windows app seemingly has an option to use a personal Microsoft account, it just doesn’t work yet.
That’s not exactly surprising as this is a beta, which is the other caveat here – not everything will necessarily work properly yet. This is a more than a hopeful suggestion that consumers will be able to use the app and stream a remote PC to their Apple (or other) device eventually, come release.
Of course, another omission here is the lack of Android support, and presumably that’s something else that will be in the pipeline.
Microsoft is giving users more control over what’s installed with Windows 11, and how its own services are embedded in the OS – but the catch is this is just happening in Europe (specifically the European Economic Area or EEA).
Windows Central stumbled across a blog post from Microsoft describing the changes being made, and noting that many of these are to comply with the Digital Markets Act in the EEA.
Furthermore, it’s possible to banish Bing results from the Windows search box in the taskbar. These are the web search results that pop up, whatever you’re looking for, and then fire up Bing in Edge if clicked.
On top of that, with the Widgets panel, Microsoft is allowing for the news and adverts feed to be switched off, so the board will purely play host to widgets (imagine that – and you’ll have to imagine it, sadly, outside of the EEA).
European users will also be asked if they want to sync up their Microsoft account with Windows 11 (rather than it just happening by default).
And finally, in the EEA if you click a browser link, it will open in your default browser – meaning that Microsoft’s own software will no longer insist on firing up Edge regardless of your preference (which makes sense, as if you’ve uninstalled Edge, that could get tricky).
When will all this happen? The changes are rolling out in preview now for Windows 11, and will follow for Windows 10 too, with the aim being to achieve compliance with the European regulations and deploy to consumers by March 6, 2024.
Analysis: Choices for everyone? Not likely
Clearly these are customization options which many Windows 11 users would love to benefit from. Especially the ability to have the widgets board with no distractions, just pure widgets, as well as having links open in your default browser always, without fail, and unhooking Bing from the taskbar search box.
Let’s face it, in the latter case, when you’re quickly searching for a Windows setting, you don’t want to be spammed with meaningless web search suggestions that try to get you to open up Edge (and Bing.com).
Will these choices – and other perks like the ability to remove the Edge browser – come to other regions outside of the EEA? Well, that seems very unlikely, seeing as Microsoft is having its hand forced here, and it’s about complying with regulations (that aren’t in place elsewhere) rather than genuinely catering to the wants and needs of users. So, a wider expansion of these options seems a forlorn hope, sadly.
Remember that Copilot is not available in the EEA yet, and this is due to regulatory issues – so these moves could well be tied up in Microsoft’s overall scheme of things for deploying the AI to Windows 11 users in this region.
As Microsoft puts it: “We look forward to continuing to work with the European Commission to finalize our compliance obligations.” And we take that to mean Copilot shouldn’t be too far off for the EEA, with any luck for those who live there.
The one positive for the rest of the world is that at least the streamlining of the default app roster in Windows 11 is happening for everyone. This is something Microsoft has been working on for some time, giving users the ability to remove the likes of the Photos and Camera apps, and the Tips app plus Steps Recorder are to be axed, plus the Maps and Movies & TV clients have been dropped. Thankfully those streamlining efforts count for everyone, and should be an ongoing drive, we reckon.
If you've been looking to pick up a pair of AR glasses but have been put off by the price then this year's best Black Friday deals might be able to lend a hand. There are some big savings to be had on a wide range of deals.
The popular Xreal Air glasses are currently $ 271 at Amazon – down from $ 379 – and the recently released RayNeo Air 2 glasses are $ 30, now down to $ 349 at Amazon. Best of all every deal below is the lowest ever price these AR glasses have ever been. So no matter which pair or bundle you pick up you'll be getting a bargain this Black Friday.
If you're after something a bit more immersive, you might instead prefer this year's Oculus Quest 2 Black Friday deals. Otherwise, scroll down to see some AR glasses discounts.
Today's best Black Friday AR glasses deals
Xreal Air glasses: was $ 379 now $ 271 at Amazon The Xreal Air AR glasses are currently over $ 100 off for Black Friday which is a really solid deal. Connect these AR specs to a compatible smartphone, tablet, or laptop and you’ll be able to see the screen on a massive virtual display. There’s a really fun gadget and normally quite pricey, so this is a deal you don’t want to ignore.View Deal
Xreal Air glasses + Xreal Beam: was $ 449 now $ 379 at Xreal To make the Xreal glasses better you can pick up this bundle that includes the Beam. It’s a portable power source that phones can wirelessly cast to, meaning you won’t drain your phone’s battery as quickly and it allows you to connect the specs to a wider range of gadgets. Just remember to use the $ 70 voucher for a full discount.
Xreal Air glasses + Xreal Adapter: was $ 369 now $ 309 at Amazon This bundle includes the Xreal Airs and an adapter that makes it easier to connect the Xreal glasses to iPhones (if you have an HDMI to Lightning converter), and game consoles like a PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Rokid Max glasses: was $ 379 now $ 299 at Amazon
Instead of the Xreal Air glasses, you could opt for the Rokid Max specs. These glasses do offer several benefits including better field-of-view and are slightly lighter, though we found they can get uncomfortably hot during use which can be distracting.View Deal
RayNeo Air 2 glasses: was $ 379 now $ 349 at Amazon We’ve yet to try these specs out, but $ 30 on a pair of AR glasses that launched this year isn’t bad. We have tried the related Nxtwear S AR glasses and thought they were fine, though they weren’t faultless so we’d recommend checking out some reviews before picking up this RayNeo gadget.View Deal
I've had the chance to test a large range of AR glasses like the ones above, and I think they are really fun gadgets – I love using them, and my friends and family who have tried them think they're awesome too.
On a commute, or just when you and your partner want to use the TV at the same time you can slip on a pair of these and have a large full HD display floating in front of you. Unfortunately, they're normally too expensive for what you get. Spending around $ 400 on a wearable display is a lot, especially when you need to pay extra for add-ons that are optional in the loosest sense of the word (to get the most out of these specs you need an adapter or two).
These Black Friday deals bring the prices down to more reasonable levels; they're literally the cheapest these glasses have ever been. If you want to find out more about these AR glasses then check out our full Xreal Air review, Rokid Max review, and TCL Nxtwear S review.
If you are thinking of getting a pair of AR glasses, I'd also suggest checking out our Black Friday headphones deals page. The audio from these glasses is pretty weak, and it leaks too. For a better and more private experience, a pair of good Bluetooth headphones is a must.
OnMSFT spotted that Mikhail Parakhin, who is head of Advertising and Web Services at Microsoft, let us know about the incoming functionality on Twitter.
Parakhin has actually mentioned the feature a few times in tweets over the past week, and in the most recent message, said that ‘no search’ is coming “soon” (as you can see above).
We shouldn’t be waiting long, then, to get this capability, and it’ll add to the growing armory of features that Microsoft is building out for Bing AI.
In case you missed it, Bing AI was recently furnished with improved sports knowledge for queries on the big game(s), and a major incoming feature is image recognition (so you can sling a picture at the chatbot, and have the location or building identified, for example). Bing Vision, as it’s called, is due to arrive for all users in the very near future.
Analysis: Another useful option for Bing AI
Another facet of the chatbot Microsoft is working on is to reduce the time it takes Bing AI to respond in the case of certain queries (eliminating so-called latency spikes). Presumably, using ‘no search’ will also have the benefit of speeding up the chatbot’s answers too (as Bing will be doing less in this case). We shall see, but better performance is clearly something Microsoft wants to gun for with the AI.
Why would you want to use a ‘no search’ query in general, though? Well, as the Twitter user who Parakhin replied to makes clear, with some questions, you don’t need Bing to go rifling around the web – and in some cases, scraping data from multiple websites could potentially make an answer less useful. (As another user points out, this affects Bing’s coding abilities detrimentally, for example).
Also, you may just want a quick and streamlined reply, rather than a heap of web references thrown at you. So, while this might be a somewhat niche feature, it’s going to be a very useful one to have for some folks.
Update: Microsoft's 'Build' developers conference is taking place on May 23, and it's possible we might get a glimpse of the next-generation OS there. We'll update this page with any new information as it lands, so stay tuned…
Windows 12 is likely to be Microsoft's follow-up to Windows 11 – and it could come sooner than you might think.
And while that still leaves Microsoft behind the yearly updates that macOS and some other operating systems manage, Microsoft's upcoming 'Moments' releases will at least see it get more regular refreshes.
Whenever it comes, we'd like to see a bigger evolution compared to what Windows 11 brought. So, what improvements and new features might Windows 12 have? Users have been peppering Microsoft with feature requests, with some of these wishes having been granted with the 2022 update, which brought a refined Taskbar.
With this in mind, here's everything we've found so far about the next major update to Windows, alongside five features that we'd also like to see arrive in Windows 12.
Windows 12: Cut to the chase
What is it? Windows 12 is the rumored successor to Windows 11
When will it come out? Possibly 2024 based on the three-year schedule
How much does it cost? Should be free as Windows 11 currently is
Windows 12 release date rumors
This is still very early days for Windows 11 – we're not even at the one-year anniversary of the update having been announced. However, going on past releases, we'd expect to see Windows 12 arrive in late 2024, just as support for Windows 10 is ending.
Windows 12 supported devices
When Microsoft announced availability for Windows 11, the main requirement was for machines to have a hardware feature called TPM enabled, which is a security feature that can be found on most motherboards.
While the same requirement will most likely be requested by Microsoft again, it may be at a point where almost every PC has TPM enabled anyway.
Other than that, it will likely have similar requirements to Windows 11:
A display larger than 9-inches with HD Resolution (1366×768)
DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
What we want to see
We don't know much about Windows 12 yet, or whether the rumored upgrade will even become a reality, but we do have a good idea of what we want from it, with the following features topping our list.
1. Merge Skype and Teams into MSN Messenger 12
It's no secret that Microsoft's efforts on video calling and collaboration through messaging apps have been less than stellar in recent years. In a time when people needed to communicate remotely more, it was Zoom that took the lead and Skype was bafflingly left by the wayside.
While there have been some new features brought to both Teams and Skype, there's still an air of confusion as to which one you should use. If you need to take part in a job interview that's on Teams, for example, chances are you'll quickly need to install the app and make sure it works.
Instead, let's see them both retire and mark a fresh start for Windows 12, with the return of MSN Messenger to do the job these two apps have limped on with.
Not only would we like to see the return of nudges, winks, and classic sounds if users want, but we'd also be keen on powerful features to make it go toe-to-toe with Zoom, Google Meets, and FaceTime. Perhaps have integration with Slack, so if a video meeting is needed, it can prompt in a channel and with one button, MSN Messenger will launch with the required invitees.
Microsoft needs to reboot how it perceives itself for messaging apps, and the return of MSN Messenger could be a great start to that.
2. Live wallpaper
A request by TechRadar's Senior Computing Editor Matt Hanson, and an intriguing one at that. There have been similar features in iPhones and Android phones for some years, with animations moving across these devices. But for PC and Mac, they've been relegated to third-party apps, such as Wallpaper Engine, to be able to have animated wallpapers with the ability to display information from your PC.
To so something similar in Windows 12, Microsoft could further push its efforts in themes, something that's seen improvements in Windows 11, thanks to its dark themes.
Having a dedicated section for wallpapers, where you can place static bytes of information on the desktop that works with an animated live wallpaper, could appeal to all kinds of users.
Microsoft could also bring back previous wallpapers, such as the hillside of Windows XP, but have it animated, alongside some clouds displaying battery status or the weather.
While it's been great to see the return of Windows Media Player from Microsoft, having additional features such as podcasts feels irrelevant for what Media Player is for.
macOS has had its own podcast app since Big Sur in 2019, but if you wanted to use a similar app on Windows, it's not clear where to start, as Microsoft doesn't offer a dedicated podcast app.
This is why Windows 12 should include a dedicated podcast app that could also be used on other platforms, such as iOS and Android, so your subscriptions could sync across all your devices.
Podcasts are massively popular, and managing them all in a first-party app would be great for Windows users. It's something that could really help spur the company's effort to make content available on almost every device.
4. Dedicated streaming app
A storming idea by our resident Computing writer Jess Weatherbed, as there is yet to be an integrated option in Windows to stream what you're playing.
For years there have been apps such as OBS and Twitch that offer ways to stream what you're playing or watching with others. However, these apps have always required extra effort to make sure that you're streaming to viewers in good quality, with low latency.
Then there's the additional aspect of the peripherals that streamers use to help show them in a better light, or Stream Decks to easily control their setups with shortcut keys.
It can be overwhelming to manage multiple apps just to control all of these, which is why Windows 12 could benefit from having one app that can manage your streams and the peripherals.
Microsoft has been pushing gaming in Windows 11 since its announcement in June 2021, with a redesigned Xbox app and HDR support. But countless gamers also stream these games through Windows, so there's a big opportunity here.
Having one app to control, say, ring lights and the streams for viewers is appealing, shifting the heavy lifting to one app. It could automate streams based on the schedule and the games being played, alongside different lighting scenarios for the different times of the day.
This could encourage more gamers to see Windows as a service, as the CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella has been stating since the release of Windows 10 in 2015, while also making Windows 12 an enticing prospect for streamers to earn more followers and income for their careers.
5. Companion app for Android
A suggestion by our Editor-in-Chief at TechRadar Pro, Desire Athow – this can be an expansion of Your Phone, Microsoft's effort to sync your mobile to Windows. But when you open this new app in Windows 12, it would have a layout reminiscent of Windows Phone and its tile layout, and would enable a desktop experience from your phone.
This new app would go beyond DeX and Microsoft's Your Phone efforts, though. When you connect to a monitor, it would become a fully-fledged Windows 12 desktop, showcasing everything from your main PC. And when you click on an icon, it would download the content from the cloud and display it in its native resolution.
It would be an innovative extension of the cloud, where you can access your files wherever you are. Here, you'd be carrying your desktop with you and all you'd need to do is to connect your smartphone to a monitor, either with touchscreen features or a keyboard and mouse.
As with the streaming feature above, this would again further Nadella's plans of seeing Windows as a service. Having your PC in an app is an enticing thought, and could help for those situations when you have a short window of opportunity to do some work with a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse somewhere.
Windows 11 users who have an iPhone will be pleased to know that they can now benefit from Phone Link for iOS, as the feature has finished rolling out to the entire user base.
Microsoft began the rollout a few weeks back, noting that it would take some time, but the company has just updated the announcement blog post to let us know that it’s now out for everyone who wants a piece of the action.
Microsoft said: “We are pleased to announce that Phone Link for iOS is now available to all Windows 11 customers.”
If you want to install Phone Link for iOS, just search for the app (in the Windows 11 taskbar, search box), and fire it up – you’ll then see the option to install it for iPhone (as well as Android, of course).
Analysis: Bang on time
Phone Link has long been available for Android, and it has been a very long wait for iPhone owners to get their own take on the app. Still, it’s here now, and fully rolled out on schedule.
That’s good news, as it seems Microsoft hasn’t run into any major bugs with the feature to hold things up. That’s always a possibility with any new piece of functionality, of course, but Microsoft specifically said it was taking a conservative and slow approach to the rollout here, which hinted at a degree of trepidation. There was no need to worry, though, it seems.
It is worth noting that Phone Link for iOS is more limited than its Android sibling. With the iPhone version, you only get the basics of receiving calls and messages through to the desktop, as well as notifications. But there is also iMessage support, too, which is a major boon, albeit that experience is limited too (there’s no message history, for example).
Even so, when you’re working at your PC and don’t want to keep looking at your iPhone, Phone Link represents a really convenient way of fielding all the basics and engaging somewhat with iMessage.
Get ready to jam to some oldies in your car with a clever new event provided by Google-owned Waze navigation. Starting this week, you’ll be able to activate Retro Mode in Waze to change the look of the app and discover music from bygone decades.
In a blog post, Waze cited ‘70s disco, ‘80s Jazzercise, and 90’s computer aesthetics as examples of how you’ll be able to theme your trip. The themes will also come with their own eccentric radio DJ’s to host the radio show and navigate your trip (which sounds awesome or annoying, depending on your mood).
In retro mode, you’ll also be able to change your car’s icon to a flower pot, a 90’s computer, or a Rad Racer sports car for some added fun.
Waze also partnered with music streaming service TuneIn to provide ‘70s music to the UK, ‘90s hits to the US and Canada, and ‘80s Alive to France.
To use this new feature, click “My Waze” in the app and tap the “Drive with the ‘80s” banner. The feature is available globally in English, French, and Portuguese.
Analysis: Some users have other ideas
While this little event seems a fun addition on the surface, many folks who use Waze might prefer some more useful app improvements, instead. The navigation app often does point commuters to shorter routes to get them to destinations faster, but upon browsing the subreddit for the app, we found that some find it a bit buggy, and there are users who believe that development is declining.
A post by a Waze user, though it is a few months old, indicates exactly that. They lament that the app is “progressively worse at routing”, or that the app will change routes mid-drive and add more time to the trip. Users in the comments of the post seem to mostly echo those sentiments, with many others noting that they only use it to “know where the cops and other hazards are”.
This community appears concerned that Google is pushing development aside in favor of Maps, which would make sense given that it is the most popular mobile navigation app in the US. Some users are also dissatisfied with the points system that the app uses to rank reports for relevancy, legitimacy, and to prevent abuse of the system.
So, sure, we'll take a fun ride down memory lane with Waze, but let's also make sure that the old road is the best one – and that it's the shortest distance from 1970s Point A to current 2022 Point B.