Apple Intelligence AI, iOS 18 and the biggest announcements at WWDC 2024

Yesterday's Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote teased a lot of what users can expect this fall when big iOS, iPadOS, macOS and watchOS updates hit their devices. Changes coming include RCS support in Messages, a new Passwords app, a revamped Calculator app for iPhone and iPad and a bunch of artificial intelligence (AI) infusions across the board with the new "Apple Intelligence" system. The latter will bring some of the biggest updates to Apple devices in years, including generative AI image creation, "Genmoji" custom emojis, text summarization and even some ChatGPT integration as well. If you weren't able to catch the news live, here's a rundown of everything announced at WWDC 2024.

Apple Intelligence
Apple

Apple revealed its plans to incorporate AI into its operating systems at WWDC this year. Dubbed "Apple Intelligence," this new generative AI system will appear in iOS and iPad 18 and macOS Sequoia in the form of (what Apple believes to be) practical tools that most people can use regularly. Those features include new writing tools that can help you rewrite, proofread and summarize things like emails and other messages, original emoji and image creation and more. Going hand-in-hand with original image generation is a new feature called Genmoji, which allows users to create their own unique emojis by typing in descriptions and requirements like "T-rex wearing a tutu on a surfboard."

Siri is getting an AI infusion, now that it will be powered in part by large language models. In addition to asking Siri to delete an email or edit a photo, users will also be able to ask the virtual assistant to summarize articles and webpages in Safari and even extract personal information from a picture of an ID so it can fill out an online form for them. The company emphasized the importance of "personal context" with Apple Intelligence, which will enable things like using natural language to search for photos that contain only specific family members or friends.

Apple highlighted how most Apple Intelligence actions will be done on-device to make the system as privacy-focused as possible. For queries that cannot be done locally, the work will be sent to Apple's processing centers. The company also created Private Cloud Compute, a feature that's supposed to utilize the cloud for more advanced AI processing while also making sure your data remains secure.

OpenAI's ChatGPT is also integrated into Apple Intelligence, allowing users to give Apple permission to share their queries with ChatGPT "when it might be helpful." Examples provided include asking for menu ideas that incorporate specific ingredients, or asking for decor advice while providing a photo of a space that needs sprucing up. ChatGPT will also work with the AI writing tools coming to iOS and iPadOS 18 in a new Compose feature. ChatGPT integration with iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia will roll out later this year, and apparently Apple intends to add support for other AI models in the future — meaning its partnership with OpenAI isn't a long-term exclusive.

iOS 18
Apple

The next iPhone software update will roll out to users in the fall and, as expected, one of the biggest changes is support for Rich Communication Service, or RCS. The messaging protocol offers many improvements over SMS including end-to-end encryption, better media sharing and support for proper group chats. Apple previously stated it would adopt support for RCS in 2024 to comply with EU regulations, so it's unsurprising to see it mentioned in iOS 18's forthcoming features. Also new to Messages will be the ability to "tapback" reply using emojis and stickers, text formatting and effects and the ability to send messages via satellite.

iPhone users will have more control over their home screens in iOS 18 thanks to the fact that it will not be a locked grid system anymore. Users will be able to move app icons more freely, plus they'll be able to change app icon colors as well use a tint color picker. In terms of design and layout, this is one of the biggest changes to come to the iPhone's home screen in years and it gives iOS users similar features to those Android users have had for a long time. In the same vein, Control Center will be updated in iOS 18 to include more customization options, and will allow users to program quick controls from third-party apps in addition to the native options.

The Photos app is getting a big redesign in iOS 18, putting an emphasis on intelligently organized groups of photos that revolve around memories, trips and other big events. The new design ditches the old tabbed layout and will usher in a one-page design when you can view all of your photos individually, or view them by Collections. Users will also be able to filter out things like screenshots and receipts that would show up in a chronological format, but would otherwise mess up a tightly curated group of vacation photos.

A couple of new privacy features stand out in iOS 18, namely the ability to lock and hide apps. For the former, users can lock an app so sensitive information stays behind a Face-ID or Touch-ID wall, preventing those who you casually hand your iPhone to from seeing that information. Hiding an app, on the other hand, does exactly what you think: hides a program in a special hidden folder that others won't be able to see.

The Calculator app is getting a big overhaul in iOS 18, including improved unit conversions, a sidebar showing recent activity and integration with the Notes app. But what might be even more notable is the fact that the revamped Calculator app will not only be available on iPhones and Macs — it's coming to iPads for the first time as part of the iPadOS 18 update. Embedded within the iPadOS Calculator app is a new feature called Math Notes, which lets users write out math equations with the Apple Pencil and the app will solve many of them instantly.

iPadOS 18 will also feature a new Tab Bar, which looks similar to the Dynamic Island on iPhones. This bar makes it easier to access essential controls even when you're in apps, and depending on what you're doing, it can show up at the top of the screen or as a sidebar of sorts on the left of the display. The Notes app in iPadOS is getting another new feature called Smart Script, which will make users' handwriting more legible automatically.

macOS Sequoia
Apple

The next iteration of Apple's computer software will be called macOS Sequoia. In addition to many of the AI features also coming to iOS and iPadOS 18 as part of Apple Intelligence, the next macOS update will include iPhone mirroring, which lets users see and control their iPhone screen on a Mac screen. They'll be able to use their keyboard and trackpad to intact with the iPhone screen on their laptop, and they can even open iOS apps directly on their computers without picking up their iPhone at all.

A new Passwords app builds upon the technology of iCloud Keychain to save all of users' passwords and login credentials across devices and platforms (it will be available on Windows in addition to iOS and iPadOS). Along with standard passwords, the new app can save passkeys, verification codes and more, and give users the ability to securely share passwords with others.

Other updates coming in macOS Sequoia include a snap window arrangement tool with accompanying keyboard and menu shortcuts, Presenter Preview, which lets you see what you're about to share with call partners before they see it, and gaming upgrades like improved Windows porting capabilities using Gameporting Toolkit 2. Users will also get access to Image Playground in macOS Sequoia, Apple's AI image generator built into Apple Intelligence. It provides the ability to create AI-generated images in different styles, including animation, illustration and sketch.

watchOS 11
Apple

The next software update for the Apple Watch includes two big changes: Training Load and a new Vitals app. Training Load in watchOS 11 essentially uses many of the health and fitness metrics collected during workout tracking to estimate your effort level each time. Each workout will receive a rating from one (easy) to 10 (all out) that estimates how hard the user worked during that particular session.

The new Vitals app will show Apple Watch users how their captured health data, including heart rate, compares to baseline measurements. This will hopefully allow users to better understand when something might be off and outside the "normal" range.

The Activity app on iPhone is also getting an update to accompany watchOS 11, and will allow users to customize the data they see on the homepage so they can put their most important stats front and center. Cycle Tracking will also get an update to include more detailed pregnancy insights, including gestational age and information about the user's health metrics that may related to pregnancy (like heart rate fluctuations). 

visionOS 2
Apple

Until now, Apple's Vision Pro headset has only been available in the US. That's changing soon as the company announced the device's rollout in additional countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK in the coming months. As far as the headset's software (visionOS) goes, Apple announced that visionOS 2 will add spatial photos, which adds depth to images in the Photos app, new UI gesture controls and improved Mac screen mirroring with support for higher resolutions and display sizes.

AirPods Pro
Apple

Apple briefly mentioned some software updates coming to AirPods Pro, including improved Voice Isolation, which should help the buds better pick up a user’s voice in noise environments. A new Siri Interaction is coming to AirPods Pro as well: a silent head-nod will allow users to answer an incoming call without saying a word out loud to Siri, and contrast, a shake of the head will decline a call. These silent interactions will also be applicable to messages and notifications.

Catch up here for all the news out of Apple's WWDC 2024.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-intelligence-ai-ios-18-and-the-biggest-announcements-at-wwdc-2024-184422501.html?src=rss

Dyson 360 Vis Nav review: Superior suction at a steep price

Dyson helped pioneer the cordless vacuum space, and now it’s testing the waters of the robot vacuum arena. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav has been available in other parts of the world for a little while, but it recently came stateside to the tune of $1,200. The company claims a 360-degree vision system, complete with cameras and LED lights, along with suction power akin to that of its stick vacuums sets the 360 Vis Nav apart from competitors. But even if that’s true, Dyson is undeniably late to the party. Robot vacuums have gotten a lot better in the past three to five years, and there are dozens on the market — including some that offer much more in the way of features for a similarly exorbitant price. That said, did Dyson pull an Apple and shake up a product category despite its late entry to the stage? I spent some time with the 360 Vis Nav to find out.

Unboxing and setting up the 360 Vis Nav is similar to any other robot vacuum. In addition to the device, the box contains a charging cable and the vacuum’s base, a rectangular, purple unit with two black-and-white checkered spots at either corner. While it’s refreshing to see a gadget that doesn’t wear the typical black or gray uniform, the 360 Vis Nav and its dock stick out like sore thumbs among the other items and furniture in my home. There’s no semblance of “blending into the decor” with this robo-vac.

Once docked for the first time, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav’s small onboard display prompts you to choose a preferred language and get connected via the mobile app. The screen doubles as a button, too, so you can press fully down on it to select options and move forward in the setup process. As I learned while using the machine, the display also shows helpful maintenance tips and accompanying graphics when you need to clean the robot’s sensors. The My Dyson app (on iOS and Android) provides all of the same information and more, and will guide you to connect the machine to your home’s Wi-Fi network, update the firmware if necessary and finish the prerequisites before you get to cleaning. Aside from waiting a few minutes for my review unit to update its firmware, the entire process took me only about 15 minutes.

To get the lay of the land, let’s revisit the few things Dyson claims set the 360 Vis Nav apart from other robot vacuums. The D-shaped design isn’t one of them, but it certainly helps the machine’s side-edge actuator when cleaning room corners. Dyson claims the actuator only opens up when cleaning corners like this, and it uses suction (rather than sweepers like other robo-vacs do) to capture debris from these hard-to-reach places. Along with that, the machine has a 360-degree vision system that helps it map our your home and clean around furniture and other objects, plus a sensor that detects the amount of dust present so it can kick up the suction when necessary and create a heat map of the dirtiest parts of your home. Those are the main differentiators, along with the claim that the 360 Vis Nav essentially has a similar level of suction power as one of Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums.

So how did all of that come together in practice? Pretty well, as it turns out. For the initial go-around, I had the Dyson 360 Vis Nav clean the main floor of my home, rather than map it out first. I did this mainly because I like chaos, but also because I wanted to see how the machine would navigate around coffee tables, couches and other furniture, plus small things like cat toys left in its path. Dyson states very clearly in the setup process that you should remove all small obstacles out of the way of the 360 Vis Nav before it cleans — I picked up a couple of reusable bags languishing from our last grocery run and the smaller cat toys, but I left some charging cables snaking on the ground because, let’s be real, most people aren’t going to clean before sending the robot they bought to clean for them out to do its job.

I was quickly struck by how many times the Dyson 360 Vis Nav came to a complete stop, “looked” around and kept moving during the first cleaning. It did a decent job avoiding large pieces of furniture like chairs and couches because — when it did get close to pieces like that — it seemed to sense it a few inches before hitting it, so it could then stop and redirect itself. It was most confused by a coffee table with a supporting beam that runs on the floor in between two legs. The 360 Vis Nav has adjustable wheels that allow it to “climb” on top of things like thicker rugs when it’s cleaning, and I think it confused this roughly 0.5-inch supporting beam for a piece of decor. The robo-vac tried so hard to climb over it; it was borderline concerning, but I was rooting for it the whole way. It actually did manage to climb over the beam, get back down onto the floor and keep cleaning, so kudos to the little guy for never giving up.

After that thrilling show, I left the 360 Vis Nav to its own devices. It proceeded to clean the main floor of my home for almost an hour, audibly notching up the suction when it detected a messier area. Notably, it seemed better at avoiding furniture than other robot vacuum cleaners I’ved tried. Yes, it did knock into a few things, but the number of times that happened was slim to none. The first run I did was in Auto mode, the default cleaning setting and one of four you have to choose from, and while the machine was a tad loud, it’s nothing that will drive pets or young children from a room. It’s loudest when the machine automatically kicks the motor into high gear upon detecting a high-dust area, which it did a few times in the highest trafficked areas of my kitchen and on top of a few area rugs. Like any other robot vacuum worth its salt, the 360 Vis Nav automatically returned to its dock to recharge when the battery got low.

I deemed that first cleaning job a success, and the case was the same when I did the first mapping run. The 360 Vis Nav is much quieter when it’s puttering around your home not sucking up dirt, but rather just using its vision system to create a map of your home and all its furniture and obstacles. The map it created of my main floor was accurate, and the Dyson app makes it simple to add boundaries and create rooms that you can label. Once you do this, you can create no-go zones and other restrictions like cleaning without the brush bar. And like most other vacuums with smart mapping, you can tell the 360 Vis Nav to only clean certain rooms with each job if you please.

Like most other robot vacuums, the companion app experience focuses on home maps, schedules and basic on-off controls. Dyson lets you choose from Auto, Quick, Quiet and Boost cleaning modes before you start a job, and if you have rooms designated on your map, you can customize cleaning modes for each room every time. For example, I could tell the machine to clean my kitchen in Auto mode and then the den in Quiet mode. The app presents a heat map of your home after every job that highlights the areas with the most dust, which is interesting to look at but didn’t provide me with a ton of groundbreaking information. I was not surprised that the dirtiest spots on my main floor were almost always next to the front door and my deck door.

Ultimately, the two things that impressed me the most about the Dyson 360 Vis Nav were its suction power and its obstacle avoidance capabilities. I live in a one-cat household, but if you saw how much cat hair my cordless stick vacuum sucks up every time I use it, you’d think I live with a few more felines. There’s always more fur in the bin after I clean the upper floor of my home, since it’s carpeted. After leaving the 360 Vis Nav on my upper floor to clean for almost an hour, I was surprised to see that the contents of its bin looked nearly identical to that of my cordless stick vac after cleaning up there. Even the best robot vacuum cleaners I’ve used in the past never sucked up this much pet fur in one go-around on carpeted floors — it’s impressive.

As for obstacle avoidance, I didn’t expect much from the 360 Vis Nav in this department because the instructions tell you, more than once, to clear your floors of any obstructions before cleaning. Most of the time, I had at least a few pairs of shoes, a couple of charging cables and other small objects on the floor while the machine was cleaning, but I never once got an alert that it was stuck. Some robot vacuums I’ve tested have sent me close to a half dozen alerts during a cleaning job, and I’d have to remove an object they were choking on before they could start up again. That never happened with Dyson’s machine.

With the Dyson 360 Vis Nav coming in at an eye-watering $1,200, the competition squarely within that price range is pretty slim. The $1,400 iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ is arguably its most direct competitor and it offers quite a bit more for that extra $200. (We’ve seen the Combo j9+ drop to as low as $1,000 in the past, so you might be able to pick it up for even less than Dyon’s machine.) As a “combo” device, the j9+ vacuums and mops without the help of a human (mostly) and it’s smart enough to know when it needs to switch from sucking up dirt to mopping floors using its built-in scrubbing pad and water reservoir. It also comes with a self-emptying base that can hold up to 60 days worth of dry debris and refill the water reservoir with clean supply. While auto-mopping is more of a nice-to-have than a requirement on a robot vacuum, it’s painful that Dyon’s $1,000+ machine doesn’t come with a clean base — a piece of hardware included in some models half of its price.

When you understand the lay of the robot-vacuum landscape, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav seems almost quaint — and a bit confusing. Robot vacuums aren’t new, they’ve been around for a long time — long enough where you can get a pretty decent one for less than $300. For Dyson’s machine, spending $1,200 gets you a damn good robot vacuum with possibly the best suction power I’ve experienced on one, impressive obstacle avoidance, good home mapping and a clean app experience. But none of those features are unique to the 360 Vis Nav. Its suction power and obstacle avoidance may be superior, but is that enough to justify the cost? If you’re already willing to spend $1,000 or more on a robot vacuum, you have other options that will give you similar features and more, including mopping and self-emptying capabilities. That said, there are two groups of people who I’d recommend the 360 Vis Nav to: those who are willing to give up advanced features in exchange for the most suction power possible (and have cash to burn), and Dyson diehards.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dyson-360-vis-nav-review-superior-suction-at-a-steep-price-130010791.html?src=rss

Dyson 360 Vis Nav review: Superior suction at a steep price

Dyson helped pioneer the cordless vacuum space, and now it’s testing the waters of the robot vacuum arena. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav has been available in other parts of the world for a little while, but it recently came stateside to the tune of $1,200. The company claims a 360-degree vision system, complete with cameras and LED lights, along with suction power akin to that of its stick vacuums sets the 360 Vis Nav apart from competitors. But even if that’s true, Dyson is undeniably late to the party. Robot vacuums have gotten a lot better in the past three to five years, and there are dozens on the market — including some that offer much more in the way of features for a similarly exorbitant price. That said, did Dyson pull an Apple and shake up a product category despite its late entry to the stage? I spent some time with the 360 Vis Nav to find out.

Unboxing and setting up the 360 Vis Nav is similar to any other robot vacuum. In addition to the device, the box contains a charging cable and the vacuum’s base, a rectangular, purple unit with two black-and-white checkered spots at either corner. While it’s refreshing to see a gadget that doesn’t wear the typical black or gray uniform, the 360 Vis Nav and its dock stick out like sore thumbs among the other items and furniture in my home. There’s no semblance of “blending into the decor” with this robo-vac.

Once docked for the first time, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav’s small onboard display prompts you to choose a preferred language and get connected via the mobile app. The screen doubles as a button, too, so you can press fully down on it to select options and move forward in the setup process. As I learned while using the machine, the display also shows helpful maintenance tips and accompanying graphics when you need to clean the robot’s sensors. The My Dyson app (on iOS and Android) provides all of the same information and more, and will guide you to connect the machine to your home’s Wi-Fi network, update the firmware if necessary and finish the prerequisites before you get to cleaning. Aside from waiting a few minutes for my review unit to update its firmware, the entire process took me only about 15 minutes.

To get the lay of the land, let’s revisit the few things Dyson claims set the 360 Vis Nav apart from other robot vacuums. The D-shaped design isn’t one of them, but it certainly helps the machine’s side-edge actuator when cleaning room corners. Dyson claims the actuator only opens up when cleaning corners like this, and it uses suction (rather than sweepers like other robo-vacs do) to capture debris from these hard-to-reach places. Along with that, the machine has a 360-degree vision system that helps it map our your home and clean around furniture and other objects, plus a sensor that detects the amount of dust present so it can kick up the suction when necessary and create a heat map of the dirtiest parts of your home. Those are the main differentiators, along with the claim that the 360 Vis Nav essentially has a similar level of suction power as one of Dyson’s cordless stick vacuums.

So how did all of that come together in practice? Pretty well, as it turns out. For the initial go-around, I had the Dyson 360 Vis Nav clean the main floor of my home, rather than map it out first. I did this mainly because I like chaos, but also because I wanted to see how the machine would navigate around coffee tables, couches and other furniture, plus small things like cat toys left in its path. Dyson states very clearly in the setup process that you should remove all small obstacles out of the way of the 360 Vis Nav before it cleans — I picked up a couple of reusable bags languishing from our last grocery run and the smaller cat toys, but I left some charging cables snaking on the ground because, let’s be real, most people aren’t going to clean before sending the robot they bought to clean for them out to do its job.

I was quickly struck by how many times the Dyson 360 Vis Nav came to a complete stop, “looked” around and kept moving during the first cleaning. It did a decent job avoiding large pieces of furniture like chairs and couches because — when it did get close to pieces like that — it seemed to sense it a few inches before hitting it, so it could then stop and redirect itself. It was most confused by a coffee table with a supporting beam that runs on the floor in between two legs. The 360 Vis Nav has adjustable wheels that allow it to “climb” on top of things like thicker rugs when it’s cleaning, and I think it confused this roughly 0.5-inch supporting beam for a piece of decor. The robo-vac tried so hard to climb over it; it was borderline concerning, but I was rooting for it the whole way. It actually did manage to climb over the beam, get back down onto the floor and keep cleaning, so kudos to the little guy for never giving up.

After that thrilling show, I left the 360 Vis Nav to its own devices. It proceeded to clean the main floor of my home for almost an hour, audibly notching up the suction when it detected a messier area. Notably, it seemed better at avoiding furniture than other robot vacuum cleaners I’ved tried. Yes, it did knock into a few things, but the number of times that happened was slim to none. The first run I did was in Auto mode, the default cleaning setting and one of four you have to choose from, and while the machine was a tad loud, it’s nothing that will drive pets or young children from a room. It’s loudest when the machine automatically kicks the motor into high gear upon detecting a high-dust area, which it did a few times in the highest trafficked areas of my kitchen and on top of a few area rugs. Like any other robot vacuum worth its salt, the 360 Vis Nav automatically returned to its dock to recharge when the battery got low.

I deemed that first cleaning job a success, and the case was the same when I did the first mapping run. The 360 Vis Nav is much quieter when it’s puttering around your home not sucking up dirt, but rather just using its vision system to create a map of your home and all its furniture and obstacles. The map it created of my main floor was accurate, and the Dyson app makes it simple to add boundaries and create rooms that you can label. Once you do this, you can create no-go zones and other restrictions like cleaning without the brush bar. And like most other vacuums with smart mapping, you can tell the 360 Vis Nav to only clean certain rooms with each job if you please.

Like most other robot vacuums, the companion app experience focuses on home maps, schedules and basic on-off controls. Dyson lets you choose from Auto, Quick, Quiet and Boost cleaning modes before you start a job, and if you have rooms designated on your map, you can customize cleaning modes for each room every time. For example, I could tell the machine to clean my kitchen in Auto mode and then the den in Quiet mode. The app presents a heat map of your home after every job that highlights the areas with the most dust, which is interesting to look at but didn’t provide me with a ton of groundbreaking information. I was not surprised that the dirtiest spots on my main floor were almost always next to the front door and my deck door.

Ultimately, the two things that impressed me the most about the Dyson 360 Vis Nav were its suction power and its obstacle avoidance capabilities. I live in a one-cat household, but if you saw how much cat hair my cordless stick vacuum sucks up every time I use it, you’d think I live with a few more felines. There’s always more fur in the bin after I clean the upper floor of my home, since it’s carpeted. After leaving the 360 Vis Nav on my upper floor to clean for almost an hour, I was surprised to see that the contents of its bin looked nearly identical to that of my cordless stick vac after cleaning up there. Even the best robot vacuum cleaners I’ve used in the past never sucked up this much pet fur in one go-around on carpeted floors — it’s impressive.

As for obstacle avoidance, I didn’t expect much from the 360 Vis Nav in this department because the instructions tell you, more than once, to clear your floors of any obstructions before cleaning. Most of the time, I had at least a few pairs of shoes, a couple of charging cables and other small objects on the floor while the machine was cleaning, but I never once got an alert that it was stuck. Some robot vacuums I’ve tested have sent me close to a half dozen alerts during a cleaning job, and I’d have to remove an object they were choking on before they could start up again. That never happened with Dyson’s machine.

With the Dyson 360 Vis Nav coming in at an eye-watering $1,200, the competition squarely within that price range is pretty slim. The $1,400 iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ is arguably its most direct competitor and it offers quite a bit more for that extra $200. (We’ve seen the Combo j9+ drop to as low as $1,000 in the past, so you might be able to pick it up for even less than Dyon’s machine.) As a “combo” device, the j9+ vacuums and mops without the help of a human (mostly) and it’s smart enough to know when it needs to switch from sucking up dirt to mopping floors using its built-in scrubbing pad and water reservoir. It also comes with a self-emptying base that can hold up to 60 days worth of dry debris and refill the water reservoir with clean supply. While auto-mopping is more of a nice-to-have than a requirement on a robot vacuum, it’s painful that Dyon’s $1,000+ machine doesn’t come with a clean base — a piece of hardware included in some models half of its price.

When you understand the lay of the robot-vacuum landscape, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav seems almost quaint — and a bit confusing. Robot vacuums aren’t new, they’ve been around for a long time — long enough where you can get a pretty decent one for less than $300. For Dyson’s machine, spending $1,200 gets you a damn good robot vacuum with possibly the best suction power I’ve experienced on one, impressive obstacle avoidance, good home mapping and a clean app experience. But none of those features are unique to the 360 Vis Nav. Its suction power and obstacle avoidance may be superior, but is that enough to justify the cost? If you’re already willing to spend $1,000 or more on a robot vacuum, you have other options that will give you similar features and more, including mopping and self-emptying capabilities. That said, there are two groups of people who I’d recommend the 360 Vis Nav to: those who are willing to give up advanced features in exchange for the most suction power possible (and have cash to burn), and Dyson diehards.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dyson-360-vis-nav-review-superior-suction-at-a-steep-price-130010791.html?src=rss

Amazon Prime Day 2024: The best deals to shop ahead of Prime Day and everything to know about the sale in July

This year’s Amazon Prime Day is coming soon, so it’s a good time to start thinking about the things you’ll want to look for once the deal wave hits. Everything from gadgets to clothes to household necessities will be on sale during the event, and if you’re a Prime member, you’ll have access to all of the deals. Engadget will be surfacing all of the best tech deals we can find – both on Amazon and elsewhere – but there are some important things to know ahead of time so you can get exactly what you want out of this year’s Prime Day.

We do not have official dates for Prime Day 2024 yet, but we do know it’ll be back sometime in July. The shopping event focuses on exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you’ll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of most of the savings. Amazon still offers a 30-day free trial to new Prime subscribers, so you can start your free trial closer to July and participate in the event.

If you don’t pay for Prime and have no intention of doing so, you should still check out Amazon on Prime Day for sales that are available to all shoppers — there are always a few of them. Plus, it’s very likely that other retailers like Target and Best Buy will have their own competing Prime Day sales during that time frame, too.

Speaking of competitors, Walmart just announced that its version of Prime Day, dubbed Walmart+ Week, will take place June 17 through June 23. Walmart+ Week offers exclusive deals for Walmart+ members, and the retail giant appears to be placing a lot of emphasis on gas and travel discounts this year. It's currently teasing 20 cents off every gallon of gas purchased at Exxon and Mobil stations, as well as 20 percent Walmart Cash back on travel accommodations purchased through Walmart+ Travel. However, that's not to say we won't see discounts on other items, including electronics, during Walmart's members-only shopping event.

It’s best to go into Amazon Prime Day as prepared as possible; that means knowing exactly what you want so you stay focused and avoid distractions. The whole of Amazon's site will be overwhelming on Prime Day, so the less time you spend aimlessly browsing, the more your wallet will thank you later.

One thing you can do to stay on track during Prime Day is to make a list of your top items before the event. This requires a bit of prep work, but you’ll be grateful you did it once the event arrives. Make note of the most important items you want to pick up on Prime Day. You can either do this the old-fashioned way on a sticky note, or you can use Amazon’s wish list feature. For the latter, add the items you want to buy on Prime Day to your wish list (or, even better, make a dedicated wishlist with only your Prime Day desirables) and return to that list during the shopping event. Not only will you have everything you want all in one place, but you’ll also be able to see which of those items are cheaper on Prime Day than they were when you originally added them to your list.

It’s also recommended to use a price tracker to make sure you’re getting a decent deal. Sites like CamelCamelCamel let you monitor the price of specific items on Amazon. You can check out price history charts and you can make your own price-drop alerts, receiving emails when something you want gets a discount. CamelCamelCamel also has some browser extensions you can download so you don’t have to navigate away from an Amazon product page to check its price history.

Engadget will be covering Amazon Prime Day in its entirety, so if you have a lot of tech on your to-buy list, be sure to check back here on Prime Day for the best tech sales we could find. We’ll be sure to include gadgets from across the board – from headphones to robot vacuums to gaming gear – plus the best “anti-Prime Day” deals you can find from other retailers. You can also follow the @EngadgetDeals Twitter account and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter to stay up to date on the latest discounts.

Amazon Prime Day typically lasts two days, but for the past few years, the company has started pushing out deals well before the event actually kicks off. We anticipate the same happening this year, with early Prime Day deals kicking off possibly as soon as Amazon officially announces the dates of Prime Day 2024.

Be they early Prime Day deals or day-of sales, Amazon gadgets are almost guaranteed to be on sale for the event. You can safely bet on things like Echo speakers, Kindle e-readers and Fire TV devices to be at record-low prices for Prime Day, so if you’ve had your eye on one of those items, it’s worth waiting for those deals to drop. Prime Day is only matched by Black Friday in its discounts, so while that means you will likely have another chance to get that smart speaker for dirt cheap, it probably won’t be until the holiday shopping season.

Amazon gadgets will not be the only items discounted on Prime Day. You’ll find clothes, shoes, household items, appliances, accessories and more on sale, but here at Engadget, we’ll naturally be focusing on electronics. We expect this year’s Prime Day to be like last year’s, in that it will bring big discounts on headphones, earbuds, gaming accessories, SSDs and microSD cards, robot vacuums and more.

It’s also worth mentioning the types of deals you can expect to see on Prime Day. Some deals will be live for the entire event (which is usually two full days), while others will only last for 24 hours. Those are the hardest to predict, since Amazon usually does not give any indication how long a given sale will last. Our recommendation is to buy the things you’re most keen on as soon as you see them drop in price – that will ensure you get it while the discount is available, and while the item is still in stock.

You can also expect to see some “Lightning deals” happen during Prime Day. Thankfully, these are usually clearly labeled with the amount of time remaining to grab the deal noted on the product page. In our experience, only a handful of these flash sales are actually worth your money, but if you see something that’s been on your wishlist drop in price for only a few hours, it’s in your best interest to grab it immediately.

While we wouldn't call these sales "early Prime Day deals" just yet, they do represent some of the best deals you can get on Amazon right now as we wait for the full details of Prime Day to be revealed. We'll update this list as prices change and as we find even more of the best Amazon deals you can get.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-prime-day-2024-the-best-deals-to-shop-ahead-of-prime-day-and-everything-to-know-about-the-sale-in-july-110027594.html?src=rss

Amazon Prime Day 2024: Everything you need to know about the upcoming sale in July

Amazon Prime Day 2024 is coming soon, so it’s a good time to start thinking about the things you’ll want to look for once the deal wave hits. Everything from gadgets to clothes to household necessities will be on sale during the event, and if you’re a Prime member, you’ll have access to all of the Amazon Prime Day deals. Engadget will be surfacing all of the best tech deals we can find – both on Amazon and elsewhere – but there are some important things to know ahead of time so you can get exactly what you want out of this year’s Prime Day.

We do not have official dates for Prime Day 2024 yet, but we do know it’ll be back sometime in July. The shopping event focuses on exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you’ll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of most of the savings. Amazon still offers a 30-day free trial to new Prime subscribers, so you can start your free trial closer to July and participate in the event.

If you don’t pay for Prime and have no intention of doing so, you should still check out Amazon on Prime Day for sales that are available to all shoppers — there are always a few of them. Plus, it’s very likely that other retailers like Walmart and Target will have their own competing Prime Day sales during that time frame, too.

Amazon Prime Day typically lasts two days, but for the past few years, the company has started pushing out deals well before the event actually kicks off. We anticipate the same happening this year, with early Prime Day deals kicking off possibly as soon as Amazon officially announces the dates of Prime Day 2024.

Be they early Prime Day deals or day-of sales, Amazon gadgets are almost guaranteed to be on sale for the event. You can safely bet on things like Echo speakers, Kindle e-readers and Fire TV devices to be at record-low prices for Prime Day, so if you’ve had your eye on one of those items, it’s worth waiting for those deals to drop. Prime Day is only matched by Black Friday in its discounts, so while that means you will likely have another chance to get that smart speaker for dirt cheap, it probably won’t be until the holiday shopping season.

Amazon gadgets will not be the only items discounted on Prime Day. You’ll find clothes, shoes, household items, appliances, accessories and more on sale, but here at Engadget, we’ll naturally be focusing on electronics. We expect this year’s Prime Day to be like last year’s, in that it will bring big discounts on headphones, earbuds, gaming accessories, SSDs and microSD cards, robot vacuums and more.

Engadget will be covering Amazon Prime Day in its entirety, so if you have a lot of tech on your to-buy list, be sure to check back here on Prime Day for the best tech sales we could find. We’ll be sure to include gadgets from across the board – from headphones to robot vacuums to gaming gear – plus the best “anti-Prime Day” deals you can find from other retailers. You can also follow the @EngadgetDeals Twitter account and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter to stay up to date on the latest discounts.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-prime-day-2024-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-upcoming-sale-in-july-110027418.html?src=rss

Memorial Day 2024 tech deals you can still get this weekend – Sales from Apple, Samsung, Anker and more

Memorial Day is here, and along with the holiday has come a swath of tech deals available across the internet. In addition to the typical outdoor gear we see go on sale during this time, a number of our favorite earbuds, tablets, streaming devices and other gadgets are discounted at the moment. Most of the deals we’ve curated below represented record-low prices, or the best prices we’ve seen so far all year. You’ll likely have to wait until Black Friday (or Amazon Prime Day in July) to see even steeper discounts, but nevertheless, these sales are worth considering if you have tech on your shopping list. Here are the best Memorial Day sales on tech and gadgets that you can get for 2024.

Our top picks

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/memorial-day-2024-tech-deals-you-can-still-get-this-weekend---sales-from-apple-samsung-anker-and-more-115046898.html?src=rss

Our favorite Anker wireless earbuds are back on sale for $50

Anker's Soundcore Space A40 wireless earbuds are a good example of a pair that punches above its weight — and now you can get them for one of the best prices we've seen. Amazon has all three colorways for half off, bringing the final price down to $50. While that's technically $1 more than their record-low price, you're essentially getting the buds for as cheap as we've seen them.

The Space A40 top our list of the best budget wireless earbuds you can get right now thanks to the fact that they offer an impressive number of advanced features at an affordable price. Normally costing $100 (and frequently discounted to around $60), these earbuds have a small, comfortable design with an IPX4 rating, which should allow them to work well even during sweaty workouts. They support adaptive active noise cancellation and transparency mode, and while performance for both of those features isn't as strong as those on higher-end buds, it's still impressive for a pair of $50 earbuds.

You'll find a warm sound profile on the Space A40 buds, and Anker's Soundcore companion app allows you to adjust the EQ to your liking. You can connect these buds to two devices simultaneously as well, which makes for easy switching between, say, your phone and laptop. Battery life is formidable too at eight hours per charge — plus you get another 40 hours in the charging case, so it's unlikely that you'll ever get caught with completely depleted earbuds.

Our biggest gripes with the Space A40 buds are its lackluster microphones and a lack of auto pausing, the latter of which means your audio will continue to play even when you remove a bud to listen to someone speaking. But despite these shortcomings, the Space A40 offer a ton at their regular price, making them an even better bargain when on sale like this.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/our-favorite-anker-wireless-earbuds-are-back-on-sale-for-50-125051545.html?src=rss

The Apple Watch Series 9 is on sale for as low as $295 right now

Those looking to pick up a smartwatch for the first time, or upgrade from an older model, should check out the sale running on Amazon right now on the Apple Watch Series 9. Certain sizes and colors have deep discounts, including the 41mm Product Red version that's down to a record low of $295 — more than $100 off its regular price. The 45mm model with cellular connectivity is also on sale by way of a clippable $80 coupon, which brings the final price down to an all-time low of $350.

The Apple Watch has been at the top of our list of the best smartwatches for quite some time, and the Series 9 (introduced in September 2023) is a big update from its predecessor. It runs on a new S9 SiP, which is the most meaningful upgrade to the wearable's processor in years. While we didn't notice a huge jump in general performance — the Watch has been speedy and responsive for a long time — the SiP update does allow for faster Siri responses and enables offline Siri interactions.

The latest model also supports the new Double Tap gesture based on Assistive Touch. This allows you to navigate the Watch's interface without actually touching the screen, doing things like dismissing timers or starting workout tracking using finger gestures. You can only use Double Tap in specific instances in watchOS 10, but those actions are made easier and more accessible with this feature.

In addition, the Series 9 has a second-gen ultra wideband (UWB) chip that works with a new Find My iPhone interface, plus its screen is brighter than previous versions. All of those things combine make the Series 9 feel like the biggest update to the Watch in a few years. Nevertheless, the caveats remain the same as they have been for some time: you can only use the Apple Watch if you're an iPhone user, and it lags behind the competition when it comes to sleep tracking. Battery life contributes to the latter, but you'll still get a full day's worth of use before you need to charge it up overnight.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-apple-watch-series-9-is-on-sale-for-as-low-as-295-right-now-131012915.html?src=rss

One of our favorite headphones for running is 20 percent off in the Amazon Big Spring Sale

Spring is officially here and if you've been itching to get back outside for a run, or you want to start a new workout regimen, the Amazon Big Spring Sale might have just what you need to upgrade the music portion of your routine. A number of Jabra earbuds have been discounted for the sale, including a couple of our top picks for the best headphones for running. Key among them is the Jabra Elite 8 Active, which is on sale for $160 — only $10 more than its record-low price. The same sale price can be found direct at Jabra as well.

These nearly bested the Beats Fit Pro for the top spot in our guide. Not only are the Elite 8 Active buds comfortable and secure when doing any kind of workout, but they're also IP68-rated for dust and water resistance. Jabra also put these earbuds through military-grade testing to protect them from extreme humidity, high temperature, rain and altitude, so it's fair to say these buds can take a beating (probably way more than what you'd put them through even during your sweatiest runs).

The Elite 8 Active have solid sound quality and ANC out of the box, but you can customize EQ settings using its companion mobile app. If you prefer bassy sounds to get you in the zone before a workout session, you can change the sound profile to accommodate that. They also support spatial sound with Dolby Audio, which is a great perk to have and it will make the Elite 8 Active an even better option for those who want just one pair of buds to use all day, every day, not only during workouts. Jabra's HearThrough transparency mode is also handy, especially for runners who often train outside, since it lets some sound in so you can stay more aware of your surroundings.

Our biggest gripe with the Elite 8 Active buds is that HearThrough doesn't sound quite as natural as the transparency mode on our top pick, the Beats Fit Pro. Otherwise, they're a fantastic option for runners or anyone else who wants a solid pair of wireless earbuds that provide a complete package when it comes to sound quality, ANC and protection against sweat and the elements.

If you're looking to spend even less, it's hard to find a better value in Jabra's lineup than the Elite 4 Active earbuds. Those are on sale for $90 right now — not a record low, but close to it. They're our budget pick in the same guide thanks to their comfy, IP57-rated design, good sound quality and ANC, solid battery life and support for multipoint connectivity. And even though you don't get spatial audio on the Elite 4 Active, they do support custom EQ with the Jabra mobile app.

Your Spring Sales Shopping Guide: Spring sales are in the air, headlined by Amazon’s Big Spring sale event. Our expert editors are curating all the best spring sales right here. Follow Engadget to shop the best tech deals from Amazon’s Big Spring Sale, hear from Autoblog’s car experts on the best spring auto deals on Amazon, and find spring sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/one-of-our-favorite-headphones-for-running-is-20-percent-off-in-the-amazon-big-spring-sale-141545370.html?src=rss

The best headphones for running in 2024

There’s nothing quite like getting into the zone during a run, and for many of us, the right soundtrack is a requirement. Whether you need classic rock, reggaeton or an immersive audiobook to properly settle into your morning jog, you’ll get the best listening experience with a good pair of wireless headphones for running. But not all wireless workout headphones are created equally, and runners need to consider specific needs before investing in a pair like how long your runs are, what type of music or other audio you prefer listening to and how much you want to block out the world during a session. If you’re just getting into a new running routine and need a pair of headphones that can keep up, or you’re a seasoned pro looking for an upgrade, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested more than a dozen Bluetooth headphones for running to come up with our top picks and help you decide which is right for you.

What to look for in running headphones

Design

Before diving in, it’s worth mentioning that this guide focuses on wireless earbuds. While you could wear over-ear or on-ear Bluetooth headphones during a run, most of the best headphones available now do not have the same level of durability. Water and dust resistance, particularly the former, is important for any audio gear you plan on sweating with or taking outdoors, and that’s more prevalent in the wireless earbuds world.

Most earbuds have one of three designs: in-ear, in-ear with hook or open-ear. The first two are the most popular. In-ears are arguably the most common, while those with hooks promise better security and fit since they have an appendage that curls around the top of your ear. Open-ear designs don’t stick into your ear canal, but rather sit just outside of it. This makes it easier to hear the world around you while also listening to audio, and could be more comfortable for those who don’t like the intrusiveness of in-ear buds.

Water resistance and dust protection

Water resistance and dust protection is crucial for running headphones since you’ll likely be sweating while wearing them. Also, if you have the unfortunate luck of getting caught in the rain during a run, at least your gear will survive. Here’s a quick rundown of ingress protection (IP) ratings, which you’ll see attached to many earbuds on the market today. The first digit after the abbreviation rates dust protection on a scale from one to six — the higher, the better. The second digit refers to water- resistance, or waterproofing in some cases, ranked on a scale from one to nine. A letter “X” in either position means the device isn’t rated for the corresponding material.

Check out this guide for an even more detailed breakdown. All of the earbuds we tested for this guide have at least an IPX4 rating (most have even more protection), which means they can withstand sweat and splashes but do not have dust protection.

Active noise cancellation and transparency mode

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is becoming a standard feature on wireless earbuds, at least in those above a certain price. If you’re looking for a pair of buds that can be your workout companion and continue to serve you when you’re off the trail, ANC is good to have. It adds versatility by allowing you to block out the hum of your home or office so you can focus, or give you some solitude during a busy commute on public transit.

But an earbud’s ability to block out the world goes hand in hand with its ability to open things back up should you need it. Many earbuds with ANC support some sort of “transparency mode” or various levels of noise reduction. This is important for running headphones because you don’t want to be totally oblivious to what’s going on around you when you’re exercising outside along busy streets. Lowering noise cancelation levels to increase your awareness will help with that.

Battery life

All of the earbuds we tested have a battery life of six to eight hours. In general, that’s what you can expect from this space, with a few outliers that can get up to 15 hours of life on a charge. Even the low end of the spectrum should be good enough for most runners, but it’ll be handy to keep the buds’ charging case on you if you think you’ll get close to using up all their juice during a single session.

Speaking of, you’ll get an average of 20-28 extra hours of battery out of most charging cases and all of the earbuds we tested had holders that provided at least an extra 15 hours. This will dictate how often you actually have to charge the device — as in physically connect the case with earbuds inside to a charging cable, or set it on a wireless charger to power up.

How we test headphones for running

When testing headphones for running, I wear each contender during as many runs as possible. I typically run three to five days each week, completing at least a 5K (3.01 miles) each time. I’m looking for comfort arguably most of all, because you should never be fussing with your earbuds when you’re on the tread or trail (as a note, I primarily run outside). I’m also paying attention to fit over time, particularly if the earbuds get slippery or loose while I sweat, or if they tend to pop out or feel less stable in my ears as I pick up speed or make quick movements.

I also use the earbuds when not running to take calls and listen to music, podcasts and the like throughout the day. Many people will want just one pair of earbuds that they can use while exercising and just doing everyday things, so I evaluate each pair on their ability to be comfortable and provide a good listening experience in multiple different activities.

While I am also listening for audio quality, I’m admittedly not an expert in this space. My colleague Billy Steele holds that title at Engadget, and you’ll find much more detailed information about sound quality for some of our top picks in his reviews and buying guides. Here, however, I will make note of audio-quality characteristics if they stood out to me (i.e. if a pair of earbuds had noticeably strong bass out of the box, weak highs, etc). Most of the wireless workout headphones we tested work with companion apps that have adjustable EQ settings, so you’re able to tweak sound profiles to your liking in most cases.

Others headphones for running we tested

Apple AirPods Pro

The Apple AirPods Pro have an IP54 rating, which protects them from brief encounters with dust and splashes. While that’s more dust protection than many other earbuds we tested, it’s the same level of water-resistance that most exercise-specific competitors have. We generally like the AirPods Pro, but the Beats Fit Pro offer many of the same features and conveniences (namely good transparency mode and the H1 chip), with a design that’s more appropriate for working out.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

The Powerbeats Pro are a good alternative to the Beats Fit Pro if you’re a stickler for a hook design. However, they cost $50 more than the Fit Pro (although they’re often hovering around $180) and don’t offer any significant upgrades or additional features aside from their design. They’re also quite old at this point (having launched in 2019) and it appears Beats is putting more effort into updating its newer models instead.

Anker Soundcore AeroFit Pro

The Soundcore AeroFit Pro is Anker’s version of the Shokz OpenFit, but I found the fit to be less secure and not as comfortable. The actual earbuds on the AeroFit Pro are noticeably bulkier than those on the OpenFit and that caused them to shift and move much more during exercise. They never fell off of my ears completely, but I spent more time adjusting them than I did enjoying them.

JBL Endurance Peak 3

The most noteworthy thing about the Endurance Peak 3 is that they have the same IP68 rating as the Jabra Elite 8 Active, except they only cost $100. But, while you get the same protection here, you’ll have to sacrifice in other areas. The Endurance Peak 3 didn’t blow me away when it came to sound quality or comfort (its hook is more rigid than those on my favorite similarly designed buds) and their charging case is massive compared to most competitors.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-headphones-for-running-120044637.html?src=rss