Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 versus Tech Reviewers: Who’s to blame?

There’s a massive missing link between tech companies and tech reviewers… and instead of fixing it, we’re playing the blame game.

The backlash following bad reviews from MKBHD and other tech outlets like The Verge, Engadget, and CNET has been swift from the AI community. The internet is ablaze, either blaming Marques Brownlee for being too harshly critical in his review of the Humane AI Pin and the Rabbit R1 device… or shaming Humane and Rabbit for not delivering on what they promised. The blame, however, lies on the inherent relationship between the two parties. Like two people who aren’t emotionally ready to date, these AI companies shouldn’t have even shipped their products to tech reviewers.

The job of a tech reviewer, as its name rather simply suggests, is to provide an objective (or sometimes even a subjective) analysis of a product for their consumers/viewers. Tech Reviewers highlight technology through the lens of ‘Is this worth the money or not’… The problem, however, is that Humane and Rabbit needed beta testers, not tech reviewers.

Who’s to blame?

Let’s look at every single stakeholder in this AI charade and you’ll see that there’s some blame to go around for everyone. The first reaction, and justifiably so, is to blame Humane and Rabbit. They overpromised, underdelivered, hyped the product, raked in tonnes of VC and preorder money, but couldn’t stick the landing. Companies all across the world have been rushing to develop the ‘next iPhone’, and while Samsung has hedged all its bets on folding devices, and Apple on a $3400 headset, Humane and Rabbit happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right buzzwords. Imagine this, an AI assistant powerful enough to do anything you ask – it’s literally something out of a sci-fi movie, and that’s precisely what these companies hoped we’d think. They weren’t wrong. However, they committed the cardinal sin of the entrepreneur – they pitched something that didn’t exist. Sure, this wasn’t as detrimental as the stunts Elizabeth Holmes or Sam Bankman-Fried pulled, but in essence, it was still a far-fetched lie or rather a very convenient truth. An AI that does everything you ask doesn’t exist and probably won’t for a while… but a cute design or a body-mounted projector was more than enough to deceive us… and for the sake of this argument, let’s operate under the good-faith assumption that Humane and Rabbit didn’t know they were pushing a bad product.

Why the hardware trickery though? Why did Humane and Rabbit NEED to build hardware devices that looked fancy/quirky/cool? Here’s where the blame shifts to the powers that be – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta. For every reviewer that said the Humane AI Pin or Rabbit R1 “could’ve been a smartphone app”, there are thousands of engineers at these companies building JUST THAT. It’s no coincidence that Humane and Rabbit BOTH had their products publicly reviewed well before Google I/O and Apple’s WWDC. Rumor has it that Apple and Google are just waiting to launch AI assistants with similar features, tying into all the smartphone-related services. These large companies have repositories of consumer data, and they have a powerful influence, putting them miles ahead of the starting line when it comes to the AI race. The only way Humane and Rabbit could escape the clutches of these companies was to isolate themselves completely from them. Not to mention, there’s absolutely no way Apple would allow a third-party smartphone app to have Humane or Rabbit’s level of control over your entire device. Sure, Humane and Rabbit could have made all-powerful AI assistant apps, but they A. wouldn’t be as impressive or attractive, and B. they’d be doomed to fail because of the goliath forces that are Apple and Google.

A snippet of the Twitter outrage following MKBHD’s review. Ironically, Sam Sheffer (new media head for Humane) admits the software is bad, while the product sells for $700

A venture capitalist’s job, in Shark Tank parlance, is to “pour gasoline on a fire”, so there’s definitely some blame to share here too. AI became a buzzword in the second half of 2022 and it’s been on the top of everyone’s mind ever since. I don’t blame VCs for seeing potential in the ideas that Humane and Rabbit came up with, but if there’s one thing that absolutely pisses me off, it’s the fact that they took the criticism of Humane and Rabbit’s devices a little too personally. After all, a VC thrives on value creation – take that away and you have a very angry person who’s poured millions into a project that now doesn’t have anywhere to go. However, bad products and bad companies are all too common in the VC world. What they didn’t expect, however, was their golden goose (AI) to lay a rotten egg.

It’s easy to say that tech reviewers were simply doing their job and deserve no blame (after all, I’m a tech reviewer too), but the truth is that the reviewers also share a bit of blame in this entire cycle of events. However, not for the reason you think. Arguably, Marques Brownlee deserves praise for being forthright with his review – some reviewers would probably hesitate to say something bad about a company if there was sponsorship money involved – and although MKBHD didn’t have any financial stake in this product, they spoke their mind (as did every other reviewer). But that isn’t where the problem lies. The problem lies with the hype train that tech reviewers both create and ride. These reviewers are, by nature of their profession, enthusiasts when it comes to technology – so it’s no surprise that they were the biggest cheerleaders of Humane and Rabbit 5-6 months back when the products were first teased. If anything, the media should have balanced their enthusiasm with a pinch of real-world salt. Had that been the case, these disastrous reviews would’ve stung less under the pretext of the age-old “I told you so”…

Dave2D’s review of the Rabbit R1 device may just be the most sensible, erudite take on the internet.

So what’s the solution?

If the last few years have proven anything, it’s that designers and companies operate in such secrecy, they often don’t put themselves in the shoes of the consumer to begin with. With Tesla pushing the steering yoke over a wheel even though consumers have been begging for the latter, with Apple needing EU regulators to force them into adopting USB-C, with Google cancelling products left right and center against the wishes of their consumers, or firing employees who object to their technology being used for warfare (whoops, I went there), there’s a massive disconnect between what companies do and what consumers want. Even though at a smaller scale, Humane and Rabbit seem to find themselves in a similar soup. Whether it’s the holier-than-thou attitude that’s hard-coded into being an entrepreneur, or whether it’s a bunch of VCs deciding what’s good for the public, the one voice that seems to constantly be left out of the room is that of consumers… and their only representative for now is the humble tech reviewer, who actually is incentivized to see things from their points of view. Sadly, that also means Marques Brownlee ends up being in the line of fire when he has to call an AI gadget ‘the worst product he’s ever reviewed’…

The solution lies in reimagining how products are developed and promoted. Humane and Rabbit needed beta testers, not reviewers, who would’ve helped them swallow the hard pill that is the realization that their product isn’t ready for the real world. After all, it’s better to hear that bitter truth behind closed doors instead of an influencer saying it on YouTube… right?

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This ultra-futuristic Batmobile inspired by motorsports is fit for the Batman 2 flick slated for 2025 release

The Batmobile, as a symbol of power, stealth, and ingenuity has captivated audiences for generations with its dynamic presence in the DC Comics universe. Beyond the pages of comic books and the screens, the crime-fighting accomplice has inspired real-world automotive designers to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation. From its humble beginnings as a stylized car in the 1940s to its latest incarnation in the movies, the Dark Knight’s legendary ride has undergone numerous adaptations, each reflecting the technological advancements and design trends of its respective era.

While many of these interpretations remain confined to the realm of fiction, some have transcended into reality, sparking imaginations and fueling the dreams of automotive enthusiasts and designers alike. This concept design is no different as it lands straight out from a realm of the future for Gotham’s vigilante to take charge of the streets!

Designer: Frédéric LE SCIELLOUR

The humungous size of this crime-fighting machine can be gauged from the minuscule size of the driving seat. Top it off with those spiked-up wheels for maximum grip even in the most inhospitable terrain or inclement weather conditions. You can even deem this vehicle fit for a universe where Batman and the junkies of Mad Max collide. For sure it is built for high-speed chases in the city and the outer bounds with equal dexterity. The low-slung riding position and the wide tires ensure maximum grip aided by those metal spikes. The uniquely shaped rear wing seems inspired by the Formula-1 cars of the current generation to increase the downforce. This Batmobile looks fit for a circuit racing world with its motorsports-inspired shape.

To beep up the intimidation quotient while maintaining a modern look, the Batmobile gets small red LED headlights and fog lamps up front. The overall glossy bodywork is contrasted by the matte titanium grey finish that looks gorgeous.

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The Brooklyn Nine-Nine precinct gets immortalized with its very own LEGO build

Chills… Literal Chills.

Meet the most lovable police force in the NYPD. This adorable build by LEGO creator Ben Fankhauser details the entire 99th precinct, complete with all the rooms and characters of the hit TV series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The set, in great detail, features all of the show’s recurring characters, along with the bullpen, captain’s office, rec room, kitchen, and the printer room. The only missing room seems to be the infamous briefing/meeting room that formed a core part of the planning (and chaos) behind some of the squad’s missions… but that’s a trade-off I’m happily willing to make.

Designer: Ben Fankhauser

The beauty of Fankhauser’s build is just the sheer amount of detail gone into recreating every aspect of the precinct’s floor, along with a few secret details scattered along the way. “The set is packed full of Easter eggs,” says Fankhauser, detailing some of the dizzyingly specific references to the show itself. The break room has the training dummy, while Holt’s office has his pet corgi, Cheddar. You’ll find a portrait of Holt on Terry’s desk (right beside his yogurt), and those disgusting chocolate and cheese fountains on Hitchcock and Scully’s tables. Speaking of disgusting, Jake Peralta’s pet rat Algernon can be found somewhere too, as can Boyle’s ancestral sourdough starter.

The details extend to the characters found in the set too. You’ve obviously got the showrunners, Jake Peralta, Charles Boyle, Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz, Sgt. Terry Jeffords, Capt. Raymond Holt, Gina Linetti, Norm Scully, and Michael Hitchcock… but the set also includes a few crowd favorites like Holt’s partner Kevin Cozner, and arguably Jake’s soulmate, the elusive Doug Judy, the Pontiac Bandit!

The set comes in at a little over 1,500 pieces, with the bulk of this piece count coming from small 2×2 tiles used for the flooring. The smooth floor is perfect for anyone aiming to recreate the full bullpen, playing out scenes from the TV series.

Almost emblematic of the series itself, this LEGO build from Ben Fankhauzer was ‘cancelled’ by LEGO not once, but twice. It reached its 10,000 vote mark twice but was rejected by the LEGO internal team (probably for licensing reasons). Unfazed by defeat, Fankhauser is giving the LEGO MoC (My Own Creation) yet another shot at being turned into a box-set, and has already gathered a staggering 6,382 votes (including my own) and is looking to hit the 10,000 mark for a third, and hopefully last time. You can cast your vote for the build on the LEGO Ideas website here. Captain Holt would want this.

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The Iconic Interstellar ‘Miller’s Planet Scene’ gets its own Adorable LEGO Brick Recreation

“Cooper! This is no time for caution.”

As the Ranger Ship descended on Miller’s Planet, hope suddenly turned to dismay and then to horror as Joseph Cooper and Dr. Brand realized that not only was the planet unviable for human life, their crew member was dead, they had wasted 23 years simply in the minutes they spent on the planet’s surface, and they were just mere moments away from a killer tidal wave approaching them from the horizon. The scene from blockbuster space-thriller Interstellar is noteworthy for causing a wide range of emotions and creating a visual tension only director Christopher Nolan can conjure. Now, LEGO builder Minibrick Productions is paying tribute to the Miller’s Planet scene with their tiny LEGO-based recreation that features the ranger aircraft, astronauts Cooper and Brand, and the shapeshifting robots TARS and CASE.

Designer: Minibrick Productions

Miller’s Planet is the first of the 3 planets explored by the group of astronauts looking for a viable alternative to earth. While crew-member Romilly stays back on the main ship, Cooper and Brand (played by Michael McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) travel to the planet, located close to a black hole. Little did they know that not only would this visit be futile, it would cost them decades because of the planet’s proximity to the black hole, causing a warp in space-time. Minibrick Productions’ rendition of this scene is as accurate as it gets, with all the characters and a rather realistic-looking Ranger spacecraft to match. McConaughey and Hathaway come outfitted in their space suits, while TARS and CASE, two monolithic-looking robots sport repositionable arms that allow them to walk like a human.

The Ranger craft itself is more than just aesthetic. Pop its hood off and there’s an entire cockpit where Cooper and Brand fit right in, along with a crawl-space where TARS or CASE can dock themselves. The rear hatch on the craft can open and close too, revealing the ramp through which the astronauts enter and exit the craft.

“This set would be mindless fun to a child who dreams of exploring space, as well as any collector who wishes to display one of the most iconic vehicles from science fiction,” says Minibrick Productions, the creator behind this LEGO scene. The LEGO Miller’s Planet scene from Interstellar comprises just 532 bricks, making it a relatively simple build for kids and enthusiasts alike. It currently sits in LEGO’s Ideas forum with over 4000 votes from the community. If it reaches the 10,000 mark, LEGO’s internal team will review it before turning it from a fan-made submission into a box-set that anyone can buy. Click here to vote for this build!

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Apple Could Announce “HomePod Max” with Bigger Display, Smart Home Features, and Apple TV Integration

It’s all but confirmed that Apple’s been working on a Max version of their HomePod speaker. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned earlier this year that Apple has internally developed their larger HomePod model, but has held back on releasing it – with a hopeful debut by or before 2024. Hinting at a possible 7-inch display (although there’s a fair chance 7 inches may fall short for the kinds of applications Kuo has mentioned), the analyst and credible rumor expert said: “The HomePod, which equips a panel, could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products, marking a significant shift in the company’s smart home strategy.”

While we await Apple’s Scary Fast event scheduled for October 30th, here’s a look at what this bigger HomePod could possibly look like. Apple did give the original HomePod a refresh this year, which means the HomePod Mini is due for a refresh too. The company hasn’t upgraded the AirPods Max in years either, so now seems like the best time to debut the new HomePod Max – a speaker that champions Apple’s product ecosystem while being an audiophile’s best friend and a truly versatile smart-home accessory.

Designer: Sarang Sheth

For a device with a $300 price tag, the HomePod has sure felt slightly disappointing – not in terms of audio, but rather in terms of that limited circular display on top. The circular display has served no purpose apart from visualizing Siri’s voice through gradients, and allowing users to toggle playback and control volume. A larger display on a larger speaker opens up a variety of possibilities. For starters, it opens up the possibility for a much more comprehensive interface that can alternate between playing music, providing a more visual Siri experience, serving as a smart Apple Home dashboard, and being the perfect device for Apple’s latest iOS trick – the Standby Mode.

The HomePod Max with Standby Mode

Current HomePods don’t really exploit their display to its full potential, but simply expanding that display wouldn’t necessarily work. Having an upward-facing screen is a usability issue because people need to walk up to it to really see what’s on it. Conversely, having a screen facing frontwards ends up compromising on the speaker’s front-firing capabilities. The optimal solution, is a tilted display that’s easy to view from a distance while still facing directly at you up close. It’s easy to tap on and interact with, and doesn’t impede the HomePod Max’s ability to disperse 360° audio all across your room.

HomePod Max in White

Other HomePod Max features include the kind you’d find on your iPhone or iPad. The device’s screen serves as a neat display for all sorts of actionable information. Apart from the Standby Mode, the HomePod Max also displays the weather, shows you a more intuitive chat UI with Siri, allows you to monitor aspects of your smart home, and even enables synchronization with Apple TV aside from Apple Music.

Weather on the HomePod Max

Siri on the HomePod Max

The HomePod Max seems like the only natural progression for Apple’s speaker range. Every product that Apple has launched a ‘Mini’ version of has seen a Max version too. The Mac Mini got a Mac Studio last year, the iPad Mini has had a larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the iPhone Mini series, although discontinued, has a rival in the ‘Plus’ variant of the phone. Similarly, the HomePod Max gives the HomePod and HomePod Mini a bigger sibling, while doubling down on a whole slew of features that the other HomePods don’t have.

Would this mean being able to pair multiple HomePods as a part of a 2.1 or 5.1 setup? Well, Apple’s a true master of Spatial Audio, and HomePods have been known to sync up rather well, so it’s entirely conceivable that the HomePod Max could serve as a thundering woofer while the smaller HomePods become tweeters to complete the experience. The entire experience is further enhanced by the fact that Apple’s speakers can calculate the size of the room and their relative position in it, optimizing sound in the process. Pair this with Apple TV, or even better, with the Vision Pro and you have perhaps the most immersive movie-watching experience money can buy!

A definitive launch date for Apple’s ‘bigger’ HomePod isn’t clear although Ming-Chi Kuo and other analysts have pretty much guaranteed that the company’s been working hard at a bigger HomePod and that it’s arriving sooner rather than later. Ming-Chi Kuo also has it on good authority that supplier Tianma will be developing the display panel for this HomePod Max. Until then, let’s see what Apple has in store for us come Monday, October the 3oth!

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Nothing is ACTUALLY Selling a Limited Supply of Its Own Beer

Announced on April 1st as an ‘Anti-April Fools Joke’, the tech company is actually rolling out limited stock of its Nothing Beer (5.1%) to the masses in UK. Move aside, Tesla Tequila and Gigabier

When Carl Pei mentioned that he wanted to make technology fun again, I’m pretty sure nobody guessed it would involve literal happy times! The UK-based tech startup announced the Nothing Beer as a tongue-in-cheek joke back in April, but turns out, they were serious about it after all. Crafted with care at Freetime Beer Co in Wales, Beer (5.1%) boasts a pale hue and a crisp texture. Its flavor profile is delicately nuanced, with a harmonious blend of malt and Kazbek hops, along with a scent that blends notes of citrus and earthiness with a spicy finish.

“At Nothing, we’re always looking for ways to do things differently and to make everyday more fun. We’re a brand that brings people together so making a beer felt like a natural progression for us. We have also prototyped it at multiple Nothing Store Soho parties and people seemed to really enjoy it,” stated Ryan Latham, Global Director Brand & Creative at Nothing. “As a London-based tech company we are proud to have partnered with another independent British brand in Freetime Beer Co for this launch”.

Available on the nothing.tech website, the beer will be sold as a 6-pack for £20 (plus £10 special signed postage required to deliver alcohol). The beer will be available starting 10AM British Standard Time on Thursday 5 October 2023, and will be limited to delivery within the UK.

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This Steampunk-Looking Gumball Machine from LOTTE Will Also Play Music for You

LOTTE chewing gum holds a special place in the hearts of many South Koreans, serving as more than just a minty delight. Its history is intertwined with the nation’s past, offering solace during the challenging aftermath of the 1960s war. While the candy itself has remained a cultural icon, the LOTTE brand has imprinted itself on South Koreans in an indelible way, etched into memory through a memorable TV commercial jingle that resonates with modern consumers even today. Enter the XYLITOL Music Box, a cleverly designed device that blends the humble chewing gumball dispenser with the nostalgic sound of the LOTTE theme.

Designed as a tabletop device, the XYLITOL is an entirely mechanical masterpiece that has a multi-sensorial appeal. It’s beautiful to look at, with an intricate, transparent & chrome design. Rotate the key at the bottom and the machine dispenses one singular ball of gum while playing the iconic LOTTE theme. The result is also an auditory and gustatory experience that ends with the sweet taste of candy!

Designer: LOTTE Corporation, Design and Management Center

Inspired by the sleek contours of XYLITOL chewing gum, the XYLITOL Music Box is a visual masterpiece. Its exterior radiates simplicity and minimalism, while a transparent cover unveils an intricately detailed structure, a delicate dance of gears and components that captivates the eye. The craftsmanship behind this device borders on something you’d expect from a Swiss horologist, with mechanical interactions that work like literal clockwork to deliver your sweet treat.

But don’t let its intricate steampunk-ish design fool you; the XYLITOL Music Box is user-friendly to the core. A simple turn of the bottom handle sets the music box in motion, delivering not just sweet tunes but also a chewy delight. For those moments when you prefer to savor the gum without the fanfare, a convenient dispensing lever is at your fingertips, letting you simply push to dispense a piece of gum… but honestly, where’s the fun in that?!

The XYLITOL Music Box is a Winner of the Red Dot Award: Design Concept for the year 2023.

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Adidas Allows Homer Simpson To Take Center Stage on Stan Smith Sneakers

In today’s interconnected digital age, memes have become a language of their own, transcending traditional forms of communication and bridging gaps between introverts and extroverts alike. These quirky, often relatable snippets of humor have the power to create communities founded on shared interests and a collective sense of amusement. Riding this wave of contemporary culture, numerous clothing brands have tapped into the world of memes, leveraging their relevance to create products that resonate with meme-loving audiences. Notably, even iconic brands like Adidas have embraced this trend, blending the worlds of memes and fashion in unexpected and delightful ways.

Designer: Adidas

As the world navigated through the challenges of the COVID-19 era, The Simpsons emerged as a symbol of intrigue and even anticipation due to some strikingly coincidental plotlines. The show’s memes, characterized by their widespread relevance and global reach, have cemented The Simpsons’ place in the modern cultural landscape. Leveraging this phenomenon, Adidas has made a shrewd move by selecting a character that seamlessly integrates with its signature color palette and appeals to the meme-loving crowd.

Adidas has seamlessly woven the iconic world of The Simpsons into its renowned Stan Smith sneakers, creating a symbiotic fusion that transcends fashion trends. Following in the footsteps of Marge Simpson, who previously adorned the tennis shoe with her distinctive blue hair, the spotlight is now on her lovable yet hapless husband, Homer. This evolution feels like a natural progression that elicits enthusiastic shouts of “D’oh!” from fans and enthusiasts alike.

Homer Simpson, renowned for his eccentric escapades and endearing quirks, Homer’s iconic presence has been imprinted onto the timeless silhouette of Adidas’ Stan Smith sneakers. With a keen sense of aesthetics, Adidas has masterfully incorporated one of Homer Simpson’s most famous scenes into its design, a scene where Homer backs into a bush, instantly recognizable to meme enthusiasts worldwide.

Gif

The classic vegan leather silhouette of the Stan Smith sneaker retains its minimalist charm, but now, the heel tab is transformed into a canvas for creative expression. An embroidered artwork of Homer Simpson’s unmistakable silhouette, retreating into a lush backdrop of green fleece, adds a playful twist to the classic design. This ingenious integration of a meme-worthy moment transforms the sneaker into a conversation starter, a piece of wearable art that encapsulates humor and style.

Homer’s humor-laden face peeks out from underneath the laces of the shoe’s tongue, a cheeky update that’s sure to bring a smile to anyone who notices. Even the sides of the shoe don’t escape the Simpson treatment; the Stan Smith logo is playfully replaced with Homer’s name, further solidifying the marriage between sneaker and meme.

The attention to detail is paramount, extending beyond the shoes themselves. Custom sock liners adorned with memorable Simpsons characters and a specially designed box that pays homage to the iconic meme complete the package. Even Adidas’ trademark triple stripes are ingeniously incorporated into the design, now an integral part of the foliage that surrounds Homer’s animated escapade.

With a price tag of $120, these Simpson-themed Stan Smith sneakers offer more than just footwear; they embody a cultural shift where fashion, humor, and shared experiences intertwine. Available for purchase through Adidas retailers and online platforms, these sneakers serve as a testament to Adidas’ ability to capture the zeitgeist while maintaining its classic appeal.

In a world where memes have become a modern form of communication, Adidas has not only recognized their significance but has artfully transformed this digital language into tangible fashion. By embracing the universality of memes and harnessing the enduring appeal of The Simpsons, Adidas has once again solidified its place as a trailblazer in merging contemporary culture with timeless style. So, for all the meme lovers out there, it’s time to lace up in a pair of Homer Simpson Stan Smiths and stride confidently into a world where fashion, humor, and iconic moments collide.

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Harry Potter’s Most Lovable Character Gets Their Own LEGO Build

I didn’t cry when Dumbledore died. Heck, I was hurt when Hedwig died but I didn’t shed a tear… However, I bawled my eyes out when Dobby died. It came as such a sudden shock, and it seemed like Dobby deserved so much more than he got, that his death felt like a cruel stab in the back more than anything. Dobby was easily the most lovable character in the entire series, and it only made sense that the beloved house elf should get his own LEGO kit. The LEGO Harry Potter “Dobby™ the House-Elf” build is designed for kids upwards of 8 years old, utilizing a mere 403 bricks (making it one of the easier builds in the LEGOverse).

Designer: LEGO

The lovable house elf comes with a few distinct design details that make it even more heartwarming. For starters, the elf has moving limbs, a rotating head, adjustable ears, and repositionable fingers that make Dobby look around, point at objects, snap his fingers, or even grip items like the sock that helped Dobby become a free elf. The elf figurine comes along with three distinct objects that define his role in the Chamber of Secrets… starting with the cake that Dobby levitates and drops on the guests at the Dursley household, followed by Tom Riddle’s diary which Harry gifts to Dobby at the end of the movie, with a sock in it that helps set Dobby free.

The Dobby figurine stands at 19cm (7.5 inches) in height, on a LEGO platform with Dobby’s nameplate on it. The LEGO Harry Potter Dobby™ the House-Elf kit will start at $34.99 when it officially launches in stores and online, although LEGO hasn’t announced a launch date yet.

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Apple spent 3 full minutes talking about THIS feature on the new iPhone 14 Pro…

Dubbed the ‘Dynamic Island’, this new hardware feature has some incredible UI/UX potential. With the notch gone, Apple has arrived at a more meaningful ‘pill-shaped’ camera cutout called the Dynamic Island… and it isn’t just a camera cutout, it’s an interactive part of the OS, offering a unique way to experience notifications, multitasking, and background apps. The notch walked, so the Dynamic Island could run.

Of the 22 minutes devoted to the iPhone 14 Pro, VP of Human Interface Design Alan Dye spent 3 full minutes just talking about the pill, or what the company likes to officially call the ‘Dynamic Island’. For reference, that’s more time than they spent talking about their new A16 Bionic chip (which clocked in at around 2 and a half minutes). Heck, the Dynamic Island even got its own separate video on Apple’s YouTube page, showing exactly how important it is for the company and how integral it is to the iPhone’s experience moving forward.

For years, phone companies have tried to hide their notches and camera hole punches using clever tricks and illusions. Apple itself stands conveniently guilty of using dark stock wallpapers to make the notch disappear on phone adverts, and Android companies even designed wallpapers that rather cunningly camouflaged the hole punch camera cutout. I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks that the pill is a step back from the notch. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Dynamic Island is progress – to what degree is something that’s debatable.

There are two schools of thought regarding the island and its dynamism. There’s one group of people who think it’s Apple making the best of a bad situation, and then there’s the other group that I’m a strong, vocal member of – that instead of ignoring or hiding behind the cutout, Apple’s found a way to celebrate it in a manner that feels refreshing and truly inspired. The Dynamic Island isn’t just a front-facing camera cutout anymore. It isn’t an area that resembles the lack of a display. It’s its own interaction element that forms the practical backbone of the OS. Apple’s basically created a new button. A button that serves as a dynamic notification bar, as a means to access and view important information, switch between active apps, and multitask seamlessly. It almost seems like a secondary feature that this button also clicks selfies and scans your face to unlock your phone. The name ‘Dynamic Island’ is incredibly corny (even Marques Brownlee thinks so), but heck, it describes the pill’s shape and purpose perfectly. Apple has a strong ethos of doing something brilliantly or not doing it at all – it’s why they still haven’t made a calculator app for the iPad, and why they waited four long years to ditch the notch. In parlance that youngsters would understand, it’s either a hell yes, or a hell no.

The Dynamic Island relies on the iPhone 14’s OLED screen, which has the ability to switch off individual pixels, causing them to turn pitch black. This is what drives the island’s shapeshifting effect, causing it to magically expand and contract in different ways and forms. The execution, at least from what Apple showed us, is flawless. The island stores background apps, giving you hints of context regarding information that may be important – like the music you’re listening to, charging stats, how far your Lyft is, and whether your phone’s on silent. Unlike with the MacBook Air’s new notch that sometimes ends up obscuring menu buttons and bits of text, Apple’s presentation of the Dynamic Island perfectly hides the cameras and sensors in plain sight. Digital elements don’t get blocked out by the camera, which means you don’t even notice the camera is there. The Dynamic Island is an evolved version of Apple’s iconic home button – but placed on top.

That being said, there’s one small problem with the Dynamic Island. No, it isn’t the fact that it still overlaps on top of videos on YouTube. It’s, in fact, the island’s placement. Located right at the top of your phone’s screen, the island is difficult to reach with your thumb. Quite like Apple’s unfortunately placed ‘back’ button, users with average-sized hands will have a degree of difficulty tapping on notifications and accessing other apps in single-hand usage. Given that this zone is now the de-facto hotspot for all app-related activity, the island is easy to view, but will require your non-phone-holding hand during interaction. Is that a deal-breaker, though? Not even close. Apple’s managed to pull off something remarkable here, and one could argue that it’ll probably set the standard for other phones moving forward, because the pill absolutely has everyone talking… talking for more than just 3 minutes!

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