ASUS’ first Copilot+ PC locks when you walk away and unlocks when you return

ASUS isn’t sitting out the rush of AI-enhanced Copilot+ PCs, which also includes new models from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and, of course, Microsoft. The “ultra-thin” ASUS Vivobook S 15 has Windows AI features like memory assistant Recall, the image generator Cocreator, and several ASUS-exclusive AI apps.

One of the more intriguing AI-powered features of the ASUS Vivobook S 15 is its use of the AiSense IR camera. ASUS says it can detect your presence and adjust the display accordingly. If you look away, the display will dim, and it will brighten up again when you look back. And if you step away from the computer, it will lock — and unlock when you return. While we can't vouch for its effectiveness before trying it, the feature sounds super handy for security and privacy if it delivers consistently.

Another baked-in AI feature is StoryCube, an app that ASUS says can automatically organize RAW photos and videos. In addition to the standard Copilot+ features announced on Monday, the laptop also includes Windows Studio Effects, which can automate lighting adjustments and noise removal in video calls. It also supports Microsoft’s Live Captions (real-time, AI-powered subtitles).

Straight-on marketing image of the Asus Vivobook S 15 laptop against a white background.
ASUS

On the hardware side, the Vivobook S 15 runs on the Snapdragon X Elite chip with a built-in Qualcomm Hexagon neural processing unit (NPU), which ASUS claims can process 45 TOPS (that’s 45 trillion operations per second). The PC ships with a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD and up to 32GB of 8448 MHz LPDDR5X RAM.

The laptop has a 15.6-inch OLED screen with a 2,880 x 1,620 resolution and an 89 percent screen-to-body ratio. It also includes a Harmon Kardon-certified audio system with Dolby Atmos sound. ASUS claims its 70 Wh battery can last up to 18 hours.

One of the Vivobook S 15’s selling points is its thin aluminum body: Its tapered design has a thickness ranging from only 0.58 to 0.63 inches (14.7 mm to 16 mm). The PC weighs a mere 3.13 lbs (1.4 kg), slightly lighter than Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Air.

The laptop has a healthy port selection, including two USB4, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A, HDMI, an audio combo jack and a microSD slot. Its keyboard has customizable single-zone RGB lighting and a Copilot key for quick access to the ChatGPT-powered assistant.

The ASUS Vivobook S 15 is available for pre-order now through the company’s retail partners, starting at $1,300. The company says additional configurations will launch later this year.

Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/asus-first-copilot-pc-locks-when-you-walk-away-and-unlocks-when-you-return-195952186.html?src=rss

HBO’s upcoming MoviePass documentary is a must-watch for fans of tech trainwrecks

The rise and fall of MoviePass is one of those stories just begging for the documentary treatment and, well, HBO has got you covered. The platform just set a premiere date of May 29 for MoviePass, MovieCrash, a documentary helmed by filmmaker Muta’Ali and produced by none other than Mark Wahlberg.

The film chronicles the “meteoric rise and stranger-than-fiction implosion” of the movie ticket subscription platform, which originally set the world on fire when it first launched back in 2011. However, it wasn’t long before the company realized that the “all you can eat” approach that works so well with gyms and other membership clubs is a weird fit for movie theaters, particularly at the service’s low price point. In just eight years, the company went from the fastest growing subscription service since Spotify to total bankruptcy.

As the trailer shows, the documentary will feature interviews with many of the major players involved in the various stages of MoviePass. This includes original co-founder Stacy Spikes and former CEO Mitch Lowe. There will also be plenty of interviews with journalists who covered the service, FTC personnel and former subscribers. Incidentally, the trailer promises an anecdote in which a customer sent a box of feces to the MoviePass offices, and we don’t want to miss that.

Though premiering on HBO at 9PM ET on May 29, the documentary will also be available on-demand via Max. Director Muta’Ali has made a few good documentaries, including Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn and Cassius X: Becoming Ali.

As for MoviePass, well, it’s a long and complicated story. The app captured the hearts of theater-goers in 2011 by promising unlimited trips to the cinema for a single monthly subscription fee. The love affair didn’t last. The company ceased operations in 2019 and filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Between those dates, there have been reports of wire fraud, securities fraud and significant data breaches, among other outlandish scenarios. In short, it’s perfect fodder for a documentary.

MoviePass is actually still around. Co-founder Spikes recently bought the company’s assets, brought on new investors and re-launched the service. However, the updated pricing model is on the confusing side, with credits and tiers, and seems to have not captured lightning in a bottle for the second time.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/hbos-upcoming-moviepass-documentary-is-a-must-watch-for-fans-of-tech-trainwrecks-184923511.html?src=rss

HBO’s upcoming MoviePass documentary is a must-watch for fans of tech trainwrecks

The rise and fall of MoviePass is one of those stories just begging for the documentary treatment and, well, HBO has got you covered. The platform just set a premiere date of May 29 for MoviePass, MovieCrash, a documentary helmed by filmmaker Muta’Ali and produced by none other than Mark Wahlberg.

The film chronicles the “meteoric rise and stranger-than-fiction implosion” of the movie ticket subscription platform, which originally set the world on fire when it first launched back in 2011. However, it wasn’t long before the company realized that the “all you can eat” approach that works so well with gyms and other membership clubs is a weird fit for movie theaters, particularly at the service’s low price point. In just eight years, the company went from the fastest growing subscription service since Spotify to total bankruptcy.

As the trailer shows, the documentary will feature interviews with many of the major players involved in the various stages of MoviePass. This includes original co-founder Stacy Spikes and former CEO Mitch Lowe. There will also be plenty of interviews with journalists who covered the service, FTC personnel and former subscribers. Incidentally, the trailer promises an anecdote in which a customer sent a box of feces to the MoviePass offices, and we don’t want to miss that.

Though premiering on HBO at 9PM ET on May 29, the documentary will also be available on-demand via Max. Director Muta’Ali has made a few good documentaries, including Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn and Cassius X: Becoming Ali.

As for MoviePass, well, it’s a long and complicated story. The app captured the hearts of theater-goers in 2011 by promising unlimited trips to the cinema for a single monthly subscription fee. The love affair didn’t last. The company ceased operations in 2019 and filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Between those dates, there have been reports of wire fraud, securities fraud and significant data breaches, among other outlandish scenarios. In short, it’s perfect fodder for a documentary.

MoviePass is actually still around. Co-founder Spikes recently bought the company’s assets, brought on new investors and re-launched the service. However, the updated pricing model is on the confusing side, with credits and tiers, and seems to have not captured lightning in a bottle for the second time.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/hbos-upcoming-moviepass-documentary-is-a-must-watch-for-fans-of-tech-trainwrecks-184923511.html?src=rss

A ‘vastly reduced’ Netflix, Peacock and Apple TV+ bundle is coming this month

As if it wasn’t already clear enough that streaming is basically just cable by another name at this point (though it's arguably less expensive for now), many of the top services are banding together to create bundles. A package combining Peacock, Netflix and Apple TV+ is expected to debut later this month. This StreamSaver bundle will be available to Comcast customers, according to CEO Brian Roberts.

While Roberts didn’t reveal how much the package will cost or what tiers of each service it will include, he said StreamSaver will offer them “at a vastly reduced price to anything available today.” According to Variety, he told attendees at MoffettNathanson’s Media, Internet and Communications Conference that the aim was to “add value to consumers” and take dollars away from competing streaming services.

The StreamSaver announcement comes a few days after it emerged that a bundle of Disney+, Hulu and Max is coming this summer. A super-sized sports bundle featuring ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox services is also slated to arrive later this year, though critics such as FuboTV have claimed that the offering is anti-competitive. No pricing for either package has been announced.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/a-vastly-reduced-netflix-peacock-and-apple-tv-bundle-is-coming-this-month-135815744.html?src=rss

A Disney+, Hulu and Max streaming bundle will soon be available in the US

Disney has expanded its partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery to offer a streaming bundle sometime this summer. The companies have announced that they'll soon give people the option to pay for Disney+, Hulu and Max subscriptions together in the US. Hulu on Disney+ recently came out of beta, a few months after Disney took full ownership of the former late last year. An ad-free bundle with the two services costs $20, while a Max subscription without ads costs $16 a month. An offering with all three will most likely be cheaper than $36, and viewers will have the option to get their ad-supported versions if they want to pay even less. 

Disney's ESPN is also working with Warner Bros. Discovery, as well as Fox Sports, to launch a streaming sports service, the companies announced back in February. The joint service will stream sporting events from all the networks the companies own, including games from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.

"This new offering delivers for consumers the greatest collection of entertainment for the best value in streaming, and will help drive incremental subscribers and much stronger retention," said JB Perrette, the CEO and President for Warner Bros. Discovery's Global Streaming and Games. Indeed, subscribers might be less inclined to give up a bundle of three if ever they decide to cull the services they're paying for. As The New York Times notes, Disney has seen good results from its Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ bundle, so we can probably expect it to come up with more offerings like it. 

The companies have yet to reveal pricing and an exact release date for their new product, but they said it will be available for purchase on any of the streaming platforms' websites. Subscribers might also get notifications to get the bundle for an additional payment if they already have any of the services, similar to how Disney+ members get asked if they want to pay $2 more for Hulu content. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/a-disney-hulu-and-max-streaming-bundle-will-soon-be-available-in-the-us-033155312.html?src=rss

Meta is testing cross-posting from Instagram to Threads

Meta is testing a new way to boost engagement on Threads using Instagram. The company is now testing the ability to cross-post photos from Instagram to Threads. Meta confirmed the experiment after a handful Threads users noticed the setting crop up in Instagram (TechCrunch was first to report the change).

According to the company, cross-posting from Instagram to Threads is optional, though users can opt to have automatically all new photo posts shared to their Threads account as well. (Those who are part of the test can tweak cross-posting settings in the Instagram app.)

Meta has been testing a number of features to boost the growth of Threads, which currently has 150 million users. The company has also experimented with cross-posting from Facebook to Threads and promotes Threads posts directly in Facebook and Instagram feeds, regardless of whether they use the app. It’s also encouraging creators to be more active on the app. Meta has been offering bonuses to creators in exchange for high-performing posts on Threads.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-is-testing-cross-posting-from-instagram-to-threads-234245961.html?src=rss

Disney+ will start showing some live sports from ESPN this year

Some live sports and studio shows from ESPN will start appearing on Disney+ this year. Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors on an earnings call that this follows an encouraging start for Hulu programming on the company's namesake streaming service

"By the end of this calendar year, we will be adding an ESPN tile to Disney+, giving all US subscribers access to select live games and studio programming within the Disney+ app," Iger said. "We see this as a first step to bringing ESPN to Disney+ viewers, as we ready the launch of our enhanced standalone ESPN streaming service in the fall of 2025." Iger also noted that ESPN+ subscribers will also be able to access content from that service through the new Disney+ tile, so Disney bundle subscribers will more or less have everything in one app.

Iger didn't reveal exactly what sports Disney would make available to everyone on Disney+, but made it clear that it would only bring a “modest” amount of programming over from ESPN. The company is also working with Fox Sports and Warner Bros. Discovery on another sports streaming service that's slated to arrive later this year and will include games from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA. 

Meanwhile, Disney+ just had its first profitable quarter in its four and a half years of existence. The service had been expected to lose $100 million in the first three months of 2024, but it actually posted a $47 million profit — surely aided by Taylor Swift's Eras Tour concert film debuting on the platform in March.

However, Disney's streaming business as a whole (which also includes Hulu and ESPN+) lost $18 million during the quarter. That's still a vast improvement over the $659 million that side of the business lost a year earlier as Disney edges toward overall profitability in streaming.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/disney-will-start-showing-some-live-sports-from-espn-this-year-173524610.html?src=rss

The Morning After: Meta is offering popular Threads users thousands of dollars in bonuses

Meta is offering some creators thousands of dollars if they go viral on Threads. The payouts are part of a new invitation-only bonus program that rewards creators who use Meta’s newest app.

An Instagram support page offers some details. It says creators can earn money “based on the performance of your Threads posts” or “the number of posts you create.” So, go for either quality or quantity, it seems. It appears terms of the bonuses are unique to each creator.

According to one post on Threads, at least one creator was offered “up to $5,000” for Threads posts or replies with 10,000 views or more. Unfortunately, we can’t see how many views that screenshot has so far, and whether it's making him money.

While not nearly as high as the $10,000 bonuses Reels creators could earn in the past, it’s still pretty generous, given the lower effort needed to type a Threads missive.

The company refers to it as being in “testing,” but it offers a preview of how Meta may try to boost engagement on the service. It’s the same playbook as Meta used for Reels on Facebook and Instagram.

— Mat Smith

The DJI Mini 4K is a $299 drone for beginners

OpenAI will train its AI models on the Financial Times’ journalism

Gadgets that make great Mother’s Day gifts

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Peacock just announced it’s raising prices again, less than a year since it did it last. The new price will be $8 per month for Peacock with ads and $14 per month, ad-free. Those prices start on July 18 for new subscribers and August 17 for existing users. The 2024 Summer Olympics is right around the corner, and the streamer will show “every sport and event, including all 329 medal events.” So there’s a reason.

Continue reading.

TMA
Engadget

Apple’s iPad has been added to the list of tech products that must abide by the EU’s DMA rules. The European Commission has officially designated iPadOS as a gatekeeper under the DMA, alongside Apple’s Safari web browser, iOS and the App Store. To ensure iPadOS compliance, Apple will have to allow third parties to interoperate with iPadOS, so that means third-party app stores for those tablets.

Continue reading.

Walmart’s Discovered experience started out as a way for kids to buy virtual items for Roblox inside the game. But today, that partnership will include a pilot program for teens to buy real-life goods stocked on digital shelves before they’re shipped to your door. Anyone who buys a real-world item will receive a free virtual twin. The first products to benefit from this are a crochet bag from No Boundaries, Onn Bluetooth headphones and a TAL stainless steel tumbler. And we all know: Kids love to show off their stainless steel tumblers.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-meta-is-offering-popular-threads-users-thousands-of-dollars-in-bonuses-111551945.html?src=rss

The Morning After: Meta is offering popular Threads users thousands of dollars in bonuses

Meta is offering some creators thousands of dollars if they go viral on Threads. The payouts are part of a new invitation-only bonus program that rewards creators who use Meta’s newest app.

An Instagram support page offers some details. It says creators can earn money “based on the performance of your Threads posts” or “the number of posts you create.” So, go for either quality or quantity, it seems. It appears terms of the bonuses are unique to each creator.

According to one post on Threads, at least one creator was offered “up to $5,000” for Threads posts or replies with 10,000 views or more. Unfortunately, we can’t see how many views that screenshot has so far, and whether it's making him money.

While not nearly as high as the $10,000 bonuses Reels creators could earn in the past, it’s still pretty generous, given the lower effort needed to type a Threads missive.

The company refers to it as being in “testing,” but it offers a preview of how Meta may try to boost engagement on the service. It’s the same playbook as Meta used for Reels on Facebook and Instagram.

— Mat Smith

The DJI Mini 4K is a $299 drone for beginners

OpenAI will train its AI models on the Financial Times’ journalism

Gadgets that make great Mother’s Day gifts

​​You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here!

Peacock just announced it’s raising prices again, less than a year since it did it last. The new price will be $8 per month for Peacock with ads and $14 per month, ad-free. Those prices start on July 18 for new subscribers and August 17 for existing users. The 2024 Summer Olympics is right around the corner, and the streamer will show “every sport and event, including all 329 medal events.” So there’s a reason.

Continue reading.

TMA
Engadget

Apple’s iPad has been added to the list of tech products that must abide by the EU’s DMA rules. The European Commission has officially designated iPadOS as a gatekeeper under the DMA, alongside Apple’s Safari web browser, iOS and the App Store. To ensure iPadOS compliance, Apple will have to allow third parties to interoperate with iPadOS, so that means third-party app stores for those tablets.

Continue reading.

Walmart’s Discovered experience started out as a way for kids to buy virtual items for Roblox inside the game. But today, that partnership will include a pilot program for teens to buy real-life goods stocked on digital shelves before they’re shipped to your door. Anyone who buys a real-world item will receive a free virtual twin. The first products to benefit from this are a crochet bag from No Boundaries, Onn Bluetooth headphones and a TAL stainless steel tumbler. And we all know: Kids love to show off their stainless steel tumblers.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-meta-is-offering-popular-threads-users-thousands-of-dollars-in-bonuses-111551945.html?src=rss

JetBlue’s in-flight entertainment system just got a watch party feature

JetBlue is revamping its in-flight entertainment system, complete with a new branding. It’s now called Blueprint and brings several features that should make your next flight just a teensy-bit less grueling. The biggest news here is a watch party feature that lets customers view the same TV show or film with up to five other people.

This is actually pretty cool, as watching stuff with friends and family during a long flight typically requires the finicky “push play at the exact same time and hope nobody has to go to the bathroom” method. The watch party feature includes functionality that pauses content for all viewers, should one have to take a break to deal with existential panic from being six miles above the ground. It also works no matter where the seats are.

The watch party tool is just one aspect of the revamped in-flight entertainment experience. The system will now provide content recommendations based on previous viewing history, as it will be tied to individual accounts. This means that customers can save their favorite movies and shows for repeat viewings. It also means that people can pick up where they left off from one flight to the next. JetBlue says this can be useful for a connecting layover flight or even a trip months down the line.

JetBlue has a content partnership with Peacock, so customers have access to the streamer’s catalog during flights. Both Twisted Metal and Mrs. Davis are solid in-flight binges. The company also teased more “exclusive entertainment and offers” coming to Blueprint in the future.

As for availability, Blueprint is ready to go on JetBlue aircraft with AVANT seatback touchscreens. This includes the Airbus A321neo, Airbus A321LR (Long Range) and Airbus A220.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/jetblues-in-flight-entertainment-system-just-got-a-watch-party-feature-185913233.html?src=rss