Punjab Times

Spotify needs every win against Apple it can get

A pattern of play and pause buttons
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

This is Hot Pod, The Verge’s newsletter about podcasting and the audio industry. Sign up here for more.

Hello! Today, I have a look at what Europe’s regulatory moves against Apple mean for Spotify, and podcasting more broadly. Plus, a lightning round featuring all kinds of audio stories from the purely business (a cash influx at iHeart) to the delightfully criminal (a missing radio tower).

As a heads-up, I will not be publishing Hot Pod next week due to Hot Pod Summit and On Air Fest. Insiders, I’ll be back on Friday. As for the rest of you, I’ll see you in March.

EU expected to slap Apple with $540 million fine

If this turns out to be true, it would be a big win for Spotify in its perpetual battle with Apple. In 2019, Spotify filed a…

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Framework is selling a cheap modular laptop

The Framework laptop open, outdoors, on a red tablecloth with a garden and the wall of a house in the background. The screen displays a mountainous landscape.
A picture of the Framework 13 from The Verge’s 2021 review. | Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

Framework is now selling a $499 version of its modular 2021 Laptop 13, a “barebones configuration” equipped with an 11th-generation Intel i7-1165G7 CPU (Intel is now on its 14th generation for mobile processors). The company says this is a first for its affordable “B-stock Factory Seconds” machines that use leftover parts and ship without memory or storage included. So it’s cheap, but you’ll need to provide a couple of parts on your own.

Framework writes in its announcement that it’s also selling refurbished DDR4 RAM for half what it would cost new “to reduce the all-in price.” The base B-stock Laptop 13 configuration is one step up from the version that Monica Chin said in her Verge review was “uniquely friendly to user upgrades,” but…

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No, smartwatches and smart rings can’t measure blood glucose yet

The Apple watch Series 8 with sensor array lit up
Don’t believe smartwatches or smart rings that claim to noninvasively measure blood sugar levels. | Image: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

If you see a smartwatch or smart ring for sale that claims to noninvasively measure your blood glucose levels, don’t believe it. Today, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety communication that warns consumers, patients, and healthcare professionals that the agency has “not authorized, cleared, or approved any smartwatch or smart ring that is intended to measure or estimate blood glucose values on its own.”

To be crystal clear, no major wearable maker has a smartwatch or smart ring that’s currently capable of this. The most any Apple Watch, Fitbit, Samsung watch, or Oura Ring can do is support integrations with an FDA-authorized continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which are wearable devices that use needles to read blood…

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Google apologizes for ‘missing the mark’ after Gemini generated racially diverse Nazis

A Gemini image generation result featuring groups of almost entirely white men in white wigs
The results for “generate an image of the Founding Fathers,” as of February 21st. | Screenshot: Adi Robertson / The Verge

Google has apologized for what it describes as “inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions” with its Gemini AI tool, saying its attempts at creating a “wide range” of results missed the mark. The statement follows criticism that it depicted specific white figures (like the US Founding Fathers) or groups like Nazi-era German soldiers as people of color, possibly as an overcorrection to long-standing racial bias problems in AI.

“We’re aware that Gemini is offering inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions,” says the Google statement, posted this afternoon on X. “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately. Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s…

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Rivian says it is laying off 10 percent of its workforce as EV woes deepen

Rivian R1T truck
Photo by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

Rivian said it was laying off 10 percent of its workforce as concerns about slower electric vehicle sales continue to reverberate across the industry.

The company made the announcement as part of its fourth quarter earnings report, in which it said it likely wouldn’t make any more vehicles this year than it did in 2023. The company said it made 57,232 vehicles in 2023, of which 50,122 were delivered to customers. Rivian’s stock price fell on the news.

Rivian has gone through several rounds of layoffs in its short history. The company let go 6 percent of its workforce both in July 2022 and May 2023. This current round of layoffs is expected to affect over a thousand workers at the Irvine, California-based company, which has a combined…

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Black hole at center of the Milky Way resembles a football

The supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way is spinning so quickly it is warping the spacetime surrounding it into a shape that can look like a football, according to a new study. That football shape suggests the black hole is spinning at a substantial speed, which researchers estimated to be about 60% of its potential limit. …read more

Meta is testing cross-posts from Facebook to Threads

Despite quickly amassing more than 100 million users, Meta’s Threads hasn’t exactly broken through to the zeitgeist the way its main rival, X/Twitter, did. It’s arguably still awaiting its plane-on-the-Hudson moment. Nevertheless, Meta is doing what it can to bring attention to and keep eyes on the text-based platform, including by displaying popular threads on Facebook and Instagram.

Its latest test is out of a previous playbook too. The company is toying with letting users cross post from Facebook to Threads with ease. That could eventually make it easier for heavy Facebook users and/or content creators to share their thoughts, videos and photos on Threads without much more effort. As it stands, some users can share text and link posts from Facebook to Threads. There’s no guarantee that Meta will deploy the feature in the long term or expand it to include images.

It makes sense for Meta to at least try this. Users have long been able to post stories and Reels to Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, so adding Threads to the mix is a logical step. Meta confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s running the test, which is limited to iOS …read more

FTC concludes Twitter didn’t violate data security rules, in spite of Musk’s orders

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded Elon Musk ordered Twitter (now X) employees to take actions that would have violated an FTC consent decree regarding consumers’ data privacy and security. The investigation arose from the late 2022 episode informally known as “The Twitter Files,” where Musk ordered staff to let outside writers access internal documents from the company’s systems. However, the FTC says Twitter security veterans “took appropriate measures to protect consumers’ private information,” likely sparing Musk’s company from government repercussions by ignoring his directive.

FTC Chair Lina Khan discussed the conclusions in a public letter sent Tuesday to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, as reported by The Washington Post. Jordan and his Republican colleagues have tried to turn the FTC’s investigation into a political wedge issue, framing the inquiry as a free speech violation — perhaps to shore up GOP support from Musk’s legion of rabid supporters. Jordan and his peers previously described the investigation as “attempts to harass, intimidate, and target an American business.”

Khan’s response to Jordan adopts a tone resembling that of a patient teacher explaining the nuance of a complicated situation to …read more

Xbox’s Hi-Fi Rush is coming to PS5 on March 19

One of the worst-kept secrets in gaming is now official. Former Xbox exclusive Hi-Fi Rush is coming to PS5 on March 19. Many expected the announcement to come during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, which focused on third-party games, but Bethesda confirmed the news a few hours later. 

It emerged during the Direct that Pentiment and Grounded were Switch-bound. Both titles are also coming to PS4 and PS5 on February 22 and April 16, respectively. Grounded will have cross-play support between Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and PC.   

Meanwhile, Microsoft revealed that the fourth game making the jump to other platforms is Sea of Thieves, which is coming to PS5 on April 30. It will support cross-play between PS5, Xbox and PC.

Hi-Fi Rush debuted in early 2023 when Microsoft announced and released the game on Xbox and PC on the same day. The rhythm-based beat-’em-up quickly found a fan base in large part thanks to its killer visuals and soundtrack — the fact it was immediately available on Game Pass at no extra cost helped too. 

The PS5 version will include all content, including the two extra modes from the Arcade Challenge update. A digital deluxe …read more