Author: Shivendra Singh

Be skeptical about QR codes, warns the FTC

Illustration of a phone with yellow caution tape running over it.
Illustration by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned the public against scanning any old QR code in a consumer alerts blog last week. Naturally, the warning comes down to security and privacy — bad actors can put QR codes in inconspicuous places or send them via text or email, then just sit back and wait for a payday in the form of money, logins, or other sensitive information.

The New York Times reported that John Fokker, who heads threat intelligence at cybersecurity company Trellix, says Trellix found over “60,000 samples of QR code attacks” in the third quarter this year alone. The Times wrote that the most popular scams involved payroll and HR personnel impersonators and postal scams, among others. Early last year, police in several Texas…

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Researchers made VR goggles for mice to study how their brains respond to swooping predators

Believe it or not, scientists have been using virtual reality setups to study brain activity in lab mice for years. In the past, this has been done by surrounding the mice with flat displays — a tactic that has obvious limitations for simulating a realistic environment. Now, in an attempt to create a more immersive experience, a team at Northwestern University actually developed tiny VR goggles that fit over a mouse’s face… and most of its body. This has allowed them to simulate overhead threats for the first time, and map the mice’s brain activity all the while.

The system, dubbed Miniature Rodent Stereo Illumination VR (or iMRSIV), isn’t strapped onto the mouse’s head like a VR headset for humans. Instead, the goggles are positioned at the front of a treadmill, surrounding the mouse’s entire field of view as it runs in place. “We designed and built a custom holder for the goggles,” said John Issa, the study’s co-first author. “The whole optical display — the screens and the lenses — go all the way around the mouse.”

Dom Pinke/ Northwestern University

In their tests, the researchers say the mice appeared to take to the new VR environment …read more

Apple may release M3 MacBook Air in March and refine its iPad lineup with new iPad Pro and iPad Air

Apple may release M3 MacBook Air in March and refine its iPad lineup with new iPad Pro and iPad Air

Apple is planning some big hardware drops for early 2024, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. In the Power On newsletter, Gurman predicts the company will release the next generation of iPad Pro and iPad Air in March — each of which is expected to come in two sizes — and the new M3 MacBook Airs. The Mac Studio and Mac Pro will likely be much later to the M3 party; Gurman writes that Apple won’t have these ready for release until at least the end of 2024, and they could even slip into 2025.

With the release of its new iPads, Apple is planning to make clearer distinctions between the models so the choices are less confusing for consumers, according to Gurman. The iPad Pro is expected to get Apple’s new M3 chip, an OLED display and come in two sizes: 11 and 13 inches. Apple will also release a new Magic Keyboard just for the Pro, Gurman says. The iPad Air, on the other hand, will come in a 10.9-inch version and a new 12.9-inch option, and use the M2 chip. The changes should make the differences between the high-end, midrange and standard iPads more obvious …read more

Apple’s third-generation AirPods are back on sale for $140

Apple’s third-generation AirPods are back on sale for $140

Apple’s third-generation AirPods are back down to their record-low Black Friday price. The discount on Amazon shaves $30 off the AirPods’ normal price of $170, making them just $140 right now. Given that this is the lowest we’ve seen these AirPods go for, they’re likely to sell out. Amazon is also running a deal on Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro, or the latest version of the Pro earbuds, which are down to $200. The 20 percent discount isn’t the lowest they’ve ever dropped, but it’s still $50 off the usual price and only $10 more than the all-time low.

The third-generation AirPods were released in 2021 and completely refreshed the design. Apple shortened the stem, making the regular buds look more like the AirPods Pro, and tweaked the fit to make them more comfortable to wear. They’re lighter and angled in a way that’s meant to better hug the ear and deliver sound more effectively. In our review, we gave the third-gen AirPods a score of 88.

Apple’s third-generation AirPods also brought durability improvements to the non-Pro model. These AirPods and the charging case are IPX4 rated for water and sweat resistance, which is especially helpful …read more

Apple’s iPad plans for next year could be a lot less confusing

Image of the Apple logo surrounded by gray, pink, and green outlines
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Apple is reportedly making some changes next year that it hopes will make it easier for people to fit a specific iPad to their needs. For instance, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman wrote in his Power On newsletter today that the next iPad Air will get an M2 chip in addition to the larger second model that’s been rumored.

One of the other ways Apple is reportedly tackling the issue is to drop the 9th-generation model that’s been dangling off of the front of the lineup since last year’s pricier 10th-generation iPad redesign launched. Gurman says sending the 9th-gen iPad out to pasture will let the company “slowly phase out some of its older Pencils.” Presumably, the 2015 Apple Pencil will be the first to go, once there’s no Lightning port…

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