Cobalt crisis coming? Apple in direct talks with miners of battery mineral

Rocky future

In case you had any doubts the future is going to run on batteries, Apple’s latest move may help convince you. Bloomberg says the Cupertino tech giant is in talks with mining companies that pull the mineral cobalt out of the ground, since that’s one of the primary ingredients in batteries. Until now, Apple just relied on battery makers to round up the stuff, but Cook and company apparently see a cobalt crunch on the horizon.

They apparently want to lock down a cobalt supply line before Elon Musk’s Telsa electric car company – and pretty much every other car company – dominates the battery market. As you can imagine, cars use a lot more of the stuff than cell phones, so until someone comes up with a cobalt-free battery that works as well or better, you can bet the fight over cobalt is just getting started. Bloomberg says about a quarter of the cobalt mined in world goes into portable device batteries.

Is that a Snapdragon on your head, or…

Mobile World Congress is coming up next week, and while the annual tech fiesta in Barcelona is typically focused on phones, that is slowly changing as the chips that power our smart phones find their way into other devices, like “always on” and cell-connected PCs, and now, VR headsets. Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 chipset is set to make it’s big debut at MWC, most likely in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone, but also in a VR headset.

Fortune says the chipmaker will be bringing a “reference design” VR headset to the show that runs on the 845, and it’ll be part of Qualcomm’s new “Snapdragon 845 Xtended Reality platform.” The headset will feature dual 4-megapixel displays, and it’ll be a standalone device rather than relying on a tether to a PC. With low-cost stand-alone headsets coming from other VR equipment makers, the timing might be right for Snapdragon setup.

Pista means “expensive,” right?

Hey, we know, your Ferrari 488 GTB just isn’t cutting it at the track. Really, we feel your pain. Solution? The new Ferrari 488 Pista, a new track-focused version of the gorgeous supercar that still street legal, but cuts weight and adds power. The twin-turbo V8 gets a light massage to put out 710 horsepower, while also losing weight.

The body has been reworked a bit to better flow air and cool off that heavy breather of an engine. Team Prancing Horse has also teched up the 488 a bit more by including something called the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer, which apparently re-works the braking performance to let you hang the rear end out a bit more exiting that big turn at the local track. And be sure to pop for the carbon fiber wheels as well.

Price? The base 488 is a quarter million dollars, so expect the Pista version to be… a bunch more than that. Hey, you know the rule: Want to go faster? Just add money.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

Photography

Sony’s latest sensor is stacked, backlit, and equipped with a global shutter

Say this five times fast: Backlit, stacked, global shutter sensor. Sony managed to cram all three technologies into one sensor. The result is a high-speed sensor with a higher resolution without sacrificing low-light quality.
Gaming

Get a head start mastering Apex Legend's newest character Octane with our guide

Apex Legends' newest legend Octane ran so fast in the Titanfall 2 gauntlet that he blew off his legs. Now dropping into Kings Canyon with prosthetics, Octane's ability set is still centered around speed. Here's how to play as Octane.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Scout, Soraya Darabi, and Joey Ricard

On episode 53 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle discussed the latest in tech news, including Amazon's new delivery drone, CRISPR babies, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook, flying taxis, and Tesla police car

On episode 54 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Caleb Denison discussed Facebook's plan to integrate Instagram, Boeing's experimental flying taxi, and more.
Digital Trends Live

DT Live: Super Bowl hangover, crypto disaster, and an electric plane

On episode 58 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle examined the tech news of the day, including the 2019 Super Bowl commercials, Chip Yates' incredible electric plane, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook Messenger change, GoNation, and more

From new Facebook Messenger features to 5Ge coming to select smartphones, we discussed the latest in tech news on this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also welcomed Chaz Tanase of GoNation and Dan Ferguson of Groove Jones to the show.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple versus news industry, Alexa Skills, and the OGarden

On Episode 65 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Luke Larsen broke down the biggest new stories from the world of tech, including Apple's feud with news publishers, the OGarden, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon HQ, Guy Kawasaki, and when to buy a streaming stick

On Thursday's episode of Digital Trends Live, we discussed trending headlines like the latest news surrounding Amazon's new HQ plans to the Mars rover Opportunity. We also sat down with author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki to talk about his…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Oscar visual effects, digital distractions, and more

On episode 72 of Digital Trends Live, we discussed news including the discovery that Google's Nest Secure has a hidden microphone, and welcomed author Brian Solis to the show to talk about his latest book.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: MWC 2019, ezCater, and an Apple streaming service

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, we sat down with John Hall of Calendar.com and Briscoe Rodgers of EzCater. We were also joined by DT's Caleb Denison to discuss how Apple is looking to revolutionize TV streaming.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Twitter features, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and more

On episode 77 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Luke Larsen explored the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including the new Star Wars attraction, Twitter's experimental moderation tools, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Save the Internet Act, T. rexes in VR, and more

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, we were joined by Joel Comm of Bad Crypto and Jason Horton of Ghost Town. Later in the show, we joined Jeremy Kaplan on location at the American Museum of Natural History.