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Weekly Rewind: Apple’s secret lab, astronaut applications, smartwatch cheating

International Space Station
Image used with permission by copyright holder
In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories you may have missed. Everything from climbing Mt. Everest in VR to Apple Pay arriving in China next year — it’s all here.

Climbing Mt. Everest in VR is so terrifying that my knees wobbled

Thanks to the power of VR, one of DT’s writers got to climb Everest, scare himself stupid on an imaginary rope bridge, then shoot down aliens in space like Han Solo. HTC’s Vive and Nvidia powered the demo, and it was an incredible experience. It was created using more than 300,000 photos of Everest, then modeled using Unreal Engine 4 by Sólfar Studios and RVX, the latter being responsible for the amazing effects in the movie Everest. The Vive hasn’t officially launched yet, but the headset is coming soon.

Read the full story here.

NBA dominates all other sport leagues, reaches 1 billion Vine loops

LeBron_James_(15823062226)
Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison

Football may be the overlord of television ratings, and baseball may be America’s (way in the) past time, but basketball rules the social media landscape — and it just planted another flag. The National Basketball Association became the first sports league to accumulate a billion loops on Vine.

Read the full story here.

Apple Pay coming to China in early 2016, company announces

apple-china-store-pudong
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple Pay is finally set to roll out in China. The Cupertino company said Thursday it’d struck a deal with China UnionPay, the country’s powerful credit- and debit-card processor which already has around five million payment terminals at retail sites across the nation. The deal also involves 15 of China’s leading banks, the company said in a release. Apple said its mobile payments service would arrive in 2016.

Read the full story here.

Seattle just became the first city to allow Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize

Uber
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In a landmark unanimous decision on Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to allow Uber, Lyft, and other for-hire drivers the right to unionize. It’s a move that these transportation giants have tried desperately to avoid, as the regulations that come along with unionizing (or the ability to do so), may come as a hindrance and lessen the edge the companies have maintained over traditional taxi services.

Read the full story here.

Wanna be an astronaut? NASA has just opened application process

nastronaut
NASA

NASA on Monday officially launched its application process for its next lot of space travelers, and anyone can apply. Sure, competition will be super-tough, and you’ll need some solid qualifications under your belt, but who’s to say you’re not up to the job. “NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there,” NASA administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden said in a release.

Read the full story here.

Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week

Rise of smartwatches prompts top Japanese university to ban ALL watches from exams

exam
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of Japan’s top educational institutions has banned all watches from entrance exams in an effort to limit options for cheats. The move by Kyoto University reflects a growing concern that smartwatches could be used by dishonest examinees to access forbidden information, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the university has decided to issue a blanket ban on all wristwatches as it’s not always easy to tell at a glance if someone’s watch is old-school or smart.

Read the full story here.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter pledge to take down hate speech within 24 hours in Germany

woman-using-facebook
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Internet in Germany is about to get quite a bit cleaner, as the German government reached an agreement with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to have the three behemoths take down hate speech within 24 hours, reports Reuters. With Germany already having to cope with an influx of more than 1 million refugees, its government has been trying to crack down on rising online racism due in large part to the influx.

Read the full story here.

Spoiler alert: Reddit is banning users who post Star Wars: The Force Awakens details

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Disney

A lucky few viewers have already seen the eagerly anticipated new Star Wars movie. Although some attendees immediately posted spoiler-free reviews on Twitter, others have not been so well behaved. Moderators on the popular link-sharing forum Reddit warned users that people are purposefully posting Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers in threads. Fortunately, moderators at the popular /r/movies subreddit have taken it upon themselves to save the day by banning spoilers.

Read the full story here.

Apple has a secret laboratory where it’s developing new screen technology

Apple-Screen
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple has a secret laboratory in Taiwan, where it’s suspected of working on new display technology for use in future Apple devices, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg. Apple apparently moved into the facility in April this year, and in October, changed its Taiwanese company records to list it as its local headquarters.

Read the full story here.

Tinder is now having you swipe right on being an organ donor

Tinder-Organ-Donation
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While most people are looking for a love match on Tinder (or at least a hook-up), a new partnership with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service has users swiping right for a different sort of match. In one of the more interesting use cases of the app to date, the NHS is creating special profiles that will prompt matches to sign up as organ donors, sending them a link to the NHS Organ Donor Registry.

Read the full story here.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals: Save big on unlocked models
The back of the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus.

For a couple of years now the Samsung Galaxy S22 has made for some of the best phone deals you can shop. This includes both the Galaxy S22 and its big brother in the lineup, the Samsung Galaxy S22+. These phones have been out for a little while now, and they’re getting more and more difficult to find brand new. We’ve managed to find a few deals available on both the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22+, however, and there are several ways to save on refurbished models out there. We’ve rounded up all of the best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals taking place at a number of different retailers, so read onward for all of the details on how to save.
Samsung Galaxy S22 deals at Samsung

Samsung isn’t currently carrying very many older models of the Samsung Galaxy S phone. You’ll find some newer models like the recently released Samsung Galaxy S24 there, but if you’re looking for something from the S22 model lineup all you’ll find is a Galaxy S22 renewed model. It’s offering some great savings, however, as you can claim it for just $679 with up to $300 in trade-in savings.

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Best Apple Watch deals: Series 9 and Ultra 2 discounted
Someone wearing an Apple Watch Ultra 2, showing the Modular Ultra watch face.

The Apple Watch has become one of the best smartwatches on the market. And while Apple deals are traditionally somewhat difficult to come by, the Apple Watch has always been a good Apple product to turn to for some savings. That’s certainly the case right now, as some of the best smartwatch deals are on various Apple Watch models, and several models are offering substantial savings. From the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to older Apple Watch models that come in at relatively low prices, we’ve tracked down all of the best Apple Watch deals taking place right now. Read onward and you’ll find plenty of details on how to save, as well as some information on which Apple Watch may best suit your needs.
Best Apple Watch SE deals

The first-generation Apple Watch SE, which was released in 2020, and the second-generation Apple Watch SE, which was rolled out in 2022, are the most affordable ways of getting an Apple Watch. They don't give up too much in order to keep costs low compared to their more expensive peers though. The Apple Watch SE 2, in particular, still provides comprehensive fitness tracking features, a comfortable fit, and excellent software as it can be updated to Apple's latest watchOS 10.

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Best Samsung tablet deals: Discounted tablets as low as $184
Recent apps view on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

Samsung makes a huge lineup of quality yet affordable tablets, many of them in competition to be among the best tablets, and many more often found among the best tablet deals. With a wide set of prices ranging from budget to premium, a Samsung tablet makes a great investment for almost anyone who enjoys the touchscreen form factor. There are quite a few Samsung tablet deals worth shopping right now, and we’ve done the heavy lifting of tracking down the best. Among them you’ll find discounts on the likes of the budget tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and the high-end tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S9. So whichever end of the tablet spectrum you fall on, or if you land anywhere in between, read onward for more details on the best Samsung tablet deals available right now.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $184, was $230

If you need a bigger screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is another solid budget option. It is 10.5 inches and runs a much better 1920 x 1200 resolution, which also makes it a better option for watching content. It does have a much smaller capacity at 32GB, although you can always expand it with a MicroSD, so it's not a dealbreaker. That said, the 3GB of RAM is very much within the limits of what's going to give you a smoother experience, but it's the sort of compromise you deal with when going for a larger screen at a budget price.

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