In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. Too much, in fact, 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 from this week. From everything Apple announced at its big September 9 event to Stephen Colbert’s Late Show debut and everything in between — it’s all here.
Whenever Apple makes a new product announcement, it dominates the news cycle. When Tim Cook took the stage on September 9, he gave the press and the Apple loyalists a lot to think about with a lineup of upgrades and new devices. Some things were expected, like the Apple TV refresh and the announcement of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. But Apple snuck in some surprises, launching a 13-inch iPad Pro and accompanying stylus dubbed the Apple Pencil. Plus, Apple gave release dates for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, so you’ll know how much longer your wait is for the anticipated updates.
The 2016 election is not politics as usual. Now John McAfee is running for president of the United States. The controversial tech figure explained in a piece for Digital Trends why he is running for office. “I am humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received,” McAffee wrote, adding that, “I have found that the issues we are bringing up are resonating. America cares about these things.” He said that his stances on the issues are forthcoming, but in the meantime, he wanted to share why he hopes to win a seat in the Oval Office.
The next retro-inspired member of the Volkswagen family might be a people-mover that harkens back to the iconic Bus, a new report coming out of England finds. Designed largely with the North American market in mind, the yet-unnamed 21st century Bus will be markedly inspired by the original, rear-engined model that was built in various forms from late 1949 up until 2013. Like the Microbus concept that was introduced in 2001, the updated model will share three important styling cues with the original hippy Bus.
Stephen Colbert finally took his seat at the new Late Show desk in the Ed Sullivan Theater last night, and his debut episode gave him an outlet for the deluge of Donald Trump jokes that have been building up inside him for the last few months. Although he did use Trump’s June campaign announcement to mock the brash politician and plug The Late Show, he’s mostly had to watch other comedians have all of the Trump fun. Understandably, moderation just wasn’t possible.
It hasn’t even been a week since Stephen Colbert started hosting CBS’ The Late Show, and already, he’s getting his guests to make some pretty spectacular claims. Oprah may have watched Tom Cruise jump on a couch, but Colbert got Elon Musk to advance a decidedly gasp-worthy theory about how best to make Mars a more hospitable environment for human life. “The fast way is to drop nuclear weapons over the poles,” the Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal founder told Colbert. To which the host responded, “You’re a supervillain!”
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week
Striking up a partnership with a company called Hologram USA, the Apollo theater will be using hologram technology to display a virtual simulation of Billie Holiday in a show that’s scheduled to begin in late 2015. With approval from Holiday’s estate, her hologram will be displayed in combination with her recorded music. In addition, she will welcome guests to the Harlem venue, a theater where she performed nearly thirty times during her musical career. Besides the live show, the hologram technology is being used for another purpose. According to Apollo president Jonelle Procope, many New York City tourists visit the theater during the day, but aren’t able to actually watch a show.
Last week, to relatively little fanfare, Hulu unveiled an “ad-free” tier that allows users to stream till their eyeballs bleed, without interruption. While there are a few caveats — including some short ads on Grey’s Anatomy and a few other series – the implications for Hulu couldn’t be bigger. The move pushes Hulu from “also ran” into an elite circle of players offering infinite binging, on demand, with no ads attached. With fresh shows from all the big networks, solid-gold classics like Seinfeld, and original shows like Difficult People that are gaining cachet online, Hulu has been piling up plenty of promise. But now it’s the only service offering new seasons of scores of major series right after airing, commercial-free. That’s kind of a big deal. And competitors like Netflix and Amazon should take notice.
After a series of lengthy delays and shifting priorities, SpaceX finally announced a semi-solid timeline for when it intends to launch the massive Falcon Heavy rocket on its maiden voyage. While speaking at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts’ Space 2015 conference, SpaceX’s vice president of mission and launch operations Lee Rosen confirmed a “late April-early May” 2016 window for the Falcon Heavy’s launch into the ether.
Honda sells a lot of cars, but it makes plenty of other motorized things as well. The Japanese company thought it was about time to build something that made use of this diverse experience, which is where its Project 2&4 comes in. Debuting at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, this concept blends elements of car and motorcycle design. The result is a vehicle that looks like an oversized go-kart, and is powered by the 999-cc V4 from one of Honda’s MotoGP race motorcycles. The mid-mounted engine produces 215 horsepower and 81.5 pound-feet of torque, and is harnessed to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Honda did not discuss performance figures, but it’s not like there’s much vehicle to push around. The diminutive 2&4 is just 119 inches long, 71 inches wide, and 38 inches tall. It weighs just 900 pounds.
Any online game can see its share of less-than-helpful players, but the mechanics of a game like Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm can see players take things pretty seriously. Most of the time this means they might get a little irritated if a player is doing badly, others can take things too far. Games like Dota 2 and League of Legends have already spent a lot of time combatting what are known as “toxic” players, and now that Heroes of the Storm is increasing in popularity, it’s time that Blizzard took the same steps. The company announced in a blog post today that it has revamped the categories that can be reported as abusive