Leica’s pricey — but sexy — CL camera is the closest thing you can get to an original portable luxury shooter without spending more than a used Toyota Corolla. The CL, which launched last year, is essentially a pared-down M series camera that has gotten rave reviews over the past year. Now, in time for Noel, Leica is offering a Street Kit that includes the CL along with a Leica Summicron-TL 23 mm f/2 lens. This flat pancake lens gives you a “tried and true 35 mm equivalent focal length for the quintessential reportage style of shooting” and should suffice for street shots taken on the wing while wandering the darkened alleyways of certain Central European cities.
Now for the bad news. Leica is traditionally some of the most expensive and best-made camera gear on the market, and this is no different. While you get a camera that should last you well into the next millennium, you’ll pay a mere $4,195 for the privilege, making it considerably less than the M series but considerably more than the camera on your phone. The package saves you a little over $800 if you purchased each item separately.
That said, it’s nice to see a bundle like this still exists for a solid, beautifully wrought camera, a nice lens and even a leather carrying strap. Besides, isn’t the creation of photographic art worth the price of admission? As noted Leica lover Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Au fond, ce n’est pas la photo en soi qui m’interesse. Ce que je veux c’est de capter une fraction de seconde du reel.” Preach, brother.
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Netflix, one of the only profitable TV streaming services (along with Hulu), is reportedly planning on increasing the monthly price of its ad-free subscription, The Wall Street Journal reported today. However, the price bump reportedly won’t come for “a few months,” as Netflix is waiting for the actors’ and writers’ strike to formally end, the publication said.
WSJ said “people familiar with the matter” informed it that Netflix will probably launch its price hike in the US and Canada. WSJ couldn’t confirm how much prices will increase or when the increases will start. A representative for Netflix could not immediately be reached by Ars Technica for comment. Netflix declined to comment to the Journal.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is voting on a tentative agreement with TV and movie studios this week, while the Screen Actors Guild is undergoing negotiations.
Streaming prices keep rising
Today, Discovery+ announced that it’s increasing prices for its ad-free tier from $6.99 to $8.99 per month, effective immediately. A similar move from Netflix would follow the broader streaming industry’s trend of jacking up prices.
Netflix’s last price increase was in January 2022, when its ad-free standard plan went from $14 to $15.49 per month, and its 4K plan went from $18 to $20 per month. Those prices look a lot different from Netflix’s debut monthly pricing ($7.99 or $11.99 for 4K).
As subscriber numbers stagnate, though, Netflix has been looking for other ways to increase revenue. A price hike is one obvious way to attempt to do that. Netflix also introduced an ad plan ($6.99 per month) this year and got rid of its mid-tier, ad-free Basic plan (making the lowest price for ad-free Netflix $15.49 per month instead of $9.99 per month). The company also cracked down on password sharing, charging $7.99 per month for each user outside the main household.
As noted by WSJ today, Netflix, as well as streaming rivals Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, have pointed to its ad-supported tiers generating higher average revenue per user than ad-free tiers. Bumping up the prices of its ad-free plan could be beneficial for Netflix by generating more revenue from ad-free users and by pushing people to its ad tier. In May, Netflix president of worldwide advertising Jeremi Gorman said Netflix’s ad tier has “nearly” 5 million monthly active users, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Netflix’s reported upcoming price rise could also help the company manage incoming costs associated with its agreements with writers and actors. As noted by The Verge, streaming services like Netflix will be required to share performance metrics with writers and increase writer residuals. The WGA believes its new contract equates to 0.2 percent ($68 million) of Netflix’s annual revenue ($31.6 billion).
In July, during its Q2 2023 earnings call, Netflix CFO Spencer Adam Neumann said that the writers’ and actors’ strikes could add some “lumpiness” to Netflix’s cash flow from 2023 through 2024.
Frequent changes in streaming services’ prices, combo packages, and content have turned cord-cutting into a complicated, pricey endeavor that’s reminiscent of cable.
When Apple decides to end update support for your Mac, you can either try to install another OS or you can trick macOS into installing on your hardware anyway. That’s the entire point of the OpenCore Legacy Patcher, a community-driven project that supports old Macs by combining some repurposed Hackintosh projects with older system files extracted from past macOS versions.
Yesterday, the OCLP team announced version 1.0.0 of the software, the first to formally support the recently released macOS 14 Sonoma. Although Sonoma officially supports Macs released mostly in 2018 or later, the OCLP project will allow Sonoma to install on Macs that go back to models released in 2007 and 2008, enabling them to keep up with at least some of the new features and security patches baked into the latest release.
But OCLP supports some Macs better than others, and generally, the older your Mac is, the more problems you will have.
A key dividing line is between Macs that support the Metal graphics API and Macs that don’t—Macs made in 2012 or later generally have it, but those made before 2012 generally don’t. Some graphics features are broken pretty much across the board on older Macs, even ones that do have Metal GPUs—playing DRM-protected video in Safari, using Live Text OCR, and enabling Continuity Camera are all listed as non- or semi-functional on the project’s support page. However, non-Metal GPUs can have even more significant problems rendering basic macOS UI elements or running certain apps.
OCLP has only had limited success supporting Apple’s T1 chip, a proto-Apple Silicon coprocessor included in Touch Bar MacBook Pros in 2016 and 2017. The T1 is less capable than the later Apple T2, which handles media encoding and decoding, adds an SSD controller, and handles storage encryption. But the T1 still does plenty, including display output for the Touch Bar, Touch ID fingerprint storage and authentication, and Apple Pay support.
Last year’s macOS Ventura still supported some T1 Macs, so support for it remained baked into the OS. But Sonoma no longer natively supports any T1 Macs, so Apple removed the system files used to make it work. The OCLP team has had limited success using older system files to get it working again, but doing this also breaks Apple ID login on those Macs, affecting an even longer list of features.
Problems supporting proprietary chips in late-model Intel Macs have also hampered Linux support on those machines, as detailed in our macOS Sonoma review. Components like webcams and trackpads are often partially functional or non-functional in Linux on these systems, either because of a lack of drivers or because those components connect to the rest of the Mac using non-standard interfaces.
Still, compatibility issues or not, the OCLP project is an impressive undertaking that can allow more technically savvy users to squeeze a few more years out of an aging but otherwise functional Mac that Apple no longer supports. Even installing a somewhat older macOS version like 2022’s Ventura or 2021’s Monterey will get you security patches and Safari updates rather than leaving your system unprotected.
When purchasing a luxury watch, you might consider it more of an heirloom than a simple timekeeper. You can pass a well-maintained Submariner down to your progeny. You can generally sell a Nomos or an Omega long after you purchase it, often at a profit. Or you can simply keep it on your wrist as a reminder of the inexorable march of time, the importance of punctuality, and the genius of so many tiny mechanical pieces working together toward one simple but crucial function.
This will not happen with the first Apple Watch Edition models, despite Jony Ive’s strong desire to enter that realm. As of September 30, Apple moved the original Apple Watch models to its “obsolete” list, at least internally. That includes the “Edition” models that ranged from $10,000 to $17,000 at their April 2015 launch. When a product is “obsolete,” Apple no longer offers parts, repairs, or other replacement services for it.
The solid-gold Edition watches were no longer for sale as of September 2016, when a sensible-by-comparison ceramic Edition debuted for $9,000 less. Software updates for those watches ended in July 2018, a bit over three years after their release, with watchOS 5.
Any golden Edition watch will almost certainly not be working these days. The battery on a nearly eight-year-old, first-generation smartwatch isn’t likely to hold a charge, at the least. You could replace it yourself if you’re the type of person who is both extravagantly wealthy and also keen on cutting open a watch face with a scalpel. It might still be a good idea to remove that battery, though, given that its swelling could eventually put out the display.
It’s a very quiet, nearly invisible end for a watch that went out of its way to be seen. Apple seeded one-of-a-kind Edition watches to Beyoncé and design icon Karl Lagerfeld, with all-gold link bracelets that likely pushed the Edition into even more ludicrous pricing. Buying an Edition watch meant setting up a private one-on-one session in a select Apple Store in a major metropolitan area or having an Edition couriered to a store near you. After that, you’d have “an exclusive, dedicated Apple Watch Edition phone line for two years of 24/7 technical support,” according to a report by Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac.
Ars’ Andrew Cunningham made appointments to try on both the regular and Edition models at New York City Apple Stores shortly before their launch. At the 14th Street store, Watch and Watch Sport editions were kept in a slide-out drawer that had to be unlocked by store employees, and you got about 15 minutes to try everything on and ask questions.
At the glass-cube-topped flagship Fifth Avenue store, appointments were half an hour, in a private room, and attended to by “an almost ridiculously helpful, pleasant Apple Store employee.” The watches were brought in two at a time, in custom boxes that also served as charging cradles. The Edition employee was quite knowledgeable, but as Cunningham noted:
The only questions she couldn’t answer were the ones that Apple itself isn’t providing answers to—most importantly, how long can one expect one of these $10,000-and-up watches to be supported?
Ars commenters on that post and others related to the Apple Watch and its beyond-luxurious Edition model went back and forth trying to figure out the reason the latter existed. On one side, there was its nature as a “Rev.1” Apple product, the regular churn of any Apple hardware line, and the Watch’s complete dependence on a specific phone that likely wouldn’t support it in a few years—all of which bore out, for the most part. Others noted that, at its high price, the function was never the point. The $10,000 Edition was the same exact hardware as a $350 Space Gray model, just with precious metals and global wealth concentration attached.
The gold Editions sold only in the “low tens of thousands,” mostly in the two weeks after launch. After its strong push to market the Watch as a luxury timepiece—or, strangely, a watch that was somehow very precise at keeping time (while likely no more so than any other net-connected device)—Apple moved toward a more broad sense of the Watch as a notification and reminder triage screen, as well as a fitness helper. Jony Ive left the company a few years later, with inside reports suggesting that the Watch’s underperforming launch created distance between the acclaimed designer and the company whose fortunes he helped shape.
It makes sense that newer Watches would be better at tracking runs and measuring your vital signs than prior editions. Luxury goods are meant to stay timeless, which is hard to achieve when a gold watch needs a specific version of Bluetooth to connect to a certain range of iPhones, with parts that are offered for seven years and are unlikely to be in demand much after. The real value of an Edition was always going to be owning and showing it, not using it. Now it’s just a piece of gold, albeit one that’s a bit trickier to melt down for raw value.