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Sony has a big problem with the PlayStation 5 price



Expensive components and gamer expectations are causing Sony a headache when it comes to pricing the PlayStation 5, with the console’s high-end parts threatening to put it out of reach of many would-be owners. Sony is expected to release the PS5 this coming holiday season, but rumors from inside the company suggest growing anxieties about just how high a price tag the console can bear.

Expectations for performance are, unsurprisingly, high. Sony hasn’t stinted on promises about the PS5’s specifications and capabilities, including a beefy 8-core, 16-thread processor, a custom AMD Navi GPU, custom SSD storage, and 8K resolution support.

That all comes at a cost, of course. Concerns within Sony are that the bill of materials for the new console could hit around $450 per unit, Bloomberg reports. That’s being blamed on a combination of high-end specs and the parts Sony has earmarked being in relatively short supply.

Cutting-edge components have cutting-edge prices

Sony’s challenge – as, indeed, is Microsoft’s – is building a console with cutting-edge specifications, and the longevity to last in line with owners’ expectations, without reaching “gaming PC” price levels. The biggest problem, it’s reported, is getting enough memory.

That means both RAM and NAND flash storage, adequate amounts of each of which are essential if Sony wants game developers to be free to create titles that show off the PS5’s potential. Both RAM and NAND are in high demand, however, with Sony’s buyers going up against smartphone-makers along with PC companies and others. Manufacturers of the very fastest examples of both memory are in short supply.

It’s not the only expensive part that Sony is using, mind. According to insiders, the company has already settled on most of its parts for the PlayStation 5, and some are unusually expensive. Cooling for the next-gen console, in particular, has become a more pricey part than expected: a few dollars per unit, rather than under a dollar.

Sony has apparently opted for a more capable cooling system out of a surfeit of caution. After all, saving a little on the bill of materials (BoM) today would be for naught if the PlayStation 5 ended up overheating when gamers were using it.

Just how much will the PlayStation 5 cost?

Although it may not talk about it publicly at the time, Sony is believed to typically set the sticker price for its new console in February of the year it will launch. Production then ramps up in the spring, in time for a holiday season release. That, though, is not believed to be exactly the case for the PlayStation 5.

Instead, Sony is said to be holding off on fixing its retail price until it sees what Microsoft is doing. A “key factor” in figuring out just how much they can ask for the PS5 will be seeing where the Xbox Series X is set. That’s not expected to be revealed until E3 2020, which will take place this coming June.

The reality is that, through a combination of familiarity and price promotions, the current generation of consoles have drifted down to far more attainable price points than they were at launch. The PlayStation 4, for example, was released at $399 back in 2013. Today, you can pick up a PlayStation 4 Slim for $249.

Some degree of sticker shock is likely to be inevitable for the PS5, then. That’ll be doubly the case if Sony decides not to soak up some of the expensive BoM itself, and slaps its usual margin atop the rumored $450 cost of manufacturing. Then, we could see the PlayStation 5 drift up to $470-$500, still competitive compared to a gaming PC, but a new milestone in expense for a console from the company.

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NFL Sunday Ticket games may be coming to Apple’s streaming platform



As the NFL’s 8-year Sunday Ticket deal with DirecTV nears its end, the football league is looking to Apple as its ideal replacement, according to a new report. Multiple companies are said to be prospective destinations for the League’s Sunday games, including Amazon (which is already home to Thursday Night Football), as well as Disney for ESPN.

The claim comes from sources speaking with The Athletic, which claims that the NFL wants Apple to be the new company behind its Sunday Ticket. The package is set to expire after nearly a decade with DirecTV, the league’s long-term partner. An Apple package may be a bit different than what DirecTV has, as well.

The insiders claim that an NFL Sunday Ticket under Apple may include some notable changes, including the potential for football fans to purchase a standalone game or even purchase all of the out-of-market games for one particular team. A more tailored approach like that would arguably be better for sports fans who may only be interested in select games.

The report cites a source who alleged that “everything is on the table,” but the NFL hasn’t confirmed any of the details and the report claims that nothing has been finalized at this time. It is possible the Sunday Ticket package won’t ultimately go to Apple, which likewise has remained quiet about the rumor.

The NFL is reportedly looking to get another $2 billion per year on top of the existing contract price, which is said to be around $1.5 billion yearly on average for DirecTV. It doesn’t look like AT&T will pen a new deal with the League to keep the Sunday Ticket. Amazon has already scored Thursday Night Football and it remains possible it may get the Sunday Ticket, as well.

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With iPhone 13 in hand, I miss Touch ID more than ever



I’ve been traveling this past week, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max has been my trusty sidekick. Whether it’s boarding passes, camera duties, messaging, or keeping me occupied with ebooks and music, I’ve found myself staring at the excellent 120Hz ProMotion display a whole lot. Problem is, when the sensors above that screen stare back, they’re not seeing what they want to.

Face unlock – Face ID in Apple-world – has been a side victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Consistently wearing masks (along with regularly washing your hands, and being vaccinated) is one of the CDC’s big recommendations for avoiding COVID-19, and it’s a legal requirement when you’re in airports and on trains.

Having half your face obscured isn’t especially helpful to a system which relies on scanning it in order to unlock your iPhone. And, with how much I’ve been using the iPhone 13 Pro Max this week – and enjoying it, too, particularly the excellent cameras – its a hurdle I’ve been running into hundreds of times a day, if not more.

Apple’s workaround, of course, is a singularly Apple-y way of dealing with half-masked faces: you need to have an iPhone and and Apple Watch. The feature, launched earlier this year as an iOS 14 update, allows you to bypass security on the iPhone just as long as your Apple Watch is on your wrist and unlocked.

Now, leaving aside the fact that clearly not everyone who has an iPhone also has Apple’s smartwatch, this workaround actually held up pretty well. I’ve been using it on an iPhone 12 Pro Max since it was released, and while there were times it simply didn’t actually unlock, or would unlock without my intending it, it did make using iOS while masked more streamlined. Unfortunately, it’s not working any more.

Since switching to iOS 15 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I’ve lost the ability to unlock with Apple Watch. Trying to turn the feature on in the iOS settings simply gets me a “can’t create a secure connection with the Apple Watch” message. A quick search online confirms I’m not alone.

It looks to be an iOS 15 issue, not an iPhone 13 one, but since Apple’s latest version comes preloaded and you can’t downgrade it, anybody in the same situation as I am will probably find that distinction little comfort. I’ve tried all the “fixes” and suggestions listed online – rebooting the phone and the watch; updating to the latest software version of each; even unpairing the Apple Watch and then repairing it from scratch – and nothing works.

I’ve been traveling this week, so wearing a mask a whole lot, and it’s been a reminder of just how many times you need to unlock your phone. Even just checking the latest notifications, if you have iOS’ privacy feature which only reveals their content on the lock screen when iOS is unlocked, requires a PIN now. The iPhone 13’s screen notch may be smaller this generation, but that doesn’t really matter when Face ID can’t see enough of you to do its thing.

Meanwhile, I’m looking enviously over at devices like the new iPad mini, and its Touch ID sensor built into the power button. I can understand why Apple shifted away from a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone, and – when unmasked – I’m a big fan of Face ID. I particularly enjoy how it makes logging into apps, and unlocking payments, simple. Honestly, it took a global pandemic to get frustrated by it.

Rumors of a return of Touch ID to the iPhone have given plenty of people – myself included – a glimmer of hope about striking that balance of security and convenience again. Unlock with Apple Watch was generally functional, but still could be clunky in the same way that anything wirelessly-dependent (I’m looking at you, AirDrop) can periodically leave you longing for a physical alternative. Just as even that took its time arriving in iOS, however, it always seemed a fact of reality that if Apple really was intending to return a fingerprint sensor to its phones, that wouldn’t be in time for 2021.

SEE TOO: The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 120Hz ProMotion Display is the real deal

As it stands, for a variety of reasons – not least vaccine holdouts – it looks like we’ll be masked-up well into 2022 and probably beyond. An iPhone 14 with a built-in Touch ID sensor probably will be just as relevant as an iPhone 13 would’ve been with that today. Talk about disheartening.

Security is, of course, one thing you should never compromise on. Tempting as it is to change the settings on my iPhone so that it waits a little longer to unlock, or shows the content of my notifications for anyone who glances at them on the lock screen, I know that’s a foolhardy thing to do. Instead, I’ll wait (semi) patiently for the inevitable iOS update which hopefully fixes iPhone unlock with Apple Watch, and punch in my regular PIN until that arrives.

All the same, I can’t help but wonder whether, as we rush to embrace new technology, being equally quick to leave behind what came before it might be a missed opportunity. I’m not someone who particularly mourns the loss of the headphone jack, but these past few days have certainly left me more sympathetic to those who discovered the tech world changed and, in the process, decided something that was important to them could actually be left behind.

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Peak Design Mobile modular magnetic accessory line launches in time for iPhone 13



Peak Design released their full mobile ecosystem of magnetic and protective accessories today, coordinated with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 13. This collection was part of a Kickstarter back in December of 2020 and rolled out for general availability for the first time today. The mobile line starts with the “Everyday Case”, available for iPhone 11, 12, 13, and Samsung Galaxy S21.

Peak Design has a brand for name for the magnetic system they use with their smartphone case and accessories: SlimLink. SlimLink is a ceramic zirconia insert surrounded by custom tuned magnets that are inserted into each Peak Design Everyday Case.

This SlimLink system does not prohibit Qi standard wireless charging – so users will not need to remove their case in order to use a wireless charging pad. The Everyday Case is thin enough that wireless charging will work, and thick enough that it’ll protect a smartphone from harm.

Included in the launch collection of accessories are the Everyday Case, the Everyday Loop Case, and a wide variety of connecting peripherals. There is also a Universal Adapter that can be attached to third-party phone cases.

In the Peak Design Mobile collection at launch, there is a Car Mount, Motorocycle Bar Mount, Motorcycle Stem Mount, Out Front Bike Mount, Universal Bar Mount, and a Wall Mount. You’ll also find a Creator Kit, Mobile Tripod, Mobile Wallet, and a Wireless Charging Stand, right out the gate.

Take a peek at our previous features with Peak Design and let us know if you’re planning on attaching this series of accessories to your brand new device. We’ll be back with reviews of the lot once we get up close and personal with the cases and the accessories of all sorts!

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