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Valve is building its own high-end VR headset called ‘Index’ – TechCrunch

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Valve is ready to sell its own full VR hardware getup.

The gaming giant behind some classic titles and the ubiquitous Steam store has revealed a teaser image on its site of a VR headset called the Valve Index. Alongside the photo, text reads “Upgrade your experience. May 2019” suggesting a near-term full announcement or release date of what is likely a high-end VR system.

Valve has long been a present name in virtual reality circles but it hasn’t shipped a dedicated headset of its own, instead focusing its work on the underlying software technologies. Valve has been at the forefront of the technology and was making substantial advancements while Oculus was in the process of releasing their first developer kits. Valve’s work eventually surfaced in the HTC Vive which operated on the SteamVR platform, but there hasn’t been widespread adoption from other OEMs of Valve’s VR technologies.

In a lot of ways it has been turning into a two-horse race for consumer VR platforms between Oculus and Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality. While SteamVR once seemed a likely choice to be a standard across VR devices, announced products never ended up shipping and the VR market cool-down left HTC pivoting to enterprise.

Things were just as unclear when the company laid off several of its VR hardware-focused employees a few weeks ago, leaving people to wonder whether that meant a release was never coming or one was imminent.

Well, now we know.

Now, there’s admittedly not a ton to go off of with this teaser image.

The look matches the Valve prototype headset that UploadVR found images of this past fall. That report detailed that the headset would have a display resolution similar to HTC’s Vive Pro while stretching that resolution over a wider 135-degree field-of-view. This compares to the near-110-degree FoV on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

This image is a pretty clear shot at Oculus in that while there aren’t many discernible features from the base of the headset, there is what definitely appears to be an IPD adjustment slider which allows users to define the distance between the lenses to accommodate for the space between their eyes. The exclusion of a physical IPD adjustment tool was undoubtedly the most controversial choice on Oculus’s Rift S headset, and prompted the company’s ousted founder to pen a blog post complaining about the omission.

Beyond that control, there are a couple of other things we can infer. First, this is almost definitely a PC-powered headset based on the company’s previous work, thus, the company will likely rely on their SteamVR 2.0 tracking system. The big question is then what those onboard cameras in the image are for. The most likely answer if I saw this headset from anyone else is that they were for inside-out tracking but the more likely answer is that they’re for “mixed reality” passthrough experiences, especially since the cameras both appear to be pointed forward though they are also a bit far apart.

This product’s release might not be great for Oculus, which has seemed to walk away from their position pushing high-end PC VR, but it’s far worse for HTC. The Taiwanese company’s consumer ambitions have kind of dried up in their pivot to enterprise markets though they have still seemed to be marketing towards consumers. For most users the best features of the Vive are features developed largely by Valve including the tracking system and software platform, so getting a high-end device direct from Valve seems like a very easy sell to these customers.

Again, not a huge amount to go off from this landing page, but it seems we’ll hear more in a couple months.

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Teenage Engineering computer-1 flat-pack PC chassis instantly sold out

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The folks at Teenage Engineering had a brand new pc chassis for sale earlier today. By the time it really started trending on social networks, it was already sold out. This chassis is designed to be simple and light, but strong enough to withstand basic wear-and-tear. The version the design group had for sale this morning would’ve cost you around $195 – but they’ve released the layout plans so you could technically make one of your own.

The Teenage Engineering Computer-1 was sold in the Teenage Engineering shop for $195 USD. For that cash you got a flat-pack set of laser-cut sheet metal parts with a couple of chrome metal handles and some rubber bumpers for the feet. The sheet metal has a pure orange RAL 2004 powder coated finish.

If you would like to build one of these sets yourself, you can get the plans from Teenage Engineering now. You’ll need your own laser cutting machine, or a way to 3D print similar parts. The original was made with 1mm aluminum, so you might need to modify the way you make the build if you’re using any other sort of material.

Teenage Engineering may make another run of these cases in the future. Given the interest shown today, it’d make sense for the group to make more, but given the group’s aim and track record, there’s a distinct possibility that this release began and ended here, in a single day.

This might be a fine wake-up call for other PC case creators, too. Imagine the simplicity of manufacturing a bunch of flat metal pieces and selling the package to users IKEA style. Now, all you need is the hype power and top-tier 3D design skills of the folks at Teenage Engineering, and you’ve got a winner on your hands.

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Instagram Stories links are now available for all accounts

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Instagram has confirmed that it’s bringing the ability to and links to Stories for all user accounts. When Stories links were first revealed, they were only available for verified accounts or accounts with a certain number of followers. However, Instagram says over the years it has seen that the ability to share links to stories is helpful, so it’s expanding access to everyone.

The Instagram community has been asking for Stories links for everyone to make sharing content with friends and family easier. Links are now available for sharing for everyone with no stipulation on account size. To add links to Stories, users can use the Link sticker.

When people click the sticker, they will be redirected. Adding a Link sticker is easy and starts with capturing or uploading content to the story. Users then select the sticker tool from the navigation bar and tap the Link sticker to add the desired link. Once that is complete, users can place the sticker on their story, and there are variations of the sticker available.

Instagram also says it’s working on customizing the sticker to make it clear what users will see when they tap it. Instagram is also talking about its ongoing effort to keep its community of users safe. To facilitate safety, new accounts and accounts that repeatedly share content, including hate speech or misinformation, as well as anything that violates community guidelines, won’t have access to the Link sticker.

The Link sticker isn’t the only change Instagram has made this month. Previously, Instagram announced that its desktop app was getting photo upload capability. Before adding the capability to upload content from the desktop app, all uploading had to be done from the mobile app. The change was implemented on October 21.

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2021 MacBook Pro teardown tease shows what’s on the inside

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It’s very common for manufacturers like Apple to release new products, and fans always want to know what they look like on the inside. However, the last thing most of us want to do is tear apart our brand-new and expensive gadgets to look. Thankfully, IFIXIT has been gutting new devices for a long time, giving us a look at what’s on the inside without having to trash our own hardware.

Right now, a teardown for the 2021 MacBook Pro is being teased with a few pictures ahead of the full reveal. As you would expect, everything is packed very tightly into the thin and lightweight MacBook Pro notebooks. While there are no real details offered at this time about the hardware inside, we already know what to expect from Apple’s official event.

Apple has fitted its 2021 model notebooks with additional ports. An improved keyboard is integrated that hopefully won’t break if you eat lunch and work at the same time. MagSafe charging is integrated, and Apple ditched the Touch Bar for traditional function keys. The real changes come in new Apple silicon running the show. One interesting tidbit that has been shared from the full teardown is that the battery cells have pull tabs to make them easier to remove and aren’t crammed under a logic board.

We hope that means should your battery go bad down the road; you don’t have to completely disassemble the notebook to install a new one. The four outer cells of the battery have pull tabs similar to those used in the iPhone and MacBook Air. However, we will have to wait for the full teardown to know everything about these batteries and just how easy they are to remove and replace.

The prospect of more DIY friendly component placements should have Mac fans excited. The gang also got their hands on that $20 official Apple polishing cloth, simply called the “Polishing Cloth.” A price of $19 is pretty steep for cloth used to shine the screen of your iPhone, but it has an Apple logo, and that’s enough for some. The cloth feels like Alcantara and appears to be the same material used inside the iPad Smart Cover.

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