Tag Archives: Tech

Clout Chase: Apple Quietly Launches 2nd Generation AirPods, Wireless Charging Case Optional

Apple Second Generation AirPods

Source: Apple

Apple is getting all of its announcements not related to its forthcoming TV streaming service out of the way. Earlier this week the company brought back the iPad Air and iPad Mini, and today they snuck the second generation of its popular wireless Airpods.

So what’s new? Well, the new $160 AirPods sport a new H1 chip specifically made for the second generation of Apple’s wireless accessory. The company boasts that it will give users more talk time, faster connectivity and now the ability to beckon the iPhone’s virtual assistant by saying “Hey Siri.”

What Apple fans were eagerly waiting for was the arrival of the wireless charging case, but there is a catch it will cost you an extra $40 if you want it. You can also purchase it alone for $80 if you already own a pair of AirPods and don’t feel the need to upgrade. Everything is available now by the way and will land in stores next week.

Apple Airpods 2nd Gen

Source: Apple

The second-gen AirPods haven’t really changed all that much for you to want to upgrade from your old pair. Even though you supposedly get up to 50 percent more talk time and faster connectivity, spending $200 or $80 for a new case isn’t really worth it. You can also engrave your AirPods for free, that might serve well if you lose them or catch someone wearing them. With the release of the wireless charging case, it seems Apple is prepping us for the release of its long-awaited AirPower charging mat, we shall see.

So are you excited about the second generation AirPods? Let us know in the comment section below.

Photo: Apple

Source: HipHopWired.com

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It’s Showtime: Apple Set To Unveil New TV Streaming Service

Apple TV Streaming Announcement

Source: NurPhoto / Getty

Apple’s TV Streaming service has been one of the tech giants worst kept secrets, but it looks like the company is finally gonna spill on the beans during its recently announced March 25 event.

On Monday (March 11), Apple Inc invited media to the to the Steve Jobs theater located on its Cupertino, California campus where it is expected the tech company unveils its long-awaited TV streaming and video service. In the invite, it doesn’t explicitly state what will be shown during the event but the one line “it’s show time” has tech enthusiasts and Apple fans all believing that Apple is making the long-rumored announcement.

Apple has been making sure that when it does finally launch its streaming service that it will hit the ground running. The company has spent $2 billion to ensure it will have top-notch content luring big names like Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon and interesting enough streaming hater Steven Spielberg.

On top of the original programming, Apple will reportedly be reselling subscription to services Viacom Inc, Lionsgate Entertainment Corp and CBS Corporation. The company is currently in discussions with HBO according to sources close to the matter and is planning on reselling TV channel subscriptions just like Amazon example who gets a cut of the sales that the Prime Video Service sells to users.

Apple’s TV service is expected to launch globally which should put it in direct competition with streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Tim Cook speaking on the matter during an investor call back in January is very optimistic feeling that it will speed up the fall of cable with plenty opting to cut the cord.

With iPhone sales dipping for the first time, Apple is hoping its new TV service will help those numbers significantly. We won’t be surprised if that is indeed the case, so let us know if you plan on cutting the cord and hopping on Apple’s TV streaming service in the comment section below.

Photo: NurPhoto / Getty

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Airlines & Multiple Countries Grounding Boeing 737 Max-8 Planes After Fatal Ethiopian Crash

Multiple Airlines & Countries Grounding Boeing 737 Max-8 Aircraft

Source: GREG BAKER / Getty

Following the aftermath of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash that took the lives of all 157 passengers on board, multiple airlines and countries have decided to ground the plane involved, the Boeing 737 Max-8.

As of now, Ethiopia Airlines, Cayman Airways, along with China, Morroco, Mongolia, and Indonesia have made the decision to ground the plane until further notice, and they have a good reason to be concerned. The crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 is the second deadly crash involving the Boeing 737 Max-8 plane in the past five months.

Last year in October a Lion Air flight involving the same plane crashed in the same fashion off the coast of Indonesia killing all 189 people on board.

Both planes in those separate deadly incidents reportedly experienced the same problem where automated systems believed the plane’s nose was too high. As a response to that indicator, the plane’s automation features rectify the issue by pushing the aircraft’s nose down in order to keep it from it stalling despite that not being the case as there was no real danger. The pilots should be able to manually correct the issue by overriding the computer but reportedly were unable to do so.

No U.S. based airline companies have made the decision to ground the planes, in a Tweet responding to a customer’s concerns about an upcoming flight confirmed they will not be grounding the 31 Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft in its fleet.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson from American Airlines replied to Gizmodo, telling the online publication it has “full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members,” and “at this time there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports.”

The investigation is still underway the black boxes from the wreckage have been recovered but are damaged according to a Reuters report. We just hope the families of those who perished in the crash get the answers they desperately deserve and that Boeing gets to the bottom of this swiftly. The company’s stock is already is already taking a hit with shares already down over 10 percent.

Photo: GREG BAKER / Getty

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Skullcandy Kicks Off New “12 Moods” Campaign With Rico Nasty [Photos]

Skullcandy "12 Moods" Campaign ft. Rico Nasty

Source: Skullcandy / Skullcandy

Lifestyle and audio brand Skullcandy on Wednesday (March 6) kicked off its “12 Moods” campaign launching its new Push Truly Wireless Earbuds with the help of emerging rapper Rico Nasty and Pro Skateboarder Jenn Soto.

“12 Moods” is a new groundbreaking program that aims to celebrate as the visceral power of music the company explained in a press release. Each month the campaign will highlight a different mood that is inspired by listening to music. Fans of the brand could look forward to new exclusive music content from the featured artists, stories from athletes as well as limited edition Skullcandy product available exclusively through the brand’s website.

For March, which also happens to be Women’s History Month Skullcandy called on Rico Nasty and Jenn Soto due to their boldness in their respective crafts. This month’s mood is Bold, and the company’s new Push Wireless Earbuds will be draped in a limited bold tangerine color.

Skullcandy "12 Moods" Campaign ft. Rico Nasty

Source: Skullcandy / Skullcandy

Speaking about the new initiative,  Jessica Klodnicki, Chief Marketing Officer of Skullcandy adds :

“To us, music is all about feeling, and nothing affects our moods like music, The ‘12 Moods’ initiative is our unique way of celebrating those moods with Skullcandy fans.”

To see more photos from the campaign hit the gallery below and keep it lock on Hip-Hop Wired for more updates on “12 Moods” campaign.

Photos: Skullcandy

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HHW Tech Review: Samsung Makes A Strong Statement With The Galaxy S10 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: MoNae Mayweather / Hip-Hop Wired

Samsung’s new lineup of Galaxy smartphones are finally launching, and Hip-Hop Wired got the chance to take the S10 Plus for a test run. I walked away thoroughly impressed with the company’s latest premium flagship phone and its new features.

The Galaxy S10 when it officially launches March 8 will come in three offerings the entry-level S10e starting at $749, the mainstream model S10 for $899 and the premium offering S10 Plus for $999. Being an iPhone user for the past 8 years using a Galaxy phone was quite weird, but I must admit I found myself opting to use the S10 Plus more than 8 Plus thanks to all of its awesome tweaks. So let’s break down what makes the phone the best Android phone on the market.

PROS

The Screen

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: MoNae Mayweather / Hip-Hop Wired: Galaxy S9 Plus on the left, Galaxy S10 Plus on the right

Immediately when you pick up the S10 Plus, the first thing you will notice is its remarkable screen to body ratio. The phone features a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display which is the biggest screen ever on Samsung device. The handset now has a 93.1% screen ratio which allowed the tech giant to squeeze in more pixels and at the same time reducing the bezel.

Samsung’s new Infinity-O display is absolutely beautiful allowing you to switch between a natural or vivid look, but you can’t go wrong with either choice. The Galaxy S10 Plus’ screen is highly detailed thanks to a 1440 x 3040 QHD+ resolution alongside its tall 19:9 aspect ratio providing an impressive 526ppi pixel density. When you first power on the phone the screen’s resolution is set to Full HD+ (2280 x 1080) by default but still provides clear and detailed pictures and text and can run 4K movies or graphics and while conserving battery life. If you really want to bring out the details in your Netflix movies or gaming, you can bump it up WQHD+ (30340 x 1440).

The Galaxy S10 Plus is also the first phone alongside the S10 to have HDR10+ support that allows for fantastic contrast and color which also enhance those movies or videos, or you watch your phone.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired

Owners will also notice that the annoying notch where the front-facing camera would be placed and is now replaced with a laser-cut hole in the top right corner of the phone that houses the phones TWO front cameras. If you are worried, it will be an eye-sore I am happy to report you won’t even notice it at all despite being bigger than some single camera notches. One thing I love about is that it allows for more notification icons across the top of the screen and it while watching movies it completely disappears thanks to a black bar being applied.

The Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: MoNae Mayweather / Hip-Hop Wired Galaxy S9 Plus on the left, Galaxy S10 Plus on the right

Except for the phone’s battery, the cameras are the most essential feature now and days and Samsung has always delivered in that department and on the S10 Plus they have outdone themselves. The new Pro-Grade triple camera system in the back and the dual front-facing camera will impress the avid smartphone photographer in you.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired: Photo taken using Galaxy S10 Plus’ 12MP lens

The Pro-Grade triple-lens rear camera system includes a 12MP conventional lens, a 12MP optically zoomed telephoto lens and the new 16MP ultra-wide lens that allows you get even more subjects in your shot and take stunning landscape shots. Scene Optimizer returns and is much smarter and can recognize 10 new categories which help the camera adjust the settings like brightening up the scene. Shot Suggestions also will you give you hints suggesting different angles to fix photos thanks to the phones neural processing unit. When using it, I found it very helpful thanks to an on-screen reticule that will help you center your shot and flash “best shot” once the settings are perfect.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired Photo taken using the Galaxy S10 Plus 16MP ultra-wide camera

Live Focus (Samsungs depth effect feature) is back and better than ever thanks to the addition of three different blurring tools. Alongside the standard background blur effect, there is now Spin, and Zoom that adds different blur effects to your photo and a final option called color point that keeps the desired subject in color while turning the background black and white. The amount of blur can be easily adjusted after you take the picture with an on-screen slider.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Review

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired

The dual front-facing features two cameras, a 10MP and an 8MP camera that allows Live Focus for your selfies. You can also apply the same new depth effect options as mentioned above. The only drawback is the photos taken with the front cameras in low light situations look soft-looking and due to the camera software trying to reduce camera noise. But to be fair Samsung’s phones are not the only ones with that issue.

Video also looks really good as well thanks to the camera being able to record in HDR10+ and now offering Digital Video Stabilization on the rear camera system which allows for smooth action footage even though your moving. Samsung hopes this could give GoPro a run for its money with this latest upgrade.

Battery Life and Wireless Power Share

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Review

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired

Under the hood the S10 Plus sports a big 4,100mAh all-day intelligent battery and for the most part that is the case with moderate use. My work day consists of me being on my phone a good portion of the day, so that means Twitter, Instagram, checking Gmail and streaming music on Tidal and my phone held a decent charge by the time I got home and was at 45%.

I am sure if your day includes movie streaming, increasing the phones brightness, heavy camera usage and bumping the phone’s graphics up to WQHD+ (30340 x 1440) could put even more strain on the phone’s battery. I did notice that the phone did optimize itself based on how I used significantly increasing the battery time. There are also Bixby Routines that can also help save battery life as well.

One of my favorite features on the phone is Wireless Power Share that turns the phone basically into a charging mat. While Apple is still playing catch up in this department, Samsung is clearly ahead of the curve, While the S10 Plus is not the first smartphone to have this tool see the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, its the most readily available phone to feature the tech. I put it to the test on a friends iPhone, and it worked seemingly and it the best part is it stopped charging the phone when it hit 30% battery life.

Wireless Power Share bridges the divide between Apple and Samsung phones for the sake of sharing juice if there isn’t a power outlet in sight.

Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired

Last but not least, the in-screen ultrasonic fingerprint reader works so smoothly, and it’s cool. Samsung wised up and moved the scanner from the back of the phone and placing it in the screen. Once you register your fingerprint, you can tap the screen and an on-screen image of a print that will show you where to place your finger.

Now you may have some issues at first unlocking the phone through the scanner but because you have to place your finger firmly over the scanner for it to work. Once you figure that it will come naturally to you in no time. I definitely seeing Samsung improving the in-screen reader’s accuracy with more updates over-time.

CONS

Bixby Button

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Review

Source: Bernard Smalls / Hip-Hop Wired

The Bixby button not so conveniently located to volume button is annoying at times especially when trying to raise or lower the volume. You won’t really need to use it because you can operate Bixby with your voice. Speaking with Michael Yaeger a member of Samsung’s Products team he did reveal that an update is coming soon that will allow users to reassign the Bixby button which is a relief.

Slippery Design

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

Source: MoNae Mayweather / Hip-Hop Wired

If you’re not a season Samsung Galaxy owner and are transitioning from the iPhone to the S10 Plus, the phone can feel very weird in your hands. I noticed that I would mistakenly pull out the Apps edge menu while scrolling or watching a video or sometimes while typing I would accidentally hit the wrong keys or close the screen. As time went along and I got used to holding the phone, it happened less and less, but Galaxy newbies might find it troublesome.

FINAL VERDICT

Despite being the most expensive model until the upcoming 5G model and Galaxy Fold drops, it still offers you so many features like super fast performance, an easy to use interface plus a free pair of wireless earbuds all while still being cheaper than Apple’s current premium smartphone model. The S10 Plus is the best Android phone on the market and worth every penny and if you are a fan of the Korean tech giants smartphones, you will be delighted with the phone.

While it might be a lost cause trying to lure Apple fans away from the iPhone the S10 Plus makes a pretty good case as to why they should give the phone a try. The lure of incredible battery life, great cameras, and wireless charging are quite enticing, hell it has this iPhone owner thinking of ditching my 8 Plus altogether because it’s that impressive. Samsung’s S10 Plus is definitely up there with Google’s Pixel 3 and owners will be quite pleased once they get the smartphone in their hands.

Photos: MoNae Mayweather/Bernard Smalls/Hip-Hop Wired

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Past & Present Collides In ‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Story Trailer, 3 More Characters Confirmed

Mortal Kombat 11 Story Trailer

Source: NetherRealm Studios / WB Games

The past and present of Mortal Kombat will collide in MK11’s newest story trailer that features more recognizable faces and confirms three more additions to the growing roster.

Mortal Kombat 11 will tackle time travel thanks to its new boss Kronika. She is hell-bent on fixing the rift caused by Dark Raiden after his defeat Shinnok and merges multiple realities to repair the damage the corrupted Thunder God has done and reset the timeline to restore the balance of good and evil.

She enlists the help of  Shao Khan and his Outworld armies to accomplish her goal so it will take characters from Mortal Kombat’s past and present to defeat both Kronika and Khan and solve the temporal crisis. The trailer not only shows recently announced playable character Johnny Cage it also served as the reveals for his daughter Cassie Cage, Jacqui Briggs daughter of Jax and  Outworld gunslinger and mercenary Erron Black.

Each character gets some significant shine in the clip showing off brief snippets of their fatalities. NetherRealm followed the trailer up with a full reveal video for Cassie Cage giving MK fans a better glimpse of Sonya and Johnny’s kid in action.

With each new video NetherRealm releases, it only builds up the hype for the highly anticipated game. Mortal Kombat 11 arrives on PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch and PC April 23. If you pre-ordered the game, you can use Shao Khan as a playable character and gain access to the beta March 28 through March 31 for those platforms on PS4 and Xbox One consoles only.

Step into the Mortal Kombat 11’s story trailer below and keep it locked on Hip-Hop Wired for more news and reveals on the game.

Photo: NetherRealm Studios / WB Games

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Only One Remains: Blockbuster Video Store In Bend, Oregon Is The Last In The Entire World

Bend, Oregon Blockbuster Store Now The Last One In The Entire World

Source: Dave Thompson – PA Images / Getty

Before we were Netflix and chillin’, we were saying let’s make it a Blockbuster night. It was a beautiful place where people went to rent movies and video games. The iconic video rental chain’s only Australian location is closing on March 31 leaving the last remaining store in the US as the only one still operating, on the entire planet.

The countdown has officially begun for the Blockbuster Video chain that filed for bankruptcy back in 2010 now on its last leg with the Bend, Oregon location being the final one standing globally. The Australian store located in Morley, Western Australia, announced today via its Facebook page that today is the last day to rent anything from its store. It will remain open until the end of month allowing visitors to purchase its remaining stock of DVDs and Blu-rays and even buy any “shop fittings and fixtures” if you want to take home a piece of history.

While streaming is king now, there are a good number of people who still favor pulling out the Blockbuster cards and renting a movie believe it or not. Some people like the idea that they don’t have to worry about abusing their data plans by streaming or don’t have the high-speed internet to enjoy services like Netflix or Hulu for example. The Bend, Oregon has become more of a museum now with people flocking to the store to take pictures and enjoy the feeling of physically renting a film.

So if you’re one of those people who want to see what it was like back in the 90’s make your way to Bend, Oregon. There is no telling how long Blockbuster intends to keep the store open.

Photo: Dave Thompson – PA Images / Getty

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Death of The Disc?: “All-Digital” Xbox One S Reportedly Launching In May

"All-Digital" Xbox One S Reportedly Launching In May

Source: T3 Magazine / Getty

Microsoft looks like it’s ready to take the leap into disc-less consoles this year. According to reports, the tech giant is poised to drop an “Xbox One S All-Digital Edition” in May.

But is the gaming community ready to part ways with Blu-ray discs?

That is the million dollar question? Rumors are swirling that Microsoft is set to launch the discless console sometime early May with pre-orders beginning in mid-April. The “Xbox One S All-Digital” would serve as the first test to see if the world is indeed ready for Microsofts next-generation video game console codenamed Scarlett. Not much is known about the digital box in terms of pricing and design but according to Thurrott its exclusion of a Blu-ray drive could mean the new system could $100 cheaper than previous models.

This is a very bold step to take but its a huge risk because there are no sure signs gamers are ready to part ways with Blu-ray discs and go completely digital. While systems offer a combination of both and offer the benefit of a cloud-based memory system, some might be hesitant to blindly put all of their faith in it assuming that their digital library will be safe. But this is definitely the direction where gaming seems to be heading in so eventually folks will have to get on board. We will definitely be keeping our ears to the streets on this rumor.

Photo:T3 Magazine / Getty

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AirPods 2 Reportedly Will Feature Insanely Fast Wireless Charging Case

AirPods 2 Will Come With Super Fast Wireless Charging Case, Report

Source: Stephen Lam / Getty

Apple’s long-rumored second generation AirPods might come with a feature the company promised for some time now. According to rumors, the tentatively named AirPods 2 will feature a wireless charging case that achieves a full charge in 15-minutes.

The case along with the AirPower mat was promised by Apple with the announcement of the iPhone X. Leaker Max Weinbach who doesn’t really have a great track record when it comes to his rumors drop the news about the AirPods 2 on his Twitter account. He states “wireless charging will happen” and will apply to both the case and the AirPods.

The case will be able to achieve this “super fast wireless charging” by utilizing Qi coils, the technology that can already be found in Apple’s iPhone 8, X, XS, XS Max, and XR smartphones. While this is a huge improvement from generation 1’s current 3-hour battery life after a 15-minute charge, there are some downsides. Weinbach reports that the case will be “bigger in one direction and heavier,” fans should not be worried though.

The new case will also have a new look going for a more matte look ditching the glossy look taking cues from the Apple Pencil 2. Weinbach says we can expect the AirPower and AirPods 2 wireless charging tech to be released in the next few months. Keep in mind Samsung is dropping their new Galaxy Buds with a wireless charging case on Friday (March 8), alongside its family of new Galaxy smartphones, so they are well ahead of the curve in this field.

Photo: Stephen Lam / Getty

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‘Anthem’ Reportedly Crashing PS4 Consoles, EA Says They’re Aware of Issue

Anthem

Source: Bioware / EA

Bioware/EA’s epic game Anthem did not launch as smoothly as the javelin’s do into flight inside the game. Players would love to jump into one of the Iron Man-like suits and go loot chasing, but reports are surfacing that game is crashing PS4 consoles.

Since the game’s release, it has been plagued by bugs, glitches and plenty of complaints that for the most part, Bioware has addressed with patches. A new issue is gaining traction with players taking to Reddit, and other forums complaining the game is either booting them to the main menu or bricking PlayStation 4 consoles in some cases.

A thread titled “This is the only game that causes a complete PS4 shutdown” started by a Reddit user who goes by the handle ForTheMasters details his dilemma with the game. He details how while playing he claims after he gets a game error it usually sends him to the main menu, the PS4 dashboard or worst case scenario shutdown the console entirely. Since he posted it on Sunday (March 3), it has received nearly 2,000 upvotes with other players responding stating their consoles considers the issue an improper shutdown like when you yank out the power cord when the console is powered on.

EA has responded tweet from its EAHelp Twitter account stating they are aware of the crashing issue and are investigating.

I recently have been playing Anthem and experienced getting booted due to connectivity issues and various glitches but not the bricking error. This has put my playing on hold for now, and I will be waiting for Bioware/EA to issue a fix. We will keep you updated on this story. Anthem is the latest big name title plagued by post-launch issues, see Bethesda’s disastrous Fallout 76 launch.

Photo: EA/Bioware

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