Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News

Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News

Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.... Show More

Episodes

October 16, 2020 33 min
Less than a month after its last hardware event, Apple held another one this week where it announced a slate of new iPhones. The standout feature of all four (4) phones is 5G capability. Apple, along with other phone manufacturers and network providers, are all touting 5G as the next big thing in wireless connection. But the rollout of 5G networks has also been hampered by a number of controversies, from technical problems to inter...
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October 9, 2020 35 min
Trying to be a functional human being in 2020 can feel exhausting. Our devices send us constant notifications, social media demands all our attention, and even simple daily tasks start to feel Sisyphean when they pile up. In many ways, the same technology that was supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient has led to a mental health crisis that shows no signs of abating: widespread burnout. This week on Gadget Lab, we tal...
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October 2, 2020 32 min
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen hardware announcements from Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. In them, there’s been a lot of emphasis on gadgets and services for the home. (Like Amazon's crazy indoor security drone.) But it all raises the question—why do these tech companies want to be literally hovering in your house? In some ways they’re using the pandemic as part of their marketing: We’re all home, so use this tech! Bu...
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September 25, 2020 27 min
In August, Trump signed executive orders that labeled both TikTok and another Chinese-owned app, WeChat, as national security threats. Unless they could broker a deal that would transfer majority control of the services over to American tech partners, both apps would be banned from the United States. The scramble that followed involved multiple competing companies and interests and raised the already heightened tensions between two...
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September 18, 2020 34 min
Apple's September product events are usually noteworthy for their hardware announcements. But this year, like with just about everything else, was different. Apple did unveil new Watches and iPads, but the company’s most significant announcements came in the form of services. There's a new set of subscription bundles that lumps all of Apple's streaming services together, and a new service for connected home workouts (ca...
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September 17, 2020 2 min
The 90s were an iconic decade for technology and society – it set up the foundation for how tech has become so ingrained into our current lives. We're excited to share with Gadget Lab listeners a new podcast from Vogue that looks the decade, this time through the lens of fashion. The story of a pivotal decade, In VOGUE: The 1990s is a new audio docuseries that revisits the pivotal moments in 90’s culture; from slip dresses with...
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September 11, 2020 34 min
Even before the pandemic, Peloton was the clear leader in connected, at-home workout equipment. So it was really no surprise that when gyms closed down and people found themselves stuck inside, Peloton's sales surged. Along with the success of Peloton, a growing industry of semi-affordable personal exercise machines is changing the way we work out. After all, why risk going to a gym when you could bring one into your living roo...
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September 4, 2020 35 min
Whether you're prepared for it or not, the United States is hurtling toward another presidential election. Like just about everything in 2020, the voting process has been disrupted by the pandemic. More people than ever are planning to avoid polling places and vote by mail. This has led to a very loud, very political debate about public safety, potential voter fraud, and the role technology plays in the voting process. This wee...
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August 28, 2020 33 min
As smart speakers for the home continue to grow in popularity, police departments have started to take notice. Now, whenever attorneys and law enforcement officials are investigating a crime, they can put your virtual assistant in the hot seat. They can cross-reference a variety of information from smart devices, including location data, audio recordings, and biometric data. Together, it can paint a picture of where a suspect was a...
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August 21, 2020 32 min
Maybe you aren't a political dissident engaging in top secret conversations over text messages. But if you care about privacy, you should probably be using Signal—or really, another encrypted service—to send your messages. Encryption can be a hot-button issue, with governments demanding backdoors into private data stores and executives at companies like Facebook having wildly different opinions about how secure your communicati...
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August 14, 2020 30 min
This week, Microsoft's dual screen Surface Duo became available for sale. Like many other folding devices, the Duo has been marketed as a product for busy workers on the go. But now, months into a pandemic where many workers are still sheltering in place (if they're lucky enough to have a job at all), the appeal of such gadgets is questionable at best. Nevertheless, Microsoft and other companies soldier on, searching for wa...
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August 7, 2020 36 min
Used to be that if you wanted a new phone, you had to choose between something cheap and something good. But a recent slate of smartphones like the new Google Pixel 4A and the Apple iPhone SE offer an appealing compromise: Most of the features and processing power of a $1,000 phone for somewhere around $400. These devices come with some tradeoffs, of course. The cameras aren't quite as fast, and the screen might not be buttery ...
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July 31, 2020 33 min
If you have an Amazon Prime membership (maybe it’s where you’ve been buying all your toilet paper during the pandemic) then you’re likely aware of the key benefits: free shipping, access to special deals, and the free streaming movies and TV shows. But there are a host of other, lesser-known benefits available to Prime customers, like free Kindle books, free Twitch Prime, free kids’ content, and a few ways to earn credit on future ...
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July 24, 2020 32 min
All the kids are talking about it. And now, so are government officials and corporate bigwigs. An app typically known for short, clever videos (and lots of dancing), TikTok has recently found itself at the center of international scrutiny. Critics say that TikTok’s massive presence in the US is a national security risk because the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company. Business leaders are also worried, in some cases as...
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The idea behind the Citizen app is that its users upload videos of the things that are going on in the neighborhood in real time — anything from as a gas leak to something potentially a lot more violent. It's an app built on the premise that the more information a community has the better off it is, but it also comes with all of the trappings and problems of a lot of community surveillance — the app has some toxic comments, it ...
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July 20, 2020 1 min
Get WIRED is a new podcast about how the future is realized. Each week, we burrow down new rabbit holes to investigate the ways technology is changing our lives—from culture to business, science to design. Through hard-hitting reporting, intimate storytelling, and audio you won’t hear anywhere else, Get WIRED is the must-listen-to tech podcast that sets the agenda for the week. Hosted by WIRED Senior Writer Lauren Goode. Listen and...
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July 17, 2020 45 min
It’s hard to remember what television on the internet was like before Netflix started streaming original programming on demand. But maybe that fact just underscores the massive influence the platform has had over the shows we watch and how we watch them. This week on Gadget Lab, Peter Kafka, cohost of season two of the Land of the Giants podcast from Recode, joins us to talk about the rise of Netflix, its influence on our culture, ...
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July 10, 2020 32 min
Doomscrolling—everybody's doing it! You’re lying in bed, on your phone, trying to fall asleep, but then you end up staying awake for hours as your social media timeline fills you with anger and anxiety. This isn't just your garden-variety FOMO either. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and it can feel like there's a fresh new calamity or setback every single day. Add displays of collective grief over racial injustice to...
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July 3, 2020 40 min
Getting through this pandemic hasn't been easy. Each day can feel like a slog, especially when, for many people, the necessary shelter-in-place restrictions have no end in sight. While being cooped up and isolated from others isn't pleasant, there are some ways to make the experience more bearable. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED service editor Alan Henry and WIRED senior writer Adrienne So join the show to talk about the ga...
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June 26, 2020 39 min
Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is normally an energetic, bustling affair. This year, of course, things are anything but normal. Instead of live talks in front of full crowds and attendees mingling face to face, WWDC was a virtual-only experience. During the keynote address, execs rattled off their announcements in pre-recorded video segments filmed on a very empty Apple campus. The slick, occasionally eerie prod...
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