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Office for iPad now has mouse and trackpad support

Office for iPad now has mouse and trackpad support

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Microsoft is bringing mouse and trackpad support to its Office for iPad apps today. The software maker promised it would update its Office iPadOS apps earlier this year, and the updates are now live in the App Store for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Office for iPad now lets you use the built-in trackpad on Apple’s Magic Keyboard to navigate around text, photos, and other objects in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The cursor is context aware, like other apps that have taken advantage of the Magic Keyboard, so you can highlight text in Word, resize images and charts in PowerPoint, and select multiple cells in Excel. It’s very similar to using Office on a PC or Mac.

 Image: Microsoft
Office for iPad cursor support.

Alongside the mouse and trackpad support, Microsoft is also adding more Fluent UI to its Office for iPad apps. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have refreshed start screens and a new ribbon of feature menus.

Microsoft is also planning to bring multiple document support to Excel, better contextual menus, and offline file support for cloud files in the coming months. This latest mouse and keyboard support is starting to roll out today and “should reach all users within a couple weeks.”

This $160 Mandalorian Xbox controller isn’t even made with beskar steel

This $160 Mandalorian Xbox controller isn’t even made with beskar steel

Image: Microsoft

If there is anything Xbox excels at better than the competition, it’s having almost every conceivable special edition take on its game consoles and controllers, regardless of whether they’re really worth buying. And just in time for Friday’s premiere of The Mandalorian season two on Disney Plus, Microsoft has taken the wraps off a new themed controller based on the Star Wars spinoff series. The catch: it costs $160.

The controller, which is compatible with existing Xbox One systems and the upcoming Xbox Series X / S systems (as well as PC and mobile), features some of the series’s signature iconography with a design and pattern “reminiscent of beskar steel.” That’s the material out of which Din “Mando” Djarin’s bounty hunter armor is crafted. It also comes with a similarly themed Xbox Pro Charging Stand. But that’s about the extent of the extra benefits you get here for a rather pricey accessory bundle.

Standard versions of the controller and charging stand retail for $60 and $40, respectively, so you are paying a hefty premium to get The Mandalorian-themed ones. And a bit of bad news for those who wanted to get their hands on this sooner rather than later: it’s not launching until December 31st, 2020. But for those who really want to go all in with The Mandalorian’s second season and accessorize their new (or existing) Xbox console this holiday season, this seems like a solid purchase.

PS5 launch title Destruction AllStars delayed to February, will debut for free on PS Plus instead

PS5 launch title Destruction AllStars delayed to February, will debut for free on PS Plus instead

Image: Sony

Destruction AllStars, a vehicular combat game originally slated to launch alongside the PS5 on November 12th, has been delayed to February 2021 as a free PlayStation Plus title, Sony announced today. The game will be free on PlayStation Plus for two months.

The game was already available for preorder for $70 ahead of release, but Sony confirmed in a recent blog post that if you preordered the game on the PlayStation Store, the PlayStation direct website, or through a retailer, you will be refunded.

Destruction AllStars is a new intellectual property developed by Lucid Games. Not much is known about the gameplay, but it reminds me a lot of Twisted Metal in some ways.

With the PlayStation 5 launching roughly two weeks from now, the announcement may benefit the game. Destruction AllStars was one of two games launching exclusively on the PS5 and the only new intellectual property coming exclusively to the console; other major titles coming to Sony’s next-gen hardware include Spider-Man: Miles Morales by Insomniac Games and Demon’s Souls remake developed by Bluepoint Games also available at launch.

With Destruction AllStars launching as a free PlayStation Plus game in February, Sony could be hoping for a similar success seen with Fall Guys or Rocket League. Both games were free PlayStation Plus titles the same month they were released, and Fall Guys currently sits as the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game of all time.

You can now buy Asus’ latest 11th Gen laptops

You can now buy Asus’ latest 11th Gen laptops

The Asus Zenbook 14 keyboard and screen from above.Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

A bunch of Asus’ latest laptops featuring Intel’s 11th Gen processors are now available for purchase.

The one I’m most excited about is the ZenBook Flip S, which Asus says is the world’s thinnest OLED convertible laptop and the first Asus laptop to be verified by Intel’s Evo platform. The Flip S has a gorgeous OLED screen as well as excellent speakers and a light, convertible build. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a great streaming or multimedia experience.

Another solid buy here is the ZenBook 14 UX425EA. This one doesn’t have a touchscreen like the Flip S, but it has shown better performance and better battery life. (There’s a 1W screen option with increased power efficiency.) Both of these models have a cool feature called NumberPad 2.0, which can make an LED NumPad appear on the touchpad.

Also in the lineup are the ZenBook S UX393 (the world’s lightest and thinnest 3:2 3K laptop, per Asus), the ZenBook 14 UX435 (which includes a second screen with Asus’ ScreenPad technology), and a whole slew of new Vivobooks. And there’s the ZenBook Pro 15 UX535, an OLED creator-focused ZenBook that still has 10th Gen processors.

You can buy most of these models at B&H as well as the Asus eShop. Some are also available through Newegg, Amazon, or Sam’s Club.

The Asus Zenbook Flip in tent mode.Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge
Here’s the ZenBook Flip S.

Here’s a list of what Asus says is available now and where you can buy them. Note that not all links appear to be up and running yet and that some may also be out of stock. Some of these models have a number of configurations available. Feel free to use the links here as a jumping-off point and browse around:

  • ZenBook Flip S UX371 (starting at $1,499): B&H, Newegg
  • VivoBook S13 S333EA (starting at $699.99): Asus
  • VivoBook S14 S433EA (starting at $699.99): B&H, Asus, Newegg
  • VivoBook 15 K513EQ (starting at $749.99): Amazon, B&H, Newegg
  • ZenBook 13 UX325EA (starting at $899.99): Amazon, Asus, B&H
  • ZenBook 14 UX425EA (starting at $899.99): Asus, B&H, Newegg, Sam’s Club
  • ZenBook 14 UX435 (starting at $1,199.99): B&H
  • ZenBook Pro 15 UX535 (starting at $1,499.99): Asus

Here’s what Asus says is “coming soon”:

  • ZenBook Flip 13 UX363 (starting at $949.99): B&H, Asus
  • ZenBook S UX393 ($1,699): B&H
  • Asus VivoBook S15 S532 ($999.99): B&H

This 3D Printed Boat Is Smaller Than a Single Human Hair

This 3D Printed Boat Is Smaller Than a Single Human Hair

3D printed tugboat that’s smaller than a human hair
Leiden University

It’s quite impressive how science has been able to miniaturize certain things over the past decade. But nothing is quite impressive as this: a 3D printed tugboat that is a third smaller than the thickness of a human hair. Physicists at Leiden University in the Netherlands are the ones behind this achievement and the goal is to understand how “microswimmers” such as bacteria move through liquids.

As Engadget points out, the team had to use a Nanoscribe 3D microprinter using a process referred to as 2PP (two-photon polymerization). To put it in very basic terms, the 3D print uses extremely accurate lasers and a material that hardens almost immediately after being printed.

Something that’s very fascinating is the level of detailing on the cockpit of the boat. A boat’s cockpit is very intricate and detailed, with dozens upon dozens of various shapes and sizes. 3D printing the cockpit this tiny is very impressive given the level of detail required.

While the project was “fun” for the team originally, they have been able to develop more research-based objects. These objects can determine the speed and path of various particles.

This breakthrough could potentially be massive for the medical and drug industry. With 3D printed objects this small and precise, you can potentially create specific objects that emulate biological microswimmers that can move in exact motions. “Ultimately, it will allow a greater control and design of the behavior of synthetic microswimmers, useful for applications in therapeutic diagnostics and drug delivery,” according to the research paper.

Source: Phys.org via Engadget

Twitter is adding an anti-misinformation banner before the election

Twitter is adding an anti-misinformation banner before the election

Illustration by Alex Castro

Twitter will add an app banner offering information about election results and voting by mail. The banners will appear on the home timelines of all US-based users, and they’ll pop up when people search for election-related phrases or hashtags.

Twitter says the new pop-ups “preemptively address topics that are likely to be the subject of election misinformation.” One of the two banners reassures users that voting by mail is safe and secure. The other informs people that election results may not be announced right away. Both link to Twitter Moments that Twitter will populate with up-to-date information about voting and results.

Graphic of Twitter election misinformation banner interface on mobile app.

Neither banner addresses specific false statements. Instead, Twitter warns users broadly about seeing “unconfirmed claims” that mail-in voting is fraudulent or a specific candidate has won their race. Twitter already removes or labels tweets that promote false claims about voting. It’s also made temporary interface changes before the election, aiming to increase informed engagement with tweets.

Facebook has announced a similar banner for the US presidential election, telling Facebook and Instagram users whether votes are still being counted. Both platforms are positioning themselves as reliable sources of information on election night — instead of potential vectors for misinformation. “People rely on Twitter for accurate, credible information about how to vote, and the latest election news, and we believe it’s critical that we make it easy for people to find that information,” a Twitter spokesperson says.

Anker FCC filing hints at second-gen Amazon Echo Buds with wireless charging

Anker FCC filing hints at second-gen Amazon Echo Buds with wireless charging

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

A new generation of Amazon’s Echo Buds true wireless earbuds might be coming soon, and they could have wireless charging. The new Echo Buds and their wireless charging capability are mentioned right in the title of Federal Communications Commission filings for an unannounced Anker wireless charging pad: “Anker Innovations PowerWave Pad for Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen with Wireless Charging).”

A diagram of the charging pad from the filings also includes a mention of the second-gen Echo Buds and that they’ll have wireless charging. You can see that on the right side of the image below.

 Image: fccid.io
A diagram of the Echo Buds-branded Anker PowerWave Pad.

The left side of the diagram also suggests that the new Echo Buds’ case could have an oblong shape, perhaps similar to the Galaxy Buds Plus. The first-gen Echo Buds, for comparison, had a more rectangular footprint.

 Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge
The first-generation Echo Buds’ case.
The Galaxy Buds Plus’ case.

There aren’t a lot of other details about these apparent second-generation Echo Buds we can find in Anker’s FCC filings, though. And the filings aren’t necessarily a guarantee that a product will be released imminently. All they mean is that this Anker charging pad has been authorized by the FCC for sale in the US.

But FCC filings often do appear before products are officially announced, so perhaps Amazon will be revealing a second generation of Echo Buds sometime soon.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and Lenovo Chromebook Duet are On Sale at Best Buy

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and Lenovo Chromebook Duet are On Sale at Best Buy

ASUS ROG ZephyrUS G14 gaming laptop
ASUS

Looking to upgrade your gaming rig and save a little money while doing so? Well right now the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop is available for just $1,199.99 at Best Buy, which is $250 off it’s normal price of $1,449.99. Also check out the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, which is on sale for just $249.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is a solid gaming laptop that has an AMD 3rd Generation Ryzen 9 CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, and 16GB of RAM which is good for gaming and heavy app users alike. It has a 1 TB SSD and a 14-inch full-HD widescreen LED display (with a 120 Hz refresh rate, by the way) that’s perfect for showing off your favorite game’s flashy graphics. It’s also VR-ready, so bust out your favorite VR video games.

Best Buy is also having a great sale on the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. At just $249, it’s easy on the wallet, and a perfect lightweight option for students and as a family computer. It has a 10.1-inch HD screen and dual cameras for video calls and photos. This Chromebook has 128 GB of internal storage, plus a 100 GB one-year free trial of Google One for storing all of your documents and photos.

LG’s new wireless earbuds add active noise cancellation, keep the germ-killing case

LG’s new wireless earbuds add active noise cancellation, keep the germ-killing case

Image: LG

LG’s new Tone Free FN7 wireless earbuds still have the same germ-killing capabilities of previous models, thanks to the charging case’s built-in UV light. But now, the company is adding active noise cancellation to the mix. Available as of today in South Korea and coming to other regions later this year (with pricing TBD), the FN7 look very similar to the FN6 earbuds; they’ve got silicone ear tips and a “twist-fit Vortex Ribs design” meant to maximize passive noise isolation.

The Tone Free FN7 buds have three microphones “that monitor soundwaves coming from all directions” and eliminate background noise. “With ANC activated, environmental noises are now almost completely neutralized, making every note and voice sound clearer, more natural, without losing the details from turning up the volume to maximum,” LG said in its press release. Battery life is rated at up to five hours with ANC enabled and up to seven with it switched off. (With the case, it’s a total of 15 hours with ANC on and 21 with it off.)

As with past models, these are tuned by Meridian and “can recreate a realistic soundstage that simulates the experience of listening to real loudspeakers while also delivering vocals with pristine clarity, completely immersing the listener.” LG offers EQ customization and says the bass on these is fuller and richer than before. The included UVnano charging case, by LG’s claims, can get rid of 99.9 percent of E. coli and S. aureus bacteria on the earbuds’ inner mesh. The case now has an LED on the exterior to more clearly indicate remaining battery life.

LG’s latest buds face a wave of noise-canceling competition, including the new Jabra Elite 85t, Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds, the 1More True Wireless ANC, and of course Apple’s AirPods Pro.

YouTube’s mobile app gets new gestures and playback controls

YouTube’s mobile app gets new gestures and playback controls

YouTube is updating its mobile apps with a few new features that should make viewing and controlling videos a bit easier, with new gestures, updated player controls, and additional features.

The biggest update is a new gesture to enable or disable full-screen video: instead of tapping the button (or rotating your phone), you’ll now be able to swipe up on the video window to enter full-screen and swipe down to return back to the standard player page. (Those gestures will only work when swiping on the playback window itself — so you don’t have to worry about getting it confused with the swipe gestures to exit applications on both iOS and Android.)

The new autoplay toggle and closed captioning buttons on YouTube.

There are also a few new buttons on the video player: there’s now a new closed-caption toggle that appears directly on the overlay menu, along with the toggle to turn on or off autoplay video. You can also tap on the timestamp of a video to switch between viewing how much time has elapsed in a video and how much time there is left.

The updated apps also feature an expanded version of the video chapters feature that YouTube has been developing over the past few months. Now, there’s a new list view that shows all the chapters for the video, including a preview thumbnail (sort of like a DVD menu).

YouTube’s new suggested actions feature.

Lastly, YouTube is adding a new set of “suggested actions” — small prompts that will recommend that users rotate their phones (perhaps using that new full-screen gesture mentioned earlier) or use a VR headset for a better experience watching a video. YouTube says that it’ll be working on adding more suggested actions in the future, too.