Must Read Bits & Bytes

Apple Watch pricing and availability revealed

Apple Watch pricing and availability revealed

The Apple Watch — now that you know a bit more about it, the hard-hitting questions remain. How much is it, and when will you be able to get it? We’re here in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center, where Apple has just announced their pricing schemes. The Apple Watch Sport will cost $350, but we knew that one. Apple Watch will start at $549, which may be above or below your expectations. The Apple Watch Edition? That’s a tricky one to nail down.

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Apple announces new, thin, Retina MacBook

Apple announces new, thin, Retina MacBook

After breaking new ground with ResearchKit, Apple has reinvented their existing MacBook platform. “The definition of portability has changed in the last several years, led by iPhone and iPad” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We challenged ourselves to reinvent the notebook”. They did, too. A gorgeous new MacBook Air landed today, and it’s — it’s stunning. More or less, it lines up with rumors we’d heard about previously, but in being official, we now have reason to get excited. For the fashionable, it now comes in different colors, too -- silver, space grey, and gold!

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Why I refuse to believe VR is the future of gaming

Why I refuse to believe VR is the future of gaming

Virtual reality was all the talk at the Game Developers Conference this week. From Sony to Valve to Oculus to Sulon, a slew of companies showed off virtual reality technology that they say, will carry us well into the future.

Of course, this is something we’ve heard before from hardware makers. Oculus has shown its Rift product off for years, arguing that it can succeed in virtual reality where so many other companies have failed. Now several other companies are arguing the same.

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MWC 2015 round-up; Samsung, HTC lead the way

MWC 2015 round-up; Samsung, HTC lead the way

Though we weren’t expecting a whole lot, Mobile World Congress was actually rather delightful this year. We got exactly what we came for, and even some additional surprises from top OEMs and others. There were some obvious highlights, like the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, but some other highlights like Jolla’s new tablet. HTC brought out their new smartphone for us to check out, but also slapped a fitness band on our wrist and VR headset on our face. But that wasn’t all! Here are some of our highlights from MWC 2015.

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The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

Earlier this week, Epic Games announced that WETA Digital had created a VR experience for The Hobbit. This collaboration is called "Thief in the Shadows", and was the combined efforts of Epic Games, WETA Digital, NVIDIA, and Oculus, and it'd bring the wearer to the Lonely Mountain, put in place of Bilbo Baggins as he (the wearer of the Oculus VR headset) encounters the dragon Smaug for the first time. Oh, Stupendous One, how awesome it is to look upon your face from such a realistic perspective.

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NextVR aims to transform sports entertainment forever

NextVR aims to transform sports entertainment forever

Late last month, the virtual reality specialists at NextVR successfully tested out transmission of an NHL game with Live VR. This means that no matter where you are - just so long as you have an internet connection - you'll be able to watch the game. Not just from whatever perspective the standard camera wishes you to view - but from the perspective of someone who's down in a front-row seat. This week we had a chat with the co-founders of NextVR about how they made headway at a 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks Game.

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Samsung’s not giving up on VR: Gear VR GS6 hands-on

Samsung’s not giving up on VR: Gear VR GS6 hands-on

I honestly didn't think I'd have to mess up my charming, hobo-like mess of hair so often at MWC 2015, but Samsung wasn't going to let me get away without trying the new Gear VR for the Galaxy S6. An updated version of last year's Gear VR for the Galaxy Note, the new model keeps the same basic principle - your smartphone screen, when docked up-front, becomes a stereoscopic display - but updates it to suit the new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Samsung announced on Sunday. Thing is, having already been wowed by the HTC Vive, can Samsung's altogether more straightforward headset compete?

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12-inch MacBook Air Retina now tipped for Q2

12-inch MacBook Air Retina now tipped for Q2

The well-whispered 12-inch MacBook Air, thinner and Retina resolution in comparison to the existing ultraportable, will begin shipping in Q2 2015 a new report suggests. Rumors of the new notebook have circulated for some time, the 12-inch form-factor a compromise in size between the current 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air. Several release dates have been attached to the project by earlier tipsters, but it's possible that the new Air could be announced at Apple's event next Monday, alongside the Apple Watch.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X revealed, handed to Tim Sweeney

NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X revealed, handed to Tim Sweeney

This week NVIDIA decided to reveal their next big graphics card at a press event that wasn't explicitly theirs. At the Epic Games event, with Tim Sweeney next to him, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X was revealed for the first time. This card was revealed only with the promise of the whole audience that they'd come to GTC 2015. That's NVIDIA's own graphics-centric conference that takes place later this month - we'll be there too, of course.

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HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

I’m going to be blunt with you, words can’t do justice to the experience of using HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset. There’s nothing quite like slipping into a virtual 3D world, as I did this week in a preview of Vive ahead of developer units shipping this spring. Cloistered in a room at the back of HTC’s Mobile World Congress stand, and with the reassuring voice of a Vive engineer whispering in my ear, I got to try out a number of demo apps and environments created for the platform by Valve and others, including the first announced title for SteamVR.

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