A self-driving car getting pulled over by traffic police sounds like the subject of an xkcd comic, but Google's autonomous run-in with the law shows the robots have a lot to learn. Getting stopped for driving too slowly amid other traffic might only be the tip of the iceberg, in fact, and it's entirely possible that autonomous vehicles will need to learn to be worse on the road in order to fit in.
Predictably, a fair amount of the conversation around the new HTC One A9 focused on its design similarities to the iPhone 6s. It's a fair point: HTC has plenty to say about how its new hero device is at the "convergence" of the Desire and One lines, but there's no denying that the result bears a strong resemblance to Cupertino's products.
3D Touch on the iPhone 6s is, if you believe the early impressions, about as big a change to touchscreen phones as capacitive multitouch was eight years ago. Having tried it myself, earlier this month when Apple officially unveiled the 6s and its iPhone 6s Plus sibling, I certainly agree that it's an intriguing mixture of new and familiar: something you acclimatize to almost instantly, but the potential of which for shaking up interface design is vast. What intrigues me is how it could contribute to the evolution of one of the iPhone's most consistent design elements.
You can debate specs, argue square versus circle until you're blue in the face, but the big Gear S2 vs Apple Watch argument is which is more fidget-friendly. Samsung's new Tizen-powered smartwatch, launched at IFA 2015 last week to broadly positive reviews, is not only the first from the company to have a round display, but the first to use a clever rotating bezel for navigation.
Samsung is off to a great start with the Gear S2 smartwatch, with its great UX and broad Android compatibility, but its challenge is only just beginning. The circular-screen wearable is prompting broadly positive first-impressions - from ourselves included - with its discrete design and well-crafted interface, and Samsung has feathered it with a number of high profile apps out of the gate.
Shock-horror: the Tesla Model X configurator is online, and Elon Musk's first electric SUV isn't going to be a cheap car. Cue gasps from the soccer moms, Valley trundlers, and EV enthusiasts expected to make up the Model X's initial audience, wowed by the $133,200 and upward price of the initial "Signature Edition".
Drunken Facebook messages. Accidentally tweeting something that was meant to be a Direct Message. That moment someone tells you that you hit "Reply All" by mistake. Realizing the goofy video you posted to YouTube for your friends now has 100,000 views.
While the endless filler and sometimes mind-numbing commentary that comes with 24-hour news networks provide plenty of subject matter worthy of eye-rolling criticism, it's hard to find any subject that is approached with a deeper level of maddening condescension and downright idiocy than when a breaking technology-related story unfolds. Watching CNN and others last Wednesday was just the latest example in this continuously absurd area of mainstream journalism.
Perhaps we should've expected Amazon Prime Day to be a monstrous disappointment. When you model your huge, one-day-only sale on Black Friday, after all, you're probably going to experience the same instantly-evaporating deals and masses of unlovable clearance items. Sure enough, though there have been some impressive bargains to be had, there are more people vocally annoyed than crowing about their purchases.
Amazon’s Echo is a lot of things - shopping companion, music player, portal to Wikipedia - but its most surprising feature says more about human comfort with next-gen electronics. Echo’s cleverness is in the cloud; the black column of its local hardware is really just a gateway to that remote functionality. Yet it also has to satisfy a few core requirements, such as demonstrating attentiveness. The solution Amazon came up with is both simple and elegant.
Apple’s WWDC is over for another year, and as the dust settles on the iOS 9, Apple Music, and OS X El Capitan launch, it’s a chance to reflect on five days of sessions. It’s hard to gauge the tone of a week-long developer event from a fast-paced keynote - even with an Apple Music section which went on too long, and which several developers I spoke to suspected was padded to fill up space originally intended for an Apple TV SDK announcement. If there can be such a thing as an overarching theme, though, it felt like it might be harmonious co-existence.