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Apple fans are starting to return their Vision Pros

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The Vision Pro sitting next to its battery.
It doesn’t help that there’s no real killer app yet. | Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

For some Apple Vision Pro buyers, the honeymoon is already over.

It’s no coincidence that there’s been an uptick on social media of Vision Pro owners saying they’re returning their $3,500 headsets in the past few days. Apple allows you to return any product within 14 days of purchase — and for the first wave of Vision Pro buyers, we’re right about at that point.

Comfort is among the most cited reasons for returns. People have said the headset gives them headaches and triggers motion sickness. The weight of the device, and the fact that most of it is front-loaded, has been another complaint. Parker Ortolani, The Verge’s product manager, told me that he thought using the device led to a burst blood vessel in his eye. At least one other person noted they had a similar experience with redness. (To be fair, VR headset users have anecdotally reported dry eyes and redness for years.)

“Despite being as magical to use as I’d hoped, it was simply way too uncomfortable to wear even for short periods of time both due to the weight and the strap designs. I wanted to use it, but dreaded putting it on,” says Ortolani, who also posted about returning the device.

“It’s just too expensive and unwieldy to even try to get used to the constant headaches and eye strain I was experiencing. I’ll be back for the next one.”

This isn’t surprising. Every human body is unique, which is a problem when you’re scaling wearable production for the mass market. Comfort is inevitably sacrificed — and it affects people disproportionately. With smartwatches, it often boils down to the size and weight of the case compared to your wrist. With smart rings, it’s the size of your finger. Many people are unfortunately between sizes or have issues with finger swelling. For smart glasses and headsets, having a low nose bridge can mean the device just slips off your face or fails to adequately block out light.

But the hardware isn’t the only issue. Another common complaint is the Vision Pro doesn’t offer enough productivity relative to the price. One user noted on Threads that looking at Figma screens made them feel dizzy but that the device also wasn’t applicable to their work. Another engineer wrote on the social media platform X that the “coding experience failed to convince [him]” and focusing issues caused headaches.

“If I’m not using this for productivity, and if I don’t love it for entertainment, and if there aren’t enough games to play on it - I just can’t justify keeping it,” one Reddit user wrote.

For Carter Gibson, a senior manager working on community management and moderation at Google, it’s the finer details. Things like futzing around with windows and file management are productivity deal-breakers.

“It’s difficult to multitask between ‘windows’,” Gibson told me in an exchange on Threads. “Several file types simply aren’t supported on the Vision Pro. I also can’t see how creating a slide in the VP would be less energy than doing so w/ mouse and keyboard — even if does feel like you’re in Minority Report.”

It’s hard to say how this vocal subset of early adopters will impact the Vision Pro going forward. Many folks who said they’d be returning the device also noted they’d be eager to try a second-gen Vision Pro. Others emphasized that the tech wasn’t the issue at hand so much as the lack of a killer app or comfort. It’s also hard to say how widespread of a phenomenon this is. While these users are speaking out on social media, we have no idea of the actual return rate — or what Apple’s internal expectations for the Vision Pro are.

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Microsoft Adding New Key To PC Keyboards For First Time Since 1994

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Microsoft is adding a dedicated "Copilot" key to PC keyboards, adjusting the standard Windows layout for the first time since 1994. The key will open its AI assistant Copilot on Windows 10 and 11. On Copilot-enabled PCs, users can already invoke Copilot by pressing Windows+C. On other PCs, the key will open Search instead. ArsTechnica adds: A quick Microsoft demo video shows the Copilot key in between the cluster of arrow keys and the right Alt button, a place where many keyboards usually put a menu button, a right Ctrl key, another Windows key, or something similar. The exact positioning, and the key being replaced, may vary depending on the size and layout of the keyboard. We asked Microsoft if a Copilot key would be required on OEM PCs going forward; the company told us that the key isn't mandatory now, but that it expects Copilot keys to be required on Windows 11 keyboards "over time." Microsoft often imposes some additional hardware requirements on major PC makers that sell Windows on their devices, beyond what is strictly necessary to run Windows itself.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US Congress recommends placing assets at Lagrange points to counter China

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Lagrange points are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system like the Sun and Earth produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.

Enlarge / Lagrange points are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system like the Sun and Earth produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion. (credit: NASA)

A bipartisan committee in the US House of Representatives recently issued a report on the economic and technological competition between the United States and China and offered nearly 150 recommendations to "fundamentally reset" the relationship.

The report followed a year-long study of the competition between the countries since China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

"The Chinese Communist Party has pursued a multi-decade campaign of economic aggression against the United States and its allies in the name of strategically decoupling the People’s Republic of China from the global economy, making the PRC less dependent on the United States in critical sectors, while making the United States more dependent on (China)," the report states.

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Apple appears to have blocked Beeper Mini’s iMessage app in less than a week

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Beeper mini promotional splash image

Enlarge / Beeper Mini's promises of "Blue bubbles" on Android seemed to have been nixed by a certain Cupertino-based firm on Friday. (credit: Beeper)

Beeper Mini, the Android app born from a reverse-engineering of Apple's iMessage service, is currently broken, and it is unknown whether it will resume functioning.

Beeper desktop users received a message from co-founder Eric Migicovsky late on Friday afternoon, noting an "iMessage outage" and that "messages are failing to send and receive." Reports had started piling up on Reddit around 2:30 pm Eastern. As of 5:30 pm, both Beeper Cloud on desktop and the Beeper Mini app were reporting errors in sending and receiving messages, with "Failed to lookup on sever: lookup request timed out." Comments on Beeper's status post on X (formerly Twitter) suggested mixed results, at best, among users.

The Verge, messaging with Migicovsky, reported that he "did not deny that Apple has successfully blocked Beeper Mini"; to TechCrunch, Migicovsky more clearly stated about an Apple cut-off: "Yes, all data indicates that." To both outlets, Migicovsky offered the same comment, re-iterating his belief that it was in the best interests of Apple to let iPhone owners and Android users send encrypted messages to one another. (Ars reached out to Migicovsky for comment and will update this post with new information).

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Google admits it fudged a Gemini AI demo video, which critics say misled viewers

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A still from Google's misleading Gemini AI promotional video, released Wednesday.

Enlarge / A still from Google's misleading Gemini AI promotional video, released Wednesday. (credit: Google)

Google is facing controversy among AI experts for a deceptive Gemini promotional video released Wednesday that appears to show its new AI model recognizing visual cues and interacting vocally with a person in real time. As reported by Parmy Olson for Bloomberg, Google has admitted that was not the case. Instead, the researchers fed still images to the model and edited together successful responses, partially misrepresenting the model's capabilities.

"We created the demo by capturing footage in order to test Gemini’s capabilities on a wide range of challenges," a spokesperson said. "Then we prompted Gemini using still image frames from the footage, & prompting via text," a Google spokesperson told Olson. As Olson points out, Google filmed a pair of human hands doing activities, then showed still images to Gemini Ultra, one by one. Google researchers interacted with the model through text, not voice, then picked the best interactions and edited them together with voice synthesis to make the video.

Right now, running still images and text through massive large language models is computationally intensive, which makes real-time video interpretation largely impractical. That was one of the clues that first led AI experts to believe the video was misleading.

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X advertisers stay away as CEO defends Musk’s “go f*** yourself” interview

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X CEO Linda Yaccarino sits in a chair while speaking onstage during a conference.

Enlarge / X CEO Linda Yaccarino speaks onstage during Vox Media's 2023 Code Conference on September 27, 2023 in Dana Point, California. (credit: Getty Images | Jerod Harris )

X CEO Linda Yaccarino called owner Elon Musk "candid and profound" in a memo to staff addressing the public interview in which Musk told advertisers to "go fuck yourself."

"Elon's interview was candid and profound," Yaccarino wrote in a memo to employees of X (formerly Twitter) yesterday. "He shared an unmatched and completely unvarnished perspective and vision for the future. If you haven't watched it, please take the time to absorb the magnitude and importance of what we're all a part of."

Yaccarino was referring to Musk's on-stage interview at The New York Times' DealBook Summit on Wednesday. Musk spoke about two weeks after he posted a favorable response to an antisemitic tweet, causing an advertiser backlash that added to X's already significant financial struggles.

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