Surge Snippets: Stuff you might have missed this week

New games, controversies, lawsuits, acquisitions, and new gear: There’s always loads of stuff happening in the word of tech, but some of it ends up falling through the cracks. That’s a shame, so we’ve decided to compile a list of interesting things over the past few days that we couldn’t cover on a stand-alone basis!

Pablo Escobar’s brother is selling gold-plated iPhones (and he’s also suing Apple)

pablo escobar iphone

It’s not something you’ll see on Narcos, but did you know that notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s brother Roberto sells refurbished, gold-plated iPhones? That’s correct. For the rather reasonable sum of $499, you can pick up an iPhone 11 Pro 256GB with a 24 karat gold plating. It really is a steal, especially considering Apple sells this (new, and not gold-plated, though) for $999! But if you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, think again:  Roberto, who is “Co-founder of Escobar Inc and is the former accountant and chief of assassinations of the Medellín Cartel”, is also suing Apple. According to entertainment website TMZ, Roberto is demanding Apple pay him $2.6 billion dollars (no, that’s not a typo) because he feels Apple put him in danger – apparently, Roberto is alleging someone sent  him a threatening letter after getting his address through Facetime.

Samsung Galaxy Book S gets new processor

In 2019, Samsung’s Galaxy Book S appeared amongst the ranks of ultra-light laptops. Interestingly, this Windows 10 machine was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor. Now, the 2020 model is out, but Samsung has reverted to using Intel CPUs. This time round, the Galaxy Book S uses the hybrid Intel Lakefield platform, which combines a larger, more powerful Core-series processor with a bunch of smaller, power-efficient processors. Other specs include a fanless design, a 13.3in Full HD touch display, 8GB RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. 

Amazon kills off Echo Look

Remember the Echo Look? We won’t be surprised if you don’t. This AI camera-meets-style-assistant was designed to help you sort out your ‘look’ by taking photos of you and then suggesting new apparel and accessories. Now, with the Amazon Shopping app doing a similar job through ‘Style by Alexa’, Amazon’s decided to kill off the Look. Devices will stop functioning after July 24, and Amazon’s asking users to recycle their old devices as they’ll be nothing more than paperweights after that. Don’t worry if you have some photos stored in your Echo Look account – Amazon’s giving out free Amazon Photos accounts to buyers.

This 5G blocking stick won’t work

We’re sure you’ve heard of people who think 5G is the biggest threat to mankind since the possibility of nuclear war. Scoff at them as much as you’d want to, but they do take it seriously. So seriously that some are willing to shell out as much as £283.00 for the 5GBioShield, which promises to, and yes, we’re not kidding, protect you from radiation, including cellular signals, using “quantum holographic catalyzer technology for the balance and harmonisation of the harmful effects of imbalanced electric radiation.” If you do want to get one, please hurry, as the City of London Trading Standards is working with the Fraud Squad to pull down their website.

Apple buys ML startup

Siri often gets a bad rap for being not that smart. But it seems Apple’s working on it. That might be one reason why they’ve bought over ML startup Inductiv. According to Bloomberg, which broke the news, Inductiv specialises in technology that “uses artificial intelligence to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data”.

Tile and Apple aren’t getting along

Tile has complained against Apple to competition authorities in the EU. According to a report in the Financial Times, Tile alleges Apple has acted in anti-competitive ways over the way iOS deals with non-Apple apps that seek location permissions. Tile also alleges unfair treatment over placement of apps in the App Store. This is not the first time Tile has gone up against Apple: Earlier this year, the maker of anti-theft and tracking beacons had testified against Apple at a US Congressional panel.

Samsung has new smartwatches in the pipeline

According to new filings published by the FCC, Samsung will soon be releasing two new smartwatches – carrying the model numbers SM-R845 and SM-R855. A diagram of the R845U on the FCC’s site reveals it’ll have a 45mm case, Gorilla Glass DX, GPS, LTE, 50m water resistance, MIL-STD-810G durability. The R855’s certification filings lack a corresponding diagram, but well, at least we know there’s a second watch on the way!

PS Plus subscribers get Call of Duty: WWII for free

Love Call of Duty? If you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, there’s some good news for you – CoD:WWII is now part of the June lineup of free games. As for the second free game, well, Star Wars fans have reason to cheer, as it’s Star Wars Battlefront II! You also have just a day left to download May’s free games, so in case you’ve wanted to try Cities:Skylines  or Farming Simulator 19, hurry!


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