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Meta’s Latest: AI for Social Apps, DJI Mini 4 Pro, Meta Quest 3

The tech scene remains relentless as we enter October, delivering a fresh dose of tech revelations to follow last week’s Microsoft Copilot, Amazon’s Alexa AI, and iOS 17 announcements.

This time, Meta stepped into the spotlight at Meta Connect, unveiling the highly anticipated Meta Quest 3 and some significant AI developments. You can delve into both of these revelations below, along with our thoughts on DJI’s remarkable new Mini 4 Pro drone (hint: it’s impressive).

In the midst of it all, we contemplated pre-ordering the new Raspberry Pi 5, destined to join our dusty shelf. We also took a moment to commemorate Google’s 25th birthday. If you were too engrossed in the real world to catch up on tech news this week, allow us to fill you in.

7- Google’s Silver Jubilee Celebration

Google's Silver Jubilee Celebration

Typically, birthdays involve party hats, candles, and cake skirmishes with colleagues. However, for Google’s 25th birthday, we opted for a different approach – a series of features celebrating Google’s greatest triumphs, missteps, and future endeavors.

We reminisced about the pre-Google era (remember Altavista, Hotmail, and Netscape?), extolled our unsung favorite Google apps and services, and mourned the projects consigned to the Google graveyard.

Naturally, we ranked the finest Google Doodles and the most delightful Google Easter egg surprises hidden in various apps and services, including Android 14’s latest additions. As a nightcap, we peered into Google’s promising future over the next 25 years.

6- Empowering DIY Projects with Raspberry Pi 5

Empowering DIY Projects with Raspberry Pi 5

Are you a DIY coding enthusiast? Raspberry Pi has always been a favorite for hobbyist tinkerers, and the robust fifth version has just hit the market, featuring a new CPU and more power.

Despite some availability hiccups, the Pi 5 seems worth the wait. It boasts a quad-core Arm Cortex-A76 CPU clocked at 2.4GHz, a substantial upgrade from the Pi 4’s 1.8GHz chip.

Moreover, you’ll enjoy a VideoCore VII GPU for enhanced graphics, Bluetooth 5.0, and dual HDMI outputs (paired with two USB 3.0 ports) supporting dual 4K displays at 60Hz with HDR support. All this for just $60 / £60 / AU$125 (4GB version) or $80 / £79 / AU$95 (8GB).

5- Dune Takes the Netflix Stage

Dune Takes the Netflix Stage

In a surprising move, Dune, one of 2021’s cinematic gems, is set to grace Netflix screens soon. This October 1st, Denis Villeneuve’s epic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece will become available, allowing more viewers to savor its glory. For an initial verdict, consult our Dune review.

While it’s likely to join the ranks of the best Netflix movies, the wait for Dune Part Two’s arrival in early November has been prolonged until March 2024, leaving fans reliant on the first film for their Arrakis fix in the meantime.

4- iPhone 15 Faces Initial Challenges

iPhone 15 Faces Initial Challenges

As the first iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro units reached their owners, excitement was palpable. However, some encountered minor hiccups with the initial batch of Apple’s new phones.

Apple swiftly addressed a few issues, including an iOS bug causing freezes during data transfers from other iPhones and fingerprint smudges on the Pro models’ titanium finish. An iOS update (17.0.2) resolved the former, and Apple updated its support page for cleaning the iPhone 15 series.

Yet, anecdotal evidence suggests lingering minor glitches and, later in the week, reports of overheating. Although these issues aren’t widespread, we’ll monitor them closely and seek insights from Apple in the coming week.

3- Meta’s AI Advancements for WhatsApp and More

Meta's AI Advancements for WhatsApp and More

Meta, in a quiet AI stride, unveiled an array of AI-powered tools during the Meta Connect event. These tools are set to enhance the user experience on platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger.

Arguably the most notable addition is a new AI-driven image editing feature for Instagram, offering users the ability to apply effects such as watercolor filters or convert images to black and white. Furthermore, Meta is injecting a colorful lineup of 28 AI characters into its messaging apps, transforming them into more ‘social’ versions of ChatGPT.

These characters draw inspiration from celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Mr. Beast, Paris Hilton, and Snoop Dogg. Users can engage in direct conversations with these ‘personas,’ even delving into subjects like Paris Hilton’s favorite lip gloss. Animated profile images add a captivating visual dimension, setting these AI interactions apart from standard chatbot conversations.

2- DJI Mini 4 Pro: Our Top Pick for Compact Drones

DJI Mini 4 Pro: Our Top Pick for Compact Drones

For budding aerial photographers and videographers, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has long been our go-to recommendation for beginners. This week, its successor, the Mini 4 Pro, took center stage.

While the camera specifications haven’t seen significant changes, with the Mini 4 Pro retaining the same 24mm f/1.7 camera boasting a 1/1.3in sensor for capturing 48MP photos and 4K video, other improvements have been made. The drone now features omnidirectional obstacle-sensing for safer flights, Ocusync 4.0 connectivity, and waypoint navigation for pre-planned flight routes. Although not a groundbreaking upgrade, these enhancements solidify its position as the top choice for most drone enthusiasts.

1- Meta Quest 3: The Premier VR Headset

Meta Quest 3: The Premier VR Headset

In addition to its AI endeavors, Meta unveiled the highly anticipated Meta Quest 3. Our hands-on experience (detailed in our Meta Quest 3 review) has us convinced that it’s the ultimate VR headset on the market.

Powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset, the Meta Quest 3 delivers a 2.5x improvement in graphical performance over the Quest 2. Its full-color mixed reality surpasses competitors, including the Meta Quest Pro. Impressively, the Quest 3 comes at an attractive price point of just $499.99 / £479.99 / AU$799.99 for the 128GB model.

While more RAM and eye-tracking would have been welcome, we believe you won’t find a better VR headset at this price.

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