The Morning After: Apple's Mac and Google's Pixel events, previewed

It's going to be a busy week.


Apple’s second fall product event kicks off later today at 1 PM ET. We’ve laid out what to expect, but it’s not the only big tech event week. Spare a thought for some of our staff, who will go straight from Apple reportage into Google.

Yep, Tuesday October 19th is Google’s Pixel 6 event. While we know what the phone will look like — and some of its specifications — expect to see some software surprises. We’ve pulled together everything we know into an event preview story right here.

The biggest question remains: How much will the new Pixel 6 cost? Will it be a humbly priced (and specced) device, like the Pixel 5, or something to challenge iPhones and Galaxy devices?

— Mat Smith

Russian crew returns from shooting the first feature film on the ISS

You'll have to wait a while for the movie.

Shooting for the first feature-length movie in space has wrapped. Russian actress Yulia Pereslid, producer Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy have returned to Earth after the first two spent 12 days filming their movie The Challenge aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov were originally slated to return aboard the Soyuz capsule, but they’ve both had their stays extended by six months to accommodate the film producers. Vande Hei will set a record for the longest spaceflight by a US astronaut as a result, spending exactly one year in orbit.

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McDonald's will trial its plant-based burger in the US on November 3rd

It's a small test run for the McPlant.


You may soon be able to try McDonald's plant-based burgers. The fast-food chain will offer the McPlant at eight restaurants across the US, starting on November 3rd. It's a limited-time trial run for the burger, and it's supposed to help the company figure out how offering the item will impact kitchen operations. It’s worth noting that because it’s cooked on the same grill as meat and egg products, it's not classified as vegan.

McDonald's didn't mention the exact store locations of the stores trialing the McPlant, but it said they’re in Irving and Carrollton, Texas; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California.

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Analogue Pocket still isn’t here, but it might be the 'definitive' platform for retro games

The company is sharing details about its OS.

Analogue's Pocket handheld won't arrive until late this year, but the company has detailed AnalogueOS, the platform both Pocket and future Analogue devices will run on, pitching as the "definitive" OS for retro games.

Rather than simply play cartridge games, the Pocket and future hardware will tap a library of all the useful data surrounding a game, ranging from box art and publisher data to guides.

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UK schools will use facial recognition to speed up lunch payments

Trading privacy for faster lunch service?

The Financial Times reports nine schools in the UK will start taking payments for school lunches by scanning students' faces. The technology should help minimize touch during the pandemic but is mainly meant to speed up transaction times.

CRB Cunningham, the company behind the tech, as well as the schools, argue the systems would address privacy and security concerns. The company said its hardware wasn't using live facial recognition (actively scanning crowds) and was checking against encrypted faceprint templates — though I’m not sure that addresses the concerns.

The schools were already using fingerprint readers, too, so this was more of a shift in biometric technology than a brand new layer of security.

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Apple's new MacBook Pro chips may be called the M1 Pro and M1 Max

Not long until we find out.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes the chips for the widely expected 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models have surfaced in developer app logs under the names "M1 Pro" and "M1 Max." It's not certain Apple will use these names for its high-end silicon, but they suggest Apple won't go with M1X. Earlier rumors hinted at two processors destined for the new MacBook Pros. For everything we’re expecting from Apple’s big event, check out our preview story.

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You can actually pre-order the Xbox Series X Mini Fridge

The $100 appliance will ship in December.

Xbox Series X mini fridge

Microsoft will start shipping its Xbox Series X Mini Fridge in time for the holidays. The company said the fridge costs $100 and pre-orders start on October 19th. It will ship in December.

The mini-fridge has its roots in an image Xbox tweeted to show the scale of the Xbox Series X versus a full-sized fridge. Microsoft actually made a six-foot fridge last year to promote the launch of the console, but this one’s a little more manageable.

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