The Morning After: Both Apple and Samsung have launch events planned for April

iPads versus 'the most powerful Galaxy'.

Mason Trinca / Reuters

Apple has confirmed its next big event for April 20th. And then, because tech companies are always like this, Samsung announced an event for “the most powerful Galaxy” coming April 28th.

The Morning After

Given Samsung has already launched arguably too many phones and a pair of earbuds this year, we could see yet another phone, the foldable kind, or perhaps even laptops powered by Exynos chips. Either could fulfill the brief of being “the most powerful Galaxy.”

Back to Apple, and alongside new Macs powered by Apple Silicon, we’re expecting an updated iMac for 2021 and iPads with suitably notable spec bumps across the board. The crazier bet for a refresh: a new iPad mini, which has looked the same since 2012.

— Mat Smith

The first major PS5 update is here

Now external USB drives can store PS5 games, too.

The Morning After

The PlayStation 5 is getting its first significant software update since the console launched, and the 900MB download adds several new features. The one that will be the most relevant is its new ability to put PS5 games in “cold storage” on an external drive. The system still isn’t ready to let gamers add their own M.2 expansion SSDs, and right now you can only play PS5 games if they’re installed on its internal storage. But if you want to clear out some space without having to redownload a title later, then at least you can move it to an external drive, and even download updates when they're released.

Speaking of game updates, gamers will be able to preload updates before they’re officially released — handy for games like Call of Duty with their massive patches that can take hours to download and install.

And since not everyone has a PS5 yet, you’ll be able to use game share with friends on a PS4 now, while a tweaked Game Base makes it easier to keep up with your parties and friends. There are also improvements coming for the PlayStation app, and within the next few weeks gamers will be able to use it to join multiplayer sessions, manage storage on the PS5 and more. Continue reading.

Roku unveils an Express 4K+ set-top box and its first rechargeable remote

And Roku OS 10 adds Apple features to its HD streaming boxes.

Meet the $40 Roku Express 4K+. It looks the same as the company's previous Express devices, but now it can finally tackle more than HD content. It supports HDR10, HDR10+, dual-band WiFi and micro-USB Ethernet adapters (there's no Ethernet jack built in, unfortunately). It costs $5 more than Roku's Premiere box (which is now being phased out), but that device was stuck with Roku's most basic remote. The Express 4K+, on the other hand, comes with the company's more powerful voice remote, which allows you to speak your search queries.

If you want something a little nicer to control your Roku device, the $30 Voice Remote Pro offers hands-free voice commands and a built-in rechargeable battery. Assuming you leave the mic on (it can be set for a push-to-talk mode for privacy), you can also find your lost remote by simply saying “Hey Roku, where’s my remote?” and waiting for it to beep. That feature might be worth the $30 by itself.

Separately, the company announced Roku OS 10. It adds AirPlay and HomeKit support on lower-end Roku HD hardware, faster app launches with Instant Resume, HDR10+ support and automatic game console configuration on Roku TVs. Continue reading.

The FBI got a court order to delete backdoors from hacked Exchange servers

Now it will alert the admins of those servers.

On Monday, the Justice Department revealed an operation by the FBI where agents logged into hacked Microsoft Exchange servers across the US to remove web shells installed by attackers. While patches from Microsoft helped mitigate the exploits of groups like the Hafnium team, with its link to China, the feds said many servers still hosted backdoors the attackers installed in them. Using the attackers’ logins, agents accessed the shells and sent a command that caused them to self-delete. All of this happened, apparently, without otherwise altering the operating servers or even patching the problem if updates weren’t already installed.

The court order authorizing the operation also gave them permission to keep it a secret, and only now will the FBI contact server administrators to tell them what it did. Continue reading.

OnePlus Watch review

Reasonably priced, but unfinished and backward.

OnePlus’ debut smartwatch has killer battery life, a reasonable $159 price and a companion flagship phone in the company’s latest OnePlus 9 Pro. But boy, it gets a lot of things wrong. Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low struggled with the watch’s fit, unintuitive app and features that are severely lacking compared to the wearable competition. Continue reading.

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 features Intel and AMD CPUs

But not much else has changed.

The Morning After

It’s been over a year since Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop 3, and despite the extended wait, the Surface Laptop 4 continues the line's tradition of being, well, kind of basic. There are no earth-shattering design changes, nor convertible features seen in other Surface devices, but there are 11th-gen Intel chips to look forward to, as well as the introduction of AMD Ryzen processors on the 13.5-inch line. It’s a largely internal update. Continue reading.

Microsoft's new 'Modern' accessories include its first webcam in years

It also put a Teams button on a pair of Surface Headphones.

To coincide with its new Surface Laptop 4, Microsoft has announced four new “business time” accessories, including its first webcam in roughly a decade. There are also two headsets for business and a USB-C speaker, presumably more for conference calls than your latest Spotify playlist. Its "Modern Webcam" offers 1080p video at 30 fps with support for HDR. It includes fixed light adjustment and autofocus. The webcam launches in June for $70. Continue reading.

You can now get Dell's XPS 13 with an OLED display

$300 for the privilege.

The Morning After

Dell is updating its XPS 13 laptop to add an OLED display to the mix. Starting today, you can pay an extra $300 on the price of the Full HD model to configure a new XPS 13 with a 3,456 x 2,160 OLED panel that features a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and 100 percent DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage. More recently, it refreshed the entire XPS 13 lineup with Intel's 11th-generation Tiger Lake CPUs, so now might be the time to strike on Dell’s popular laptop series. Continue reading.

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