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The Morning After: So what is the metaverse?

And why is Facebook getting into it?

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Mat Smith
November 1st, 2021
In this article: themorningafter, gear, newsletter
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Meta

So what is the metaverse? The big tech news last week was that Facebook — the company — is renaming itself Meta, which will apparently align it with its future goals and aims.

But what does it even mean? Judging from Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote, it’s definitely about “experiences.” Meta’s take on the metaverse is “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality.”

Other things that have been described as metaverse include: Snow Crash (where the term originates), Ready Player One, Second Life, The Matrix universe. Both Roblox and Fortnite even touch on a lot of the major points of the metaverse. Senior Editor Daniel Cooper tries to detangle Zuckerberg’s view of his business’ future, right here.

— Mat Smith

‘Roblox’ returns after three-day outage

The company didn't pinpoint the cause until just hours earlier.

The gaming platform's developer said it was "incrementally" bringing regions back to service after having pinpointed the cause roughly three hours earlier. Some had blamed the outage on a Chipotle promo that launched half an hour before the failure. Roblox has over 40 million daily users. Maybe they really like burritos? The company, while it didn't detail the cause, has ruled out particular "experiences or partnerships."

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NASA delays SpaceX Crew-3 launch to November 3rd

It’ll be a late start.

NASA has delayed the launch of Crew-3 from early on Halloween to 1:10 AM ET on November 3rd. The agency pinned the setback on "unfavorable" weather. There probably won't be another delay, though. Officials say there’s an 80 percent chance of good weather for the new date. Live coverage of the launch on NASA's channel will start November 2nd at 8:45 PM ET.

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Juno probe shows the first 3D view of Jupiter's atmosphere

Giant cyclones.

TMA
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS, Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA)

​​Researchers have produced the first 3D view of Jupiter's atmospheric layers, showing in greater detail than before how its turbulent clouds and storms work. Most notably, it's clearer how its giant cyclones and anticyclones behave. They're much taller than expected, with the Great Red Spot (an anticyclone) running 200 miles deep.

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Apple's mixed reality headset might play 'high-quality' VR games

The headset could still launch as soon as 2022.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claimed Apple is aiming for a headset with both fast chips and high-res displays that can handle "high-quality" VR games. While it's not certain just what chips would be involved, a previous leak mentioned a possible 8K resolution per eye.

The headset is still poised to arrive "as early as" 2022, Gurman said. He also suggested Apple would eventually follow up the mixed headset with an augmented-reality-only model, but that was "years down the road."

Apple has acquired companies and reportedly shuffled executives with mixed reality in mind. And you know what this means? Apple might dabble in the metaverse, too.

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Lenovo's rumored 17-inch ThinkBook Plus has a second screen for drawing

You could scribble without obscuring the main display.

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Evan Blass

Well-known device leaker Evan Blass has shared what he said is an image of a 17-inch ThinkBook Plus model, and it includes a secondary screen that appears to work with a stylus. The 17-inch ThinkBook Plus seems to have an extra-wide main display and fit in a full keyboard along with a large trackpad.

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