Google announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and the company is offering a new bundle to go along with them called the Pixel Pass. With it, you get the phone and a bunch of extra subscriptions for one monthly price. But is it a good deal?
Apple will release macOS Monterey, the next major version of its Mac operating system, on October 25, the company announced today. The software will also ship on the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros that Apple is releasing next week.
Compared to the major redesign Apple gave macOS last year with Big Sur, Monterey is a low-key release, not unlike iOS 15. One of the major new features is Shortcuts support, which originally appeared in iOS 12 back in 2018. Shortcuts doesn’t immediately replace Automator or AppleScript, but it will most likely become the go-to way to automate complex tasks on Macs. Other major features include Universal Control, which allows you to use a Mac’s keyboard and trackpad to seamlessly control multiple Macs or iPads, and a Focus mode that adds more granularity to the Do Not Disturb feature.
Monterey will run on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, though it won’t run on everything that currently supports macOS Big Sur. The OS drops support for a handful of 2013 and 2014-model Intel Macs, as well as the first iteration of the 12-inch MacBook from 2015.
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YouTube announced earlier this year it would begin pilot testing livestream shopping with a handful of select creators. Now, the company is ready for a larger test of its live shopping platform, with plans to host a week-long live shopping event, “YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop,” starting on November 15. The event will allow viewers to shop new products, unlock limited-time offers and engage with creators and other viewers via Q&As and polls, the company says.
The company first unveiled its plans to invest in live shopping at the beginning of 2021, as part of a larger initiative around integrated shopping on YouTube. The initial tests had been focused on videos on demand before the livestream pilot kicked off this summer.
Since then, a number of YouTube creators have tried out livestream shopping with their fans, including Simply Nailogical, who launched her nail polish collection to 2.8 million fans on her Simply Not Logical channel; Hyram, who launched his “Selfless” skincare line to his 4.5 million fans; and Raven Elyse, who ran a livestream shopping session where she sold products in partnership with Walmart. (Walmart had earlier experimented with live shopping on TikTok across multiple events.)
Other retailers also participated more directly, YouTube notes. Sephora hosted a live Q&A and Target ran a live style haul using the new features, for example.
The upcoming Stream and Shop event, which kicks off with the Merrell Twins, will also feature products from top retailers, including Walmart, Samsung and Verizon.
As part of its panel at Advertising Week, the company shared a few details from the research it has invested in to better understand the live shopping journey and how YouTube plays a role. In partnership with Publicis and TalkShoppe, YouTube’s study found that 75% of viewers used YouTube for shopping inspiration — for instance, by watching creators’ #ShopWithMe videos. It also found that 85% of viewers trust creators’ recommendations and that viewers valued information quality and quantity over the production value of the videos.
Despite the steps it’s been making toward livestream shopping, YouTube hasn’t yet made the feature broadly available. Instead, it’s continuing to test live shopping with individual creators.
In the meantime, however, rival TikTok has moved forward with live shopping features of its own.
Earlier this year, TikTok began piloting TikTok Shopping in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, in partnership with Shopify. At an event last month, the company said it was expanding shopping with new partners Square, Ecwid, PrestaShop, Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE. It also introduced a suite of solutions and features under the brand TikTok Shopping, which includes ways to integrate products into videos, ads and LIVE shopping support.
Facebook also ran its own series of live shopping events this spring and summer, and now offers dedicated live shopping sections inside both its Facebook and Instagram apps’ Shop sections.
YouTube plans to share more about its upcoming live shopping event as the date grows closer.
The new Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pros are here, and Apple’s presentation on the M1 Pro and M1 Max made both chips look like a dramatic improvement over the Intel processors and Intel and AMD GPUs they’ll be replacing.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, and the 16-inch model starts at $2,499. Both of those configurations get you an M1 Pro processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of storage, and both represent only minor price increases from the MacBook Pros they’re replacing. But things quickly get complicated from there.
Even though Apple technically only announced two new chips today, both the M1 Pro and M1 Max come in an array of different configurations with different numbers of CPU and GPU cores (just like the M1). This is common in chipmaking—if you make an M1 Pro with one or two defective GPU cores, then selling it as a lower-end model is a sensible alternative to just throwing the chip out entirely. But this decision does complicate Apple’s high-level performance numbers slightly, and it means that you’ll still need to choose between multiple processor options when you’re shopping for a new MacBook Pro.
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Alongside the launch of the new Google Pixel 6 smartphones, the company also introduced a new way to purchase them: Pixel Pass. This all-in-one subscription service allows consumers to purchase a Pixel phone for a low monthly price, rather than paying for it all upfront. The service is available at $45 per month for the Pixel 6 and $55 per month for the Pixel 6 Pro — but it doesn’t just provide access to the phones themselves. Also included with the subscription are Google’s services, like storage, music, YouTube Premium and free apps and games.
Specifically, subscribers will have access to ad-free YouTube, aka YouTube Premium, typically $11.99 per month. This includes YouTube Music Premium, the company’s answer to Spotify and Apple Music, and its replacement for Google Play Music, which was wound down.
Pixel Pass subscribers will also get 200 GB of cloud storage with Google One, Google Store discounts and Google Play Pass — the otherwise $4.99 USD per month or $29.99 per year subscription, which offers a free selection of apps and games without in-app purchase or ads, similar to Apple Arcade.
The subscription additionally includes insurance, with Preferred Care coverage for hassle-free repairs and “life’s little accidents,” says Google. This is Google’s version of something like AppleCare for Apple devices.
The Pixel devices that ship with Pixel Pass are unlocked so they work with all major carriers.
Consumers can buy the service through the Google Store or with a phone plan on Google Fi, the company’s own cell service, Google says.
By paying for Pixel Pass as a subscription, device owners would save up to $294 over the course of two years, Google notes. But if they purchase through Google Fi, you’ll also save an additional $4 off your monthly Fi plan, equaling $414 in savings over the two years.
The subscription is designed for regular updaters who like to always carry the latest devices, but also want access to premium services. It’s clearly aimed to be the Google alternative to Apple’s own iPhone subscription plan, via the iPhone Upgrade Program. But while Apple offers its own set of subscription services separately through its newer Apple One subscription plans, the Pixel Pass bundles them in.
The new Pixel Pass with Pixel 6 is available for preorder today in the U.S. starting at $45 per month on the Google Store or via Google Fi.