It’s already started. Time to recap 2022. Apple revealed that social media newcomer BeReal was one of the biggest winners in its annual App Store Awards. It won iPhone App of the Year for giving people what Apple called, “an authentic glimpse into their friend’s and family’s everyday lives.” If you’re unaware, BeReal users can share a selfie of themselves with a photo of their environment during a two-minute window the app randomly selects for them every day, sidestepping the production values, planning and filters that are often part of Instagram, TikTok and other apps. And in BeReal’s case, the fact that rival social media apps have introduced or are testing similar features is a clear testament to the “impact” it’s had. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
In gaming, Apex Legends Mobile was the top title for iPhone, while puzzle game Moncage and card battler Inscryption won best games for the iPad and the Mac, respectively. The fantastic El Hijo also got a nod for best game for Apple TV.
– Mat Smith
The biggest stories you might have missed
A record-setting distance from home.
NASA has shared a photo taken by the Artemis I vehicle on Monday showing both Earth and the Moon in the background. Orion took the snapshot at its maximum distance from Earth of 268,563 miles. That’s the farthest any human-oriented spacecraft has traveled, beating even Apollo 13’s 1970 record of 248,655 miles. What a great photo.
It translates your body’s movements on a metaverse avatar.
Sony has a new project, and it’s called Mocopi, comprising six motion-tracking bands to wear on your hands, feet, back and head, with a price of 49,500 yen (about $358). Its aim is to track your body to create videos or operate avatars in real-time with metaverse apps, like VRChat. It’s an ambitious product for people with a general interest in the metaverse as well as animation professionals and filmmakers – though it assumes a degree of technical knowledge. Sony says you can use existing VRM avatars and export recorded videos in the MP4 format, provided you have an up-to-date smartphone.
The social network may also have gutted the team tackling child exploitation.
Twitter has quietly updated its transparency site to reveal it stopped enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy on November 23rd. The company won’t suspend further users or delete content including falsehoods about the coronavirus or vaccines, but it’s not clear if the company will, as part of Elon Musk’s planned amnesty, restore any accounts banned for sharing misinformation.
Google’s cheaper smartphone series is ready for an update.
Google is unlikely to announce the next entry in its Pixel A series until I/O 2023. That’s half a year away, but the rumor mill is already spinning. Steve Hemmerstoffer of OnLeaks fame has shared early renders of the upcoming Pixel 7a. Unsurprisingly, the images suggest the Pixel 7a will look a lot like its predecessor and Google’s other Pixel 7 devices. There aren’t many spec surprises, but it appears the next phone will get the same metallic camera trim as the more expensive models.
Older than you, probably.
Exactly 50 years ago yesterday, Atari released Pong, and the early video game industry was born. Released in 1972, Atari sold more than 8,000 Pong arcade cabinets. A few years later, the home version became an instant success, with Sears selling about 150,000 units of the console you needed to play the game. If not for Pong, Nintendo would not exist, and a young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak may not have created Apple.
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