🚫⌚ Apple Watch ban, 🤝 Warner-Paramount merger,💰 Xbox price cut, 📱 Samsung S24 leak
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Today’s the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, and one of your last chances to buy things for Christmas. And it’s your last chance to buy Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from Best Buy. An unprecedented ban (explained below) just went into effect at the online Apple Store.
🎅 Need something now-now? I have a gift in my Santa sack for you:
$100 PlayStation gift card for $89 – use discount code XmasPSN to get it
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $27.25 (MSRP $51) – use code XmasXGPU
$100 Amazon giftcard for $93.99 – use code XmasAMZ
The tech news never stops for us, even hours before Christmas. The Shortcut team is working on hot stories through the mildly chilly weather.
The 10-story newsletter continues below the calendar ⤵️
📆 Your Calendar
⌚️ Dec 21, Thurs: Apple just ended its sales of Watch Ultra 2, Watch 9
🎄 Dec 24, Sat: Christmas Eve
🎅 Dec 25, Mon: Christmas Day
🏝️ Dec 28, Thurs: Pokémon Concierge comes to Netflix
🎰 Jan 2, Tues: Our CES 2024 coverage begins
👎 Loser: You won’t be able to buy these Apple Watch models directly from Apple
You won’t be able to order the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 directly from the Cupertino-based company today, and in-store inventory will also be removed after December 24. That’s because of an ongoing patent dispute over the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor technology.
Retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy will also continue to sell their existing inventory these Apple Watch models.
If you’ve already purchased an Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, you needn’t worry. You won’t be asked to return your device and other models like the new Apple Watch SE will still be available to buy.
🚫 Apple is halting sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2
✋ You won’t be able to buy either device directly from Apple after December 24
🩸 A dispute over the device’s blood oxygen sensor is to blame
🇺🇸 Apple is hoping the ruling is overturned after a Presidential Review
🤔 The anti-Disney? Further media consolidation usually leads to higher prices, but… fun crossovers (until writers overdue it). Let’s predict that future.
Warner Bros. and Paramount, owners of two of the five major Hollywood studios, could merge with early discussions taking place this week, according to Axios. Both need to figure out ways to compete with other titans of the streaming industry, namely Netflix and Disney.
🛡️ Warner Bros. Discovery launched Max after sunsetting HBO Max in May, bridging its HBO and Discovery catalogue with DC superhero, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings IP. It scored a big hit this summer with the Barbie movie.
🏔️ Paramount Global owns Paramount+, launched in 2021, stringing together its Paramount Pictures, CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and other Viacom-owned IP. That includes Titanic, Top Gun, Transformers, Shrek, Mission: Impossible, Forest Gump, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Terminator and Star Trek.
Warner Bros & Paramount crossovers we thought up
Will Batman & Superman turn to Dexter Morgan for blood splatter analysis?
Will Frasier Crane diagnose Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd, and all of the Looney Tunes?
Will King Kong & Shrek appear in the next LEGO Movie? LEGO Batman needs a break.
Will Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt’s infiltrate The Matrix? “Benji, you’re not going to believe this…”
Will the Ferris Bueller finally attend class if he’s enrolled in Hogwarts?
Will Barbie and Transformers cross paths for the first time since my sister and I shared a toy box?
Will Cheers’ Sam Malone branch out to open up watering holes in Middle-Earth and Hogwarts? Everyone will know their names – except no one will dare speak the names of Sauron and Lord Voldemort.
🍎 3. Apple’s plans for 2024 revealed
👍 Winner: An extensive new report gives an insight into Apple’s 2024 devices
In some more positive news, Apple will kick off 2024 with the release of its Apple Vision Pro spatial computing headset in January, and more details have arisen regarding its other devices thanks to a report from Bloomberg.
⌚️ Apple Watch - The Apple Watch will get a major refresh next year with a new design to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Apple’s smartwatch. The updated design could feature a thinner design and a new magnetic mechanism for connecting different bands. What’s more the new Apple Watch could include new health features, including the ability to detect hypertension and sleep apnea, two conditions that affect millions of people.
🎧 AirPods and AirPods Max - Apple is also planning to revise the AirPods and AirPods Max, which are long overdue a refresh. The AirPods Max won’t be completely overhauled, however. Instead, new colors and USB-C charging will be offered, and hopefully a better case. We could see a new software-based development that will greatly benefit the AirPods, too. Apple’s hearing aid functionality could be a real disruptor in the industry and would be a far more appealing option to younger people who may have hearing difficulties.
☝️ iPad and Mac lineup - We should see major changes to Apple’s iPad lineup next year. The iPad Pro and iPad Air will undergo a revamp, with the option to choose a larger screen. The iPad mini and entry-level model will also come with faster clips. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple will also upgrade its Mac lineup with M3 chips for models like the Air.
🥽 Apple Vision Pro - With the Apple Vision Pro price being a whopping $3,499, don’t expect it to fly off the shelves in early 2024. Apple is reportedly still trying to figure out the best way to sell the headset, but it’s set realistic expectations in terms of how it will perform. Expect the Apple Vision Pro to hit the mainstream with the third or fourth generation model, similar to how the Apple Watch and AirPods exploded in popularity as the devices became more refined.
👍 Winner: There’s never been a better time to get an Xbox Series X
Microsoft has knocked $150 off the MSRP of the Xbox Series X in time for the holiday season. It’s available for $349.99 at Walmart and could mean Microsoft is preparing to announce an Xbox Series X Slim, which was leaked in September.
It’s great that Microsoft is offering its flagship console at a competitive price, particularly as Sony has been selling the PS5 Slim with a game for $499.
👏 Xbox Series X is now $349.99 at several retailers ($399 at others)
😲 That’s cheaper than we saw during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
🎮 With the release of Starfield, Forza Motorsport and Call of Duty, it’s a great time to buy it – be sure to get an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate discount code
🤔 Price cut suggests that an Xbox Series X Slim may be imminent
👎 Loser: It’s the end of an era for gamers everywhere
Don’t expect to see E3 2024 next year in June. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that E3 is officially over, marking the end of what was once the biggest gaming event in the world. In a statement on X, the ESA said: “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories. GGWP”.
😥 The ESA has announced that E3 will not return in 2024
💀 It’s now confirmed that the once-great expo is over for good
🏆 E3 used to be where all the biggest gaming announcements took place
🤷♂️ However, publishers now host their own announcements and shows
👍 Winner: Sony’s rumored PS5 Pro and GTA VI are a match made in heaven
The anticipation for GTA 6 exceeds any game out there by some margin, but questions have arisen as to how it will perform on PS5 and Xbox Series X when it releases in 2025. Cue the PS5 Pro, Sony’s heavily rumored more powerful PlayStation 5 that’s tipped to release in November 2024. The PS5 Pro should provide the definitive way to play Rockstar’s upcoming open-world epic, making a console that seems superfluous right now suddenly make more sense.
💪 A PS5 Pro and GTA 6 bundle would help Sony shift its new console
💰 The PS5 Pro could cost between $499 and $599
🤔 Sony’s console will let gamers play gamers at higher resolution, frame rates and with better ray tracing performance
🙅♂️ Microsoft has ruled out releasing a more powerful Xbox Series X for now
👍 Samsung is betting big on artificial technology
Samsung’s next iteration of its flagship phone will receive a huge performance upgrade, thanks to a new Exynos 2400 chip and an improved GPU from AMD. According to a reliable tipster, the new Samsung Galaxy S24 could exceed the A17 Pro chipset found in the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, with improved levels of heat dissipation to avoid thermal throttling.
This increase in power will help drive Samsung’s AI software, which includes photo editing, generative wallpaper, text creation and real-time translation.
The new Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra should retain the same price points as last year’s models. Expect to see the new Galaxy S24 devices at CES 2024 with a launch predicted to take place on January 17.
🚀 The Samsung Galaxy S24 will boast big performance improvements
📱 AI will be a big part of the new phone’s experience
💰 Galaxy S24 series price should stay the same as last year’s S23 line-up
📆 The new models are expected to launch in January 2024
👎 Loser: Ubisoft’s Avatar game hasn’t impressed the critics. It’s suddenly $20 off
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is one of the last big releases of the year, but it won’t be winning accolades from the critics. The game is currently sitting on an OpenCritic score of 71, with only 55% of reviewers recommending the game. The game is out on PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC now.
🤩 Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has been praised for its graphics and recreation of the world of Pandora
😔 However, it’s open-world gameplay hasn’t quite hit the mark
🎬 If you’re a fan of James Cameron’s movies, you’ll probably enjoy the game
🤷♂️ Just don’t expect it to topple some of the best game releases of this year
👍 Winner: We’re ready to go ape for the new Donkey Kong area
We’re used to seeing updates to the best Switch games, but it’s Super Nintendo World that is getting the next big patch. The Universal Studios attraction is adding a new Donkey Kong area that will feature a thrilling family coaster, Mine-Cart Madness. Hopefully, the new DK ride will make it to the US Super Nintendo World in the future.
👑 Super Nintendo World is about to get even better
🐵 The king of the jungle Donkey Kong is getting his very own area
⛏️ It’ll feature a new family coaster ride
🎢 Super Nintendo Land opened in the US in 2023
😍 Sing us out, Jack! The voice of Bowser has big plans for The Super Mario Bros. Movie sequel
Jack Black, who voiced Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, believes the sequel should be a full-on musical titled Bowser’s Revenge. However, there’s still no sign that a follow-up film is even in the works according to Black.
Speaking on the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, Black said: “It has been radio silence. The only chatter has been coming from me, and I don’t even know if I’m allowed to chatter. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back to business.”
But Black has a clear vision for The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 if it does get made. “I think it should be a full musical, like what Todd Phillips is supposedly doing with Joker 2.”
⏱️ The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 still hasn’t been greenlit yet
🎬 The animated film broke box office records when it released
🍑 Jack Black’s “Peaches” song from the film made it into the iTunes top 5
🗡️ Nintendo has since confirmed a Legend of Zelda movie is being made
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