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All the Xbox Series S details, and more tech news you need to know today

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, 8 September 2020.

1. Xbox Series S goes official for $299, and unofficial specs are good

Last night some Xbox leaks revealed a bunch more about the upcoming next-gen Xbox, but not the Series X and its big tall cube console, but a much smaller console. And for the first time, a price: $299 for this smaller model, and the Xbox Series X for $499.

  • This morning, Microsoft stepped up to make it official
  • It revealed the new Xbox Series S, with the tagline “Next-gen performance in the smallest Xbox ever”, and confirming the $299 price (along with €299 and a cheap-sounding £249.99 in the UK).
  • No date was given for the launch, but leaks are hinting at November 10.

And, just to make it a big big day, the leakers released even more, with a full 1 minute 30-second presentation video revealing a stack of Series S spec information:

Xbox Series S:

  • First the design: when compared to the Xbox controller, it’s quite small. It’s not tiny but it’s shorter and way thinner than the beefy Series X.

 

  • And the price! Wow, the $299 price is a pretty solid value proposition. Expectations are the Series X will be $499 or so, and so this is much more accessible.
  • At $299 it’s also a $100 discount on the current Xbox One X, but much faster: the same processor as the Xbox Series X and faster storage.
  • And while this morning we were first guessing at the specs, the leak reveals loads more.
  • We now know the console will target 120fps gaming at up to 1440p resolution and offer 512GB of NVMe SSD storage. (For reference, 1440p is a 2560×1440 resolution, also known as Quad HD; 4K is 2160p, 3840×2160, or Ultra HD.)
  • That leaves it short of the true 4K gaming you get with the Series X, but as the leak shows, it can handle 4K streaming and media playback, 4K upscaling of games, and the S includes support for ray tracing, variable rate shading, and variable refresh rate.
  • Digital-only means no disc drive, so downloads only.
  • The more compact design is small enough, if you believe the leak, inside the mammoth Xbox Series X machine:

‘All Access’:

  • One more thing is how you’ll pay.
  • An ‘Xbox All Access’ financing option, which is a monthly payment to cover the console, along with GamePass Ultimate, is being rolled out further and more aggressively.
  • Windows Central reports the Series S will be $25 per month (presumably for 24 months?), while the Series X will be a $35 per month option.
  • There will be terms and conditions to wrangle with, and apparently, the scheme will be going from US-only to global, so local pricing and availability around the world will be interesting.
  • Ultimately, this could be the most important Xbox yet. Much more accessible, much more tailored to Game Pass streaming, and very different to Sony’s approach with the PlayStation 5.
  • Both can be right, but just having access to Game Pass is a growing must for gamers.

🍎 The rumors are strong that Apple will announce a new Apple Watch and iPad Air as early as this morning. Some reporters on the Apple beat think it’s unlikely, but clues like the Apple Watch 5 being unavailable to buy from Apple directly do hint at something happening… (MacRumors).


🆕 Two new Poco phones in the last 24 hours: the capable-looking Poco X3 and the cheaper Poco M2. The Poco X3 is the first smartphone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 732G (Android Authority).


🔎 Samsung patent points to a transparent phone straight out of sci-fi (Android Authority).


💸 Yet another LG Wing video leak now shows the rotating phone’s interface. Looks cool! (Android Authority).


🔫 PUBG Mobile quits Tencent Games in India to shed Chinese app tag (and current ban) (Android Authority).


🍏 Apple’s ‘floating’ store in Singapore will open on September 10th (Engadget).


Google’s antitrust battles: What you need to know (CNET).


📺 Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has a book out, and he’s doing a press tour with lots of interesting bits coming out. First, interview with Netflix’s Reed Hastings on working from home (may be paywalled) (WSJ, $), and a wide-ranging Variety interview is good too. There’ll be more!


🏍 Japan’s ‘Big Four’ motorcycle makers test swappable electric batteries (Interesting Engineering).


🚼 Doom kinda running on a …pregnancy test? (Kotaku).


🥇 This is not a drill: Always wanted to own a jelly bean factory? Join this treasure hunt! You do have to buy in though, and US-only (delish.com).


🕹 “What video games show that graphics truly aren’t everything?” (r/askreddit).


The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!

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