Talking tech since 2003

Happy Sunday, folks. It’s time once again for the Weekend Wrap-Up, where we distill the past week’s biggest tech stories into video and text summaries.

We had some very interesting developments this past week, so let’s dive in.

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Apple Refreshes the MacBook Air and Drops its Price

It was rumored that a MacBook Air refresh was coming, and sure enough, it happened. Apple bumped the processor speed slightly from 1.3 GHz to 1.4 GHz and, in a stunning move, dropped the price by $100. That means that the cheapest MacBook Air — the 11-inch 128 GB model — now comes in at $899. More computer for less money isn’t something a lot of consumers will argue with; still, it’s slightly disappointing that we don’t have a Retina-capable Air model yet.

Snapchat Adds Text and Video Chat in Update

snapchat-300x3001If there’s one thing we know about social networking apps, it’s that they’ll copy each other shamelessly if they believe another app is having success with a certain feature. Snapchat was born as a way to share disappearing photos (and later videos), but the company is now getting into two new areas: text chat, and video chat. Snapchat’s text chat uses the same “disappearing” trick; when you leave the chat conversation, it’s gone forever. When you’re in a chat, you can press a button and engage another user in a FaceTime-like video chat. We’ll have to wait and see how users respond to these new features.

Sprint Will Reportedly Try to Acquire T-Mobile This Summer

The number of major wireless carriers in the United States could shrink from four to three; that is, if Sprint can indeed acquire T-Mobile. Sprint reportedly plans to attempt an acquisition of the reborn T-Mobile sometime this summer, and is currently in talks with banks to secure the loans needed to make it happen. While this isn’t great news for competition — more is always better, as far as that goes — there is talk that T-Mobile CEO John Legere would be the favorite to lead the newly-combined company. Current Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been a steady hand ever since taking the helm in 2007, but under his leadership, the company hasn’t really done anything truly groundbreaking; nothing like the Uncarrier initiative, anyway. We’ll keep an eye on this story and update if anything changes.’

Microsoft Launches Xbox Originals; TV Shows for Xbox

Look out, Netflix; Microsoft plans on creating some original content of its own. The company is recycling an already-used term (Xbox Originals, which once meant downloadable first-gen Xbox games) to roll out its own line of original programming for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. The company already has an impressive-sounding roster of programs in development, including Halo-based projects from Steven Speilberg and Ridley Scott. What remains to be seen is how this programming will be made available to those on Xbox consoles; will they require Xbox Live at $60 per year, or will they simply be free to view for anyone who owns an Xbox system? It’s something to watch.

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