In this week’s edition of the Weekend Wrap-up, we take a look at the numbers Apple put up with the iPhone as well as Microsoft’s recent unveiling of its new Surface 2 line. Plus, we’ll catch you up on what Steam has up its sleeve and what the FAA could begin considering as early as tomorrow.
Again, iPhones Set Sales Records
The naysayers were out in full force following the announcement of the Apple’s newest smartphones, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. But the day the newest iPhones went on sale, Sept. 20, the army of buyers seemed much larger. Apple surpassed its previous records by selling a combined 9 million iPhones in a weekend. The company had previously sold 5 million iPhone 5 units and, before that, 4 million units of the iPhone 4s.
Our own Jeff Weisbein went to Microsoft’s New York City event to cover the unveiling of both the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. He liveblogged the event and later recapped it nicely. Essentially, what we’re getting from the newest Surface tablets are improved specs like upgraded displays and new Haswell-powered chipsets. Microsoft is still sticking to its Windows RT guns with the Surface 2, so if you want the full power of Windows 8.1, you’ll have to step up to the more-expensive Surface Pro 2. The entry-level Surface 2 comes in at $449, while the Surface Pro 2 will run you $899.
Valve Announces SteamOS; Plans Steam Machines, Steam Controllers
After announcing that it was working on an Ubuntu-powered gaming OS called SteamOS, Valve took things a step further by announcing plans for a new class of hardware called Steam Machines. These machines would run on SteamOS, aiming to help Valve gain a foothold in the living room where juggernauts like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo currently rule. To go along with these Steam Machines, Valve also showed off the Steam Controller, a wild creation that does away with traditional analog joysticks in favor of dual circular trackpads that have haptic feedback built in. We should see the company’s plans begin to take more shape in 2014.
FAA May Relax Rules on Gadget Use During Takeoffs and Landings
Anyone who has flown before has probably been annoyed by the “turn off all electronic devices” rule when flying under 10,000 feet. There isn’t any evidence to suggest that Kindles and iPads interfere with equipment in the cockpit and, let’s be real — flights can be kind of boring. An advisory committee for the FAA may finally put this silly rule out of its misery, though the final call is up to the FAA itself. The committee will send its recommendations to the FAA on Monday and it’s expected that the group will suggest the FAA pull back the personal electronics device restrictions.