The Morning After: Disney reveals a better kind of lightsaber

Mat Smith and Richard Lawler
·5-min read

It’s amazing that the Star Wars juggernaut (enabled by the Disney industrial complex) has managed to ringfence one entire day each year to peddle new shows, movies, toys and the rest. If you survived yesterday without seeing Gandalf doing the Spock salute with some white text saying May The Fourth Be With You, you’re living a better life than me.

Sneering aside, I got something out of May 4th — the briefest glimpse of a ‘working’ lightsaber that extends and retracts a blade of what looks like light. The device definitely looks far more expensive than my double-edged Dark Maul saber from 1999, and there doesn’t appear to be a plastic tube in sight. Patents unearthed after Disney showed off the saber suggest the blade is composed of LED-illuminated plastic, bright enough to obscure the fact it isn’t actually a laser that could cut a robot in half.

The saber will feature first in an immersive two-day hotel experience at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser luxury hotel.

There are also Star Wars-themed Instant Pots on sale and our thoughts on the first episode of the new animated series, The Bad Batch. That should be enough until next year.

— Mat Smith

Apple hires former Google AI scientist who left after ethics turmoil

Samy Bengio will reportedly head a new AI unit.

Apple has hired Google AI veteran Samy Bengio, who was among the company's most prominent employees to quit amid the fallout from its firing of two women researchers. Bengio will reportedly lead a new AI research unit at Apple. Bengio left Google last week after 14 years following the company's controversial dismissal of two ethical AI co-leads who reported to him. They had separately warned of the dangers of large language models and algorithmic bias. Bengio won’t be alone as Google alumni: Apple has plucked several AI experts over the past few years, including John Giannandrea, who Bengio will report to. Continue reading.

Google leaks its own Pixel Buds A-Series with new fast pairing tech

There's no Google Store listing for the new buds, yet.

The Morning After
The Morning After

The official Android Twitter account just revealed some previously unannounced new audio hardware, by tweeting (and then deleting) a post about the Pixel Buds A-Series. The post itself didn't say much about the new earbuds other than they include Google's new fast Bluetooth pairing experience, which first appeared on Fitbit’s Luxe wearable. (Fitbit is now owned by Google.) The last generation of Pixel Buds weren’t particularly sluggish at pairing, so hopefully there are some other improvements — or perhaps that ‘A’ designation will mean a cheaper price. Expect to hear more at Google I/O, which kicks off May 18th. Continue reading.

Donald Trump is back on social media, almost

They can’t ban you from your own site.

Mere hours before Facebook's Oversight Board announced its ruling on whether or not it will allow the former president back on to its platform, Trump seized the initiative and unveiled a brand new communications platform of his very own. Take that, Big Social Media!

Behold the awesome golden glory of From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, a whole entire web page dedicated to giving Trump what he so desperately desires: somewhere on the internet to complain about how the rest of the internet is so mean and unfair to him. If you don’t feel like clicking through, then know it’s just like every other blog you’ve seen for the last 20 years, filled with tweet-length posts that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey can’t delete even if they wanted to. Continue reading.

Paul George debuts his new 'PlayStation 5' sneakers

The LA Clippers star wore them in a game on Tuesday night.

The Morning After
The Morning After

Following an Instagram leak in March, Paul George and Nike officially unveiled the white PlayStation 5 colorway of his PG 5 signature sneaker. Nike and Sony designers worked together to develop the shoe before the PS5 had been unveiled and without Nike actually seeing it.

As such, they relied on SIE Art Director Yujin Morisawa's “artistic vision and creative ethos" for the PS5 to inspire the shoes, which feature PlayStation shapes along the upper and references to the PS5's design on the upper and outsoles. In "select" global regions, you may be able to snag a pair starting on May 14th, and they’ll be released in North America on May 27th. They will go on sale via Nike.com, the SNKRS app and at certain retail locations for $120. Continue reading.

Four years later, Samsung stops updating the Galaxy S8

Even Pixel phones aren't supported for that long.

After a lengthy four years of support for Android updates, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 series (circa 2017) is being put out to pasture. What’s notable is just how long Samsung has pumped out security updates for the phones, longer than even Google does for its own Pixel devices. If you’re still carrying an S8 — and are cautious on security — it might be time to upgrade. Continue reading.

Will Smith's next YouTube series is all about how he got fit

"Best Shape of My Life" leads YouTube's new original lineup.

The Morning After
The Morning After

Will Smith will helm a new YouTube original series about how he got fit mid-life, facing all the relatable struggles of keeping in shape when you’re a wealthy celebrity with lots of money, free time and connections. Hopefully, Smith’s charm should help assuage some of our cynicism. But probably not all of it. Continue reading.

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