last week in tech

The World Cup wrapped up this past weekend, and despite some YouTube TV streaming troubles, estimates put the total 2018 viewership for the tournament around 3.4 billion people. That means many of you may have been too distracted to keep up on a surprisingly exciting week in the world of tech news. Luckily, we’re here to recap the big stories and get you all caught up faster than a soccer announcer can say a really long “goooooooaaaaaallll.”

Download the latest episode of our podcast!

We have no delusions about the new Last Week in Tech episode getting more streams than the World Cup, but we’d settle for 3 billion listens. This week, we go over some techniques for finding the best tech deals, including strategies for capitalizing on the big Amazon Prime Day sale, which is happening now (so go buy stuff). We also discuss the 10th anniversary of the Apple App Store. And, we talk to Adam Fisher about his new book Valley of Genius, an oral history of Silicon Valley.

You can listen in the embedded player above, subscribe via iTunes, add us to your Stitcher, or follow us on SoundCloud.

Apple updated its top-end MacBook Pro laptops

Limited ports, limited RAM, and a keyboard that a single crumb could defeat did not earn the latest wave of MacBook Pros spectacular reviews, but last week Apple issued an update for its top-end laptops to address some of those problems. Perhaps the biggest update is the addition of a rubbery membrane below the keys that could possibly protect the persnickety mechanism from getting stuck. You can see all the new configurations here, and take notice that the company no longer sells the 2015 MacBook Pro, which predates the TouchBar, the USB-C conversion, and the new keyboard. Rest in peace, pal. You were one of the best laptops ever.

Roku released its own wireless speakers

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The Wireless Speakers come with a remote that allows voice control at the press of a button. They’re not trying to take on regular smart speakers.

New Roku hardware typically involves a streaming stick or maybe a TV with Roku’s software built in, but this week the company announced its own dedicated speakers. A pair of the new Wireless Speakers will set you back $199 when they start shipping in October. For that price, it’s obvious that they’re not meant to compete with high-end systems, but they do fall into the gap between your TV’s crummy built-in speakers and the pricy custom system your uncle put into his media room once his kids left for college and he suddenly had a lot of time on his hands.

Microsoft’s smaller Surface Go costs $399

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The $399 computer is a cheaper version of the Surface Pro.

The Surface Pro tablet is an excellent bit of gear, but it starts at $799, which puts it in a different shopping category than the typical iPads or Chromebooks. The new Surface Go, however, has a 10-inch screen, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a slower Pentium processor than its bigger sibling. Of course, the best experience comes with the $100 keyboard/cover and faster specs, which drive up the price. Still, a cheaper option could help Microsoft in its quest to grab more marketshare in the education world where Google is currently dominating and getting all of those little brains hooked on the Chromebook infrastructure.

Adobe confirmed that Photoshop is coming to the iPad at some point

The iPad is a handy creative tool, but it still can’t compete with a computer when it comes to using a full version of the ubiquitous design and photo editing program, Photoshop. Last week, however, Adobe confirmed to Bloomberg that a version of Photoshop is coming to Apple tablets in the future, though the company didn’t say when or exactly what the product will look like. Adobe’s other advanced photo editing app, Lightroom, already has a surprisingly consistent experience across computer and tablet, so this move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Remember that time Timehop had a data breach and could have exposed your user information?

If you use internet nostalgia machine, Timehop, to revisit your memories, you may be one of the 21 million users affected by a July 4th data breach. The extent to which your account may have been compromised varies, as we’re still getting information about the event.

The new Fortnite season started

Epic Games’ Fortnite is the most popular video game in the world at the moment and its new season started last week. The game is currently permeating just about every aspect of pop culture —a player even did one of the game’s signature dances during the World Cup final over the weekend. I don’t play the game myself, but my 11-year-old daughter does, so I asked her what was new and if it’s fun. Here’s a direct transcript of that conversation.

Me: What’s new in Fortnite and is the new season fun?

Her: The best part is that you can drive around in golf carts on the map now. One person drives and the other people can shoot while hanging off the back. There’s a new section of the map that’s all desert now, and Dusty Divot [a location on the game map] has trees now so it’s harder to snipe people.

There are lots of new skins, including some Vikings. There’s also a guy with an ice beard, which is cool.

See you next week!

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