Processor is a digest for what’s happening in the world of consumer technology, with incisive analysis (or maybe just jokes) from Dieter Bohn. Sign up for the newsletter here and check out the Processor video series on YouTube.
Over the weekend, the US Customs and Border patrol gleefully praised itself for seizing counterfeit AirPods. Only they weren’t really knock offs, they were the new OnePlus Buds. Which, yes, kind of look like knock-off AirPods. But they’re also a real product from a real company that really does make things (though if you want to make the case that OnePlus is just Pontiac to Oppo’s Chevy, I’d hear you out). Chuckles were had by all.
Except the CBP didn’t laugh. The CBP doubled down and said that no, it didn’t make a mistake and the OnePlus Buds did count as counterfeit and the CPB does, in fact, have the legal authority to seize them. It smells of retconning, but it might also nevertheless be true that the CPB can do that (seize the buds, I mean. It’s probably free to retcon too, in today’s America).
After the titanic news of Oracle and TikTok and Nividia and Arm, the OnePlus Buds saga was the small escape I needed until I realized that it, too, is a synecdoche for the globalized conflict between the US, China, and the weird state of IP law. Ah well.
We’ll catch you after Apple’s keynote today, which is just one of several big tech events happening this week. I hope you can join us for a watch-along in our liveblog.
┏ Google to launch Pixel 5, new Chromecast, and smart speaker on September 30th. Surprise! Google’s event won’t have many surprises. It has already teased the Pixel 5, Pixel 4A 5G, and the upcoming Nest Speaker that looks vague pillow-shaped. It hasn’t spoken up much about Chromecast, but we know that too: it’s going to switch over to Android TV and is code-named “Sabrina.”
┏ The LG Wing’s twisting screen offers a new spin on the dual-screen smartphone. I … I kind of love this. I mean it’s ridiculous and the chances that there will be good software support for the second-screen experience are minimal. I could go on and on about why this is silly.
But also it’s silly! Phones can be a little wacky! I mean, not only does this have a second screen that the first screen rotates away to reveal, it has brought back the pop-up selfie camera. LG’s product engineers sat in a room and asked how many moving parts it could pack into a smartphone and the answer was not a number but simply “yes.”
┏ LG also teased a vertical sliding version of a phone, which: yes again. Go off, LG, be wacky.
┏ Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup won’t have high-refresh 120Hz displays, says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. I can already foresee the year of shit-talking this will cause, so let me just say this. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is disappointing. I have long said that any phone that costs a thousand bucks or more should have a high refresh-rate display and the iPhone lacking one is a miss. It’s not the most important spec on a phone, but it does make an appreciable difference.