What are the most important technology stories right now? From products and companies to services and trends, Download’s weekly panel of experts analyzes the biggest topics in tech … and a few you may have missed. Hosted by Jason Snell.
87: A Game of Media Chicken
Jan 17 • 62 min
Apple’s battery replacement saga and the parable of the infinite home appliance; Facebook and WordPress try to help journalism; Netflix raises prices; and the biggest trends from CES.
86: The 2019 CES Draft
Jan 10 • 62 min
Everything’s better when it’s a draft—even CES. This week we’re picking the top stories from the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the products that are least likely to ever ship and our least favorite stories of the week.
85: Top Stories of 2018
Jan 1 • 66 min
In this special New Years Day episode, we look back at the biggest trends of 2018, review some stories you might have missed along the way, and make a few bold predictions for 2019.
84: Shout Out to Our Nemeses
Dec 20, 2018 • 48 min
2018 ends with a lot of grim dystopia type stuff involving social media services and the synergy power of media companies and internet providers. Meanwhile, Apple takes the lowers its ecosystem walls and adding Apple Music to Amazon Echo devices.
83: Mr. Google Is My Father!
Dec 13, 2018 • 66 min
Google’s CEO gets grilled by Congress; Instagram gets a new product leader; Apple does a bunch of stuff; and Supermicro defends itself against Bloomberg.
82: No! This Is Terrible!
Dec 6, 2018 • 64 min
Qualcomm rolls out 5G cellular networking at a Hawaiian resort; Tumblr bans sexual imagery and nudity; Apple fails emoji biology; and streaming services consider inserting ads into paused video.
81: Elvis Is in the Building
Nov 29, 2018 • 71 min
The App Store goes before the Supreme Court, Amazon embraces ARM servers, and we discuss the amazing life and business lessons of IDG founder Pat McGovern.
80: Maybe You’ll All Get Roses
Nov 15, 2018 • 53 min
Amazon finishes its ‘Bachelor’-style courting of US cities; Samsung makes us ponder whether foldable phones will ever be a thing; and YouTube decries the EU’s new copyright declaration.
79: The New Flip Phone
Nov 8, 2018 • 64 min
Samsung shows off a foldable phone, Apple grows its revenue and ships new products, Amazon gets into catalogs and embraces the east coast, Comcast builds a cable box for cord cutters, and we mourn a couple of casualties of the streaming-service wars.
78: Great for Robots; Bad for People
Nov 1, 2018 • 75 min
This week it’s all about Apple’s event in New York. Is the iPad Pro’s amazing hardware let down by software? The Mac elbows in for some stage time with the MacBook Air and Mac Mini. And the prices of Apple products keep cranking higher and higher…
77: Data-Industrial Complex
Oct 25, 2018 • 56 min
Tim Cook speaks out in favor of tech regulations; Apple gets set for another product announcement next week; Tesla gets good news; and we question the future of VR as another executive departs Oculus.
76: Li’l Buddy Phone
Oct 18, 2018 • 51 min
Essential circles the drain; Palm climbs back out of the drain with a strange new accessory smartphone; Adobe embraces the iPad Pro; Amazon refreshes the Paperwhite; and the EU offers some new options for makers of Android phones.
75: The Internet of Sharks
Oct 11, 2018 • 51 min
This week Google unloaded a bunch of new hardware, including the Google Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, the Pixel Slate, and the Home Hub; and in other Google news, the company found a major security flaw that ended up spelling the end for Google+.
74: An Advantage and an Albatross
Oct 4, 2018 • 51 min
This was a big week for Microsoft, with new Surface hardware and some big announcements about how Windows will work better with Android. There was also scary news about servers being infected by spy hardware that could compromise privacy and security.
73: The Crocodile Is Changing Its Diet
Sep 27, 2018 • 58 min
Microsoft sets its eyes on the cloud and suddenly finds itself on the side of the angels; Instagram’s founders leave their creation in Mark Zuckerberg’s hands; and Oculus debuts a new standalone VR headset.
72: Just Stop Talking
Sep 20, 2018 • 68 min
Apple updates most of its operating systems, and prepares to ship its new iPhones and Apple Watches; Elon Musk announces a trip around the moon while getting scrutinized by the government; and Amazon announces a slew of new Echo-powered products.
71: Small-Screen Enthusiast
Sep 13, 2018 • 50 min
Apple releases new iPhones and a new Apple Watch; Google kills Inbox.
70: Tennis and Excess
Sep 6, 2018 • 51 min
Apple’s event nears, but the rumored names for its new iPhones are really weird; young people are abandoning Facebook in droves; social-media giants spend a day in the barrel on Capitol Hill; and Evernote may be circling the drain.
69: Salad? Let’s Not Be Hasty
Aug 30, 2018 • 45 min
Apple rumor season is in full swing, Google brings “digital well-being” to YouTube viewing stats, Uber embraces scooters and ebikes, and conservatives complain about Google having a liberal bias.
68: False Flag
Aug 23, 2018 • 47 min
This week graphics cards got way better; the App Store came under criticism; and Facebook did a bunch of controversial stuff… again.
67: Anything With a ‘C’
Aug 16, 2018 • 54 min
Behavioral surveillance in apps; Alexa and Cortana shack up; a spaceship files toward the sun; Twitch backs up a truck full of money to the doors of star YouTubers; and Apple evangelizes the app subscription.
66: This Year Has Felt Like 10 Years
Aug 9, 2018 • 55 min
Tech giants move to ban a peddler of conspiracies and snake oil, but not Twitter; MoviePass nears death, but everything may still be a service; and Samsung rolls out a bunch of new products.
65: Death March With Cocktails
Aug 2, 2018 • 57 min
Google may be returning to the (censored) search business in China, YouTube Premium and Facebook Watch face the icy stares of skeptical TV critics; and Apple breaks a trillion but still has trouble with the Mac.
64: A Perfect Storm of Outrage
Jul 26, 2018 • 57 min
Apple’s much-criticized MacBook Pro weathers a weeklong PR crisis; Google makes money but struggles with its identity; and Facebook continues to have a really bad year.
63: Satisfying the Punisher
Jul 19, 2018 • 50 min
Google gets fined, swallows Nest whole, and plots its next-generation operating system. In other news, there are new moons and even newer emojis. 😎
62: Get My Gecko Out of Hiding
Jul 12, 2018 • 60 min
Is Microsoft’s new Surface a laptop or tablet, and what it does it mean for the future of computing? Also, HBO’s new owner AT&T wants to make it more like Netflix, and we celebrate 10 years of the App Store.
61: Someone Else Call 911
Jun 28, 2018 • 49 min
Companies love buying other companies; Disney and Amazon are making big moves this week, while Apple is getting serious about midterm election news coverage and nerds get to play with beta software all summer.
60: Evil Spreadsheets
Jun 21, 2018 • 54 min
Tech finds itself in the middle of a U.S.-China trade war and discovers that taking on governmental clients might make employees uncomfortable. Also, Instagram dives into longform video.
59: Infinite Hyde Park Corner
Jun 14, 2018 • 43 min
We list our favorite game announcements from E3, ponder the industry trend toward consolidation, watch as Twitter continues to rearrange deckchairs, and celebrate Tennesseean supercomputers.
58: Focus on our Most Profitable Children
Jun 7, 2018 • 56 min
Live from Apple’s developer conference in San Jose, we’re joined by some Apple experts to discuss iOS and macOS announcements. Plus Amazon and Sonos make some home theater announcements.
57: Extra Letters!
May 31, 2018 • 50 min
Google’s struggle with AI and military projects, Plex expands to podcasting, and we talk the joys of mechanical keyboards with one of the editors from The Wirecutter.
56: President of Netflix
May 24, 2018 • 56 min
Elon Musk reacts badly to media criticism of Tesla’s products and labor practices; The Obamas get a production deal with Netflix; Comcast tries to snipe Disney in a bid for Fox; and cities move to tax their local tech giants.
55: Tachy Goes to Coventry
May 17, 2018 • 56 min
Microsoft has a Surface so big you can hang it on a wall, and is making one small enough to take on Chromebooks and iPads. Meanwhile, Twitter tries to fight trolls with algorithms and continues to tighten the screws on third-party Twitter apps.
54: Give Me All the Nannies
May 10, 2018 • 57 min
This week brought developer conferences from Google and Microsoft, and with them came a lot of news. We discuss Google’s commitment to “digital well-being”, updates to Google Assistant, an unnerving phone call from a robot, and more.
53: Horizontal Integration of Relationships
May 3, 2018 • 57 min
T-Mobile and Sprint take another run at merging together; Facebook releases its standalone VR headset, gets into the dating game, and offers some data opt outs; and the gig economy takes a body blow.
52: Danger Bubble
Apr 26, 2018 • 65 min
Google fails to get the message about texting privacy, Amazon’s got home robots and is now letting people open your car, and on this podcast’s first birthday we consider some trends we’ve noticed over the past year.
51: Planet Netflix
Apr 19, 2018 • 49 min
The U.S. takes on ZTE, Russia takes on Telegram, San Francisco takes on scooters, and video-streaming services take on your wallet.
50: I Ran Out of Metaphor
Apr 12, 2018 • 49 min
Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington, Apple goes all in on renewable energy, Hulu and Spotify rebuild the bundle, Snap gives it a second try, and Google releases its own fuzzy-puppy update.
49: Good Plus
Apr 5, 2018 • 59 min
Intel unveils new mobile chips, Apple dumps Intel, Google loses its AI chief to Apple, and Microsoft reorgs Windows. All that, plus scooters litter the streets of San Francisco, drones are crashing all around us, oh the humanity!
48: I Brought Services, You Brought a Crayon
Mar 29, 2018 • 64 min
Apple goes back to school, but will it make any difference in its battle with Chromebooks? Microsoft unveils a game subscription service, because we live in the era of subscription services. And Facebook has another bad week.
47: Put the Toothpaste Back in the Cat
Mar 22, 2018 • 60 min
Facebook made us all think about the power of social media and the value of our personal data this week, but was Mark Zuckerberg’s response enough? In equally heavy news, the first autonomous vehicle fatality happened this week.
46: Count the Ms
Mar 15, 2018 • 49 min
The U.S. government kills the Broadcom/Qualcomm merger, Apple buys a magazine subscription service, and Facebook and YouTube take stands of a sort against questionable posts on the Internet.
45: Android Pop Rocks
Mar 8, 2018 • 57 min
Into a somewhat boring smartphone market comes our first glance at Android P, MoviePass gets caught tracking its users, iPhone app development turns 10, and is that a creepy laugh coming from the Amazon Echo?
44: They Went With the Chicken
Mar 1, 2018 • 48 min
This week we analyze many of the phone announcements from Mobile World Congress, including a new Samsung Galaxy and the return of a phone you may remember from a film made in the previous century.
43: Tea Party With Bots
Feb 22, 2018 • 55 min
Twitter is banning a bunch of bot accounts (again) and Microsoft is struggling to shed legacy technology in Windows (again), while the next flagship smartphone has been leaked (again).
42: Get Used to Disappointment
Feb 15, 2018 • 49 min
Apple’s software quality may have caught up with it, while Snapchat is dealing with the fallout of its recent redesign. All the while, Facebook is doing Facebook things and we really need a fuzzy puppy update.
41: Grandma’s House
Feb 8, 2018 • 59 min
It’s corporate results season, so we check in on how things are going at all the tech giants, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. Oh, and a billionaire shot a sportscar into space.
40: An Alien Riding a Bike
Feb 1, 2018 • 63 min
It’s a weird week in tech news: Strava leaked the location of secret military bases, Amazon got into healthcare, someone in the Trump Administration proposed nationalizing 5G wireless, and the world waited (or didn’t) for the Apple HomePod.
39: Vulnerable to Stick-Ups
Jan 25, 2018 • 50 min
After a long delay, Apple prepares the HomePod for release, but who (if anyone) is buying? Long lines greeted the opening of Amazon’s new automated store that’s supposed to do away with lines, but what’s the endgame?
38: Dumbest Idea Ever
Jan 18, 2018 • 57 min
We discuss the top trends at CES 2018 with two survivors of the show, plus Facebook makes big news feed changes, Apple brings money home, and networking is harder than it looks.
37: Robot, Hold My Beer
Jan 11, 2018 • 60 min
It’s CES week, so there’s a lot to talk about in the world of voice assistants, robots that may not be robots, cars, impractical televisions, smart bathrooms, and more.
Jan 4, 2018 • 54 min
A new year brings big tech news stories, including a huge security flaw in almost every microprocessor out there, and Apple doing damage control with a discounted iPhone battery replacement program.
35: Let Deadpool Be Deadpool
Dec 21, 2017 • 62 min
Disney has set shockwaves through the media world with its proposed purchase of Fox. What does it mean for streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, not to mention whatever Apple is up to? How can Bart Simpson and Mickey Mouse coexist under one brand?
Dec 14, 2017 • 56 min
A former Facebook executive bemoans the world he helped create, and Patreon goes back on its controversial change in how it collects money. In lighter news, Stephen is looking at a 21st-century Clapper and Jason is ordering an iMac Pro.
33: Consensual Mass Hallucination
Dec 7, 2017 • 55 min
Microsoft returns to ARM with Windows 10 running on Qualcomm chips, Amazon and Google get into a slap fight (while Prime Video sneaks on to the Apple TV), and Bitcoin continues to rise into the stratosphere.
32: A Particular Robot Vacuum
Nov 30, 2017 • 43 min
We’re recovering from Black Friday and Cyber Monday with two members of the Wirecutter staff and talking about what cities are doing to woo Amazon’s HQ2 and Net Neutrality.
31: Year of Experimentation
Nov 22, 2017 • 52 min
It’s a holiday in the United States, so we’ve gone international this week. We discuss 2017’s flagship smartphones and their various compromises, American biases in the tech industry, and whether tech makes good gifts.
30: Knowing Yourself
Nov 16, 2017 • 54 min
Wearable tech that can make us healthier or save our lives, a potential renewal of the debate of government access to encrypted data, and how Facebook knows everything about you even if you’re not on Facebook.
29: Mosquito to a Light
Nov 9, 2017 • 53 min
2017’s flagship smartphones are all out, and the dust is starting to settle. In the desert, driverless vehicles are taking to public roads with mixed luck. And Snap works to dig itself out of bad quarterly results.
28: Five Layers
Nov 2, 2017 • 59 min
The iPhone X is almost here, and we’ve got three people who have one in their hands. Plus, what’s the deal with Apple’s iPhone X PR strategy? Meanwhile in D.C., tech companies are facing down Congress.
27: Mutants Like Us
Oct 26, 2017 • 59 min
It’s a week of big questions: The Google Pixel 2 XL is showing all sorts of screen issues, but how big of a deal are the problems really going to be in the market? Is Amazon Key the utopian dream or creepy nightmare? Who’s ordering an iPhone X?
26: A Miasma of Floating Pixels
Oct 19, 2017 • 67 min
Windows 10 gets an update, the choice between compatibility and security, the future of Microsoft, and Wi-Fi security gets KRACKed wide open.
25: Not *That* Nokia
Oct 12, 2017 • 62 min
A postmortem of Windows Phone, tech companies continue to write big checks to the entertainment industry, and the Google Home Mini triggers our concerns about cameras and microphones in our homes.
24: Vessels for Google
Oct 5, 2017 • 54 min
The Made By Google event takes center stage next week, as Google unveils the Pixel 2 (and 2 XL), wireless earbuds, a new AI-driven camera, and a premium Chrome OS laptop. Plus there’s intelligent assistant news from Sonos.
23: They Didn’t Mention Windows Once
Sep 28, 2017 • 40 min
In Seattle, Amazon held a surprise media event and unveiled all the Echoes. In Orlando, Microsoft held its Ignite conference, sharing information on new products as well as its vision for the future.
22: All These Spies
Sep 21, 2017 • 49 min
Hands on with the iPhone 8 (and an iPhone X imposter), Google absorbs part of HTC, and Wirecutter editors discuss the art of the modern product review.
21: Like Being in a Star Wars Movie
Sep 14, 2017 • 58 min
It’s Apple’s biggest week of the year. But announcing the iPhone 8 and iPhone X simultaneously is a risky move for the company to make. Also, what’s the value of a cellular-connected Apple Watch, and does Apple’s Apple TV 4K strategy make sense?
20: Like Rooting for the Cable Company
Sep 7, 2017 • 48 min
Silicon Valley companies are back in the political arena with their reactions to DACA. Meanwhile, Apple and Amazon are in a bidding war over James Bond while the Boston Red Sox are cheating using their Apple Watches.
19: Micromanaging the Middle Manager
Aug 31, 2017 • 54 min
The world of voice assistants gets more complicated with an Alexa-Cortana link-up, Google counters Apple’s augmented-reality toolkit with an announcement of its own, and Berlin’s IFA trade show brings announcements of new smartwatches and mobile PCs.
18: A Bit of Déjà Vu
Aug 24, 2017 • 56 min
Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 8, Apple reportedly slows down its car project, and Jason and Stephen are still thinking about this week’s total solar eclipse.
17: Privacy and Coupons
Aug 17, 2017 • 50 min
With smartphones and live streams, we can all watch the news unfold in real time, but at what cost? Insurance companies are offering discounts for data, and we all wonder what’s going on with Facebook Marketplace.
16: Flap My Elbows
Aug 10, 2017 • 51 min
This week we discuss the sexist Google “manifesto” and its aftermath, as well as Disney’s announcement that it’s launching two different streaming services.
15: Taken Behind the Shed
Aug 3, 2017 • 60 min
It’s phone season! Apple spilled the beans on the next iPhone and Samsung prepares to reintroduce the Note brand after last year’s debacle. And Apple reports iPad growth, but is it too late for the tablet market?
14: Secret Millennial
Jul 27, 2017 • 51 min
This week we talk a lot about how technology has changed how we consume movies and television. Also, how many video streaming services do we really need? Plus we pour one out for the iPod—but not for Adobe Flash.
13: Garbage In, Refined Garbage Out
Jul 20, 2017 • 50 min
Google asks for our input to help filter what it shows us, but are we tainting machine learning with our own biases? Also: Why the future of video games is, surprisingly, in the past.
12: Old Testament Holidays
Jul 13, 2017 • 50 min
Shopping holidays and how consumers can tell the good deals from the bad; high-end smartphones and the tech journalists who love them; and a lump of coal in your Prime Day stocking by the name of Net Neutrality.
11: I’m a Paranoid Optimist
Jul 6, 2017 • 59 min
The rise of electric cars and the future of the personal vehicle market, the ability (or lack of same) for free websites with huge audiences to make money and be profitable, and another ugly week for the culture of the tech industry.
10: Banished to My Office
Jun 29, 2017 • 52 min
Ten years ago, the original iPhone went on sale, launching the smartphone market as we know it today. More recently, the EU fined Google 2.4 billion euros in an antitrust case, and the Amazon Echo Show has shipped to customers.
9: Artisanal Soda Bars
Jun 22, 2017 • 50 min
Amazon is looking to push organic kale with its purchase of Whole Foods, while also taking on clothing subscription services. Over at Apple, an internal meeting about secrecy leaked to the press. Oh, sweet irony.
8: Like Me in High School
Jun 15, 2017 • 62 min
It’s E3 week! Microsoft unveiled its 4K console (we’re calling it ‘Xb1x’)while Nintendo stocked up on Switch games and Sony promised a bunch of new stuff for the PS4.
7: Everything Is Great for Smash Mouth
Jun 8, 2017 • 59 min
Apple’s new connected speaker, the company’s renewed focus on the iPad (and what it means for both the Mac and Windows), and its major step forward in bringing augmented-reality tech to developers.
6: Printers Are Bad
Jun 2, 2017 • 58 min
Andy Rubin unveiled his new phone (and company) this week at the Code Conference. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court rules on our rights to the products we buy and Uber’s latest bad news makes us wonder about the freedom to change jobs.
5: Art Gallery of Dongles
May 25, 2017 • 58 min
Microsoft is back in the news with another updated device, the topic of on-campus daycare in Silicon Valley raises questions about work/life balance, and patent trolls have been dealt a big blow by the U.S. Supreme Court.
4: Twenty Oars in the Water
May 18, 2017 • 58 min
This week, Google held its annual developer conference. It brought a bunch of news about Assistant, Home and Photos, and plenty of AI! Meanwhile, the WannaCry attack exploits old software to bring PCs around the world to a grinding halt.
3: The S Stands for ‘Sandbox’
May 11, 2017 • 56 min
It’s another week, and Amazon has another Echo for preorder. Microsoft’s Build keynote brings changes to Windows 10, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is considering a ban on electronics larger than phones on flights across the Atlantic.
2: Television Is Technology
May 4, 2017 • 62 min
Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S, the future of TV and cord-cutting as seen by streaming services and cable companies, Facebook hiring thousands of people to detect disturbing content, and recent quarterly earnings from three tech giants.
1: Wardrobe Philosophy
Apr 27, 2017 • 59 min
This week’s panel discusses the Amazon Echo Look and the future of online retail, our value as consumers when companies resell our data, and what went wrong with that Internet-connected juice dispenser.
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