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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.
38: Dumbest Idea Ever
Jan 18 • 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 • 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.
36: Discomfortday
Jan 4 • 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?
34: Regrets…
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.