The Prius gets a redesign that actually looks cool
Toyota has one sleek and shiny new Prius, and the auto press seems to agree: This one looks pretty cool. Previous Prius models have long been seen as, uh, less than cool, with its awkwardly boxy teardrop shape and normcore vibe. The 2023 Prius, by comparison, looks sleek, with a sleek body that pushes that Prius tear down to something akin to a Tesla.
It’s still a combustion-electric hybrid that requires full gas to run – unfortunately, the all-electric revolution hasn’t arrived for the old Prius yet. Toyota says it gets about 57 mpg, making it the most fuel-efficient Prius yet. The car will also be zippier than before, with a 220-horsepower engine under the bonnet. That’s good for a Prius; ask a car person. Other new features include a hands-free driving mode and the inclusion of solar panels to top up the battery while the car is stationary.
The new Prius will be available in two models: the base Prius and a slightly more powerful Prius Prime. Toyota hasn’t said when the cars will be available or how much they’ll cost, but look for them next year.
Here’s some other news from the world of consumer technology.
Microsoft Teams gets games
Microsoft announced a new feature for its Teams video conferencing software: video games. Participants in a Teams conversation can now play games like Solitaire, Mine sweeperand Astonishment right in the app. The games are aimed at people who use Teams for work. Nancy Baym, senior research manager at Microsoft, says putting games into a workplace tool fosters a sense of human connection that is sorely needed after nearly three years of remote work.
“People were able to be very productive, but they felt less connected, and that had a lot of detrimental effects,” says Baym. “Games are one of a number of really nice ways to just gently step in there and say, here’s an offer for you to connect with each other in a low-pressure way.”
To reinforce the goal of connection building, neither game is single player. (No, not even Solitaire). That means you won’t be able to play a game quietly by yourself while pretending to listen to your manager drone on about quarterly KPIs. Playing games with your team can provide a nice break from the deluge of everyday life, even if it still equates to spending time in front of a screen. We’ll see how long it takes for Zoom fatigue to set in Mine sweeper exhaustion.
Look at Leica’s large lens phone
Hey, check it out, Leica made another smartphone to follow 2021’s Leitz Phone 1. What is it? Does it have a camera, you ask? Oh, do it. As you might expect from the famous camera brand, Leica’s lens is the main attraction on the Leitz Phone 2. The single large lens occupies the top third of the phone. Its eye-focused design is a rebuttal to all the subtly integrated smartphone camera lenses.
The Leitz Phone 2’s gigantic camera takes photos at 47.2 megapixels. On the other side is a 6.6-inch OLED screen that lets you see all your gorgeous landscape shots or brilliantly detailed selfies. Oh yeah, and you can also use it to make calls or whatever. It will only be available in Japan; those outside the country must buy it as an import.
Netflix is coming for your friends
The days of Netflix account sharing are probably coming to an end. This week, Netflix introduced a new feature in users’ account settings called Managing Access and Devices. It allows a user to disable their Netflix account on specific devices – something the user can easily deploy to kick family members, friends, and roommates off their Netflix account. It’s an innocuous enough feature, and one that will be nice to anyone looking to zap their credentials from the TV they lost in the divorce to stop their ex from stealth-streaming shows on the crown. But it’s also a move that sets the stage for Netflix’s cleanup of account sharing.
Netflix has been building towards this for months. The company has tested charging extra fees for multiple accounts in a few countries, and it says it’s looking to implement the program in nearly all of its markets next year. The company also launched an ad-supported subscription plan earlier this month.
Too many Twitter problems
Well, Twitter had a good run. Now that nearly every employee has left Twitter and the site appears to be in freefall, things are about to get even weirder on the bird app. (Assuming it stays up and running.) In whatever form Twitter continues to limp along, it’s never been more vulnerable to security threats.
This week on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast, security writer Lily Hay Newman talks through the ways Twitter’s precarious position can lead to hacking, data leaks and the further spread of misinformation across the platform.