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ICYMI: the week's 7 biggest tech stories from MWC to new iPad and Apple car leaks

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This week in the world of tech we had the Mobile World Conference – MWC 2024 – where tech companies introduced us to the weird and wonderful mobile gadgets they’re cooking up. 

We went to the show and saw some impressive tech including the phone of the show, Xiaomi 14 Ultra, the laptop of the show, Samsung Galaxy Book 4, and the best wearable, Humane AI Pin – which featured alongside others that we recap in our 11 best gadgets of MWC 2024 roundup.

There was more than MWC though, so to help you get caught up on the most important innovations we’ve got a recap of the seven biggest tech news stories of the past week in case you missed them.

7. We tried the Samsung Galaxy Ring 

Samsung Galaxy Ring

(Image credit: Samsung)

We got our first hands-on experience with the Samsung Galaxy Ring, and we were suitably impressed by its claims of next-generation AI-powered sleep metrics. We learned a lot of new information about the highly-anticipated wearable, including how it’ll work with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, its movement-tracking capabilities, and the particular sensors it’ll be packing. 

Although the rings we tried on weren’t exactly connected, by wearing these early prototypes we were able to learn a lot about the design. Notably, its concave shape protects the main body of the Ring from scratches, a fault of other smart rings such as the Ultrahuman Ring Air.

6.  The first truly affordable foldable phone finally landed

Nubia Flip 5G

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

Foldable phones are great, but they’ve also typically come with ludicrous price tags – until now. This week we saw the arrival of the Nubia Flip 5G, a clamshell that’s almost half the price of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5. Okay, it still isn’t exactly cheap at $999.99 / £1,049 / AU$1,649, but that’s a new low for a foldable phone – and that’s a strong start.

While the Flip 5G is still a bit of an unknown quantity, we certainly like the sound of its specs. It packs a 6.9-inch folding AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a versatile external display, and three cameras (including a 50MP wide lens, 50MP telephoto lens, and a 16MP selfie camera on the front). 

Even if the Flip 5G’s main legacy is sparking a new wave of mid-range foldables, it’ll have done its job as far as we’re concerned.

5. We wore a smartphone like a watch

Motorola Adaptive Display at MWC 2024

(Image credit: Future)

MWC is the perfect time for tech manufacturers to show off their weirdest, wildest concepts that aren’t ready to hit the market just yet, and Motorola did just that at MWC 2024. It debuted the Adaptive Display, a phone that’s able to be bent in several different positions, that can be attached to the wrist via a magnetic band. 

Most phone batteries are solid rectangles, preventing them from being bent in this way, but the Adaptive Display has a neat trick that allows it to circumvent this problem. Several smaller batteries comprise horizontal lines at the back of the concept phone, allowing the rest of the phone to be bent around them. Clever stuff. 

4. We saw smart contact lenses

Xpanceo smart contact lens

(Image credit: Xpanceo)

The apex of wearable technology probably won’t be something you can wear on your shirt, it’ll be a tiny, ultra-thin device you can put in your eyes. The latest company to offer promises of a smart contact lens future is Xpanceo. It showed off not one, not two, but four smart lens prototypes demonstrating four aspects of eyeball-wear innovation.

One promises mixed reality (XR) vision, another information, and one even gives you, basically, a super-hero vision.

While the company claims to have built all the working components, no one has worn any of these smart lenses (they need FDA approval for that) and what Xpanceo showed off at MWC 2024 was just one lens on a special stand that you could peer through.

The future of smart contact lenses is exciting but also, probably, a long way off.

3. The Apple Car got parked permanently

Apple Car Concept

(Image credit: Industry Leaders)

Apple apparently parked its long-aborning Project Titan EV car project and is ready to move on full-time to Generative AI. At least that’s the news from one trusted Apple watcher. It’s a big deal because Apple may have been working on an Apple Car (or iCar) for almost a decade and spent billions on the project.

On the topic, our US editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff said: "I, for one, am not surprised. I’ve been writing about how it was a bad idea and one Apple was never fully committed to for almost as long as rumors have been swirling that it was working on it.

"The car business is nothing like Apple’s other treasured categories: too many partners, too low margins, and a very different sales experience that can often result in no sale. Plus, I also think Apple may have missed its moment to step in (or acquire) and dominate."

Less surprising than this apparent news is that whoever is left from the Apple Car team will turn their attention to a much more present Apple project: Generative AI for all the company’s key categories. So yeah, you'll never drive an Apple car, but your iPhone is probably about to get smart enough to do the driving for you – maybe.

2. Meta made Quest Plus seven times better 

Girl wearing Meta Quest 3 headset interacting with a jungle playset

(Image credit: Meta)

This week Meta announced that its Quest Plus plan is getting an upgrade. Now, on top of the two free apps you get a month that you can download and keep for as long as you’re subscribed, you’ll also get access to a Netflix-style library of rotating VR titles. Best of all, the price of a subscription isn’t changing.

Starting March 1, 2024, 12 titles will join the Quest Plus library – including some of our favorites such as Sports Scramble, Walkabout Mini Golf and Until You Fall – and the two free apps you can keep are shooter Contractors and immersive puzzler Shadow Point.

So for $7.99 / £7.99 / AU$12.95 a month, or $59.99 / £59.99 / AU$99.95 a year, you’ll get access to 14 games and apps instead of just 2. However, it’s not currently clear how regularly the library of 12 games will change, and if it will always have 12 titles or if it will grow and shrink month to month.

1. Apple iPad and MacBook plans leaked

A woman holding and using Apple New Ipad Pro 2020 digital tablet with Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer while drinking coffee

(Image credit: Farknot Architect via Shutterstock)

If you’re looking to buy an Apple MacBook or iPad you might want to wait as one leak suggests new models are coming very soon.

We’d heard whispers that new Apple tablets and laptops could be arriving in March or April, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman – a reliable source for Apple intel – has said a Spring launch is all but certain. What’s more, MacRumors reported that Apple recently updated internal documents regarding “unannounced or unreleased products” that are meant to help Apple staff navigate potential customer questions – another sign that new products are likely incoming.

If the leaks are correct, then we could see a refresh of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops outfitted with the powerful M3 chip that was installed in the MacBook Pro last year. As for iPads, the new Pro models could get an M3, and the iPad Air might be given the older (but still impressive) M2 chip. They might also get OLED displays, but we’ll have to wait and see.  

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