Sony's Special 40th Anniversary Edition Walkman Does Everything But Play Cassettes

Sony
Sony

The Sony Walkman is turning 40 this year, and while Sony has come a long way since the 1970s, it's not forgetting the product that helped make it famous. Earlier this year, the company celebrated the invention with a retrospective exhibition in Tokyo. Now, as Gizmodo reports, they're releasing a new version of the original Walkman for 2019.

Sony’s NW-A100TPS shares the same design as the 1979 cassette player, but the major difference is that this one doesn't play cassette tapes. Instead, the 16GB device plays music through Wi-Fi and Android apps. And the 3.6-inch strip of glass on the front isn't a window panel: It's actually a tiny touchscreen you can use to control your tunes. While you're listening to music, the screensaver shows an animation of a cassette tape in motion just like you'd see in an old-school Walkman.

The gadget has at least one retro feature leftover from the Walkman's reign—or from three years ago. There's still a headphone jack, so you can hook it up to your over-the-ear headphones and rock out on the go like it's the 1980s. Though if you feel the wire isn't worth the nostalgia, the music player also connects to Bluetooth.

Getting modern technology with a vintage vibe will cost you. Starting in December, Sony will sell the NW-A100TPS for $599 in Australia and €440/£400 in Europe. That comes out to somewhere between $400 and $500, which is multiple times the original $150 price tag from 1979. There's no word yet on when or if the device will be available to American consumers.

This isn't the first time the Walkman has made a modern (and expensive) comeback. In 2016, Sony sold a gold-plated Walkman MP3 player for $3680.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Apple Wants to Show Off Your Best Night Mode Photos as Part of a New Campaign

Austin Mann, Apple
Austin Mann, Apple

Calling all aspiring photographers who nabbed an iPhone 11 for the express purpose of trying out its fancy camera capabilities: It’s time for your night mode photos to see the light of day.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Apple is currently hosting a competition to find the best night mode photos taken on an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. You can submit your photos through January 29, after which a carefully selected team of experts will evaluate all submissions and announce the five winning images on March 4.

Judges include Arem Duplessis, the former design director of The New York Times Magazine; Darren Soh, an award-winning photographer from Singapore; Tyler Mitchell, the first black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue (his subject, rather memorably, was Beyoncé); and several other esteemed members of the industry.

golden gate bridge shot on iphone 11
The Golden Gate Bridge, shot on an iPhone 11 Pro.
Jude Allen, Apple

In addition to appearing on Apple’s homepage and Instagram (which has more than 21 million followers), the photos could also be featured in digital campaigns, Apple stores, third-party photo exhibitions, or even on physical billboards. In addition to all the exposure, the winners will be paid a licensing fee in exchange for granting the company complete freedom to use their work for one year.

To submit your shots, you can either share them on a public Instagram, Twitter, or Weibo account with the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #NightmodeChallenge, or email your images to shotoniphone@apple.com—just be sure to title your files in this format: ‘firstname_lastname_nightmode_iPhonemodel.’

If you’re new to the iPhone 11 and aren’t quite sure how to snap photos in night mode, it’s easier than you might realize. The feature comes on automatically in dim or dark places and decides on a capture time for you (which you can always adjust). And if you think editing your photos afterward will increase your chances of winning the competition, that’s fine, too: Apple will accept photos edited in the app or even with non-Apple software.

You might want to avoid capturing the Eiffel Tower after dark, however—here’s why.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

This Smart Speaker Is Designed to Help You Learn Chinese

Maybe
Maybe

This latest in smart speaker technology isn’t designed to turn on your Wi-Fi-connected lights or help you figure out a wine pairing. Lily, a new smart speaker now available on Indiegogo, can help you learn Chinese writing and speaking “faster than anything on the market,” according to its creators.

The voice-controlled gadget is equipped with artificial intelligence that allows it to engage in real-time conversations, so beginning to advanced students can learn to speak the Chinese language Mandarin. It can correct pronunciation, perform translations, and help you learn vocabulary through interactive games, too. It helps you learn to write with an associated app where you can practice using both Pinyin and Chinese characters. Lily’s curriculum can also prepare you for the HSK Chinese proficiency exams necessary to work or study in China.

A Lily speaker conversation illustrated with text bubbles that read 'Hey Lily, how do I introduce myself?' and '你好,你叫什麼名字'
Maybe

Designed by the language-learning company Maybe—which is based in San Francisco and Shenzhen—with Chinese tutors, the AI is engineered to recognize different accents, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect.

Language learning is all about repetition, and unless you live in an area with a large Chinese population, you may not have much opportunity to practice your Mandarin in everyday life. A smart speaker like Lily can provide the next best thing by creating an immersion environment for you at home, putting it a step ahead of other language-learning apps like DuoLingo.

It’s currently only in the prototype stage, but it’s scheduled to ship by April 2020. As for other languages, the Lily team says that they hope to release software updates in the future that could give the speaker French and Spanish capabilities. (Once you have the speaker, you’ll be able to download any other languages that are released—you won’t have to buy a whole other language-specific speaker.)

The smart speakers start at $229 for early-bird buyers, which may seem like a significant investment, until you start looking at the prices of even a few weeks of private language classes. Get yourself one on Indiegogo. And don't worry about it matching your home decor—it comes in red, white, black, blue, teal, and pink.

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