What a juicy week its been in the tech business. Not only were there several huge hardware and software launches this week, but the presidential race in the United States is already showing signs of the kind of impact the change will have on the some of the most popular apps and services today. Here are our winners and losers of the week just gone.
As regular as clockwork, I will start with a couple of honourable mentions. Firstly, both Microsoft and Sony started delivering their next-gen games consoles this week. Excited gamers across the globe finally got their hands on the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Sony's console is a monster this year, but it was Microsoft's that caused a storm on social media after several users posted videos of their new Xbox seemingly on fire. The whole thing was a trick, of course, using vapour from electronic cigarettes. Microsoft was forced to take to Twitter to politely urge owners not to blow vape smoke into their new £450 games console. What a time to be alive.
We can't believe we have to say this, but please do not blow vape smoke into your Xbox Series X.— Xbox (@Xbox) November 11, 2020
Apple also made headlines this week with the launch of its new M1 Chip and the first computers to run it. The new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini look interesting, and if Apple can deliver on its performance claims, it will be bad news for Intel if Apple silicon matures quickly. Watch this space.
Winner of the week: TikTok and Huawei saved from Trumpmania
Friday the 13th November was supposed to be the day the United States pulled the plug on TikTok. An executive order signed back in August by the outgoing president and landscaping connoisseur, Donald Trump, was meant to force Apple and Google to take TikTok off of their respective apps stores. A deal between TikTik owner ByteDance and an Oracle-Walmart partnership for TikTok's US operations was hastily put together but was never finalised. However, this week, a preliminary injunction preventing the ban was issued by U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone. The Commerce Department saw that as a good enough reason to not follow through with plans to shutdown TikTok on American soil.
There was also light at the end of the tunnel for Huawei this week, as news broke that Qualcomm had obtained a license to supply chips to the Chinese company. Huawei set off down a whole new road following the US sanctions and the ongoing trade war between the USA and China, and part of me feels that the company has already travelled too far along that path to turn back now, but with Joe Biden heading for the White House, policies on things such as net neutrality, Huawei, and Chinese tech firms could be about to change.
Loser of the week: Google cancels YouTube Rewind (because nobody wants to re-live 2020)
This week, Google officially cancelled 2020’s instalment of YouTube Rewind, the (often not very popular) annual sizzle-reel of the year just gone. It's kind of like a video Winner of the Year, showcasing the trends, stories, creators and events that defined the last 12 months. However, nobody wants to re-live 2020. This will be the first year Google has not done a YouTube Rewind video since it started in 2010. A statement said that it doesn't feel right to carry on as if 2020 was just a normal year.
About Rewind this year. pic.twitter.com/oVayH8iyqG— YouTube (@YouTube) November 12, 2020
The decision is unlikely to cause major upset among YouTube fans around the world though. The 2018 edition of YouTube Rewind, titled Everyone Controls Rewind, is the most disliked video on the video streaming platform, with more than 18 million 'thumbs down' votes.
Personally, I quite like these recap videos and yearly review shows. Charlie Brooker's is always excellent, for those with an interest in British news and politics. The shows serve not only as a reminder of what happened in the year just gone but just how quickly the passing of time seems to move to me these days. Events that happened in January or February feel like years ago when you watch them in December. For a 2020 edition of YouTube Rewind, I imagine that feeling would have been even stronger. Ah well, here's to 2021.
Who were your winners and losers of the week just gone? Have your say below the line.