Week in Tech: Oculus Rift gets us moving, Apple Music gets us grooving


The key word this week was Apple. We saw a new version of OS X with a silly name, a new version of iOS with a normal name and a new version of watchOS that should make the Apple Watch more fun. But it wasn't just about Apple. We also saw a brand new Xbox One, some fantastic speakers, the best kit to take to a festival and what might just be Samsung's next smartwatch.

WWDC 2015: Apple updates everything

It started with a funny video and ended with a big rambly speech by Drake. Yep, it was the WWDC keynote, a keynote so packed with new products that Tim Cook didn't have time to deliver his usual Magical World of Magic and Charts. Instead we got El Capitan, the new version of OS X, some new personal assistant features for iOS 9, watchOS 2, the UK launch of Apple Pay, Apple Music, and improvements to Apple Maps too. There were so many new features that Apple forgot to mention some of the best bits of iOS 9.

The official release date of the new OSes is in the Autumn, but there will be public betas of El Capitan and iOS 9 next month. That's also when Apple Pay will launch, and in addition to the usual retailers Apple has also signed up with Transport for London to make Apple Pay work on the capital's public transport network.

Apple has also thunk the previously unthinkable: it's making apps for Android. The aforementioned Apple Music is going to be available on Android as well as iOS, albeit with a few bits missing, and Apple has also made a Move to iOS app to make abandoning Android for iOS easier.

Apple Music, Spotify and the end of the iPod

Apple Music looks good, and by streaming 256kbps AAC tracks it should sound good too. But is it as good as the current streaming music champion, Spotify, and newer rivals such as Tidal? Dave James knows, and he's compared the rival streaming services services on cost, catalogue and other things beginning with C.

While Apple was unveiling its music service, it was also hiding all the iPods. After 13 years, the iPod tab is no longer there on the Apple homepage. Is the product going too? Kevin Oliver has a syncing feeling: "We haven't seen a new iPod since 2012, and the classic wheel-based pod that started it all was officially killed last year. I'd quote sales charts to showcase the device's decline, but Apple stopped reporting those sales in 2015's first quarter." It doesn't look good, does it?

Ad blocking on iOS: Google's gonna grump

We're starting to wonder if Tim Cook is continuing Steve Jobs' thermonuclear war on Google, but doing it in a much more Machiavellian way: Spotlight and Siri are slowly but surely reducing the need for desktop and iOS users to Google, and it looks like we'll be able to block ads – Google's main revenue source – in iOS 9. Is a Spotlight.com search engine the next step?

Samsung: watch this watch space

When it's not making OLED displays that double as mirrors or windows, Samsung makes smartwatches. And while it hasn't kept last year's pace in 2015 – with four watches last year and none this year – it looks like it's working on a new, more exciting model. A little tweet suggests that a round Samsung smartwatch is about to roll out.

Xbox One point one

There's a new Xbox One in town, and it comes with a massive 1TB of storage and a brand new controller. If you've got an Xbox 360 or PS3 to trade in, you can get one for just £250 – and now that the console's been out for a while, you won't need to spend quite so much on games for it either. With E3 just around the corner, we're hoping to see some titles that really push the Xbox One and PS4's capabilities.

The tooth is out there

Bluetooth speakers are brilliant things, but some are more brilliant than others. How do you ensure you get the most boom for your buck? You ask Cameron Faulkner to rate the 10 best Bluetooth speakers you can buy today – and if you're expecting the best buy to be something that costs ridiculous amounts of money, prepare for a happy surprise.

Oculus is born (again)

After what feels like forever, the finalised consumer Oculus Rift was shown off to the public this week, along with a new input controller called Oculus Touch. It's all rather nifty, but perhaps the most surprising things was how close Oculus and Microsoft are collaborating on this. Every Rift headset will come bundled with an Xbox One controller, while the Xbox One will stream games to the Rift through Windows 10.

Festival tech

Kate Solomon knows a thing or two about festivals, and when it comes to tech her advice is simple: for festivals, the right amount of tech is "somewhere between none and as little as possible." But what if you need to call or text your friends, capture photos of the best bits or make yourself popular by blasting techno at 5am? Kate has you covered with her list of essential tech for festivals.

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