ICYMI: the week's 8 biggest tech stories, from the DJI Pocket 3 to Apple's 'scary' event

The DJI Pocket 3 and iPhone 15 on a pink background
(Image credit: Future)

It's never too late in the year for tech surprises – and that's what we got this week when Apple announced a final launch event of the year with the tantalizing tagline 'Scary Fast'.

The rest of our week involved second-guessing exactly what Apple has in store at that event on October 30. New M3 MacBooks? A 24-inch iMac refresh? Tim Cook taking his acting skills to the next level with a Dracula remake?

No-one is exactly sure, but Apple didn't completely enshroud the rest of this week's news with its mysterious cape. We also saw the DJI Pocket 3 arrive and charm us once again with its video tricks, while Google Maps edged closer to becoming a photo-realistic clone of the real world with a big AI update.

Oh, and if you're already thinking about Christmas shopping (we apologize in advance) we also announced all of our favorite tech of 2023 in the TechRadar Choice Awards. So if you need a quick catch up on this week's and this year's tech news, you've come to the right place... 

8. We announced all of our favorite tech of the year

TechRadar Choice Awards 2023 logo on an art deco background

(Image credit: Future)

Wow, that went fast – another year of tech is coming to a close. But on the plus side, that means it's time for the TechRadar Choice Awards 2023, where we run through the completely definitive, indisputable list of the best tech of the year, as chosen by you.

We had more categories than ever this year, including Streaming service of the year (spoiler: it's Max) and a Sustainability award (deservedly picked up by the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition). Our Reader's Choice Award, which was 100% voted for by you, was also handed out to a familiar but fully deserving recipient.

So whether you're looking to buy a smart kettle or a soundbar, check out our full list of winners at the link below.

7. Apple TV Plus trolled us with a major price hike

Apple TV Plus logo on a mobile phone that's sitting on a laptop showing some Apple TV originals

(Image credit: SOPA Images)

If you were hoping that Apple TV Plus would continue to be the last bastion for cheap, non-ad supported subscriptions, think again. That’s right, Apple TV Plus has just got more expensive, and we're struggling to contain our frustration at this major price hike. 

For US readers, that means you’ll have to pay an extra $3 a month (or $30 per year) to watch the best Apple TV Plus shows and best Apple TV Plus movies. Apple didn’t respond to our request for comment about price increases in the UK and Australia, but you should expect them there, too. Sad faces all round.

6. Squid Game squared up to James Bond for a reality show duel

Shocked contestants hold their hands up to their mouths in Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge

(Image credit: Netflix)

With the world’s best streaming services continuing to vie for your attention, the streaming wars are showing no signs of abating. What does that mean for you? A never-ending *ahem* stream of films and shows to watch, including plenty of reality TV-based projects. 

Ordinarily, the term ‘reality TV’ would have us running for the hills (sorry, we’re not fans of The Kardashians. Or Love Is Blind. Or any other piecemeal reality-based TV series). Soon, though, a head-to-head reality game show contest between Netflix and Prime Video might make us re-evaluate our stance.

Indeed, next month (that’s November, for those wondering), Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge takes on Prime Video’s James Bond-inspired 007: Road to a Million in a showdown for the ages. Who’ll win this engrossing showdown? That’s up to you, dear reader.

5. We got an exclusive peek at Qualcomm’s concept smart glasses

Qualcomm Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 reference device glasses prototype

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Sometimes you have to fly all the way to Hawaii to see the really cool stuff. Seriously, it was the only way to see up-close Qualcomm’s exciting Snapdragon AR2 smart glasses at this year’s Snapdragon Summit.

Sure, it was a reference design and Qualcomm refused to let us wear them, but we think we finally understand Qualcomm’s endgame when it comes to wearable AR technology.

As Qualcomm sees it, such wearable technology won’t look like the bulky mixed reality headgear we’re used to. Instead, it will look very much like regular glasses but with tons of smarts to sense and see your world and give you real-time information and feedback about it.

Perhaps most interesting is Qualcomm is finally opening up on why it’s taking so long for us to see these as consumer products and, surprisingly, battery life is not the big holdup.

4. Google Maps got a massive AI update

Three phones on an orange background showing Google Maps features

(Image credit: Future)

Google Maps is so comfortably familiar that most of us can use it in our sleep, but that doesn't mean it isn't quietly getting some big AI upgrades – and this week saw some of the biggest new features so far.

The long-awaited Immersive View for Routes, first announced back in May, is finally rolling out from this week in 15 cities on Android and iOS. That means photo-real flyovers of routes you have planned in supported cities (including San Francisco, London and New York), complete with information like the weather and traffic.

Google is also bringing its machine learning algorithms to Maps in a few other ways, including making 'Lens in Maps' more widely available and letting electric car owners know when chargers on their route were last used. Yes, chatbots are fun, but we're liking the boost that AI is giving to the likes of Google Maps…

3. Qualcomm solved the biggest problem with your Bluetooth headphones

Qualcomm S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 badges beside a set of white earbuds, on red background

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Bluetooth's improved a lot over the years, but one thing that still holds it back (quite literally) is its limited range. Fortunately, Qualcomm has a potential answer with its new S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 sound platforms. Their trick? Letting headphones switch from Bluetooth to your Wi-Fi network when you're at home, so you can be released from the latter's usual 10 meter (30ft) limit.

With the chips also promising boosts to active noise cancellation, battery life and AI-powered sound personalization, they could take headphones up a notch or two when they arrive. We'll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for headphones with the S7 Pro Gen 1 badge when they arrive in 2024.

2. The DJI Pocket 3 became our new favorite TikTok camera

Two DJI Pocket 3 cameras on a table with LCD screen in portrait and landscape orientation

(Image credit: DJI)

It's been a long three-year wait, but the DJI Pocket 3 has finally landed – and it's now our favorite little camera for shooting social media videos.

What's so good about the Pocket series? Unusually, they're compact cameras that have three-axis gimbals, which means they're great for shooting super-smooth videos and also pulling off creative camera moves that aren't possible on your smartphone.

And now, with the Pocket 3, the series finally has the modern tech to fix our frustrations with its predecessor, including a new 1-inch sensor, larger 2-inch screen and support for 4K/120p video. If you shoot a lot of TikTok videos, it's one to put on your Christmas list.

1. Apple treated us to a big Halloween surprise

A MacBook Pro on a grey background showing the Apple October 2023 event teaser

(Image credit: Apple)

This week Apple announced its next product showcase, which will take place on October 30, and has the strapline of “Scary fast”. Not only is that an unsubtle reference to Halloween taking place on the day after, we also think it’s a hint that we’ll see the launch of the rumored Apple M3 chip.

Going by the tips and rumors so far, that slice of silicon could be accompanied by new Macs, including a redesigned iMac, a refreshed MacBook Air and potentially new MacBook Pros with supercharged version of the M3 chip.

And as Apple has been pushing more into gaming lately, we’d not be surprised if we see a bit of a gaming thrust to show off the power of its chip and next-gen computers. For a detailed look at what to expect check out our Apple event hub.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile. 

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