Taking on something a bit more challenging than adding a USB-C port, Aesthetics of Science and Technology (AST) claims to have built a folding iPhone. The group pillaged the folding screen from a Motorola RAZR, added some 3D-printed parts and combined it all with a jailbroken iPhone X. It’s very much a proof of concept, with little-to-no durability and a whopping gap when it’s folded. Thanks to the iOS jailbreak, it also has a split-screen mode. We’re staying skeptical – and have questions. How much internal hardware reorganizing happened? Can you fit an entire iPhone battery in one half of the phone?
Like the USB-C mod, it’s a possible preview of things to come. Apple has already announced that USB-C iPhones are incoming, and rumors suggest the company might unveil an official folding iPhone as soon as 2023.
– Mat Smith
The biggest stories you might have missed
Twitter’s new official checkmarks get launched and killed in a few hours
Elon Musk claims he "just killed" Twitter’s , mere hours after deployment. The gray checkmarks have vanished from accounts that only just got them, including Engadget's and The New York Times’. Twitter VP Esther Crawford clarified you'll still see the marks, but the social media giant is handing them out to "government and commercial entities" first.
In justifying the move, Musk reiterated his view that tying the original checkmark to a Twitter Blue subscription will democratize the service. It will take some time before it's clear just who gets what checkmarks and what vetting will be necessary to get the "official" tag.
Meta is laying off more than 11,000 employees
It's the first mass layoffs in the company's history.
Meta is reducing the size of its workforce by about 13 percent and letting more than 11,000 of its employees go. According to The Wall Street Journal, Meta’s recruiting and business teams are likely to be hit especially hard. Zuckerberg says he wants to take accountability for how Meta found itself in this position. Apparently, he decided to significantly increase Meta's investments following an exceptionally large revenue growth at the height of the pandemic.
But Meta has been losing billions of dollars on its investments in the metaverse, with Reality Labs losing more than $10 billion in 2021. The company has said it expects to lose “significantly” more in 2023. Facebook’s ad revenue has also taken a hit due to Apple’s changes to apps’ ad tracking abilities.
You can finally secure your desktop connection using Google's service.
Google has released One VPN apps for Mac and Windows systems. As on mobile, the VPN encrypts and otherwise masks your internet traffic. You can't use it to access content from other regions like you can with some VPNs (this isn’t your magic bullet for international Netflix content), but it should help if you're worried about exposing your IP address or using a public hotspot.
Google’s Stadia refunds, explained
No refunds for your Pro sub.
If you've ever bought a game on Stadia, Google's soon-to-be-defunct cloud gaming service, it's worth keeping an eye on your bank balance and credit card statements. As of today, Google is starting to process refunds for Stadia purchases. The first wave of refunds will include those for purchases of games, add-on content and subscriptions made through the Stadia store. It expects to issue most of them (including those for hardware purchases) by the time it shuts down the Stadia servers on January 18th.
This won’t encompass Stadia Pro subscription fees, however. Google notes that players may be able to transfer their save data from Stadia to other platforms, but it's up to developers and publishers to support that. Ubisoft, Bungie, I/O Interactive, CD Projekt Red, Rockstar Games and Bethesda are working on ways to help players move their game progress to other platforms.