Tech round-up for February 7: Here comes HomePod, selfies by Renoir, monitoring iPhone batteries, Nintendo Labo

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, how you can find out what oil painting you look like, more info on how you’ll be able to monitor the battery on your iPhone, and what Nintendo is doing with cardboard. But first, Apple’s HomePod arrives on Friday if you don’t live in Canada.

Apple’s HomePod hits the shelves on Friday but not in Canada

If you’re in the U.S., the United Kingdom, or Australia, you can find out what Apple’s HomePod is like on Friday. Reviews from media outlets in those markets are coming in, and the verdict seems to be that the smart speaker really delivers on sound quality, but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the artificial intelligence.

Which classic painting character do you resemble?

Facebook feeds have been flowing with selfies juxtaposed with slices of classic paintings lately. They come courtesy of Google and a smartphone app called Arts & Culture (Android, iOS).

The app also has a website companion. It’s all about showcasing, well, arts and culture. The content includes things like features on visual artists from throughout human history, articles on themes like “What is contemporary art?” and “Fashion in focus”.

You can use Arts & Culture to find galleries and museums and learn what’s being exhibited there.

The app also includes “Search with your selfie,” which uses “computer vision technology” to compare a photo of you with thousands of pieces of art located in galleries around the world.

New features to monitor battery performance coming to iPhones in spring iOS update

The software update that will give you more visibility into the status of the battery on your older iPhone (6, 6+, 6s, 6s+, SE, 7, and 7+) is coming soon.

The update, detailed in this support article, will give you information about your battery health, its capacity, and its capability.

If you find that your iPhone is needing a replacement, Apple has reduced the cost of a battery replacement to $35 (from $99) throughout 2018.

Nintendo Labo will have gamers crafting with cardboard

High on the success of it’s Switch gaming console, Nintendo is pushing a new, experimental mode of playing it calls Labo.

The kits include cardboard models that you build into various props that you use with your Nintendo Switch and its Joy-con controllers. The result is a mini piano or a makeshift fishing rod you use while interacting with a video-game experience.

The two maker experiences that will be available on April 20 include the Variety Kit ($90) and the Robot Kit ($100). Each kit comes with the required Switch software.


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