Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – Facebook’s Eyewear & Gadgets Aplenty

This week on The Wrap, what’s new from Facebook and Ray-Ban that could change the way you share your life? And what will Apple show us next week? All that, plus what’s new from Whoop, JBL, Google, Oppo and more, all in five.

Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts…


Near the middle of September 2021, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and the next few weeks promise to be busy, that’s because this week, we got a hint of what we’ve largely been expecting for some time: Apple is planning a launch.

It’ll likely be big news for owners of an iPhone, prospective or otherwise, with a very likely launch of the iPhone 13 range next week, alongside some other gadgets, likely including an Apple Watch and possibly a new Mac or two. There’s a pretty strong chance you can expect the launch of Apple’s new operating systems — iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and so on and so on — but all eyes will be on Apple for new devices.

So if you were thinking of buying a new iPhone or Apple Watch or even a Mac in the next week, maybe just wait. There might be something new waiting just around the corner.

At the same time, Google can’t be forgotten, with the final beta of Android 12 rolling out, and a full release ready in the weeks ahead. That not only means there’s something new coming for both the iPhone and Android owners of the world, but that Google will probably have a new phone timed for its new operating system, too.

And there are plenty of other things waiting around the corner, including some crazy new wearables, plenty of headphones, and even a new generation of Foxtel.

Kinda sorta, anyway, as Foxtel releases the IQ 5 box, a smaller more streaming-focused take on cable which forgoes the cable and satellite options in the past and moves straight to streaming.

You know what streaming is, as the likes of Netflix, Disney, Stan and others have helped many of us move from standard terrestrial TV and over to web-based catch-up TV.

Foxtel’s iQ5 is largely focused on that, streaming up to 50,000 hours of Foxtel content, as well as a chip that can handle 4K video. Granted, only two Foxtel channels have 4K, so it’s not exactly a huge amount of stuff, but the new box will also handle Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video, to name a few, so there are other ways to get 4K on Foxtel beyond those two channels.

The Foxtel approach to content is one big media story this week, but another comes from Facebook, or more specifically, Facebook and Ray-Ban.

You’ll definitely know the former, while the latter is the sunglasses brand.

The two of them have come together for something rather unexpected: a pair of glasses that can capture pictures and videos and upload them to Facebook, or really any social media service you want. Instagram is a likely, built it could also be Twitter, TikTok, and so on and so on.

Called the Ray-Ban Stories, they come looking like Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunnies with two cameras built in, plus a microphone system. You can take photos and videos on them and send them to your phone, and even listen to music and take calls.

It’s a bit of a replacement for using your phone to capture moments of your life, and a cool idea that basically lets you share what you see, though will cost you $450 for the privilege.

That’s less expensive than Whoop’s new fitness band, the Whoop 4, which is a wearable designed for tracking health specifically, and edges closer to the $400 mark per year.

Whoop isn’t like your typical Fitbit or Apple Watch, with no “buy once” cost, and instead sticking you on a subscription. Once you’re there, you’ll see plenty of data and get insights into improving your heath, but this gadget is purely focused on health and health alone. While it might look like another fitness wearable, there’s no buttons and no screen.

JBL chimed in this week with two noise cancelling earphones for under $200, with the 660NC and 760NC, models that offer either on-ear or around-ear design, plus around 35 hours of battery life and a way to cancel out the world.

Noise cancelling is the big deal feature in portable sound this years, and it’s coming to more devices for more compelling price points from more brands you might not know. We’ve seen it in the $150 Nothing Ear 1, a first for the company, while EarFun launches in Australia with a pair of $120 Air Pro cancelling earphones.

And while we’re talking about inexpensive head and earphones, let’s talk about potentially inexpensive phones.

Most recently, we checked out the Oppo A94 5G, a mid-range phone sporting a big screen, four cameras, 5G, and an AMOLED screen for $599.

And if we’re honest, it’s a decent mobile, too. Oppo already had the template for its other inexpensive 5G phones, the A54 and A74, but this one brings a better screen with more memory and storage.

That makes it look good, perform well, and get close to two days of battery, though for the $600 price, we wish the cameras were a little better than the $400 phone.

But if a slightly nicer 5G phone is what you’re after, Oppo’s A94 makes a good case.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.

Read next