Winners and Losers: Vive Flow and Apple chip shortage

As we come to the end of another jam-packed week full of tech reviews and headlines, now’s our chance to look back at the biggest news stories in Trusted Reviews’ Winners and Losers.

It’s been a busy week in the Trusted Reviews office, and I wholeheartedly blame the Switch OLED. At the risk of allowing piles of work to appear around me, I simply haven’t been able to take my eyes off Metroid Dread, which as it turns out, might just be a contender for my game of the year.

Scouring through the notes left to me by my colleagues however, I can see that HTC has potentially found the right product to bring VR to the mainstream, while the iPhone 13 has been the latest victim of the ongoing chipset crisis. Before I dive back into another round of Metroid, let’s see why these stories are kicking up a storm.

HTC Vive Flow

Winner: Vive Flow

Virtual Reality has always felt like a strange aspect of modern technology. By all measures, VR should be far more popular than it is as no other form of gaming or entertainment can really offer the same level of immersion it provides. It’s one of those things that’s impossible to forget after you’ve spent some time with it, and yet the concept has hardly taken the masses by storm.

Detractors will often point towards the clunkiness of current VR as an explanation for why it’s remained a niche product, and it’s hard to disagree. Updated headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 have at least done away with the cumbersome wires that would often get in the way, but even then these devices still look like a chunky, uninspiring headmount. HTC has clearly taken note, because its latest VR device, the Vive Flow, feels like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

Looking more like a souped-up pair of aviator sunglasses, the Vive Flow aren’t any less conspicuous but they do look far more like a fashion accessory than a VR headset. Doing away with the boxy plastic of old, the Vive Flow really does make the mind wonder about what a VR headset could look like in 10 years if inspired by this innovation.

It’s also worth mentioning that despite having a 3.2K resolution display, the Vive Flow only weighs in at 189g. By comparison, the Oculus Quest 2 weights a hefty 503g, which shows you just how much of a leap forward the Vive Flow really is in making VR a more accessible prospect to most people. Once the £499 price tag comes down a bit, it isn’t hard to imagine the device taking off.

iphone 13 next to the box

Loser: Apple

News of the ongoing chip shortage has become so prevalent that it’s hard to imagine someone who hasn’t been informed of the story, particularly as it stands to affect a whole host of products including cars, washing machines and more. Word is now coming out however about how the world’s biggest tech companies are being affected, and it looks like Apple is the latest in this regard.

A new report from Bloomberg describes how Apple has had to scale back its iPhone 13 production targets by a whopping 10 million units. That’s a huge chunk of potential revenue that won’t be brought to market, and it does call into question how companies are going to mitigate the effects of the crisis over the coming months.

It isn’t just the iPhone 13 range that’s been afflicted either as the Apple Watch 7 has had to endure several delays in production, and even now when the wearable is technically available to purchase, finding the device is easier said than done.

If a fix for the crisis isn’t brought about soon, then it won’t be too hard to imagine a boom in the second-hand and refurbished market amongst those hoping to upgrade to a better device. It’d be more cost effective for consumers, but less so for Apple which relies greatly on its trade-in program for keeping people invested in its ecosystem.

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