Apple Makes It Easier to Stare at Your Phone in the Car

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You’ve been there, sitting in the passenger seat of a car, trying to focus intently on your phone as a way to ignore all your karaoke-belting seatmates. And then there’s a lurch, or a buildup of motion that causes a swirl of unease in your gut. What you’re feeling is the onset of motion sickness, and it forces you to look away from the screen and stare out the window like a commoner, lest you hurl.

Well, that may be a thing of the past. Apple introduced a software feature called Vehicle Motion Cues on iOS and iPadOS to stave off motion sickness while looking at your phone. The update comes as part of a larger release of new accessibility features on Apple devices.

Motion sickness occurs when you’re paying attention to something stable—like your phone, or a book—while your surroundings are moving around you. (Sensitivity to this sensory clash could also come from issues with inner ear development.)

Courtesy of Apple

The way the motion cues work to fix that is delightful. To trick your brain into synchronizing your stable handheld and the moving surroundings, Apple will use your iPhone or iPad’s sensors to detect the subtle movements of the vehicle you’re in. Then, it will display small dots alongside the edges of your screen that move along with the car, ideally syncing up as you move and preventing that disconnect between sight and sensation. Users will be able to turn the feature on and off in their device’s settings.

Apple also introduced several other accessibility updates along with the motion sickness reduction. Eye tracking will now be available as an alternative method of device navigation on iPhones and iPads. A music haptics feature makes it easier for Deaf or hard of hearing people to feel the music they listen to via subtle vibrations in the devices. There are also better voice-control features that understand atypical speech, more accessibility options in VisionOS, and Live Captions for video across most of Apple’s devices.

Here’s some more consumer tech news.

One Brick to Rule Them All

Do you fantasize about one day constructing your very own spire of doom from which to turn a fiery gaze upon your barren lands? Well, now you can, at least in Lego form.

Lego has a new Lord of the Rings–themed sculpture set that will be sure to appeal to all the Dark Lords out there. The Lord of the Rings: Barad-Dûr set is an upcoming Lego set that, when built, will stand more than two and a half feet tall. But the set is also modular, which means if you have more than one set (wink, wink) you can stack them.

As you can tell by the giant fiery eyeball at the top, it’s the slightly more evil of the titular Two Towers featured in the Lord of the Rings books and movies, where the Dark Lord Sauron chilled menacingly for most of the story. The set—which is objectively rad as hell—contains 5,471 pieces and costs $460. The great eye atop the spire glows when plugged in, and every bit of the tower is chock-full of the nefarious goings-on of orcs, spiders, and skeletons. It also comes with minifigs of iconic LotR characters (including an appropriately disturbing Gollum). If you order it in the first week it is available, Lego will throw in a sick Nazgul-riding Ringwraith on top of it all.

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