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A Samsung Unpacked event invite showing a folding phone

(Image credit: Samsung)

Today tech fans have mostly been recovering from Twitter’s chaotic rebrand to X (yes, that really did happen) and Spotify’s untimely price hike. But now it’s time to turn our attention to something a little more fun – tomorrow’s big Samsung Unpacked event.

As the invite above reveals, folding phones will definitely be the order of the day, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 both expected to make their official bows. But what else are we expecting to see? We’re rounding up all of thoughts in the lates rumors below. And if you haven’t already, put the time in your diary – Samsung Unpacked kicks off on July 26 at 4am PT / 7am ET / 12pm BST / 9pm AEST.

Looking for a quick primer on the rest of the day’s news? Scroll further down to catch up on Elon Musk finally giving us a serious explanation of why Twitter has been turned into X. And also what we think of Sony’s hotly-anticipated new earbuds (feel free to also jump to our in-depth Sony WF-1000XM5 review).

But for now, it’s time to turn our attention to Samsung Unpacked and the treats we’re expecting to see the tech giant deliver at its big event… 

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There’s only one place to start with today’s tech news – Twitter’s overnight rebranding to X. It started with yesterday’s Tweet above from Elon Musk, which kicked off a fast-paced makeover for the social media site that gave it a new logo.

Over the next few hours, Musk took part in a Twitter Spaces chat (where he stated that “we’re cutting the Twitter logo from the building with blowtorches”) and changed his Twitter profile to the new logo.

So what exactly is going on? As ever with Musk, there method to the apparent madness remains slightly unclear, but it’s likely to be related to Musk’s recent announcement of xAI and his desire to turn Twitter into an all-encompassing app in the guide of China’s WeChat. More on that shortly…

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What exactly is the plan behind Twitter’s X rebrand? Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has tried to explain the vision (above), which sounds an awful lot like the app wants to become an all-encompassing answer to WeChat. 

Yaccarino states that messaging will just be another part of the new Twitter, sitting alongside “payments/banking” (interestingly, Musk’s original X.com merged with PayPal back in March 2000) to help create a “global marketplace”. Sounds like memes might become something of a Twitter sideline…  

A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter homescreen with new X logo

(Image credit: Twitter)

The blue bird is gone!

Twitter isn’t messing around with this X rebranding. For us, the blue bird logo has now disappeared from the web version of the homepage – presumably, the same will happen soon to the mobile app.

This all follows the slightly sinister projection of the new X logo onto Twitter’s building last night, which looks more like a scene from a Batman movie than a rebrand of one of the world’s most-loved social networks. 

This all makes Twitter’s “what is happening?!” prompt seem all the more fitting today…

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Why is Twitter turning into X?

Before we delve into the deeper reasons for Twitter’s rebrand, why X? After all, it’s a pretty neutral, some might say dull, replacement for the charming (and globally recognized) blue Twitter bird.

Well, Elon Musk has had something of an obsession with X. He started with X.com in 1999, which later became part of PayPal – then there’s SpaceX (the rockets and spacecraft company), the Tesla Model X and the recent launch of xAI (a new generative artificial intelligence venture).

So killing the Twitter logo with an X is very much on-brand for Musk’s companies, and sees it fit into his growing collection of tech brands. But it also likely marks the start of Twitter’s change from a messaging app into an ‘everything’ app that takes us full circle back to those early attempts to disrupt the traditional banking industry…

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Why this is happening: theory no.1

Twitter’s rebrand into X hasn’t come completely out of the blue, so to speak – Elon Musk stated that this was his intention back in October 2022 with the Tweet above stating that X would be “the everything app”.

He followed that up by stating that buying Twitter in a deal valued at $44 billion “probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years”. Since then, many have questioned the wisdom of trying to create an “everything app” like WeChat, because tech regulation would surely ultimately try to break it up.

But the headwinds of popular opinion haven’t stopped Musk before, and it seems he’s plowing on with that plan to transform Twitter into that all-encompassing app regardless…

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Why this is happening: theory no.2

As always with Elon Musk ventures, conspiracy theories abound. With Musk previously warning that bankruptcy has been a possibility for Twitter, some have suggested that this rebrand could simply be part of a ploy to worm out of the site’s difficult financial position.

Bankruptcy could theoretically help Twitter refinance its debts, while over on Meta’s Threads some are suggesting it could more be a way to protect the Twitter brand ahead of a future sale, if and when X files for bankruptcy.

This is all highly speculative, of course, but Musk clearly wouldn’t be erasing a globally recognized brand like Twitter without a close eye on the financial consequences.

A laptop on a grey background showing Twitter with its logo replaced by the Dogecoin logo

(Image credit: Future)

Why this is happening: theory no.3

Remember when Elon Musk turned the Twitter logo into a Shiba Inu, the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, back in April? An overnight rebrand is nothing new, which has led to some to speculate that this isn’t a rebrand at all, but merely another example of Elon Musk stirring the pot of the attention economy.

While the move certainly has the hallmarks of publicity stunt – the logo, for a start, has been fudged together from crowdsourced design and the Unicode 𝕏 symbol –this almost certainly isn’t another dogecoin moment. Twitter’s transformation into X has long been promised by Musk, and we sadly don’t see the blue bird returning based on the announcements so far.

How did we get here?

There have been so many twists and turns on Twitter rollercoaster since Elon Musk acquired Twitter in October 2022, it can be hard to keep track. So for a quick whistlestop tour of Musk’s first six months as CEO – before Linda Yaccarino took the reins in late June – have a flick through our timeline below.

The ‘fun’ began immediately after $44 billion takeover, with an open Musk brainstorming session suggesting the possibility of bringing back Vine (the original short-form video app), followed by the first rumblings of the controversial Twitter Blue overhaul that we have today.

Twitter Blue went live in November 2022, before a relaunch in December – and then Twitter suddenly, and controversially, broke third-party apps. We don’t know about you, but we’re getting a bit of a sore neck from this rollercoaster – with many Twitter users understandably jumping ship to the seemingly calmer waters of Threads.

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So what do we call Tweets now?

‘Tweets’ have become a universally recognized shorthand for social media statements, even for those who’ve preferred to stand outside Twitter’s increasingly unruly town square. So what do we call them now, in the absence of Twitter?

According to Elon Musk’s reply above, they’ll now be called “x’s”. Which makes no sense at all, so we’d imagine most people will continue to call them tweets until everyone either finds a new Twitter, or Musk files down the edges of this characterless rebrand. Threads is starting to sounds more appealing by the day…

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A quick break from Twitter (sorry, X) news…

We interrupt this live Twitter meltdown to bring you a quick round-up of the other tech news you need to know about today.

A slightly more positive story for Android fans is that ChatGPT is coming to the platform this week. Exactly which day isn’t yet clear, but you can pre-register your interest by clicking the button on its Google Play Store listing.

Back to bad news, Spotify is expected to raise the pricing for its Premium plan this week from $9.99 a month to $10.99 a month this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. We knew it was coming following hints from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek earlier this year, but that doesn’t make the small price hike any less painful.

Lastly, Apple users should check to make sure they don’t have any snaps storied in the purgatory of Apple’s My Photo Stream, which is being shuttered on July 26 this week. And it’s also time for Samsung fans to limber up for the arrival of Samsung Unpacked 2023, which starts on July 26. Ah, the comfortably familiar duvet of new gadgets…

A sad day for Twitter fans…

The overwhelming feeling among long-time Twitter users today is one of sadness. I’ve been on Twitter since July 2009, and while I’ve managed to ride through some of the site’s big potholes – the sudden introduction of rate limits, the hoarding of good features behind Twitter Blue subscription – this rebrand is a stark reminder that I’ll soon need to find somewhere else for independent news and breaking memes.

The thread above from designer Martin Grasser below (who co-designed the blue bird) is a fitting obituary to the Twitter logo, which was concocted from a series of circles. That’s all a little more considered than the thunderously uninspiring new X logo…

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A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter dialogue box

(Image credit: Future)

Great question, Twitter…

The fallout from Twitter’s rebranding to X continues, as Elon Musk appears to delight in the chaos and confusion reverberating around his $44 billion social media site. According to Musk, the answer for ‘retweets’ is that the “whole concept should be rethought” and that Twitter Blue should be renamed “balls. Just… balls”.

Clearly, we’re going to need to wait a while to get some serious answers to how the rebrand is going to shape the rest of the site. Particularly given that Twitter’s own account seems confused, changing its logo and name to ‘X’ but leaving the @Twitter handle unchanged (below). 

Our money is on a generous helping of more confusion and handbrake turns this week. Anyway, we guess we’ll see you all over on Threads… 

A laptop on a grey background showing the Twitter brand's own Twitter account

(Image credit: Future)

The future of X: the everything app?

So what does the future hold for the app formerly known as Twitter? The clearest explanation (and one that’s still about as clear as a frosted window) is Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino’s statement below that X will be centered “centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking”. In other words, the holy grail of a one-stop everything app, like WeChat in China.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a company outside China wanting to replicate the success of WeChat, which is estimated to have about 1.319 billion users (according to Statista) and has a popular WeChat Pay feature inside the app that’s similar to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

That’s why Microsoft was rumored to be planning a one-stop super-app for all our needs late last year, according to a report from The Information. Apparently, Microsoft was looking to combine (you guessed it) shopping, messaging, web search, and news feeds into one app.

Elon Musk expresses a similar kind of vision in the video above, but how quickly this plan for X will be rolled out isn’t clear. Mobile payments were the next slide after the relaunch of Twitter Blue on a wishlist that Musk shared in November 2022, so perhaps that will be the next step for X. Or just more chaos.

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A screenshot of the first ever Tweet from Jack Dorsey which says

(Image credit: Sina Estavi)

Ouch! NFT of first tweet is auctioning for a massive loss

A fitting story to leave you with as we sign off from another day of Twitter chaos – as spotted by Tom’s Hardware, the NFT of Jack Dorsey’s famous “just setting up my twttr” Tweet is currently being auctioned, with the current top bid being 1 ETH, which equates to around $1,895.

The bad news? The NFT was originally bought for $2.9 million in 2021. By our calculations, that’s a loss of… just under $2.9 million. So while it’s been a pretty bad day for Twitter fans, spare a thought for the crypto entrepreneur who was looking to cash in on a piece of Twitter history.

Wait, was Twitter really rebranded as X?

Yes, it seems that did actually happen, and wasn’t just another one of our tech fever dreams. Today, Twitter’s change into X still looks chaotic and messy, with feathers from the blue bird still scattered throughout the site and the mobile app. It’s almost as if this rebrand was a knee-jerk, table-flipping move from a billionaire who appears to relish breaking stuff…

Yet Elon Musk has now turned serious and attempted to explain the plan behind Twitter’s change to X, in the Tweet below. As expected, it’s the first step towards changing Twitter into an ‘everything app’, like WeChat in China. Musk promises that in the coming months, Twitter will get mobile payments options and more “comprehensive communications”.

Though it appears the priority right now is dismantling and removing the Twitter logo from the corporate HQ… 

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Two iPhones on a bluer background showing the Spotify app

(Image credit: Future)

The Spotify price rise finally lands

It’s been in the pipeline for a while, but Spotify has finally delivered the news our wallets have been fearing – the prices for its individual Premium plans has just gone up.

While the rise isn’t massive (it’s now $10.99 / £10.99 / AU$12.99 a month), that’s another extra number on our monthly bills we could do without. Still, as you can see in the table below, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump ship – Spotify’s pricing remains competitive and it’s really just catching up with price rises for its rivals here.

On the other hand, there other good reasons for leaving Spotify for the likes of Apple Music, so it could be a good time to reconsider your music streaming tactics.   

DJI Air 3 drone in folded position on a rock, alongside RC2 controller

(Image credit: DJI)

The DJI Air 3 has finally landed

DJI has given us a welcome respite from Twitter meltdowns by launching a new flying gadget – the DJI Air 3. It’s a mid-range drone and the first in the Air series to have two cameras, which means you can photograph subjects from afar with its 70mm telephoto lens without having to fly too close.

Our DJI Air 3 review paints a pretty rosy picture overall, calling it a “significant upgrade” and a “good all-rounder option” for anyone who’s been eyeing up a Mini 3 Pro but wants greater wind resistance. 

If I wasn’t already the happy owner of a Mini 3 Pro, I’d certainly be considering it for aerial snaps and videos – you can buy it now from $1,099 / £962 / AU$1,699.  

The countdown to Samsung Unpacked…

Samsung Unpacked is now less than 24 hours away. So to kick things off, how can you tune into the tomorrow’s live stream?

While Samsung will naturally have a live stream on its Unpacked site, you should also be able to tune in via its YouTube channel, where there’s currently a short trailer (below). We’ll also have a liveblog running on the big day, so check back on TechRadar in the hours before kick-off.

And when exactly is that? The livestream will start on July 26 at 4am PT / 7am ET / 12pm BST / 9pm AEST, so get your cup of coffee, lunch or work excuses ready, wherever you are in the world. It’s likely to be one of the biggest gadget reveals so far this year.

Two Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4s on a blue background

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 (above) will most likely get a successor at Unpacked tomorrow. (Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Unpacked rumors in one minute…

Been out of the loop on Samsung Unpacked? The latest rumors suggest that seven new gadgets are likely to be announced. Firstly, the dead certs are the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, which will almost certainly be the stars of the show (as the event’s poster reveals). The leaks so far suggest these could be the most mature, polished foldables we’ve seen so far.

The next three most likely arrivals are a trio of tablets: the Galaxy Tab S9, Tab S9 Plus, and Tab S9 Ultra. According to leaks, the base model could have an OLED screen, which would be a step up from the equivalent model in the previous generation. What we don’t yet know, though, is how this might affect its price tag.

Lastly, there’s the distinct possibility we’ll see a Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy S23 FE. We recently saw current Galaxy Watches get three new features in the run-up to Unpacked, but the Watch 6 has remained relatively mysterious. How will it compare to the rumored Pixel Watch 2?

Less certain is the mooted arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, which could serve up a mid-year bargain – or arrive at a separate event later this year. Either way, Unpacked is going to deliver lots of new tech – and for tech fans, that’s a welcome relief from Twitter meltdowns and rising streaming prices.

View of cloudy Seoul skyscape with mountain in distance

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

We are live in Seoul and very, very tired

Our Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff is on the ground with our mobile correspondent, Axel Metz, and the two are prepared to cover all of the news and go hands-on with every new product Samsung announces tomorrow, or is that today? Korea is literally a half world away from our New York office, but all eyes will be on Samsung Unpacked as it happens.

Why is Samsung Unpacked happening in Seoul? Samsung has held Unpacked events all around the world. I’ve attended Unpacked in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Barcelona, and London, but Samsung has never asked media to come all the way to its hometown in Korea for an Unpacked event.

The reason is foldable phones. While foldable phones are slowly gaining in popularity around the world, in Korea they seem to be taking off. South Korea is the only market with double-digit adoption rates of foldable phones, so it makes the best venue for Samsung to announce its newest foldable lineup.

The competition this year is more fierce than ever. In the past, Samsung was the only foldable phone worth buying in most markets. Even Motorola admitted its previous Razr 2022 wasn’t good enough to sell in the US. This year, however, fresh entries including the Google Pixel Fold and Moto Razr Plus (Razr 40 Ultra) have turned up the heat on Samsung. We’ll see if the company can deliver.

It is early in the morning in Seoul and the event doesn’t start until 8pm local time, so we’ll be watching out for any new rumors and leaks that pop up before then.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

The 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is VERY expensive (Image credit: Future)

While you’re here, why not check out these other cool things?

Samsung had a much easier road in the past, when it’s only real competition was Apple with its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. This year, when Samsung launches new foldable phones, new tablets, and new wearables (and possibly a new bargain phone), it will face some of the toughest competition since the dawn of Android. 

First, we’ve seen some of the best foldable phones ever recently, including the amazing Google Pixel Fold, which manages a much nicer external display than the Galaxy Z Fold 4, as well as better cameras. There’s also the Motorola Razr Plus comeback, and it will be hard for Samsung to top the big, bright cover display that we loved on Moto’s new compact phone. 

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 family are likely super-premium tablets, like the expensive Tab S8. We’ve seen some great Android tablets at the more affordable end of the price range this year, and that could make the Tab S9 a tough sell. The Google Pixel Tablet and the OnePlus Pad are both worthy iPad competitors, and both are priced to compete with Apple’s cheaper tablets, not the mighty iPad Pro or Tab S8 Ultra. 

Even wearables have gotten better this past year, as Google’s Pixel Watch offers a stylish Wear OS alternative to Samsung’s staid Galaxy Watch 5. Even Apple took a stab at Samsung this year with the Apple Watch Ultra, stealing Samsung’s “Ultra” branding for it’s most adventurous wearable.

We’re still waiting to learn more about what Samsung has to offer, but if you don’t want to wait for the news from Korea, there’s plenty of great phones, tablets and wearables to check out right now. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE looked like the rest of the family (Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

The one thing we’re not sure about (or maybe two)

The reason we know with certainty what Samsung is going to launch is thanks to our friendly neighborhood product leakers. In the days and weeks leading up to an event, as Samsung (or Apple, or Google…) prepares for the product launch, more and more details, photos, and actual products get shared widely. As the ship grows, it gets leaky. 

We’ve seen supposed photos and renders of just about every product that we’ve mentioned for Samsung Unpacked, except for the Galaxy S23 FE phone. Of all the new products, the FE devices have the spottiest track record for product launches. In fact, rumors suggest that a scheduled Galaxy S22 FE device was cancelled fairly late into planning, and the S22 never saw a bargain Fan Edition phone. 

It seems like a cheaper Galaxy S23 FE is more likely this year, or at least this generation, before the Galaxy S24 is launched early next year. We just haven’t seen any recent leaks, photos, or rumors about this device after we learned some disappointing news about its possible Exynos processor inside. 

It’s possible Samsung doesn’t want to muddy the crystal clear waters of its flagship product launch with a bargain phone. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will likely be the company’s most expensive smartphone. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra will be the most expensive Android tablet for sure, if the Tab S8 Ultra is a guide.

This is a party for the stars and the spotlight. It may not be the right venue to invite the fans. 

Apple Vision Pro VR headset  on a man who is using it as a camera

Will Samsung have its own version of Apple’s Vision Pro? (Image credit: Apple)

Could there be any surprises at Samsung Unpacked?

The Samsung Unpacked show tomorrow won’t be much fun if we already know everything, so is it possible we’ll see some surprises in store? The biggest surprise would be any of the products not showing up, but it’s always possible we could see something unexpected. 

Samsung loves to compete with (and beat) Apple, and Apple just ended it’s latest product announcement with a huge surprise, a classing “one more thing” Steve Jobs moment that introduced the Apple Vision Pro spatial computing headset. 

Could Samsung have a virtual reality headset in store as well? Rumors suggest Samsung may have been working on such a product, but Apple showed what the competition will look like, and Samsung went back to the drawing board. We could still see a successor to Samsung’s old Gear VR, one of the original consumer VR headset. 

It’s also possible we could learn about Samsung’s plans to incorporate AI into its One UI version of Android. While there’s no real reason the phones need AI, every other company is doing it, so why shouldn’t Samsung?

Spatial computing and AI are the big topics in technology right now. Samsung could ignore these trends and stick with what it knows best: making phone hardware. Or, we could see something new from Samsung at Unpacked. 

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