This week we were treated to new Microsoft AI and laptop announcements, the arrival of Sonos’ first-ever headphones, and the launch of the new Sonos Roam 2 speaker.

To get you caught up to speed on these and others, we’ve rounded up the top seven tech news stories that happened in the last seven days.

Scroll down to read them, and we’ll catch you next week for another quickfire tech news round up.

7. The Sonos Ace landed with Dolby Atmos and ANC

Sonos Ace headphones worn by a man outdoors

(Image credit: Sonos)

In a week that saw the multi-room audio pioneer deal with criticism from fans over how it handled its recent controversial app overhaul, Sonos would much rather you focus on its shiny new product additions – including its first-ever headphones. 

They’re called the Sonos Ace, and they are wireless, over-ear cans with nice slimline ear cups. Yes, the aesthetic is remarkably similar to the Apple AirPods Max, but with more pill-shaped ear cups and a softer Sonos-white finish. However, as you’d imagine, the feature set is quite different. They have Wi-Fi built-in and can connect to a Sonos soundbar to play all your TV’s audio from it, in head-tracked spatial audio. That said, this feature only works with Sonos Arc at launch but will come to the Sonos Beam, Sonos Beam Gen 2, and Sonos Ray in the future.

What can’t they do? Surprisingly, they cannot work with your Sonos multi-room system. To explain, they can’t do what the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 lets users of Bowers & Wilkins Formation products do: easily switch between listening at home – maybe on their Zeppelin or Formation Wedge speakers – and listening on the move, with their B&W headphones. That was an industry first, but given Sonos’ admirable collection of speakers, it’s surprising not to see some sort of audio handoff solution in its debut headphones…

 6. Sonos casually released the Roam 2 

Sonos Roam 2, all colors

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos also unveiled a follow-up to its Sonos Roam – one of the best Bluetooth speakers – this week with the Roam 2, though there was much less fanfare for this product than the Ace headphones.

Perhaps because, save for a couple of small design changes – the logo now matches the color of the speaker; there are more color options with green, blue, and red options joining the original’s black and white; and there’s a dedicated Bluetooth button – the Roam 2 doesn’t seem all that different. 

The $179 / £179 / AU$299 price, IP67 waterproof rating, and meager 10-hour battery life all remain. We’ll have to test its audio abilities to see if they’ve improved, but if you already own a Roam, it looks like a Sonos Move 2 might be a better upgrade option.

5. Microsoft revealed some serious MacBook Air and iPad Pro rivals

Microsoft Surface Laptop and Surface Pro devices on a table.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Apple’s M-series chips were a game-changer for MacBooks and iPads when they landed a few years ago, and this week, Microsoft fought back spectacularly. Its new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro feature new Snapdragon X chips, which should mean blistering performance, battery-preserving efficiency, and AI smarts.

The early signs are promising as well, with early benchmarking tests suggesting that Microsoft’s new laptops could even edge the M3 MacBook Air for performance and battery life (albeit with the assistance of built-in fans). Our hands-on Microsoft Surface Laptop review states that it could be “the most important laptop of the decade,” while our early Microsoft Surface Pro review suggests it’ll give the iPad Pro a serious run for its money.

In other words, watch this space – our guide to the best laptops could soon get its biggest shakeup for a while once those full Surface reviews are in.

4. Copilot got an upgrade

The microsoft copilot logo at the May 20, 2024 Microsoft press event

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

As part of Build 2024, Microsoft followed the recent trend of software showcases by demoing new AI-powered features for its Copilot assistant.

Copilot is being integrated into the Windows 11 operating system, and ChaGPT-4o will be added, too. This will allow you to ask the AI to help you navigate an app or game you’ve not tried before – kind of like an interactive walkthrough tutorial. We saw it guide someone through Minecraft… and it was actually surprisingly helpful (though take these curated AI demos with a pinch of salt).

It also announced some new Copilot+ features that’ll be exclusive to powerful hardware. Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of some new tools, cough Recall’s potentially disastrous privacy implications. 

3. Microsoft’s controversial Recall feature could already be in trouble 

The Microsoft Surface Pro in black colorway

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Also announced at Build 2024, Copilot+ PC users (with powerful enough hardware) can access a tool called Recall. This allows their computer to track everything they do – even taking screenshots every minute or so – so it can remember something they were doing earlier.

Billed by Microsoft as a handy assistant, many users are terrified by the privacy implications of this software and in the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) (which oversees data privacy and related regulations) is reportedly investigating the feature.

Microsoft has said it’s taken several precautions, like only storing this data locally, and saying it won’t be used to train its AI. Still, these promises haven’t assuaged many people’s fears. We’ll just have to wait and see what ICO and others make of the situation.

2. ChatGPT lost its Sky voice 

A phone on a pink background showing the ChatGPT app next to a photo of Scarlett Johansson

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Silvi Photo / OpenAI)

Last week, when OpenAI showcased its new Sky voice for ChatGPT, many people – us included – noted it sounded a lot like Scarlet Johansson’s AI character in Her. It turns out Johansson thought the same thing, and she’s apparently annoyed about it.

She told NPR that she was “shocked, angered and in disbelief” that OpenAI would seemingly use “a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine,” especially as she had apparently declined a deal to license her voice to them – having been asked twice, with one request coming very soon before last week’s showcase.

OpenAI, for its part, has rejected claims that Sky is based on Johansson. But that hasn’t stopped it from pulling the voice from the platform due to pressure from Johansson’s lawyers, and their statement might be a little undermined by a Sam Altman tweet made after the showcase that simply said “her.”

Some users took to social media to beg OpenAI to return the Sky voice to ChatGPT, though that’ll likely depend on how this dispute between OpenAI and Johansson continues.

1. Panasonic took on the Fujifilm X100VI with its full-frame Lumix S9

Panasonic Lumix S9 in Dark Olive color on an olive colored background

(Image credit: Panasonic)

This week, Panasonic announced the Lumix S9, a vibrant and compact new full-frame mirrorless camera clearly designed for social media stars. 

Its size (it’s Panasonic’s smallest ever full-frame L-mount camera) makes it easier to pack in your bags when you go on your next vacation, and it pairs with a dedicated Lumix Lab app so you can share your snaps directly to your phone, and with your followers.

If you want to pick one up, it’ll set you back $1,499 / £1,499 / AU$2,699 for the body, and then $219 / £219 / AU$349 for the new 26mm f/8 pancake lens, and so far, we’ve found that it packs a lot of sophisticated video features into a fun package. We have some gripes, though, which we go through in-depth in our Panasonic Lumix S9 review.

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