The Morning After: The Best of CES 2023

After the cancellation of our 2022 CES plans (and there wasn’t even a 2021 show), the Engadget team sent a dozen employees to this year’s CES. The show wasn’t as packed as it had been in pre-pandemic years, but many events were packed and companies had plenty of announcements to get excited about. So what was the best of CES? You can see all award winners here.

Our Best of the Best winner wasn’t a car or a TV taped to the wall. No, it is the Leonardo project. This is Sony’s first gaming hardware designed specifically for those with limited motor control – and it’s pretty eye-catching.

Sony

This controller kit works out of the box with the PlayStation 5 and features two round gamepads with interchangeable buttons, third-party accessory ports, and other customizable inputs. The controllers sit flat on a table or are mounted on a standard tripod. They can also be paired with a DualSense to turn all three devices into a single gamepad, giving a lot of flexibility.

To ensure it delivers on its accessibility promises, Sony has partnered with advocacy groups like AbleGamers, SpecialEffect and Stack Up, much like Microsoft did with the revolutionary Xbox Adaptive Controller. While there’s still no release date or price for Project Leonardo, Sony is finally jumping at the opportunity to expand the PS5 player base.

– Mat Smith

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Launch could come at the expense of the company’s other products.

After BloombergMark Gurman plans to announce Apple’s first mixed reality headset this spring ahead of its annual WWDC conference in June. In a sign that a launch is finally on the horizon, Apple has reportedly shared the headset with a handful of high-profile software developers, giving them a first look at its new xrOS software. However, a focus on the latest line of hardware will reportedly impact the heavyweights.

The next version of the company’s iOS operating system is likely to ship with “fewer major changes than originally planned” as Apple reassigns software engineers to the xrOS team. “The same goes for macOS 14,” adds Gurman. The company doesn’t appear to have any “notable” updates to its iPad, Apple Watch, and Audio product lines.

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Ridiculous but beautiful.

TMA

Engadget

Roland’s 50th anniversary included a beautiful anniversary concept piano built in collaboration with Japanese furniture maker Karimoku. The exterior is sculpted from a single piece of Japanese Nara Oak, which conceals a 360-degree 14-speaker system. Roland also built speakers into drones that hover over the piano and are controlled by the player. Unfortunately these could not be flown on the CES exhibition floor because security, so Roland dangled a pair of them from wires. boo

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A Galaxy Unpacked event is scheduled for that day.

Samsung may have inadvertently confirmed that it will unveil its next flagship phones early next month. The company’s Colombian website published a page revealing that the next Galaxy Unpacked event is scheduled for February 1, 2023. “Epic moments are approaching,” it said before the page went offline. Samsung’s showcase for its flagship devices has crept earlier in the calendar over the years: Samsung hosted an event for the Galaxy S22 range on February 9th, 2022.

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The essential features in a lighter package.

HTC strikes back at Metas Pro VR headset with the Vive XR Elite. The XR Elite shares many of the Quest Pro’s highlight specs, including support for a 2K resolution for each eye, a 90Hz refresh rate, and full standalone operation. However, with a weight of 625 grams (vs. 722 for the Quest Pro) and a more comfortable headband, the XR Elite does an even better job of delivering a breezy wearable VR/AR experience. Despite its highlights, the XR Elite shares many of the same flaws as the Quest Pro. Starting at $1,099, it’s a bit cheaper than Meta’s $1,500 rival, but still quite pricey. We tested it on the CES 2023 exhibit floor.

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Trend alert: urinalysis tech.

While none received the Best of CES award from Engadget, toilet bowl tech was booming. You could call this a natural progression from the fitness tracker, testing your urine for many easily identifiable diseases. But is this really the next frontier in consumer health tracking? These devices may never reach the popularity of a Fitbit, but they could be game-changers for medical facilities and assisted-living complexes.

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