Home Python The world's best folding e-bike is getting a big upgrade

The world's best folding e-bike is getting a big upgrade

Our top-rated folding e-bike , the excellent Gocycle G4 , is getting even better with some smart design tweaks and (perhaps most excitingly) a tempting price cut.

A folding electric bike is the perfect alternative to a car for commutes that are too long to walk easily, but don't involve major highways. The motor takes the strain out of hills, and allows you to move off quickly and safely at road junctions – and when you reach your destination, it folds down in seconds. If you've been stung by the spiralling cost of fuel, it's well worth considering.

When we tested the 2022 Gocycle G4, we were particularly impressed by its slick design that keeps maintenance to a minimum, updated motor that delivers smooth power assistance when you need it most, and its clever use of different materials to keep the frame strong while minimizing weight.

Now, Gocycle has taken things a step further. As Electrek reports, the handmade carbon fiber midframe (which connects the aluminum front frame to the magnesium Cleandrive drivetrain) is being replaced by an injection-molded composite design.

The new midframe is made using a mix of polymers and fibers that are less environmentally damaging than carbon fiber, which is notoriously energy intensive to produce . It's also cheaper, which is another big advantage.

Less carbon, less cash

The original Gocycle G4 wasn't perfect (we found that the strap that holds the folded frame closed feels less secure than the clamps on bikes like the MiRider One ), but its biggest drawback was its price. At $4,999 / £3,999 (about AU$7,000), it was firmly at the upper end of the market when we tested it back in February.

The premium G4i and G4i+ models are keeping their original carbon midframes and price tags, but the change to the standard G4 has allowed Gocycle to shave $200 / £200 off the production cost – and pass that saving along. Although still not cheap, at $4,799 / £3,799 (about AU$6,400), it's now a little more accessible, giving more people the opportunity to trade their second car for something a bit greener.

Roku update finally delivers Apple Music - but it's pointless without its best feature

Fans of Apple Music with Roku devices would have been delighted to find out that they can now access the music streaming platform as an app on the Roku Channel Store. However, that excitement will have quickly turned to disappointment when they learned that Apple Music on Roku is missing the platform’s best feature, Spatial Audio.

While the Roku update brings over 90 million songs and 30,000 curated playlists to owners of the brand’s TV streaming devices (or those who own a Roku TV), the omission of Spatial Audio is a huge shame.

It means anyone who wants to stream from Apple Music via their Roku device is missing out on the unique three-dimensional audio delivered by Apple’s Spatial Audio technology, and with the amount of content available in this format growing all the time, preventing users from accessing these tracks seems like a strange decision.

A transformative effect

When Spatial Audio is done right, it can have a transformative effect on the way we perceive music - even albums we may have heard hundreds of times. Placing the different instruments within a virtual sphere - which are then accurately spatialized thanks to the clever head-tracking technology inside the AirPods Max , AirPods 3 , and AirPods Pro headphones - gives every element of a track the room it needs to shine.

It means you can hear things you may have never noticed before, making your favorite songs sound brand new again. Sometimes, the effect is so convincing, that it feels as though you’re sat right there in the studio with the bands you love.

Sure, Spatial Audio doesn’t work for every piece of music, but it’s a huge selling point of Apple Music, and something that differentiates it from other streaming services , such as Spotify - and that’s not all Roku device owners will be missing out on.

There won’t be any support for Lossless Audio either, so you won’t get the highest quality streams (even if you have a pair of high-end stereo speakers wired to your TV). Again, that means you may not hear every element of the music you love, which is a big deal for all audiophiles.

These omissions aren’t unique to Roku. In 2021, the PS5 finally gained support for Apple Music , with users having been previously limited to Spotify if they wanted to choose their own music to soundtrack their gaming sessions.

Again, the Apple Music app on PS5 doesn’t support Spatial Audio. While Sony hasn’t given us a reason for this, we speculated at the time that it may have felt there were too many technological hurdles to jump in order to deliver spatialized audio to Apple Music subscribers.

After all, you need to use a pair of compatible Apple or Beats headphones to enjoy the format, which would necessitate hooking up a Bluetooth adaptor to the PS5 - you can’t simply connect a pair of wireless headphones to the console natively.

It’s a little easier to do this with Roku devices thanks to a feature called Private Listening, which enables you to hear your content through your wireless headphones using the Roku smartphone app - you just need to pair your headphones with your smartphone over Bluetooth.

There is a fairly simple workaround for anyone that wants to use a pair of wireless headphones with their Roku device - which makes it all the more baffling that the company wouldn’t make Spatial Audio available for its new Apple Music app.

Perhaps Roku felt it unnecessary - after all, if you’re pairing your headphones with your smartphone anyway, why wouldn’t you simply use the Apple Music app on your phone to access Spatial Audio tracks? Why go to the bother of doing so on your TV?

The answer lies in Dolby Atmos soundbars and speakers. You might have one hooked up to your Roku TV or streaming device, which means you should be able to play Spatial Audio tracks from Apple Music out loud for room-filling sound.

Well, you would have been able to if Apple Music on Roku actually made this possible. For now, you’ll have to stick to the smartphone app - which again, makes the new Roku update feel a little pointless at this moment in time.

Windows 11 gets overhauled Your Phone app with a new name that people hate

Microsoft has announced that it's releasing an update for the Your Phone app from today (April 1) on PCs with Windows 11 , which includes a new name – Phone Links – and a redesign that lines it up with other updated Windows 11 apps.

The Your Phone app has been a useful tool since its release in October 2018. It enables you to link up your Android phone with a Windows PC, where you can sync up your contacts, messages, and some apps that are compatible.

The new Phone Links app, available as a new update as well as a companion app on the Google Play Store , features the same new design that Paint and Windows Media Player have been given in other updates to Windows 11.

However, the new name has already proved to be divisive, and makes us wonder if Microsoft is coming up with  these terrible names on purpose.

Analysis: Another bad name from Microsoft

Microsoft has had a reputation over the years for having terrible names for its products. Whether it's Zune for its iPod-rival, or the Kin phone , which sounded outdated as soon as it launched back in 2010.

Microsoft's most recent naming confusion had been its Xbox Series consoles . Released back in November 2020, the Series S and the Series X made gamers wonder what the letters stood for. Microsoft still hasn't explained the reasoning, and probably never will.

Considering the Xbox has had ' 360 ' and ' One ' to mark major releases, it's probably best to just go with the flow when it comes to Microsoft's gaming names.

To be fair, Your Phone wasn't exactly a good name to start with – users just accepted it, mainly due to how good the app has consistently been.

But, Phone Links carries on Microsoft's terrible naming tradition. Granted, your PC does link up with your Android phone, but it makes the name feel a bit on-the-nose.

Name it WinPair, Continuity, or Matchup, just to give the app some excitement at least.

But regardless, the app looks better thanks to its Windows 11 redesign, and there's still plenty of opportunities for how the app could improve for Android users in the future, especially with apps from the Amazon App Store coming to Windows 11 soon .

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