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Yesterday we saw iFixit tear down Microsoft's next-gen gaming console, the Xbox One, and today the company is continuing the series by tearing down the new Kinect sensor. As a electronic hobbyist this is the teardown that I have been waiting for, and with the sensors new high-resolution capabilities, I can not wait to see it hacked!
Unlike the Xbox One, the Kinect is held together by screws which are hiding under labels, and a screwdriver makes quick work of opening up the case. When the Kinect is first opened up, you can see several optical sensors, and what appears to be an array of three high-intensity IR Blasters.
Also pictured is the large camera with what appears to me a mechanical focusing system. Interestingly enough, the Kinect now packed enough power that a Fan is required to keep things nice and cool, and I bet this has something to do with its sensors always being activated awaiting commands from the user. It also appears that the entire internal frame is being used as one giant heat sink to help aid in cooling. Unfortunately, the Kinect earned a repairibility score of just 6 out of 10 due to so many permanently affixed and propriety parts.
The optical output for the Xbox One will only play stereo through headsets at launch. Albert Panello Microsoft Director of product planning comments in a NeoGAF thread that full Dolby Digital support will be available post launch. Although Panello does not specify any sort of release date for the update. Unfortunately users that are accustomed to using Turtle Beach, Tritton, or any other expensive headset will have to deal with having stereo for the time being.
Microsoft Director of Product Planning Albert Panello in a NeoGAF thread: "Dolby Digital is coming post launch. This was a SW scheduling issue pure and simple, and I know people are disappointed, but we will have it. Anyone with an HDMI receiver should be fine, as we pass the uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 through HDMI as well as DTS. Even if you have a Dolby only HDMI receiver, you will still get 5.1 or 7.1 sound since those receivers should accept uncompressed surround. For the Dolby only headsets, my understanding is that these will work but you will only get stereo audio since we only pass Stereo and DTS through the optical port. I have not tested this myself, but I'm told it works. Regardless, I understand this is an inconvenience, but again we're going to have Dolby coming."
With the Xbox One officially launching in New Zealand today, it was only a matter of time before the guys and gals over at iFixit got their hands on the next-gen console. The team from iFixit were on hand at the official Xbox launch party in New Zealand and managed to obtain an official Day One special edition console to tear down.
Unfortunately Microsoft chose not to hide any screws under the rubber feet and the team had to look elsewhere on how to begin the disassembly process. The Xbox One is disassembled by first removing the plastic grill much in the way one has to disassemble the Xbox 360. Once the Grill is removed, only a few plastic clips remain to hold things together.
Inside the Xbox One, the PCB and other internals are shielded inside a metal cover which is easily removed by extracting a few screws. Once the cover is removed the Blu-ray drive, cooling fan, and cooler are all prominently visible. The hard drive is also unveiled at this point and it appears to be a Samsung Spinpoint M8 ST500LM012 500 GB 5400 RPM with 8MB Cache SATA II 3.0Gb/s hard drive. With a form factor of 2.5-inches, this could easily be replaced with a large capacity SSD. You would void your warranty, so keep that in mind if you decide to tear down your Xbox One.
According to IHS iSuppli, the components and assembly costs associated with Sony's PlayStation 4 console, sums up at around $381. This it thanks to two expensive parts of the PS4, the first being the AMD-designed APU, which costs $100.
The second part, is the 8GB of GDDR5 RAM in the PS4, which costs around $88. These two parts make up approximately $188 of the $381, which is over half the cost of the next-gen console. The 500GB HDD costs around $37, the Blu-ray drive comes in at $28, and the controller is just $18. Of course, this is just pure costs, without any of what sells it: marketing.
We also have to take into consideration the R&D for the console, advertising, shipping costs, and a whole lot more. At least this time, Sony isn't losing hundreds of dollars per console, like it did with the PS3.
The PlayStation 4 was released last Friday in the US. There have been a few issues users have been running into, such as HDMI problems, bricked consoles, and the troublesome blue light issues. Sony says that 1% (10,000) of their PlayStation 4 units have been affected. A Sony representative speaks with IGN and assures that Sony is working on getting users their replacement PlayStation 4 units. Although that's 10,000 unhappy customers, 10,000 out of a million units isn't too bad. Sony's representative also mentions that the rumor of replacement consoles being shipped in 2014 is false, and that customer support is immediately replacing units with expedited shipping.
Sony representative speaking with IGN: "We understand the frustration of consumers that have had a problem and are working with them and our retail partners to help troubleshoot issues and ensure affected units are exchanged. Rumors' online stating that PlayStation customer service is informing people that it will take six weeks to get a replacement unit. Those rumors are false. Our customer support team is exchanging units with new replacements immediately and with expedited shipping."
We've been covering the PS4 as much as can here at TweakTown, but it looks like some keen shoppers have been slapping down their plastic over at eBay for the next-gen console, with over 10,000 consoles sold over the launch weekend alone.
Retailers (who sell over eBay as well as in-store) and some everyday people (who bought the PS4 and re-sold it on eBay) accounted for over 10,000 PS4s to be sold over the weekend just gone. eBay has said that "more than two PS4s [were] sold on eBay every minute." That is an insane number of PS4s over a 48-hour period!
Tested has some interesting results for the world, where it has tested the PS4s internal HDD against a Samsung-built SSD, and a hybrid 1TB drive. Check out the video below.
As you can see, the SSD isn't that much faster than the hybrid drive - which is much cheaper, and much bigger - but the stock drive is slow as hell. Something I noticed is that loading games on the PS4 seems to take forever, but I'm comparing this to my all-SSD PC. Maybe it's the PS4 OS that needs some work.
So, as you can see, it looks like a hybrid HDD is the way to go.
One last chance to pre-order your Xbox One! Amazon will be releasing a last batch of Xbox Ones tomorrow morning on the 20th at 8am Eastern time/5am Pacific time. Amazon mentions supplies will be limited. Amazon's one click pay option will come in handy here, so make sure you have it set up because it might just be a race of who hit the buy button the quickest.
Games shouldn't be a problem, many retailers have most titles and accessories for the Xbox One available for purchase right now and they shouldn't be short in demand. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a Xbox One from Amazon's last batch your console should be at your doorstep on launch day, Friday the 22nd.
Microsoft announced that the Twitch live game streaming feature won't be available at launch. It will be delayed until "the first part of 2014." Sony's PlayStation 4 has had Twitch since launch. The people at Microsoft are saying they are working on it so it can meet expectations of the community. Although there will be a delay for the Xbox One version, it will however support instant switching and you will be able to use Twitch with the Xbox One's Snap feature.
Xbox Wire Blog: "We know the ability to instantly broadcast gameplay is something the gaming community is excited about, and we are too. We are working to ensure the initial Twitch on Xbox One broadcasting experience meets the expectations of the Twitch community, so while this feature won't be available right away, we'll let you know as soon as it is ready. Our goal is to deliver it during the first part of 2014."
Today Microsoft began rolling out its new Xbox One compatible SmartGlass app for Windows Phones. While most of the existing SmartGlass App features are present, there are just as many new Xbox One exclusive features in the new app. Xbox One users can now control which apps they snap to the Xbox One screen directly from their Windows Phone.
Additionally, new features such as the Xbox Live activity feed, a new menu section, and even a home section that lets you quickly access pins is available. A new setting in the app will also allow users to prevent their phone from locking while the app is open, thus preventing the phones screen from going dark while gaming and using your phone as an accessory. Microsoft did not elaborate as to why they chose to release a separate Xbox One version of the app, but I suspect it is due to API incompatibilities.