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Winners and Losers: iPhones skip CAPTCHAs as Xbox faces a controller shortage

It’s Sunday, meaning its time for us to choose our winner and our loser from the last week in tech.

This week saw some major updates in the world of streaming, with Paramount Plus launching in the UK and Netflix officially confirming it would be introducing an ad-supported tier – just months after denying that it was in the company’s plans.

Meanwhile, PlayStation Plus Premium arrived in Europe, we learnt more details about the Nothing Phone (1) and Amazon showcased an eerie new storytelling feature at its re:Mars conference.

However, this week’s winner is Apple after a new iCloud feature was spotted in iOS 16. That leaves Xbox as our loser as the gaming giant admitted it was facing some major delays over one crucial accessory.

iOS 13 Dark Mode collage

Winner: Apple 

This week’s winner is Apple after the company previewed an iOS 16 feature sure to make browsing the web a smoother experience for iPhone users. 

We’re talking about CAPTCHAs – the contorted line of code or spot the traffic light game you’re all too often forced to play before signing into an app or website. 

CAPTCHAs are a vital tool for weeding out bots and preventing automated attacks on websites, but for consumers they can slow things down and make logging into social media or your favourite online retailer a more long-winded process (especially if you trip up and get the answer wrong). They’re also less than ideal for those with disabilities or people for whom English is a second language. 

Thankfully, Apple has come up with a solution that could practically get rid of CAPTCHAs without compromising on security. 

Users will have the option to bypass a CAPTCHA by enabling an iCloud setting that automatically verifies you as human using a single-use Private Access Token. 

The feature was first unveiled by Apple at WWDC (where it confirmed that Cloudflare and Fastly were already on board) and more recently spotted in the first betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 by MacRumors

We’ll be excited to see how the feature performs when the next version of iOS launches later this year. 

A black Xbox series X Controller floating on black background

Loser: Microsoft

Microsoft – or rather Xbox – took the title of loser this week when the company broke the news that it was dealing with a shortage of wireless controllers in the UK

“We know it may be hard finding Xbox Wireless Controllers right now due to supply disruptions”, a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed to VGC on Tuesday. “We’re working as fast as possible with our manufacturing and retail partners to improve this. Please check with your local retailer for availability”. 

According to VGC, the Xbox Wireless Controller was out of stock in every single colour at GAME, Smyths, Argos, Currys and the Microsoft Store in the UK at the time of publishing and it appears as though Microsoft is still facing this shortage. 

Meanwhile, prices have spiked dramatically on Amazon with third-party sellers taking advantage of the situation and cashing in on the shortage. 

Xbox gamers in Australia and parts of Europe have been reported faced similar challenges finding controllers. 

The only place seemingly not dealing with shortages in the UK is the Xbox Design Lab, but you’ll have to wait up to 28 days to receive your custom wireless controller if you order one from there. You can also pick up a third-party controller or a much pricier Xbox Elite one if you’re keen to dive back into your game or play alongside friends immediately. 

However, for now it seems as though these supply disruptions will continue to get in the way of gamers picking up the standard Xbox Wireless Controller.

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