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Plus, in this week’s Installer: a new AI model app, new speakers and headphones, must-watches this weekend, and more.

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An Installer illustration showing Arc, Claude, Sofa, and the Bose SoundLink Mini.

Image: David Pierce / The Verge

Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 36, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, hello, I’m thrilled you found us, the Installerverse loves you, and also you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.) 

I missed you all last week! I was at a friend’s bachelor party in South Carolina, playing golf and eating burgers and mostly staying offline. Thanks to everyone who reached out to say you missed the newsletter! But I’m back now, and so is Installer. We are so back. This week, I’ve been writing about AI gadgets and iPads, watching Baby Reindeer and The Fall Guy, reading A Drink Before the War, and listening to the excellent Challengers score

I also have for you a new browser for Windows, some new mobile audio options, a couple of fun things to watch this weekend, apps for coffee nuts, and much more. Let’s dig in.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you into right now? What should everyone else be into right now? Tell me everything: And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, tell them to subscribe here.)

  • Arc for Windows. Arc is still my favorite browser, and even in this first version, it’s surprisingly solid on Windows. (Though it is missing a couple of Arc’s more advanced features and some of the AI stuff.) If you try it, give it time — it’s a really big change from Chrome, but I’m still sold on it. (The iOS app also got some big and much-needed updates this week.)
  • Claude for iOS. I’m sure there’s a good rubric out there for which AI model is good for which purposes, but mostly I just gravitate toward whichever app is nicest? The new one from Anthropic is nice: clean, simple, faster than the web app for sure. I also really like the icon.
  • “‘No CGI’ is really just invisible CGI.” The fourth and final installment in a really cool series about CGI, from the great The Movie Rabbit Hole YouTube channel. I learned so much about moviemaking and the good and bad tricks filmmakers use from these videos. 
  • Sofa 4.0. A huge update to one of my favorite movie / book / show trackers. Sofa now lets you collect and organize anything, any way you want — MacStories has a great rundown of all the stuff you can do, and I’m already using it to plan summer trips. 
  • The Bose SoundLink Max. $399 is steep for a Bluetooth speaker, but I’m very into this one. Super-long battery life; an AUX port; a fun little handle; presumably excellent sound. I’ve been a UE Wonderboom believer for years, but I’ll be trying this one out this summer.
  • The Beats Solo 4. I agree with Chris Welch that it’s weird to not have ANC in these headphones. But I’m still into the look, love how light they are, and am stoked about the wired options as well. 
  • Hacks season 3. I was late to this show about the lives and relationships of two comedians, but it’s funny and weird and extremely worth your time. Only 18 episodes to catch up on! You can do it this weekend!
  • The Idea of You. I’m currently biased toward Anne Hathaway because I just found out she’s also an Arsenal fan, which makes her cool and smart and great. But I keep hearing good things about this movie on Netflix about modern life and fame and the weirdness of both.
  • “Phone Apps for (Weird) Coffee People.”James Hoffmann is a must-subscribe for all things coffee, but I especially loved this look at all the apps for coffee drinkers. I’ve become a huge Filtru fan in particular, and my coffee process is now fussier than ever. I love it.

Screen share

Riley Testut has had a busy couple of weeks. Couple of months, really. Years, honestly. He’s the developer behind Delta, the game emulator that has taken over the App Store over the last few weeks and that might also be the signal of a new app era entirely. He’s been working on bringing his app store, AltStore PAL, to users in the EU, while also just trying to get some Pokémon playing in.

I asked Riley to share his homescreen, in part just to see if I could snoop on his Delta and ROM setups. I got my wish! Here’s Riley’s homescreen, plus some info on the apps he uses and why:

The phone: Purple iPhone 12 Mini. I absolutely LOVE this phone, and I’m dreading having to upgrade to a larger one eventually. (I would’ve gotten the 13 Mini, except it doesn’t come in purple.)

The wallpaper: A photo of a Pokémon drone show in the shape of Mew, originally taken by Joe Merrick (of Serebii fame), then slightly edited. 

The apps: Phone, FaceTime, Photos, Camera, Notes, Maps, Calculator, Find My, Files, Pokémon Sleep, Settings, 1Password, Alamo Drafthouse, Messages, Mail, Safari.

My co-founder / roommate Shane and I are obsessed with Pokémon Sleep (we compete to see who gets the most shinies), so that’s earned a spot front and center. My social folder contains my most heavily used apps (Ivory and Threads), and then below it is the Alamo Drafthouse app, which I use a LOT because I love going to the movies and have the annual pass ¯_(ツ)_/¯

1Password contains literally everything important in my life, so it’s also a staple, but I only made the Delta folder recently once it was released in the App Store. It contains the app itself as well as launchers for Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon HeartGold as well as the amazing Ketchup pokédex app so I can easily look up Pokémon stats.

And because I can’t use AltStore PAL outside the EU, I have the regular AltStore widget to remind me to refresh my apps every week!

I also asked Riley to share a few things he’s into right now. Here’s what he shared:

  • I bought myself a Steam Deck a few months ago and have been absolutely loving it! In fact, it’s the main way I kept myself entertained while we were stuck in Europe trying to launch AltStore PAL (god bless Dolphin emulator and Super Mario Galaxy 2).
  • I’m also a sucker for super nerdy science YouTube videos, and the History of the Universe channel is literally the perfect thing to put on in the background while I build some Legos or something. I also recently discovered Technology Connections’ channel, which basically scratches the same itch but for tech. I’ll also forever be a fan of Nirvanna the Band the Show, and Shane and I love their “Update Day” video so much we even used it to tease AltStore PAL’s launch.
  • At the same time… I’m also deeply invested in the ongoing UFO discourse. Exciting to see something that was dismissed for so long being taken seriously by Congress and others because that’s how science makes progress!


Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email or message me on Signal — @davidpierce.11 — with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. If you want even more good stuff, check out the replies to this post on Threads.

“Neal Brennan’s Crazy Good is the funniest stand-up on Netflix since Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra.” – Christopher

“I’ve been obsessing over note-taking apps again because I am insane. Recently tried Tana, and it’s incredible. Feels like the most natural way for me to take notes (bullet journaling, tasks, project management) and is probably going to convince me to ditch Logseq and Obsidian and everything else.” – Rin

Voiijer. This interesting social media app is focused on posting trips. From day hikes to overnight adventures abroad. I’ve tried it out a little bit, but it seems geared toward being a travel journal. Seems new and interesting.” – Nicholas

3Blue1Brown. Really like this YouTube channel in general and have thoroughly enjoyed watching this playlist. He breaks down super complicated mathematical concepts into easy-to-digest, bite-size chunks using examples and excellent visualizations. This playlist feels particularly relevant for anyone who wants to dive a little deeper into the technologies and algorithms that are driving this wave of AI hype.” – Abie

“The new video from David Imel about how the ✨ emoji became the symbol for AI is about 1,000 times more interesting than I thought it would be. I don’t want to spoil anything, which is weird to say about a video like this, but honestly, the name of the video is just scratching the surface of how cool it is.” – Luke

I’ve been playing Bonk’s GameBoy games using Delta and writing about games on Backloggd, which is a fun video game-focused review site built very similarly to Letterboxd.” – Sawyer

“My latest rabbit hole is comics and graphic novels, and as someone who strips his ebooks of DRM, I’m still trying to find the Calibre of comics. I landed on YACReader and YACReader Library. It’s good enough, but I feel there’s still space for a really good app.” – Kevin

“Starting to pay more attention to healthy eating, and I remember hating MyFitnessPal. Found the app Cronometer, which is a great freemium alternative. Highly recommended!” – Jonathan

“I just wanted to share how much I’ve been loving the new AppleTV Plus series Sugar starring Colin Farrell as private detective John Sugar, that’s on a case of a missing daughter. It has a great camera, vibe, and overall, the aesthetics are amazing. The plot is even better, with subtle details all around the show. I’ve just rewatched it for the third time (there are only four episodes so far), and I noticed many clues for later development that I hadn’t noticed before. I feel like the showrunners must’ve spent ages on developing this show.” – Vojtěch

“Just got back on the Castro podcast app bandwagon. It’s under new management and they are iterating. The queue system is 🔥.” – Advay

Signing off

For the last few weeks, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about how much people like the Boox Palma. It’s basically just an Android phone, but it has a Kindle-style E Ink screen, which means it’s awful at a lot of things but can download all your reading apps and news apps. I have a lot more testing to do with it, but so far, I love this thing. It’s kinda slow and a little wonky, but it fits in my pocket and is a perfect device for reading and taking quick notes. For years, I’ve cycled between carrying a notebook everywhere, relying on my phone for everything, trying to shove some other device into my workflow, and even occasionally being a weirdo who carries around an iPad. The Palma’s not perfect, but this form factor — Android device with an E Ink screen — might be. I’ll have a bigger piece on this thing in the next couple of weeks, but if you’re intrigued, I love it so far.

See you next week!

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