Apple Is Said to Be Maintaining Mask Requirements in Its Stores Despite Recent CDC Guidance

Illustration for article titled Apple Is Said to Be Maintaining Mask Requirements in Its Stores Despite Recent CDC Guidance

Photo: Mladen Antonov / AFP (Getty Images)

Over the past year and then some, one of the unorthodox ways to gauge the severity of the pandemic has been to look at one tech giant: Apple. That might be changing, though. A recent report states that Apple will maintain a mask mandate in its U.S. Apple Stores despite the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which in the past few days has given vaccinated people the green light to take off their masks in most settings.


Bloomberg reported this week that Apple had informed its U.S. stores that their mask mandate and covid-19-related procedures would remain in place for now. Apple’s purported instructions to its stores came shortly after the CDC relaxed its recommendations for vaccinated individuals on Thursday. Nonetheless, Bloomberg stated that Apple is continuing to evaluate health and safety measures. At least for now, it’ll still require everyone in its stores to mask up.

Apple told the outlet that its first priority was employee and consumer safety. The company was one of the first major retailers to close its stores in response to the pandemic and has been routinely opening them and closing them when cases go up. It has required all to wear masks in its stores throughout the pandemic.

Gizmodo reached out to Apple to confirm Bloomberg’s report on Sunday but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We’ll make sure to update this blog if we do hear back.

Apple’s reported move stood out when compared to other retail giants such as Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Starbucks, which have all recently announced that they are ending mask requirements except where required to do so by state or local guidelines. Apple wasn’t alone in its caution, however. USA Today reported that Target, Walgreens, and Kroger also kept their mask mandates in place, although some of them stated they would be reviewing the CDC’s guidance.

Considering Apple’s cautious response to the pandemic, its decision to purportedly maintain the mask mandate in its stores isn’t entirely a surprise. Some experts were taken aback by the speed of the CDC’s decision, while others still worry that anti-vaxxers will lie about their vaccination status and put others, such as frontline workers and people unable to get vaccinated, at risk.

At the end of the day, Apple is a private business and can enforce mask mandates on its property if it chooses to do so. While its actions may not necessarily reflect the reality of the pandemic anymore, we’ve got other sources for that.


Here’s How to KoЯnify Your Website

Illustration for article titled Here's How to KoЯnify Your Website

Photo: Chung Sung-Jun (Getty Images)


The golden age of KoЯn came to an end right around the time that everyone suddenly realized they need a website. But history is cyclical, and KoЯn is cool again while the website is dead. After a decade of people teaching themselves HTML or paying through the nose to put up an overdesigned web page touting their personal history or business, most people can get by with a LinkedIn and an Insta these days.


But the corpse of the personal website lives on in the automated hosting fees that many people just forgot about. Maybe you’re one of those people. Maybe you see that annual hosting charge come down every year and think that you’ll do something with that outdated destination someday. Well, I’ve got a suggestion for you.

Developer David Hallberg Jönsson recently uploaded a little script that’ll KoЯnify your website for you. That is to say, every instance of the letter R will automatically flip to a reversed letter R because, in Jönsson’s summation, “Я is always cooler than R!”

Here are Jönsson’s instructions for how to make your website cool:

To add the KoЯnify script to your website, include this script tag in your HTML:

<script src=””></script>

Then you can KoЯnify at will with the following Javascript code:


For example, to add a KoЯnify button you can do:

<button onclick=”kornify();”>KoЯnify me!</button>

That’s it, folks. We’re on the cusp of the weekend, and weekends are for completing stupid projects. Go forth and KoЯnify the web.

The Inventor of the Post-it Note—The Worst Thing to Happen to Password Security—Has Passed Away

Despite creating security headaches for IT departments around the world as the password manager of choice for boomers, the Post-it Note is one of the most clever and ubiquitous office accessories ever created, and this past weekend the world, unfortunately, said goodbye—to their creator, Spencer Silver, who passed away at 80 years old.


Most don’t give a second thought to the tiny sheets of yellow paper as they struggle to squeeze another important thing to remember onto their crowded computer screens, but like many world-changing technologies, the Post-it Note was a product born from failure that went on to become more successful than what its creator was originally trying to perfect.

Born in 1941 in San Antonio, Texas, Spencer Ferguson Silver III first earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Arizona State University in 1962, followed in 1966 by a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After graduating he was hired by 3M’s central research laboratory as a senior chemist and started his career working on the development of pressure-sensitive adhesives—the glue that most tapes rely on.

In 1969, Silver began work on developing a strong adhesive that could be used in the aircraft industry for building planes, a breakthrough that could potentially reduce weight, reduce costs, and reduce stress points, making aircraft safer in the process. That never panned out, but in the process of testing various new formulations, Silver discovered that one, in particular, demonstrated low-tack properties and could be easily removed from surfaces it had adhered to, including paper, without any tearing.

On the microscopic level, the adhesive was made of tiny acrylic spheres that would retain their stickiness even after being repeatedly applied to and removed from a surface. Officially called acrylate copolymer microspheres, they were patented by 3M in 1972 but at first, it was a product that solved a problem that no one actually had, so the company didn’t immediately commercialize it. Not even Silver was sure of what the new adhesive could be used for, so he promoted it and its unique properties at internal 3M seminars for years, until one day a fellow engineer named Art Fry sat in on one of Silver’s presentations.

Arthur Fry, inventor of the Post-it Note, with one on his forehead bearing a with a picture of a lightbulb.

Arthur Fry, inventor of the Post-it Note, with one on his forehead bearing a with a picture of a lightbulb.
Photo: Wikimedia – Signe Dons

Fry had a problem of his own, but it wasn’t related to work. Every Wednesday night he would attend practices with his church’s choir and despite his best attempts to mark hymn books with paper scrap bookmarks so he knew which songs would be sung during a Sunday service, they would inevitably all fall out.


During Silver’s presentation, Fry had a eureka moment, and together the two created sticky bookmarks that wouldn’t damage the pages of a hymnal when removed. But it was when they started to use the sticky sheets for sharing notes and messages, the pair realized the potential of their creation

Originally sold as a product called Post ‘n Peel when introduced in four US cities in 1977, the nationwide rollout came on April 6, 1980, along with a new name: Post-it Notes. As for the iconic choice of Canary Yellow for the product which makes the notes very visible? It seems like it was the product of feedback from intense focus groups, but in reality, the color was simply chosen because of an excess of scrap yellow paper in another one of 3M’s adhesive labs. In 1993, Fry would eventually officially patent the product as a “repositionable pressure-sensitive adhesive sheet material” which just doesn’t have the same ring.


Silver went on to work for 3M for 28 years, and when he retired in 1996 his name was on over 22 US patents and he received several awards, including the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Invention in 1998. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. On May 8, 2021, Silver died of ventricular tachycardia at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota. The product he helped create may not have directly put rovers on Mars or smartphones in people’s hands, but somewhere in the world, there’s an office or lab with at least a couple of tiny yellow squares holding the secrets to the next big innovation.

UK Government Gives ‘Climate Champion’ Award to Executive at Massive Canadian Oil Company

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility, of which Suncor owns the majority, near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada.

The stuff of champions.
Photo: Mark Ralston (Getty Images)

“Climate champion” and producing more than 10 million barrels of tar sands oil a year are not exactly synonymous in most people’s minds. But that’s the exact title the British government decided to bestow on an executive at one of the most powerful oil companies in Canada.


To mark six months until the major climate conference in Glasgow, the UK government honored 26 “climate champions” working in Canada, a commonwealth nation. Among the list of “champions” is Martha Hall Findlay, who serves as the chief sustainability officer at Suncor, a major tar sands player. An accompanying “storybook” of all the chosen climate champions includes Findlay’s resume as well as a quote attributed to her: “Suncor fully supports Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments, and we look forward to COP26 to continue building the all-important collaboration among the private sector, governments and other organizations needed to find real solutions.”

The choices for climate champions weren’t made by any member of Canada’s robust climate activist community, but rather by the British High Commission in Canada and the Canada Climate Law Initiative. Climate Home, which first reported last week, reports they won’t have any formal role at COP itself. And Findlay herself certainly has an impressive resume—there’s nothing in there at first glance that’s a red flag (outside the working for an oil company thing), and I’m sure she’s a nice lady. But the cognitive dissonance of appointing an executive at one of the dirtiest companies in the world as a climate champion is pretty jarring.

Suncor may not be as recognizable a name to American readers as Exxon or Chevron, but its hands are plenty dirty. The company is the top global producer of tar sands oil. Alberta is the epicenter of tar sands production, and the operations there form the largest industrial project in the world. Tar sands are also wildly polluting, resulting in three times the emissions as regular ol’ crude production. While Suncor rakes in money from its oil sands operations—it’s the second biggest energy company in Canada—its product has made it a challenge for Canada to meet its climate goals. In fact, Canadian greenhouse gas emissions rose slightly in 2019 due to more oil and gas extraction even as other developed nations have seen theirs fall in recent years.

Like many of the world’s fossil fuel companies who are trying to earn brownie points for helping us stave off the climate disaster they caused, Suncor’s website presents a squeaky-clean image of a corporation that is Committed To Acting On Climate. “Suncor accepts the scientific consensus, publicly stating that ‘climate change is happening and we need to take action,’” its climate page reads. Links to the company’s various sustainability reports detail its plan to reduce emissions 30% over the next decade and it aims to “embed low-carbon thinking into the day-to-day activities and decisions of our employees” (whatever that means). Suncor is in favor of Canada’s national price on carbon—a common show of support among oil companies—and its then-CEO in 2018 dragged politicians who dabble in climate denial.

Suncor has also worked hard to cultivate its relationships with Indigenous and First Nations groups, many of whom are on the front lines of the environmental devastation from the impacts of oil sands extraction and who have led public campaigns and lawsuits against other tar sands companies, like the owners of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In 2019, Bloomberg called the company “an industry leader when it comes to business partnerships with Indigenous groups.” (One of Findlay’s listed duties, according to the company’s website, is being “responsible for the continued deepening of the company’s Indigenous, stakeholder, and community relations.”)

All of this is great for Suncor, but, as the old adage goes, you can put lipstick on a pig—it’s still a pig. There are oil companies that are doing better than others at trying to clean up some of the mess they’ve made—and Suncor looks like its doing its homework to become the best little oil company it can be. Indeed, the industry as a whole has made concerted efforts over the past year to right its sinking PR ship, introducing confusing terms like “carbon management company” and “net-zero oil” to help buy them a little time to keep polluting.


At the end of the day, however, like Exxon, Chevron, and all the others, Suncor is still a company that produces an enormous amount of oil each year, with no plans to stop soon, despite our ticking carbon clock. People who work for the company, no matter how noble their intentions or how embedded their “low-carbon thinking” is, are helping further that goal. If these are the kinds of “climate champions” that governments are honoring as the world prepares to gather for what will be a crucial climate conference to hammer out details of the Paris Agreement, we may be in trouble.

Shell’s CEO Thinks We’re Dumb

Essential climate activist Ben van Beurden, who also happens to be the Chief Executive Officer of the second most carbon-polluting company ever.

Essential climate activist Ben van Beurden, who also happens to be the Chief Executive Officer of the second most carbon-polluting company ever.
Photo: Ben Stansall (Getty Images)

Big Oil executives want us to know we need them.

In an interview with Axios on HBO on Sunday, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said that corporations like his must be an integral part of the transition away from the polluting energy they’ve made billions off of.


“What quite often I think is insufficiently understood is that companies like us are absolutely needed for the solutions that the world needs,” he said.

Indeed, without their expertise at ruining the climate, how could we ever actually save the climate? Shell has spent more than 100 years producing dirty energy. Among investor-owned oil companies, Shell is responsible for the second-largest share of carbon pollution emitted since 1885. It knows a thing or two about the mess we’re in. And look, van Beurden said Shell is already working on cleaning it up.

“I think what people need to take away ultimately is that we mean what we say and we are actually making progress” on climate change, he said.

Sure, Shell knew of the deadly effects of its products decades ago. But let’s focus on the present, people. Just last year, the company announced it had a plan to “net zero emissions energy business” by 2050.

That plan includes continued expansion of natural gas, which isn’t just a source of carbon dioxide but also methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 80 times more planet-warming than carbon in the short term. It also relies on unproven carbon capture and storage technologies and problematic tree planting plans. A report that investigated oil giants’ climate plans found that out of 10 metrics, Shell’s plan was “grossly insufficient.” (It was merely “insufficient” for the other two metrics).

OK, but forget about the present. It’s actually all about the future, and it just takes time to transition from being one of the biggest polluters in history to … whatever is next for Shell.


“They will see us do the right thing,” van Beurden told Axios.

The right thing, some might argue, is ending fossil fuel extraction. Is that the right thing we can expect to see Shell do? Well, not exactly.


When asked by Axios, van Beurden confirmed that the company won’t make commitments to reduce its fossil fuel production—instead, it will “focus on the demand side.” Shell’s plan is to simply keep producing dirty fuel, but put the onus on consumers (something it’s already doing). Oh, and it will put a little money into renewable energy, but still just be a small fraction of the company’s total investments. The most important thing isn’t promoting survival, it’s providing a little consumer choice, right?

This is all going to start making a difference pretty soon. (Probably.) Within the next decade, van Beurden told Axios, more than half the energy the company produces will be clean. Of course, we don’t really get any say in what counts as clean. Does it include gas? Who knows! But it sure seems like a possibility based on the company’s recent actions.


At a recent shareholder meeting, Shell said it aimed at reducing the emissions intensity of the fuel it produces by 20% before the decade’s end, urging shareholders to approve of the approach. But carbon intensity—a measure of pollution produced per unit of energy—can decrease while still allowing overall emissions to increase.

That’s normal, though. Van Beurden told Axios that fossil fuels will need to be around “for a long time to come,” if not forever. Climate scientists seem to think that’s a pretty bad idea that could usher in ecological catastrophe, and they’ve modeled how to avoid that (hint: it involves ending fossil fuel production). But then, they don’t run a multinational corporation that’s almost completely dependent on selling oil and gas and has a history of acting in bad faith.


Peloton Tread Could Relaunch This Summer, but the More Dangerous Tread+ Is a Bigger Problem

Illustration for article titled Peloton Tread Could Relaunch This Summer, but the More Dangerous Tread+ Is a Bigger Problem

Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

After recalling both of its treadmills, Tread and Tread+, Peloton is working on fixes to get the machines back on the market. One, a software update that will require a pin passcode to unlock the treadmills, will roll out in the coming days. But hardware fixes will also be necessary for both machines, and Peloton detailed what those could entail—and what relaunch timeframes may look like—during its quarterly earnings call Thursday.


The issue with the $2,495 Tread, which is smaller, lower-profile, and has a more conventional treadmill belt design than the $4,295 Tread+, is the screws that mount the 24-inch touchscreen display to the body of the machine. A handful of reports from Tread owners in the U.K. and Canada, where the machine was already on sale, indicated an issue with those screws caused the screen to detach from the Tread and crash to the ground. The Tread was slated to go on sale widely in the U.S. on May 27, a launch which has since been canceled, and the 1,050 Treads that have been sold stateside have been recalled.

Peloton CEO John Foley said during the company’s earnings call that the Tread fix could be as simple as improving the screws to make sure they don’t come out of the console. It could take 6-8 weeks, or perhaps longer, for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to evaluate Peloton’s proposed Tread fix, but Foley said the Tread will “hopefully” relaunch by July.

The Tread+, however, is a different story.

The pricier machine’s unconventional slat belt and higher-profile design, which positions the belt higher off the ground than most treadmills and lacks any sort of guardrail to keep objects from being sucked under, is a bigger issue. Before Peloton issued its Tread+ recall, the CPSC received 72 reports of incidents involving adults, children, pets, and objects related to the machine. Of those reports, 26 were injuries, and one was the death of a 6-year-old. Peloton initially pushed back against the CPSC’s warnings in April that people with pets and small children should cease using the Tread+ immediately, claiming that the machine was fine to use when all safety guidelines were followed.

“There is no reason to stop using the Tread+, as long as all warnings and safety instructions are followed,” Peloton said in a press release at the time. “Children under 16 should never use the Tread+, and members should keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times.”

The company finally relented this week, issuing a voluntary recall and recommending that Tread and Tread+ owners stop using their machines until fixes could be implemented. Foley apologized for the company’s horrible initial response and said Peloton “has some work to do” to get on the “right side” of safety.


For the Tread+, the software passcode update is not enough, and the hardware fix is a little more complicated than improving some screws. Foley said he couldn’t detail the exact changes needed, but said additional hardware would physically prevent objects from being sucked under the back of the Tread+. That could take months to implement and be approved by the CPSC, and will require a revamp of the machine’s manufacturing process.

Tread and Tread+ owners will have their $39 monthly Peloton All-Access subscription fee waived for the next three months, but the company will continue to release new Tread content to prepare for the Tread’s relaunch and for runners who subscribe to the company’s app (which is only $13 a month) to take classes outside or on non-Peloton treadmills.


The company said it expects to take a $165 million hit to its revenue in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year due to the recalls and subscription waivers. Peloton was flying high before its treadmill errors. Its Bike and Bike+ delivery times were coming down, digital subscriptions skyrocketed to 891,000, and connected fitness subscriptions (those tied to Peloton’s machines) jumped 135% year-over-year to 2.08 million.

Now the company has work to do to prove it’s taking safety seriously, though it remains to be seen if the brand’s reputation has actually taken a hit. According to Insider, many Tread+ owners have no intention of returning their treadmills, despite the reports of injuries.


Those who do want to return their treadmills for full refunds have until Nov. 6, 2022 to contact Peloton.

05/06/21, 7:24 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to clarify the number of injuries reported to the CPSC.


Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother’s Day

Illustration for article titled Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother's Day

Photo: Andrew Liszewski

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, so to help make it just a bit easier to organize the family for a celebration, Google is giving the Google Assistant a handful of new features including Family Broadcast.


While users can already use the Google Assistant’s standard Broadcast feature to send voice clips to other Google smart speakers or devices in your home, with the new Family Broadcast feature, you can now create a Google Family Group and send broadcasts to everyone at the same time, regardless of whether they’re at home or somewhere else.

Gif: Google

Google says that with the Family Broadcast update, voice clips can now be sent to both Google Assistant smart speakers and mobile devices (both Android and iOS via the Google Assistant app), with mobile devices also getting a handy button to reply to broadcasts after they arrive on the recipient’s device. While this is largely an extension of the existing Google Assistant Broadcast feature, it could still come in handy for quickly rounding up family members before a big dinner.

In addition to Family Broadcast, Google is also sprucing up the Assistant’s Family Bell feature with the ability to turn off reminder sounds simply by saying “stop,” without needing to say “Hey, Google” or “Ok, Google” first—just like you can with timers and alarms. And over the “coming weeks,” Google says it will expand support for Family Bell to eight additional languages including French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Hindi, and Korean. And similar to Family Broadcast, Family Bell is also getting the ability to ping multiple smart devices at the same time.

Meanwhile, the Google Assistant is also getting support for some new games and stories that can be played on both smart displays and Android devices, including some bedtime stories from the Harry Potter universe (“Hey Google, tell me a Quidditch story.”), and the “Who Was?” series, which is made up of illustrated profiles and biographies covering a range of people from David Bowie to RuPaul.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for some more interactive experience, Google’s smart displays are also getting some new games like Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Illustration for article titled Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother's Day

Image: Google


Finally, after the success of its handwashing song, Google is adding a few more kid-friendly songs for other tasks and chores including a clean up song, a sleep song, and even a teeth brushing song. And if that’s not enough, Google says there are also a few hidden Google Assistant easter eggs for Mother’s Day, one of which is tied to the Assistant’s normal timer feature. (That said, it seems the easter egg hasn’t been activated just yet, so you might want to wait until Sunday to test it out.)

The Google Assistant’s Family Broadcast feature should arrive on devices in time for Mother’s Day this weekend, with the other additions arriving sometimes in the coming weeks.


Peloton API Exposed User Data, Even for Private Accounts

Illustration for article titled Peloton API Exposed User Data, Even for Private Accounts

Photo: Scott Heins/Stringer (Getty Images)

Peloton’s had a rough go in the news cycle lately, and not helping matters is the fact that its leaky API allowed any hacker to obtain any user’s account data—even if that user had set their profile to private.


The vulnerability, which was discovered by security research firm Pen Test Partners, allowed requests go through for Peloton user account data without checking to make sure the request was authenticated. The API itself is the bit of software that allows the Peloton hardware to communicate with the company’s servers that store user data. As a result, the exposed API could let anyone with a bit of know-how access any Peloton user’s age, gender, city, weight, workout stats, and birthday. Yikes.

The freaky thing here is that this was true even if a user decided to make their account private. Peloton has two separate privacy settings: one for your profile, and one to hide your age and gender. The former prevents other Peloton users from viewing your profile, while the latter prevents your age and gender from appearing in classes. (For the uninitiated, one of Peloton’s draws is a competitive leaderboard.) However, enabling these privacy settings didn’t matter. The researchers were still able to access data from private accounts.

Pen Test Partners disclosed the issue to Peloton in January and gave them a 90-day window to fix the issue. That’s standard protocol for these sorts of things, and Peloton itself has its own responsible disclosure program. While Peloton initially acknowledged it had received the info, it then reportedly ghosted the researchers. In early February, the company appeared to have partially fixed the issue—except private data was still accessible to authenticated Peloton users. At this point, the researchers then enlisted TechCrunch—which broke this story—to get involved.

In an update, Pen Test Partners said Peloton reached out and the aforementioned vulnerabilities were fixed within seven days. In a statement to TechCrunch, a Peloton spokesperson said: “We took action and addressed the issues based on his initial submissions, but we were slow to update the researcher about our remediation efforts. Going forward, we will do better to work collaboratively with the security research community and respond more promptly when vulnerabilities are reported.”

Cool, but also not-so-cool given how the company has handled some of the issues it’s been facing recently. Specifically, today it agreed to recall both the Tread+ and Tread after a tense back-and-forth with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC issued a warning in April saying households with small pets and children should stop using the pricier treadmill after a series of incidents and that the company should recall the Tread+. For its part, Peloton pushed back, blaming improper use as the root cause for the tragedies. According to an Insider report, several Peloton users had reported issues with the Tread+ as early as 2019, and many experienced slow or unresponsive customer service.

While many businesses have floundered due to the pandemic, Peloton’s not one of them. Its business has skyrocketed as people search for gym alternatives during lockdowns. However, its customer service has received a lot of flack for months-long shipping delays, with many owners venting their frustration on social media. There’s a pattern developing here, and Peloton’s sluggish response to customers, security researchers, and consumer safety agencies is clearly something the company needs to reevaluate.


Citizen Releases New Star Wars Watches for the Discerning Jawa

Citizen Star Wars Ana-Digi Temp watches feature C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader.

Photo: Citizen

Boba Fanns, rejoice! Citizen has hopped aboard the Star Wars spacetrain with a new set of themed Ana-Digi Temp watches. The $350 watches come hot on the heels of the company’s Rebel Pilot and X-Wing watches that launched a few weeks ago and feature beloved characters like C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader.


These watches are 33mm by 37mm and have a definite ‘80s calculator timepiece vibe thanks to the clunky case and multiple dials and LCD readouts. It’s powered by a Citizen Caliber 8989 movement, one of the earliest multi-function quartz mechanisms that first appeared in 1980 and was considered as wild and high-tech as the Apple Watch is today.

The C3PO and R2D2 watches are the most interesting of the bunch thanks to plenty of call-backs to the original characters—including using 3PO’s eyes as the dual-time dials at the top of the watch. The Death Star watch features a clever mystery-dial style oculus that spins around the starbase while the Mandolorian’s watch is clad in green and red, just like Django’s son. That orange sherbert looking model? It’s supposed to be a BB-8 watch, in all his roly-poly glory.

The watches aren’t yet on Citizen’s site, but you will be able to buy them in a galaxy near you in a few days. May the Force be with you.

Holy Hell, Peloton Is Recalling Both Its Treadmills

A woman demonstrates the Peloton Tread+ at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

After a heated back-and-forth with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Peloton has finally decided to issue two separate voluntary recalls of its Tread and Tread+ treadmills.


In its announcement, the CPSC reiterated that customers should immediately stop using the Tread+, which was recently involved in an accident where a 6-year-old child died after being pulled under the treadmill. The regulatory agency also noted that Peloton had received 72 reports of adult users, pets, and objects being pulled under the $4,295 machine. Of that number, 29 reports detailed injuries to children, including abrasions, lacerations, and broken bones.

But it’s not just the Tread+. The CPSC also recommends owners of Peloton’s newer, more affordable Tread also immediately stop using the machine, as it could result in injury. This is because Peloton has received 18 reports of the Tread’s touchscreen coming loose, and six reports of the display actually detaching and falling. So far, these reports have come from Canada and the UK, with none being reported in the U.S itself (likely because the Tread is not officially on sale stateside—it was due to launch May 27).

“I am pleased that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Peloton have come to an agreement to protect users of the Peloton Tread+ and Tread products. The agreement, which the Commission voted this morning to accept, requires Peloton to immediately stop selling and distributing both the Tread+ and Tread products in the United States and refund the full purchase price to consumers who wish to return their treadmills,” said Robert S. Adler, acting CPSC chairman, said in a press release.

This is a major reversal of Peloton’s initial stance. When the CPSC first issued a warning against the Tread+ in April, the digital fitness company pushed back against the regulatory agency and put the blame squarely on improper customer use. The CPSC, however, was firmly adamant that the dangers posed by the Tread+ were unique to its design, which is unlike other treadmills. The Tread+ has a slatted belt sits higher off the floor with no guardrail underneath—a combination that could lead to a fallen user being pulled under the 455-pound device. Peloton’s handling of the issue was not graceful, to say the least—which CEO John Foley apologized for in a statement.

“The decision to recall both products was the right thing to do for Peloton’s members and their families,” Foley said. “I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+. We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize.”

Tread+ owners can receive a full refund until Nov. 22, 2022. After that, you’ll only be able to get a partial refund. For those who want to hang on to the Tread+, Peloton is offering to move the machine to a room with no children or pets for free. It’s also pushing software updates that will automatically lock the Tread+ after use and require a 4-digit passcode to unlock. Tread owners can also get a full refund, or a free inspection and repair for the touchscreen if necessary.


Unsurprisingly, Peloton stock plummeted following the announcements—but even after recalling 125,000 Tread+ and 1,050 Treads, it’s not clear whether this will truly dent Peloton’s success. Peloton has a diehard fanbase, and a recent Insider report found that even users who suffered injuries on the Tread+ and crappy customer service refused to give up their memberships. One question is how the recall will impact Peloton’s live and on-demand treadmill classes now that the company has agreed to stop selling the device in the U.S. Gizmodo reached out to Peloton regarding the future of its treadmill content, but didn’t immediately receive a response.