10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning.

1. Apple has unveiled the next generation of its AirPods wireless headphones: the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro come with active noise-cancelling tech, are water-resistant, and have a new form factor. If you want a deeper dive into how they compare to the regular model, head over here. But if you don’t have the loose cash to drop $399 on a pair of headphones – and I don’t blame you – then the regular AirPods are a solid value offering by comparison, for a variety of reasons.

2. The Department of Home Affairs has floated the idea of using facial recognition technology for age verification on porn and gambling sites. The nascent facial biometrics database – ominously nicknamed ‘The Capability’ – has caused nothing but controversy since it was unveiled, and the legislation required to make it fully operational was recently knocked back by a parliamentary committee because it didn’t have enough privacy safeguards. It was originally pitched as a means of fighting identity fraud, but it looks like the department is willing to use it for far broader purposes – like verifying if you’re old enough to watch porn.

3. One of the government’s big policies going into the last election was a scheme allowing first home buyers to purchase a property with as little as a 5% deposit. We’re now learning about some of the restrictions on that flashy new programme. There are some reasonably tight price ceilings on the scheme when it comes into effect on January 1, which vary from city to city. It’s $700,000 in Sydney, which will probably land you a ten metre square patch of dirt out in the hinterlands.

4. More info has emerged over the past day on the raid by US forces which led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Read about how the plan came together here. Also, here’s a mildly surreal tweet from Trump celebrating the dog which apparently brought the mission home. Name still classified.

5. The Tokyo Motor Show is traditionally where automakers show off their new concept cars – implausible vehicles which will likely never see the light of day, but show off future technology which will. We were on the ground at this year’s show, and we’ve got six of the coolest entries for your perusal. Will any of these cars ever actually hit the road? Probably not, but they sure are fun to look at.

6. In the absence of a socialist revolution, a massive volume of investment is going to be required to decarbonise the economy and fight climate change. Global investment bank Morgan Stanley pegs the dollar figure at $73 trillion, which is nothing to snuff at. Of course, when that volume of money is being bandied about, someone is going to make a lot of money – here are the companies the bank says are perfectly positioned to profit from the transition.

7. Speaking of the environment, new research from Nielsen suggests that while Australians are indeed concerned about it, they’re dubious when it comes to buying an electric car. A major factor is – surprise – price. But Aussies also feel like they aren’t properly informed about EVs, and they’re concerned about a lack of public charging infrastructure.

8. Something else to watch out for: the Boeing CEO is set to testify before US Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday about the 737 Max crashes. It will be Dennis Muilenburg’s first public testimony since two 737 Max crashes killed 346 people. Lawmakers are likely to grill him on how the planes were certified as safe to fly.

9. Jack Ma, the Alibaba founder and China’s richest man, has inexplicably challenged Floyd Mayweather to a boxing match. We’re as confused as you are, yes. The challenge was issued on Twitter, in a video posted by fellow boxer Manny Pacquiao – who lost “the fight of the century” to Mayweather back in 2015. Ma apparently practices martial arts and is a huge boxing fan himself.

10. SoftBank, the Japanese holding conglomerate known for basically powering the modern tech industry with its Vision Fund, is soliciting investment for a second fund. And reports suggest it is courting Saudi Arabia, which invested A$65 billion into the first Vision Fund. This comes among questions on whether SoftBank actually knows what it is doing, following a series of bad bets including the WeWork debacle.

BONUS ITEM
If you’re still on the fence about what to wear to Halloween parties this weekend, you could follow the lead of these weapons and dress up as booted WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. You know, if it’s the right kind of party.

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