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Disney Plus hits 28.6 million subscribers, a massive haul for a new service – CNET

Disney-plus-simpsons-maggie

Disney Plus streams movies and shows from Disney, as well as programming Disney acquired in its takeover of Fox, like the Simpsons. 

Disney

Disney Plus‘ fairy-tale dreams may come true sooner than Disney thought: Disney Plus has signed up 28.6 million people less than three months after the service first rolled out, Disney said Tuesday. To put that in context, Disney initially expected Disney Plus would take five years to reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers. In less than 90 days, it’s almost halfway to crossing into that threshold. 

“The company and their management team must be given credit for pulling off one of the greatest product launches of all time,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said Wednesday in a note recapping the results. 

By comparison, Netflix, the biggest subscription video service in the world, has 167 million global subscribers, with 61 million of them in the US. 

Disney said Disney Plus had 28.6 million members as of Monday, figures released as part of the company’s earnings report. When Disney’s latest quarter closed on Dec. 28, not long after the finale of the service’s marquee original series The Mandalorian, Disney Plus had 26.5 million members. Disney Plus launched Nov. 12 in the US, Canada and the Netherlands. It has since widened to Australia and New Zealand, and its next big rollout will be to major Western European markets on March 24 and India on March 29.

Disney Plus is the entertainment giant’s online hub for streaming almost everything it produces, including Star WarsMarvelPixar and all the family-friendly movies and animation from Disney itself, plus acquired favorites like The Simpsons. It’s also perhaps the most high-profile example of traditional Hollywood throwing its fortunes in with streaming, competing against the likes of NetflixAmazon and a new wave of rivals like Apple TV PlusHBO Max and Peacock. With billions of dollars of investment at play, their competitive wins and losses will shape the future of television — and affect how you’re able to watch your favorite things. 

Disney Plus has shown other early signs of popularity. In little more than a day after it first launched, Disney said the service registered more than 10 million sign-ups, and it was 2019’s top trending Google search term.  

Disney didn’t specify the number of Disney Plus subscribers who were pulled in through a deal with Verizon that gave the carrier’s unlimited wireless customers a year’s subscription free. But it did say the average Disney Plus subscriber is paying $5.56 a month. In the US, a regular Disney Plus membership costs $7 a month, but bundles, annual memberships and prelaunch promotional deals lowered the price for some members. 

Hulu, which operates only in the US, has 30.4 million members. That’s up from 28.5 million in November right before the launch of Disney Plus. When Disney Plus launched, the company began bundling its three streaming services — Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus — for $13 a month, a $5 discount.

Originally published Feb. 4. 
Update, Feb. 5: With analyst’s comment. 

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Next Ford Mustang due in 2022, automaker job posting reveals – Roadshow

A new ‘Stang is only a couple years away.

Ford

Information can come from the strangest of places, but when it comes to a vehicle as popular as the Ford Mustang, one might expect the automaker to take great care to keep things under wraps.

Yet, Ford itself has leaked the first substantial piece of information on its next-generation pony car. According to a LinkedIn job posting, Ford was previously hiring for a wind and road noise vehicle team engineer, and that individual will specifically help with the next-generation Mustang. The posting is no longer accepting new applicants and is dated three weeks ago. But it only showed up on the Mustang 6G forum on Monday.

In the position description, the automaker says the winning candidate will contribute to the current S550-generation Mustang, but also “be the final sign-off on the Ford 2023 Mustang S650 vehicle program.” It’s the first time we’ve had a solid date on when we’ll see the next Mustang have rumored delays. Ford didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The job description goes on to mention the S650 Mustang will debut in 2022. This, combined with the other language, points to the car as a 2023 model. Thus, we’ve got two more years of S550 to enjoy before the Blue Oval ushers in a new pony. 

The biggest change coming to the Mustang is a supposed move to the automaker’s CD6 platform — the same architecture that underpins the latest Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator. This decision should certainly help with economies of scale, but it could make for a larger Mustang than we’re used to. We’ll have to see how Ford engineers work their magic.

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The $250 JBL Link 300 wireless speaker with Google Assistant is just $60 today – CNET

JBL Link 300
Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL was responsible for some of the best speaker deals of 2019, and it looks like 2020 will be no different. For a limited time, and while supplies last, the refurbished JBL Link 300 wireless voice-activated speaker (black) is just $59.99. It normally sells for as much as $300, though you’ll more often see it for $250. Based on past experience with these JBL sales, I expect this will sell out quickly.

The Link 300 supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It has both Google Assistant and Google Chromecast built in, so you can issue voice commands — same as with any Google Home speaker — and stream audio from nearly any phone or tablet app. It’s multiroom compatible as well.

So how does it sound? For that I’ll turn you over to David Carnoy’s JBL Link 300 review. TL;DR? “It delivers excellent sound for its size.” For the record, I own the larger JBL Link 500. It, too, sounds excellent. But Carnoy says he actually prefers the sound of the Link 300 to that of the 500.

The last time I shared a deal on this model, it was a new one for the same price. However, JBL’s refurbs are backed by a one-year warranty, so there’s really no downside to this deal.

Your thoughts?

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CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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Clearview AI hit with cease-and-desist from Google over facial recognition collection – CNET

Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That in an interview on CBS This Morning

Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That tells CBS correspondent Errol Barnett that the First Amendment allows his company to scrape the internet for people’s photos.

CBS News

Google and YouTube have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Clearview AI, the facial recognition company that has been scraping billions of photos off the internet and using it to help more than 600 police departments identify people within seconds. 

That follows a similar action by Twitter, which sent Clearview AI a cease-and-desist letter for its data scraping in January. The letter from Google-owned YouTube was first seen by CBS News. (Note: CBS News and CNET share the same parent company, ViacomCBS.)

The CEO of Clearview AI, a controversial and secretive facial recognition startup, is defending his company’s massive database of searchable faces, saying in an interview on CBS This Morning Wednesday that it’s his First Amendment right to collect public photos. He also has compared the practices to what Google does with its search engine.

Facial recognition technology, which proponents argue helps with security and makes your devices more convenient, has drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and advocacy groups. Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, which sells its Rekognition system to law enforcement agencies in the US, have said facial recognition should be regulated by the government, and a few cities, including San Francisco, have banned its use, but there aren’t yet any federal laws addressing the issue.

Here is YouTube’s full statement:

“YouTube’s Terms of Service explicitly forbid collecting data that can be used to identify a person. Clearview has publicly admitted to doing exactly that, and in response we sent them a cease and desist letter. And comparisons to Google Search are inaccurate. Most websites want to be included in Google Search, and we give webmasters control over what information from their site is included in our search results, including the option to opt-out entirely. Clearview secretly collected image data of individuals without their consent, and in violation of rules explicitly forbidding them from doing so.”

Facebook has also said that it’s reviewing Clearview AI’s practices and that it would take action if it learns the company is violating its terms of services.  

“We have serious concerns with Clearview’s practices, which is why we’ve requested information as part of our ongoing review. How they respond will determine the next steps we take,” a Facebook spokesperson told CBS News on Tuesday. 

Clearview AI attracted wide attention in January after The New York Times reported how the company’s app can identify people by comparing their photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it’s scraped off social media and other sites. The app is used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US to identify those suspected of criminal activities.

BuzzFeed News reported that in pitches to law enforcement agencies, Clearview AI had told police to “run wild” with its facial recognition, despite saying that it had restrictions to protect privacy.

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Critics have called the app a threat to individuals’ civil liberties, but Clearview CEO and founder Hoan Ton-That sees things differently. In an interview with correspondent Errol Barnett on CBS This Morning airing Wednesday, Ton-That compared his company’s widespread collection of people’s photos to Google’s search engine.

“Google can pull in information from all different websites,” Ton-That said. “So if it’s public, you know, and it’s out there, it could be inside Google search engine, it can be inside ours as well.” 

Google disagreed with the comparison, calling it misleading and noting several differences between its search engine and Clearview AI. The tech giant argued that Clearview is not a public search engine and gathers data without people’s consent while websites have always been able to request not to be found on Google. 

Clearview AI’s founder intends to challenge the cease-and-desist letters from Google and Twitter, arguing that he has a constitutional right to harvest people’s public photos. 

“Our legal counsel has reached out to [Twitter] and are handling it accordingly,” Ton-That said. “But there is also a First Amendment right to public information. So the way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way.” 

Clearview AI would not be the first tech company to use this defense to justify its data scraping practices, as technology attorney Tiffany C.Li pointed out on Twitter. In 2017, HiQ, a data analytics company, sued LinkedIn for the right to continue scraping public data from the Microsoft-owned social network, claiming that the First Amendment protects that access.   

The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI’s own database, which taps passport and driver’s license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens. Clearview also keeps all the images collected, even when the original upload has been deleted.

Law enforcement agencies say they’ve used the app to solve crimes ranging from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder. But privacy advocates warn that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and others. They’ve also warned that facial recognition technologies in general could be used to conduct mass surveillance.

A lawsuit filed in Illinois after the Times’ report called Clearview AI’s software an “insidious encroachment on an individual’s liberty” and accused the company of violating the privacy rights of residents in that state.  The lawsuit followed Democratic Sen. Edward Markey saying Clearview’s app may pose a “chilling” privacy risk.

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Spotify hits 124 million subscribers, strikes deal for The Ringer and its podcasts – CNET

spotify-logo-1

Spotify is the largest streaming-music service by subscribers.

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify hit 124 million subscribers at the end of 2019, up 29% from the previous year, the streaming-music company said Wednesday, while Spotify also announced it would buy Bill Simmons’ sports and pop-culture news organization The Ringer as it continues to chase podcast domination. 

Spotify’s latest membership number growth appeared to keep it well above its closest competitor Apple Music; Apple last disclosed that Music had 60 million subscribers back in June. Spotify also said Wednesday that 271 million people total now use its service at least once a month, up 31% percent from a year earlier. Spotify, unlike Apple, has a free tier that lets anyone listen to music with advertising. Apple has never disclosed a monthly-active-user stat; almost all people who use Apple Music are subscribers. 

Spotify didn’t disclose how much it would pay to buy The Ringer, a website founded in 2016 by sports commentator Simmons that has ramped up a large operation of original podcasting. The deal is expected to close before April. 

Amid a cultural shift to streaming as the most common way people listen to tunes, Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as the leaders in a race to dominate subscription music. Though Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both listeners and subscribers, Apple Music has benefited from the popularity of the iPhone to recruit new members. 

In the last year, Spotify has targeted its next stage of growth in podcasts — an area that Apple so dominates that the name of the format originally derived from Apple’s iPod. It budgeted between $400 million and $500 million to invest in podcast acquisitions last year, and it took over leading companies like Gimlet and Anchor

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Looking ahead to 2020, Spotify predicted that it will have 142 million to 153 million paid subscribers by the end of this year and that its monthly active users will increase to between 328 million and 348 million. 

By the end of March, it predicted membership would grow to 126 million to 131 million, and Spotify predicted first-quarter monthly active users would hit between 279 million and 289 million.

In the fourth quarter, Sweden-based Spotify reported a loss of 209 million euros ($231 million), or 1.14 euros a share, swinging from a profit of 442 million euros, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 24% to 1.9 billion euros in the quarter.

Spotify shares were 2.8 percent at $149.95 in premarket trading. 

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Vodafone says implementing Huawei restrictions could take 5 years – CNET

Vodafone R&D Center

Vodafone’s CEO said removing Huawei equipment from core European networks will cost about 200 million euros.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

In the wake of the UK and the European Commission approving Huawei to take part in 5G next generation wireless rollouts with some restrictions, Vodafone has given us an idea how long it’ll take to remove the controversial Chinese company’s equipment from its core networks.

“This will take around five years to implement at a cost of approximately 200 million euros (around $220 million),” CEO Nick Read told reporters on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Vodafone didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story will be updated shortly.

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iPhone Face ID is pretty cool. Here’s how it works and how to use it – CNET

iphone-11-pro-max-15

Apple’s Face ID is used to unlock your iPhone or iPad. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

When it launched Face ID in September 2017, Apple turned your close-up into the key that unlocks your iPhone. Since then, Apple has continued to expand the number and type of devices with Face ID, including the iPhone models of the last two years and the current-generation iPad Pro.

By transitioning to Face ID, Apple killed off its home button and fingerprint reader. The initial shock of relying on gestures to use your display is jarring enough, but when you add in learning how to use Face ID, the rest of the nuances of using your phone can be frustrating.

My advice? After upgrading from a Touch ID-equipped iPhone, be patient. It may take a week or two to adjust to no longer using a home button, but once you get used to Face ID, you’ll forget all about it.

Before we dive into the setup process, here are the Apple devices that have Face ID, followed by a quick (and not all that nerdy) look at how it works.

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Which Apple devices have Face ID?

Here are the current iPhone and iPad models that have Face ID:

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true-depth-apple

Apple’s TrueDepth camera system is the magic behind Face ID. 

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

A simplified version of how Face ID works

Located at the top of your iPhone or iPad, Apple’s TrueDepth camera system is made up of several components. Working in tandem, the sensors and components project 30,000 infrared dots onto your face, which they then use to map your curves and wrinkles. On an iPhone you can use Face ID only when you hold the iPhone vertically. On an iPad Pro, Face ID works in any orientation.

During the initial setup of Face ID, it converts your face map to a 2D image that it uses as a master key. Every time you wake the screen on your device after that, Face ID maps your face by projecting dos, which it compares with the master key it created during setup.

If Face ID has a match, your device unlocks. If not, you’re asked to try again or enter a passcode. And all of that happens in milliseconds.

When is Face ID used?

face-id-icon

face-id-icon

Face ID is used to unlock your phone, for Apple Pay and to make purchases in the App Store, among other things. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The most common use case for Face ID is unlocking your device. Activate it by tapping on the display or picking your phone up to view notifications.

But that’s not all. Whenever you see the Face ID logo at the bottom of the screen (like in the screenshot above), it’s actively trying to scan your face. Outside of unlocking your iPhone, Face ID is used to:

  • Authorize Apple Pay
  • Approve purchases in the App Store, iTunes, iBooks
  • Auto-fill passwords in Safari
  • Sign in to third-party apps, such as banking or password manager apps

Note that when your appearance changes slightly — say your hair is done differently or you shaved your beard — Face ID might fail. But Face ID feature has a cool feature in store. When you enter your passcode after it failed to recognize you, it uses that scan to learn that your appearance has changed slightly. Next time, it should recognize you without issue.

Setting up Face ID feels weird, but also kind of fun? 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

How to set up Face ID

When setting up an Apple device with Face ID for the first time, you’ll be asked if you want to use Face ID. If you chose not to, you can enable it through the Settings app later. Regardless of when you set up the feature, the process is the same.

First, you’ll be asked to set a passcode for use as a fallback authentication method if Face ID has trouble recognizing you. You’ll also need a passcode after your your phone or tablet restarts, or it hasn’t been unlocked in 48 hours.

To register your face, hold your device between 10 and 20 inches away from you. With your face centered in the circle, move your head around until the scan is complete. It’s easiest to slowly move in a circle. You’ll be asked to complete a second scan, after which Face ID setup will be complete.

face-id-settings-page

face-id-settings-page

Face ID settings are how you can take control of when and where the feature works.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

A closer look at Face ID settings

On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app and select Face ID & Passcode. Enter your passcode when prompted.

Face ID’s settings allow you to enable or disable the feature, as well as add an alternate face (for when you give someone else access to your phone, for example). If Face ID can’t recognize you when you’re wearing sunglasses, you can disable Require Attention for Face ID, which makes it possible to unlock your phone even when the TrueDepth camera can’t see your eyes. 

Because Face ID features controls access to your phone and the security of your personal information, take a few minutes to double-check these security settings to make sure your data stays secure. If you’re new to an iPhone that lacks a home button, we have a guide to the most common iPhone gestures you’ll need to master. And, off course, we also have a gestures guide for iPad Pro users

Originally published year before last. Updated with new information. 

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China’s Coronavirus causes concerns for LG at MWC 2020 – CNET

big-booths-mwc-2016-16.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

Citing safety concerns for its employees and the general public surrounding the global outbreak of the coronavirus, LG on Tuesday announced that it will “withdraw from exhibiting and participating” at Mobile World Congress 2020. MWC is the world’s largest mobile trade show, which takes place every February in Barcelona. LG is one of the highest-profile companies to pull out of the show, just weeks before it is set to start on Feb. 24. 

The South Korean electronics giant said in a statement that its decision will prevent “needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel.” To announce its upcoming line of phone products, LG said it will hold other events in the near future.

MWC usually sets the stage for LG to launch its flagship line, known as its G-series, along with a few midrange devices too. As such, a successor to the LG G8 ThinQ, presumably called the LG G9 ThinQ, was expected to debut at the show.

LG may not be the only one to withdraw from MWC: The Chinese company ZTE has canceled its press conference at the show as well. Though it did not cite a specific reason nor release a statement, The Verge reports that it is also due to the health risks related to the coronavirus.

Among other companies expected at MWC, however, Huawei, Qualcomm and Xiaomi have confirmed to CNET that they do not plan any changes to their participation. Others we have contacted, including Samsung, Motorola and Ericsson, have not immediately replied to requests for comment.

GSMA, which is the organization that runs MWC, said in a separate statement that it’s continuing to “monitor and assess the potential impact of the coronavirus” on the show. On top of increasing onsite medical support and disinfection programs, GSMA added three new measures:

  • Installing new signage onsite reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations
  • Implementing a mic change protocol in production for speakers
  • Communicating advice to all attendees to adopt a “no-handshake policy”

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Declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization, coronavirus is a pneumonia-like illness that, as of Feb. 4, has killed 427 people. The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December, but has spread to 25 other countries with a recent count of 20,000 confirmed cases.

In addition to its health risks, the coronavirus has had a ripple effect on businesses and global industries. Companies including Apple, Google and Nintendo have closed offices, limited business travel and experienced supply chain disruptions.

Mobile World Congress 2020

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2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet review: Topless without tradeoffs – Roadshow

Roof on or roof off, the new Porsche 911 is a blast.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

154 pounds. That’s all that separates this 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet with the 4S Coupe that my pal Andrew Krok recently tested. Heck, the two test cars are even spec’d the same. And they’re both fan-freaking-tastic.

That’s because the performance gap between 911 Coupe and Cabriolet is closer than ever before. Cutting a car’s roof off inherently creates some structural issues that can affect handling, and the added weight of the electronic top mechanism is an unnecessary bit of ballast. Yet the Carrera 4S Cabriolet is so quick, so sharp and so unrelentingly rewarding, the tradeoffs for going topless are pretty much nonexistent.

Like

  • Strong turbocharged power

  • Precise handling

  • Fantastic infotainment tech

  • Added bonus of the wind in your hair

Don’t Like

  • Not as pretty as the coupe

  • A big price premium over the hardtop

Scroll to the bottom of this review and you’ll see my individual ratings for various aspects of the 911. Compare those to Krok’s earlier scores, and you’ll only notice one discrepancy: design. Much as I love the way the 992 911 Coupe looks, the Cabriolet doesn’t have the same allure to my eyes. Sure, the profile is similar to the Coupe with the top up, this tester’s black fabric roof contrasting nicely against the Night Blue paint. But then you put the top down and, ehh.

Look, I know there are fans of the 911 Cabriolet’s signature hunchback shape, but I’m not that guy. In fact, I think the hump is somehow more egregious in this 992 generation; even in Coupe form, the 911 definitely appears to have more junk in its trunk. The Cabriolet’s topless form only emphasizes how much weight this car is carrying over its rear axle. Maybe it’s the automotive equivalent of “bootylicious.”

As for the rest of the car, it’s dynamite. Unlike Krok, I don’t mind the 911’s funny door handles, nor do I hate the tiny electronic gear selector inside. Besides, you shouldn’t be using the standard shifter to toggle up and down through the gears — certainly not when there’s a great set of steering-wheel mounted paddles at your disposal, anyway. (Or just get the new seven-speed manual transmission. Problem solved.)

As a whole, the Cabriolet’s interior is every bit as nice as the Coupe’s, with comfortable, supportive seats, a clean aesthetic and cozy accommodations for two adults. Like the Coupe, the Cabriolet has back seats, but considering the backrests are completely vertical, they’re better used for storage. I did shoehorn a friend back there at one point — you know, for testing — and he only complained for, like, 20 minutes.

Two screens in the gauge cluster, one screen on the dash. The 911’s cabin tech has finally caught up to the rest of Porsche’s range.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The 911 gets a huge tech upgrade for its latest iteration, which is obvious from the minute you get behind the wheel. The central analog tachometer is flanked by a pair of high-resolution displays, and the right side is reconfigurable, allowing you to see vehicle data, a full-screen map and more. Of course, with the steering wheel in the position I like, it cuts off my view of the far ends of either screen, which kind of defeats the purpose of all that digital real estate. Nothing like having to bend my head down just to see how much fuel is in the tank.

Move to the dash, and the excellent Porsche Communication Management multimedia system is housed on a 10.9-inch display. This is the same PCM software you’ll find in the Cayenne and Panamera, with crisp graphics, a reconfigurable home screen, Wi-Fi hotspot and support for Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto). I’ve praised this system before, and nothing is lost in the transition to the 911’s slightly more compact arrangement. PCM’s feature set is rich, and though it takes a few runs to completely master the menu workflow, being able to program the main screen to show as much or as little information as you like should keep you from having to constantly fiddle with it while driving.

Because of the power top’s added weight, the Cabriolet has a slight performance penalty compared to the 911 Carrera 4S Coupe. The droptop is 0.2 seconds slower in the 0-to-60-mph acceleration run, though it still completes that sprint in a more-than-respectable 3.4 seconds. That’s assuming you opt for the Sport Chrono pack, which you should, because it also gets you launch control, meaning you can reliably hit that 3.4-second blast-off when it comes time to impress your friends.

It’s not like those two measly tenths of a second are going to matter to anyone in the real world anyway, except for maybe old guys at car shows who need bragging rights to sleep better at night. The 911 feels like a goddamn rocket when you mash the throttle, the twin-turbocharged flat-six engine sending 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. No, at 3,641 pounds, this 911 Cab isn’t exactly a lightweight. But rest assured knowing that bulk is all muscle, not fat.

Even so, the Carrera 4S Cabriolet can cut a rug with the best of ’em, making quick work of my usual California canyon test route. This car is perfectly balanced, every part of the driving experience a total joy. The throttle is nicely weighted and easy to modulate, power coming on progressively no matter where you are in the rev range. Sport mode prevents the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission from upshifting too quickly, and Sport Plus gives the gearbox the go-ahead to quickly drop a few gears while braking before entering a corner. The steering is textbook Porsche perfect, and you’ll run out of pavement before the Goodyear Eagle F1 tires run out of grip.

For the maximum experience, get the $2,090 rear-axle steering option, which helps scoot the rump ’round tight bends. You’ll also want the $5,460 Sport Package, which gets you the aforementioned Sport Chrono pack, a sonorous sport exhaust and the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) sport suspension, which lowers the car by 10 millimeters and unlocks a stiffer setting for the dampers. That last bit doesn’t hurt the 911’s ride quality, either, even on the 4S’ seemingly too-large 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels.

Mile after mile, it’s hard to find fault with the Cabriolet compared to the 911 Coupe. You might notice some disparity at the limit, say on a track, but that’s not where 4S Cabriolet buyers are playing. Plus, you get the added sensory enjoyment of topless motoring: the wind in your hair, the sun gracing your brow. All the better to hear that lovely flat-six hum behind you, too.

Like it or not, the 911 Cabriolet has always had a hunchback.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Even when you aren’t living that fabulous top-down lifestyle, the 911 is a car that makes running errands a thrill. The cabin is quiet with the top up. The engine’s power is easy to extract in short bursts between stoplights. The steering and chassis are nimble enough to make darting around city streets a breeze. A number of driver-assistance aids are available to make commuting easier, too, though in typical Porsche fashion, everything from adaptive cruise control to lane-keeping assist to a 360-degree camera are all locked behind a paywall.

That last part is sort of a shame, especially given the 4S Cabriolet’s lofty $133,400 starting price. Go crazy with the options (it’s a Porsche, so the sky’s the limit) and you can spec a 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet up towards $200,000. Even a modestly equipped car like my tester will set you back $154,470, including $1,350 for destination. Great as this car undoubtedly is, there’s no getting around that price tag.

In fact, if there’s one major flaw of the Carrera 4S Cabriolet, it’s that it costs $12,800 more than a 4S Coupe, and I’m not sure the top-down experience is really worth that premium. That said, going topless no longer means any performance tradeoffs, and if you’re well into the six-figure car club, the added cost is likely easier to absorb. Personally, I’d hold out for the inevitable 992 Targa. After all, if Porsche can engineer the 4S Cabriolet to be every bit as rewarding a performer as the Coupe, I can only assume the best-of-both-worlds Targa will be nothing short of bliss.