Weekly digest - 2019.40


Microsoft's Surface event

Here’s a quick recap of everything Microsoft announced this week.

Surface Laptop 3

Refreshed Surface Laptop lineup got USB-C and, for the first time, an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Additionally, the device now comes not only with 13.5-inch screen, but with 15-inch version as well.

The Surface Laptop 3 starts at $999 for the 13.5-inch version and $1,199 for the bigger one.

Surface Pro 7

Beside newer processor and support for USB-C there is nothing new. Although, Microsoft has slashed the price by $150, and new model starts at $749.

Surface Pro X

This is a brand new model in Surface Pro lineup. It is slightly bigger with 13-inch screen, but it is 3mm thiner than Surface Pro 7. It has ARM-based Microsoft SQ1 chip and swappable SSD storage.

The Surface Pro X starts at $999.

Surface Neo

Surface Neo is dual-screen PC, powered by Intel's Lakefield processor. Each screen is about 9-inches and both add up to a 13.1-inch total display size. New device comes with a USB-C port and supports the Surface Pen,

The most interesting part is a keyboard that folds over one of the screens. When you dock the hardware keyboard, Neo recognises that, and the part that is not covered by keyboard becomes a smart input area. Microsoft is calling it the Wonderbar.

All of that is possible because Surface Neo is running a special version of Windows called Windows 10X.

Surface Neo will be available in 2020.

Surface Duo

Surface Duo is dual-screen phone that runs Android. Each screen is 5.6-inches and both add up to a 8-inch total display size. All of that is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip.

Surface Duo will be available holiday 2020

Surface Earbuds

Microsoft announced a new pair of wireless Surface Earbuds that supports voice commands. They work with all the major virtual assistants:  Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana and Bixby. They can also translate speech in real time into around 60 languages.

The Surface Earbuds will be available later this year for $249.


Image credits: Microsoft

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Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha

Xiaomi is not afraid experimenting. Xiaomi Mi Mix series is a perfect example. This time Chinese manufacturer presented new phone from this line - Mi Mix Alpha. This phone is almost entirely made of screen. Display wraps entirely around the device to the point where it meets the camera on the back. Here is the full specification:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+,
  • 12GB of RAM,
  • 512GB of storage
  • 108-megapixel camera,
  • support for 5G
  • 4050 mAh battery

This phone will be available for about $2800.

This phone is really cool concept. Everyone is so focused on foldable phones, that Xiaomi surprised us with something simpler yet still interesting, and maybe even functional.

OnePlus 7T

OnePlus has presented the budget phone for people who are tired of flagship and expensive devices. Here is the specification

  • 6,55-innch Fluid AMOLED display (2400×1080px)
  • 90Hz screen's refresh rate,
  • Fingerprint reader built into the screen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+,
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 128 or 256GB of storage
  • 48-megapixel tripple camera
  • 3800 mAh battery
  • OxygenOS based on Android 10

OnePlus 7T will be available from $599.

Google Play Pass

One week after premiere of Apple Arcade, Google announced their own game service. Google Play Pass will cost $4.99 per month and will give access to 350 games and apps. All games/apps will be free and without any in-app purchases. For now service is available only in US, but Google says that it is planning to extend service to other countries.  

This is interesting move from Google. If the games/apps in the bundle are good then it is win-win scenario for Android users. The only question I have is, how developers are getting paid? So far, Google didn't share any details on that topic.

iOS 13.1 & iPadOS 13.1

This week Apple released iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1. The later is the first official release of the dedicated operating system for tablets. iOS 13.1 has been released in less than a week after the premiere of the new iOS, and is the fastest released major update so far.

iPhone 12 design

According to newest rumors,  next year iPhone will get major redesign. New frame will be  similar to one from iPhone 4. Also, new iPhone will not have notch. All Face Id sensors will be hidden in the upper bezel.

Disney news

There was plenty of news related with Disney. Here is tl;dr:


Image credits: Xiaomi

Weekly digest - 2019.38


Apple started shipping iPhone 11 & Apple Watch Series 5

Reviewers started getting their hands on newest versions of iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch.  Long story short, if you want an iPhone, then buy iPhone 11, the Pro version is for photo enthusiast, or people who prefer smaller, OLED screen.

The always-on display in Apple Watch Series 5 is a good step forward, but if you own Series 4 you are good for another year.

By the way, now we have confirmation that all new iPhones have at least 4GB of memory. There are reports that the Pro versions have additional 2GB of RAM dedicated to the camera.

iOS 13.(1)

Together with new iPhones, Apple released iOS 13. Federico Viticci wrote excellent review of new operating systems. Overall iOS 13 is a good step forward, but is has many bugs and issues, which might force Apple to release iOS 13.1 earlier than usual. If the rumors are true, iOS 13 will be the shortest living version of iOS ever.

Pixel 4 event

On October 15th, Google is going to host an event related with launch of Pixel 4. To be honest, I don't know why Google even bother to do this. It's not like we already know almost everything.


Image credits: Timothy Eberly

Weekly digest - 2019.37


This week Apple had their annual iPhone event. This is what have been announced.

iPhone 11

The successor of the iPhone XR looks following:

  • 6.1‑inch  Liquid Retina HD display (1792x828px),
  • Screen with Haptic Touch (no 3D Touch),
  • A13 Bionic CPU/GPU,
  • 4GB of RAM,
  • 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage,
  • Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide rear cameras,
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera recording at 120fps (slowfie),
  • Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos,
  • Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Gigabit-Class LTE,
  • 1h longer battery life than in iPhone XR.

iPhone 11 comes in Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red, White colors from $699 for the base model.

iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max

The successors of the iPhone XS look following:

  • 5.8‑inch  Super Retina XDR (OLED) display (2436x1125px) in Pro model,
  • 6.5‑inch  Super Retina XDR (OLED) display (2436x1125px) in Pro Max model,
  • Screen with Haptic Touch (no 3D Touch),
  • A13 Bionic CPU/GPU,
  • 4 or 6GB of RAM*,
  • 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage,
  • Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto rear cameras,
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera recording at 120fps (slowfie),
  • Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos,
  • Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Gigabit-Class LTE,
  • Pro has 4h longer battery life than in iPhone XS and Pro Max  5h longer than XS Max.

iPhone 11 Pro models come in Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver and Gold. iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max starts at $1,099.

(*) We don't have official specification from Apple. Available reports are contradicting each other. Quite possible that the amount of memory depends on amount of storage, like in iPad.

Apple Watch Series 5

Newest Apple Watch also got small upgrade:

  • Always-On Retina display,
  • new Apple 64-bit dual-core S5 chip,
  • 32 GB of storage,
  • Compass,
  • Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and ceramic material finishes,

Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 for 40mm model and $429 for 44mm version.

iPad

Apple has also announced the successor to the 9.7-inch iPad:

  • 10.2-Inch Retina Display,
  • A10 Fusion chip,
  • Support for Apple Pencil 2 and Smart Keyboard,

New iPad starts at just $329.

Apple TV+

Apple shared more details about their upcoming streaming service:

  • It's launching on November 1st,
  • Monthly subscription will  cost $4.99,
  • Apple also offers 1 year of free subscription with purchase of Mac, iPad, iPhone or Apple TV.

Image credits: Apple

Weekly digest - 2019.36


Sleep tracking in Apple Watch

New rumors surfaced about sleep tracking in Apple Watch. According to anonymous sources, Apple Watch will allow to track sleep quality without any additional hardware, which means this might be only a software update which would track :

  • user's movement,
  • heart rate,
  • noises

Tracked data should be accessible via Health app.

Smart Watch bands

Patently Apple noticed that Apple has been granted new patents for watch bands and bracelets. In the future Apple could create following Watch accessories:

  • band with biometric authentication sensor,
  • band with visual indicators,
  • self-tightening band.

Apple already has couple of patents for watch bands and we still haven't seen any smart one, so Apple is probably just trying to be ahead of competition in terms of patents, rather than trying to start production of a new product.

Apple Music on the Web

Apple launched a brand new Apple Music web player, which is currently in a beta state. Service itself looks and behaves like the Music app from macOS Catalina, so even the Windows or Linux users will be able to use Apple Music on their computers. For me, lack of lightweight client for Apple Music on Windows and Linux was the biggest blocker keeping me from switching from Spotify. I will wait a little bit to see how it will turn out. Then I will evaluate what both streaming services have to offer and maybe I will do the switch.

USB 4 standard finalized

The USB Implementers Forum has announced thatUSB 4 standard is finalized and ready for wide deployment. Here is  tl;dr version:

  • up to 40Gbps data throughput,
  • up to 100W power delivery,
  • backwards compatibility with earlier USB standards, including USB 3.2 and USB 2.0, as well as Thunderbolt 3,
  • will use USB Type-C connector.

Hopefully this will convince manufacturers to produce more accessories with USB-C connector.

Multiplayer in Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red confirmed that multiplayer in Cyberpunk 2077 left the stage of R&D and is officially coming to the game. As the multiplayer is still under early development, it will come later to the game. Next April we will get single player campaign, then couple of (free) DLCs, and after that, there will be multiplayer beta.

I'm curious how company known for single player masterpieces will tackle the multiplayer mechanics.


Image credits: Apple