Weekly Digest - 2020.13


Apple's software updates

This week Apple has updated all their operating systems. Here is the list of the most prominent changes:

iOS 13.4

  • iCloud Folder Sharing,
  • Universal Purchase allows to purchase single copy of an app for all user's iPhones, iPods touch, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs,
  • Revamped toolbar in Mail app,
  • Third-party navigation apps are now supported by the CarPlay Dashboard,
  • 9 new Memoji and Animoji stickers.

iPadOS 13.4

  • Mouse and trackpad support,
  • Shared iPad feature is now available for enterprise users,
  • Also includes all changes from iOS 13.4.

macOS 10.15.4

  • iCloud Folder Sharing,
  • Universal Purchase allows to purchase single copy of an app for all user's iPhones, iPods touch, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs,
  • Time-synced lyrics for Apple Music, with ability to jump to part of a song by clicking a line in lyrics view,
  • New Parental options.

watchOS 6

  • In-app purchases are now available for ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ apps,
  • ECG app and Irregular heart rhythm notifications are now available in Chile, New Zealand and Turkey.

tvOS 13.4 & HomePod

  • General bug fixes and improvements.

Disney+ in Western Europe

Disney has launched their streaming service in United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria. Disney says that Disney+ will be available in France in April. Additional Western Europe countries, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal should get access this summer.

Weekly Digest - 2020.12


Xbox Series X First impressions

Austin Evans had a chance to look at the Xbox Series X. His video gave us not only a fist look at the console, but the official specifications as well:

  • Custom 8 core AMD Zen 2 CPU, clocked at 3.8GHz single thread, and up to 3.6GHz for sustained multithread load,
  • Custom AMD RDNA GPU, 12TFLOPS, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz,
  • 16GB (GDDR6) of RAM,
  • 1TB NVME SSD,
  • Expandable storage: 1TB expansion card,
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support,
  • 4K UHD Blue-Ray Drive,
  • Dimensions: 301 x 151 x 151mm.

Video also clarified the naming convention:

  • Xbox - is the name of the next generation of Microsoft consoles,
  • Xbox Series X - is the name of the console.

Beside Evans' video, Microsoft also published their own clips:

Playstation 5 Specification

Sony (via Digital Foundry) revealed the full specification of the next console:

  • Custom: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CUP clocked at 3.5GHz,
  • Custom AMD RDNA GPU, 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz ,
  • 16GB (GDDR6) of RAM,
  • 825GB SSD,
  • Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot,
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support,
  • 4K UHD Blue-Ray Drive.

Apple revealed new products

Due to coronavirus, Apple Spring event never happened and Apple just update their website/store with new hardware.

New MacBook Air

  • Display: 13.3-inch LED backlit (2560 x 1600px) with True Tone,
  • CPU:  from 10th generation 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 up to 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7,
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics, supports up to 1 external 6K display at 6016x3384px @60Hz,
  • RAM: 8GB base, 16GB maximum
  • Storage: 256GB base, 2TB maximum,
  • Battery:  up to 11 hours,
  • Camera: 720p FaceTime HD,
  • Keyboard: Magic keyboard with scissor mechanism 😁,
  • Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3,
  • Price: starting at $999.

New Mac mini

  • CPU:  from 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor up to 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7,
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630, supports up to 1 external 5K display at 5120x2880px @60Hz,
  • RAM: 8GB base, 64GB maximum
  • Storage: 256GB base, 2TB maximum,
  • Ports: Four Thunderbolt 3, Two USB 3 ports, HDMI 2.0 port Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet) 3.5 mm headphone jack,
  • Price: starting at $799.

New iPad Pro

  • Display: 11-inch (2388 x 1668) or 12.9-inch (2732 x 2048) 120 Hz Liquid Retina Display with TrueTone
  • CHIP: A12Z Bionic,
  • RAM: 6GB,
  • Storage: 128GB base, 1TB maximum,
  • Battery:  up to 10 hours,
  • Camera: 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera, 7MP depth camera,
  • Audio: 5 studio-quality microphones for calls, video recording, and audio recording,
  • Sensors: LiDAR Scanner (depth sensor),
  • Price: starting at $799 for 11'' model, and $999 for 12.9'' model.

Magic Keyboard for iPad

Apple also announced a new keyboard for iPad with Trackpad:

  • Full‑size, backlit keyboard with a scissor mechanism,
  • Trackpad supports Multi‑Touch gestures and the cursor in iPadOS 13.4+,
  • USB-C port for charging iPad Pro,
  • Compatible iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (3rd and 4th generation) & iPad Pro 11‑inch (1st and 2nd generation).

Image credits: Microsoft

Weekly Digest - 2020.08


Apple Event at the end of March?

According to German site iPhone-ticker.de, Apple is going to hold a Media Event on March 31st. At this event Apple is supposed to unveil iPhone SE2 (iPhone 9), new iPad Pro and AirTag.

Windows 10 icons redesigned

Microsoft has started rolling out new colorful app icons in Windows 10. New Icons are part of the Fluent Design that Microsoft has been working for years now.  So far Mail and Calendar apps has been updated; rest of the core apps will be refreshed over upcoming months.

Android 11 Preview

Google has released first developer preview of the Android 11. At the moment preview is available only for selected Pixel phones.

Android 11 offers new capabilities for developers, like enhancements for foldables and 5G, call-screening APIs, new media and camera capabilities, machine learning, and more.

Weekly Digest - 2020.07


Samsung Unpack

This week Samsung held its Unpacked event and presented new phones:

Samsung Galaxy S20 & S20+

The successors to S10 model have following specification:

  • 6.2-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display in S20,
  • 6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display in S20+,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 12GB of RAM,
  • 128GB of storage + microSD in S20,
  • 128 or 512 GB of storage + microSD in S20+,
  • 10MP Selfie camera,
  • Triple (12+64+12MP) rear camera system,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 4000mAh battery in S20 & 4500mAh in S20+.

Samsung Galaxy S20 starts at $999,  and S20+ starts at $1199. Both will be available on March 6th.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung also revealed the premium model in S20 lineup.

  • 6.9-inch 120Hz QHD+ OLED display,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 12GB or 16GB of RAM,
  • 128GB or 512GB of storage + microSD in S20+,
  • 40MP Selfie camera
  • Triple (108+48+12MP) rear camera system with additional depth camera,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 5000mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at $1399, and will be available on March 6th.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung presented another foldable phone -  Galaxy Z Flip,  but it's not a successor to Galaxy Fold. Here is the spec:

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED main display,
  • 1.1-inch Super AMOLED cover Display,
  • Snapdragon 855+ CPU,
  • 8GB of RAM,
  • 256GB of storage,
  • 10MP Selfie camera,
  • Dual 12MP rear camera system,
  • 3300mAh battery.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip costs $1,380 and launched on February 14th.

Xiaomi Mi 10

Despite of the Coronavirus outbreak in China, Xaomi managed to launch, at online-only event, the new flagship phones - Xiaomi Mi 10 & Mi 10Pro. Here is the spec of presented devices:

  • 6.67-inch 90Hz AMOLED display,
  • Snapdragon 865 CPU,
  • 8 or 12GB of RAM,
  • 128GB or 256GB of storage in Mi 10,
  • 256GB or 512 of storage in Mi 10 Pro,
  • 20MP Selfie camera
  • Quad (108+12+8+20MP) rear camera system in Mi 10,
  • Quad (108+12+2+2MP) rear camera system in Mi 10 Pro,
  • 5G compatible,
  • 4780mAh battery in Mi 10 & 4500mAh in Mi 10 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi 10 starts at ~$575 and will be available in China from February 14. Xiaomi Mi 10Pro  starts at ~$715 and will be available in China from February 18.

$450 production cost of PlayStation 5

According to Bloomberg manufacturing costs of the PlayStation 5 are around $450 per unit. The biggest reason for higher cost is limited supply and high prices of DRAM and NAND flash memories.


Image credits: Samsung

Weekly Digest - 2020.05


One connector to rule them all

EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly (540-40) in favor for rules that would establish a common charger standard for mobile devices. It has not been decided which connector is the chosen one, but proposed charging ports include Micro-USB, USB-C and the Lightning connector. Looking at the already wide adoption of the USB-C, it's rather safe to say that it will be chosen. Fortunately, we won't have to wait long for the decision, the European Commission should adopt new rules by July.

Apple wants to make SMS one-time codes safer

Apple's WebKit team published a proposal to change the format of SMS one-time passcodes. The idea is to make the two-factor authentication process more secure. The proposal describes two ideas to achieve that:

  1. SMS one-time passcodes would be associated with a URL. It would be achieved by simply adding the website's URL to the SMS itself,
  2. Standardized format of two-factor authentication SMS code would allow applications to detect passcodes; automatically extract them, and complete the login process without further user interaction.

Here is an example of such SMS message:

011970 is your Brain Archives authentication code.
@brainarchives․com #011970

So far Apple and Google have backed the proposal.

iOS 14 to support the same iPhones as iOS 13

According to French website iPhonesoft, iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones supported by iOS 13,  including:

  • iPhone 11,  11 Pro & 11 Pro Max,
  • iPhone XS & XS Max,
  • iPhone XR,
  • iPhone X,
  • iPhone 8 & 8 Plus,
  • iPhone 7 & 7 Plus,
  • iPhone 6S & 6S Plus,
  • iPhone SE,
  • iPod touch (7th generation).

As for the iPads, iPhonesoft informs that iOS14 will drop support for the iPad mini 4, and will support following devices:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro,
  • 11-inch iPad Pro,
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro,
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro,
  • iPad 7th, 6th & 5th   generation,
  • iPad mini (5th generation),
  • iPad Air (3rd generation).

iPad turned 10

This week is the 10th anniversary of the original iPad announcement. iPad supposed to become the "post PC" device that would replace personal computers. 10 years later, we know it hasn't done that yet, but current generation of iPads and iPadOS is closer than ever. Although, tablets hasn't become as popular as smartphones, iPad helped Apple take over this market.

Google's new business communicator

According to report from The Information Google is working on a new communicator for workplaces, that will combine the part of GSuite functionality, like Gmail Google Drive & Hangouts.


Image credits: Lucian Alexe