Weekly Digest - 2020.32


Samsung Unpacked

This week Samsung held the Unpacked event and unveiled couple of new devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note  20 & Note 20 Ultra

New flagships have been announced and this is how they look like:

  • 6,7” (2400 x 1080 px) Super AMOLED in Note 20
  • 6,9” (3200 x 1440 px) Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120 Hz in Note 20 Ultra
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus CPU
  • 8GB or 12GB of RAM,
  • 256 or 512 GB of storage
  • Hole-punch 10 Mpix selfie camera,
  • Tripple rear camera
  • 12 Mpix + 64 Mpix (telefoto) + 12 Mpix (ultrawide) in Note 20
  • 108 Mpix + 12 Mpix (telefoto) + 12 Mpix (ultrawide)  in Note 20 Ultra
  • Fingerprint sensor built into the screen,
  • Dual SIM: SIM + eSIM
  • 5G capabilities
  • 4300 mAh battery in Note 20 & 4500 mAh battery in Note 20 Ultra,
  • Phones will be available in August starting  at $999.99.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung still pursues the fold concept and announced the successor to famous Galaxy Fold phone.  The biggest change a full-size 6.2-inch screen that covers the entire front of the phone. This is really huge improvement  from is tiny external display that Galaxy Fold had. The main display is also bigger, at 7.6 inches and runs up to 120Hz. Also, the screen  doesn't have huge notch for camera, instead there is  a small hole-punch camera that takes up far less space. Internals of the device also have been upgraded and Z Fold 2 is powered by Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. Unfortunately we still don't know pricing or a release date.

Galaxy Watch 3

Samsungs also announced a new Watch, that has a heart-monitoring electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which has been cleared by the FDA similar to Apple Watch. It will be available for purchase starting on August 6th from $399.99.

Big companies fight Apple's AppStore policies

It looks like, Apple is under heavy fire not only from indie developers, but big tech giants as well. All rally agains Apple's AppStore policies.

Microsoft, after announcement that xCloud wouldn't be coming to iOS, fired back at Apple accusing them of treating gaming apps unfairly compared to other apps.

Facebook launched gaming app on iOS, but it doesn't have any games. All thanks to an App Store policy which bans streaming gaming services.

It doesn't look very good for Apple, especially when AppStore Policies are under investigation regarding antitrust concerns and anti-competitive behavior.

Apple updated iMacs

Apple updated the iMac lineup. The biggest change is Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake processors. The most awaited change is 1080p HD webcam, hopefully this upgrade will be introduced in other macs. Also,  SSDs are now standard across the line.

Also, iMac Pro has been refreshed. Now, the base model has the 10-core 3.0 GHz Xeon W chip that was previously an upgrade option.

Weekly Digest - 2020.09


Safari will reject HTTPS certificates with over 13 months validity

Apple has announced that from September 1, Safari will reject any website that uses HTTPS certificate with more than 398 days of validity. Certificates issued before September 1 will not be affected until the date of their next certificate renewal.

ARM Macs in 2021?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, first ARM Mac could be ready for sale in first half of 2021. Apple is working on ARM Mac for couple of years now, as part of switching from Intel processors to custom silicon chip. New CPU will not only allow Apple to become independent from Intel, which has been an issue in the past. But also will introduce more efficient silicon, which might result in better performance or/and battery life.

More Xbox Series X details

Phil Spencer shared couple of new details about upcoming console:

  • Xbox is powered by chips based on  latest AMD’s  Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures enabling 12TFLOPS of computing power,
  • Support for Variable Rate Shading (VRS) - instead of rendering all effects at the same frame rate, VRS will allow developers to apply different refresh rate to each of the effects,
  • Hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing will allow to achieve even more realistic computer graphics,
  • Quick resume will allow to resume multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, thanks to fast SSD storage,
  • Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) will help to reduce lag between console and wireless controllers,
  • Support for 120FPS,
  • Support for HDMI 2.1.

Coronavirus affects tech conferences

Facebook announced that their annual developer conference - F8 - has been canceled due to coronavirus outbreak. F8 was scheduled to take place on May 5th and May 6th this year. Although, the conference will not take place, Facebook is planning to organize local and online events.

Also, Game Developer Conference (GDC), that was planned for this March,  has been postponed to this summer.

Weekly digest - 2019.22


Deepfakes becomes real

Researchers from Samsung’s AI Center have figured out a method to train the AI to animate a person's face from an extremely limited dataset, like a single photo. They achieved this by training algorithm for detecting facial features and face landmarks, like shape of the face, eyes, mouth shape, etc. They used 7,000 images of celebrities gathered from VoxCeleb to train the model and achieve realistic results.

What they achieve is really impressive and scary at the same time. I'm afraid that soon we will have problem to tell the difference between what's real and what's fake.

Facebook & cryptocurrency

According to BBC, Facebook plans to launch its own cryptocurrency in 2020. New digital currency, named GlobalCoin, will be launched in 12 countries and it suppose to make money transfers easier for Instagram and WhatsApp users.

This is an interesting approach, and it's completely different from Apple's "traditional banking" route. I'm curious how it will be adopted by users. Maybe, finally, the cryptocurrency money transfers will become widely used.

iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 rumors

One week before WWDC, Guilherme Rambo revealed screenshots of some upcoming iOS 13 features. So far, the following changes will released with new operating system:

  • Dark mode,
  • New toolbar for screenshots editor,
  • Redesigned Reminders app,
  • Find my iPhone and Find my Friends apps are united into one app called Find My.

On the macOS side, we got screenshot of new Music and TV apps.

Those features align with previous rumors about iOS 13 and macOS 10.15, so there is high chance that we will see the rest of anticipated features on Monday.

New iPod Touch

Apple has quietly updated the iPod Touch with new A10 Fusion chip. Beside new CPU, iPod got new version with  256GB of storage. And that's it. This update is strange as Apple didn't even use latest generation of  A11 or A12 chips.

I'm surprised that Apple even bothered to upgrade iPod Touch, but apparently  they are convinced that users need more performance. Maybe they think that people will use iPods to play games, for example from Apple Arcade. Well, iPod Touch, with starting price at $199, is definitely chipper than the iPhone, so they might be people who like mobile games, but cannot afford a new iPhone. In that case, iPod Touch is reasonable choice.


Image credits: Egor Zakharov