Weekly digest - 2019.31


MacBook Pro 16

Last week I was wondering whether new 16-inch MacBook Pro will have the same form factor as current 15-inch model. Based on the rumors from this week it seems so.  Here are the rumors surrounding  this laptop, we know so far:

  • 16-inch LED Retina display,
  • Resolution 3072×1920 px,
  • Same form factor (body size) as current 15-inch model,
  • New keyboard with scissor key switches,
  • Price starting around $3000,
  • Release date - October 2019.

The only thing we still don't know is the components (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage) spec, but I would assume it will be very similar to what we can see in current 15-inch models.


Image credits: 9to5mac

Weekly digest - 2019.24


E3 2019 Games

Here is the list of more interesting games presented during this year E3:

Next Generation Xbox

Next gen Xbox, called Project Scarlett, will debut fall next year. It has been designed by the Scorpio team and it looks like the Xbox One X was a foundation for a next console. This is what we know so far about the hardware:

  • Custom CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture,
  • Radeon RDNA GPU,
  • GDDR6 RAM,
  • SSD for storage,
  • Native 4K at 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS,
  • Support for 8K gaming,
  • Hardware accelerated ray tracing.

This is not much, but at least we know that next console will be available next year alongside PS5. 2020 will be a good year for gamers 😀

Google Stadia

Google has also announced more details about upcoming Stadia projekt:

  • Google Stadia will launch in November in 14 countries (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland),
  • At the launch it will support at least 31 games,
  • The Basic version will be available for free,
  • The Pro version will cost $9.99 per month,
  • At the beginning there will be also "Founder’s Edition", for $130, with limited controller, Chromecast Ultra and 3 months of Pro subscription,
  • Stadia is not primarily a subscription service. Although some games will be included in a subscription, we will have to buy games separately. That's why the Basic version is free.
  • It will require at least 10Mbps connection for 720p 60fps streaming with stereo audio,
  • For 4K streaming at 60fps with  5.1 surround sound we will need connection capable, at least, 35Mbps.

Google Stadia looks promising and I would love to try it. Unfortunately it will not be available in Poland, and looking at status of Google Store in Poland I might have to wait for a while 😔


Image credits: E3

Weekly digest - 2019.23


WWDC 2019 is over. Now, it's time to summarised the new things that have been announced.

iOS 13

As always we got a new version of the iOS. Last year, Apple focused on bug fixes and performance, this year we got a new features. Here is the list of the major changes coming this September:

  • Dark Mode,
  • Improved Photos and Camera apps,
  • Improved privacy and security,
  • Sign In with Apple,
  • New Maps app,
  • Improved voice of Siri powered by neural TTS (Text to Speech),
  • New Memoji and Memoji Stickers,
  • QuickPath - a new Swype keyboard,
  • New Reminders app,
  • Redesign CarPlay
  • Faster unlocking with FaceID  and faster app launches,

Those are the major changes. If you want to see what else have changed, check out this list or this video.

iPadOS

When new iPad Pros came out, people unanimously agreed that the raw power of the hardware was limited by the operating system. During WWDC, Apple acknowledge this problem, and addressed it by creating a new operating system - iPadOS. Although iPadOS is, right now, the iOS 13, Apple added some cool new features, which might be the first step into creating an iPad a true device that can replace a computer:

  • Slide Over and Split View,
  • Multiple instances of the same application,
  • App Exposé,
  • New Home Screen with widgets,
  • New Tool Palette for Apple Pencil,
  • Full-Page Markup allows to take screenshots of entire document or website,
  • Brand new text editing gestures,
  • Floating keyboard,
  • Sidecar allows to extend workspace by using an iPad as a second Mac display,
  • Redesigned Files App with support for external drives and file servers,
  • Mouses are now supported,
  • Safari on iPad is now a desktop class browser with download manager,
  • And it also contains all the changes introduced in iOS 13.

Those are only the major changes. The full list is available here.

This is huge release for iPad. Apple tackled most of the complaints people had after iPad Pro premiere.

macOS 10.15

Latest version of the mac operating system is named Catalina. Like the rest, it also comes with cool new features:

  • iTunes is gone and will be replaced by 3 separate applications for Music, Podcasts and TV,
  • Supported iPad applications can be run natively on macOS thanks to project Catalyst (formerly known as Marzipan),
  • Sidecar allows to extend workspace by using an iPad as a second Mac display,
  • ScreenTime is now also built into macOS,
  • FindMy combine functionality of Find My iPhone and Fid My Friends,
  • Approve with Apple Watch allows to authenticate or approve operations on the Mac from the Apple Watch,
  • Voice control  allows to control the Mac with voice commands,
  • Notes and reminders app has been redesigned,
  • macOS comes with ZSH as a default shell instead of Bash.

The full list of changes is available here.

watchOS 6

Changes made to watchOS as not as spectacular as for other systems, but they are definitely the nice step forward:

  • AppStore for watch allows to install apps independently from iPhone,
  • Activity Trends allows to track activity progress over time,
  • Cycle tracking is a new app dedicated for women,
  • Hearing health monitors the level of noise and alert a user when it's too loud,
  • And as always new watch faces, but still no custom ones 😢.

New Mac Pro

Apple has finally showed us the new Mac Pro. Apple listened to criticism and delivered truly powerful and modular computer. The top specification is mind-blowing:

  • 28-Core 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
  • 1.5TB of DDR4 ECC RAM,
  • 2 AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo cards with total of 128GB of memory,
  • 4TB SSD,
  • 1.4 KW PSU,
  • Eight PCI Express expansion slots,
  • Afterburner card for accelerating ProRes and ProRes RAW footage manipulation,
  • I/O card with 2 USB3 and 2 thunderbolt ports,
  • Two 10Gb Ethernet ports,
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0,
  • Built-in speaker and 3.5 mm headphone jack.

This computer is a beats. It's both luxurious and powerful at the same time. Unfortunately not many people will be able to afford this computer. Even the base model starts at $6000, so the maxed out version will be around $30k. Despite the price, I'm really glad to see that Apple listened and created both modular and powerful computer.

Pro Display XDR

Alongside with Mac Pro Apple also announced new Display. Here is the specification:

  • 32-inch display
  • Resolution: 6016 x 3384 pixels (6K)
  • Brightness: 1000 nits sustained, 1600 nits peak,
  • Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1,
  • Color: P3 wide color gamut, 10-bit depth for 1.073 billion colors,

This monitor, with both specification and pricing, is definitely dedicated for professionals. The version with standard glass costs $5999 and the version Nano-texture (antireflective) glass costs $6999. Both prices are only for the displays as the stand is not included in the box. The dedicated stand costs $999 and visa adapter "only" $199.

Lack of the stand caused a small outrage over the Internet. As I mentioned before, this monitor is dedicated for professionals and apparently selling products without obvious elements is a common practice 🙁


Image credits: Apple

Weekly digest - 2019.21


Huawei vs USA

Google has immediately suspended all operations with Huawei on May 19th. This means that Huawei will not be able to use Google's Android on their phones and Google Play services. For now, currently sold devices will be receiving security updates, but this might change in the short future. MKBHD has explained this in his video.

This whole situation is a result of the trade ban issued by US government on China. Google is just one of the several tech companies that suspended partnership with Huawei. Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx have stopped supplying Chinese company with new parts.

Huawei was one of the fastest growing tech companies in a world. Now, when they have no software and they are cut off from main suppliers, their future doesn't look that good.

MDS vulnerabilities

New procesor's vulnerabilities have been discovered. They are really bad. Both Intel and AMD processors are affected, but fixes hit mostly Intel processors. Intel losses even 5 times more performance than AMD. Phoronix run a set of benchmarks which shows about 15% performance drop on Intel processor, when AMD lost only 3%. What's even more interesting Google and Apple advise to disable Hyper-threading on Intel chips, which can cause even 40-50% performance drop.

New MacBook Pro

Apple has refreshed their MacBook Pro line. New computers can now get 9-gen of Intel's Core processors. The base model starts with a 2.6GHz, 6-core i7, which can turbo boost up to 4.5GHz. If  we need more performance, we can buy model with 8-core i9 chip with a 2.4GHz base speed, which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz. Apple also added more options for the GPUs. The base model has Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. As an option we can choose the Radeon Pro Vega 16 or 20, both with 4GB of HBM2 memory.

Also new MacBooks come with 3rd generation of the butterfly keyboard. Apple updated the materials used to create butterfly mechanism. According to Apple, those changes should solve the majority of the keyboard issues, but looking at this thread from iFixit employee, the reality might be disappointing.

Keyboard Service Program for MacBooks

Apple has not only updated the keyboards, but they also updated their keyboard repair program. All MacBooks with the butterfly mechanism  will now be fully eligible for Apple’s Keyboard Service Program. All repaired MacBooks will get newest, 3rd generation keyboard.


Image credits: Dice

Weekly digest - 2019.19


Google IO

Google held its annual conference this week. This year, nothing revolutionary announced,  it was rather a presentation of an evolution of the current products. You can watch a recap here. Here is the short list of more interesting news:

From all the thing that's been shown I'm most impressed by the Google Assistant. As I tweeted earlier this week, it is lightyears ahead of Bixby, Siri or even Alexa. I wish Apple care about Siri as much as Google does with Assistant.

PowerBeats Pro

Tech reviewers started getting their hands on the new Beats earbuds. First impressions are very positive. PowerBeats Pro are the best Beats ever, but they have two major issues. One is pricing and the second is ery big charging case. I have already accepted the price, but the case is humongous. It will definitely not fit to the pocket, so you either need a backpack/bag to carry it or leave it at home.

Windows Now Comes with Linux

Microsoft will ship a full Linux kernel in Windows 10. Although Microsoft added multiple Linux Bashes to Windows over the years, this is a big surprise.

New Microsoft Edge released as a preview

Microsoft has released a preview of their new browser powered with Chromium engine. Right now it is available only on macOS. I run a quick test with Tatooine.live. So far, this site worked properly only on Chrome, now it also works, without any issues, on Edge for Mac.

What's even more interesting, this is the first Microsoft's browser on the Mac since Safari replaced Internet Explorer over 15 years ago.

New Star Wars Movies

Disney has announced the release dates for its upcoming movies, including Star Wars. Right now, only new trilogy has been announced with following releases:

  • Part 1 - Christmas 2022
  • Part 2 - Christmas 2024
  • Part 3 - Christmas 2026

So, after Episode 9, there will be no Star Wars movies for 3 years. Hopefully the new TV shows will fill the gap. Right now, we know nothing about this trilogy, but we know about 2 potential projects:

No spinoff has been announced, which is disappointing, because I'm waiting for Kenobi movie.

Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer

Roughly two weeks after Avengers Endgame premiere, the new Spider-Man trailer hit the web. The trailer shows the aftermath of the events from the Endgame and it looks like it's opening the Multiverse  for the Phase 4.


Image credits: Gogole