Weekly digest - 2019.42


Pixel 4

Google announced, or I should say remembered us, the Pixel 4 and 4XL. Here is the spec:

  • 5.7-inch display (FHD+ resolution) in Pixel 4,
  • 6.3-inch display  (QHD+ resolution) in Pixel 4XL,
  • 90Hz screen's refresh rate,
  • Snapdragon 855  CPU,
  • 6GB of  RAM,
  • 64GB or 128GB of storage,
  • 12.2-megapixel rear camera,
  • 6-megapixel telephoto rear camera,
  • 2800mAh battery in Pixel 4 and 3700mAh in 4XL,
  • Face unlock and motion sense radar.

Both versions are available in "Just Black", "Clearly White" and "Oh so Orange" colors. Pixel 4 and 4 XL start at $799 and $899 respectively.

This year Google decided to focus on face and motion recognition. They removed fingerprint reader to equivalent of FaceID called "Face unlock". What's even more interesting, Google added Motion Sense radar that can detect movement around the phone. For example,  when sensors detect reaching hand, they can increase the brightness of always-on display, or silence the alarm clock. Also, user can also control the music using gestures.

iPhone SE2

Ming-Chi Kuo shared some new details regarding new iPhone SE:

  • planned to be released in Q1 2020,
  • pricing starting at $399,
  • form factor similar to iPhone 8,
  • A13 CPU (same as iPhone 11)
  • 3GB of RAM,
  • 64GB and 128GB of storage,
  • Space Gray, Silver and Red color options.

For the first time, we have some information about the design, and the iPhone 8 size became very controversial topic. Although I like the size of iPhone 8, I'm wondering why would Apple release a new phone, with the same size, when they still selling iPhone 8?


Image credits: Google

Weekly digest - 2019.39


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 - 2019.24


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