Weekly Digest - 2020.06


Faking trafic jam on Google Maps

Google Maps monitors traffic data using various sources, including phones with location services turned on.  Sam Wecker tricked Google Maps and created virtual traffic jam by walking through empty streets of Berlin with 99 second-hand phones loaded on a small wagon.

Google is aware of this flaw and, in response to 9to5Google, stated that they liked the idea, and hope that it will somehow improve the service.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip leaked

A video showing upcoming Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip has been shared on Twitter. Phone itself looks more like a traditional flip phone that folds up into a compact device. There is not much information about this phone, but here is what we know so far based on the leaks:

  • It will have 6.1- inch foldable main screen,
  • Smaller screen on the back for clock & notifications,
  • Front facing camera built into the main screen,
  • Double camera system on the back.

The Galaxy Z Flip is expected to be revealed at Samsung's Unpacked event on February 11.

GeForce Now finally released

Nvidia's game streaming service -  GeForce Now - left the beta and is finally available for everyone. At the moment, players can choose one of two tiers:

Free

  • Play session is limited to 1 hour,
  • Raytracing is disabled.

Founders

  • Costs $4.99 a month,
  • Unlimited play time,
  • Priority access to servers,
  • Raytracing is available.

GeForce Now allows to play already purchased games from Steam, Uplay, and Epic Store. The list of compatible games is impressive.

At the moment, the client is available for Windows, macOS i Android, but Nvidia also plans to release the PWA version.

Microsoft forgot to renew a certificate, again

Microsoft Teams went down for nearly three hours after Microsoft forgot to renew a critical security certificate. Teams users couldn't sign into the service because the app was failing to establish an HTTPS connection to Microsoft’s servers.

This is not Microsoft's first incident with expired certificate. In 2013,  Microsoft Azure was not available for couple of hours.

AMD Powered macs?

New beta of macOS 10.15.4 Catalina continues to reference the AMD processors. Those references could mean one of couple of things:

  • Apple is just playing with AMD's hardware and there is nothing more to the story,
  • AMD's CPU and GPU will power rumored gaming computer,
  • Apple is going to replace Intel's chips with AMD ones in future iMacs and MacBooks.

Image credits: Google Maps

Weekly Digest - 2020.04


Photos of the Xbox Series X leaked online

Photos of the next-gen console has were posted on NeoGAF and Twitter. It’s unclear how legitimate those photos are, but if this they are, it's the first time we can see the console with all the ports:

  • HDMI Out,
  • 1x front USB Type-A port,
  • 2x rear USB Type-A ports,
  • Ethernet port,
  • Optical port
  • Diagnostic port

Microsoft has not commented on the leak, so we will have to wait, probably till E3 2020, for official news.

iPhone 12 in new sizes?

According to report from Macotakara, this year iPhones will have new dimensions:

  • 5.4-inch model will have a height that is midway between the iPhone SE and iPhone 8,
  • 6.1-inch model will be midway between the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max,
  • 6.7-inch model will be slightly taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.  Also, it will be thinner, 7.4mm instead of 8.1mm.

Disney+ in Western Europe

Disney announced that its streaming service, Disney+, will launch in Europe on March 24th.  It will be available in selected countries:

  • Ireland,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • Italy,
  • Spain,
  • Austria,
  • Switzerland,
  • United Kingdom.

Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland will get access this summer. Unfortunately, Eastern Europe will have to wait till the first half of 2021.

Google I/O 2020 announced

Google revealed that its annual developer conference will take place from May 12th to May 14th. The conference dates were reveled through a puzzle game.

It's still unclear what Google is going to announce during the conference, but the preview of a new Android is a safe bet.


Image credits: NeoGAF

Weekly digest - 2019.44


AirPods Pro

Apple has officially announced the noice cancelling AirPods.  Here is quick specification:

  • All new design
  • Powered by H1 chip,
  • Active Noise Cancellation,
  • Transparency mode which allows to hear the surroundings,
  • Customizable fit and seal with silicon tips in 3 sizes,
  • The Ear Tip Fit Test allows to check whether we use the best tip for our ear,
  • Sweat and water resistant,
  • Smaller charging  case which can be charged either wirelessly (Qi charging) or using Lightning cable,
  • Up to 4.5 hours of listening time,
  • Up to 5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode,
  • Up to 3.5 hours of talk time,
  • In total, about 24 hours of battery life with charging case.

AirPods Pro will be available from October 30th, starting at $249.

iOS 13.2

Together with AirPods Pro, Apple has released iOS 13.2. Here is what's new:

  • Support for AirPods Pro,
  • 70 new & updated emojis,
  • iPhone 11 and 11 Pro gets new camera feature - Deep Fusion, which improvs indoor photos and photos taken in medium lighting,
  • New privacy option that allows to share Siri and dictation recordings with Apple,
  • Siri can now read received message when using AirPods or PowerBeats Pro,
  • App can be deleted right from context menu after long pressing the app's icon,
  • HomeKit allows to watch and store video streams from security cameras.

Newest iOS is also a source of information about newAir products:

16' MacBook Pro saga continues

Last week, we were anticipating imminent release of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. This week report from Ming-Chi Kuo keep us in check.  According to him, the new model will be release in mid 2020.

I still think new MacBook Pro will be released together with Mac Pro, which will come this fall. Beside that, new information about the laptop has been found in macOS 10.15 Beta and it looks like the laptop is ready for production. Unless Apple is waiting for parts, like new Intel processors 🤨

Apple TV+

On November 1st, Apple launched their TV streaming service - Apple TV+. It costs $5 per month, but if you recently bought an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac you will get 1 year subscription for free.

Fortunately for me, I'm in this group and I signed up for this 1 year promotion 😬 Unfortunately, Apple TV+ is lacking content. At the moment, we can only watch couple episodes from 7 series in total. We will see how Apple is going to keep customers on their platform, but so far, in terms of content, it doesn't look good. Especially if we compare it to Disney+.

Google buys Fitbit

Google has just announced that it's buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion.  The deal is similar to the accusation of Nest and Fitbit will become one of the companies under Alphabet umbrella.

I'm wondering whether Fitbit will stay in the market of smart-bands or they will try to compete with Apple with smartwatches. Right now, Apple is dominating this market, so it will be good to see some strong competition. Such competition might not be good for Apple or Google, but it definitely would be good for end customers.

Star Wars news

Last week we got The Rise of Skywalker trailer, this week we got trailer for The Mandalorian. Beside good news there are also the bad one. Because of tight schedule (at least officially), Game of Thrones showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, are no longer working on new Star Wars trilogy. This is a bummer, new trilogy was rumored to be set during the Old Republic times. But not all is lost. Maybe involvement of Kevin Feige in Star Wars franchise is reaction to GoT showrunners' departure.

Beside all of that, the Jedi: Fallen Order is coming in couple of weeks, and EA has already released the launch trailer.


Image credits: Apple

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