Weekly Digest - 2021.16


Apple Spring Event

Apple held an online Spring Event and announced a couple of new products.

Purple iPhone 12

Apple added a new purple color option to the iPhone 12 lineup. There is nothing special about the phones themselves, they are just purple.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4k has been refreshed with the A12 Bionic chip. It should be more than enough to play 4K movies or play simple games. The new chip is a nice upgrade, but the biggest change was a new Siri remote. Apple has ditched the previous design with the trackpad. Now, we have good old  click wheel and the power button for a TV. It is good to see that Apple is abandoning bad designs and go back to things that people loved.

AirTags

Afters years of rumors, Apple finally  showed the AirTags. The AirTag is a tracking tile. You put it on something and you can locate it using the Find My app. It is not a GPS tracker, and it cannot be used for live tracking people or objects, but it allows to locate a lost items.

The AirTag uses BLE to communicate with surrounding iPhones to sent tag's approximated location to the tag's owner. If someone finds an AirTag, they can contact the owner using Find My app or by using the NFC. AirTags will also alert other people if the tag seems to follow them.

I almost forgot, but AirTag has a replaceable battery, that should last for a year.

The biggest surprise is a price. Everyone expected it to be around $50, but Apple is selling them for $29 for 1-pack or $99 for a 4-pack.

iMacs

The iMac lineup has been finally refreshed. It not only got the new M1 chip, but also has been redesigned. Now, iMac is much thiner and comes in different colors. I have mixed feelings about the front of the computer, but Apple thinks this is what people want. Another big change affected the ports. iMac has only 2 or 4 (depending on the configuration) USB-C ports. The ethernet port has been moved to the power brick. Speaking of the power brick, it connects to the iMac with braided MagSafe cable. Yup, you read it right the MagSafe is back! Or rather it has been introduced to the desktop computers.

There is no iMac Pro, but it probably will be introduced together with MacBook Pro later this year.

iPad Pro

The new iPad Pro is a beast: Apple put the fricking M1 chip from Macs inside the tablet. But that's not all. The 12.9-inch version has a mini-LED display. All versions up to 2TB of storage, have the Thunderbolt connector. The cellular model supports 5G. Of course the cameras have been updated. And usually I don't really care about cameras, but the new iPad has a feature called Center Stage that can automatically follow a person or adjust itself to present all talking people during a video call.

The pricing starts from $799 for 11-inch model, and $1099 for 12.9-inch model.

SpaceX Crew-2 mission

Space X has launched second operational Crew Dragon with 4 astronauts on board. This was the 3rd SpaceX crew mission that transported people to the International Space Station. This also is the first crew mission with parts used in previous missions. The Dragon capsule was used in Crew Demo mission, and rocket booster was used in Crew-1 mission.

The astronauts will stay on ISS for about a month a go back to Earth. The next mission is the Inspiration4 and is planned for September. And this will be the first mission with all-civilian crew.


Image credits: Apple

Weekly Digest - 2021.15


Apple Event

Apple sent invitations to an online Spring Event. This event supposed to be in March, but better late than never. Here is what we expect to see:

  • new iPads Pro,
  • new iMacs ,
  • new AirPods,
  • AirTags,

Whether any of those expectations will be fulfilled we will find out on April 20th.

LG to manufacture Apple Car?

Last week LG announced departure from making mobile phones, to focus on other areas like manufacturing parts to vehicles. This week we have rumors that LG together with Magna is very close to win Apple's Electric Car contract. What's interesting, the contract is about small volume of  vehicles for testing purposes. Which means we might see couple of Apple Cars before we see the final product.


Image credits: Apple

Weekly Digest - 2021.11


Apple rumors

This week was full of mac related rumors. Let's start from Apple Silicon iMac. A developer has discovered an unreleased ARM-based iMac in an Xcode crash log for his macOS app. That means, the new iMacs are coming soon.

Next is iPad. The new iPad Pros should be released in April. The new tablets are a continuation of current lineup, with a few new features:

  • A mini-LED display (at least in 12.9-inch version),
  • A14X processor, similar to M1 silicon,
  • Thunderbolt connection,
  • and of course better cameras.

Xcode attacked!

Security researchers discovered a trojan, called XcodeSpy, which compromises Developers’ Macs with a trojanized Xcode project. Once activate, malware has access to microphone, camera, keyboard, and also can upload/download files.

What's even worse, it is super easy to get affected by this trojan. All you have to do is download and build infected Xcode project. The project contains obfuscated script that is added as a one of built steps of the project. So be careful when you running 3rd-party projects on your machines.


Image credits: Johannes Plenio

Weekly Digest - 2020.50


Cyberpunk 2077 released

CD Project Red, after 9 years of development, finally released the Cyberpunk 2077. First reviews are very positive. CDP Red once again delivered very solid game, although it is far from being perfect. The game is hunted by many little bugs. Bugs are not  unexpected as the game is huge, but they make the  experience less pleasant.  Overall it looks like Cyberpunk is solid game and it somehow met the expectations.

Starship launch

Space X has performed a test flight of the Starship. The launch was verifying following scenario:

  1. ✅ Launch Starship,
  2. ✅ Achieve altitude of 12.5 KM,
  3. ✅ Shutdown engines and rotate rocket on it's belly,
  4. ✅  Fall free,
  5. ✅ Turn on engines and rotate the rocket to the vertical position,
  6. ❌ Land on the ground.

The test  ran perfectly until the landing. The pressure in fuel cells was too low, which resulted in higher touch down speed than anticipated, which ultimately caused an explosion.

Despite the fact, that Starship is gone, the test was successful.

AirPods Max

Apple announce AirPods Max - the over-ear noise-canceling headphones. Here are selected features:

  • Active Noise Cancellation,
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking,
  • Audio Sharing,
  • Digital Crown for controlling volume and playback,
  • Magnetic ear cups,
  • Apple H1 chip, in each ear cup, for fast connecting with Apple devices and device switching,
  • Sensors in each cup can detect whether they are placed on a user’s head and pause playback when removed,
  • Bluetooth 5 compatible,
  • 20h of battery life,
  • Come in five colors: space gray, silver, sky blue, green, and pink.

AirPods Max  will be available from December 15th for $549.

New ARM macs in 2021

According to latest rumors, Apple is working on new 32-core chip, that will be shipped with upcoming iMacs and 16-inch MacBook Pros. Looking at performance of the current M1 chip, it is something worth waiting for.

Apple Fitness+

Apple also announced that Fitness+ will launch on December 14th. The workout service will be available only in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US  for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

Disney plans

Disney have unveiled their plans for the foreseeable future.

Star Wars:

  • Star Wars: Andor (TV); 2022,
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV); 2022,
  • Ahsoka (TV),
  • Rangers of the New Republic (TV),
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch (TV),
  • The Acolyte (TV),
  • Star Wars: Lando (TV),
  • Droid Story (TV),
  • Star Wars: Visions (TV),
  • Rogue Squadron (Movie); 12.2023,
  • Untitled Taika Waititi Film; 12.2025.

Marvel:

  • WandaVision (TV); 15.01.2021,
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV); 03.2020,
  • Loki (TV); 05.2021,
  • Hawkeye; 2021,
  • She-Hulk (TV),
  • Ironheart (TV),
  • What-if? (TV),
  • Moon Knight (TV),
  • Miss Marvel (TV),
  • Secret Invasion (TV),
  • Armor Wars (TV),
  • Black Panther 2 (Movie), 07.2022,
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Movie),
  • Fantastic Four (Movie).

Image credits: Apple

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.