Weekly digest - 2019.50


Mac Pro

Mac Pro is finally here. The base configuration has:

  • 8-Core 3.5GHz Intel Xeon W with Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
  • 32GB of DDR4 ECC RAM,
  • AMD Radeon Pro Vega 580X with 8GB GDDR5 memory
  • 256GB SSD,
  • 1.4 KW PSU,
  • Eight PCI Express expansion slots,
  • 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.

The base model cost "only" $5999. The top specification looks like this:

  • 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,
  • 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.

It is mind-blowing, and costs $52199.

Also, we can buy steel frame with wheels for additional $400. So far first impressions are positive, so it looks like Pro focused Apple is back.

Xbox Series X

During Game Awards Show, Microsoft has unveiled the name and design of the upcoming Xbox called Xbox Series X. The console itself looks more like a PC than we’ve seen from previous Xbox consoles, but I really like this design. What's important, it can be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations, which was not the case with original Xbox one. There is no more details about the hardware inside the console, but we know it will have:

  • 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.

For the first time we also get a first glance at the new gamepad. To my relief, it has not been changed that much, but there is couple of improvements. It’s slightly smaller than current one.  Also, there is new, PS4 style, Share button, for uploading screenshots and video clips. The D-pad has also been redesigned, instead of cross shape, it has circle one, like in the Elite controller.

Regarding the name. At the first sight, it is awful, but there might be more to it than meets the eye. The name might suggest, to average consumer, this is continuation to Xbox One X lineup and all the games will we compatible (which has been confirmed by Microsoft). Or, which is more probable, Microsoft is going to release more than one next-gen console.

Game Awards 2019

Here is the list of new trailers presented during the show:


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

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 - 2019.37


This week Apple had their annual iPhone event. This is what have been announced.

iPhone 11

The successor of the iPhone XR looks following:

  • 6.1‑inch  Liquid Retina HD display (1792x828px),
  • Screen with Haptic Touch (no 3D Touch),
  • A13 Bionic CPU/GPU,
  • 4GB of RAM,
  • 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage,
  • Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide rear cameras,
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera recording at 120fps (slowfie),
  • Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos,
  • Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Gigabit-Class LTE,
  • 1h longer battery life than in iPhone XR.

iPhone 11 comes in Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red, White colors from $699 for the base model.

iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max

The successors of the iPhone XS look following:

  • 5.8‑inch  Super Retina XDR (OLED) display (2436x1125px) in Pro model,
  • 6.5‑inch  Super Retina XDR (OLED) display (2436x1125px) in Pro Max model,
  • Screen with Haptic Touch (no 3D Touch),
  • A13 Bionic CPU/GPU,
  • 4 or 6GB of RAM*,
  • 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage,
  • Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto rear cameras,
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera recording at 120fps (slowfie),
  • Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos,
  • Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Gigabit-Class LTE,
  • Pro has 4h longer battery life than in iPhone XS and Pro Max  5h longer than XS Max.

iPhone 11 Pro models come in Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver and Gold. iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max starts at $1,099.

(*) We don't have official specification from Apple. Available reports are contradicting each other. Quite possible that the amount of memory depends on amount of storage, like in iPad.

Apple Watch Series 5

Newest Apple Watch also got small upgrade:

  • Always-On Retina display,
  • new Apple 64-bit dual-core S5 chip,
  • 32 GB of storage,
  • Compass,
  • Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and ceramic material finishes,

Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 for 40mm model and $429 for 44mm version.

iPad

Apple has also announced the successor to the 9.7-inch iPad:

  • 10.2-Inch Retina Display,
  • A10 Fusion chip,
  • Support for Apple Pencil 2 and Smart Keyboard,

New iPad starts at just $329.

Apple TV+

Apple shared more details about their upcoming streaming service:

  • It's launching on November 1st,
  • Monthly subscription will  cost $4.99,
  • Apple also offers 1 year of free subscription with purchase of Mac, iPad, iPhone or Apple TV.

Image credits: Apple