Weekly Digest - 2020.12


Xbox Series X First impressions

Austin Evans had a chance to look at the Xbox Series X. His video gave us not only a fist look at the console, but the official specifications as well:

  • Custom 8 core AMD Zen 2 CPU, clocked at 3.8GHz single thread, and up to 3.6GHz for sustained multithread load,
  • Custom AMD RDNA GPU, 12TFLOPS, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz,
  • 16GB (GDDR6) of RAM,
  • 1TB NVME SSD,
  • Expandable storage: 1TB expansion card,
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support,
  • 4K UHD Blue-Ray Drive,
  • Dimensions: 301 x 151 x 151mm.

Video also clarified the naming convention:

  • Xbox - is the name of the next generation of Microsoft consoles,
  • Xbox Series X - is the name of the console.

Beside Evans' video, Microsoft also published their own clips:

Playstation 5 Specification

Sony (via Digital Foundry) revealed the full specification of the next console:

  • Custom: 8-core AMD Zen 2 CUP clocked at 3.5GHz,
  • Custom AMD RDNA GPU, 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz ,
  • 16GB (GDDR6) of RAM,
  • 825GB SSD,
  • Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot,
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support,
  • 4K UHD Blue-Ray Drive.

Apple revealed new products

Due to coronavirus, Apple Spring event never happened and Apple just update their website/store with new hardware.

New MacBook Air

  • Display: 13.3-inch LED backlit (2560 x 1600px) with True Tone,
  • CPU:  from 10th generation 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 up to 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7,
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics, supports up to 1 external 6K display at 6016x3384px @60Hz,
  • RAM: 8GB base, 16GB maximum
  • Storage: 256GB base, 2TB maximum,
  • Battery:  up to 11 hours,
  • Camera: 720p FaceTime HD,
  • Keyboard: Magic keyboard with scissor mechanism 😁,
  • Ports: Two Thunderbolt 3,
  • Price: starting at $999.

New Mac mini

  • CPU:  from 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor up to 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7,
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630, supports up to 1 external 5K display at 5120x2880px @60Hz,
  • RAM: 8GB base, 64GB maximum
  • Storage: 256GB base, 2TB maximum,
  • Ports: Four Thunderbolt 3, Two USB 3 ports, HDMI 2.0 port Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet) 3.5 mm headphone jack,
  • Price: starting at $799.

New iPad Pro

  • Display: 11-inch (2388 x 1668) or 12.9-inch (2732 x 2048) 120 Hz Liquid Retina Display with TrueTone
  • CHIP: A12Z Bionic,
  • RAM: 6GB,
  • Storage: 128GB base, 1TB maximum,
  • Battery:  up to 10 hours,
  • Camera: 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera, 7MP depth camera,
  • Audio: 5 studio-quality microphones for calls, video recording, and audio recording,
  • Sensors: LiDAR Scanner (depth sensor),
  • Price: starting at $799 for 11'' model, and $999 for 12.9'' model.

Magic Keyboard for iPad

Apple also announced a new keyboard for iPad with Trackpad:

  • Full‑size, backlit keyboard with a scissor mechanism,
  • Trackpad supports Multi‑Touch gestures and the cursor in iPadOS 13.4+,
  • USB-C port for charging iPad Pro,
  • Compatible iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (3rd and 4th generation) & iPad Pro 11‑inch (1st and 2nd generation).

Image credits: Microsoft

Weekly Digest - 2020.09


Safari will reject HTTPS certificates with over 13 months validity

Apple has announced that from September 1, Safari will reject any website that uses HTTPS certificate with more than 398 days of validity. Certificates issued before September 1 will not be affected until the date of their next certificate renewal.

ARM Macs in 2021?

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, first ARM Mac could be ready for sale in first half of 2021. Apple is working on ARM Mac for couple of years now, as part of switching from Intel processors to custom silicon chip. New CPU will not only allow Apple to become independent from Intel, which has been an issue in the past. But also will introduce more efficient silicon, which might result in better performance or/and battery life.

More Xbox Series X details

Phil Spencer shared couple of new details about upcoming console:

  • Xbox is powered by chips based on  latest AMD’s  Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures enabling 12TFLOPS of computing power,
  • Support for Variable Rate Shading (VRS) - instead of rendering all effects at the same frame rate, VRS will allow developers to apply different refresh rate to each of the effects,
  • Hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing will allow to achieve even more realistic computer graphics,
  • Quick resume will allow to resume multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, thanks to fast SSD storage,
  • Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) will help to reduce lag between console and wireless controllers,
  • Support for 120FPS,
  • Support for HDMI 2.1.

Coronavirus affects tech conferences

Facebook announced that their annual developer conference - F8 - has been canceled due to coronavirus outbreak. F8 was scheduled to take place on May 5th and May 6th this year. Although, the conference will not take place, Facebook is planning to organize local and online events.

Also, Game Developer Conference (GDC), that was planned for this March,  has been postponed to this summer.

Weekly Digest - 2020.02


Cool tech at CES 2020

As always, the second week of January is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) week. I'm not going to cover in much details what has been shown, people on the site can do much better job. Instead, I've created a list of the most interesting gadgets & thing shown at CES 2020.

Mobile, portable & wearable devices

Laptops

Computers

TVs & Monitors

Headphones & speakers

Smart home devices

Cars & Vehicles

Weekly digest - 2019.46


16-inch MacBook Pro

It's finally here, and it is a beast! The brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro has been released.  Here is what's new:

2.6GHz 6-Core model:

  • 16-inch display (3072x1920px) 226 ppi,
  • New Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism,
  • Physical Esc key is back,
  • CPU:
    • 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz or
    • 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • GPU:
    • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory or
    • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory,
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 64GB,
  • 512GB SSD storage, configurable up to 8TB,
  • New 6-speaker sound system,
  • New thermal architecture.

2.3GHz 8-Core model:

  • 16-inch display (3072x1920px) 226 ppi,
  • New Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism,
  • Physical Esc key is back,
  • CPU:
    • 2.3GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz or
    • 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz
  • GPU:
    • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory or
    • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory,
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory, configurable up to 64GB,
  • 1TB SSD storage, configurable up to 8TB,
  • New 6-speaker sound system,
  • New thermal architecture.

All of this in almost unchanged form factor. The new MacBook Pro is ~2%  bigger, 0.5mm thicker and 170g heavier than 15-inch model,  but Apple managed to put bigger -  100Wh - battery which should allow for 11h of work.

All of this for the same price as for old 15-inch model. The base 2.6GHz 6-Core model starts at $2399. For the 2.3GHz 8-Core model  we have to pay $2799.

Disney+ launched

Disney+ launched in USA, Canada and Netherlands. On the first day new platform surpassed 10 million subscribes. This number is not surprising as Disney+ has massive portfolio of movies and TV shows, including very popular Marvel and Start Wars franchises.

Disney+ will be available in UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain on March 31st. There are rumors that Poland will be included in this group as well,  for about $8/month, which is similar to Netflix's monthly subscription.  


Image credits: Apple

Weekly digest - 2019.28


Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo has announced the Switch Lite. It is a new Switch that only supports handheld mode. Here is the list of changes in comparison to "standard" Switch:

  • smaller touchscreen (5.5-inch),
  • no detachable Joy-Con controllers,
  • cannot be connected to TV,
  • side buttons are replaced by real D-pad,
  • lack of HD Rumble and IR Motion Camera,
  • better battery life (~1h longer),

Nintendo Switch Lite launches on September 20 for $199.99 in three colors: yellow, grey, and turquoise.

Apple's new MacBook lineup

On Tuesday Apple completely revamped their notebook lineup. First of all, they stopped selling 12-inch MacBook. Macbook supposed to be replacement for MacBook Air, but it never became popular.  Smaller size and new keyboard weren't enough to steal users hearts.

Speaking of MacBook Air, the old non Retina version is also finally gone. Also, Apple has updated the new Retina version with True Tone display and they lowered the price from $1199 to $1099 ($999 for students).  

MacBook Pro lineup also is simpler. Apple stopped selling the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar. It means that all MacBooks Pro, not matter of size, now come with Touch Bar.

In addition to cleaning up the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lineup, Apple has lowered the cost of SSD options for all Mac, including the desktop ones. The price drop is especially visible in more high-end versions.

For example this is how the new prices, of SSD options, look like in comparison to old ones for 15-inch MacBook Pro:

Storage Price Before Price Now
256GB $0* $0*
512GB $200 $200
1TB $600 $400
2TB $1200 $800
4TB $3000 $1600

(*) Base model

Overall, this news was a completely surprise and the welcome one. It's not only a huge simplification of the MacBook lineup, but also a big change for the entire Mac lineup, as most of the Macs are now more affordable.

I hope Apple will continue this trend with other products.


Image credits: Nintendo