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 - 2020.03


Samsung Galaxy S20

XDA Developers leaked the photos of the successor to Samsung's flagship phone - Galaxy S10. What's interesting, Samsung is not going to just increment the number to S11, instead they are going to jump ahead to S20. Probably Samsung is naming is based on current year.  Other visible differences are:

  • front facing camera cutout is closer to the center of screen,
  • rear camera has 4 lenses:  regular wide, an ultra-wide, portrait, and a macro,
  • body is less curved.

For the rest of the spec, we'll have to wait until February 11th.

New iPhones and iPads with faster 5G

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, this year iPhone will support both sub-6GHz 5G (slightly faster than LTE) and faster mmWave 5G (closer to WiFi transfers). Previous reports suggested only the the former, so this week rumor is a nice surprise. Of corse, it is possible that faster 5G will be available only in selected models of iPhone.  That would line up with  last week rumors,  that new iPhones might have staggered rollout.

Also, according to DigiTimes, upcoming iPads will get faster 5G as well.  Although, this feature might be limited only to iPad Pro lineup.

New MacBooks coming soon

Apple has register portable and unreleased Mac in Eurasian Economic Commission database. Common sense indicates that might be new 13-inch, or maybe even 14-inch, MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard. Regardless, of the screen size, new Mac will be released within couple of weeks.

Windows 7 is dead

After 11 years, Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows 7. Although, users should not get any bug fixes or feature updates, Windows 7 will share the fate of Windows XP, and Microsoft will be releasing critical security updates for couple more years.

New Microsoft Edge is out

Microsoft has finally released the stable version of the Edge browser based on the Google's Chromium web browser project. New Microsoft Edge is available on both Windows and macOS.

Cyberpunk 2077 delayed

Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed by 5 months.  In the special statement,  CD Project Red (CDPR) announced that the released date has been moved to September 17th.

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated games of this year, and it is not a surprise, that CDPR want to polish the game and release the best game possible. CDPR did similar move with Witcher 3, which also was delayed for 3 months and turned it to be one of the best RPGs ever. So, there is nothing to worry about, all we need to do is be patient.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch Escape Demonstration

On Sunday, SpaceX performed the final test of the Crew Dragon. The goal of this mission was to verify the escape mechanisms of the Crew Dragon capsule.

Less than one and half minute after Falcon's 9 launch, Crew Dragon separated from the booster. Seconds later rocket itself was destroyed. Meanwhile, Crew Dragon achieved safe distance and parachuted in the ocean.

The test looked to be successful. If the telemetry confirms that, it means that SpaceX will be in the home stretch to send first astronauts into space.


Image credits: XDA Developers

Weekly Digest - 2020.01


Apple Gaming Computer

According to Taiwan's Economic Daily News Apple is going to announce a gaming computer during this year WWDC. The report claims that new machine may be a a laptop or all-in-one desktop with a price tag of up to $5,000. So basically it could be a new MacBook or an iMac.

This rumor is so sketchy on so many levels. First of all Apple, just released a brand new, large-screen, laptop that is arguably gaming capable. Second, both iMac and iMac Pro are long overdue for an update, so they might get a hardware upgrade around WWDC. Also, iMac Pro is VR capable, so, without a doubt, newer hardware will be more powerful.

Beside that, Apple is focusing on Apple Arcade, which has small Indie games. Those, compering to AAA titles, are not that demanding, and most of today's computers could run them easily.

So as you can see, I take this rumor with a grain of salt. But in every rumor there is a little bit of truth, and I believe we might get updated iMacs. But the updates will be related more with VR than traditional gaming.

Emoji engravings on AirPods

Since last year, customers could engrave their AirPods with custom text. This year Apple extended this option with emojis. Unfortunately the number of emojis is very limited, but it includes the most popular ones:  smiling face, thumb up, heart, dog, alien, and even poop.

This feature is very silly, but I have to admit that those emojis look pretty dope on the charging case.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite

Samsung announced the budget versions of 2019 flagships. They offer some the of premium features at more affordable price points, which at the moment are still unknown.

Here are the specs:

Galaxy S10 Lite

  • 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display (2400 × 1080),
  • CPU: Snapdragon 855,
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM,
  • 32-megapixel f/2.2 front camera,
  • Tripple lens rear camera:
    • 5-megapixel f/2.4 macro lens,
    • 48-megapixel F2.0 wide-angle lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide with a 123-degree angle lens,
  • 128GB of storage,
  • 4,500mAh battery.

Note 10 Lite

  • 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display (2400 × 1080),
  • CPU: Samsung’s Exynos 8895,,
  • 6GB or 8GB of RAM,
  • 32-megapixel f/2.2 front camera,
  • Tripple lens rear camera:
    • 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/1.7 wide-angle lens,
    • 12-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens,
  • 128GB of storage,
  • 4,500mAh battery,
  • SPen for hand writing and controlling the phone.

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 - 2019.44


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