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.

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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

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Microsoft's Surface event

Here’s a quick recap of everything Microsoft announced this week.

Surface Laptop 3

Refreshed Surface Laptop lineup got USB-C and, for the first time, an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Additionally, the device now comes not only with 13.5-inch screen, but with 15-inch version as well.

The Surface Laptop 3 starts at $999 for the 13.5-inch version and $1,199 for the bigger one.

Surface Pro 7

Beside newer processor and support for USB-C there is nothing new. Although, Microsoft has slashed the price by $150, and new model starts at $749.

Surface Pro X

This is a brand new model in Surface Pro lineup. It is slightly bigger with 13-inch screen, but it is 3mm thiner than Surface Pro 7. It has ARM-based Microsoft SQ1 chip and swappable SSD storage.

The Surface Pro X starts at $999.

Surface Neo

Surface Neo is dual-screen PC, powered by Intel's Lakefield processor. Each screen is about 9-inches and both add up to a 13.1-inch total display size. New device comes with a USB-C port and supports the Surface Pen,

The most interesting part is a keyboard that folds over one of the screens. When you dock the hardware keyboard, Neo recognises that, and the part that is not covered by keyboard becomes a smart input area. Microsoft is calling it the Wonderbar.

All of that is possible because Surface Neo is running a special version of Windows called Windows 10X.

Surface Neo will be available in 2020.

Surface Duo

Surface Duo is dual-screen phone that runs Android. Each screen is 5.6-inches and both add up to a 8-inch total display size. All of that is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip.

Surface Duo will be available holiday 2020

Surface Earbuds

Microsoft announced a new pair of wireless Surface Earbuds that supports voice commands. They work with all the major virtual assistants:  Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana and Bixby. They can also translate speech in real time into around 60 languages.

The Surface Earbuds will be available later this year for $249.


Image credits: Microsoft

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Apple rolls out Apple Card

On Tuesday Apple started rolling out its Apple Card to selected users.  The new credit card is available to limited group people who signed up on Apple's website to be notified about the card. The rest of the users will get access to their Apple Card  later this month. Alongside the card, Apple also released a series of videos explaining how to set up and use the Apple Card.

New details about Disney+

Finally we learned the price of the new service. The basic trier of Disney+ will cost  $6.99 per month. Disney also announced the bundle option with: Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month. This is quite compelling option fo US users because all those services bought separately would cost about $18.

The price seems to be reasonable. Hopefully when Disney+ comes to Europe, in 2021, the price will be on similar rate.

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