Weekly digest - 2019.49


Apple's Best of 2019 awards

For the first time, Apple has held a special event to recognize the best apps and developers. Here are the winners:

Apple has also announced Apple Music‌ Awards with a dope trophy.

Best Android Apps of 2019

Google has also announced the most popular applications from Play Store. Unfortunately, there are only 2 categories:

MacBook Pro and iPad Pro with mini LED display

According to MIng-Chi Kuo, next year, Apple is going to release an iPad Pro and new 16' MacBook Pro with displays based on mini LED technology.

The new technology has couple of advantages:

  • more dense (thousands of light sources instead of hundreds),
  • higher brightness and  contrast ratio,
  • deeper blacks,
  • power-efficient,
  • Less prone to burn-in and won't degrade over time like OLED.

So basically the mini LED is improved equivalent of OLED. This is important because at the moment, Samsung has monopoly on production of OLED  screens. Leaning toward mini LED might mean that Apple is trying to become independent of Samsung.

16-inch MacBook Pro Popping Sound Issue

Some users of the newest 16-inch MacBook Pro started reporting issue with popping sound, when playback is stoped. Apple has acknowledge the problem and it working on fix that should be available in the future software update.

This is yet another issue with speakers in MacBook Pro lineup. In 2018, after Apple introduced refreshed model, users started reporting crackling speakers. That issue has also been solved with software update.

Future of iPhones

This week we had plenty of rumors regarding iPhones. Here is the tl;dr:

In 2020, Apple is going to release following phones:

  • 4.7-inch iPhone 9: LCD display, single-lens rear camera,
  • 5.4-inch iPhone 12: OLED display, dual-lens rear camera, with 5G support
  • 6.1-inch iPhone 12: OLED display, dual-lens rear camera, with 5G support
  • 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro: OLED display, triple-lens rear camera, 5G support
  • 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max: OLED display, triple-lens rear camera, 5G support.

In 2021, Apple will introduce:

  • 5.5 or 6.1-inch iPhone SE/9 Plus: full screen design with TouchID,
  • highest model without Lightning port, it will be completely wireless device.

It is worth noting that, iPhone SE 2 will be called iPhone 9.

In 2020, the iPhone Pro will get bigger screen, and I don't like that. The current 5.9-inch model is perfect for me, where 6.1-inch is a little bit too big 😞.

Regarding completely wireless iPhone, I'm not sure we are ready for this. This is big commitment, people will need wireless headphones, chargers and the rest of accessories. Although, I'm using wireless headphones for couple of years now, as a developer, I'm not ready to give up wired charging and debugging. I hope this will be just one "experimental" model, to see how people would react, and to allow the rest of manufacturers to create wireless accessories.


Image credits: Apple

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Image credits: Pro Church Media

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More PlayStation 5 details

Wired published an article that shares more information about next-gen console. Here is the short summary:

  • It has been officially confirmed that next console will be named PlayStation 5,
  • It will be available for holidays 2020,
  • CPU will be based on AMD’s Ryzen line and a GPU based on Navi family,
  • It has been confirmed that ray-tracing support will be hardware based
  • There will be no HDD only SSD,
  • There will be 4K Blu-ray player,
  • PS5 will use 100-GB optical disks,
  • New data structure mechanism will allow gamers to install only single-player or multiplayer campaign instead of installing the whole game,
  • There will be new system that will allow to check what players can do in games and quickly join in,
  • New controller will be called DualShock 5,
  • New controller will have "adaptive triggers" that offer varying levels of resistance, which can be adjusted to game we play,
  • The force-feedback system is now based on haptic engines instead of rumble motors,
  • Next-gen controller uses a USB Type-C connector for charging.

Apple's Sleep app confirmed in a leak

The App Store screenshots for the Alarms app for Apple Watch include text that mentions the rumored Sleep app. This is another confirmation that Apple is working on it. The Sleep app supposed to come with iOS 13, but was removed before iOS 13 beta was released.

If we take in consideration that battery life in Apple Watch Series 5 is worse than in previous model, it looks like that for the Sleep tracking we will have to wait till next year. If Apple won't be able to improve battery life software-wise, then we won't see it until new version of Apple Watch is released.


Image credits: LetsGoDigital

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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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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