February 22, 2018 brianradio2016

Wearables is a rapidly growing market for Apple, and the company plans to take advantage of this by upgrading its $159 wireless AirPods headphones, claims a Bloomberg report.

Must read: Apple products you shouldn’t buy in 2018

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During the company’s conference call earlier this month, Apple CFO Luca Maestri told analysts and investors that “wearables were the second-largest contributor to revenue growth after iPhone” and that sales had increased by almost 70 percent during the past year.

So the wearables market is ripe for the picking.

According to the report, the updated AirPods — which are internally codenamed B288 — will respond to the “Hey Siri” command like other Apple devices. Additionally, the updated AirPods will be water-resistant and able to survive splashes and rain, although it is unlikely that they will be able to handle full submersion.

The updated AirPods are also likely to feature Apple’s W2 wireless chip, a component that debuted in the Apple Watch 3 last year. The W2 chip boosts wireless speeds by up to 85 percent and makes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi around 50 percent more power efficient. Improved battery life would be something that updated AirPods would benefit from greatly.

As the Bloomberg report makes clear, none of this is set in stone and “Apple’s plans could change or be delayed.”

See also:

February 22, 2018 brianradio2016

The clock has been in the works for three decades—essentially a blink of the eye in the grand scheme of things. That’s because the timepiece, dreamed up by Danny Hillis in 1989, per CNBC , is designed to run for 10,000 years without any human intervention. Hillis’ vision was…

February 22, 2018 brianradio2016

Intel has announced ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 that it is working with Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft on bringing 5G connectivity to Windows PCs using the Intel XMM 8000-series commercial 5G modems.

While scant on detail, Intel said it would showcase its first 5G-enabled 2-in-1 concept PC during MWC in Barcelona, which is powered by its 8th-generation Core i5 processors and an early 5G modem, and is expecting to bring 5G-connected PCs to market in the second half of 2019.

“In our [MWC] booth as well, we will have a chipset base first 5G-enabled 2-in-1 concept,” Intel GM of 5G Advanced Technologies Rob Topol told media.

Read also: Samsung to unveil Galaxy S9 at MWC

Intel also announced a “multi-year collaboration” with Spreadtrum to produce a 5G phone platform by the second half of 2019, again using Intel’s XMM 8000-series modem alongside Spreadtrum’s application processor.

“We’re excited about this development, because this is a great opportunity to bring the XMM 8000 series not only as I mentioned earlier as a PC form factor, as well now into mobile and smartphone handset form factors,” Topol said.

Intel will additionally use MWC to showcase a PC with 802.11ax Wi-Fi connectivity, along with modem solutions for PCs that support eSIM functionality.

Topol also provided an update on Intel’s D-2100 processor, unveiled earlier this month, which he said would enable edge computing for 5G networks.


“This is a big step forward in providing more intelligence at the edge of the network to where more of the communication and traffic can be handled on a local basis,” he said.

“We do expect there to be significant growth in edge computing in the 5G era. This helps not only from a latency standpoint, but again in helping offload networks and just being more efficient with communication.”

Several partners have already begun shifting to the D-2100 processor, he said.

It utilises 14nm process technology, up to 18 cores and 36 threads, up to 512GB DD4-2666 ECC and up to four channels of memory support, hyper-threading, Intel Virtualization Technology, and Intel QuickAssist Technology with up to 100Gpbs of crypto, decrypt, and encrypt accelerated processing offload.

Compared to its D-1500 chips, Intel said the D-2100 provides up to 29 percent L3 network packet transfer performance improvement; 2.9 times network performance improvement; and 2.8 times storage performance improvement.

It also comes with up to 32 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, up to 3GHz with single-core Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, up to 20 lanes of configurable Flexible High Speed I/O, Intel Mesh Architecture, Rebalanced Intel smart cache hierarchy, Intel AVX-512 acceleration with up to 1 FMA, and Intel Ethernet with up to 4x 10GbE adapters.

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At CES 2018, tablets are out, convertibles are in

Minimalist tablets that relied exclusively on screen input were once the “it” gadget at CES. But while major Windows vendors are announcing more Surface-like detachables, the market is dominated by convertible clamshells.

Windows 10 fleet: Lenovo’s new ThinkPads get 8th gen Intel chips, webcam shutters

Lenovo has updated its ThinkPad laptops for 2018 with new CPUs, USB-C power adapters, and docking system.

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The new XPS 15 2-in-1 contains Intel’s 8th-gen core processor with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics, with a 15.6-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge touch display.

Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

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February 22, 2018 brianradio2016

If you don’t need the ‘powerhouse performance’ of the Surface Book 2, then the 12.3-inch Surface Pro is a more affordable option for business users who still need to run Windows 10 Pro.

The entry-level model version of the Surface Pro starts at around £800 (inc. VAT), although its Core m3 processor and 4GB of RAM are a little underpowered, so it’s worth stepping up to this Core i5 model, priced at £982.50 (ex. VAT; £1,179 inc. VAT, or $1,100). Microsoft doesn’t specify the exact processor, but it appears to be a dual-core Core i5-7300U running at 2.6GHz (up to 3.5GHz with TurboBoost), backed up with 8GB memory and 256GB solid-state drive.

That price doesn’t include Microsoft’s Signature Type keyboard/cover, which costs a hefty £125 (ex. VAT; £150 inc. VAT, or $160), but Microsoft’s UK store does run regular offers allowing you to make some modest savings if you select a bundle containing the keyboard, mouse or other accessories.

The slimline design is highly portable, with the tablet section measuring just 8.5mm and weighing 0.7kg on its own. The 2,736 by 1,824 (267ppi) display is bright and colourful, and well suited to graphics work or presentations, and this Core i5 model uses a fan-less cooling system that allows it to run cool and quiet at all times. Battery life is good too, with Microsoft claiming up to 13.5 hours from the 45Wh battery.

£982.50 (ex. VAT; £1,179.00 inc. VAT)


Surface Pro (2017): Small refinements to a familiar design

February 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Apple might have a battery problem on its hands. No, not that one . Apple needs cobalt for its iPhone batteries, but experts fear a potential shortage of the metal with the proliferation of electric vehicles, which require over 1,000 times more cobalt for their batteries than do smartphones. Bloomberg…

February 21, 2018 brianradio2016

A recent filing by Apple with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) suggests the company is getting close to releasing two new iPads. First spotted by French website Consomac, the filing specifically mentions two new Apple tablets running iOS 11.

The tablets have model numbers A1893 and A1954, according to the filing dated February 19, 2018. Those model numbers do not match any currently available iPad. As 9to5Mac points out, previous Apple filings with the EEC have preceded a product launch by just a couple of weeks.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other than model numbers, there are no other clues about the tablets. Recent rumors have suggested Apple would wait until this fall to release new iPad Pro models with FaceID and a notch similar to what’s currently found on the iPhone X. Although, that feature set would likely be part of an iPad Pro refresh.

However, the timing of this filing suggests two new iPads are nearly ready for release, most likely in March. Apple had traditionally updated the iPad lineup in March, with last year’s announcement being a more affordable iPad.

A refresh of an entry-level iPad, sans any sort of media event, as the company did last year makes the most sense.

February 21, 2018 brianradio2016

One month ago today, Intel told the world that their Meltdown/Spectre patches were a mess. Their advice read something like, “Ooopsie. Those extremely important BIOS/UEFI firmware updates we released a coupla weeks ago are causing Intel machines to drop like bungee cows. In spite of what we told you then, stop installing them now. And if you installed a bad BIOS/UEFI patch, well golly, contact your PC manufacturer to see if they know how to get you out of the mess.”

Intel now says it has released really new, really good firmware versions for most of its chips.

Intel chips covered, and those not covered

Scanning the official Microcode Revision Guidance February 20, 2018 (pdf), you can see that Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake, Bay Trail and most Skylake chips are covered. On the other hand, Broadwell, Haswell, and Sandy Bridge chips still leave brown skid marks.

Security Advisory INTEL-SA-00088 has been updated with this squib:

February 21, 2018 brianradio2016

I thought it might be time to share some of the commands I think most people will want to use most often with Apple’s HomePod.

Making streaming music great again

All these commands begin with the phrase, “Hey Siri”, so you might say “Hey Siri, play Ray LaMontagne”. I’ve left the prefix out in the commands below, but please remember to say “Hey Siri” first.

I’ll make no secret that both myself and my non-techy (former music teacher) partner both think the HomePod is one of the best small home audio systems we’ve come across.

We’ve been using it a lot – and I’d argue that the quality of music playback is capable of resurrecting some user’s interest in music, in the same way as the iPod once did. We’ve also seen no evidence of the recent much-discussed “white circle of hype” claims.

February 21, 2018 brianradio2016

Computerworld | Feb 21, 2018

When iOS 11.3 arrives, it will allow a limited number of users to more easily access and share healthcare data – part of Apple’s ongoing push to connect patients and doctors. Here’s what that means and why Apple might actually succeed.