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The latest news

Apple release new wireless charging AirPods

Tags: tech

Now with more talk time, voice-activated Siri access — and a new Wireless Charging Case — AirPods deliver an unparalleled wireless headphone experience.

If you can’t make an AirPower pad, change the products you’re supposed to charge on them so you can. I think that’s Apple’s new philosophy as we head into day 3 of Apple’s hardware-refresh-a-poolza.

Apple’s new A$319 AirPods with their now Qi compatible Wireless Charging case also introduce a new “H1” chip that boasts an extra hour of talk time, faster connection speed and “Hey Siri” activation support.

The new “H” for Headphone chips represent a new line of Apple’s ever-expanding chip lineup and will be iterated upon now made specifically for headphones. The “W” line that was used before will remain too but be used exclusively in Apple’s watches.

The new 2019 AirPods can also be bought without the Wireless Charging case (Why?) for A$249 and for those of you with an existing set you can buy just the case for A$129.

All of these are available for purchase now and will be shipping from Monday next week.

As for the AirPower pad… there are rumours swirling we may finally see that next week, now that they only have to deal with two types of charging instead of three.

Source: AirPods – Apple (AU)

Google unveils game streaming service: Stadia

Tags: gaming, tech

Google CEO Sundar Pichai […] introduced the Stadia service during a special keynote at GDC this morning. Describing it as a platform for everyone, Pichai talked up Google’s ambitions to stream games to all types of devices.

The service, which is notably NOT coming to Australia when it launches later this year, will allow gamers to stream AAA titles to a slew devices ranging from your laptop or PC to a Chromecast connected TV.

Announced just a couple weeks after Microsoft’s xCloud project, “Stadia” is an almost identical product with added lofty statements such as 4K, 60fps, HDR surround at launch and an expectation to hit 8K 120fps down the road.

Stadia will make use of Google’s vast data centre & cloud network, which it hopes will give it an edge in the race to cloud console streaming war that is now heavily ramping up.

Games can be played using either existing PC connectable controllers, mice, & keyboards or using Stadia’s own controller. The Stadia controller also doubles as a Google Assistant device and directly connects to the Stadia service via WiFi identifying whatever screen you’re playing on, meaning you can literally just pack the controller and take your gaming anywhere.

Game wise the only titles announced for the service are Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which was used in the service’s beta, and Bethesda’s Doom Eternal.

No information is available as to the service’s cost at this stage but one thing is for sure and that’s the universal loathing of Google’s chosen name for the service.

Source: Google unveils Stadia cloud gaming service at GDC 2019 – The Verge

Apple updates the iPad Mini for the 1st time in 4 years

Tags: tech

In an attempt to fool us all into thinking they’re still a hardware company Apple have trotted out the revised corpse of another long-lost product, the iPad Mini.

The new iPad Mini makes use of the same A12 Bionic chip you’ll find inside of the iPhone XS & iPhone XR. It now also includes a Retina display with True Tone and claims top spot across all of Apple’s devices when it comes to pixel density with 326 DPI.

The Apple Pencil will now also work with the iPad Mini, should you be inclined, but make sure you’re using the old 1st generation version as the newer one isn’t compatible. Weird.

Available to order now the new iPad Mini starts at A$599 for the WiFi 64GB version and goes up to A$1019 (why didn’t they just make it A$999, seriously) for the LTE, 256GB version.

In addition to the iPad Mini the iPad Air was updated to use the same A12 Bionic chip but also receives a bump in screen size going from 9.7″ to 10.5″ making the Air all but identical to the Mini but for screen size.

The 2019 iPad Air starts from A$779 (64GB, WiFi) and goes up to A$1,199 (256GB, LTE).

Both the Air & Mini will ship Monday March 25th, a day ahead of Apple’s giant video service reveal.

New Dropbox device limit nerfs free tier

Tags: tech

Basic users have a three device limit as of March 2019.
Plus and Professional users can link unlimited devices.

Similar to Evernote, Dropbox now limits the number of devices you can sync your files to.

Dropbox have said they’ll honour existing device registrations for free users with more than three devices, but if you accidentally deregister one it wont be allowed back.

Clearly a change (made very quietly) to entice users to start paying for the service, but could the move mean the company ends up in a similar position to Evernote?

I was already looking at alternatives; this could very well be the nail in the coffin.

Source: Is there a limit to the number of devices I can link to my account? – Dropbox Help

We’re up for a Lizzie!

Hey everyone, just a quick note to say that Reckoner has been shortlisted as a finalist in the “Best Independent Coverage” category of this year’s IT Journalism Awards (affectionately known as ‘The Lizzies’).

On behalf of the whole Reckoner team, I wanted to say a huge thank you to our wonderful readers, viewers, listeners and of course our Patreon supporters whom without Reckoner couldn’t exist.

The past 18 months has been a wild ride with a lot of late nights and weekends sacrificed to the cause. I’m so happy that we’ve had our work recognised and think of it as a privilege to be included in a such a great lists of other websites and podcasts.

To be honest, just getting to this point feels like we’ve already won!

Be sure to check out the full list of finalists in this year’s awards and if you’re in Sydney on March 22nd and would like to attend tickets are still available.

Play “The Amazon Race” – A news game about what it’s like to work at Amazon Australia

Tags: australia

You can play the role of a ‘picker’ at Amazon’s Melbourne warehouse.

The ABC (yes the Australian one) has created a game that illustrates the conditions Amazon Australia workers are put under in their Melbourne based fulfilment centre.

The interactive news piece is an incredible piece of work that highlights some of the atrocities contract workers are expected to endure.

Food for thought.

Source: The Amazon Race: A news game about what it’s like to work at Amazon Australia – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

PC World offers an Aussie hands-on with the Huawei Mate X

Huawei’s Mate X feels like the future.

Fergus Halliday, PC World AU editor, was lucky enough to get hands on with the much talked about (and pricey) Huawei Mate X.

Like most of us Fergus was kind of skeptical going into his session but (thankfully) walks away even more impressed. Impressed enough to warrant the predicted price tag? Maybe not, but none the less, as you can tell by the quote, very much looking forward to it.

Source: MWC 2019: After going hands-on with the Huawei Mate X, I’m ready for the foldable future – PC World Australia

Huawei know which way to fold a phone – Huawei Mate X

Image: Gizmodo

Huawei didn’t need to equip with Mate X with a third screen as we saw on the Galaxy Fold, because when closed, the Mate X’s 8-inch 2480 x 2200 bendy screen simply transforms into two displays in front and back measuring 6.6-inch and 6.38-inch, respectively.

Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, Huawei have done things the other way having the phone fold to put its larger display on the external surfaces. This allows them to not need a second (or third?) display on the external surface and can use it for other functions like displaying a camera’s output to the people you’re taking a photo of.

The Mate X also includes a 5G modem that Huawei claim can download a 1GB movie in around three seconds. (yeah not here mate, have you used an Australian network?!)

On top of that the phone includes four cameras, some of which are embedded into the phone’s grip on the “right” side of it on the rear that the display folder and nestles against. Similar to Amazon’s Kindle Oasis.

Image: Gizmodo

It has a 4,500 mAh battery with a 55W super charge that can supposedly get you up to 85% in a few minutes and unlocks using a combo fingerprint reader & power button.

Unfortunately it’s even more expensive than the Fold and was announced at MWC with a very, very lofty prices tag of €2299, which equates to around A$3.6k at today’s exchange rate.

That’s one expensive hunk of plastic to be lugging around in your pocket.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a A$3k joke

Yesterday’s Samsung event may have been all about their new flagship smartphone the S10 but what really grabbed everyone’s attention was its new foldable phone the aptly named “Galaxy Fold”.

Teased last year the new Fold was merely teased a little more with people apparently able to get hands on with the device at MWC in a couple of weeks. They did provide us all with a bunch of very nice product photography that you’ll see all over the internet and note that all of it does a remarkably good job of hiding the pricey abomination they’ve created.

Imagine you took your standard S9 or iPhone or whatever phone you have, then you bought another one, then you stacked them on top of each other and used “multiple interlocking gears” to create a hinge that I have no doubt any three year old will make quick work of when destroying your newly overpriced phone.

There are a few differences beyond simply pasting two phones together. Obviously there’s the fact it uses a flexible display. It’s an 7.3″ QXGA+ (2152×1536) Dynamic AMOLED display that quite literally folds in half when closed and displays no seem when opened. The unusual 4.2:3 ratio allows the Galaxy Fold to display 3 applications at once utilising a new layout system the company has worked with Android to develop.

Another difference when it comes to displays is the face the phone has a second one. Whilst closed on the front of the phone is a smaller 4.6″ HD+ Super AMOLED that means that whilst closed your Galaxy Fold can be used just like a regular smartphone that’s for some reason double the thickness. It reminds me a lot of the old Nokia 9300 Communicator, only less aware of itself, if that’s possible?

One thing you’ll notice in all of the glamours photography provided is that the front screen is generally displaying a black or darkened image and that’s because it doesn’t actually extend to the edges of the phone. In other words the display on the front is more like a mini phone, something for you to play with and eek away the time before you really need to use it and have to open the thing up. It’s like telling a child they’re now all grown up and don’t need to wear a dummy anymore.

Apps that you’re interacting with on either the larger internal display or the smaller child-size outer one automatically switch if you open or close the phone. Samsung call this “App Continuity” and works in a similar fashion to Hand-Off between your iPhone & Mac. It’s a little easier in this scenario obviously with the app just adjusting its display as it likely already does should it be a half-decently developed Android one.

As well as doubling the amount of displays the Galaxy Fold also doubles the amount of cameras. Six cameras adorn the shell of the Galaxy Fold ensuring that no matter how you’re using it there’s a camera ready to take that ever important selfie we all need to see. The rear of the phone includes the most useful and prominent array of three lenses, as you’d expect, and mirror the new S10’s offerings.

  • Rear Camera 1 — 16MP Ultra Wide | f/2.2
  • Rear Camera 2 — 12MP Wide-Angle | f/1.5 – f/2.4
  • Rear Camera 3 — 12MP Telephoto | f/2.4
  • Front Camera 1 — 10MP Selfie | f/2.2
  • Front Camera 2 — 8MP Depth Sensor | f/1.9
  • Cover Camera — 10MP Selfie | f/2.2

There are justifications for the phone’s exorbitant price. Six cameras, a folding display, a second regular display, a hinge comprised of interlocking gears? and of course it’s split 4300mAh battery system but phone manufacturers have kind of dug a deep hole with price gouging over the past decade. The average Joe isn’t buying a Galaxy Fold, I’m sure there’ll be some tech envy from some to begin with but if there was ever a tech product to avoid the first iteration of its the expected A$3k prototype that Samsung will be selling on April 26th (in the US & Europe)