November 24, 2020

Apple’s WWDC 2020 and Arm preview, and more tech news you need today

With Apple set for a big day, here's a quick preview of what will matter at WWDC 2020, and all the tech news you need to know

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, June 22.

1. WWDC: What Will Define Computing?

Okay, that’s not the best re-use of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference acronym to question what’s coming… but it does point to a big change in computing. Today’s the exciting day, a genuinely interested WWDC ahead.

16 inch MacBook Pro Premiere Pro open

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

What to expect:

  • The biggest news that we’re being told to expect is Apple announcing a shift to its own processors, built on ARM-based architecture, for its computers.
  • After 15 years, Apple prepares to break up with Intel, writes the New York Times, which offers more insight into Intel’s problems than Apple’s reported switch. But Intel only ships less than 5 percent of its chip sales to Apple, so it’s not a collapse, but as an analyst quoted in the article notes, “Reputationally, this is not a good thing for Intel.â€� Indeed.
  • And I’m expecting some kind of surprise in how Apple plans to support both its older Intel-based products (ie. any Mac you own now) and its own ARM-based processors (starting with a 2021 MacBook Pro?), and sells us on how much faster/cooler/efficient its new processors will be.
  • Deciphering the marketing gloss will be a post-event job, but already the Apple A13 chips perform frighteningly well for Intel.
  • Also, it’s more likely laptops will have longer-lasting batteries, and Apple’s next laptops may be able to offer built-in LTE or 5G.
  • I do sort of hope Intel release their own counter-marketing in the wash-up here explaining why it’s still number one, but that’s not really the game over at the veteran chipmaker.
  • In short, Apple has had enough preparation time for this switch to do something that makes (notoriously difficult) emulation work well enough. How? No idea. Co-processor? Seems unlikely.

Also:

  • Then there’ll also be the unveiling of iOS 14, plus macOS, watchOS, and tvOS updates, and perhaps iPadOS too.
  • watchOS 7 should add sleep tracking and blood oxygen tracking to the Apple Watch which will boost its usefulness (and lead to questions about when to charge it if not while you’re sleeping).
  • Will iOS now be called iPhone OS? Maybe!
  • We seem to know nothing in advance about the new macOS update, which could imply something big is coming, under much tighter lock and key.
  • At a developers conference, will Apple announce new hardware? Well, maybe, but looks unlikely.
  • The reports this morning are that the first ARM-based Macs will be the MacBook Pro (MacRumors), but Apple may not give much away on that at WWDC 2020, other than offering a developer kit as it did when it switched from PowerPC.
  • The talk also suggests the last new Intel-based Mac ever will be a new iMac design with thinner bezels and a 24-inch display.
  • The current iMac design hasn’t changed since 2012, although the specs have been updated each year. It’s due.
  • But multiple leakers suggested no new hardware at WWDC, so this might just be a release later in the year, without an event.
  • Questions: Will we see AirTags with iOS 14? New Apple TV?

What we won’t see:

  • Bloomberg had some great detail on Apple’s secretive AR and VR efforts, with detail on an internal split between longtime Apple designer Jony Ive and Apple’s Technology Development Group (TDG) lead, Mike Rockwell.
  • TDG is heading up the Apple headset, sometimes called Apple Glass.
  • Bloomberg reports a ‘1,000-strong group of engineers is working on upending the VR and AR segments’ and there’s a fascinating amount of detail.
  • Of course, few reports of this nature are 100% accurate, but we know more than ever before on this Apple-AR/VR plan.

Watch: Apple.com, and given it’s happening virtually, live blogs and Twitter will be blowing up reacting to what happens. Hashtag is #WWDC20.


2. LG Velvet unboxing and 24 hour impressions. There’s a vid too (Android Authority).


3. The cheapest 5G phone in the US, the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G, is now available with carriers, or for purchase for $599 (Android Authority).


4. Your regular reminder: More phone cameras does not equal better quality photos (Android Authority).


5. “Call me crazy, but I think I’m trading in my Pixel 4 XL for the Pixel 4a,� writes my colleague Jimmy, and he’s onto something …that is, if the Pixel 4a ever comes out (Android Authority).


6. “We bought Walmart’s $140 laptop so you wouldn’t have to�: the Walmart EVOO EV-C-116-5 is roundly just terrible, and this review has many fun parts, including trying to run a battery test: “…the poor little EVOO struggled so hard to even start the test, that it had consumed more than 20 percent of the battery by the time the test was ready to run,� and one benchmark result that scores 0. Zero! Oh and the sheet of copper cooling! It’s great, read and enjoy (Ars Technica).


7. Linus Tech Tips tries to fix the MacBook Air’s cooling and poses a fun conspiracy question: is Apple sandbagging the performance of its Macs to make its ARM-based laptops look faster and cooler? Realistically that’s silly, the problem here is that Apple is compromised between peak CPU performance and not having the user feel the heat (YouTube).


8. Samsung Blu-Ray players are getting stuck in endless startup loops and we don’t know why (Gizmodo).


9. A wild look at Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s secret disaster relief team: high-speed super-yacht, a secret disaster strike force, and charity (The Daily Beast).


10. 19% of Earth’s ocean floor is now mapped, up from 15% last year (BBC).


11. Here are superb photos from the rare ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse over the weekend (Space).


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