Friday, October 28, 2016

Microsoft announces their brand new all-in-one PC — the Surface Studio

Microsoft‘s latest device is definitely something I did not expect. I thought we’d see a new Surface Pro or a new laptop. Instead, the Microsoft announces a brand new, ultra-thin all-in-one device. Meet the Microsoft Surface Studio.
The Surface Studio is designed for creators which was a recurring theme throughout Microsoft’s big event. What Microsoft has created looks like it’s supposed to be the ultimate device to empower your inner creative mind.

The Surface Studio comes equipped with up to a 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB hybrid drive and a 4GB NVIDIA GeForce 980M graphics card. The base configuration bumps the power down to an 6th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM with a 2GB GPU. 
Alternatively, you can opt for the mid-spec model that bumps the CPU to a Core i7 chip while doubling the RAM to 16GB.
It also has a big beautiful display. Coming in at 28-inches, the Surface Studio’s monitor is designed to be true to life with TrueColour and True Scale technology. According to Panos Panay, one inch on the monitor is one inch in real life. This display pushes 13.5 million pixels, bringing the pixel density to 192 ppi across the 3:2 display.
What’s more, Microsoft is also calling it the thinnest LCD display in the world as the LCD portion is only 1.3mm thick while the entire monitor with the forged aluminium enclosure comes in at 12.5mm thick. This display can also switch between DCI-P3 and sRGB colours on the fly.
Microsoft says that the Surface Studio’s design purpose was to be as unobtrusive as possible. This is because the company believes that when creators come together to create, it’s supposed to be just the creators and the screen in front of them.
So they’ve housed all the PC’s components into a tiny little base, slapped on an unprecedented cooling system and worked on keeping the acoustics as low as possible. Even the chrome arms that hold the screen up are designed to blend into the background so they aren’t as obvious.
Oh and did I mention that the display can be adjusted down to a 20-degree angle (almost flat) from an upright position with little to no effort? Microsoft says this is possible because of the Studio’s zero-gravity hinge which contains 80 parts and custom-tuned springs to make the display feel weightless.
Since it’s a Surface device, the Studio obviously comes running Windows 10 with support for Cortana, Windows Hello and has an HD camera on the front. It will also come with a Surface Pen and something called the Surface Dial.
I’m not quite sure what to call this little contraption, but it’s designed to be a new form of input that you interact with by pressing down and turning it left or right. You can also either do that on the desktop or plop it on your screen for a whole new way of controlling your creative process.
The good news for old Surface users is that the Dial will also work with a Surface Pro 3, a Surface Pro 4 and a Surface Book.
Speaking of Surface Books, Microsoft also announced a new top-of-the-line Surface Book called the Surface Book i7 which comes with more power in the form of a 6th-gen Intel Core i7, 2x the graphical performance (3x more than the MacBook Pro 13…at least until tomorrow) with a new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M and 30% more batteries. That increase in battery capacity is supposed to give the Surface Book a 16-hour battery life.
The new Surface Studio will be priced as follows:
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage, 2GB GPU — USD2,999 (around RM12,461)
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage, 2GB GPU — USD3,499 (around RM14,540)
Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB storage, GeForce 980M (4GB) — USD4,199 (around RM17,448)
It will be available for pre-order on the 26th of October in the US. On the other hand, the new Surface Book i7 will be priced at USD2,399 (around RM9,970) and can be pre-ordered on the 26th of October.

Celcom FIRST Postpaid now upgraded with even more data

Celcom has once again revamped its FIRST Postpaid plans following Digi’s recent new postpaid refresh. Not only they are offering more mobile data but they are also giving you the option to combine both all day and weekend quota for greater freedom.
The popular FIRST Gold Postpaid Plan at RM80/month now gets twice the amount of data (20GB) with 10GB all day and another 10GB for weekend use. If that’s not enough, you can double up again with Gold PLUS plan (40GB) which gives you 20GB of all day and 20GB of weekend data for only RM98/month. Meanwhile, its top tier FIRST Platinum Plan at RM150/month now offers a whopping 60GB of data which is split between 30GB all day and 30GB for weekend use.

While unlimited calls are still retained across FIRST Gold and Platinum plans, Celcom no longer lets you carry forward unused data to the following month. All existing FIRST Gold and FIRST Platinum subscribers will be upgraded to these new plans automatically without extra charge by 1 November. The entry-level FIRST Blue postpaid plan remains unchanged and it still retains the same 2GB + 2GB (weekend) data bundle with 50 minutes of calls and 50 SMS for RM45/month.

When it comes to data, having split quotas can be annoying especially when Celcom splits the weekend data on a weekly basis. So if you have 10GB of weekend data, that’s 2.5GB per weekend and you can’t carry forward unused data to the following weekend. For greater freedom, Celcom has introduced its AnydayGB add-on at RM10/month. This would combine both all day and weekend data, allowing you to maximise your data allocation without any weekday/weekend restrictions. As always, the new plans are offered for a limited time and it’s valid until 31 December 2016.
It looks like our Malaysian telcos have engaged in yet another round of postpaid price war. Now you can easily get at least 20GB of data for less than RM100/month from Celcom, Digi and U Mobile. This is good news for consumers and we’ll see if Maxis will respond to this.
During the press event, Celcom CMO Zalman Aefendy Zainal Abidin has also shared that the Celcom FIRST postpaid app will be ready by end of next month. At the moment, the app is currently available as a beta download.

The 7 biggest announcements from Apple's MacBook event

Apple’s keynote today focused on the Mac and the company's vision idea for the future of TV. New MacBook Pros are coming, including one that’s thinner than the Macbook Air, as is a new feature called the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar replaces the function keys and adjusts to the software a laptop is running. Overall, it was a small event with not a lot of news, but hey, new laptops! Exciting!

The MacBook Pro has an all-new update

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the original PowerBook, Apple’s first laptop, making it a particularly fitting time for (finally) an update to the MacBook Pro. As previously leaked, the new MacBook Pro has made the function keys defunct with a OLED touch strip that Apple is calling the Touch Bar.
The design itself has been slimmed down from the previous Retina MacBook Pro (Apple’s saying 14-17 percent thinner and almost a half-pound lighter), and is available in 13-inch and 15-inch models, in either silver or space gray colors. The new MacBook Pro also brings over the Force Touch trackpad and an updated second-generation butterfly switch from the 12-inch MacBook.
For the 15-inch model, Apple’s offering a quad-core Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro graphics with up to 4GB of video memory, and up to 16 GB of RAM, while the 13-inch version will offer either Core i5 or i7 processors and an Intel Iris GPU. There are 4 USC-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, any of which can be used to charge the computer, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, although the SD card slot from the former generation has been removed.

Touch Bar replaces the function keys with an interactive touchscreen

The Touch Bar was today's showstopper. The retina display bar replaces the keyboard's function keys and responds to touch and gestures. It also changes with software, so if a user is in a web browser, the Touch Bar will bring up bookmarks, as well as the option to add a new tab, move between tabs, or navigate to a different website. In Photos, editing controls pop up. Users can slide their finger across the Touch Bar to browse photos, change filters, or resize. Similarly to the Dock, users can control what defaults show up on their Touch Bar, including system controls, which can also be immediately accessed by holding down fn key on the keyboard. Overall, it seems to present an alternative to a touchscreen.

Touch ID comes to the MacBook Pro

Touch ID is also integrated next to the Touch Bar, built right into the power button. It uses the same faster second-gen Touch ID sensor from iPhone 6S / 7 with a sapphire cover, and includes a new T1 chip with a local secure enclave for Apple Pay security. Touch ID also can be used for multi-user machines to quickly switch between accounts simply by tapping the button.

Professional applications get updates

Apple showed off an update for a variety of professional applications for the MacBook Pros. The new Final Cut Pro supports the Touch Bar, and can show an interactive view of the video timeline even while video is playing full screen, along with contextual controls for things like audio sliders. Apple also showed off similar kinds of Touch Bar integration with Adobe Photoshop, and DJ Pro. Other apps with announced support include Microsoft Office, Pixelmator, Sketch, and DaVinci Resolve.

LG UltraFine 5K Display

LG built a 5K display specifically for the new Macbook Pro. Apple executive Phil Schiller called it the "ultimate docking station" because it can simultaneously display from the laptop while charging it. We didn’t get many details on the display, but we do know one Macbook Pro can support two of them.

Apple Sidelines the MacBook Air

Apple also announced that it won’t be updating the MacBook Air line today, instead directing users to a new entry-level variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro that lacks the Touch Bar and offers only two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, starting at $1,499. However, MacBook Air fans can take comfort in the fact that the 13-inch Pro is actually thinner and smaller than the older MacBook Air. The old MacBook Air will be sticking around as well as a budget option.

Apple TV gets a unified "TV" app

Apple hasn’t been shy about marketing it as a media and gaming device that it wants to be the center of your living room. So it makes sense that the newest Apple TV is characterized by the fact that it can run apps, including Minecraft and over 2,000 other games on the platform.
More importantly, Apple announced a new "TV" app for the Apple TV, a new unified hub for content across all the various apps you have installed. The TV app also utilizes a single sign on method, automatically signing you into new applications as you add them to the device. The TV app will also available for iPhone and iPad as well, letting you access the same content with the same authentication across all your devices. The TV app will be made available in a free update later this year.
Apple also wants to help viewers watch live TV through Siri voice navigation. People can tell Siri to go directly to news channels or the sport they want to watch. So if someone asks to watch the Chicago Bears game, Siri knows what app is playing it and will navigate directly there. Siri can also list entire sports schedules with scores. Taken with the TV app, Apple is making it a lot easier to find what you want to watch without hunting through apps.

What's next?

Along with the new products comes the death of certain features. RIP function keys, (potentially) MagSafe, and the SD card slot. We might miss you after we stop staring at our new Touch Bar.


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