This is Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Touch ID & more!

“The Mac is more than a product to us. It’s a testament to everything we do and create at Apple,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at today’s “Hello again” Mac event as he unveiled long-expected updates to Pro notebooks. The new MacBook Pro has, as rumored, a programmable OLED touch bar substituting the function key row, called Touch Bar.

There’s also a Touch ID sensor powered by a new Apple-designed T1 chip. Like its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13 and 15-inch flavors and each is available in Silver or Space Gray finish. hello again event macbook pro compare

The notebooks have a 2x larger trackpad with ForceTouch haptic feedback (46 percent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro) and are driven by Intel’s latest Skylake chips with faster graphics. The iconic glowing Apple logo on the lid is gone, however, like on the existing twelve-inch MacBook.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at three pounds, almost half a pound lighter than the previous generation. It’s seventeen percent thinner and has 25 percent less volume than the previous-generation MacBook Pro.

hello again event macbook pro 15 inch

The 15-incher weighs in at 4 pounds, is fourteen percent thinner and has twenty percent less volume. The biggest news is the new Touch Bar feature. Touch Bar, as mentioned, provides one-touch access to all of the functions previously provided by dedicated hardware function keys, and then some more.

hello again event macbook pro touch bar

When you’re multitasking, Touch Bar shortcuts change depending on the app being used. It’s great that Touch Bar provides autocorrect suggestion when typing on the keyboard, has a dedicated Siri button and even suggests emoji replacements.

hello again event macbook pro mail

In fact, it provides a dedicated interface for browsing all your emoji by category, frequently used and more—by way of swiping. In other apps, Touch Bar lets you create new tabs, manage your windows and more.

In Photos, as another example, a photo strip is rendered on the Touch Bar so you can quickly select an image to work with. You can even rotate photos, make color adjustments and more, right on the Touch Bar.

hello again event macbook pro customize touch bar

In the Finder, you can customize any toolbar features like the screenshot control to appear on the Touch Bar simply by dragging an item from the toolbar down until it drops on Touch Bar. And when customizing Touch Bar, the icons wiggle like on iOS.

Touch Bar has controls for iWork apps, iTunes, Terminal and other Apple apps, with a developer API available to enable custom shortcuts in third-party apps.

Both machines have a second-generation Touch ID with sapphire crystal protection. With a fingerprint scan, customers can unlock their Mac, switch user accounts and authenticate Apple Pay purchases on the web. “Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip,” Apple said.

hello again event macbook pro touch id

The Mac’s Touch ID sensor is powered by a brand new Apple-designed chip, called the T1, which has a Secure Enclave to support strong security and privacy like on iPhone.

Compared to the previous generation, the new MacBook Pro’s Retina screen is 67 brighter, has 67 percent greater contrast and gives you 25 percent more colors while consuming thirty percent less power than before.

It is the first Mac notebook display to support a wider color gamut. Both new machines have four Thunderbolt 3 ports providing a whopping 30GB/s bandwidth and allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

hello again event macbook pro display

The new Thunderbolt standard is port-compatible with USB-C (also known as USB 3.1 Generation 2), meaning all your USB-C devices can be connected to the new MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt ports. Thunderbolt 3 also supports the DisplayPort 1.2 video interconnect standard.

hello again event macbook pro mail

Any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be used as a USB-C charging port. In fact, any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or Display Port without any adapter, or become HDMI or VGA with an adapter.

hello again event macbook pro ports functions

The 13-inch model comes with either Intel’s dual-core Core i5 or i7 with a 2,133 MHz memory, integrated Intel Iris graphics with 64 megabytes of eDRAM that’s two times faster on average or 103 percent faster in gaming and 76 percent faster in video editing and 3D graphics. The SSD in the 13-incher provides a throughput of 3.1 Gb/s.

hello again event macbook pro 13 inch performance

As for the more powerful 15-incher model, it’s powered by Intel’s sixth-generation quad-core Core i7 processor with faster 2,1333MHz memory and discreet Radeon Pro graphics that’s part of AMD’s new 14-nanometer Polaris architecture. You can outfit the graphics card with up to four gigabytes of dedicated video RAM.

hello again event macbook pro thermal architecture

Graphics on the 15-inch MacBook Pro is up to 2.4 faster than the previous-generation MacBook Pro with 60 percent faster gaming, 57 percent faster video editing and 130 percent faster 3D graphics. As for the SSD, the 15-inch MacBook Pro can be outfitted with up to 2TB FusionDrive while the SSD provides a throughout of 3.1 GB/s.

hello again event macbook pro new speakers

Last but not least, both new MacBook Pros have an all-new speaker design with twice the dynamic range of the previous generation. Battery? You get a ten-hour battery life.

hello again event 25 years notebook

The machines are available for pre-order today from Apple.com, Apple retail stores and authorized resellers, shipping in 2-3 weeks. The standard 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar costs $1,799.

hello again event various macbook pro

The flagship 15-incher with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB RAM, discreet AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar will set you back $2,399.

hello again event macbook pro prices

For MacBook Air fans, Apple has created a 13-inch MacBook Pro model without Touch Bar and Touch ID and with the familiar row of function hardware keys. That machine, priced at $1,4999, ships today.

It’s powered by a 2 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, has 8 GB of RAM, integrated Intel Iris 540 graphics, two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than four and comes with 256GB SSD.

The current MacBook Air continues to be available without a hardware refresh. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbookpro.

By the way, this week mark’s 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook, the PowerBook, which defined the modern notebook with a matrix-dot display and a keyboard-forward design that created room for a trackpad and other features.

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Apple unveils Watch OS3, new TV OS features, macOS Sierra and iOS 10!

Aside from a number of other software-related announcements, the WWDC 2016 keynote at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco also gave us watchOS 3, the third major installment of the wearable operating system that powers the Apple Watch.

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As much as watchOS 2 was about optimizing the experience with support for native apps, its successor focuses on improving that experience further with things like Control Center, a Reminders app, instant launch of applications and more.

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This is about making the Apple Watch usable. In addition to keeping your favorite apps in the Apple Watch memory and background updates for Apple Watch apps, you can choose which apps go to the so-called Dock which appears when pressing the Side button.

wwdc 2016 watch fast

Here’s Control Center on the Apple Watch.

wwdc 2016 watch control center

It’s invoked similar to iOS, by swiping up from the bottom of any watch face.

With Background App Updates for Apple Watch apps, software that frequently updates content from the Internet now load much faster, including the new Find My Friends app.

watchOS also includes another fitness-focussed feature: Activity sharing. With it, you can share
your move, activity or stand goals with your friends and family, including the ability to communicate with those people with built-in chat in the Activity app.

wwdc 2016 watch activity 2

Wheelchair users will love watchOS 3 because they have a setting to change the Time to Stand notification with a new Time to Roll, two new activities specifically created for them in the Activity app and more.

With another new app in watchOS 3, called Breathe, users big on body-mind medicine can define sessions from one to five minutes that lets them relax and deep-breathe, with gentle taps guiding them without needing to even glance at their watch. You can also set smart notifications to remind you to use Breathe, just like Stand alerts.

wwdc 2016 breathe 2

Messaging improvements include new reply options and a new way to write your messages with a new Scribble option, basically handwriting recognition that lets you draw the letters on the screen with your finger.

wwdc 2016 watch scribble

Scribble works in English and Chinese for the time being, and it automatically senses which language you are using. watchOS 3 has new watch faces: Activity, Minnie Mouse and Numerals. You can now just swipe to choose your watch face and you now have the ability to use more Complications.

Other new features in watchOS 3 include Apple Pay within apps on the watch, new APIs for graphics-intensive apps such as SpriteKit, an SOS mode with support for ability calls that will automatically send your Medical ID and current geographical information to an emergency outlet, and more.

This feature also works internationally.

wwdc 2016 watch activity sharing 1

After demonstrating several new Apple Watch features, Apple VP Kevin Lynch invited Director of Fitness and Health technologies Jay Blahnik to come up on stage and talk about some new fitness features. Perhaps most notable is a new feature in the Activity app called Activity Sharing.

As the name suggests, Activity Sharing brings social challenges to the Apple Watch, allowing users to easily send fitness achievements and stats to friends and family, fostering competition. This is something that has helped Fitbit grow and popularity and is a welcome addition to the Watch.

So to share your activity in Watch OS 3, simply swipe to the right of your Activity Rings, and you’ll be shown the rings of family and friends. You can communicate directly with the people you’re sharing with right through Messages, and the smart replies are geared towards working out.

wwdc 2016 watch activity 2

Apple has taken the wraps off watchOS 3 this morning during the keynote presentation at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. With features designed to advance the experience for Apple Watch owners, watchOS 3 will release this fall, Apple confirmed today. The major new version of the Apple Watch operating system will be released at no charge as an over-the-air update.

wwdc 2016 watch more details

watchOS 3 includes a number of features like much faster application launch times, a new Scribble input method, Control Center, an SOS mode with support for emergency calls, a Breathe app and much more.

wwdc 2016 breathe 2

Apple on Monday at its WWDC 2016 event announced a new app for Apple Watch that will come pre-installed on watchOS 3 called Breathe, which offers a new perspective on health.

Setting itself apart from the typical fitness aspects of health, Breathe will be oriented around breathing exercises.

Breathe is an app that works to improve your health by taking you through 1-5 minute breathing exercises throughout the day. It’ll provide notifications that remind you to perform breathing exercises, as it’s an important part of your everyday health that ensures your body is getting enough oxygen.

wwdc 2016 breathe 1

Once you’re provided with a notification to perform a breathing exercise from your Apple Watch, you can either start the exercise, or you can snooze the alert.

If you tap on Start, it walks you through the breathing exercise process in real time, and then the app provides you with heart rate information and breathing information so you can see how the breathing exercise impacts the way your body handles your heart rate while you breathe.

You may opt to snooze the alert when you’re in the middle of doing something, or when you’re not in an environment where a breathing exercise is possible.

tvOS 10 announced with dark mode, Single Sign-On, universal search improvements and more

wwdc 2016 apple tv dark mode

In addition to iOS 10 and watch OS 3, Apple also unveiled tvOS 10 with an all-new Remote app during the WWDC 2016 keynote at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Here are some of the things you’re going to like in tvOS 10.

Powering the fourth-generation Apple TV, tvOS 10 advances the experience provided by Apple’s operating system for the living room, which launched last fall with the release of the new Apple TV, with new features like Single Sign-On, automatic downloads for Apple TV apps, a new dark mode and more.

Among the new features in tvOS 10, Siri can now search Apple’s full archive of more than six-thousand television shows and movies within a specified time range.

wwdc 2016 siri youtube

More importantly, tvOS’s universal search feature now supports a lot more apps, including YouTube. This is really useful as you can use your voice and Siri to search for specific videos on YouTube, and tvOS automatically takes you to YouTube for Apple TV, if installed, and automatically loads your search results.

Similarly, if you have a video app with support for live streaming, asking Siri to watch, say, ESPN, will automatically put up live video. Apple has also solved the problem of having to sign in to many of these video apps with your cable or satellite subscription, or using an alphanumeric code that has to be typed into a browser.

wwdc 2016 auto unlock

With tvOS 10, you have something called Single Sign-On, which automatically signs you into these apps. These access credentials are managed in one central place, with a new page on the App Store showing you apps that you have access too.

This feature is going to launch on iOS, too.

apple tv remote app

Apple TV owners can now switch to a dark interface in Settings and apps downloaded on iOS which exists on tvOS can also auto-install to the set-top box with support for Automatic Downloads for Apple TV apps.

If you use your Apple TV for games, you’ll be delighter to learn that tvOS now supports up to four game controllers at once versus just two, as well as multiplayer game sessions and recording in-game videos with ReplayKit.

Developers can now create Apple TV apps that integrate with your Photos library with PhotoKit for tvOS. Graphically intensive apps and games will be nicer with new APIs and things like SpriteKit, and more.

tvOS 10 is launching this fall.

Apple rebrands OS X as macOS

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That Apple would rebrand OS X as ‘MacOS’ was one of the worst-kept WWDC secrets ahead of today’s keynote, and Apple just made it official. SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi just announced on stage that from here on out, the Mac operating system is going to be called macOS.

wwdc 2016 macos

The change of course brings OS X more inline with the naming conventions of Apple’s other platforms: iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. There’s obviously nothing ground-breaking here, but the rebranding is more than notable. So from now on, no more OS X. Just refer to the Mac OS as…macOS.

wwdc 2016 macos sierra

We know OS X is now macOS, and the first major version is macOS Sierra. So what new features does it have? SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi is on stage at Apple’s WWDC keynote running through the new additions and improvements in the software, and there are some great ones.

The main focuses for this update are going to be Continuity, iCloud and “the fundamentals of the Mac experience.” The first big new feature for the group is Auto Unlock, which allows you to automatically unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch—meaning, if you have your Watch on, you don’t need to type in your password.

Another new feature is Universal Clipboard. Like the name suggests, this means that clipboard will work across macOS and iOS. So copying something on your iPhone will add it to your Mac’s clipboard and vice versa. Apple Pay is also coming to the Mac via the Safari web browser (as rumored). When you shop online, you’ll have an Apple Pay button. When you pay, you’ll get a prompt to authenticate on your phone or watch with TouchID or a tap on the wrist.

wwdc 2016 siri for Mac

Finally, Federighi announced that Siri is coming to the Mac. The digital assistant will be accessible via a Menu Bar icon, and a Dock icon, and will be just as capable as it is on iOS. You can command Siri to play a playlist in Apple Music, send Messages, perform image searches and much, much more.

wwdc 2016 auto unlock

Apple announced a major new feature for its upcoming macOS Sierra operating system for Macs on Monday at WWDC 2016, which will let you get into your Mac easier than you ever have before.

Dubbed Auto Unlock, it’s an extension of the Continuity feature between your mobile devices and your Mac.

Rather than being presented with a password entry interface from your Lock screen every time you wake up your Mac, Auto Unlock is going to let you get into your Mac as long as you have an authenticated device on your person – namely, your Apple Watch.

Whenever you’re wearing the Apple Watch, it’s already authenticated as long as you haven’t taken it off recently. It stays authenticated until you actually take it off.

The Apple Watch can already use Touch ID from your iPhone to be authenticated, so Touch ID can actively impact your Mac authentication as well. Keep in mind however, that you don’t need to use Touch ID to unlock your Mac directly.

After you’ve authenticated your Apple Watch, either by entering the passcode or by using Touch ID on your iPhone, you just need to keep wearing it. When you walk within Bluetooth proximity of your Mac, your computer is going to unlock for you automatically so you can start using it without even having to enter a password to get into it.

It’s very much a secure way of getting into your Mac, because Auto Lock won’t unlock your Mac unless you’re wearing an authenticated Apple Watch. If your Apple Watch is being worn, but hasn’t been authenticated, then you don’t need to worry because your Mac won’t unlock.

The feature is very similar to that of MacID, which would allow you to unlock your Mac from your authenticated Apple Watch, but now it’s going to be natively built right into macOS.

This is a feature that appears to be limited to the Apple Watch only, so if you don’t own one, then Auto Unlock won’t be possible. It doesn’t appear that the feature will allow those with Touch ID to unlock their Macs via their iPhone or iPad.

Here’s iOS 10’s revamped Lock screen with widgets, Raise to Wake, rich notifications and more

wwdc 2016 ios 10 lock screen widgets

Apple is holding its anticipated keynote presentation at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco this morning, which has kicked off the five-day WWDC 2016 developers conference, and they just announced iOS 10, the tenth major version of the mobile operation system powering the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
For iOS 10, there’s a completely redesigned Lock screen that now makes it easy to respond to notifications with a lot richer 3D Touch support, the ability to enjoy widgets full screen, a time-saving feature called Raise to Wake and more.

Quick interactions from the Lock screen are now a lot easier than before because the whole Lock screen is now much more interactive. With a new feature called Raise to Wake, you can see on what’s your Lock screen without having to press a button—you just lift your iPhone to your eye level.

Notifications on the Lock screen can be 3D Touched, which can come quite in handy when responding to a message on the Lock screen. In fact, 3D Touch’s Peek previews are no longer static.

For example, you can 3D Touch on a Messages notification on the Lock screen to not just peek at it, but also type out your response, see what you exchanged in a thread and even enjoy inline media.

The Lock screen on iOS 10 also lets you slide over to the right to get to the Camera app faster than before. Or, you can slide over the other way to show widgets on the Lock screen. And speaking of widgets, they can show you even more information by tapping the More icon on the widget.

And that’s what’s new, ladies and gentlemen, for the Lock screen on iOS 10.

wwdc 2016 photos face recognition

Photos in iOS 10 is receiving a major upgrade with several major new features and a few noteworthy improvements. For starters, Photos in iOS 10 has a dedicated Maps view similar to iPhoto for Mac which lets you browse your photos on a world map, based on where you took them.

More importantly, Photos now features facial, object and scene recognition that uses advanced computer vision and deep learning techniques to recognize objects on photos locally on the device, taking advantage of the power of Apple’s A-series of processors.

Because the photos are examined locally on the device rather than on Apple’s servers, your privacy is assured. Apple says that iOS 10 performs a whopping eleven billion computations per photo to recognize faces, objects and scenes.

Another new feature in Photos for iOS 10: Memories.

Taking advantage of advanced artificial intelligence which scans your entire Photos library to cluster together the photos that might make sense to you, Memories can surface trips that might be relevant, photographs relevant to last week or last month, pictures of people that are special to you, topics like the beaches, mountains and so forth.

The new facial recognition in Photos in iOS 10, along with object and scene recognition, also works on the Mac and the new Apple TV.

wwdc 2016 ios 10 maps proactive

Eddy Cue is on stage right now, at Apple’s WWDC keynote, talking about the new Maps app in iOS 10. The stock mapping application gets a lot smarter in the upcoming update, with improved search, en route traffic information and a new feature called Quick Controls.

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The beautiful new design language in a revamped Apple Music is now a reality. According to Apple, the first tab within the app is now Library that gives you quick access to your songs as well as your downloaded music. A new Recently Added section makes it easy to pinpoint new songs and albums you’ve added to your library.

Apple Music now has inline lyrics, which is pretty awesome.

wwdc 2016 music lyrics

The top of the For You tab now has a Discovery mix, a Recently Played playlist, a daily curated playlist in an obvious shot at Spotify and more. Content from the Connect tab is now integrated within the For You tab rather than live in its own tab.

wwdc 2016 Home icon

There’s a new stock app in iOS 10 that most people will probably want to get rid of: Home. Home is the missing link in Apple’s strategy for the connected home, which now supports even more categories of HomeKit-compatible devices like smart cameras and door locks. It’s not just a new Home screen app: Home is built right into Control Center and it also works from the Lock screen of your iPhone.

And with iOS 10’s interactive Home screen with support for rich notifications, your security camera, for instance, can send you an alert if it detects an intruder and you can even watch a live video feed right from the Lock screen.

wwdc 2016 Home app

Remote access to your home and automation with HomeKit devices is now easier than ever because the fourth-generation Apple TV acts as a HomeKit hub for remote control. The new Home app is also included in watchOS 3.

wwdc 2016 voicemail transcription

iOS 10 was shown off at WWDC 2016 on Monday, and with all of the new features Apple brought to the table, the Phone app is certainly one of the spotlights that deserves attention.

A new Phone experience for iPhone?

Apple’s new Phone app in iOS 10 is going to get a lot of useful new features to make using the phone aspect of your iPhone a whole lot better.

Starting with improvements to VoiceMail, the Phone app in iOS 10 will now convert any voicemail you receive into a readable text that you can read rather than listen to out loud.

The Phone app also improves the experience with incoming calls, because when you receive a phone call from an unknown phone number, iOS can automatically tell you whether or not the call is likely to be a spam call.

Support for VoIP via API

Apple is also allowing third-party developers who make VoIP apps for the App Store to integrate with the Phone app so that calling notifications from those third-party apps actually fill the screen, rather than appearing as a useless Lock screen notification.

wwdc 2016 phone voice api

As a result, you can actually take calls from those VoIP apps from the Lock screen just like they were native phone calls. A slide to answer bar will appear at the bottom of the screen just like a phone call would, and the call will route through to the third-party app’s VoIP services.

wwdc 2016 rich links messages

Also getting a big update in iOS 10 is the Messages app. New features include inline rich links, which open YouTube videos, images and other types of media—videos now play right within the app!—a built-in Camera viewfinder, and some great emoji improvements.

These improvements include 3x bigger emoji images within your messages, so you can see the icons in greater detail, and predictive emoji. Apple calls this “emojifiable.” So the Messages app in iOS 10 can essentially guess emoji images for the words you tap on.

wwdc 2016 bigger emoji

Also new in the Messages app is what Apple is calling “Bubble effects.” This allows you add nice little transitional effects to your Bubbles and even the full screen for the person you’re talking to. Some of the effects demoed on stage include swipe-to-reveal, zoom, full screen of balloons and much more. This is actually really cool-looking, and you have to see a demo of it in action to really understand.

Other Messages announcements: the ability to scribble or hand-write a message, Messages app APIs for developers (yes this means third party for Messages).

wwdc 2016 emoji tap to replace

A developer preview of iOS 10 will be released to members of the Apple Developer Program following the WWDC 2016 keynote this morning at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. According to Apple, iOS 10 will release for everyone this fall for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, likely ahead of the iPhone 7 introduction.

wwdc 2016 ios 10 available in fall
End of Apple’s Event. This post will be updated with official screenshots and videos as soon as possible.

Here’s how Siri sounds in Arabic! Coming soon in iOS 9.2!

Siri Arabic

Apple has released iOS 9.2 as a Public Beta, and one of the features alongside the bug fixes and installed extensions for safari tabs in third party apps, is that Siri now understands the Arabic Language and it replies in Arabic too!

Here’s a video that demonstrate this feature:

The final version of iOS 9.1 was only sent out to the public last week, so you should probably expect a few more betas before iOS 9.2 is finished.

Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and new Lumia Smartphones!

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 image 001

Software giant Microsoft today announced its next-generation Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 4. Designed to take Apple’s upcoming $799 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the $899 Surface Pro 4 offers updated hardware and software features like Windows Hello, the Cortana personal assistant, and of course Windows 10.

The thinnest and most powerful Surface yet, the Surface Pro 4 features a larger display than its predecessor, fitting a 12.3-inch display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device, making the laptop/tablet hybrid compatible with the existing crop of keyboard accessories on the market.

Microsoft also designed a brand new stylus to go with the Surface Pro 4. They’re calling it the Surface Pen and it’s extremely sensitive at detecting 1,024 levels of pressure.

Surface Pro 4

As mentioned, the new Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch PixelSense 3:2 aspect ratio display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device. At only 8.4 mm thin and weighing in at 786 grams (1.73 pounds), the new Surface is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

The PixelSense screen has five million pixels at a resolution of 2,736-by-1,824 pixels at 267 pixels per inch. The contrast ratio is 1300:1. Each display has been individually calibrated to achieve a hundred percent sRGB color.

The new Surface, rated with up to nine hours of battery life for vide playback, is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processors (Core m, Core i5 and Core i7), with Microsoft claiming the device to be one-third faster than its predecessor and up to 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air notebook.

The gizmo runs Microsoft’s Windows 10, which can run both desktop and tablet applications, as the Surface was designed to be a tablet that can replace your laptop.

Check out Microsoft’s rather nicely done promotional video below.

If you can’t see the video embed, watch it on YouTube.

The device incorporates a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard, has the 0.4mm-thick Gorilla Glass 4 covering the front and runs a Microsoft-designed ‘G5’ chipset which controls the Surface’s responsive touchscreen. Built-in flash storage can be upgraded from the base 128 GB to up to one terabytes while the memory varies by model at 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB.

Wireless stack supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.0. Other hardware features include a five-megapixel front camera with 1080p video capture, an eight-megapixel sensor out the back with auto-focus and 1080p video capture, stereo microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, one full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader.

A handy side-by-side comparison of the Surface Pro 4 features versus those of previous Surface models is available at the official website. More about the Surface Pro 4 is available in Microsoft’s fact sheet.

Surface Pen

The all-new Surface Pen is bundled with the Surface Pro 4.

It can detect 1,024 levels of pressure so it’s more sensitive and accurate then before. The Surface Pen has an eraser on one end and attaches magnetically to the side of the Surface Pro 4 when not in use.

Microsoft Surface Pen image 001

A dedicated button on the stylus lets you invoke Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant. A built-in battery provides “all-year battery life,” according to Microsoft.

Last but not least, an all-new Type Cover (sold separately) is available for the new Surface, featuring a redesigned mechanical keyboard, an optional fingerprint reader and backward compatibility with the existing Surface Pro 3 devices.

Pricing

Here’s what the Surface Pro 4 will cost you:

  • $899—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM M3 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $999—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $1,299—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,599—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,799—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM
  • $2,199—512 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM

These are estimated retail prices so actual retail pricing may wary.

Availability

The new Surface Pro 4 and the new accessories are available for pre-order in select markets October 7, 2015. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 and is scheduled to ship on October 26 in Canada and the United States, with additional markets to follow. The Surface Pen is provided in a variety of colors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 008

In addition to launching the new $899 Surface Pro 4 with the Surface Pen stylus, Windows giant Microsoft has another highly-popular Apple product in its crosshair: the MacBook Air.

Billed as “the ultimate laptop,“ the Surface Book is another hybrid device from Microsoft. Featuring an accurate, responsive stylus, multi-touch support and a high-resolution 13.5-inch optically bonded screen that detaches easily from the keyboard, the new Surface Book promises to offer best of both worlds.

Surface Book hardware

The Surface Book is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors with up to twelve hours of video playback. The 13.5-inch PixelSense display at 267 pixels per inch with improved touch latency and parallax is “natural and fluid to write on,” according to the Redmond firm.

Microsoft Surface Book image 007

In terms of graphics, the baseline Surface Book configuration uses Intel HD graphics 520 but you can optionally upgrade it to discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics with dedicated 1GB of DDR5 video memory and hardware-acceleration for video editing, fast rendering and immersive gaming.

Microsoft Surface Book vs MacBook Pro slide

For those wondering, that 13.5-inch 3:2 aspect ratio screen maxes out at an astounding 3,000-by-2,000 pixel resolution. Contrast ratio is 1800:1 and the display can detect up to ten simultaneous touches at once. Like on the Surface Pro 4, each Surface Book screen has been individually calibrated to achieve 100 percent sRGB color.

If you the embedded video won’t show, watch it on YouTube.

Next, the front-facing camera has five megapixels and supports 1080p video capture (you can use it to log into Windows with the Hello facial recognition feature). An eight-megapixel camera on the back is also capable of capturing 1080p video.

In terms of connectivity, the Surface Book is 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. Other features include a full sized, backlit keyboard, up to 16 GB of memory, and the same Windows Hello and Cortana software features provided by Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface Book image 006

We should also mention that Microsoft’s new notebook/laptop hybrid sports stereo headphones, dual microphones and microphone jack built-in, in addition to the front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio. The computer packs in ambient light, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 005

In terms of I/O, the Surface Book has two full-size USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort, a single full-size SD memory card reader and the Surface Connect for power and docking (base and clipboard).

All Surface Book models ship bundled with the Surface Pen stylus.

Surface Dock

The new Surface Dock is available, too. Compatible with the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3, it transforms your device into a desktop PC by plugging in your dock with the SurfaceConnect cable.

Microsoft Surface Dock image 002

The Surface Dock features two Mini DisplayPorts, one Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, one audio out port and an external power brick.

Pricing

The following Surface Book configurations are available:

  • $1,499—128 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,699—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,899—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,099—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,699—512 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor

These are estimated retail prices so actual retailer pricing may vary.

Availability

The Surface Book will be on sale in Canada and the United States on October 26, like the fourth-generation Surface Pro and Microsoft’s refreshed accessories lineup. The Surface Book can be pre-ordered in select markets October 7, 2015.

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microsoft-lumia-logo-mwc-2015-1

Today Microsoft announced its latest Windows-powered phones, as well as two new members to the Surface family.

The new Lumias are the first devices to ship with Windows 10 (mobile), which represents a massive step forward for Microsoft. What’s all new? Let’s jump in and find out.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL

microsoft lumia 950 (5)

The new Lumia 950 and 950 XL are Microsoft’s new flagship phone offerings, and both are quite impressive on paper.

First, the 950 is powered by a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with a 5.2-inch WQHD display, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage (and microSD). The 950XL scales things up a bit, offering the same amount of RAM and storage, but bumping the QHD display up to 5.7-inches and trades out the 808 for a octa-core Snapdragon 810.

Both phones share the same rear 20MP sensor with OIS, USB Type-C ports, Qualcomm quick charging, and the same basic sensors you’d expect. Microsoft also says the phones utilize a form of liquid cooling to help eliminate (or reduce) any potential heating issues.

The new Lumias also support Windows Hello, which will use face-scanning tech via the camera to login users; this is not anything particularly innovative for those over at Camp Android, but a first for Windows (phone) users.

In many ways, the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL look a lot like typical Android devices when it comes to the spec sheet. The big difference, of course, is on the software side. Forgoing Android, Microsoft’s latest devices jump from the Window Phone 8 over to Windows 10 Mobile.

The new platform looks a lot like WP8 did, but offers quite a few under the hood and UI improvements that help it feel much more polished than past iterations of the Windows phone-centric OS.
With Windows 10 Mobile, you’ll now find an integrated store that combines the Windows 8/10 (desktop/tablet) store and the Windows phone store into one. That means just about any universal app should play nicely with a Windows-powered phone, though traditional Windows .EXE programs obviously won’t work.

Probably one of the coolest software tricks for Windows 10 (mobile) is known as Continuum. Basically, this feature lets you experience a full Windows-like experience, complete with a desktop screen and a start menu when plugged into a bigger monitor. The experience isn’t completely like Windows 10 (more like Windows RT with the looks of 10), and so you are limited to what apps will work. That said, any universal app for the Windows store will play nicely, as will programs like Microsoft Office.

So how do you hook up your phone to a bigger screen? This can be done either by connecting a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and wirelessly streaming to a compatible display, or there’s the Display Dock. The Display Dock is an optional accessory that plugs into the 950 or 950XL and includes three USB ports, including Type-C, as well as a Display Port and an HDMI port. The presence of USB means you’ll be able to use just about any keyboard or mouse, as well as USB drives for extra storage, and other USB powered accessories. No word on its pricing just yet.

Both the Lumia 950 and 950XL are expected to arrive this November, priced at $549 and $649, respectively.

Microsoft Lumia 550

microsoft lumia 550 (2)

Designed to compete with budget offerings in the Android world, the Lumia 550 is a 5-inch device that is powered by a Snapdragon 210 with 8GB storage. Other specs include a 5MP rear cam, 2MP front cam, 8GB storage with microSD expansion, and a 1905 mAh battery.

The phone is priced at $139 and will arrive in December. Judging by the spec sheet, Android alternatives like the Moto G need not get too worried by this one. While the specs aren’t bad for the price, they aren’t exactly amazing either. Additionally, some of the cooler Windows 10 features like Continuum aren’t mentioned, so we doubt the phone is powerful enough to support it.

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WWDC 2015: Apple announces OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Music and so much more!

OS-X-El-Capitan

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has kicked off in San Francisco this morning with a keynote talk at 10am PST. Surprisingly, Apple has skipped the usual round of business updates and went right for the big news.

Following months of speculation and rumor mongering, the California firm has formally unveiled the next major version of the Mac operating system. It’s called OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Yup, you read that right.

OS X 10.11 has new gestures like the shaking gesture to show the mouse pointer and more.

Safari Pin Tabs

In Safari, you can pin a website.

pin Tabs

Pin Tabs have a dedicated icon left to the tab bar. If a tab plays audio, there’s a new option to see what website is playing and can mute it with a click of the mouse button.

Spotlight Search Improvements
The improved Spotlight has better natural language processing so you can search for stuff like “Mail I ignored from Phil,” “Documents I worked on last June” and more.

OS X El Capitan Spotlight

Improved Mission Control
You can now snap windows to either side of the screen directly in Mission Control, similar to Windows 7, which provides a great way to work split-screen. If you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment. Super handy.

And if you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment.

Split View

Super handy.

Performance

OS X El Capitan features some serious plumbing work to accelerate your daily computing. You’ll experience 1.4 times acceleration in app launching, 2x faster in snappiness, four times faster opening PDF in Preview and more.

Metal, an iOS 8 framework for close-to-the-metal access to the GPU is now available to Mac developers.

Metal in OS X El Capitan delivers 50 percent increase in graphics performance and 40 percent greater rendering efficiency, leading to better battery life.

El Capitan performance improvement

Metal will do wonders for all kinds of Mac applications.

Apple is working with Adobe, which will update its creative apps for the Mac with support for Metal technology. Epic Games showed off an updated Unreal Engine with Metal support.

A demo shown off on stage included 64 layers of shading, with all the effects done completely in real-time. Epic said Metal on OS X El Capitan delivers a 70 percent reduction in CPU use compared to OpenGL.

OS X El Capitan Beta today

Apple has taken the stage this morning inside San Francisco’s Moscone West to deliver the latest advancements to its three crucial platforms: iOS, OS X and watchOS.

According to Apple, registered Mac developers will have their chance to download the first beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan later today, which just got officially announced, after the event has wrapped up (currently, Apple’s portal for developers is down).

Members of Apple’s OS X Public Beta Program will be able to try out El Capitan next month, and we’ll update you on that as soon as it becomes available.

For everyone else, OS X 10.11 El Capitan will roll out this fall as a free update.

OS X El Capitan free upgrade fall

OS X 10.11 includes an improved Mission Control with great window snapping features, an enhanced Safari browser with the Pin Tabs feature, Spotlight Search improvements and a number of performance optimizations revolving around Metal for Mac and more.

iOS 9

Ask More to Siri

Finishing up with OS X El Capitan, Apple’s Craig Federighi moves on to talk about Siri. Apple has been working on a number of improvements to the digital assistant, which has been criticized over the years for lagging behind the efforts of Google and others.

In line with run-up event rumors, Siri is getting more intelligent in iOS 9 thanks to ‘Proactive,’ which makes your device more contextually aware.

For some examples, saying “Show me photos from Utah from last August” will now return all of your photos that have been geo-tagged in Utah. “Remind me to grab coffee off the roof of my car when I get in” will also work, because Siri knows when you’re in the car.

Spotlight iOS 9

Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS.

iOS 9 Search

To access the new search interface, you’ll need to swipe right on the Home screen to reveal the search panel. Not only do you get the standard search input box, but you’re provided with Siri suggestions, nearby information based on your location, news, Netflix movies, sports schedules, and more.

One of the most impressive things about the new search interface is its ability to deep link into the apps that you have installed on your phone. When tapping on one of the app links provided in the search interface, you’ll be taken directly into the respective apps, and not just to the app’s main interface, but deep into the location in the app that relates to the specific search result.

Apple Pay UK

Apple Pay, Apple’s wireless payment system, will be coming to the United Kingdom next mont with 250,000 UK merchant locations. Commuters using London transportation system will be able to use Apple Pay, too. Furthermore, the system will be available to Discover’s 50 million card members this fall, said Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today.

Trader Joe’s, J.C. Penneys and many other retailers will be joining Apple Pay soon. Small business will be supported on Apple Pay through Square via a brand new reader that will be available on Apple Stores.

Apple will enable loyalty and rewards in-store cards through Apple Pay this fall, it’s been confirmed.

Developers are seeing more than 2x checkout conversion rate with Apple Pay, noted the firm, saying that Pinterest will roll out support for Apple Pay next month.

Maps Transit

It’s transit time! Apple just announced that its Apple Maps service now provides transit lines, bus stations, ferry lines and more.

Available across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, the improved Apple Maps also sports departure times, multi-modal routing with step-by-step directions and estimated times for walking directions.

You can now find locations by type with just a tap, with a new icon telling you if a business location accepts Apple Pay.

Noting that Apple is seeing 3.5 times higher Maps usage compared to the “next leading mapping app,” the firm has said that you’ll be able to ask Siri for transit directions, too.

Maps cities launch transit

Apple Maps will be rolling out to a select number of major cities throughout the world, including more than a hundred cities in China.

Wallet rewards

During its WWDC conference today, Apple announced that it has decided to change the name of its stock iOS app Passbook to Wallet. The move makes sense, considering that last fall it took over Apple Pay duties, and soon it will be getting store and reward cards.

That’s right, you can now add store and rewards cards from retailers and restaurants. Kohl’s, Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts are all apparently on board for the launch of this initiative, and it sounds like Apple is talking to a number of other high profile partners.

Notes Sketch

Apple says that many iPhone users use the Notes app regularly to do things like create lists, capture ideas, and more. As a big proponent of the Notes app, I completely concur.

Notes on iOS 9 brings some significant new improvements to the Notes app to help those users, including the ability to create lists, rich text, and hand-drawn notes, and more.

Notes Checklist

The new Notes app will also allow you to add content directly from Safari, Apple Maps, and other apps. This is done via the share sheet, which is accessible via the share button on supported apps.

Lastly, you’ll be able to use your camera directly from the Notes app to add photos. As someone who often captures images for documentation, the ability to do this right from within the Notes app is a great feature.

Keyboard improvements

Apple has said that people using iOS 9 on their iPads will be more productive thanks to an improved QuickType virtual keyboard. The suggestion bar introduced in iOS 8 now has handy shortcuts to format your content, move between apps, position the cursor and even multitask like a pro.

Located right at the top of the QuickType keyboard, a new bar provides access to handy shortcuts to cut, copy and paste text. You also get shortcuts for rich text formatting, accessing attachments and your photos and much more.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Probably the coolest feature of the improved QuickType keyboard is the ability to move a cursor by dragging: just put two fingers on the keyboard and it essentially turns it into a virtual trackpad of sorts, allowing you to position the cursor more precisely and easily than before, no need to use the copy-paste loupe whatsoever.

ios 9 battery

Among the many new features Apple announced today in iOS 9, is a new Low Power battery mode. Much like the feature of the same name on Apple Watch, the new iOS feature will help save precious battery life on your iPhone or iPad.

MULTITASKING Finally!

Split View multitasking

True multitasking is now a reality on the iPad! With iOS 9, you can view two apps at the same time and interact with them using multitouch at the same time.

You can also adjust the Split View between the two apps on the fly, and access additional apps by means of a brand new App Switcher. You’ll even be able to watch videos via a brand new Picture in Picture mode.

Picture in Picture

The new multitasking interface works using four main components:

App Switcher – The App Switcher has been completely redesigned in iOS 9.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Slide Over – Lets you open a second app from the side of the screen without leaving the app that you’re currently using. Slide over is available for the following iPad models:

  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad Mini 3

Split View is available only on the iPad Air 2, and allows two apps to be open and active on screen at the same time. You can then use multitouch gestures with both apps simultaneously.

Slide Over

Picture in Picture – Will scale down a video so that you can enjoy the video while doing things like web browsing and checking email.

Multitasking on the iPad is a complete game-changer, and one of the biggest changes to the iPad since the original device launched in 2010. Seriously, it looks incredible, and I’m going out to buy a new iPad Air 2 asap.

HomeKit iOS 9

HomeKit, Apple’s platform for the connected home that was unveiled last summer, is beginning to pick up support from some well-established names in smart home appliances.

Last week, several vendors brought out some compelling HomeKit-certified home automation devices ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. And now, HomeKit is going to get a lot smarter with support for new types of home automation systems and improved remote management of your home.

In addition to the existing crop of device types for the connected home, HomeKit in iOS 9 will support many more types of sensors to make your connect home smarter, including windows shades, carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors and dedicated security systems as well.

Additionally, you will be able to access and manage your home via iCloud.

It should be noted that the current crop of devices can be managed remotely through the Apple TV acting as a HomeKit hub, or a dedicated HomeKit hub device.

iOS 9 beta today

In wrapping up its iOS 9 preview at WWDC, Apple announced availability for the upcoming software update. As usual, it looks like a beta will be available to developers sometime after the keynote today, but there’s a bit of a new twist this year.

iOS 9 public fall

As with previous versions of OS X, Apple says that non-developers will be able to get in on the beta festivities this year. You can sign up here for Apple’s public beta testing program, and it will be released in the vague timeframe of “July.”

For those who don’t care about pre-release betas, Apple says iOS 9 will be available to the public “this fall.”

Watch face photo

Framed as a “giant moment” that feels like “opening the App Store” back in 2008, Apple CEO Tim Cook today at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco said that apps for the Apple Watch, which launched just six weeks ago, will soon run natively on the device through the new watchOS.

The forthcoming Apple Watch operating system update, among other things, brings out a pair of additional watch faces with custom Complications.

watchOS 2 (yes, that’s what they’re calling it) also includes a plethora of other enhancements such as improvements in communications, health and fitness, Maps, Siri and more.

watchos 2 third party

Now that it’s done talking about OS X El Capitan and iOS 9, Apple has moved on to watchOS. In previewing the Apple Watch’s first major software update, the company has announced several new features including support for third party complications.

Apple Music is official

Apple Music

“The next chapter in music,” the rumored Apple-branded subscription streaming-music service, is now official. Apple CEO Tim Cook brought Jimmy Iovine today on stage in San Francisco to deliver what Apple’s been doing in the music space.

Apple Music is all your playlists, recommendations, radio stations with celebrity DJs, streaming music, the Connect feature that’s basically artists pages with information about their songs, behind-the-scenes videos, news updates and more, all available through one app.

Here’s what else Apple Music is all about.

Apple Music is “All the ways you love music, all in one place.”

Apple Music three pilars

It’s three things:

  • Revolutionary music service
  • 24/7 global radio
  • Connecting fans with artists

Revolutionary music service

Apple Music is curated by hand-picked experts to help create the magic of what app comes up next, depending on your activity, mood and a number of other criteria.

Apple Music revolutionary music service

All your purchase music and playlists created on Macs and iOS devices are included in the My Music section of Apple Music. Another new tab is For You, a personalized playlists of artists and songs that Apple’s team of experts thinks you’ll love, with a little help of the iTunes recommendation engine.

These recommendations can be explored by genre and activity.

“Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional taks,” said Iovine.

24/7 global radio

They’re calling it Beats One.

Apple Music Global Radio

As for the global radio, they’re using celebrity DJs in three major cities—New York, Los Angeles and London—that provides great music “without any restriction.”

Connecting fans with artists

Noting that the streaming music and video space is “a fragmented mess,“ Iovine said that Apple Music delivers the art of music, with the sense of respect and discovery, giving artists a place to engage with their audiences.

Artists can post, publish and update anything, and fans can like and comment on those posts.

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