2019 seems to be the year of ‘Pro’ for Apple with the launches of the iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro, and the Mac Pro with Pro Display XDR. The 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued before but the newly announced 16-inch MacBook Pro seems to hit the sweet spot for Apple when it comes to big ‘pro’ notebooks.
Same design, larger footprint
The new MacBook Pro has a larger 16-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 3072 x 1920 at a brilliant 500 nits, replacing the older 15-inch models. It has a DCI-P3 color gamut, ideal for processing shots and grading films all together. This new display offers an immersive visual experience and larger screen real estate without the extra heft.
There’s a massive six-speaker sound system which brings high-fidelity audio experience not just for audiophiles and musicians, but for video editors and podcasters alike. It promises clearer and more natural audio, with the bass able to go half an octave deeper. The microphones also get an upgrade. There’s now less hiss and they deliver cleaner audio recordings.
To address the problems everyone had with the Butterfly keyboard that plagued previous models, Apple has announced a newer Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism and a more responsive key press. There’s now a separate, physical escape key since more and more users would find their escape keys frozen with the Touch Bar MacBook Pros. The Touch ID slash power button is also separate. It also brings back the inverted-T arrow keys.
Powerful specs for the power users
We all know the 15-inch MacBook Pro is already powerful, but this monster promises a significant performance boost of up to 2.1 times. This is configurable with the latest 6 / 8-core 9th Generation Intel processors. Turbo Speeds are also promised to reach up to 5GHz. For the first time, they offer a massive 64GB of memory and a spacious 8TB SSD option — the largest on a notebook yet.
There’s also a new AMD Radeon Pro 5000M graphics card, which is the first 7nm mobile discrete GPU for professionals. It’s also paired with GDDR6 video memory and an 8GB of VRAM option. This is beneficial for heavy filmmakers and 3D animators alike.
Gaming on Mac may not sound good but it also promises a smoother gameplay of up to 1.6 times. Game developers will also enjoy this machine as Unity will deliver 1.4 times faster fly-through performance than its competitors.
The highest configured 16-inch MacBook Pro promises a performance improvement of up to 80 times over the last highest-end 15-inch MacBook Pro.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s new thermal design enables intensive workload over long periods of time. The heat sink is 35 percent larger, resulting to a 28 percent increase in airflow and better heat dissipation. The battery is at its biggest at 100Wh. It promises 11 hours of battery life — one hour more than the previous model.
Pricing and availability
The 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at SG$ 3,499 in Singapore or US$ 2,399 in the US, the same starting price as the previous 15-inch model. It’s available online and through the Apple Store app starting today. In-store availability will come later this week.
AMD unveils new Radeon PRO workstation GPUs
Based on the same architecture as the next-gen consoles
AMD may be facing some shortages in their chips for the remainder of this year, but it’s not stopping them just yet. Within their GPU lineup, Team Red looks to launch a more powerful AMD Radeon PRO W6000 series of workstation graphics. This time around, they’ve integrated a familiar and powerful type of RDNA architecture to boost your workstation’s graphical performance.
See, AMD designed the new Radeon PRO W6000 series of workstation GPUs for heavier, more complex workloads. From demanding architectural design to 4K video rendering, these new GPUs will ideally handle all of these with ease. One of the big reasons behind this is that these GPUs are built using the RDNA 2 architecture. Yes, it’s the same architecture behind the GPUs of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S!
Apart from graphical performance boosts, the Radeon PRO W6000 series also offers realtime ray-tracing for faster renders. Essentially, the GPU has more enhanced compute units that boost design renders by up to 46 percent compared to previous generations. Along with AMD’s Smart Access Memory, you can even unlock higher performance for supported AMD Ryzen CPUs.
AMD will roll out their Radeon PRO W6000 series of GPUs in this fashion, along with their SRPs:
- Now Available: AMD Radeon PRO W6800 (US$ 2,249)
- Starting July 2021: AMD Radeon PRO W6600M (in select countries and mobile workstations)
- Q3 2021: AMD Radeon PRO W6600 (US$ 649)
SmartThings by Samsung unveils new interface
Better, more optimized
A new generation for SmartThings is about to release. A revamped version of its mobile and Windows desktop app. The new design, which is part of SmartThings’ continued effort to simplifying the connected home experience. Additionally, it provides a simpler, more robust user journey and faster load times with a whole new interface.
The new interface makes it easier to identify connected home experiences while also maintaining a smooth transition from the previous version of SmartThings. The design that was improved for SmartThings divides the app into five sections: Favorites, Devices, Life, Automations, and Menu.
Favorites are the new home screen within SmartThings and gather the devices, scenes, and services used most for quicker access.
Devices let users monitor all devices, connecting TVs, light bulbs, appliances, and many more.
Life is a part where customers discover new services. As a matter of fact, this transforms physical objects into meaningful user experiences as they explore the expanding world of linked life. Users may learn about new features that will better their entire living experience, such as SmartThings Cooking. It is an all-in-one service that will offer seamless kitchen and meal preparation experiences.
Automations link devices, allowing them to collaborate and respond to certain situations in the home, such as a door opening and a light switching on.
Additional functions, such as Labs, Notifications, History, and Settings, will be housed in the Menu.
The new interface is available for Android devices starting today, and iOS will follow. This update follows SmartThings’ recent announcement of its Windows application, which offers a similar experience right from a Galaxy Book and any other Windows PC.
Samsung continues to invest in enhancing its technology, they also announced the incorporation of the Matter protocol into its ecosystem. SmartThings claims to be in the leading spot as the platform with the most flexible ways to connect devices. This includes Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Matter.
Finally, you can see more information about SmartThings here.
macOS Monterey introduces Shortcuts, Universal Control, new Safari
Really significant upgrades
Anyone who works on a MacBook or an iMac should be pretty darn excited about the features coming to macOS Monterey, announced at WWDC 2021. Some of the most notable ones are Shortcuts, Universal Control and a new and improved Safari browser.
Initially introduced on iOS, Shortcuts is essentially a way to cut down the time you spend to execute tasks you repeat regularly. There’s a rich gallery of pre-built actions designed just for Mac like being able to instantly share files, make animated GIFs, and more.
Shortcuts is integrated throughout macOS, including the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, and even hands-free with Siri. What happens to automator now? Users can easily import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts and be up and running right away.
For Apple users with multiple devices, Universal Control will be a godsend. This lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard and move between Mac and iPad for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can drag and drop content back and forth between devices like it’s nothing.
Safari adds a new tab design, including a redesigned tab bar and Tab Groups, so users can browse the web in new ways.
A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the tool bar, and the search field into a single compact design.
Tab Groups offer a new way to easily save and manage tabs. They also sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so users can continue their project from anywhere and easily share tabs with other Apple users.
Other improvements and features
SharePlay — Works similarly to the one on iOS where you can have a listening or watch party via Apple Music and Apple TV with people you’re in a FaceTime call with.
Shared with You — Makes it easy to locate and enjoy all the great content that’s shared through Messages, including photos, videos, articles, and more, right from a Shared with You tab within various Apple apps.
Live Text — Uses on-device machine learning to detect text in photos, including phone numbers, websites, addresses, and tracking numbers, so users can copy and paste, make a phone call, open a website, and easily find more information
Privacy — Mail Privacy Protection let users choose whether emails can collect information about their Mail activity, and the Mac recording indicator now shows which app is accessing the Mac’s microphone.
Accessibility — Lets anyone add alternative image descriptions right from Markup, and improved Full Keyboard Access and new cursor customization options provide more flexibility when navigating Mac.
macOS Monterey is coming this fall.
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