News

Apple quietly unveils the new iPad Pro

Now with better cameras, LiDAR Scanner, and Trackpad Support

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It’s been a while since Apple updated the iPad Pro. Six months ago, there was a leak that showed the new camera setup a la iPhone 11 Pro — and now it’s finally confirmed as Apple quietly announced the new iPad Pro for 2020.

Pro performance and trackpad support

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The new iPad Pro features a newer A12Z Bionic Chipset. Built to meet your needs, it can handle tasks like 4K video editing or even 3D modeling. It’s currently the highest performing iPad in the market. Apple even claims that it performs faster than most Windows laptops.

With its incredible performance, the power-efficient eight-core chipset also saves battery life by up to 10 hours of usage. Although it doesn’t support 5G yet, it promises faster Wi-Fi connectivity and LTE speed is 60 percent faster with more LTE band support.

With the newer iPadOS 13.4, it now has a trackpad support. It’s responsible for making the user’s typing experience more natural, while text selection is more precise. The cursor displays as a circle which highlights UI elements, text fields, and even apps on both the home screen and dock. It also lets you enjoy web scrolling, photo viewing, organizing mails, text editing, presentations, spreadsheets, and more.

Pro audiovisual experience

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Just like its predecessor, the new iPad Pro features an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina Display that comes in two sizes — 11-inch and a bigger 12.9-inch. TrueTone still exists to automatically adjust screen tint. Thanks to ProMotion technology, you’ll still enjoy fluid animations with 120Hz refresh rate. It also supports P3 wide color display gamut with vivid colors and better contrast which makes it the world’s “most advanced mobile display”.

As the new iPad Pro are made for professionals and content creators, the audio experience is also upgraded. You get five studio-quality microphones for a cleaner and more dynamic audio. Other than that, you also get a four-speaker setup which brings an immersive audio experience right in front of you.

Pro cameras

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Even though the new iPad Pro has an iPhone 11 Pro-like camera bump, don’t be mistaken as it only features a dual camera setup instead of three. Nonetheless, it’s still an upgrade from last year’s iPad Pro. There’s a 12-megapixel wide camera for your regular shots, combined with a 10-megapixel ultra-wide camera for a wider shot perspective. It improves not just photo capabilities, but also video shooting meant for the creative pros.

The third sensor you’ll find on the square cutout is the LiDAR Scanner — a breakthrough feature of the new iPad Pro. The scanner is responsible for measuring distance of objects around you of up to 5 meters away. Whether indoors or outdoors, you’ll have a great AR experience with Apple’s new tablet.

It also improves your usage with the Measure app. The scanner can automatically calculate someone’s height while measuring the width and length of objects is faster and more accurate. The app now comes with Ruler View that displays precise measurements and allows the user to save everything through screenshots for future use.

Pro accessories

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The new iPad Pro comes with new accessories including the second-generation Apple Pencil and an updated Smart Keyboard Folio. Other than those accessories, the new Magic Keyboard now features a floating design with cantilevered hinges that allow smooth adjustments of viewing angles up to 130 degrees. The keyboard design relies on scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm travel and has backlit support.

The new keyboard also features USB-C pass-through charging which keeps the USB-C port on the new iPad Pro free for accessories like external drives and displays. There’s also the click-anywhere trackpad for easy navigation and precise touch experience and adjustments.

Pricing and availability

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You can order the new iPad Pro on Apple’s website right now. Starting with the 11-inch new iPad Pro, the base model (128GB + Wi-Fi only) starts at US$ 799 while the Wi-Fi + Cellular model with base storage has a retail price of US$ 949. Meanwhile, the base configuration of the bigger 12.9-inch new iPad Pro starts at US$ 999 and the Wi-Fi + cellular model retails at US$ 1,149.

Other than the 128GB storage option, you also get to choose between 256GB, 512GB, and even a 1TB configuration. Color options are limited to silver and space gray only.

For the accessories, the new Magic Keyboard will be available starting in May for US$ 299 (11-inch model) and US$ 349 (12.9-inch). Meanwhile the new Smart Keyboard Folio is being sold for US$ 179 and US$ 199 respectively. Lastly, the second-generation Apple Pencil retails at US$ 129.

Accessories

realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro is coming to the Philippines

Buy it first during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

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realme is launching two new products in the Philippines — the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro. Both products will spearhead the realme Tech Life, which is the brand’s growing portfolio of smart devices.

The exact launch of these products will happen on March 2 via live stream on realme’s Facebook page and YouTube channels. The realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro will then go on sale at Shopee’s 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. Both will also have a special introductory price during the sale event.

Launched last year, the realme Smart TV comes in two sizes: a 32-inch and 42-inch model. The lower-end model has an HD resolution while the other has full HD, but both have LED panels for their displays. Both models also come with a MediaTek processor, a 24W speaker, and Android TV out of the box. It has a retail price of INR 14,999 for the 32-inch and INR 23,999 for the 42-inch. Converted, these prices translate to approximately PhP 10,000 and PhP 16,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, the realme Watch S Pro has a 1.39 AMOLED round display and a 450mAh battery rated for 14 days. It can track up to 15 different workout modes, and measures steps, heart rate, sleep, and even blood oxygen levels. In India, it retails at INR 9,990 so its price in the Philippines could hover at PhP 7,000.

Discounts for Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

It’s not only the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro that will see a special price during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. The popular mid-range devices — realme 7 Pro and 7 — snag a special one-time price of PhP 13,990 and PhP 11,990, respectively. Discounts are also up for grabs with the realme 7i: PhP 10,990 for the 8GB/128GB and PhP 6,990 for the 4GB/64GB.

realme Buds Q true wireless earbuds will also be discounted to a price of PhP 855. Finally, the first-generation realme Watch will be available to buy at PhP 2,790.

Buyers can get first dibs on these devices along with the new products starting March 3 exclusively at realme’s official Shopee store page. For more updates, follow realme Philippines’ official Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Gaming

FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

Featuring a new mission with Yuffie

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Today, PlayStation held a State of Play showcase for its upcoming games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Though the showcase was filled with new sneak peeks from all sorts of games, the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII took center stage and blew everyone away. Not content with last year’s remake, Square Enix will once again improve the original FF7 game for the PlayStation 5 and add a new DLC to go with it.

It’s a remake’s remake

Saving the best for last, 2021’s first State of Play unveiled a (literally) new look at the PlayStation 5’s version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake — titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

Most importantly, the version will add in massive technical and graphical upgrades for the remade game. Intergrade will have better lighting, for example, to take advantage of the new console’s new hardware. While the remake is already graphically stunning, the new version will make the game practically cinematic in feel.

Besides the graphics upgrade, Intergrade will also add new difficulty settings. Players can now access the classic turn-based controls even on normal mode. The version will also add in a photo mode, which will naturally flex the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities along with it.

Finally, Intergrade will launch a new story featuring the oft-overlooked character Yuffie Kisaragi. Her story will take her on her own adventure with a new male character Sonon Kusakabe. Yuffie and Sonon are on a plan to infiltrate Shinra.

For current PlayStation 4 owners of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a free upgrade will bring the update’s technical improvements to the PlayStation 5. However, Intergrade itself (meaning, the additional content) will come with a separate price. Intergrade will cost US$ 70 as a whole.

A prequel battle royale

If Intergrade isn’t enough to satiate your FF7 needs, Square Enix is also launching a mobile battle royale game set thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. More than a simple mobile shooter, Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier will feature the series’ popular tray of magic spells and summons (including Chocobos). According to the teaser video, players will participate in the Shinra Electric Company’s Soldier program, explaining the need for a battle royale.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is coming to Android and iOS sometime this year.

A FF7 compilation

Finally, Square Enix also announced a massive mobile compilation — Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis — featuring all the smaller games and stories set in the game’s timeline including Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerebrus.

Though the developer describes it as a “chapter-structured single player game,” the teaser trailer doesn’t reveal how the compilation will weave through the entire series seamlessly. The game will reportedly feature all the stories from the series, while introducing new, unexplored elements.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is coming to Android and iOS sometime in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

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Enterprise

Sophos and Qualcomm are teaming up to secure 5G PCs

AI-enabled protection against cyberattacks

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Sophos, a British cybersecurity company, has announced that it will provide its Intercept X software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon compute platforms. Called the Intercept X, it’s an endpoint protection suite that helps prevent malicious code deployment such as ransomware.

“The combination of Sophos Intercept X with Snapdragon compute platforms will provide users next-generation security through an always-on, always-connected PC environment,” the companies said in a statement.

The sophisticated software is capable of protecting advanced systems and endpoints via deep learning AI capabilities. The system can inspect and scrutinize files from hundreds of millions of samples to identify and neutralize threats that haven’t been seen before.

In case of a ransomware attack, Intercept X can detect and block foreign encryption processes to protect the device and data. It’ll also use Connected Standby technology to constantly communicate with other Snapdragon-powered devices so that unknown processes are limited and data won’t be compromised when the PC goes offline.

Since Qualcomm’s platform is designed for portable computing, Intercept X shall use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to optimize the device’s performance and ensure minimal battery loss.

Lastly, it’ll be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. According to the firm, the Snapdragon processor series — used to power light, 5G PCs — will come in useful in combating security blackspots as the software will leverage connected standby functions.

“Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities,” said Miguel Nunes, senior director Product Management, Qualcomm.

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