It’s been an action-packed week, here’s what’s coming up on the Refresh. Both Microsoft and Apple launch exciting new flagship products and
Microsoft weren’t finished there as it reveals Windows 10 Creator’s Edition. Also, Twitter closes Vine, we review the Apple Watch 2 and a bike lock that will make thieves stink twice.
Microsoft kick off the action
In a big week for computer hardware, both Microsoft and Apple revealed flagship products that will have you salivating. I hope you’re sitting tight.
Let’s start with Microsoft. After a soporific start to their New York event, it continued with the announcement of an update to the Surface Book, which they called Surface Book i7. It says it’s twice as powerful as the previous version but Intel fans look away, as it’ll be packing last year’s Skylake processors rather than the latest 7th gen Kaby Lakes. The hybrid laptop also boasts an impressive 16 hours of battery.
Then, big reveal of the Surface Studio, Microsoft’s first desktop PC. This AIO has a 28-inch tilting touch-screen that can be used with a Surface Pen and the Surface Dial — a clever new peripheral which adds another way to interact with the screen, a feature comic book designers and the like will be excited by. Could this be the iMac killer?
Apple fight back
The following evening, it was time for Apple to make its move. And make its move it did. After showing off its new integrated TV app which it claims will change the way we watch TV, the feature that’s been rumoured for months burst into reality on the new MacBook Pros. The OLED multi-touch bar, aptly called Touch Bar, replaces the function keys and promises to transform the way you work with your apps.
The features are too many to mention, so make sure you check the article on the website for a comprehensive list, but arguably the most exciting feature is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner which allows you to log in securely and make online payments with the press of a finger.
Thinner and lighter than previous models, Apple no longer sees the need for a MacBook Air, instead introducing a basic 13-inch MacBook Pro that doesn’t come with the touch bar, as a replacement.
None of these items will be cheap though. The Surface Book i7 will set you back nearly £2,000 post brexit while the basic Surface Studio will cost around £2,500 converting from $3,000.
If you think that’s expensive, Apple will be charging nearly £1500 for the 13-inch version without all the goodies while the top spec 15-inch version will cost a staggering £2,700.
For anyone living outside the UK, prices are still just about affordable for the average stock broker.
Windows 10 Update
Meanwhile, hardware isn’t enough for Microsoft as they plan to bring 3D to the world and make us all creators with the Windows 10 update it’s named, Creators Update.
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Fully rolled out next spring, it will feature extensive 3D developments. Among other things, you’ll be able to scan a real life object and turn it into a 3D creation which can be shared on Facebook or transposed back into the real world through Hololens and you can even make objects in Minecraft and turn them into 3D content.
The free update will also allow you to stream live gaming from your PC without the need for extra software and give you the ability to create custom tournaments from the Arena on Xbox Live.
Something which went under the radar was the partnership it announced with a slew to hardware manufacturers to produce affordable mixed reality headsets that could run in a similar vein to its Hololens platform. Sandy beaches and cocktails could be coming to your lounge very soon.
We’ve a full run down of the updates on our website.
Twitter buries Vine
In what would have been headline news in any other week, Twitter has ditched its short video sharing platform Vine.
The six second loops of mega lolz couldn’t compete with the likes of Snapchat and Instagram and in reality, the initial creative idea behind the app has largely been corrupted by people recording clips from sporting events and illegally sharing them online.
Twitter is reported to be looking for a buyer but until then, it’s axed 9% of its workforce and will instead focus on the live streaming app, Periscope.
Vine itself will be kept online so you can still watch all your favourite shorties, if that’s your thing.
Apple Watch 2 review
Right, back to Apple and their new smartwatch, the Apple Watch 2. We reviewed it this week, watch the video for what Tech Chap, Tom Honeyands had to say.
Crowdfunder of the week
And finally, if you’re a bike thief, you’d better go shopping for an inconspicuous gas mask this weekend because the SkunkLock is crowdfunding and it hopes to leave bike thieves gagging on their bolt cutters.
Break into this lock, and you’ll be sprayed with an emetic chemical deterrent called Formula D_1 that causes shortness of breath, compromises sight and can even induce vomiting. Apparently this pepper-spray like gas is legal in the majority of US states but you’ll have to check your local laws if you’re thinking of backing this project.
Hopefully, having had my bike stolen, this will prevent thieves from sniffing out an opportunity.