Apple September Event 2019 … just don’t expect to be surprised!

When Apple begins announcing another of their livestream Events, especially one which expands the viewing possibilities, it’s not exactly hard to see why folks were expecting so much more than what Apple had to announce … but, things just don’t work out that way, do they.

What we did get out of this years “iPhone” September Event was, pretty much, the expected, with the only surprise being, ironically for Apple, prices on a lower margin.

All about the services

Apple reiterated the heck out of their services once again in this Event, and whilst it’s good we finally get a price for the services, we’re now more than ever just hoping they shut up about them. Apple’s TV+ service will be launching at an alright $4.99 per month (would be amazing if they had a back catalogue), though will also be free for 12 months for all new Apple products we’re about to talk about so you might as well give an episode or two a go, guess.

Probably the only Apple service that grabbed a moderate level of attention was Apple Arcade. Apple Arcade is unique in that it’s a Gaming subscription service that ties across Smartphone, Tablet, TV, and Computer, which is actually kinda cool. So, whether you’re on your Mac, lounging on Apple TV, to just being on your iPhone, you can play the same Games through the same service, nice! Apple Arcade will, like TV+, be $4.99 for a Family Subscription, which is kind of a decent price for what you’re getting, plus you can give them a go for free for 1 month.

All Apple Arcade launch titles will be exclusive to the service, which is pretty awesome, though we do hope there’s some way of keeping a particular Game if you don’t want to be Subscribing … plus, for the Dev time it will have taken, you just know they’ll reach Android and beyond eventually.

One thing we didn’t see in relation to Apple’s services which we’d of liked to have seen, would be an increase from the tiny 5GB of free iCloud, but what can you do.

iPad

New 7th Generation iPad

Moving on to hardware, we’ll start with this; this probably isn’t the iPad you were hoping to see, though, it’s a welcome update, let’s be fair. Whilst, visibly, on a page, or, likely Apple’s website, the new iPad looks identical to the affordable iPad it replaces, Apple have made some fair improvements, first of which being a moderate increase to 10.2 inch on the display. Performance is powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion processor.

The new iPad (7th generation) now supports the Smart Connector, so naturally supports the Smart Keyboard, though you will need to use the specified one as this is a new size, so unlike the old budget iPad you can’t use the older iPad Pro 9.7 ones. What’s pretty incredible about the new iPad is that it retains the same price as the previous, the same $329 … unless you live in the UK where it’s gone up a bit to £349, and will be available to order now.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5

If their was one, almost surprise, at the Event it was this, the Apple Watch Series 5. Not a surprise in terms of what it gains, but it’s fair to say it’s appearance at this Event was very contradicted in rumours. At the end of the day, however, the Series 5 Apple Watch, we’d regard more an almost Series 4S, dare we say.

Always on and Compass

If we were to put the Apple Watch Series 5 in to a phrase, that would be it, Always on and Compass, why? Because them the changes. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve been patiently waiting on Apple to bring an Always-on Display to the Apple Watch line and it’s great that it’s here now, with the same Series 4 Battery life, but lacking any silicon upgrade at all, does grant this to be something, we’d almost of preferred to wait for.

What is pretty interesting is how they maintain the Battery life using an LTPO Display, or low-temperature polycrystalline oxide backbone technology, which can smartly determine what refresh rate between 1 and 60Hz is required.

Finally, as we mentioned, the Apple Watch Series 5 has a compass, which can be used to get better Maps directions, use in the Compass app on the Watch or through a complication.

One pretty nice feature of the Series 5 Cellular, is that regardless of where you are, whether near an iPhone or not, you will be able to make an Emergency call anywhere in the world!

All in on materials, plus Apple Watch Studio

Apple Watch Series 5 real reason for being is naturally materials, those are what will make you buy it, and Apple knows this. You can of course get Series 5 in the usual Aluminium, Stainless Steel finishes, but now Titanium finishes in Grey and Silver are here, as well as the return to Ceramic white.

Apple Watch Series 5 will launch at the same prices as Series 4 it replaces and launches September 20th, though the Series 3 is now just $199 / £199 which for the performance and water resistance that thing brings, despite a generation or half older is what caught our attention!

This is pretty awesome, though exclusive to Apple Online Store or Apple Retail Stores, is Apple Watch Studio. Apple traditionally sell quite a few configurations of Apple Watch, however if you wanted a Black band you’d have to get a Space Grey finish, or perhaps you wanted the other way around, regardless you weren’t as in control as you could possibly be … until now.

You can now literally go on Apple’s website, or in Store, select your size obviously, but then pick literally the Watch materials, then any Strap for that material you just selected, so you can literally now buy exactly the Apple Watch configuration you wanted in the first place, which is pretty nice.

iPhone

Just as rumoured, the new iPhone models will have what appear to be very garish Cameras on the back, though in real world scenarios, in a completely unsurprising turns of events, they don’t look as bad, but they are what they are. One thing they do allow is a lot of benefits for your photography, which we’ll get to, as we have a look at the new iPhone 11 and, yes, the iPhone 11 Pro and the dreadful sounding iPhone 11 Pro Max.

iPhone 11

Here it is, this is the iPhone 11, or as it should be known the second generation iPhone XR. Despite this, however, whilst minor, Apple have made some decent improvements to what was the iPhone XR, granted mostly in the Camera department. The iPhone XR was Apple’s best selling Smartphone over the last year, so they were always going to build upon it, and build upon it they have, we just wish they’d done a bit more with the design.

Colours have made a slight shift on the iPhone 11, whilst retaining the Product RED, Black and White, there’s now a new variant of Yellow, Green and a light Purple colour finish to choose from, all with a glossy glass back with a matte finish around the Camera.

Speaking of that Camera, whilst Apple is sticking to a 12MP for the sensor, for the first time Apple now have an Ultra Wide Camera, which is actually pretty awesome and, a definite about time from us. Whilst LG seemed to be the only brand who cared about Ultra Wide Cameras, it’s took this long for more to adopt it and Apple have finally joined the field. One thing Apple have done, which, aside from LG, other manufacturers don’t, is tune each Camera the same, though Apple take this a step further by tuning them on the fly and live. The reason this is so important is that you can seamlessly switch between Cameras without losing any of the white balance, shifting or anything, it’ll just look optically 0.5x zoomed out.

One thing which hasn’t changed on the iPhone 11, from the XR, is the Display, it’s literally the same 6.1 inch “Liquid Retina” LCD panel from the XR, which isn’t bad as it was a decent Display, but we would have liked a little extra put in to it. In fact, if you don’t look behind the iPhone 11, it is actually exactly the same as the iPhone XR it subtly replaces, including, unfortunate say some, the Lightning connector which remains.

The iPhone 11 is powered by the new Apple A13 Processor, which it’s fair to say is one of the worst marketed processors ever in Apple’s history … and that’s including the mediocre Core i3 in the latest Mac mini, which tells us the A13 is not going to be the powerhouse you usually expect from Apple. It’s “the fastest”, and all that, than anything else today, but it’s fair to say, the competition will eventually eclipse and exceed. However, the area the A13 has chosen to boost on is power efficiency, which means less heat so more constant load time as well as an extra 1 hour of battery expected versus the already killer battery life of the iPhone XR.

Another big feature of iPhone 11 is Night Mode. Just like the Google Pixel Night Sight feature, Apple’s Night Mode allows even the darkest shots to be lit using software processing, however there’s a few things Apple does ahead of Google. Just like with Portrait mode, Apple’s Night Mode works in real-time which is pretty incredible when you think about it, whereas on the Pixel devices you’ve to take and wait until you see the end result. Apple also chooses a more natural look for their Night Mode shots, whereas Google opts for the more daylight viewing experience, Apple makes it look like still night, just slightly more visible.

Other minor tidbits

  • Spacial audio with Dolby Atmos
  • Camera – Dual 12MP, secondary Camera with Ultra Wide, a first for iPhone
  • Portrait for pets
  • Portrait Lighting affect
  • Video 4K 60fps on both rear lenses, and 4K 30fps on front Camera
  • Front Camera now 12MP and more wider
  • Slo-mo support on both back Cameras and now front Camera … we’re not saying that word
  • A13 Bionic

One thing pretty incredible is that Apple reduced the cost of the iPhone 11 versus the iPhone XR last year by $49, which, sure isn’t a lot, it’s still less than a New phone was last month for so much more, and we can’t argue with that, that is still for a 64GB configuration, but a 128GB and 256GB option is also available.

In the UK, the iPhone 11 starts at £729 (64GB) and rises £40 to £779 (128GB) and then an extra £100 tops out at £879 (256GB)

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Well, the rumours got this one right as well, this is the iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Outside of being a dreadful name, especially the Max, these are the true successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max and support the materials, display and more to back it up, but do they back the Pro? Well, we’ll get to that.

First, let’s check out the design. Like the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro devices look and feel the same as the XS series of devices on the front and sides, however with a more matte look at the back, which we’ll be honest we’re fairly divided on. The new Green iPhone 11 Pro is fairly … interesting looking, but the other three more iPhone tradition colours are available with the usual Space Grey, Silver and Gold.

What is Pro these days?

We won’t harp on about this too much, but it’s definitely an increasing question following the number of devices suddenly supporting the “Pro” prefix. The problem with this, naturally, is that the iPhone 11 Pro, and the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max, don’t hold anything to really back up those Pro claims.

When Apple announced the iPad Pro, they backed that up by originally supporting Keyboard natively in their cover, then Pencil, and most recently by drastically shrinking bezels. They also introduced what can only be described as the best feature of the iPad Pro, the “Pro-motion Display”, which runs at 120Hz, double that of any other device in Apple’s entire product lineup, including Mac and iPhone.

And it’s right there, we wish Apple would have at least pushed the boundaries further. We’ve already got Android phones from Razer and more, supporting 120Hz displays, with even Google’s Pixel 4 line of Smartphones expected to introduce a 90Hz OLED panel, all in all, it just leaves the “Pro” name on these devices seem a bit weak, and, above all else, lacking, in real delivery. These are not Pro iPhone models, these are the XS iterative update, whereas the regular iPhone 11 is the iterative successor to the iPhone XR.

Cameras

Whilst the majority of the Camera tech inside the iPhone 11 Pro isn’t that different to that found in the iPhone 11, the only real difference is that the iPhone 11 Pro, maintains the expected Camera with the iPhone, in that there’s now the 2X zoom Telephoto as well. The really awesome thing about the iPhone 11 Pro Cameras is that they’re all synchronised together, in that if you are capturing an image on one lens, you can seamlessly switch in and out in a practically optical fashion and have the same colours, lighting and focus, all set.

Video is improved as well, still at 60fps 4K max, but now that translates over to the Front facing Camera, which is now 12MP and supports the same … Slofies, as the iPhone 11 does, as it’s the same sensor.

Display and design, or should we say, colours

Whilst the size and resolution of the OLED Displays hasn’t changed compared to the iPhone XS, that’s not to say the Display has stayed the same, Apple have made some sizeable improvements here. Contrast ratio of the OLED Panel is now an insane 2,000,000:1, which further reiterates inky blacks on this panel, but it’s not just good at being black, it can show white brighter than ever with an up to 1,200 nits of brightness. For these reasons, Apple decided to be Apple, and are branding theses, Super Retina XDR Displays, which is about as good as the names get for theses models.

Colour wise, you’ve an interesting Green option added to the traditional, but as far as the front and sides are concerned everything is the same. The back naturally is flanked by the Triple Camera system, but also for a first in an iPhone for a while, a Matte back option across the board. Whereas the iPhone 11 is Glossy at the back with a Matte texture around the Camera, that’s reversed on the Pro models, with a Glossy texture surrounding the Cameras and a Matte finish at the back. This will naturally mean a few things, could mean scratches easier, but also will likely mean much easier grip and won’t be as big of a fingerprint magnet, like iPhone models have been since the iPhone 8 / X went to glass backs again.

Performance – A13

Just like the regular iPhone 11, the 11 Pro models are powered by Apple’s A13 Processor, which as we mentioned early is “faster” obviously, but with no sizeable comparatives we’re expecting this to be a minor improvement from last years A12, but Apple has focused on power efficiency which should mean higher load for longer, which is never a bad thing.

One difference from the iPhone 11 will be RAM, the regular iPhone 11 will likely still perform in GPU tasks better due to lower resolution, but has 4GB of RAM, 6GB of RAM is found on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, from what’s been penned.

Other minor tidbits

  • Spacial audio with Dolby Atmos
  • Camera – Triple 12MP, secondary Camera with Ultra Wide, third Camera with Telephoto, a first for iPhone
  • Portrait Lighting affect
  • Video 4K 60fps on all rear lenses, and 4K 30fps on front Camera
  • Front Camera now 12MP and more wider
  • Slo-mo support on both back Cameras and now front Camera … we’re not saying that word
  • A13 Bionic
  • Battery life, 4 hours more 11 Pro from XS, and 5 hours more from 11 Pro Max from XS Max

Pricing models and capacities unfortunately stayed exactly the same, despite the lack of 3D touch in even this iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max (great name, again), so you’ll be very familiar in the pricing of theses models.

Shipping September 20th; starting at £999 for 11 Pro, and £1199 for 11 Pro Max at that same measly 64GB

Nokia announce a stylish 48MP Nokia 7.2 and brings back the Flip Phone with the Nokia 2720

Nokia announced a collection of devices at IFA 2019, but two devices came to our attention, one for it’s Camera, and the other for it’s flip … OK nostalgia hit us as it has everyone, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Here’s a rundown of a great looking mid-range Android phones, and a return from the past.

Nokia 7.2

When it comes to great design and Nokia colours, the Nokia 7.2 is a great take, especially in that incredible Green colour. Whilst the device is certainly an eye catching one, the Nokia 7.2 enters in a price range surrounded by many competitors, which likely offer a lot more for the money and with more availability, but this is a very decent effort by HMD.

The big headline feature of the Nokia 7.2 is the Camera, quite the large one, a ZEISS 48MP Camera is at the back of the Nokia 7.2, which is pretty incredible for the around €299 price tag expected for this, in a 4GB RAM / 64GB variant, price rises to €349 for a 6GB RAM / 128GB version, whilst the specs versus photos themselves are something to keep in mind, that’s still pretty incredible for this price point. One thing that’s not too great about the Camera, is the hefty bump it creates, but as long as it delivers decent photography, we doubt you’ll be too bothered.

With a Snapdragon 660, the Nokia 7.2 isn’t going to blow you away spec wise, but it will definitely be powerful enough for the average user, and should definitely get you some decent battery life with its 3,500mAh capacity.

Nokia 2720

The star of the show from HMD’s IFA once again is a throwback. If anyone remembers the reception when the remade 3310 was created, we’ve around the same reaction here. Maybe not quite as strong, as it’s hard to imagine many will identify with 2720, but the fact that it’s 2019 and we’re talking about a brand new Flip Phone with 4G, is enough let’s be fair.

As a Phone, let’s be honest, it’s not much, this really is a colour screen Flip Phone as they used to be, however it does feature some Apps which wouldn’t be previously available such as Google Maps and YouTube, though naturally watching YouTube or navigating on any display below 2 inch isn’t the best experience in the world.

The big news on this device is the standby, 28 days! Which considering the market this is targeting, is pretty incredible stat. Naturally, as we said earlier, this isn’t much in terms of function, but for a parent or grandparent, or as a spare, this will more than fill that gap for those looking for something simple that just does the Job of Phone call with some texting.

 

LG G8X ThinQ asks an interesting question, is a dual-display better than a foldable?!

This isn’t the first time LG has pondered the idea of a dual-display on a Smartphone, however the last effort never made it to English speaking shores, this one will. The LG G8X is a minor update from the former G8, though supports a new Case LG supply which in it features a second display, which can honestly be used for absolutely anything.

One difference most will find negative about the G8X, is the lower resolution 6.4 inch 2340 – 1080p panel on the device, we’re not sure if this is due to the fact the secondary one is 1080p, but guess it will mean better battery life, which when you’re carrying two displays could be pretty useful.

But, how does it stack up as a Smartphone, outside of it’s dual-display tricks. Well, spec wise you’re looking at a fairly generic 2019 Android smartphones with the Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, dual Front firing Stereo speakers with even Volume, in-display Fingerprint scanner, Quick Charge 4.0 and this thing called a Headphone Jack, with LG’s typical stamp, 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC. The reason we emphasised the even volume is due to the fact near-all dual Front firing speakers either have a more powerful top, or bottom, speaker, never both. The G8X also has a dedicated Google Assistant button, which, whilst isn’t needed, we guess anything is better than a Bixby button.

Camera wise, LG have packed their usual dual-Camera array from LG, this time with a 12MP Camera backed up by a 13MP Ultra-wide. Front Camera on the G8X sounds pretty incredible when you find out it’s a 32MP sensor, however it will pixel bend down to 8MP, which hopefully should mean it will be nice and clear.

For rear cameras, like the G8, the G8X has two. There’s a 12MP standard and 13MP ultra-wide. The front-facing camera has a 32-megapixel sensor, but LG says by default it’ll capture images at 8MP.

Dual-display: The possibilities, options, but also, why?

Image: The Verge

So, the G8X is a decent Android device in its own right, however that’s naturally not what has got most peoples attention over when it comes to the device, it’s naturally the secondary display option.

The display, unlike LG’s last effort, is now a complete mirror of the main panel, the same 6.4 inch 18:9 1080p OLED panel, though still featuring the tear-drop notch, which is an odd aesthetic choice, but it’s there. Despite the fact these are 1080p wide displays, these are still some decent OLED displays and LG has certainly come a long way in that regard.

LG has demonstrated many ways of using the secondary display, naturally two apps at the same time as shown above, but also as a Gamepad, full screen keyboard, the possibilities (if devs get behind it) are literally unlimited.

However, it certainly brings up an interesting point…

Is a Dual-Display better than a Foldable Display?

The question which comes up when it comes to a Foldable Display has always been the promise versus execution, however when you look at what a Foldable Smartphone is attempting to deliver, then compare it to what LG can deliver with a Dual attachable Display, you begin to notice some very interesting similarities. Whilst, naturally, most want a Foldable Display to get a Tablet on the go, however the problem with that promise is your end result is the smallest Tablet you’d ever get, but in terms of everything else LG can serve, and more practically.

The biggest issue we have with Foldable Smartphones, whether Samsungs, Huawei to the smaller branded ones, is that they make far too many compromises on the Phone side, to deliver a Fold, when in reality it should be an extension of a working traditional Smartphone. It’s clear as day if you’re on the Phone via a Galaxy Fold, or the Mate X, that people can tell you’re not using a traditional Smartphone, and, quite frankly, it’s an eye-sore. Reminds us somewhat to the Nokia N-GAGE, a Gaming phone made by Nokia, which looked and acted very well as a Gaming device, but as a Phone was very compromised, however in time that was figured out with Touchscreens, and we think that Foldable devices will eventually be figured out, but in the meantime it looks like LG definitely has the more practical solution, if anything due to the fact that if you don’t need it, you don’t attach it and you’ve a “normal” Smartphone until you do again.

What do you think? Do you believe a Dual-Display option is better than a Foldable one.

 

Samsung cancels existing Galaxy Fold pre-orders, BUT commits to new 18th September

I don’t think anyone could really recall a release quite as convoluted as the Galaxy Fold. If it’s not for the production delays, it’s the recall itself, and now Samsung has gone again and cancelled all existing Galaxy Fold pre-orders, but there’s more to it and we’ll get to that now.

Free $250 Gift Card

Despite issues with the Galaxy Fold, due to, let’s face it, the battle to be first, Samsung do seem to be showing some Customer loyalty in how they’ve handled this one. All users who previously pre-ordered the Galaxy Fold have both received a refund of the mere £2,000 they spent on it, but Samsung has also given users a free $250 Samsung Store Gift Card, which is nice, something Samsung didn’t need to do, but is a decent gesture. The $250 Gift Card will work on any Samsung purchase, not just another Smartphone by Samsung, so credit where it’s due to them for that, naturally most still eager for the Fold will likely just take that as a discount to their next Fold pre-order.

New pre-order date

Speaking of which, Samsung have now committed an all new Galaxy Fold release for September 18th in the UK for the same $2,000 (£1,900), which the company says includes fixes to most of the problems such as the on display covering, which now can’t be pealed off. Time will tell naturally whether the Fold will still have it’s issues, but at least it will actually enter Customers hands this time.

Apple to live stream their September 10th iPhone Event on YouTube for first time!

In a surprise move, Apple have just posted that they will, outside of the usual Apple.com as well as Apple TV, that they will, for the first time, we allowing users to livestream the Apple Event via YouTube.

Whilst the idea isn’t that amazing, it does open up the possibility for more users to watch the Event, such as Android or Windows devices, which previously didn’t play too well with Apple’s HTML5 Streaming on it’s website, likely due to some custom WebKit elements.

The Apple Event is expected to debut the next flagship iPhone models, possibly some new Apple Watch designs, and more. You’ll be able to watch the Event, either via Apple or YouTube via the below;

EE bows down to pressure from Vodafone and Three, finally offering Unlimited Data Plans for 4G, and, more importantly, 5G!

Competition is really starting to begin in the UK since Vodafone started offering truly Unlimited Plans, a move naturally following Three who had previously offered Unlimited for some time. EE, however, hasn’t offered an Unlimited Plan for a good while, not since it was created via the Orange and T-Mobile merger, so news that the network will be offering Unlimited, is a pretty big deal!

However, how does this compare, and what’s O2 being doing, let’s have a look at all offerings and we’ll summarise.

Three

Three has always offered Unlimited Data, minus one off moment, so it’s no surprise the Carrier is offering 5G and they’re certainly offering it for a great price! The problem with Three, and likely why they offer it for this price, is Three has a wide reputation for being, easily, the least available network in the UK for coverage.

Three do offer the same Unlimited Data plan on a 30 day roll-over plan for, still a very cheap, just £26, which is still less than any of the rivals offer Unlimited Data. As with all the upcoming, the Unlimited Data Plans come with Personal Hotspot capability and standard Calls and Texts, with exception of premium rate numbers and MMS.

One thing that’s incredible, is that they include 5G when it rolls out in your area, if not already there now, just a shame about Three’s real-world network availability.

Vodafone

Vodafone has done Unlimited like no other Carrier we’re about to mention, Vodafone offer Unlimited Data, which includes standard Calls and Texts, but based on speed tiers and extras for the end result. The price above is the £30 standard to get the same as Three offer, strictly Unlimited Data, Calls and Texts at the best speed, which like Three includes 5G.

For a network as vastly available as Vodafone, this is a big deal, especially as Vodafone are the Network typically considered on the pricey side, however it’s IMPORTANT TO CHECK WHICH UNLIMITED PLAN YOU GET, we can’t stress that more, and we’ll do so in a simple speed and price stat below on a 12 month SIM Only plan;

  • UNLIMITED LITE = £23 / Max speed 2mbps
  • UNLIMITED = £26 / Max speed 10mbps
  • UNLIMITED MAX = £30 / Fastest speed available with no cap including 5G

(All plans above are an extra £2 for 30-day rolling)

So, it goes without saying, only consider plans with Unlimited Max. All Vodafone’s non-Unlimited plans don’t have speed caps either, only the “Unlimited Lite” and “Unlimited”.

Unlimited or Unlimited Max With Entertainment 

Vodafone also offer Unlimited Data plans with Entertainment as an additional price, the standard £26 Unlimited Plan becomes £32, and Unlimited Max becomes £36, but what do you get, well, your choice of one of these;

  • Amazon Prime Video – The same £5.99 plan
  • Spotify Premium
  • NOW TV – One plan
  • Sky Sports Mobile TV

EE

This is where things get really interesting. For those who saw EE’s initial launch 5G Plans and prices, we won’t hide anything, EE 5G launched with £32 being the cheapest price with a 20GB Data Cap, prices risen to £47 for 40GB, not decent prices at all.

Now, however things are a lot more rosy, however EE is the only Carrier NOT offering 5G inclusive in existing 4G plans like Vodafone and Three, so you will have to specifically choose a 5G plan, if you want one.

EE will offer unlimited 4G for £34 for 12 months, which is great for EE, but remember it’s not 5G, none of EE’s Swappable Benefits (we’ll get to those) and a data cap of 60mbps on the download, which, we won’t lie, is still pretty decent. You can get 2 Swappable Benefits on that for £39.

For 5G, you can finally go Unlimited on EE 5G plans, which trust us is vitally important, and EE will offer you truly Unlimited 5G for £44 per month with 3 Swappable Benefits. Granted, that’s still pretty pricey, but if you actually care about the 3 Swappable Benefits, they could pay for themselves. What are Swappable Benefits, well let’s have a look;

EE Swappable Benefits;

EE’s Swappable Benefits are actually pretty decent, and are one of the reasons EE justifies their price tag on their new highly improved plans, whether they’re worth it will be up to you, as for 5G they’re not option, but here’s what they offer;

  • Amazon Prime Video – The same £5.99 plan
  • EE Video Data Pass – Services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video won’t use up your data plan, separately available for £8.99
  • EE Music Data Pass – Services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer won’t use up your data plan, separately available for £7.99
  • Roam Further Pass – Allows inclusive roaming data (for now EU included) to further locations such as USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, separately available for £10
  • BT Sport
  • EE Gamer’s Data Pass – Games such as Pokémon GO, Harry Potter Wizards Unite, FIFA and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes won’t use up your data plan.

It’s worth noting, we’re talking about Unlimited Data Plans, so unless you choose Prime Video, Rome Further or BT Sport, you’re hardly going to benefit, but for plans that are Limited, these are pretty decent.

O2 … where are you?

O2 currently are yet to offer 5G, with an expected launch this November. For now, however, the highest plan O2 offer is 120GB of data for £30, 12 months. We guess time will tell whether O2 will offer Unlimited at all, never mind 5G, but for now there’s just the three to choose from.

UPDATE 13/09 = O2 have finally announced Unlimited Data on their 4G for £35, making them the most expensive for the service, however for more on this and their 5G plans, click here!

Summary – Which offers the best?

As with everything, it depends. If you live in an area, and will always be in an area, where you can get decent Three service, for the price they offer, it’s a no brainer. However, most don’t, which puts the option to Vodafone and EE.

Both Vodafone and EE are seemingly comparable for what they offer as additional benefits, whilst Vodafone is the better for price, after Three, offering Unlimited 5G for £30 (or £32 30-day), they also offer for just £32, the option to include service for just £2 more. However, EE offer a lot more inclusive, but if you read between the lines, EE don’t offer much for Unlimited users, as 3 of their 6 Swappable Benefits are to help against running out of data, they’re amazing if you aren’t Unlimited, but if you are, you’re not left with much, and if you want Amazon it’s straight up cheaper to go Vodafone for the same deal, which settles that then.

Best Network and Plan for Unlimited Data (with 5G) = Vodafone

…however

Best Network and Plan for Unlimited Data (with 5G) for those subscribers to Prime, BT Sport and like to travel = EE

Best Network and Plan for Unlimited Data (with 5G) at the best price, but maybe not availability = Three

Apple Card not recommended near Denim, Leather (like a Wallet) or loose change … wait, what?!

When Apple launched the Apple Pay service, the company branded it as their steps to replace the Wallet, however, few years later here Apple are with something for your Wallet … however, maybe your Wallet isn’t the place you’d think it would be for the Apple Card, as in the perfect place to put it.

Apple Card is essentially a Goldman Sachs Credit Card, with added Apple bonuses, and what’s arguably one of the most simplest Banking app experience. It’s also a Titanium card, which is bound to get you those looks, what it’s not however, it seems, is practically made.

As noted on a Support page by Apple, on cleaning the Card, a basic thing to offer, let’s be fair, let’s just say Apple definitely reveal a collection of the Apple Cards, shall we say, vulnerabilities. Whilst, naturally any Credit / Debit Card isn’t indestructible, they’re about to seem it in comparison to what Apple claims you should avoid your Apple Card from;

  1. Avoid Leather – According to Apple, ‘Some fabrics, like leather and denim, might cause permanent discoloration that will not wash off’. Yeah, so one of the most popular materials used for Wallets, is not recommended for Apple Card
  2. Avoid other Cards – According to Apple, storing your Apple Card around other Cards could result in permanent scratches
  3. Avoid loose change – Same as Cards really, loose change can cause permanent scratches. I mean, who has loose change in a Wallet…right?
  4. Avoid magnets – Turns out, if you store your Apple Card near magnets, or some metallic straps, it could cause them to become demagnetised
  5. Hard surfaces or materials – This ones a bit more understandable. If the Apple Card is exposed to hard surfaces or materials, it’s possible the coating could get damaged.

Whilst it’s a stretch to say any of them are a common factor with your run-of-the-mill Credit Cards, it’s hard to say that it’s something we’ve had to worry about before, and it definitely makes that magic, eye catching appeal of the Apple Card, just vanish in array of WTF. It begs the question on whether Apple actually tested the Apple Card, as based on all this, it’s clear it’s just a fashion statement with a Card as a disguise.

You can find out more about the Apple Card on Apple’s US website below (as it’s currently US only), or check out the amazing Apple Support page we’re referring to below that.

Apple Card

Apple Support – How to clean your Apple Card

 

Google breaks tradition with Android 10 and we don’t like it!

Google have now finally revealed the name of the next version of Android Q, which begs the obvious question, what dessert have Google chosen this time, something exotic … well, not exactly.

Android 10

Android Q, as it’s been known so far, is Android version 10.0, and as a result it’s now going to be know as Android 10 … no really, that’s the name! Now, you might be there thinking what’s the problem, but the problem is simple. For starters, let’s run over the previous versions of Android;

  • A = Alpha
  • B = Beta
  • C = Cupcake
  • D = Donut
  • E = Eclair
  • F = Froyo
  • G = Gingerbreak
  • H = Honeycomb
  • I = Ice Cream Sandwich
  • J = Jellybean
  • K = Kitkat
  • L = Lollipop
  • M = Marshmallow
  • N = Nougat
  • O = Oreo
  • P = Pie
  • Q = … 10

In fact, it’s more than that, it’s not even going to be Q at all. Guess, Google was scared of running out of letters? To be fair, there’s a lot more difficult letters for desserts, including Q, but that’s no excuse to lose such a charming attribute. The dessert names also gave Android personality, one of the rare instances where it almost made Android less nerdy, the irony about this is the redesigned Font and reduction of the robot is supposed to give Android personality.

But, it’s more than that, as you can see from above, the different versions of Android all have their own corresponding Android Statues at Google HQ, it’s hardly going to look impressive just hosting a 10.

Aren’t you just over-reacting?

Maybe, but this is the end of a legacy. We were all waiting in anticipation for the announcement of the name of the next version of Android, and so to find out it’s simply going to be “Android 10” it’s such a let down, it’s one thing which mere-mortals always talk about when it comes to Android, it was one of the fun factors.

What do you think about Google going back to a more normal OS numbering, we think it’s a shame to see it go, but, as with everything, we’ll get over it.

Samsung announce the Galaxy Note 10 with new 10+ variant

Here it is, Samsung have finally announced the Galaxy Note 10, or should we say they’ve announced a pair of Galaxy Note 10 devices, as this is the first Galaxy Note device with two size options. The Note 10 devices are naturally packed to the punch with the latest specifications and feature the closest Samsung has got to a truly bezel-less display, though the obvious chin still bothers us, like it always does.

The base Note 10 device features a 6.3 inch AMOLED “Cinematic Infinity Display”, but if that’s clearly too small for you, there’s now a Galaxy Note 10+ featuring a 6.8 inch AMOLED “Cinematic Infinity Display”. What’s disappointing about the Note 10 is when you look at the base Note 10, the 6.3 inch display is 2280 x 1080, yes it’s literally a Full HD display at 6.3 inches … which for Samsung, just seems incredibly disappointing. If you do want to step things up to a more traditional resolution, you can get a more Samsung like resolution on the 6.8 inch display with a 3040 x 1440 display. As is the thing with Samsung phones now, the device has a Hole Punch Camera at the front, though now in a much better place, top and centre.

One thing you won’t find on the Galaxy Note 10 is a Headphone Jack … I know Samsung too, though it’s worth noting the Galaxy Fold didn’t have one either. Authentication is done on the Note 10 via a fairly insecure facial recognition or the in-display Fingerprint scanner

The Galaxy Note 10 devices naturally feature the S-pen, which does a bunch of things which the average users will use for at least, maybe, a month. Sorry, we know some like it, but it’s definitely a minor feature.

The devices are equipped with 7-nanometer 64-bit Octa-core processors, though disappointingly the base and plus models have different specs, which we’re not a fan of, the base Note 10 features 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage, whereas Note 10+ features 12GB RAM and up to 512GB internal storage. To maintain performance, Samsung claim the Note 10 devices feature “the world’s slimmest vapour chamber cooling system”.

Camera wise, you’ve three of them on the Note 10 and four of them on the Note 10+, because more Cameras equals more cares … right?! Main sensor is a 16MP Ultra Wide Angle Camera, followed by an additional Wide Angle, and a third telephoto Camera. The Note 10+ changes this with the addition of a DepthVision Camera.

Battery wise, you’ve a 3,500mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 10, and a 4,300mAh battery in the Galaxy Note 10+. Other features include super fast charging with 45W wired charging capability for the Note 10+, Wireless PowerShare for charging other Qi-based wireless chargers with the Galaxy Note 10, and 5G options for fast speeds. The Galaxy Note 10+ is available in a 5G variant for those who want 5G speeds, and the LTE models offer up to 2Gb/s download speeds and 150Mb/s upload speeds, though currently only available on select networks, such as Verizon in the US.

Samsung is offering the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ in Aura Glow, Aura White and Aura Black. The Galaxy Note 10 is priced starting at $949.99 (yes the one with a 1080p display, ok we’ll stop, just a dig at those who bantered on the XR), while Galaxy Note 10+ pricing starts at $1099.99. Samsung will begin selling the Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ on August 23, with pre-orders set to kick off on August 8. The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, priced at $1,299.99, will be a Verizon exclusive at launch.

Samsung Galaxy Fold is apparently all fixed, and, ready for September release!

Galaxy Fold press image

Samsung sure know taught everyone how to get bad press when you want it with the Galaxy Fold, a product which is fairly obvious simply wasn’t ready when announced. Now, however, Samsung claim the device is ready for release, and are promising a, limited at first, launch of the device this coming September.

MKBHD removes the protector

To say the initial release of the Galaxy Fold didn’t go to plan, is a massive understatement, making the press attention from the Note 7 look tame, but if Samsung really have corrected things, that’s great, though it just shows how pressured the company were to release the device, likely to one-up Huawei, who, at the time, were promising an earlier release of their Mate X, something ironically itself has been delayed as well (though Huawei haven’t exactly had a smooth few months).

Whilst the promise of the Fold remains the same, it remains to be seen how Samsung have rectified the many issues the device had from launch. We already know that Samsung have rectified the protective layer at the top of the screen, as shown in the picture below, which was far too easy to both remove and just looked like a regular fingerprint sensor.

The last major issue with the Fold was generally to do with the device both attracting, and having too many exposed areas for muck to get inside, time will tell how Samsung has rectified this, and for nearly $2,000 we certainly hope they have rectified everything.

Apple acquires Intel’s modem business!

Despite fixing recent qualms with Qualcomm, which initially began the switch to Intel modems in iPhones, Apple have now acquired Intel’s modem business for $1BN USD. This won’t just mean Apple could continue work that Intel started in modems, but will also include 2,200 Intel employees, all of which will join Apple. The deal also extends to the bigger picture, being Intel’s intellectual property.

Intel’s Bob Swan had this to say on the deal;

This agreement enables us to focus on developing technology for the 5G network while retaining critical intellectual property and modem technology that our team has created. We’re looking forward to putting our full effort into 5G where it most closely aligns with the needs of our global customer base, including network operators, telecommunications equipment manufacturers and cloud service providers – Bob Swan, CEO Intel

Apple’s SVP, Johny Srouji had this to say on the deal;

We’ve worked with Intel for many years and know this team shares Apple’s passion for designing technologies that deliver the world’s best experiences for our users – Johny Srouji, SVP Apple

It’s worth noting that, after the acquisition completed, Apple will overnight become a pretty major modem company, not just including the fact they will acquire over 17,000 wireless network technology patents, and we all know how much companies love to flaunt their patents … in all seriousness though, this will be a big deal for the future of modem operations, something which Apple themselves will be able to develop for devices beyond just the iPhone.

Whilst Apple are going to be returning to use Qualcomm modems, as agreed with the settlement, Apple’s acquisition of Intel’s modem business is about the bigger picture, the future involving 5G and it should be worth watching this space.

Apple updates MacBook Air line, adds new lower tier Pros and straight up ditches the 12 inch!

Apple have made quite a few behind the scene changes to their Mac notebook line, and whilst none of them will make them any better, in terms of the immensely flawed keyboard design, which still needs a rethink, though if rumours are to be believed that may be coming in the next year or so, they do at least give you a bit more of a clearer direction.

MacBook … what MacBook?

…yeah, this one stings a little. We loved the 12 inch MacBook, but it’s fair to say it lacked a sense of punch. Whether it was an issue with Intels lack of Core M advancements, sales, or whether this is just a ruse whilst Apple plan the first infamous ARM based Mac, guess time will tell, but this is one thing we’re sad to see go.

MacBook Air

We’re gonna be honest with you, we still prefer the older Air, and this update doesn’t change that too much. But, despite this, it’s fairly simple to see why. When Apple updated the MacBook Air, it realistically was just a bigger 12 inch MacBook, though now that is gone, and Apple have taken the price down a bit, it’s now a bit more of a clearer choice.

The only major downside to Apple’s decisions with the 12 inch and the Air, is that Apple now no longer have a compact Notebook, sure the  dimensions have gone down thanks to bezel shrinking from the “butterfly keyboard” updates, though we kind of wish Apple would bring back the old 11 inch MacBook Air.

Apple have added True Tone to the MacBook Air, which, whilst isn’t as useful as on a Smartphone, is there as an option for those who desire.

Now starting at £1099, the new MacBook Air is now packing a 1.6Ghz Dual-Core 8th gen Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, Touch ID and a rather tiny 128GB SSD, which can be doubled in capacity in the £1299 model.

MacBook Pro

This is less of an “updated” MacBook Pro, but Apple have definitely made some changes to the options you have, or at least in the 13 inch. Whilst the £1799 and higher configurations are literally unchanged, which makes sense, as they just were changed recently, Apple have added some lower tier options, all of which are now all-in on the Touchbar, so sorry to those who don’t like the Touchbar.

Apple previously had a MacBook Pro without Touchbar, which was less, but also you got less as it hasn’t had much of any update, now, Apple is doing this.

You now still get a Quad Core 8th gen Intel Core i5 MacBook Pro with Touchbar, T2 Chip and all the benefits on the more expensive model for now £1299, though there are some things that limit things slightly, namely the clock speed and a few others. A measly, on paper, 1.4GHz clock speed for the 8th gen i5 is listed, though it does Turbo close to the higher speed model and being Quad Core is a big step up from the prior non-Touchbar model. Other than that, its similar to Apple’s higher end 13 inch Pros, just with a tiny 128GB SSD for the £1299 model and 256GB for a new £1499, however at that point it’s questionable whether you’d be better going for the normal £1799 model, as you only have 2 Thunderbolt ports on the lower price model, rather than 3, a slightly worse integrated graphics and clockspeed on the CPU, so to us, only the £1299 is the one worth considering on the new updates.

Summary of the updates

Most people have had a lot of praise for these updates, whilst we’re not quite in that camp, we’re certainly not going to complain about price reductions.

It is important to note that NONE of these updated Macs have the rumoured update to the keyboard design Apple are expected to do, though they are at least using Apple’s latest “attempt” at the butterfly mechanism, but naturally worth keeping in mind.