Galaxy S9 / Matrix phone / MediaPads

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The Galaxy S9 will have a 5.8in screen, while the larger S9+ will have a 6.2in screen. Both 8.5mm thick smartphones have curved screens, thin bezels, stereo speakers and reduced top and bottom non-screen elements compared to last year’s models. This year the S9+ will come with more memory and storage compared to the smaller S9, and will also have a dual-camera system similar to that fitted to Samsung’s larger Note 8, which includes a telephoto camera.

But it is the wide-angle camera fitted to both models that marks the biggest change for the smartphone. The 12-megapixel camera has the first variable aperture fitted to a smartphone, which physically switches between an f-stop of 1.5 for low-light photography and an f-stop of 2.4 for shooting outdoors… More at The Guardian.

Interesting to see ‘one’ major new feature in what is otherwise a very similar phone to the last one, at least that’s how it may be viewed by the majority.

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Now HMD, makers of Nokia-branded phones, is bringing the Nokia 8110 back to life as a retro classic. Just like the Nokia 3310 that was a surprise hit at Mobile World Congress last year, the 8110 plays on the same level of nostalgia. The slightly curved handset has a slider that lets you answer and end calls, and HMD is creating traditional black and banana yellow versions… More at The Verge.

There must be financials that suggest bringing these retro phones back makes sense. I would love to play with one, but likely only for an hour or so.

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The new MediaPad M5 tablets will come in two sizes: 8.4 and 10.8 inches, starting at 349 and 399 Euro respectively. For the most part, the smaller and larger tablets have exactly the same specs, with 2560×1600 displays (for a 359 and 280 PPI rating, respectively), Kirin 960 quad-core processors, 4GB of RAM and either 32, 64 or 128 GB of storage space. They also come with pretty standard 8MP front cameras and 13MP rear cameras, all the usual sensors (including a fingerprint sensor) and Android 8.0. All of the SKUs also offer an SD card expansion slot that can bring the total on-board storage up to 256 GB… More at TC.

A ‘me too’ release if ever I saw one. Completely uninspired.

Luna Display Hands On

Astropad’s new hardware-based Luna Display is wireless, Retina-ready, and fast as all get out. (Even the prototype I tested smokes Duet Display.) Check out iMore’s review, and their Kickstarter.

Very interesting. You are, however, simply using a sort of macOS-ified iPad.

The OIO Amp

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The iPad is the ultimate consumer media machine. Even with Apple issuing ‘Pro’ versions of the world’s favorite tablet, it still is primarily used for watching content on its big screen (between sending mails). However, it wasn’t built with that sole intent. It has single-direction speakers (no stereo) which aren’t particularly rich in audio output, lending to a rather bland multimedia experience. The immediate solution? Fire up an external speaker via bluetooth or aux. The better solution? Simulate the cinema experience with a home-theater dock for the iPad… More at YD.

I get the idea, but can’t get over the size of the screen. We actually watched a whole film on my iPad Pro when we were on holiday recently and the squinting really was a problem.

Affinity Photo for iPad

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Developed without compromise, Affinity Photo for iPad is the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet. Built from exactly the same back-end as our award-winning desktop version, and fully optimised to harness the full power of the iPad’s hardware and touch capabilities. Affinity Photo for iPad offers an incredibly fast, powerful and immersive experience whether you are at home, in the studio or on the move… More here.

I would say to get it while it is discounted, but you should get it anyway if you have a need for such an app. It’s incredible.

iPad as laptop

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When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm – but as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. […] PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people… More at 9To5Mac.

Well worth reading the entire article. Thanks to Bob for the link.

The iPad Pro 10.5 reviews are in and they are all VERY positive

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The new feature that matters on this display is that it’s capable of a refresh rate of 120Hz, which is twice what most mobile devices are capable of. That sentence is as nerdy as it sounds, but stay with me for a second on this one. The refresh rate is how quickly the pixels on the screen get redrawn when you scroll or when something moves on a screen. 120Hz means that when you scroll, there’s less lag when the pixels move.

Reducing lag is important because the obvious goal for any tablet screen is to make the stuff that appears on screen sort of feel like actual physical things you’ve moving around. This refresh rate takes us a surprisingly large step in that direction. It also means that the latency when you draw with the Apple Pencil is also reduced to 20 milliseconds — so it too feels closer to physically drawing on paper.

There are other practical benefits. Because this is Apple, it’s given a name to this feature: ProMotion. And ProMotion does more than just ratchet up the refresh rate, it also ratchets it down. So if you’re watching a movie, the screen refresh rate will lower and optimize to the video’s frame rate. If you’re just looking at some static text on an ebook, the iPad will slow the refresh rate down even further to save battery life. Apple says that the tablet has a dedicated chip (sort of like the chip that’s used to process camera images) that looks at what’s going on on your screen and adjust the refresh rate accordingly… More at The Verge.

Every review I have read so far is extremely positive which is down to one of two possibilities; the new iPad Pro is very good or Apple is even better at ensuring that those who want review devices say the right things. Suspect it is a bit of both.

Can all of the iOS 11 iPad Pro tweaks replace a mouse?

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Think about it for one moment. Many of us are genuinely exciting by the new iPad Pro and in particular the way iOS 11 attempts to make it more flexible and ultimately more powerful.

This move by Apple makes perfect sense, but then I got to thinking about how I like to work and why I don’t own a MacBook. When I am writing, capturing images, researching etc etc, I am completely embedded in using a mouse.

My iMac gets 90% of my professional use and the more I consider it, the more I realise that an iPad Pro would still be a hindrance to getting things done as I do now.

In fact, I am prepared to say that the iPad Pro will falter the same way the iPads have and that we will continue to use laptops and desktops for some time to come.

A year after the iPad was released, I predicted that it would not grow and become the world beater many expected and I was right. The more I think about it, the more I realise that it is limited right out of the gate because of its design. It will never replace computers for some of us.

The iPad takes a big step…

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With performance that’s edging into laptop territory, and now software that’s bridging the gap to a desktop operating environment, the iPad Pro’s established advantages over something like a MacBook or MacBook Pro grow in significance. After the MacBook Pro was downgraded in terms of ports and other pro features last year, I’m now much more open to tolerating the iPad’s limitations in order to gain the benefit of its strengths. That would be things like better battery life, easier portability, and a substantially lower price, starting at $649 for the latest iPad Pro… More at The Verge.

Edging is the word I would use for the new iPad Pro. Performance edging into laptop territory, pricing edging into MacBook territory and my mind starting to edge towards the idea of an iPad Pro in place of what I used to think was the only ‘real’ computer.

I am struggling with the notion of paying £300 less for an iPad when I could keep a MacBook for potentially much longer and receive more consistent and top-level performance over time.

reMarkable Paper Tablet review

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The sensation of writing on the high-friction surface is the best digital representation of paper I’ve tried, and that instantly puts its above using a consumer tablet such as the iPad Pro.

But the biggest barrier to entrance for this device is surely going to be the price. And, of course, the availability. The reMarkable Paper Tablet was originally conceived on Kickstarter and if you backed it there, you would have got yourself a decent deal. Prices started at $379 (around £295), and those units will begin shipping from August… More at Trusted Reviews.

Fairly sure I would love this product, but for how long? And can it really justify the price?

How can the iPad replace your laptop?

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Mouse support would turn the iPad and the Smart Keyboard combo into a true competitor to the laptop, as well as position it as a direct competitor to devices such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro… More at ZDNet.

No it wouldn’t.

Mouse support would make a big different, but to presume that this change alone would build a laptop competitor is pure folly.

The list is long to make the iPad replace a laptop and it reaches the point very quickly that you may as well buy a laptop anyway.

Full multi-tasking OS, multiple users, really good keyboard, tons of power and on and on and on.

The iPad is not a laptop and it never will be.