Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I'm trying to introduce something new for this blog: Tech Tuesday!

While I'll be writing about various things like parenting, politics and what not, another area of interest of mine is tech and the latest and greatest gadgets. 

I like to keep up to date by following various tech news sites. Some of my favourites include The Verge, Engadget, Arstechnica and ZDnet. The only problem with some of these sites is they like to delve deep into the new tech and the stuff that goes behind in the background. If I only want to know what's in it for me, how do I just get the basics?

Well, let me help you.

So what's new? A new update to your iPhone software, new MacBook Airs and a new Mac Pro. Microsoft also announced the pricing of their new Xbox One and Sony showed off their latest PlayStation. So let's take a closer look...


This morning, Apple held their annual World Wide Developer Conference. This event usually announces the release of new software and sometimes hardware. The iPhone used to be a main attraction until Apple decided that it was big enough to have its own event which is now held in September.

iOS 7

Apple has just announced an update that will be coming to your iPhone this spring (likely at the same time as the next iPhone). The latest version looks quite different to the previous version and represents "a flatter, cleaner" design. Being the first major UI change since iOS 4 allowed a wallpaper to appear behind your icons, some people may love it or hate it. There a quite a few changes but the biggest are:
  • A brighter, cleaner flatter design. All those faux textures and stitching disappears. 
  • A new Control Centre. Basically a quick way to toggle wi-fi/flight mode/bluetooth a la Android.
  • Improved multitasking with swipe up to close gesture.
  • Air Drop. A way to share files between iPhones. Like Samsung's tap-to-share but at a distance.
  • iTunes Radio. Users of Spotify or Pandora will like this, free ad supported music streaming from Apple. 

New MacBook Air and Mac Pro

It's not all just software though. Apple also showed off their new MacBook Airs which are available as of today. Not much has changed though, they still have the same screen resolutions and sizes for the same price as before. However, the change they have made makes quite a difference. They will now ship with Intel's latest processor codenamed 'Haswell' which brings small performance improvements but huge power savings. With Intel's new chips the MacBook Airs battery life increases from 5 hours (11") and 7 hours (13") to a whopping 9 and 12 hours respectively. Now that's a laptop with all day battery life.

Apple also announced a long awaited upgrade to their Mac Pros. While seeing some decent improvements under the hood, the biggest change here is how they've packaged the internals. Now 1/8th the size of the previous Pro, the latest professional computer from Apple looks much more like R2-D2 than an industrial PC but it shows a lot of innovation for a company critics are branding as boring.
The New Cylindrical Mac Pro


Rounding off a big day, Microsoft and Sony both announced the Australian pricing of their latest entertainment consoles at the E3 gaming conference. Since Microsoft had already announced the Xbox One's features last month, there were no new announced features although their clarification that used games bought from a second dealer or friend may have restrictions (additional fees) proved worrying as well a requirement for the new Xbox to connect to the internet at least once every to authorise your games.

Sony had also held a PS4 event earlier this year but held off showing off the new hardware until now. At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking Sony copied the Xbox One's design and it's not far off. Sony announced  a series of new games and to the cheers of the announcement audience, the new PlayStation won't have any restrictions on used games or require an internet connection to authenticate games.

So what are they going to cost?

Xbox One: AU$599

Sony PlayStation 4: AU$549

With the PS4 coming in cheaper than the new Xbox and not imposing any restriction on used games or requiring internet connectivity, Microsoft may find it a hard sell to convince those sitting on the fence but some might be turned off Microsoft restrictions to the point that even the Xbox faithful may think twice.

So which one will you buy?

Source: Apple, Xbox, Sony

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