Over at CES, Intel formally announced its full lineup of 7th-generation Intel Core processors, known as Kaby Lake. Kaby Lake low-power Y-Series and U-Series processors were announced in late August, but today’s unveiling covers notebook and desktop chips that could be destined for many future Apple Macs.
The new processors are built using the “14nm+” process and introduce new optimizations as compared to the previous 14nm Broadwell and Skylake chips.
The company has cited that “Kaby Lake” will bring “double digit productivity performance increases” of up to 20 percent for gaming notebooks and 25 percent for desktops, compared to 2013 Haswell chips from Intel’s prior release cycle. With 4K and 360 degree content, customers can expect up to 65 percent faster performance on notebooks. Enhanced security, a new media engine, and improvements in VR and gaming are all advertised features.
If you’re in the Asian markets, this could be nifty.
As part of upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, Apple on Monday announced customers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore will receive a pair of Beats Solo3 wireless headphones with the purchase of select Mac and iPhone products as part of a one-day sale.
The sale offers a Product (RED) variety of the headphones, the color red specializing good luck and prosperity in many Asian cultures, and is a common sight around the new year.
Samsung will offer a full explanation of the Galaxy Note7 smartphone fires sometime later this month according to South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo.
The device, which launched in late August, began experiencing instances in which the devices exploded or caught fire when charging. At the time, the company said the underlying issue was “problematic” batteries installed in a very limited number of the smartphones sold.
The rumor mill has indicated that Samsung may have pushed suppliers to meet tighter deadlines in order to make an earlier launch. This, in turn, may have lead to technical oversights that allowed for some of the batteries to catch fire. In October, Samsung stated that it was examining all aspects of the device but had been unable to replicate the problem.
Apple’s AirPods have roared out the door and are getting good reviews, but there may be some battery issues to contend with for some users.
A number of users have reported that the charging case that comes with the headphones isn’t holding Apple’s advertised 24 hours of charge. In theory, the charging case should only lose noticeable amounts of charge when the AirPods are low on battery and recharging within the case, and when users flip the pack open to check battery levels or otherwise activate Bluetooth with a connected Apple device.
Users who’ve reported issues have stated that the AirPods case drains more than 40 percent of available capacity in only a few hours, with the AirPods at 100 percent inside and minimal Bluetooth activation.
Consumer Reports is standing by its findings regarding the 2016 MacBook Pro battery’s sporadic performance.
The publication’s director of electronics testing, Maria Rerecich, offered the following comment when asked about possible retesting:
In this case, we don’t believe re-running the tests are warranted for several reasons. First, as we point out in our original article, experiencing very high battery life on MacBooks is not unusual for us – in fact we had a model in our comparative tests that got 19 hours. Second, we confirmed our brightness with three different meters, so we feel confident in our findings using this equipment. Finally, we monitor our tests very closely. There is an entry logged every minute, so we know from these entries that the app worked correctly.
The Christmas gifts have been exchanged, the Chanukah ones are being given this week and it looks like Apple is leading the pack in terms of smartphone activations for the 2016 holidays.
This year, 44% of new phone and tablet activations were Apple devices with Samsung seeing 21%. While Samsung is slowly growing in popularity throughout the holiday season, up 1% from last year, Apple devices continue to be the gift to give. Holding the third and fourth positions for activations are Huawei and LG; which is remarkable, as both manufacturers do not have an individual device within the top 35 devices activated. Their high rank is likely due to the fact that they have wide variety of devices and affordable options (hundreds of phablet and medium phones) for consumers to choose from.
Last week, the company published its first scholarly research paper with an article covering methods of improving recognition in computer vision systems, marking a new direction for the traditionally secretive company.
The paper, titled “Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training,” was submitted for review in mid-November before seeing publication through the Cornell University Library on Dec. 22.
The article arrives less than a month after Apple declared that it would no longer bar employees from publishing research relating to artificial intelligence.
Apple’s Campus 2 project continues and a pair of killer new 4K drone videos show that the project itself is coming close to completion.
The videos, both shot on Christmas Day, show an empty work site for the holiday, but offer spiffy new clues such as the majority of solar installation complete and a lot of work continuing at the auditorium where future Apple events will be held while the second video takes us on a Christmas morning tour around Apple Campus 2 as it exists today.
Following up on Consumer Reports refusal for the first time to recommend the 2016 MacBook Pro due to inconsistent battery life, it looks like Apple will be working with the publication to try to sort out potential issues with the battery.
“Working with [Consumer Reports] to understand their battery tests,” Apple Vice President of Worldwide Marking Phil Schiller tweeted. “Results do not match our extensive lab tests or field data.” Apple claims its internal testing has seen the new MacBook Pro providing up to 10 hours of battery life when watching iTunes movies or browsing the web.
Consumer Reports’ test has come under scrutiny since publication of the non-recommendation. The tests were conducted by opening a series of 10 web pages sequentially on Safari. This tests’ inconsistency had the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar registering 16 hours, 12.75 hours and 3.75 hours of battery life. A 15-inch MacBook Pro ranged from 18.5 hours to 8 hours of battery life.