Categories
Game

Engadget Podcast: Reviewing the iPhone 14, 14 Pro and non-Ultra Apple Watches

So after all the hype last week, are the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro any good? And are the Apple Watch SE and Series 8 worth an upgrade? This week, Cherlynn chats with Devindra about her furious rush to review all of Apple’s latest gear. It turns out the iPhone 14 Pro is a pretty big step forward, but the same can’t be said for the plain 14. Also, they discuss the wider impact of removing SIM cards from this iPhone lineup, as well as the value of the Pro’s new 48MP camera.

Listen above, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Subscribe!

Topics

  • Review of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 – 2:10

  • How does the iPhone 14 series stack up against this year’s other phones? – 45:07

  • Apple Watch SE and Series 8 reviews – 48:26

  • A few thoughts on iOS 16 – 54:25

  • Northeastern University VR lab targeted by mail bomb – 56:47

  • Period tracking app Flo gets anonymous mode – 59:22

  • We finally got a trailer for the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – 1:01:11

  • What we’re working on – 1:03:07

  • Pop culture picks – 1:07:31

Livestream

Credits
Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos
Graphic artists: Luke Brooks and Brian Oh

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.

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Categories
AI

Top 5 stories of the week: AI revelations and Apple moves to kill passwords

Were you unable to attend Transform 2022? Check out all of the summit sessions in our on-demand library now! Watch here.


Revelations, innovations and questions about AI unfolded in VentureBeat’s news coverage this week. Deep learning turned 10 and insights from the field’s top leaders like Yann LeCun and Geoffrey Hinton predict that there’s no sign of slowdown for deep learning anytime soon. 

Meanwhile, Melanie Mitchell, professor at the Santa Fe Institute, warned technical decision-makers that across the board, AI still needs three essential capabilities to continue meaningful advancements in the field: To understand concepts, to form abstractions and to draw analogies.

To Mitchell’s point, explainable AI is on the rise and developing rapidly to address some of these concerns — and MLops is in the driver’s seat for several solutions, including from the likes of: Domino Data Lab, Qwak, ZenML and others. More work is yet to be done in the space, but research is ongoing. 

Speaking of research — this week, Meta announced that its AI research framework, PyTorch, is moving out from under its purview and becoming part of the Linux Foundation. Zuckerberg noted that while the company still plans to fund PyTorch, Meta plans to take steps toward distinctly separating itself from PyTorch in the coming year. 

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In other news, Apple’s debut of iOS 16 shed new light on what other tech giants may do going forward in the vein of going passwordless. In its latest software update, Apple users can now use biometrics across iPhone, iPad and Mac devices to sign in more easily — with their biometrics info synched via iCloud.

Here’s more from our top five tech stories of the week:

  1. 10 years later, deep learning ‘revolution’ rages on, say AI pioneers Hinton, LeCun and Li
    Artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, one of the trailblazers of the deep learning “revolution” that began a decade ago, says that the rapid progress in AI will continue to accelerate.

    In an interview before the 10-year anniversary of key neural network research that led to a major AI breakthrough in 2012, Hinton and other leading AI luminaries fired back at some critics who say deep learning has “hit a wall.”

    Other AI path breakers, including Yann LeCun, head of AI and chief scientist at Meta and Stanford University professor Fei-Fei Li, agree with Hinton that the results from the groundbreaking 2012 research on the ImageNet database pushed deep learning into the mainstream and have sparked a massive momentum that will be hard to stop.


  1. Apple iOS 16: Passkeys brings passwordless authentication mainstream
    When it comes to security, passwords often aren’t an asset, but a liability. They provide cybercriminals with an entry point to protected information which they can exploit with phishing scams and social engineering attempts, to manipulate users into handing over personal information.

    With 15 billion passwords exposed online, something needs to change. Many providers are positing that the solution to this problem is to get rid of passwords altogether.

    Now, as Apple iOS 16 launches today alongside macOS Ventura, users will be able to log in with Passkeys on iPhone, iPad and Mac, using biometric authentication options like Touch ID and Face ID, which are synched across the iCloud keychain. 


  1. 3 essential abilities AI is missing
    As the AI community puts a growing focus and resources toward data-driven, deep learning–based approaches, Melanie Mitchell, professor at the Santa Fe Institute, warns that what seems to be a human-like performance by neural networks is, in fact, a shallow imitation that misses key components of intelligence.

    Despite progress in deep learning, some of its problems remain. Among them, she says, are three essential capabilities: To understand concepts, to form abstractions and to draw analogies.

    What is for sure is that as AI becomes more prevalent in applications we use every day, it will be important to create robust systems that are compatible with human intelligence and work — and fail — in predictable ways.


  1. Why the explainable AI market is growing rapidly
    Powered by digital transformation, there seems to be no ceiling to the heights organizations will reach in the next few years. One of the notable technologies helping enterprises scale these new heights is artificial intelligence (AI). 

    As AI advances, there has still been the persistent problem of trust: AI is still not fully trusted by humans. At best, it’s under intense scrutiny and we’re still a long way from the human-AI synergy.


  1. PyTorch has a new home: Meta announces independent foundation
    Meta announced today that its artificial intelligence (AI) research framework, PyTorch, has a new home. It’s moving to an independent PyTorch Foundation, which will be part of the nonprofit Linux Foundation, a technology consortium with a core mission of collaborative development of open-source software.

    Despite being freed of direct oversight, Meta said it intends to continue using Pytorch as its primary AI research platform and will “financially support it accordingly.” Though, Zuckerberg did note that the company plans to maintain “a clear separation between the business and technical governance” of the foundation.

VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.

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Categories
Computing

Move over, Apple — Camo’s update takes on Continuity Camera

Reincubate Camo has come out swinging against Apple’s Continuity Camera technology with a slew of new controls you won’t find anywhere else. These include variable frame rates, intelligent zoom technology, and video stabilization improvements. Many of these go well beyond anything Apple offers in MacOS Ventura.

You may have heard of the Camo app. It allows you to use your iPhone as a Mac webcam and has been a popular piece of software since its release in 2020. Apple may have borrowed a few of Camo’s key concepts when it displayed the Continuity Camera at WWDC 22 in June. Undeterred, Reincubate, the company that owns Camo, wants to differentiate itself from Apple’s more basic tech. Update 1.8 gives you what Apple does not.

image: Reincubate

For starters, there’s a new variable frame rate setting. You can adjust your frame rates between 15 fps and 60 fps. Reincubate claims it is perfect for capturing smooth stream footage with YouTube and Twitch. You’ll see a new frame rate drop-down in the camera settings. Apple’s Continuity Camera does not allow you to change your frame rate, depending on the iPhone’s hardware to figure it out.

You’ll also get Smart Zoom with the Camo 1.8 update. This limits the amount of digital zoom when possible, so you can zoom and crop your scenes without losing image quality. Reincubate describes Smart Zoom in a blog post. “When cropping out part of a scene, Camo will now avoid using digital zoom wherever possible, and instead rely on a higher resolution source image from the camera’s sensor, mimicking lossless optical zoom.”

Video stabilization is another feature in the update. This is a new feature for stabilizing the image from shaky cameras without sacrificing image quality. People with standing desks who type a lot, and laptops on wobbly surfaces can cause the video to jump around wildly. Image stabilization will compensate for the shaking and keep your face centered in the camera. Your coworkers won’t even know you have a mechanical keyboard!

Finally, Reincubate gives you a way to control the vibrancy of your image in a live stream. Vibrancy Control can enliven or darken your image, which is great for creating a more subtle atmosphere around your face. This update allows you to fine-tune things such as lighting, white balance, and other granular adjustments you simply won’t find on Apple’s offering.

Updates such as Camo 1.8 are what give third-party apps an edge over Apple’s own offerings. You can check out our list of the best third-party apps for your Mac.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Logitech Brio 500 are an alternative to Apple Desk View

Logitech unveiled its newest Brio 500 webcam and Zone Vibe headphones today, taking aim at the large workforce still stuck at home using Zoom and Teams.

BE YOUR BEST SELF ON EVERY VIDEO CALL | Brio 500

Logitech, maker of some of the best webcams you can buy, hopes these stylish productivity tools will meet the needs of hybrid and work-at-home workers. One of the Brio 500’s features is taken right from Apple’s playbook, with the ability to point down and show a view of your desk.

“Many remote and hybrid workers are still underequipped and grappling with pre-pandemic-era solutions,” the general manager of Logitech Video Collaboration, Scott Wharton, said during the launch.

He highlighted some of the new features built into the Brio 500 webcam, such as automatic framing and automatic lighting. The Logitech Brio 500 webcam has another trick up its sleeve: It can film items on the desk and automatically flip the image, so your viewers see the full picture.

This is like Apple’s new Desk View, which the Cupertino, California company displayed at WWDC 2022 back in June. Desk View allows you to use your iPhone as a webcam and can capture objects on your desk for your video call. However, there is one enormous difference: Desk View does it with the click of a setting, while the Brio 500 needs to be manually pointed down toward your desk.

The Brio 500 webcams have what Logitech calls “Right Sight” technology, which keeps you in frame even as you move around. It also has Right Light 4, which automatically adjusts the image brightness to compensate for bad lighting in your environment.

The Logitech Brio 500 on top of a monitor.

The Zone Vibe wireless headphones are designed to be worn for prolonged periods. Logitech claims these offer “business-grade” performance while remaining comfortable thanks to memory foam covered in soft knitted fabric mesh.

They weigh only 6.5 ounces and there are three versions of the Zone Vibe headphones: the Zone Vibe 100, which have a Bluetooth receiver built-in; the Zone Vibe 125, which come with a Bluetooth USB-A receiver you need to plug in, and the Zone Vibe Wireless, which Logitech says is certified for “Microsoft Teams use.”

Three Brio 500 webcams in black, white, and pink and three Zone Vibe headphones in the same colors
image: Logitech

Both the Brio 500 webcam and the Zone Vibe headphones are certified to be carbon neutral thanks to carbon offsetting during the manufacturing process. Most of the plastic parts in the Zone Vibe headphones are made from recycled plastics, while 25% of the plastic in the Brio 500 is recycled.

The Brio 500 webcam is $129 and is available now at the Logitech website.  The Zone Vibe headphones will be available in December. The Zone Vibe 100 will cost $99, while the Zone Vibe 125 and Zone Vibe Wireless will cost $130.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Engadget Podcast: Diving into the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra

It’s Apple week, everyone! Editor-in-chief Dana Wollman joins Devindra to chat about everything Apple announced, including the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, as well as all of the Apple Watches. Sure, they’re faster and have many more features, but did you know they could potentially save your life? At least, that’s the idea Apple is trying to sell.

We’re still not quite sold on the Apple Watch Ultra, but it’s sure to become the next over-priced wrist accessory for tech bros. Also, Dana discusses Apple’s new ovulation tracking feature in the Apple Watch Series 8/Ultra, which is a big step forward from its previous efforts.

Listen above, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Subscribe!

Topics

  • Apple’s Far Out event: overview and what we didn’t see – 1:23

  • iPhone 14 Pro – 16:39

  • iPhone 14 – 22:18

  • Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 – 34:11

  • Apple Watch SE – 41:09

  • Pop culture picks – 50:27

Livestream

Credits
Hosts: Dana Wollman and Devindra Hardawar
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos
Graphic artists: Luke Brooks and Brian Oh

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.

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Categories
Computing

Why the Mac Pro wasn’t at Apple September 2022 event

Apple’s September 2022 event is over, and like most of its events around this time of year, Apple focused on the iPhone 14, AirPods Pro 2, and new Apple Watch Ultra. We didn’t see the updated Mac Pro, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the clock is definitelty ticking for Apple to deliver on a promise.

The company said in April that a Mac Pro with Apple Silicon is on the way, and when Apple first started transitioning, it said the transition would be complete in two years. We didn’t hear about the Mac Pro at Apple’s September 2022 ‘Far Out’ event, and that might mean Apple won’t deliver a Mac Pro this year.

Brittany Hose-Small/AFP via Getty Images

The Mac Pro is in desperate need of an update, and all eyes were focused on WWDC 2022 for an announcement. Apple promised to deliver an update in April of this year, and the annual conference seemed like the perfect platform to launch a new high-end desktop. But we didn’t get an announcement at Apple’s developer-focused event, and we still don’t have any word on when that announcement could come.

A Mac Pro with Apple Silicon isn’t just about Apple delivering on its promise. The Mac Pro has been a staple in creative industries like film and audio production for years, but it has lost a lot of favor in the last two revisions. That’s because hardware is moving a lot faster than Apple can keep up with. Even with the modular MPX design of the current Mac Pro, we’ve only seen a few add-in GPUs and no upgrade paths for the CPU. RAM and additional MPX cards have largely faltered, too, with the same modules available now that were available at launch.

Right now, the Mac Pro is an incredibly expensive paperweight (maybe a cheese grater if you really want to get creative). Since the launch of the MacBook Air M1, it was clear that Apple’s silicon works wonders for performance and efficiency. Chips like the M1 Ultra only further that, offering top-class performance in apps like Premiere Pro. That’s what the Mac Pro needs right now.

M1 Ultra chip compared to AMD Ryzen.
Image source: Max Tech

Even late last year, the M1 Max and M1 Pro were able to outperform the Mac Pro, and that was inside a laptop. It wasn’t close, either, with the laptops finishing a render in around a fourth of the time as the Mac Pro strapped with an Intel Xeon processor. That doesn’t bode well for a workstation that costs $6,000 at least and well over $20,000 at most.

We didn’t get an announcement or tease for the Mac Pro at Apple’s September event, but there’s still time left in the year for the desktop to launch. For the past two years, Apple has hosted a fall event focused around Macs, and we could see a similar event this year. It’s important to keep in mind that Apple doesn’t always host these events, though, so we might not hear any news until spring 2023.

As for what we’ll see in the machine, it’s tough to say outside of the fact that it will come with Apple silicon. The company has already introduced its M2 processor, and rumors point to the Mac Pro potentially using a multi-die configuration with multiple M2 chips.

A close-up of a Mac Pro lit in red.
Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash

Industry insiders say there is an M2 Extreme in the works, sporting 128 graphics cards and a total of 40 CPU cores. This could be similar to the M1 Extreme, essentially bonding together two M2 Ultra chips. We only have the base M2 right now, though, and Apple hasn’t confirmed any details.

The Mac Pro wasn’t the only product Apple skipped out on during its September 2022 event. We didn’t see any news on the M2 MacBook Pro, joining a list of products Apple didn’t announce at its “Far Out” showcase.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Apple Labor Day Sales 2022: Best deals to shop now

Labor Day sales are here and if you’re looking to buy some new devices, we’ve got all the best Apple Labor Day deals neatly rounded up here.

Contents

  • Apple TV 4K (32GB) — $120, was $179
  • Apple AirPods Pro — $180, was $249
  • Apple AirPods Max — $429, was $549
  • Apple iPad Mini (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $460, was $499
  • Apple iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $559, was $599
  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $999, was $1,099
  • Apple MacBook Air (M2) — $1,099, was $1,199
  • 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (M2) — $1,228, was $1,299

With so many options to choose from, the Apple Labor Day sales can feel intimidating so we’ve picked out some of the best items including iPads, AirPods, and MacBook laptops, too. Whatever your budget or need, there’s something ideal for you below. Read on while we take you through the pick of the Apple Labor Day deals.

Apple TV 4K (32GB) — $120, was $179

The Apple TV 4K is a super-convenient way of streaming all your favorite shows and more. It has a powerful A12 Bionic chip that means it can handle everything going, right down to games. With Dolby Atmos support along with 4K High Frame Rate HDR with Dolby Vision, whatever you watch is going to look great. There’s support for all your favorite apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video, while the new Siri remote is a breeze to use thanks to its highly effective touch-enabled clickpad. If you want a simple-to-use streaming device to enhance your viewing experience, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Apple AirPods Pro — $180, was $249

A person sitting on a train wearing New Apple AirPods Pro while looking at a phone.

Some of the best wireless earbuds around, the Apple AirPods Pro are great to pair up with your other Apple devices. They offer highly effective active noise cancellation so you can block outside noise and fully immerse yourself in music. As well as that, they have spatial audio with dynamic head tracking so that sound is placed all around you, just as if you were at a live concert. Adaptive EQ means that music is automatically tuned to the shape of your ears, so you get a more personal experience.

Apple AirPods Max — $429, was $549

A man wears Apple AirPods Max headphones on a city street.
Riley Young/Digital Trends

The Apple AirPods Max are the most fun headphones we’ve come across in recent times, easily earning their place as some of the best headphones around. The shell is made from a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions with the headphones offering an Apple-designed dynamic driver to provide you with high-fidelity audio. The experience is further enhanced by spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, plus highly effective Active Noise Cancellation. With up to 20 hours of listening time from one charge, these are ideal to pair up with watching movies as well as listening to music.

Apple iPad Mini (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $460, was $499

The Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad mini magnetically.
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

The Apple iPad Mini is a powerhouse of a tablet for anyone looking for something portable yet mighty. It has a stylish 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color support so whatever you watch looks great on it. Additionally, its A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine ensures that it performs admirably whatever your plans. Landscape stereo speakers help with entertainment while there’s also a 12MP wide back camera and 12MP Ultra Wide front camera for taking video calls at a high quality. It’s a great all-rounder, capable of improving your work as well as your downtime.

Apple iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $559, was $599

A man holding the Apple iPad Air fifth generation.

The iPad Air is one of the best iPads out there, unless you’re keen for the potentially excessive power of the iPad Pro. It has a stylish 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, P3 wide color, and an anti-reflective coating so it’s perfect for viewing in all conditions. Incorporating the Apple M1 chip seen in many MacBooks means that performance is fantastic so you can multitask as much as needed, or simply enjoy some gaming or TV shows. A 12MP wide camera and 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support help for both fun and work-related video calls, while stereo landscape speakers mean you can always hear everyone clearly.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (64GB, Wi-Fi) — $999, was $1,099

Apple iPad Pro M1 Image

The ultimate iPad, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch will be excessive for some people’s needs but if you want high-end performance in every way, this is a truly powerful tablet. It includes the Apple M1 chip seen in many MacBooks and the iPad Air, but it also has a gorgeous screen. It has a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color. Colors look fantastic while you also get smooth performance no matter how fast the action might get on screen. An extensive array of cameras including a 12MP wide camera, 10MP ultra-wide camera, and LiDAR scanner mean you get great video calls as well as immersive AR. A Thunderbolt port means you can hook the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch up to other devices, too, including displays or docks.

Apple MacBook Air (M2) — $1,099, was $1,199

Apple's M2 MacBook Air is super thin and light.

The Apple MacBook Air with M2 chip is the latest MacBook Air, offering fantastic performance and unbelievable battery life, while being impressively thin. Weighing just 2.7 pounds, this is a laptop to be reckoned with. Its M2 processor offers incredibly speedy performance no matter what you’re doing, with up to 18 hours of battery life meaning you’ll need to recharge far less often than you would expect. The 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display is a delight with 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color, and support for 1 billion colors. Two Thunderbolt ports plus a 1080p FaceTime HD camera round off the great package. Most people will be more than happy with the MacBook Air thanks to how portable it is yet powerful.

13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (M2) — $1,228, was $1,299

Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with M2 chip.

One of the best MacBooks around, the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro is a truly powerful laptop. It uses the latest Apple M2 chip with an 8-core CPU and 10-core CPU so its performance is unrivalled. Despite that, it still manages to have a remarkable battery life of 20 hours so you can use it all day long without a problem. Its gorgeous 13-inch Retina display offers 500 nits of brightness so it’s great to use outdoors and for watching all your favorite shows in style. Other features like two Thunderbolt ports prove useful if you want to hook it up to a display or dock. This is overkill for some users, but if you simply want or need the fastest MacBook around, you’re going to love it.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Tom Hanks created a trivia game and it’s coming to Apple Arcade this Friday

has leaned into one of his passions by creating a trivia game with the help of developer BlueLine Studios. Not only is it Hanks’ first game, it’ll be the only trivia title on to date. Hanx101 Trivia will feature questions in several categories, including history, math, geography and food. You can try to beat your high score or face off against other players in head-to-head bouts and team matchups when the game arrives this Friday.

This isn’t the first time Hanks has worked on an app for Apple devices. In 2014, he debuted Hanx Writer, that became a hit on iPad. His production company also with Apple. Hanks’ movies and are Apple TV+ originals.

Several other games are coming to Apple Arcade in September. One of them is , an updated version of the . Apple named it the best Mac game of the year in its 2019 App Store awards and called it a “masterpiece in visualization and atmospheric storytelling.” Apple Arcade subscribers can play it at no extra cost starting on September 30th.

Along with those, you’ll be able to try arcade racer Horizon Chase 2 (September 9th, coming to PC and consoles next year) and Garden Tails: Match and Grow, a new match-three puzzler from studio PlayDots (September 16th). Farming sim Farmside will join the Apple Arcade lineup on September 23rd, as will a long-in-the-works game, . The latter will hit Steam and Nintendo Switch on the same day.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Categories
Computing

We finally might know what Apple will call its AR/VR headset

We have been patiently waiting for Apple to drop its much-anticipated virtual reality headset, and now it seems we’re closer than ever. Apple filed some trademark names for its upcoming AR/VR headset, indicating it’s one step closer to launch.

The trademarks were filed simultaneously in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay. The trademarks protect the names “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor.” Apple used the same law firms it has used in the past in these countries to file the trademarks.

Apple AR/VR headset render Ian Zelbo

The trademark filings were all made under a shell corporation called Immersive Health Solutions LLC, which is itself owned by another shell corporation named The Corporation Trust Co. While Apple has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of an Apple AR/VR program, these filings follow closely on its trademark application for realityOS earlier this year, which was also filed under The Corporation Trust Co.

Apple’s entry into virtual reality represents the first new Apple hardware release in seven years, when the Apple Watch first dropped. It also represents a serious threat to Meta’s Quest VR line of business.

Meta’s Quest 2 line of VR headsets dominate the virtual reality market thanks to their ease of use and cheap price. While Apple’s AR/VR headset is expected to cost thousands, it could put a dent in Meta’s business model.

Rumors point to Apple releasing a headset that offers both augmented reality, or AR, and virtual reality, or VR. The AR setting would allow you to wear the headset out and about while seeing everything around you. However, there would be digital overlays you could potentially interact with, such as maps and messages. The VR mode would allow you to become fully immersed in VR, much like the Meta Quest 2.

We still have no idea when Apple will officially release this headset, or if Reality One or Reality Pro will be the final name. Apple could simply be protecting all possible names and there could be more coming in the future. We’ll just have to continue waiting.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Apple MacBook Air M2 buying guide: don’t buy the wrong one

The MacBook Air M2 is Apple’s latest swing at its fanless Air design. Like the M1 model, it’s among the best laptops you can buy right now because of its excellent portability, battery life, and, above all, performance. But buying the wrong MacBook Air M2 could result in a laptop that’s up to 50% slower. Seriously.

In this guide, we’re going to break down what the M2 MacBook Air is, the different configurations available, and answer if you should buy Apple’s latest laptop. Most importantly, we’ll guide you to the configuration you should buy to avoid a clear performance pitfall.

Here’s the M2 MacBook Air

The latest version of the MacBook Air comes with Apple’s M2 processor. It’s around 15%-20% faster than last-gen’s M1 depending on the application, and the 2022 MacBook Air is the only laptop with the M2 chip outside of the 13-inch 2022 MacBook Pro. Don’t by swayed by the Pro model, though. The M2 Air and Pro have largely similar performance.

Compared to the last-gen M1 MacBook Air, the M2 model has a few changes. Like all Air designs, this one is fanless with a focus on portability (it’s only 0.44 inch thick and 2.7 pounds). There are a few subtle design changes, though, including more rounding on the corners and a notch for the webcam that everyone loves to hate.

More importantly, the M2 model comes with a Liquid Retina display, which is sharper and provides a larger color range than the screen on the M1 MacBook Air. The notch even gives you an extra 0.3 inch of screen to look at. Apple also took the time to upgrade from two speakers on the M1 model to four on the M2, as well as improve the webcam to 1080p.

Apple also improved battery life with a slightly larger battery, which lasted over 21 hours in our video playback testing. That’s hours above Windows laptops, even those with the best battery life.

Avoid the base M2 MacBook Air at all costs

There are only two M2 MacBook Air models available that Apple has as a starting point:

256GB model 512GB model
CPU cores Eight cores Eight cores
GPU cores Eight cores 10 cores
Memory 8GB Unified Memory 8GB Unified Memory
Storage 256GB SSD 512GB SSD
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4, 3.5mm headphone 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4, 3.5mm headphone
Screen 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display
Charger 30W USB-C adaptor 35W dual USB-C compact adaptor
Price $1,200 $1,500
Where to buy

It seems simple enough, but the choice between these two configurations is what will determine if you have a good M2 MacBook Air or a bad one.

Short answer: buy the 512GB model. Shortly after launching, reviewers found out that the base 256GB model uses a single NAND chip for storage, while the 512GB model and even the M1 MacBook Air use two chips. That results up to 50% slower SSD performance, making the 256GB model feel more sluggish as it struggles to read and write data to the hard drive.

The motherboard of the M2 MacBook Air is revealed in a YouTube teardown.

That’s why so many people are saying to avoid the $1,200 M2 MacBook Air. It’s slower than the 512GB model, sure, but the fact that it’s slower than last-gen’s M1 version is the kicker.

For $300 extra, you’re getting a much smoother laptop with the 512GB M2 MacBook Pro. It also comes with two extra GPU cores for around a 15% boost in graphics performance depending on the application (more on that below). The 512GB model also comes with a slightly larger 35W charger, which will speed up charging times by just a hair.

Configuring the M2 MacBook Air

The torn-down M2 MacBook Air rests on a wooden floor.
iFixit

The M2 MacBook Air is a bit different than the previous generation in that you can configure up to 24GB of Unified Memory. That doesn’t mean you should, though. Between storage, the SOC, and memory, here’s the configuration I’d recommend:

  • Apple M2 with eight-core GPU, eight-core CPU
  • 16GB of Unified Memory
  • 512GB SSD
  • 67W USB-C power adaptor

This configuration comes out to $1,600, or $100 more than the 512GB, 10-core GPU model that Apple has as a starting point. 16GB of Unified Memory is the big difference, as it can represent as much as a 25% improvement in apps like Adobe Premiere. It also provides a decent boost to coding environments like Xcode.

24GB doesn’t provide that same boost, and it costs an additional $200. Most people won’t even notice a performance increase with 24GB, even in apps like Premiere. The only argument for it is if you run a particularly RAM-intensive application, and even then, 16GB provides most of the benefit over 8GB.

The same goes for the 10-core GPU. It’s $100 more expensive and doesn’t provide much of a benefit in gaming or video editing apps. It is significantly faster than the eight-core model in 3D rendering apps like Blender, though, so consider spending the extra $100 if that’s your jam. If it’s not, save the money. You won’t see any difference.

Should you buy the M2 MacBook Air?

The MacBook Air on a table in front of a window.

If you’re sold on the M2 MacBook Air, buy the 512GB one. It’s the clear choice, and the extra $300 seems like chump change considering how much faster it is compared to the 256GB one. The M2 MacBook Air isn’t the best choice for everyone, though, shipping with a litany of issues that the older M1 MacBook Air didn’t have.

In particular, the M2 MacBook Air has issues with overheating. It doesn’t have a heat spreader or fans, and the M2 gets hot enough that it has to limit its performance to stay cool. Even the M2 MacBook Pro, which comes with a fan for cooling, reaches its thermal limit and starts reducing performance.

The M1 version, by contrast, has no issues with heat, which is why it received the rare Editors’ Choice award in our MacBook Air M1 review.

The M2 MacBook Air is more powerful, so more heat is expected. But it’s not a clear choice over the M1 model. Apple’s latest chip provides about an 18% boost based on our testing and a slightly larger battery. For anyone browsing the web and running basic applications, though, the extra boost won’t be super relevant.

This is even more important when you consider price. The M1 MacBook Air is $1,000, and as we covered above, you’re almost forced into picking up the $1,500 version of the M2 MacBook Air to get the same SSD performance. That’s why some people, like our resident mobile expert Andy Boxall, decided to get last-gen’s model when the M2 was announced.

Regardless of if you pick up the M1 or M2 model, you’re getting a fantastic laptop (short of the 256GB M2 version, that is). If you decide you don’t want to go with Apple for your next laptop, though, make sure to read our comparison between the M2 MacBook Air and the Dell XPS 13 Plus — they trade blows well for around the same price.

Editors’ Choice




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