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Computing

The classic Macintosh was just brilliantly redesigned by AI

Many artists love to design alternate versions of original Apple products, including the first Macintosh computer. Most recently, app developer Steve Troughton-Smith made his own renditions of the classic Macintosh using the Stable Diffusion artwork generator.

Stable Diffusion is an AI-based image generator that uses text to develop art that the user wants to create. You can simply type in a description of what you want to create, and the Stable Diffusion generator will draft up an image that matches the text description — and these results are brilliant.

Troughton-Smith shared some of his favorite outcomes from the generator via a Twitter post last Thursday. Each image has a unique design, imagining the classic Macintosh with different aspects such as a rounded display, a flat keyboard much like a modern Mac, thicker and more elaborate mechanical-looking keyboard setups, a separate module resembling a Mac Studio on one design, and various extra screens, ports, knobs, and buttons on a number of iterations.

“Learning how to get great output from an AI image generator like Stable Diffusion from a text prompt and various knobs and sliders is a whole other way of programming,” Troughton-Smith said in a tweet.

What about an alternate history where Stable Diffusion designed the Macintosh? pic.twitter.com/zWiQvcl5Km

— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) September 22, 2022

“It takes a lot of tweaking and iteration, trying to coalesce conceptual ideas into meaningful words/phrases,” he added.

Among other designs on the thread include old and new renditions of the iPod, and what Troughton-Smith described as “fever-dream alternatives to the original iMac.”

A mocked-up marketing page of a redesigned original Mac computer.

The app designer isn’t the only person who has been inspired by the classic Macintosh in 2022. Earlier this year, Ian Zelbo, a young concept designer who often works with popular leakers like Jon Prosser, drafted a render of his idea of a modern-day Macintosh, fully equipped with a webcam, as well as updated input and output, such as HDMI and USB-C ports in place of a floppy disk drive.

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Game

Valve is testing a redesigned Steam mobile app

For over a decade, Valve has offered access to Steam through Android and iOS clients. In recent years, however, the Steam mobile app hasn’t gotten much attention from the company. Not only does it look dated, but it’s also a pain to use. I only keep it on my iPhone to take advantage of Steam Guard verification.

The good news is that Valve is working on a new version of the mobile app. In a blog post spotted by , the company invited “invested Steam users” to beta test its redesigned Android and iOS client. “We’ve rebuilt the app on a new framework and modernized the design. (2015 called and wanted their app back,)” Valve wrote. 

In addition to previously included features, the redesigned app adds more intelligent notifications, multi-account support and a new way to log into your Steam account. Instead of inputting your username, password and Steam Guard verification, you can use a QR code to simplify the process. It’s probably the most useful feature added by Valve.

The among testers is that the new app is a welcome improvement over its predecessor. It does have the usual blemishes you find in beta software, including sluggish performance and plenty of bugs, but it’s a step forward. “The sooner we get your feedback on a product, the better,” Valve wrote. “This is especially important when the app can be used on so many different phones and devices.”

There’s no public release date for the redesigned app yet. However, the beta is open to anyone who wants to take part. You can find installation instructions on the , but note that the iOS beta is limited to 10,000 concurrent participants due to Apple’s TestFlight restrictions.

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Computing

The redesigned new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 launches today

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is available, and you can order it on Dell’s website now. The new model is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Surface Pro series with its folio design and touch stylus (sold separately).

However, don’t dismiss the laptop as a rip-off. In classic XPS fashion, it’s an incredibly refined, sleek, and powerful device that looks to appeal to those in the premium laptop market.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 sports a 13-inch display that is very reminiscent of the Surface Pro, although its uniform bezels and squared-off chassis are more reminiscent of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It also has a 108op webcam along one of the long edges, making it ideal for use in landscape mode. The stylus is also magnetic and snaps to the top of the device and charges just like the Apple Pencil.

The display itself is a 3K (2880 x 1920) with a 100% sRGB color gamut that gets up to 500 nits peak brightness. There are also two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side of the device. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is the first XPS device to support 5G as an optional upgrade, making this a great option for anyone who plans to travel a lot with their device. All of this makes for an experience that seems like a solid blend between the Surface Pro and iPad Pro product lines.

A young man sitting on outdoor steps holding the Dell XPS 13 2in1.

Under the hood, Dell is offering the latest 12th Gen Intel processors, either a 10-core i5-1230U or a 10-core i7-1250U, paired with 8/16GB LPDDR4x and up to a 1TB PCIe 4 x4 SSD. It should be noted that the system is completely fanless, meaning it should stay quiet, even if performance may be a bit more limited than the standard XPS 13.

We will let you know how the XPS 13 2-in-1 performs in our review, but these specs should make it a respectably snappy and powerful device, which falls in It starts at $1,099, which is only a touch more than the standard XPS 13, but with improved processors and a higher-resolution display.

The Dell XPS line is consistently among the top recommended premium laptops, and we love the bold design of the new Dell XPS 13 Plus. Dell is making similarly bold design choices with the XPS 13 2-in-1, and with a competitive starting price, it could prove to be a good option for anyone looking for a new premium device.

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Game

Alienware’s redesigned Aurora gaming desktop is now available

Alienware didn’t wait long to release its redesigned Aurora gaming desktop. The Dell brand has released both the Intel-powered Aurora R13 (above) and AMD-based Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 with their expected chassis redesign and, for the R13, a processor upgrade. The Intel machine now uses 12th-generation Core (aka Alder Lake) processors ranging from a 10-core 3.7GHz Core i5 through to the unlocked 16-core, 3.2GHz Core i9K and i9KF. The AMD models continue to use Ryzen 5000-series chips up to and including the 16-core 5950X.

The highlight, as you might expect, remains that distinct Legend 2.0 chassis. You can expect 50 percent more internal volume, tool-free entry, more customizable lighting and a more widely available clear side panel. That and an overall cleaner layout should help the Aurora run cooler and quieter than its predecessor while still allowing for easier upgrades. It probably won’t sway you if you’re determined to build your own rig, but it could make life easier if you’re content to buy a pre-built system.

The R13 and Ryzen R14 models are available today starting at $1,250 for the AMD machine and $1,480 for its Intel-equipped counterpart. Upgrade options will remain familiar and include up to 128GB of RAM, GeForce RTX 3090 or RX 6900 XT graphics and 4TB of total storage (2TB SSD and 2TB spinning disk).

And don’t worry if you’re a creator who’d prefer a more sedate case — Dell has you covered as well. The company has teased a new XPS Desktop (below) that maintains the ‘safe’ design of before, but in a much larger (27L versus 19L) form that improves airflow and customization in the toolless chassis. You’ll have to be content with ‘just’ 12th-gen Intel Core i5, i7 and i9 processors, but you’ll have the same memory, graphics and storage choices. You can use liquid cooling, too, if fan noise or throttling are issues.

The new XPS tower arrives later in the fall starting at $919. As such, it might be the better buy if you’re more interested in raw power than an attention-grabbing enclosure.

Dell XPS Desktop (2021)

Dell

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Computing

Redesigned Windows 11 Apps Preview The Future of Windows

Microsoft today announced updates for some of the built-in apps in Windows 11. The updates themselves aren’t massive in terms of features, but keep the design philosophy in line with the new visual aesthetic of Windows 11, the upcoming operating system update that’s currently in beta.

The apps being updated included Calculator, Mail and Calendar, and the Snipping Tool — each with a new update that you can check out now.

Snipping Tool

Longtime Windows 10 users will know that Microsoft has been promising the Snipping Tool is “moving to a new home” for a while now. Microsoft’s Panos Panay also teased a first look at the new Snipping Tool just last week.

Now fully revealed, Microsoft merged the classic Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch apps into a single Snipping Tool app. This new Snipping Tool has the updated Fluent Design language that features rounded corners and emphasis on touch-enabled controls. It will also honor your choice of light or dark theme or allow you to set the theme independently.

Microsoft notes that if you have notifications turned off or Focus Assist turned on, you won’t be notified when you take a screenshot. That said, the company promises this will be fixed in a future update.

The app supports the Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot and introduces a new settings page. Of course, all of the editing features are here such as annotations and cropping.

Mail and Calendar

The new Mail app in Windows 11.

The Mail and Calendar apps were updated to support Fluent Design and themes. The core functionality remains unchanged for now, but the rounded edges and clean design should make writing emails and scheduling meetings a bit more pleasant.

These apps still remain distinct from Outlook, strangely enough, which means Microsoft will maintain supporting both apps into the future as of now. Time will tell how Microsoft manages the two applications as it continues to tie Windows and Microsoft 365 more closely together.

Calculator

The new version of the Calculator app in Windows 11.

The new Calculator app has the new Windows 11 design language, including the ability the apply themes. Like the new Snipping Tool, you can apply a theme separate from Windows itself.  The emphasis on touch support really shines here with larger touch targets to press when using Windows 11 on a touchscreen. Microsoft says the updated app was written in C# to encourage enterprising software developers to contribute on GitHub.

Beyond that, the Calculator functions as it normally does with the ability to use standard or scientific modes, plot equations on a graph, convert currencies, and even switch on a special “Programmer Mode” for coders and engineers.

Microsoft launched the early Windows 11 preview in late June for insiders. Enthusiasts were able to get an early look at the changes Microsoft is making and test out the updated operating system for themselves. Since then, the company has been steadily adding features such as an improved search box in the Start Menu. Microsoft also cleaned up the context menus, adding copy and paste functionality right into the menu, as well as the ability to “group” commands for easier navigation.

You can try out the updated apps now if you’re a part of the Windows 11 Dev Channel. If you have yet to try Windows 11 for yourself, we’ve built a guide on how to install the Windows 11 Preview build. Just know the typical caveats apply when installing beta software.

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Computing

Redesigned Silicon iMac Not Expected To Launch Until 2022

Apple tipster @dylandkt on Twitter has predicted that the larger redesigned iMac with a Silicon chip is going to launch in 2022, as opposed to earlier speculations about it launching in the fourth quarter of 2021.

He claims that a probable reason behind this could be Apple attempting to boost M1X MacBook Pro’s sales, which are is set to release at the end of this year.

The high end iMac will release in 2022. ????

— Dylan (@dylandkt) July 23, 2021

Reportedly, the redesigned Apple Silicon iMac will leverage the same hardware as the MacBook Pros that are set to be launched soon. Provided this prediction is true, there could be a number of reasons why the company postponed the release, but Apple wanting to drive up the MacBook Pro’s sales seems to be the most obvious one.

Dylan says, “Apple simply does not want their devices to compete for attention and delays in product releases have led to this timetable.” Releasing both products around the same time could mean both of them may not receive the same amount of attention with one of the two products stealing the spotlight from the other.

Dylan has previously claimed that the M1X Apple Silicon is reserved for ‘Pro’ Macs that include both of the MacBook Pro models that are set to release later this year, specifically between September to November, and the redesigned high-end iMac that has most likely been postponed to be launched in 2022.

MacRumors reports that Bloomberg journalist, Mark Gurman, has echoed Dylan’s claim about the new iMac featuring the M1X or M2X chip, however, he has stayed silent about its release details.

The 24-inch iMac that was launched earlier this spring was the first iMac to host Apple’s own M1 chip. Hence, the upcoming versions sporting the M1X or the M2X chips will certainly be more powerful than the one that was released last year. The upcoming versions will also mirror a number of features that we saw in the last 24-inch version of the iMac. These include a thinner design, a better webcam, improved high-end mics, and smaller side and top bezels. Whether or not this larger, more powerful iMac will feature the large chin bezel is still unknown.

The same Apple leaker correctly predicted the next-gen iPad Pro to feature the M1 chip five months prior to its release. Still, these should all be considered rumors right now. We know Apple will eventually replace its Intel-powered 27-inch iMac, but the details are still to be confirmed. That includes whether or not Apple will re-adopt the “iMac Pro” moniker for this particular release.

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Computing

Redesigned MacBook Air Could Launch With M2 Chip in 2022

Apple is rumored to be planning the release of its M2 chip along with a new version of the MacBook Air in the first half of 2022. The M2 chip appears to be different from the M1X chip that is allegedly reserved for high-end Pro Mac devices such as the MacBook Pro and a larger iMac Pro.

According to the well-known leaker Dylandkt, Apple is planning to launch the M2 chip in redesigned MacBook Air versions. The remodeled versions will feature colorful designs similar to the colors the iMac range boasts.

Just wanted to share some details on when to expect the next generation M2 (not the M1X which is reserved for the Pro Mac devices). This processor is on track to release in the first half of 2022 alongside the upcoming colorful Macbook (Air).

— Dylan (@dylandkt) July 5, 2021

Multiple other sources echo Dylan’s prediction about the MacBook Air’s colors. For instance, in May, leaker Jon Prosser claimed that Apple has recently been testing prototypes of a new MacBook in various shades, including a blue one. He went on to predict that the company will likely be releasing “colors for average consumers,” implying that the new MacBook Air could get color options.

The reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo strengthened a part of Dylan’s prediction by announcing that Apple will most probably be releasing a new MacBook Air with a mini-LED display in 2022.

“In 2022, there will be a new MacBook air featuring a fresh design that will be priced lower than the current M1 version,” he said.

Dylan also notes that the M2 chip is different from the rumored M1X chip that is a variant of the M1 we might see in just a few months, saying that the “M1X is an extension of the M1 processor with greater power draw, more CPU and GPU cores. M2 is a next-generation chip most likely built on the same foundation the A15 is built on.”

Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman’s prediction on Apple’s future plans also aligns with Dylan’s claims. Gurman claimed that “Apple is said to be reserving the ‌M2‌ name for next year’s chips, and that this will likely debut in a new ‌MacBook Air‌.”

The timing of 2022 does, however, counter some recent rumors that the redesigned MacBook Air could get squeezed into 2021 alongside the relaunched MacBook Pro.

Dylan has a track record of accurate predictions. In November 2020, he announced that the new model of the iPad Pro will leverage the M1 chip and, five months later, the product was launched featuring the same chip. Earlier in 2021, he claimed that the new iMac would feature an M1 chip and not the M1X. This claim also turned out to be correct, so there are clearly reasons for us to believe his latest prediction as well.

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Computing

Redesigned ‘Microsoft Surface’ could join Surface Pro 7 with AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm CPUs

Microsoft will be reportedly launching not one but two Surface tablets next week, which will be built around microprocessors from AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s contribution will be a modified Snapdragon 8cx chip that may be rebranded as something else entirely, according to a source.

French blog Frandroid reported Friday that Microsoft will launch not one but two Surface tablets: the expected Surface Pro 7, but also a more dramatically redesigned Surface tablet, branded as the Surface 7. A Surface Laptop 3 will also be launched. PCWorld was told separately, and before Frandroid’s report, that the Surface lineup included processors from all three manufacturers, including the modified 8cx chip. Historically, Microsoft’s Surface devices have leaned heavily but not exclusively on Intel’s Core processors.

Microsoft representatives declined to comment.

Surface 7 vs. Surface Pro 7

Frandroid reported that while the Surface Pro 7 will look very similar to the traditional Surface design—with fairly thick bezels and the the Surface Connect connector, along with the existing USB-A port but also a new USB-C connector, too—the Surface 7 will be more aggressively redesigned, with nearly borderless bezels, USB-C, and a magnet to raise the keyboard. It’s here that the Qualcomm chip will likely be used, the site reported.

It’s not entirely clear whether the Surface 7 would replace the Surface Go, Microsoft’s attempt at a smaller, low-cost tablet that was optimized for environments like trains and airplane train tables. Microsoft has also talked before about the need for providing always-on connections via LTE, and cellular versions of the Surface tablets have always debuted, though usually months after the Surfaces themselves launched. Qualcomm’s 8cx would provide that capability since the chip itself is a redesigned version of the Snapdragon 855, complete with LTE modem technology, already found in a number of smartphones.

Surface Pro 6 Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

From a design standpoint, the Surface Pro lineup has remained relatively static. 

In any case, Qualcomm created the ARM-based Snapdragon 8cx specifically for PC laptops, though it hasn’t really been on display since Computex, when Qualcomm showed that the 8cx runs comparably to an older Intel Core i5 chip. At the time, Qualcomm said that the 8cx will run at 2.8GHz. It’s possible that Microsoft tweaked the Snapdragon 8cx to run at a faster speed, since Intel has introduced both its 10th-gen Ice Lake and upclocked Comet Lake platforms since the 8cx debut, in addition to the existing Whiskey Lake platforms.

What’s interesting is the diversity of platforms, each with its own little niche. Comet Lake provides clock speed for Microsoft Office apps; Ice Lake supplies more powerful Iris Plus integrated graphics; and Qualcomm’s chip emphasizes always-on connectivity.

That leaves AMD, whose 3rd-gen mobile Ryzen chips remain somewhat of a mystery. They’re not built on the new Zen 2 architecture powering the well-received 3rd-generation desktop Ryzen chips, but on the older Zen+ architecture that powered 2nd-gen Ryzen desktop CPUs. That leaves them somewhat lacking in the performance department, but we simply don’t know by how much—PCWorld’s review of a recent Acer Aspire 5 is based on a 3rd-gen mobile Ryzen, but it was an entry-level dual-core Ryzen 3. The Aspire’s performance was lousy, but the laptop only costs $315, and that’s an attractive number if Microsoft decides that it needs to shoot for a lower price point. 

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Tech News

The redesigned Samsung Galaxy Fold’s best feature might be the service, not the design

At long last, the Galaxy Fold is finally almost ready to ship to consumers. Again.

Following a false-start in April that derailed the Galaxy Fold’s launch just days before its launch, Samsung has announced that its next-generation handset will begin shipping in Korea on Friday, Sept. 6, and the U.S. on Sept. 26.

As previously detailed, Samsung has preformed a number of changes to the device following several issues with the initial design. Several early reviewers experienced issues ranging from flickering to debris getting stuck under the screen, and in response, Samsung has implemented improvements which it says will “ensure consumers have the best possible experience.” The fixes include:

  • The top protective layer of the display has been extended beyond the bezel, so people won’t accidentally try to remove it.
  • The top and bottom hinges have been strengthened with protection caps to keep out dust and debris.
  • Additional metal layers have been added under the display to make it sturdier and less prone to denting.
  • The space between the hinge and body has been reduced to guard against debris.
galaxy fold compare open Samsung

The changes to the new Galaxy Fold (top) are small but significant.

While those changes are significant, the one buyers will instantly notice is the lack of color choices. The Galaxy Fold is only available in black and silver this time around, ditching the blue and yellow-green hues that were originally offered. Otherwise, the phone is same, with a 4.6-inch outside screen and a 7.3-inch inside one. It’s just as thick as before as well (17mm) and has the same six cameras, two of which are included in a notch on the inside display. And it still doesn’t have a headphone jack.

Premier event

But the design tweaks aren’t the only thing that’s new about the Galaxy Fold. Samsung is also launching the Galaxy Fold Premier Service, which will offer personalized support for buyers of the phone. Samsung says more details will be available “in the coming weeks,” but the program appears to be limited to the U.S.

galaxy fold colors Samsung

The Galaxy Fold comes in fewer colors this time around.

Galaxy Fold Premium Service will give consumers “direct access to Samsung experts who can provide you tailored guidance and support over the phone any time, any day.” That includes “an optional one-on-one onboarding session” that will walk buyers through the phone and help them learn the ins and outs of the new device.

While details are light, it sounds similar to Google’s 24/7 support for Pixel owners. Since Samsung doesn’t have a fleet of retail stores like Apple or Microsoft, the support offered here will presumably be phone, text, and/or video based, letting users quickly get answers to questions 24 hours a day. It’s the kind of perk that should come with a $2,000 phone, but it might not be limited to Galaxy Fold. In its press release Samsung teases that it will be sharing more information about “this exciting new chapter for consumers—and the entire mobile industry.”

Granted, that could just be marketing fluff, but it sounds like the Premium Service won’t be limited to the Galaxy Fold. If Samsung plans on bundling 24/7 personalized support into future Galaxy phone, it could set a new standard for what customers expect from their phones, whether they fold or not. As more Galaxy phones top the $1,000 mark, a level of bundled service could bring more value than a larger screen or more storage.

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