Trending February 2024 # Ahead Of Wwdc, Speculation Over Apple’s Arm Mac Transition Grows # Suggested March 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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A new report from Bloomberg this week claimed that Apple is planning to announce the transition from Intel processors to ARM chips in the Mac lineup this month at WWDC 2023. While there’s still more than a week before the Apple event, tech analysts are speculating on how Apple will make this transition and what are the potential benefits and downsides.

John Gruber (Daring Fireball) points out the fact that Apple may reveal its plans to bring ARM chips to the Mac at this WWDC doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will release any new hardware this year.

Apple needs app developers to get ready for ARM Macs with a new version of Xcode, otherwise this new Mac wouldn’t have any compatible apps at launch. He compares this to the end of 32-bit support on macOS, which was first announced by Apple back in 2023 and discontinued last year with macOS Catalina.

An architecture transition will certainly have an impact on which apps will continue to work with new Mac models. When Apple migrated from PowerPC to Intel processors, the company offered a way to emulate legacy software on newer Macs with Rosetta. But now, Gruber thinks Apple will focus only on ARM-ready software.

If I had to bet right now, I’d say no, there will be no x86 emulation on ARM Macs — and that factors into why Apple is pre-announcing this transition months ahead of releasing hardware. But that’s just my guess. In the 90s in particular, and the 2000s to a lesser degree, there was a lot of important third-party software that wasn’t easily ported. I don’t think that’s as much the case today.

ARM apps

Developers and users may think there are a lot of things that will change with ARM-based apps. For Gus Mueller (The Shape of Everything) not much will change, actually. There are still several apps, including Apple’s own, that still use the Cocoa framework and are written in Objective-C rather than Swift, so it’s very unlikely that Apple will require ARM apps to be rebuilt with Swift or SwiftUI at first.

Cocoa is the framework that drives pretty much every app on MacOS. Without NSWindow, without NSView, you’ve got no apps on the Mac […] SwiftUI is barely one year old. Look at how long it’s taken Swift to get to a point where it’s not incredibly painfully to use. […] Objective-C isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Too much of MacOS and too many important applications rely on it.

This would be a serious downgrade for users of these apps on MacOS, and would be a major departure from the way the apps currently behave on MacOS. And even with Catalyst, it’s still a lot of work for an iPad app to look and feel like a Mac app.

Mueller believes that Apple will probably let almost every app to be updated to run under the ARM architecture, except for legacy apps like the ones based on OpenGL.

OpenGL and OpenCL have been deprecated for a while now in favor of Metal. Apple will use this opportunity to drop them.

What Apple can do differently from its competitors

As Dieter Bohn wrote on The Verge, there are already some Windows computers running on ARM processors that can give us an idea of what Apple should and shouldn’t do with the Mac lineup. On the Windows side, the experience of using a computer with an ARM processor is still not good. There are performance issues and although some 32-bit apps can be emulated in ARM, 64-bit apps cannot.

He mentions that Microsoft still has plans to keep both ARM and x86 versions of Windows for a long time, as the vast majority of computers still runs with Intel or AMD processors and companies are unlikely to change that any time soon.

When ARM-based laptops and tablets started getting released, the message was “Here’s a cool new thing you can get if you want, but the reliable old thing isn’t going anywhere.” That’s the Windows way. […] Windows on ARM simply isn’t getting the developer attention and support that standard Windows gets, both within Microsoft and outside it.

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Google Search Allegedly Boosts Youtube Results Ahead Of Competitors

Google prefers ranking content from YouTube over other video sources, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.

When Facebook and other competitors host a video that also appears on YouTube, Google will allegedly push the YouTube result ahead of others in search results.

The Wall Street Journal claims tests show YouTube ends up first in the Google Search video carousel more often than not.

Further, YouTube results frequently take up most of the slots in Google’s video carousels.

“The Journal conducted Google searches for a selection of other videos and channels that are available on YouTube as well as on competitors’ platforms. The YouTube versions were significantly more prominent in the results in the vast majority of cases.”

If true, a case can be made that Google is engaging in anti-competitive behavior.

However, these allegations are difficult to prove.

Here are more highlights from WSJ’s report, including how it arrived at these conclusions.

Does YouTube Have An Unfair Advantage in Google Search?

The Wall Street Journal is clear about what it’s trying to prove in its report.

“Engineers at Google have made changes that effectively preference YouTube over other video sources, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google executives in recent years made decisions to prioritize YouTube on the first page of search results, in part to drive traffic to YouTube rather than to competitors…”

Here’s what was found to show up most frequently in the first spot of Google’s video carousel.

YouTube vs. Facebook Watch: YouTube is first 95% of the time versus 5% of the time for Facebook.

YouTube vs. Twitch: YouTube is first 86% of the time versus 14% of the time for Twitch.

YouTube vs. Dailymotion: YouTube is first 82% of the time versus 18% of the time for Dailymotion.

Videos on YouTube will even rank first when they receive more views and engagement on other platforms, WSJ finds.

In fact, WSJ deliberately chose content with more engagement on other platforms in an effort to detected “skewed” results in Google search.

“The tests found that video results in a large majority of cases featured YouTube videos ahead of the same or very similar versions of the videos available on competitor sites, even when the actual views and followers were higher on the competitor sites.”

The disparity was particularly evident in comparing results from YouTube against Twitch.

When searching Google for seven of the most popular streamers on Twitch, the video carousel would rank YouTube results in the first position most often.

“Out of a total of 69 carousel slots, Twitch occupied only four,” the report states.

What Does This Mean For Marketers?

Again, these claims are all alleged, and Google’s official stance is that it does not give preference to YouTube in search results.

Going strictly off of data gathered by the Wall Street Journal – marketers should strongly consider uploading all videos to YouTube in order to have the best chance of getting them surfaced in search results.

That means if you have a video that went viral on Facebook, for example, also upload it to YouTube if you haven’t already.

Regardless of how much engagement a video receives on other platforms, this report indicates the video will underperform in Google Search unless it’s uploaded to YouTube.

It’s up to video publishers themselves to drive traffic where it would best serve them.

If Facebook is your priority, then it may be helpful adding a disclaimer on YouTube saying: “This video first appeared on our Facebook page. Follow now for similar videos.”

Twitch streamers are exceptionally good at this. It’s rare to find a YouTube video from a Twitch streamer without several calls-to-action to follow them on other platforms.

That’s a sound strategy for all publishers right now, unless Google acknowledges there’s a problem with the video carousel and changes it.

Methodology

Of the searches, 82 returned a video carousel. The relative placement of results were then compared.

For the Twitch tests specifically, the WSJ searched Google for the handles of the seven most-followed still active on Twitch to bring up their videos.

To carry out these tests, WSJ created computers in the cloud that presented unique IP addresses for each search.

For more details about these tests and how they were conducted, see the full report here.

9 Of The Best Alternatives To Apple’s Magic Keyboard

Under $20: iHome Full Size Mac Keyboard

iHome has been making Apple-compatible peripherals for years, so it should come as no surprise that iHome has a keyboard that looks the part. The iHome Full Size Mac keyboard is about as basic as you can get. It connects to your Mac via USB and features a numeric keypad with dedicated multimedia keys. It’s not all that flashy, but it is inexpensive and sleek.

iHome also has a wireless version of this keyboard available for only a few dollars more. That being said, it does not have a rechargeable battery, instead relying on two AAAs for power. Furthermore, it does not connect via Bluetooth, opting for a wireless USB dongle instead, so make sure you have a free USB port.

$30 All-Rounder: OMOTON Bluetooth Keyboard for Mac

At first glance. you might mistake the OMOTON Bluetooth keyboard for the real deal. It perfectly parrots the design of Apple’s Magic Keyboard, retaining the same layout of the keys and overall size. Additionally, the OMOTON features the same silver/white color combo favored by Apple.

The OMOTON connects via Bluetooth and can be paired to three devices simultaneously. Furthermore, it features a built-in rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to fuss around with batteries. The manufacturer claims that the battery can be recharged in one to two hours and has a standby life of 120 hours. While that’s impressive, the best part of this keyboard is easily it’s price. On Amazon, the OMOTON can be purchased for only $30, and it can be even cheaper when coupons roll around.

$30-60: Macally Ultra-Slim USB Wired Keyboard/Macally Slim USB Wired Compact Mini Keyboard

On the other hand, the Macally Slim USB Wired Compact Mini Keyboard is only two-thirds the size of a normal keyboard. Despite its small size, it still features full-size keys and thirteen Apple shortcut keys as well as multimedia shortcuts or Windows. Both Macally keyboards feature an aluminum finish with white keys that evoke the Apple aesthetic. Additionally, each keyboard has a long 4-foot 7-inch USB cable for plug-and-play simplicity.

$80: Satechi Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard

If you’re after a more premium keyboard, look no further than the Satechi Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard. This is a sleek, extended keyboard with a full numeric keypad. The keyboard connects via Bluetooth and can be connected to up to three devices simultaneously. The Satechi keyboard has a selector switch to quickly switch between your smartphone, tablet and computer, all without having to connect and disconnect.

Furthermore, the keyboard charges via USB-C and can last for 80 hours of uninterrupted use before needing a top-up. Fortunately, if you’re not looking for a full-sized keyboard, Satechi makes a compact model that still retains the number pad. The Satechi Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard is available in Space Grey and Silver.

$80 Mechanical Keyboard: Keychron K8

The Keychron K8 features both Bluetooth and wired USB-C connections. Furthermore, it boasts a 240-hour battery life (with backlighting off). While the Keychron K8 caters to Apple users by adopting the Mac layout, the keyboard is also compatible with Windows. Finally, the Keychron K8 utilizes Gateron G Pro Red, Brown or Blue switches.

$100: Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard

If you need a wireless keyboard but shudder at the prospect of swapping out batteries or recharging it, the Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard is for you. This keyboard is totally solar-powered and can run for up to three months in total darkness on a single charge. Furthermore, the Logitech K750 can be charged by any light source, including indoor lighting.

The K750 keyboard also features the familiar Mac layout, complete with a Launchpad hotkey. The only downside to this particular keyboard is that it does not operate via Bluetooth. Instead, it connects via a 2.4 GHz receiver, meaning it will chew up one of your USB ports. However, it’s a small price to pay knowing that you’ll never have to swap out batteries and are doing the environment a solid.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Lego Vidiyo Sets And Pricing Revealed Ahead Of March Launch

LEGO VIDIYO sets and pricing revealed ahead of March launch

Last month, LEGO announced VIDIYO, a new augmented reality system that allows kids to make music videos using LEGO minifigures and music licensed from Universal Music Group. Today, the two companies revealed the products that will be included in the first wave of VIDIYO releases. As it turns out, LEGO VIDIYO doesn’t have sets like most traditional LEGO releases, but rather users will buy BeatBoxes containing a minifigure that represents a certain genre of music.

At the start, there will be six of these BeatBoxes available. In addition to featuring a minifigure, these BeatBoxes will also include two “special” BeatBits and 14 random ones, so it seems that kids will primarily build out their collection of BeatBits through purchasing these BeatBoxes. BeatBits are 2×2 tiles that enable special effects, dance moves, props, and sound effects in the augmented reality music videos that kids create in the VIDIYO app. Here are the first six BeatBoxes that will be up for grabs:

• 43102 ‘Candy Pop’ in the Candy Mermaid BeatBox (Pop)

• 43103 ‘Pirate Punk’ in the Punk Pirate Beatbox (Punk)

• 43104 ‘Alien DJ’ in the Extra Terrestrial Dance Music BeatBox (ETDM)

• 43105 ‘Party Llama’ in the Party Llama BeatBox (Tropicon)

• 43106 ‘Unicorn DJ’ in the Unicorn DJ BeatBox (K-pawp)

• 43107 ‘Robot Break-dancer’ in the HipHop Robot BeatBox (HipHop)

Each BeatBox will run $19.99 and will also include a scanning stage that users can position their minifgures and BeatBits on before scanning them in the app. In addition to the six BeatBoxes, LEGO will also offer 12 bandmates through blind bags that also include a special BeatBit and two random ones. The dancers available in these blind bags include Red Panda Dancer, Cotton Candy Cheerleader, Shark Singer, Bunny Dancer, Discowboy Singer, Genie Dancer, Samurapper, DJ Cheetah, Ice Cream Saxophonist, Alien Keytarist, Banshee Singer, and Werewolf Drummer.

Back when VIDIYO was first announced, we assumed that some part of it would be available through blind bags since LEGO seems rather fond of those these days, and sure enough, they’ll be the only way to obtain the bandmates listed above. Each blind bag will cost $4.99, and while that seems relatively inexpensive (especially considering how much some LEGO sets can cost), those looking to collect all of the bandmates and BeatBits will almost certainly need to buy more than 12 blind bags given their random nature.

In any case, today LEGO confirmed that there will be around 30 songs from Universal Music Group’s catalog available when VIDIYO launches, with plans to release more songs as time goes on. LEGO will also be releasing more minifigures, bandmates, and BeatBits, with plans to release 130 BeatBits in the first year alone.

This first wave of BeatBoxes and blind bags will be released on March 1st. We’ll likely hear about more BeatBoxes and blind bags as we move through 2023, so stay tuned for more. For more on how LEGO VIDIYO works, be sure to check out the video embedded above and our write up covering last month’s reveal.

How App Developers Can Get Ahead Of The 5G Opportunity

Almost every wave of innovation in the history of computing technology has faced the same chicken-and-egg problem: Which comes first, the breakthrough applications and devices, or the network capabilities to make the most of them?

5G represents an inflection point for entire industries, and mobile developers in particular, according to Mark Howden, director of solution innovations at Samsung Electronics America. That’s why Howden will be leading the session, “Unleashing Business With 5G Solutions,” at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) in San Jose.

“People think of 5G as simply faster 4G — that it’s just incrementally faster,” he said. “This is, in fact, a truly massive leap in technology. There’s a lot of pop that comes with this.”

The Difference 5G Low Latency Can Make

Today, for instance, there is a number of technologies available to businesses whose performance is limited by network speeds, latency and volume capability. This includes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as the internet of things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and industrial robotics.

“With 5G, we’re now at a point of being able to have a workplace, like a warehouse or hospital, where there are thousands of devices all connecting to the network and uploading gigs of data into AI,” Howden said.

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Think of an assembly line in a factory, for example, where a company potentially faces a shortage of critical supplies. The data delivered over 5G connections will allow real-time notifications for an autonomous vehicle to go pick up what’s needed. 5G-enabled sensors scattered throughout the factory can facilitate all of this, Howden said.

“Until now, it wasn’t something that you could handle in terms of volume in a single network,” he explained. The fact that 5G offers 10 times lower latency can be similarly powerful in a healthcare setting, he added, where patients are monitored for low blood pressure or cardiac issues. “You have increased computing power for all of that data coming in, and can now take it and turn it into actionable information that can then be sent out to people or directly back into other devices to automatically respond to an issue, or potential issues in the environment.”

Edge computing enabled by 5G, meanwhile, allows data to be filtered to look for specific kinds of issues, Howden said, notifying employees via smartphone, tablet or even a wearable device like a smartwatch.

Samsung became the first company to provide 5G smartphones with the Galaxy S10 5G and Note10+ 5G, as well as being at the forefront of 5G network equipment, antennae and fixed wireless access points. The latter can be essential in bringing connections inside the walls of an organization that otherwise wouldn’t be able to manage the millimeter wave spectrum associated with 5G, Howden said.

5G Jobs: What Stays, What Goes

5G may also unleash a change in the kinds of roles that make up the modern workforce, Howden said. “Smart sensors and greater connectivity mean fewer people are needed in the field to do manual checks and data collection,” he added, noting that it would also mean more demand for talent in areas like software development and data analytics.

Some of the work will be driven by projects already underway, such as smart city initiatives underway in multiple countries around the world, smart factories and even smart farms. To Howden, all this means sitting on the sidelines as 5G takes center stage would be a big mistake.

“There is a huge opportunity for developers and solution partners to identify the trend now, even though there’s not nationwide coverage and tech available to everyone today to build for that,” he said. “History has proven if you’re one of the first to market with it, those who recognize data speeds are going up and data storage is getting cheaper tend to lead their industry.”

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Everything We Know About The Oneplus 2 Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Launch

The OnePlus 2 has a hard act to follow. Many people believe that OnePlus did such a great job of the OnePlus One that many current owners of the original flagship killer will stick with the Oppo Find 7 based device rather than going for the upgraded OnePlus 2 that will feature;

Snapdragon 810

OnePlus really had no choice but to use the Snapdragon 810 chipset. In many peoples minds Qualcomm are the SoC of choice for any top of the range phone and the 810 should be the pick of the crop. It also makes a obvious update over the Snapdragon 801 in the OPO, but there are issues.

The Snapdragon 810 is already struggling in the publics mind due to poor optimisation and overheating issues. OnePlus believe they have circumvented the issues by using Ver 2.0 of the chipset running at 1.8Ghz though, but only time will tell if this will make for a worthy upgrade over the already rather amazing last generation 801.

4GB RAM

USB Type C

Physical button and fingerprint scanner

Fingerprint security has been seen on a huge number of Chinese phones this year. From Ulefone and Elephone to Meizu, its is everywhere. Like Meizu, OnePlus will be building their fingerprint scanner in to a physical home button below the screen (at least thats what we are lead to believe). TENAA leaks suggest an oval button similar to the Meizu MX5 which in turn is like the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6, not a huge surprise as OnePlus Co Founder Carl Pei is a huge Apple fan.

3300mAh battery

As Qualcomm have messed up this year leaving Mediatek to storm ahead in the Chinese phone market, and most companies sticking to 1080 displays and 13mega-pixel main cameras, manufacturers have been competing in the battery department.

Compared to last year a 3000+mAh battery sounds quite generous, but compared to what 2024 phones are offering the battery is about average at the very least. With a Qualcomm chip on-board we also expect the OP2 to make use of fast charging tech.

13 mega-pixel main camera

I believe that we have about reached the limit to what more mega-pixels can offer in terms of camera performance, so for Oneplus to continue using a 13 mega-pixel camera is not a huge surprise. According to photo samples from the OP2 it appears the phone will have an F2.0 aperture, and a video showing he speed of autofocus hints at the inclusion of PDAF (phase detection auto focus) on the OP2.

Physically smaller than the OPO

Following their leaks from last year, OnePlus have shown a picture of the OnePlus One covering the OP2 stating that the new phone will be smaller than the last model. This is great news for fans of smaller devices, and if OnePlus follow current design trends it could mean a screen size of between 5.5-5.7-inch.

Dual SIM

While it remains unlikely the OnePlus 2 will have an SD card reader (offering more memory at a high price is one of the ways a phone maker can boost profits) it does appear that the OnePlus 2 will ship with a 2nd SIM card slot.

Is this really what the OP2 looks like

A recent post on the TENAA database claims to show us the physical appearance of the OnePlus 2. I’m still not 100% sure that these images are the real deal and wonder if OnePlus have just found a clever way to use TENAA in a viral marketing campaign (it would not surprise me!).

If the images are accurate though we are going to see the launch of one of the most ugly smartphones to ever come out of a factory. The TENAA images show a phone that uses elements of the OPO, and even the Meizu MX5 (home button) in an odd mismatch.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that either the images are not the final model, or that it looks much better in the flesh.

A third OnePlus device?

Although I doubt we will see the launch of 2 phones from OnePlus tomorrow, I do expect a 3rd phone by the end of the year. In my opinion the OnePlus 2 will be the phone that replaces the OPO with great pricing and good hardware, where as the third device will be a high-end model featuring a better design and higher quality all metal build. I don’t expect OnePlus to build a phone to compete with the Xiaomi Redmi until they have a few more $$$ in the bank.

OnePlus 2 launch tomorrow!

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