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iOS 12

iOS 12: The three features we're most excited to see

12 Jul 2018


amaysim's tech geek

Earlier this year at the Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system: iOS 12.

While the final version of iOS 12 won’t be available until September, the developer version of iOS 12 was released in June, giving us an early insight into the future Apple experience.

Although iOS 12 won’t generate a complete overhaul of the iOS ecosystem, the current signs point to it being a welcome refinement on iOS11, with a number of enhancements that should prove to be useful to Apple’s legions of users.

From new Siri Shortcuts to an improved AR experience, here are the three features we’re most excited to see from Apple this Spring.

Group FaceTime

Group Face Time

In a move that will no doubt please a lot of people, Apple is finally adding group chat functionality to FaceTime, meaning you’ll be able to talk with up to 32 of your friends at once (woohoo).

One of the coolest byproducts of the refined FaceTime, is its integration with both iMessage and Apple’s Animoji’s.

Not only will you be able to quickly convert your group messages into a video chat with your friends, you’ll also be able to throw in all sorts of weird filters over your face while you do it – who else is excited for silly group chats with their grandparents?

In terms of the functionality, during a group FaceTime, small video boxes with the group participants will appear on your screen. As people speak, their boxes will begin to appear more prominently on your screen.

Bravo for this one Apple!

Improved Augmented Experiences

When ARKit debuted last September, the limitations were obvious. However Apple are intent on strengthening their AR tools and its ARKit 2 update is great step in the right direction.

Tim Cook has been clear about how important AR is to them, saying it will “change the way we use technology forever.”

Alongside the promise of improved face tracking and more realistic rendering, here’s what you can expect to see with ARKit2 come September:

  • Persistent experiences - You can now save AR spaces and objects that are linked to physical objects (like toys) or physical spaces so you can pick up where you left off later
  • Shared experiences - This will allow multiple users to play a game or view the same virtual environment. Developers can also add a spectator mode, giving friends and family the best views of AR gameplay from a different iOS device.

Siri Shortcuts

In recent times, you could argue Siri has fallen behind in the battle of the voice-enabled assistants, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s assistant becoming preferred options amongst many users, especially within smart homes.

Siri Shortcuts is Apple’s answer to developing a more refined digital assistant across their product suite and allows for deeper automation within the home.

There will be a dedicated Siri Shortcuts app for users when iOS 12 is released. Through the new app, you'll be able to create your own shortcuts for tasks like ordering an uber, or set multistep tasks where Siri will work with other apps on your phone to turn your thermostat on, or play a podcast once you step in the door of your house – pretty neat right?

Shortcuts will also work with Siri’s suggestions feature, which is getting a additional updates. For instance, if you’re running late for a meeting, Siri will be able to suggest that you should send a text that you’re going to be late.

In light of these changes, it certainly feels like Siri will start to feel more relevant again, and it’s definitely a much needed refresh to Apple’s original wonder girl.

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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.

Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.