Samsung decided to unveil two sleek new Windows 10 laptops that are so unmistakably inspired by Apple’s design aesthetic that one tech news site went ahead and tagged these as Samsung’s new 13- and 15-inch editions of the MacBook Pro.
If you’ve ever wondered how a black MacBook Pro would look, new MacBook Pro clones from Samsung give us a pretty good idea.
Samsung’s new 13-inch and 15-inch Notebook 7 laptops look very familiar indeed
There’s the same ‘solid metal’ construction, with the same beveled cut-out to make it easy to lift the lid. The chiclet keyboard style with white backlight keycaps on black keys is set into the same beveled recess – and even has a similar typeface. There’s a Touch ID– sorry, fingerprint sensor on the keyboard. And there’s the same large trackpad.
Granted some of the individual features are common to many laptops today, but it’s the totality of the design which makes it appear to be such a close copy of Apple’s design, especially the 13-inch model.
The 15-inch version deviates somewhat from the look, with the trackpad moved off-center in a disturbing fashion, and the addition of a numeric keypad.
Running Windows 10, Samsung’s MacBook Pro clones aren’t likely to appeal to any MacBook owners, but one thing might: the black Notebook 7 Force. While my eyes will never be able to unsee the asymmetrical trackpad, it does give a good sense of how to look a black MacBook Pro would look.
Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans said employees were invited to an all-hands event for its devices team, where it played a sizzle video for the new Surface devices and showed a dual-screen prototype. Microsoft would not confirm anything for the time being, but the company is looking to be less secretive, at least internally.
The Centaurus gadget is more similar to Microsoft’s Courier tablet from the days when Steve Ballmer was in charge of the company — a product that Microsoft never shipped. Andromeda, meanwhile, was the more pocketable version, which Microsoft has stopped developing for the time being, as it’s focusing on the Centaurus.
The dual-display Surface will run Windows Lite, which is a lighter version of Windows 10 that’s meant to compete against Chromebooks and power dual-screen devices. Centaurus and Andromeda are the kind of devices that could pave the way for a foldable Surface in the future. However, Microsoft is focusing on a dual-screen Surface for the time being, rather than a device that features a continuous foldable screen.
Intel is a prominent partner in all of this, as the chipmaker has been encouraging partners to create this type of hardware. The fact that Microsoft has already shown the Centaurus prototype to its employees suggests the product might launch by the end of the year.
Microsoft is far from confirming any of these devices, but we’ve seen plenty of evidence in the past that a Surface Phone of some nature is still in the works, and Microsoft’s Panos Panay confirmed last year that the company is looking at other form factors and will launch them when they’re ready.
In addition to the new gadget, Microsoft also showed employees a working version of xCloud, it’s cloud gaming service that will launch on Sunday at E3. Microsoft is pitching it as a way to resume your games on the go on iOS and Android, rather than a console killer. Finally, Microsoft demoed a new prototype for the Microsoft Teams app, designed as an extension to Microsoft’s chat app for friends and family that supports location sharing, shared family calendars, and document sharing. The app is dubbed Microsoft Teams “for life.” Their best features include:
Apple’s new iOS 13 software was the star of the show this year. Speed was a big focus of course — Face ID unlocks are up to 30% faster and app launch speeds are up to twice as fast on the iPhone thanks to 60% smaller app file sizes.
Speed improvements are nice and all, but there’s one new feature that everyone was obviously waiting for Dark Mode. Now that most of Apple’s new iPhones have OLED screens, UI elements that are heavy on true black means battery life are extended. Dark Mode flips the color scheme so that the background is black and text is light. Dark Mode is available across the main iOS UI as well as in each individual Apple app. Developers will get new guidelines and tools so they can create apps that adhere to the new Dark Mode theme.
Apple’s iOS keyboard now supports swipe typing, which is something that people have been begging for. Swiping on the Apple keyboard works just like it does in other popular keyboards.
The Reminders app has been rewritten from the ground up, and it’s so much better than it had been. A new quick type bar makes it easier than ever to create notes, and Smart Lists is a big improvement over standard lists.
Apple has rebuilt all of its maps with tons more details, and they’re accessible in the new version of Apple Maps in iOS 13, starting first in the US and then elsewhere. Apple drove over 4 million miles around the United States to add all the new detail to its maps. A new favorites section makes navigating to frequently visited placed much easier, and collections allow users to compile a bunch of nearby locations into a folder of sorts. There’s also a new “Look Around” feature that’s just like Google’s Street View in Google Maps.
You can also finally share an ETA with friends and family with a single tap when you’re navigating, which is a welcome addition.
Sign in with Apple
Privacy is always a big focus for Apple since it’s a hot talking point against Google. In iOS 13, you can share location access to an app just once, and then it’ll have to request access again if it wants to access in the future.
In iOS 13, Apple is introducing a new “Sign in with Apple” feature that allows users to sign into third-party services, just like you can do with Google and Facebook. The difference here is that there’s no tracking at all with Sign in with Apple. If services want to access your name and email, you can either allow them to have access or you can have the service create a fake email address that forwards to your email. Each app will get a unique fake email and they can be disabled at any time. Sign in with Apple will be available on all Apple platforms as well as on the web.
HomeKit is getting a big upgrade that ties into security cameras with HomeKit Secure Video, which can analyze security camera video for face recognition features. This new feature also can encrypt your video clips and store them to iCloud — 10 days of free storage are included with all iCloud accounts.
Messages are one of the most frequently used apps on iOS devices, and the app gets a big update in iOS 13. You can now set your name and picture (avatar or Memoji) and they’ll be sent to users when you message. This way, messages sent to new users don’t just appear under an unknown phone number. Where emoji are concerned, there are tons of new style features available so you can further customize your emoji. Emoji Stickers, as the name might suggest, creates a custom sticker pack that can be used in Messages, Mail, and elsewhere.
The Camera app in iOS 13 gives users tons of new features as well as portrait lighting effects available in Portrait Mode photos. RIP, Apollo. The Photos app has a new photo editor UI with controls that are easier to find and use. On top of that, videos can now be edited (and rotated!) using the same effects.
The Photos app is getting some other big updates beyond the new editor features, and machine learning will play a big role. Your photos will be intelligently organized into a diary of sorts, and the app will even automatically remove duplicate photos. A new Days tab in the Photos app drills down to show you photos captured on particular data, and videos and Live Photos will preview automatically as you scroll. The Months tab is similar, but it’s organized by month rather than day. Needless to say, the new Years tab is similar but it’s dynamic, so the previews you see will change based on the time, day, and situation you’re in. For example, if you open the Years tab on your birthday, it might highlight photos and videos captured on past birthdays.
New AirPods features
AirPods integration in iOS 13 gets some nifty updates, like having Siri automatically read your messages to you as soon as they arrive. This cool feature works with Apple’s Messages app and third-party apps where it’s enabled. A new Audio Sharing feature lets you share your Bluetooth connection with other iPhones by simply tapping the two phones together (lightly, so they don’t break). HomePod gets a bunch of new features as well in iOS 13, such as Handoff support and a bunch of new Siri features.
CarPlay is getting a huge update in iOS 13. The new CarPlay Dashboard is a widget screen of sorts that can be configured however you want. Siri now works with third-party apps like Pandora and Waze, which is obviously a big deal.
iOS 13 now comes with the Shortcuts app pre-installed, and Siri Shortcuts also gets new features in iOS 13. Unfortunately, the Shortcuts system is still too overcomplicated for most people to find useful. What is useful is the new Find My app that replaces Find My Friends and adds in Find My iPhone features.
Better Siri voice
Apple also used neural text-to-speech to make Siri sound much more natural in iOS 13, which users will undoubtedly appreciate.
New spam filter
Last but not least, a new iOS 13 feature lets you send ALL unknown calls to voicemail automatically. So long, spam calls!
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