Friday, January 20, 2023

Apple Announces The Second Gen HomePod

Apple has announced the second generation 
HomePod, which it describes as “a powerful smart speaker that delivers next-level acoustics in a gorgeous, iconic design.”
Among other things, it offers support for immersive Spatial Audio tracks and new ways to manage everyday tasks and control the smart home. For example, users can now create smart home automations using Siri, get notified when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is detected in their home, and check
temperature and humidity in a room — all hands-free.

The new HomePod is available to order online and in the Apple Store app starting today, with availability beginning Friday, February 3. The price is US$299. The first generation model was discontinued in 2021.

The second gen HomePod is available in white and midnight, a new color made with 100% recycled mesh fabric, with a color-matched woven power cable.

A custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, powerful motor that drives the diaphragm a remarkable 20mm, built-in bass-EQ mic, and beamforming array of five tweeters around the base all work together to achieve a powerful acoustic experience, according to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. The S7 chip is combined with software and system-sensing technology to offer even more advanced computational audio that maximizes the full potential of its acoustic system for a groundbreaking listening experience, he adds.

With room sensing technology, HomePod recognizes sound reflections from nearby surfaces to determine if it is against a wall or freestanding, and then adapts sound in real time. Precise directional control of its beamforming array of five tweeters separates and beams direct and ambient audio, immersing listeners in crystal-clear vocals and rich instrumentation.

With Sound Recognition, HomePod can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and send a notification directly to the user’s iPhone if a sound is identified. The new built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure indoor environments, so users can create automations that close the blinds or turn on the fan automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room.

By activating Siri, customers can control a single device or create scenes like “Good Morning” that put multiple smart home accessories to work at the same time, or set up recurring automations hands-free like “Hey Siri, open the blinds every day at sunrise.” A new confirmation tone indicates when a Siri request is made to control an accessory that may not visibly show a change, like a heater, or for accessories located in a different room. 

Ambient sounds — like ocean, forest, and rain — have also been remastered and are more integrated into the experience, enabling customers to add new sounds to scenes, automations, and alarms. Apple says users can also intuitively navigate, view, and organize accessories with the redesigned Home app, which offers new categories for climate, lights, and security, enables easy setup and control of the smart home, and includes a new multi-camera view.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Apple’s New Mac Mini Is Available With M2 And M2 Pro Processors

Apple has unveiled the new Mac mini available with M2 or the new M2 Pro processors. The tech giant’s smallest desktop has a new starting price of US $599. 

The new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro delivers faster performance, even more unified memory, and advanced connectivity, including support for up to two displays on the M2 model, and up to three displays on the M2 Pro model.  Customers can order the new Mac mini models today, with availability beginning Tuesday, January 24.

According to Apple, compared to the previous-generation Mac mini, M2 and M2 Pro bring a faster next-generation CPU and GPU, much higher memory bandwidth, and a more powerful media engine to Mac mini, delivering extraordinary performance and industry-leading power efficiency. Both models feature an advanced thermal system for exceptional sustained performance.

M2 MAC MINI


The Mac mini with M2 features an 8-core CPU with four high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, along with a 10-core GPU. For users with more intensive tasks, Mac mini with M2 offers up to 24GB of unified memory and 100GB/s of bandwidth. This means activities like image editing in Adobe Photoshop are up to 50% faster than the previous generation, according to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

The M2 also adds ProRes acceleration to Mac mini, so tasks like video editing in Final Cut Pro are more than twice as fast, he adds. The M2 model can also simultaneously play up to two streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps, or up to 12 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps. With all this performance, Apple claims the Mac mini is up to 5x faster than the bestselling Windows desktop.



The tech giant says that, when compared to the Mac mini with Intel Core i7, the Mac mini with M2 offers:

  • Up to 22x faster machine learning (ML) image upscaling performance in Pixelmator Pro.
  • 9.8x faster complex timeline rendering in Final Cut Pro.


When compared to the previous-generation Mac mini with M1,1 Mac mini with M2 delivers:

  • Up to 2.4x faster ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro.
  • Up to 50% faster filter and function performance in Adobe Photoshop.
  • Up to 35% faster gameplay in Resident Evil Village.


M2 PRO MAC MINI

The M2 Pro features to a 12-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, along with up to a 19-core GPU, M2 Pro has 200GB/s of memory bandwidth — double the amount in M2 — and supports up to 32GB of memory. The next-generation Neural Engine is 40% faster than M1, speeding up ML tasks like video analysis and image processing. 

Designed to dramatically accelerate video playback and encoding while using very little power, M2 Pro offers a powerful media engine, which speeds through the most popular video codecs and can simultaneously play up to five streams of 8K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps, or up to 23 streams of 4K ProRes 422 video at 30 fps, according to Joswak. The M2 Pro-powered model is up to 14x faster than the fastest Intel-based Mac mini, he adds. According to Apple, when compared to the 27-inch iMac with Intel Core i7 and Radeon Pro 5500 XT, Mac mini with M2 Pro offers:



  • Up to 50% faster filter and function performance in Adobe Photoshop.
  • Up to 5.5x faster panoramic merge in Adobe Lightroom Classic.
  • Up to 4.4x faster object tracking in Final Cut Pro.


When compared to the previous-generation M1 Mac mini,1 Mac mini with M2 Pro delivers:

  • Up to 2.5x faster graphics performance in Affinity Photo.
  • Up to 4.2x faster ProRes transcode in Final Cut Pro.
  • Up to 2.8x faster gameplay in Resident Evil Village.


CONNECTIVITY

The M2 model features two Thunderbolt 4 ports and support for up to two displays. The M2 Pro model includes four Thunderbolt 4 ports and support for up to three displays. Additionally, the M2 Pro model can support one 8K display, a first for the Mac. 

Both models feature two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port with a 10GB option, and an upgraded headphone jack to support high-impedance headphones. For wireless connectivity, both new models also feature the latest standards with Wi-Fi 6E5 for up to 2x faster throughput than before, as well as Bluetooth 5.3.


PRICING AND AVAILABILITY


The new Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro is available to order today, January 17, on apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in 27 countries and regions, including the US. It will start arriving to customers, and in Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers, beginning Tuesday, January 24.


The Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro will be available in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, and New Zealandbeginning Friday, February 3.

The Mac mini with M2 starts at $599 and $499 (US) for education. Additional technical specifications are available at apple.com/mac-mini.

The Mac mini with M2 Pro starts at $1,299 and $1,199 for education. Additional technical specifications are available at apple.com/mac-mini.

Apple Announces New MacBook Pro With M2 Pro And M2 Max

Apple has announced the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro featuring M2 Pro and M2 Max processors.

With M2 Pro and M2 Max theMacBook Pro tackles demanding tasks, like effects rendering, which is up to 6x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro, and color grading, which is up to 2x faster, according to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Building on the power efficiency of Apple silicon, battery life on MacBook Pro is now up to 22 hours — the longest battery life ever in a Mac. 

For enhanced connectivity, the new MacBook Pro supports Wi-Fi 6E, which is purportedly up to twice as fast as the previous generation, as well as advanced HDMI, which supports 8K displays for the first time. With up to 96GB of unified memory in the M2 Max model, creators can work on scenes so large that PC laptops can’t even run them, accordion to Joswiak.

Rounding out the features of MacBook Pro are its renowned Liquid Retina XDR display, extensive array of connectivity, 1080p FaceTime HD camera, six-speaker sound system, and studio-quality mics. Customers can order the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro today, with availability beginning Tuesday, January 24.

MACBOOK PRO WITH M2 PRO


The MacBook Pro with M2 Pro features a 10- or 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores for up to 20% greater performance over M1 Pro. It boasts 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth — double the amount in the M2 — and up to 32GB of unified memory.

 A next-generation GPU with up to 19 cores purportedly delivers up to 30% more graphics performance, and the Neural Engine is 40% faster, speeding up machine learning tasks like video analysis and image processing. The media engine in M2 Pro also tears through the most popular video codecs, dramatically accelerating video playback and encoding while using very little power, Joswiak says. According to Apple, with M2 Pro on the MacBook Pro:

  • Rendering titles and animations in Motion is up to 80% faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and up to 20% faster than the previous generation.
  • Compiling in Xcode is up to 2.5x faster1 than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and nearly 25 percent faster5 than the previous generation.
  • Image processing in Adobe Photoshop is up to 80% faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and up to 40% faster than the previous generation.

MACBOOK PRO WITH M2 MAX

  • The MacBook Pro with M2 Max has a larger GPU featuring up to 38 cores and delivering up to 30% greater graphics performance over the M1 Max. It also includes 400GB/s of unified memory bandwidth — twice that of M2 Pro. 
  • The MacBook Pro with M2 Max provides up to 96GB of unified memory. The M2 Max has a next-gen 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores that delivers up to 20% greater performance over M1 Max, and a more powerful media engine than M2 Pro, with twice the ProRes acceleration to dramatically speed up media playback and transcoding. According to Apple, with M2 Max on MacBook Pro:
  • Effects rendering in Cinema 4D is up to 6x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and up to 30% faster than the previous generation.
  • Color grading in DaVinci Resolve is up to 2x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro and up to 30% faster than the previous generation.

CONNECTIVITY

  • The MacBook Pro now features Wi-Fi 6E for faster wireless connectivity, as well as more advanced HDMI, to support 8K displays up to 60Hz and 4K displays up to 240Hz. These new capabilities build on the connectivity options already in the laptop, including three Thunderbolt 4 ports for high-speed connection to peripherals, an SDXC card slot, and MagSafe 3 charging.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
  • The new MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max are available to order today, January 17, on apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in 27 countries and regions, including the US. They will begin arriving to customers and will be in Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers starting Tuesday, January 24.
  • MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max will be available in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, and Singapore beginning Friday, February 3.
  • The new 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro starts at US$1,999, and $1,849for education; and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro starts at $2,499, and $2,299 (US) for education. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options, and accessories are available at apple.com/mac.

Apple Debuts The M2 Pro And M2 Pro Max Processors

Apple has announced M2 Pro and M2 Max, two next-generation processors that the company says “takes the performance of Apple silicon to new heights.”


M2 Pro


M2 Pro scales up the architecture of M2 to deliver an up to 12-core CPU and up to 19-core GPU, together with up to 32GB of fast unified memory. M2 Max builds on the capabilities of the M2 Pro, including an up to 38-core GPU, double the unified memory bandwidth, and up to 96GB of unified memory. 

Its industry-leading performance per watt makes it the world’s most powerful and power-efficient chip for a pro laptop, according to Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies. Both chips also feature enhanced custom technologies, including a faster 16-core Neural Engine and Apple’s media engine. 

Built using a second-generation 5-nanometer process technology, M2 Pro consists of 40 billion transistors — nearly 20% more than M1 Pro, and double the amount in M2. It features 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth — twice that of M2 — and up to 32GB of low-latency unified memory. 

The next-generation 10- or 12-core CPU consists of up to eight high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, resulting in multithreaded CPU performance that is up to 20% faster than the 10-core CPU in M1 Pro, according to Srouji. Apps like Adobe Photoshop run heavy workloads faster than ever, and compiling in Xcode is up to 2.5x faster than on the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro, he add.



The GPU in M2 Pro can be configured with up to 19 cores — three more than the GPU in M1 Pro — and includes a larger L2 cache. Graphics speeds are purportedly up to 30% faster than that of M1 Pro, resulting in huge increases in image processing performance and enabling console-quality gaming.


M2 Max


With 67 billion transistors — 10 billion more than M1 Max and more than 3x that of M2 — the M2 Max is designed to push the performance and capabilities of Apple silicon even further. Its 400GB/s of unified memory bandwidth is twice that of M2 Pro, 4x that of M2, and supports up to 96GB of fast unified memory. 

The M2 Max features the same next-generation 12-core CPU as M2 Pro. The GPU is even more powerful with up to 38 cores, and is paired with a larger L2 cache. Apple says graphics speeds climb up to 30% faster than M1 Max. According to Apple, the M2 Pro and M2 Max feature updated custom technologies:

  • Both M2 Pro and M2 Max include Apple’s next-generation, 16-core Neural Engine, capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second, and up to 40 percent faster than the previous generation.
  • M2 Pro has an immensely powerful and efficient media engine, including hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, and ProRes video encode and decode, allowing playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. M2 Max features two video encode engines and two ProRes engines, bringing up to 2x faster video encoding than M2 Pro.
  • Apple’s latest image signal processor delivers better noise reduction and, along with the Neural Engine, uses computational video to enhance camera image quality.
  • A next-generation Secure Enclave is a critical part of Apple’s best-in-class security.


Monday, January 2, 2023

ICYMI: New Game Plus Coming To God of War Ragnarök In The Spring

Santa Monica Studio has revealed that God of War
Ragnarök will receive a New Game Plus feature in the spring.

The studio announced the news in a short and quick tweet , stating that the feature would be released in Ragnarök Spring 2023. What to anticipate, though, is uncertain; Santa Monica Studio says it will "share more details as we get closer to the release."



PlayStation Plus Games For January 2023

The PlayStation Plus titles for January have been announced. Here’s the full list of games: 

  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5/PS4)
  • Axiom Verge 2 (PS5/PS4)
  • Fallout 76 (PS4)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Coming To PS5 In Fall 2023

Sony has confirmed the release date for Marvel's Spider-Man 2, the sequel to 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man and 2020's Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The PlayStation 5 exclusive will be released in the fall of 2023.


The sequel from Insomniac Games continues the story of Peter Parker and Miles Morales as they take against Venom, as hinted in the first two games. We still don't know much about the sequel, but we do have a more specific release date.