Sony’s Unreleased WH-1000XM4 Headphones Show Up on a Number of Web Sites

 

 

When it comes to wireless over-ear Bluetooth audio, Sony’s flagship WH-1000MX3 headphones are among the best on the market.  The launch of the fourth-generation model appears to be right around the corner.  In the meantime you can purchase these from certain Web Sites.  Use Google to do a search and “Hey Presto” they are available.

So what are the features of  Sony’s WH-1000MX4 noise cancelling headphones, including some notable new features and a $348 (£269 U.K.)  price tag?

The specifications list, of the forthcoming model will include Edge-AI, Sony’s latest codec for upscaling compressed audio files in real-time. This technology uses artificial intelligence to restore the high-range sound which is lost in compression.  Sony states that this allows for a richer, more complete listening experience.

Adaptive Sound Control is a new mode that lets users create custom profiles in the companion app that will adjust the noise cancelling based on location, and new Precise Voice Pickup Technology promises to pick up the user’s voice better through the five built-in microphones when on a call.

The 1000XM4’s will now be be able to connect to two Bluetooth devices at the same time. This is a big plus – previous models haven’t supported dynamic switching between audio sources.  This meant that users had to manually disconnect the headsets from for example an “‌iPhone“‌ so that they could be  connected to say a “Mac” and vice versa.

Bose’s QC35 and 700 headphones can be  paired with two devices and can automatically switch between them based on which one is transmitting an audio signal. In our Bluetooth age, it’s hard to overstate just how convenient and useful this feature is.

As is the case with the current model, the 1000XM4’s will offer 30 hours of wired/wireless battery life on a single charge, and users will be able to get five hours’ worth of charge after 10 minutes connected to a power outlet. Sony hasn’t officially announced the new 1000XM4’s yet, but a search of the Web will show that these headsets are available for purchase from numerous outlets.

This article which is modified from, “Sony’s Unreleased WH-1000XM4 Headphones Show Up in Walmart Listing” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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CardioBot Apple Watch Heart Rate Tracker

CardioBot is a powerful app for iOS and watchOS that taps into the data collected by your Apple Watch to provide a comprehensive overview of your health. A new version of the app adds iOS 14 home screen widgets for blood oxygen statistics, new workout features, and more.

This new version of CardioBot includes  new home screen widgets for iOS 14: blood oxygen, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and a small version of the heart rate summary.  When you add these widgets to your iOS 14 home screen, you can monitor your Apple Watch health data at a glance.

There are also new compilations for your Apple Watch faces: blood oxygen, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability.

The latest version of CardioBot has a new workout screen in the app that shows more details on your heart rate during a workout.  An attractive features is that it will even send you a haptic feedback notification on your Apple Watch whenever your heart rate zone changes.

Full details for the latest version of CardioBot are:

  • Blood oxygen widget added.
  • Resting HR widget added.
  • HRV widget added.
  • Small Heart Rate summary widget added.
  • Blood oxygen complications added.
  • Resting HR complication added.
  • HRV complication added.
  • Heart Rate summary complication redesigned.
  • Start workout button fixed.
  • Heart points goal limit changed.

CardioBot is available on the App Store as a free download with an in-app subscription.     [The information above is an extract from 9TO5Mac]

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iTunes U to be Discontinued at the End of 2021

iTunes

iTunes U will be discontinued by Apple at the end of 2021, according to a new support document shared by the company today.

Apple says that iTunes U tools have been replaced with next-generation apps for teachers and students, which include Classroom and Schoolwork, plus the Apple School Manager tool.

Apple has been busy building the next generation of apps for both teachers and students:

Classroom App turns an iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping teachers guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track.

Schoolwork App assists teachers save time and maximize each student’s potential by making it easy for teachers to share class materials, get students to a specific activity in an app, work with students, and view student progress.

 Apple has also introduced Apple School Manager to enable IT Administrators to manage iPads, Macs, Apple TV, Apple IDs, books, and apps, while ensuring data is kept secure and private. Apps such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, iMovie, Clips, and Swift Playgrounds have education-specific features that are used regularly by teachers and students.

Given the changes and additions listed above, Apple will discontinue iTunes U at the end of 2021. iTunes U will continue to be available to all existing customers through the 2020-2021 educational year.

Apple has stated, iTunes U will be available for the 2020 to 2021 educational year, with support ending in late 2021. For public content publishers, until iTunes U is discontinued, new and existing content will be available publicly, but Apple suggests creators start exploring other options. Current iTunes U users can continue publishing content through Apple Podcasts or Apple Books.

iTunes U has been around since 2007, and was built in to the iTunes app to provide university lectures and learning content from U.S. colleges. iTunes U allowed educators to create courses with audio, media, handouts, ebooks, and more, with the iTunes U app available for users to access their collections on iPhone and ‌iPad‌.

When Apple started to transition away from iTunes in 2017, iTunes U content was discontinued as a standalone feature and was transitioned into the Podcasts app and the Podcasts section of iTunes. Support for iTunes U has since been dwindling, with Apple instead focusing on new educational tools.

This abridged article of, “Apple Discontinuing iTunes U at the End of 2021” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Can you match Apple or Samsung Technology with Belkin’s New Speaker/Charger?

Belkin Speaker Charger

Belkin provides a range of iPhone accessories that include wireless chargers

A latest product pairs wireless charging functionality with a home speaker.

The SoundForm Elite Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger, which is priced at $300, was released in May.  It is a niche product because of its price point, it may fill a void for those who are looking for devices that have a range of functions.

It has a rounded body shape with an angled top area that’s designed to fit a smartphone for wireless charging purposes. Any size ‌iPhone‌ will fit and work here.

There was concern that the speaker would look unfinished without a smartphone charging on it, but the angled smartphone charging platform looks like a deliberate design decision. The speaker is covered in a mesh fabric, but it’s clothlike and has give, so it almost feels more like a sleeve than a part of the speaker.

The speaker is available in either black or white.  There are touch controls on the top for activating Bluetooth, changing the volume, playing/pausing music, or turning off the microphone (and thus preventing Google Assistant from listening). The icons are also a little bit light in colour.

A small light on the wireless charging pad lets you know when your smartphone is charging, and there are a series of LEDs on the front that shine through the fabric cover to give you a visual on when Google Assistant is interacting with you.

This is a smart speaker, and setting it up requires the Google Home app on an ‌iPhone‌ or Android smartphone. If you are not a Google user (i.e. your kit is Apple and Apps are from the Apple Store) then this will be a problem.  You need to ne aware of this issue as it is likely to prove problematic unless you are persistent and have technical “know how”.

With Google Assistant, the speaker can play on request  when asked from these linked services: YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer, with a default able to be set in the Google Home app. You will note Apple Music is not on this list.  If you are an Apple Music user then check out the possibilities and challenges of connecting to this.

Google Assistant  in addition to playing music, provides services such as answering queries, translating, providing weather information, adjusting volume, controlling linked smart home products, providing daily news, setting timers, setting up music routines, broadcasting voice messages, and more.

The quality of the output from the SoundForm Elite is of high quality and unless you are very “sound sensitive” most listeners will be pleased with the sound quality.  The sound is loud enough that it’s able to fill a normal sized room with high quality sound even at high volume.

Bottom Line

If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem and use ‌Apple Music‌ and Siri, the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger isn’t going to be worth the purchase because it’s just not set up for Apple’s devices and services. It doesn’t work with ‌Apple Music‌ except over Bluetooth, there is no ‌AirPlay‌ 2 support, and it isn’t HomeKit compatible.

If you have a mix of Apple and Android devices and also have a Google Home setup, it’s a different story. In that situation, it’s a solid speaker that offers high-quality Devialet sound at a reasonable price, and provides all the bells and whistles you get with Google Assistant integration. And to top it all off, there’s a handy wireless charger, making the speaker a versatile and useful desktop companion.

Note: Information above is an extract of an Article on MacRumors.com

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Reasons to Retire You Old P.C. or Laptop

 

Old PC

It’s tempting with the rapid rise of remote work due to COVID-19 to think that out of sight is out of mind when it comes to your PCs. If you are working at home and can still hop on a video call, then everything must be good. The truth can be more complicated.

Many individuals and companies have a four-year PC refresh cycle, the new wave of remote work may, if anything, accelerate that cycle. Prior to the current global health crisis, computer users were becoming more mobile than ever before, raising risks around security, flexibility, efficiency and efficacy.

While the precautionary and voluntary remote work continues, those working in IT are facing unprecedented challenges. Onboarding employees, supporting current ones, and maintaining systems for maximum productivity are challenges they are struggling to solve.

Managing aging systems at scale is challenging when everyone is in one place. With more and more people now operating remotely, the issues multiply exponentially. No business can afford unplanned down time on a regular basis, and employees can grow increasingly frustrated as their productivity drops.

“Aged systems are costing businesses in terms of lost productivity and security risk, and with much of the workforce remote now, IT managers are faced with even bigger maintenance and support challenges.” says Matt Unangst, Director of Commercial Client Business at AMD.

If you or your organization still sees PC refreshes as a luxury, try seeing it instead as an opportunity to unlock immense improvements in productivity, performance and collaboration. The AMD Ryzen™ PRO 4000 family of processors and partner platforms, for example, cover all the bases for any organization’s modern computing needs, delivering a straight line to productivity and PC modernization.

Here are five great reasons to perform a PC refresh now.

Turbocharge performance.

Here’s the new reality of work in 2020: increased complexity, juggling workloads, mega multi-tasking, and operating remotely. Offering the most cores and threads in a mobile business processor for ultra-thin notebooks with the Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U processor, AMD Ryzen PRO processors deliver top-of-line performance and responsiveness across a wide variety of workloads, from crunching data to rendering videoconference calls to compiling code.[3]

Improve security features.

Protecting sensitive corporate data has never been more important. Modern notebooks and PCs are often never fully turned off, raising the threat for stolen data. AMD Ryzen PRO processors, featuring AMD PRO security, deliver a multi-layered approach to security features, helping protect data from sophisticated attacks and avoiding downtime.

Minimise  IT management time.

IT departments, already spread thin, need all the help they can get with supporting remote workers. AMD PRO Manageability is a full cross-platform feature set enabled on all PRO processors that simplifies remote device management. With AMD PRO manageability, IT can manage a mixed environment of PCs in their fleet with ease, from simplified deployment with Windows® Autopilot, to efficient patch management to address security vulnerabilities, to ongoing management for a wide range of system issues.

Boost efficiency/productivity.

Simply put, organizations need the latest hardware to drive today’s modern software experiences. There are also significant stealth costs associated with legacy systems, including on-going maintenance and repair services, that chip away at the bottom line and exceed the cost of upgrading PCs or laptops. New PCs powered by Ryzen PRO processors help boost efficiency by delivering leadership performance and up to 20hours of battery life on a premium platform[2] – driving up productivity by eliminating downtime that comes with aged hardware issues such as long start up time, frequent crashes, and shortened battery life,

Reliability

With enterprise-grade quality, long-term reliability, and planned software stability, new PCs with Ryzen PRO processors can bring peace of mind to organizations and are a logical choice for today’s remote and highly mobile workforce.

This article is abridged and adapted from:- https://www.computerworld.com/article/3572617/5-reasons-to-put-your-old-pcs-out-to-pasture.html

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Are Apple Mac Computers going to become ARM Macs ?

Apple Mac Air

Apple are Expected to Announce ARM-Based Mac Plans at WWDC

This would mean the moving away from Intel to ARM.

Apple plans to announce its upcoming shift to ARM-based Macs at its virtual WWDC event later this month.  This will  give developers several months to prepare for the transition, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

The report claims that the first ARM-based Macs will be released in 2021, adding that Apple plans to eventually transition its entire lineup of Mac notebooks and desktops to the custom-designed processors. This lines up with a timeframe shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said Apple plans to release several ARM-based Macs starting next year.

ARM-based Macs are expected to have several advantages over existing Intel-based Macs, including faster performance and reduced power consumption.

Gurman reiterates that Apple is developing at least three Mac processors, with the first based on the A14 chip in upcoming iPhone 12 models. TSMC is expected to manufacture the Mac processors based on its advanced 5nm process.

Apple’s first Mac processor is expected to have 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and at least four energy-efficient cores. Apple is said to be exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, with the company apparently designing a second generation of Mac processors based on the A15 chip.

Apple has promised a virtual keynote, where it is expected to introduce iOS 14 and other new software, and seemingly its ARM-based Mac plans too.

This article, “Apple Expected to Announce ARM-Based Mac Plans at WWDC, Transition Away From Intel to Begin in 2021” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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