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Apple Invests $330 Million into Micro-LED Factory

The information has been circulating the industry about Apple and its plans to integrate Micro-LED technology into its products for some time now. Micro-LED is a new display technology that allows for much better characteristics of panels like higher brightness, fuller color gamut, and higher dynamic range. The technology also offers a higher refreshing rate, wider viewing angles, and lower power consumption. Being that Micro-LED display is physically thinner, it will allow for more portable devices and it will leave more room for other components.

According to the report from CENS, a Taiwanese media, Apple is investing $330 million into a new Micro-LED factory for Apple devices. A future factory located in Taiwan is seeing major investments from the company. Being that Apple plans to use Micro-LED displays in its future products like iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, it is expected to see this move from them. However, Apple isn't doing it alone. They have partnered with Epistar, Taiwan's biggest LED producer and Taiwanese LCD panel maker, AU Optronics. These two are experienced makers of panels so they should help Apple successfully launch and operate manufacturing facilities.
Micro-LED Technology

Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.

SteelSeries Launches Apple Exclusive Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller

SteelSeries, the worldwide leader in gaming and esports peripherals, today announces the Nimbus+ Wireless Gamepad Controller for Apple devices. The Nimbus+ builds on the wildly popular original Nimbus controller, adding a bevy of new features, including clickable joysticks, new Hall effect triggers, and a new 50-hour battery. Purchase of Nimbus+ also includes the new Nimbus+ iPhone Mount which allows users to attach their iPhone directly onto the controller, allowing them to play games more comfortably.

Designed specifically for gaming on Apple devices, the Nimbus+ brings console-quality game controls to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV. With an ergonomic design, ultra-responsive triggers and buttons, and a range of Apple connectivity options, Nimbus+ is the best solution to help bring gaming on Apple devices to the next level.

Google Chrome Beta Receives Tab Grouping Feature

There are two types of people in the world: tab minimalists who have just a few tabs open at a time and tab collectors who have...significantly more. For minimalists and collectors alike, we're bringing a new way to organize your tabs to Chrome: tab groups. This feature is available now in Chrome Beta. Now, with a simple right click, you can group your tabs together and label them with a custom name and color. Once the tabs are grouped together, you can move and reorder them on the tab strip.

Apple Rumored to Launch New Mac in 2021 with 5 nm A14 SoC, x86 no More

In a recent report by Bloomberg it was revealed that Apple is planning to start selling Mac computers featuring their upcoming in-house A14 ARM chip which will power the next generation iPhone & iPad in 2021. According to sources familiar with the matter Apple is developing three new processors based on the A14 to power some 2021 Mac products, these chips will be manufactured on TSMCs 5 nm process. One of these new processors is expected to be more powerful then the iPhone version.

This marks a significant move for Apple as they shift from x86 to in-house ARM designs across their entire product lineup, we have an editorial on the rise of ARM here. This development is part of Apple's plan to increase control over their products in an attempt to fully unify the Apple ecosystem and reduce reliance on Intel who has struggled to offer significant performance increases in recent years, this will come as a major blow to Intel who benefited greatly from Apple's demand. Apple will need to adapt MacOS for an ARM based design and ensure their is compatibility for third party x86 applications. The first processor is expected to feature 8 "Firestorm" cores and at least four energy-efficient "Icestorm" cores, Apple is also exploring options for up to 12 core processors based on the same design for use in future Macs.

x86 Lacks Innovation, Arm is Catching up. Enough to Replace the Giant?

Intel's x86 processor architecture has been the dominant CPU instruction set for many decades, since IBM decided to put the Intel 8086 microprocessor into its first Personal Computer. Later, in 2006, Apple decided to replace their PowerPC based processors in Macintosh computers with Intel chips, too. This was the time when x86 became the only option for the masses to use and develop all their software on. While mobile phones and embedded devices are mostly Arm today, it is clear that x86 is still the dominant ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) for desktop computers today, with both Intel and AMD producing processors for it. Those processors are going inside millions of PCs that are used every day. Today I would like to share my thoughts on the demise of the x86 platform and how it might vanish in favor of the RISC-based Arm architecture.

Both AMD and Intel as producer, and millions of companies as consumer, have invested heavily in the x86 architecture, so why would x86 ever go extinct if "it just works"? The answer is that it doesn't just work.

Apple ARM Based MacBooks and iMacs to come in 2021

Apple has been working on replacing Intel CPUs in its lineup of products for a while now, and the first batch of products to feature the new Arm-based CPUs should be coming soon. Having a completely custom CPU inside it's MacBook or an iMac device will allow Apple to overtake control of the performance and security of those devices, just like they did with their iPhone models. Apple has proved that its custom-built CPUs based on Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) can be very powerful and match Intel's best offerings, all while being much more efficient with a TDP of only a few Watts.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has started an "aggressive processor replacement strategy", which should give some results by the end of 2020, around Q4, or the beginning of 2021 when the first quarter arrives. According to Kuo, the approach of doing in-house design will result in not only tighter control of the system, but rather a financial benefit, as the custom processor will be 40% to 60% cheaper compared to current Intel CPU prices.
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro

OWC Unveils the Newest Iteration of its Wildly Popular Mercury Elite Pro External Storage Solution

OWC a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world's most respected providers of hard drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions and performance upgrade kits, today announced the latest edition of its legendary Mercury Elite Pro external storage system for Mac, PC, Linux machines, Smart TVs, and PS4 and Xbox consoles. The 3.5-inch USB 3.2 5 Gb/s hard drive system is a modern day workhorse, delivering real-world performance up to 283 MB/s and capacities up to 16 TB to keep pace with the demands of everything from video editing projects, critical business data, and irreplaceable personal content to expanding PS4/Xbox One game storage and enjoying music/video content via a Smart TV.

The Essential External Storage Solution for Everyone
The Mercury Elite Pro kicked off OWC's rich, storied history of storage solution innovations nearly 20 years ago, and it has successfully stood the test of time by continuing to offer an incomparable blend of performance, quality, and value in a single HDD storage solution.
OWC Mercury Elite Pro OWC Mercury Elite Pro

Cyberpunk 2077 is Coming to GeForce NOW

NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service has recently suffered a big blow coming from Activision Blizzard, as the company has pulled its entire game library from the GeForce NOW platform. However, there is some good news for GeForce NOW coming. In its announcement blog, NVIDIA shared that upcoming game that is perhaps the most anticipated release of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077, will be available on its game streaming service. One of the NVIDIA staff shared that "GeForce NOW members will be able to grab their copy on Steam and play the game the moment it's available. GeForce NOW Founders members can explore the streets of Night City with RTX ON, fully optimized and instantly available, even on your Mac laptop."

Logitech Announces 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam for Apple Pro Display XDR

Logitech introduced the first webcam designed specifically for the new Apple Pro Display XDR, available today. With a contemporary design and seamless mounting experience, the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam offers high-quality video to communicate, collaborate and record right from your desk with the new Pro Display XDR.

Delivering crystal-clear 4K Ultra HD video with crisp resolution, color and detail, the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam is perfect for Mac users who use Pro Display XDR. The webcam's secure magnetic mount makes set up effortless and holds your webcam firmly in place, even when it is tilted up and down. Featuring RightLight 3 with HDR technology, the lighting on the webcam automatically adjusts so you look great regardless if you are low light or direct sunlight situations. The Logitech Camera Settings app also allows you to customize and adjust brightness, color intensity, contrast and more, so you always look your best on camera.

Din's Legacy Released

Soldak Entertainment today announced Din's Legacy has been released. Din's Legacy is an action RPG with mutating characters, set in a dynamic, evolving, fantasy world for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

During the Orc Schism, the entire Orc race was violently split into Dark Orcs, Zombielords, and the Mutated. The Mutated are tainted with Orc blood, a zombie parasite, and necromancer magic. This makes people seriously mistrust and even fear them. The fact that they slowly mutate over time makes it even worse. Who is going to trust you when you grow horns overnight?

Battle Heresy from Within - Heretek is Out Now

Kasedo Games and Bulwark Studios are pleased to announce that Heretek, the expansion to the critically acclaimed Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, is now available for Windows PC, Mac & Linux, priced at $9.99, €9.99, £6.99.

Exposing the dark underbelly of the Adeptus Mechanicus faction like never before, in Heretek, players must uncover what has brought civil unrest to The Caestus Metalican while also battling the fearsome Necrons on Silva Tenebris.

Apple: Protecting Macs from MDS Vulnerabilities May Reduce Performance by up to 40%

Apple has advised users that they should disable Intel's Hyper-Threading feature on the company's computers due to the recently exposed MDS vulnerabilities. Citing internal testing, Apple said that users can expect an up to 40% performance loss in such a scenario (depending on system and workload, naturally) in various benchmarks and multithreaded workloads. The performance loss is understandable - you're essentially halving the number of threads available for your CPU to process data.

Like Intel said, it becomes an issue of how much users value their performance compared to the security risks involved: a classic risk/benefit scenario, which shouldn't ever be in the equation, after all. If users buy a system with a CPU that has known performance levels, they will obviously expect those to be valid for the longevity of the product, unless otherwise stated and considering operational variances that fall within a margin of error/product obsolescence. Halving your performance because of a design flaw that resulted from an effort to achieve higher and higher IPC increases doesn't strike as a way to inspire confidence in your products.

Apple iMac Gets a 2x Performance Boost

Apple today updated its iMac line with up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors for the first time and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. From consumers to pros alike, users will notice their iMac is faster for everyday tasks all the way up to the most demanding pro workloads. This boost in performance, combined with its gorgeous Retina display, sleek all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave, makes iMac the world's best desktop.

"Customers are going to love the huge boost in iMac performance. With up to 8-core processors and powerful Vega graphics, the iMac lineup is stronger than ever," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac Product Marketing. "With its stunning Retina display, amazing design, twice the performance, and macOS Mojave that our customers love, iMac is by far the best desktop in the world."

AMD "Navi" GPU Code Surfaces in Latest Apple MacOS Mojave Beta

System software code used for detecting and installing AMD's upcoming Radeon "Navi" family of graphics processors surfaced in the latest Apple MacOS "Mojave" beta. Version 14.2 beta of the operating system packs preparation for AMD's next-generation GPUs through a device identifier "0x73101002." A similar piece of code surfaced on early versions of MacOS "Sierra" some 6 months prior to Radeon "Vega" family launch, which perfectly aligns with this release of Mojave preceding the speculated mid-2019 launch of "Navi."

The code makes four references, Navi 16, Navi 12, Navi 10, and Navi 9. We're not quite sure if these are brand names or ASIC codes pointing to the number of next-generation compute units enabled on the silicon. If they are the latter, and assuming AMD hasn't changed the number of stream processors per NGCU, we're looking at the possibility of these chips being mid-range performance successors to the "Polaris" family, and it's likely they'll find place in Apple's upcoming generation of iMac, and possibly even MacBooks.
Many Thanks to theoneandonlymrk for the tip.

beyerdynamic Pairs TYGR 300 R Headphone with FOX Studio Microphone for Gaming Bundle

beyerdynamic, one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and conferencing products, announces the TEAM TYGR bundle, pairing the TYGR 300 R gaming headphones with FOX Professional USB Studio Microphone. beyerdynamic will showcase TEAM TYGR during CES 2019 from January 8 - 11, 2019.

beyerdynamic's TYGR 300 R is the ultimate gaming headphone with adjustable yokes and a spring steel headband to adapt to any head size. Designed for gaming applications in quiet environments, the TYGR 300 R features an innovative acoustic fleece with soft ear cushions. The single-sided connection cable is terminated with a 3-pole, gold-plated mini jack plug and a screw-on gold plated adapter.

Epic Games Store to Launch Soon, Developers to Receive 88% of Revenue

With more and more companies creating their very own digital storefronts in the PC gaming space, it was only a matter of time until Epic Games threw their hat into the ring. With an announcement posted today, by Tim Sweeney the Epic Games store is now officially a reality. The new digital storefront will be made available for PC and Mac to start with, while other platforms will be added throughout 2019. In regards to games available on the platform, Epic will offer Fortnite alongside a set of hand-curated titles at launch. What those games might be is currently unknown.

Delivering a shot across the bow at Steam and their 30% revenue cut, Epic's game store will instead only take 12%, resulting in developers earning 88% of sales revenue. If they are using Unreal Engine the 5% engine royalty will be waived by Epic and instead is factored into their original 12% take. Putting that into perspective, an Unreal Engine based game released on Steam currently gives developers only 65% of the revenue with Steam earning 30% and Epic 5% due to engine royalties. Going from 65% to 88% is a significant increase in earnings, and it doesn't matter what game engine a developer uses, the revenue split will remain the same. This should leave developers quite happy since they are not limited by game engine choice and Epic benefits from a vastly increased selection of titles they can offer in their digital store.

Transcend Releases JetDrive 855/850 PCIe NVMe SSD Upgrade Kit for Mac Computers

Transcend Information Inc. (Transcend ), a leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, is proud to announce the release of the JetDrive 855/850 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe solid-state drive (SSD) upgrade kit for Mac computers. The JetDrive 850 features read and write speeds of up to 1,600MB/s and 1,300MB/s, and is made of the latest 3D NAND flash. The JetDrive 855 includes a sleek aluminum Thunderbolt enclosure for a simple upgrade experience. Both models are the perfect upgrade for a MacBook Pro , MacBook Air , Mac mini , or Mac Pro .

PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe interface allows transfer speeds of up to 1,600MB/s
Transcend's JetDrive 850 features the PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe interface, meaning four lanes are used to transmit and receive data simultaneously. The result is compelling performance of up to 1,600MB/s read and 1,300MB/s write. Crafted of 3D NAND flash memory, the JetDrive 850 is reliable, highly compatible, and brings a whole new level of performance to Mac computers.

Apple Deprecates OpenGL and OpenCL from MacOS

Apple, at WWDC 2018, announced that with the latest update to MacOS, its operating system for iMac desktops and MacBooks, the company is deprecating two of the industry's leading APIs, OpenGL and OpenCL, in a bid to boost adoption of its own Metal API. OpenGL and OpenCL applications will continue to function on MacOS 10.14, but the APIs themselves will be deprecated going forward. The removal of OpenGL from future MacOS releases breaks most AAA cross-platform games playable on the Mac, particularly distributed over Steam. The deprecation of OpenCL comes as a surprise to the scientific community, as several computational applications running on Mac Pros will be affected. Adobe Creativity Suite applications take advantage of both APIs. Apple is pushing for Metal's compute-shader features to replace the API.

OWC Launches Their Mercury Elite Pro Quad External Storage Solution

OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, is making drive juggling a thing of the past with the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad. The new external storage solution offers four drive bays to provide massive amounts of storage from a single USB-C connection, with the flexibility to be utilized in Mac, PC and mixed Mac/PC environments. Designed for users who require high capacity storage with fast transfer speeds, the Mercury Elite Pro Quad is ideal for use by post- production firms, photographers, creative agencies, higher education programs, and small businesses.

HyperX Releases Cloud Revolver Gunmetal

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced the addition of HyperX Cloud Revolver Gunmetal gaming headset to its Cloud Revolver family. Featuring the same award-winning sound, comfort and durability inherent in Cloud Revolver, the new gunmetal edition offers the immersive audio profiles engineered in the Cloud Revolver family, creating a larger sound stage for FPS and open-environment gameplay, as well as concert hall-like audio experience when listening to music.

HyperX Cloud Revolver Gunmetal uses 50mm drivers that directs sound into the ear for precise audio positioning and a clean, crisp sound with enhanced bass. The headset is versatile with its detachable noise-canceling microphone that is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord. The headset is designed to deliver ultimate comfort during long hours of gameplay with HyperX signature memory foam and premium leatherette on the ear cups and head band.

AZIO Now Shipping Bluetooth version of the AZIO Retro Classic

AZIO, a well-known keyboard manufacturer, has started shipping a Bluetooth version of its well-received Retro Classic Keyboard. Originally released via a Indiegogo funding campaign as a way to increase the product's visibility, AZIO has now put a few more dollars into the keyboards' development, and included a Bluetooth model. Not so retro now, I'd say, as wires are part of a retro product's flair.

Google and Mozilla Push for AV1 Image Format Adoption, Beats JPEG and HEIC

Google and Mozilla, the companies behind the Chrome and Firefox cross-platform web-browsers; are pushing for the adoption of a new web image format to replace the ageing and inefficient JPEG, and the license-ridden HEIC. The two companies are leading a consortium of Internet businesses, called the Alliance for Open Media, to push for the proliferation and standardization of the new AV1 image file format. Early testing shows AV1 files to be 15 percent smaller than HEIC for comparable quality, which in turn promises half the file-size of JPEG for comparable quality. Apple uses HEIC as the default image file format for iOS and MacOS, while JPEG, PNG, and GIF continue to be the dominant web image formats, and have been prevalent for over two decades now.

"It seems downright silly that we're still relying on compression tech from 20 years ago," said Kelly Thompson, general manager at 500px, a photo sharing and sales site. "The equipment we're using to capture and display images is now exceeding JPEG's upper limits." JPEG is not just inefficient, but also has severe color palette limitations, and lack of support for transparency. Adoption of newer image file formats could significantly reduce Internet bandwidth usage benefiting both end-users running on slower/metered connections; and for infrastructure providers, such as ISPs.

Creative Unveils the Audiophile-Grade Aurvana Trio In-Ear Headphones

Creative Technology Ltd announced today the Aurvana Trio audiophile-grade in-ear headphones, the latest addition to its well-received Aurvana Series. The Aurvana Trio features a triple driver array that combines two precision balanced armature drivers with one dynamic bio-cellulose driver.
Aurvana Trio: Audiophile-Grade Hybrid Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

The dual balanced armature module consists of a super tweeter that has been tuned to deliver detailed high-frequency playback, and a mid-range driver for natural vocals. The dynamic 10mm Bio-cellulose driver, on the other hand, is meticulously tuned to produce beautifully accurate and powerful bass. Bio-cellulose is an extremely fine natural fiber with high purity. Using cutting-edge biotechnology processes, this material is compressed to produce an ultra-thin diaphragm that is ideal for delivering sound velocity comparable to an aluminium or titanium diaphragm, while giving warm and delicate sound of paper ones.
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