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Apple Unveils macOS Big Sur at WWDC 2020: Here's All That's New

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Apple at its WWDC 2020 keynote address, which was an online affair thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, unveiled the next version of macOS ‘Big Sur’. Named after a mountainous region in coastal California, macOS Big Sur is said to be a significant redesign of the desktop operating system – its biggest since the introduction of OS X – probably the reason for the version jump from v10.16 to v11.0. It also features several improvements to in-house apps, including Safari. Amongst other changes, macOS Big Sur heralds the transition to Apple silicon-based Mac machines, the first of which will arrive later this year.

As mentioned, Apple has bumped the version number up from macOS 10.15 Catalina up to macOS 11.0 Big Sur, as seen in a slide during the WWDC 2020 keynote. The first developer betas however are listing the version to be 10.16 – what was earlier anticipated.

macOS Big Sur is a major update that advances the legendary combination of the power of UNIX with the ease of use of the Mac, and delivers our biggest update to design in more than a decade,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With its modern and clean look, huge improvements to key apps including Safari, Messages, and Maps, and new privacy features, we think everyone is going to love the breakthrough experience that macOS Big Sur offers.”

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macOS 11.0 version number shown off at the WWDC 2020 keynote

 

macOS Big Sur: Availability, device eligibility

macOS Big Sur will be made available to eligible Mac machines this fall as a free software upgrade. It will be available in its first developer beta today, while the first public beta will be released in July. Here’s a list of compatible Mac models that will support the new desktop OS:

  • MacBook – 2015 and later models
  • MacBook Air – 2013 and later models
  • MacBook Pro – late 2013 and later models
  • Mac mini – 2014 and later models
  • iMac – 2014 and later models
  • iMac Pro – 2017 and later models
  • Mac Pro – 2013 and later models

macOS Big Sur: Redesign, interface changes

Apple says Big Sur brings a major redesign to how macOS looks compared to Catalina (v10.15), and as mentioned, the company is calling it its biggest overhaul since the introduction of OS X back in 2001. Myriad changes have been made, from the shape of windows to various colours and transparencies. The Dock now features redesigned icons to unify their design language with the rest of the Apple ecosystem, while still retaining signature Mac characteristics.

The menu bar has also been revamped in macOS Big Sur, Apple says. Buttons and other controls will get hidden when not needed, and become visible when required. The company is also touting full-height sidebars and refreshed toolbars. System sounds have also been reimagined, but with the aim to retain classic tones. There will also be new symbols for toolbars, sidebars, and controls.

“The entire experience feels more focused, fresh, and familiar, reducing visual complexity and bringing users’ content front and centre,” Apple says on its blog post announcing the new operating system. Also new is the Control Center for Mac, and a revamped Notification Center with redesigned notifications to be more interactive and new widgets that can be easily resized.

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macos 10 16 big sur control center apple apple

macOS Big Sur will bring the Control Center to Mac machines

 

macOS Big Sur: Safari, Messages, Maps

Safari – Apple’s Web browser – has been redesigned for macOS 11.0 Big Sur, with one of the biggest changes coming to tabs. With the latest version of Safari for macOS, Apple says users will be able to see more tabs on screen, and easily identify tabs with favicons. Users will also get a preview of the tab if they hover their mouse over it. Safari also gets improved personalisation with a new start page featuring a customisable background image, a reading list, and iCloud Tabs. Built-in translate features for seven languages will also be available.

With Safari for Big Sur, Apple is also touting improved support for extensions (including a WebExtensions API to bring Chrome extensions to Safari), as well as a new place on the Mac App Store where users can view editorial recommendations and leaderboards. Safari also gets a new Privacy Report feature to show every cross-site tracker being blocked. There are also performance and power efficiency improvements in the latest Safari, Apple says. Users will also be able to import passwords and settings from Chrome, while there is a new password monitoring system.

As for Messages on macOS Big Sur, Apple has added features like message pinning, a new and improved search function, message effects, customisable Memoji stickers, a new photo picker, mentions, as well as new group messaging features including inline replies and group photos.
Another native app that sees a major rework is Maps on macOS Big Sur, and it brings new planning tools such as Guides, 360-degree perspectives in Look Around, as well as the ability to route maps on the Mac and send them to the iPhone when users want.

macos 10 16 big sur safari apple apple

macOS Big Sur will get a revamped Safari browser

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macOS Big Sur: Transition to Apple Silicon, privacy, and other changes

Apple announced the first Mac machines running on Apple-designed custom chips, anticipated to be based on the ARM architecture, will launch at the end of 2020. At the keynote address, it showcased a Mac machine running the Apple Development Platform on an Apple A12Z Bionic SoC, last used in 2020 iPad Pro series. As you’d imagine, apart from new hardware, the transition to Apple silicon from Intel chips will also entail some reworking of apps.

To that end, Apple says it has already reworked its popular in-house apps to work on Apple silicon-based Mac machines, optimising them. It also detailed that with Xcode 12 framework and Universal 2 app binaries, app developers will be able recompile their Intel-based Mac apps to work with Apple silicon in a “matter of days”. A Universal App Quick Start Program, applications for which open today, will allow developers to build and test Universal 2 apps.

Another notable announcement was the use of Rosetta 2 translation tech to allow users to run existing Mac apps on Apple silicon-based machines without any modifications. One of the biggest reveals for macOS Big Sur was the ability to run iOS and iPadOS apps on macOS, without any modifications. New virtualisation tech will also make its way to the new version of macOS to allow users to easily run Linux on their Mac machines.

Finally, similar to what iOS 14 will introduce to the App Store, macOS Big Sur brings some privacy changes to the Mac App Store, including a summary of the privacy practices of each app – data that’s self-reported by the developers.

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Other new macOS Big Sur features briefly mentioned by Apple include editing in Photos, automatic AirPods device switching, an improved Siri, faster software updates, signed system volume, Apple Arcade improvements, optimised battery charging, new Home features, and more.

Apple also details some new “international features”, including new fonts for India with 20 new document fonts and upgrades to 18 existing fonts. India will also get localised message effects.

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Corsair Voyager a1600 AMD Advantage Edition Unveiled as Company's First-Ever Gaming Laptop

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Corsair Voyager a1600 AMD advantage edition has been unveiled at Computex 2022 as the company’s first-ever gaming and streaming laptop. The Voyager a1600 gaming laptop will be equipped with AMD Ryzen 6000-series processors and AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU. The company says that this laptop also comes with Corsair and Elgato’s vast ecosystem of exclusive software and technologies. Moreover, the laptop will feature a touch bar above the keyboard with ten touch shortcut buttons.

Corsair Voyager a1600 laptop price

The pricing and availability details of the Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptops haven’t been announced by the company yet. However, Corsair’s official website says that the laptop will be ‘launching soon’. On the other hand, Corsair announced its gaming laptop at an event held during Computex 2022.

Corsair Voyager a1600 laptop specifications, features

The Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop will come with up to an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, which can be paired with up to 64GB DDR5 RAM and up to 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD. As for graphics, the Corsair gaming laptop will be equipped with an AMD Radeon RX6800M GPU. The laptop includes a full-size Cherry MX low-profile mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting as well as a full-HD webcam. It sports a 16-inch 2560×1600 QHD+ IPS screen that offers 240Hz refresh rate and supports AMD FreeSync Premium technology.

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The gaming laptop supports two Thunderbolt 3 USB 4.0 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one SDXC 7.0 card reader, and one audio jack. The Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop will feature an advanced compact vapour chamber cooling system that evenly spreads heat, achieving lower temperatures with a thinner profile than traditional cooling methods, according to the company.

Moreover, the laptop comes with Bluetooth v5.2 and will run on Windows 11 operating system. It will be packed with a 6,410mAh battery with support for 99W fast charging.

The Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop comes with ten easy-access customisable S-key shortcut touch buttons that are placed above the keyboard. These buttons are powered by the Elgato Stream Deck software and offers one-touch streaming controls. The laptop also features a directional 4-microphone array with ambient noise cancellation that captures the user’s voice even in busy environments, as per the company.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Corsair to launch the first Voyager laptop exclusively with AMD Advantage design framework,” said Frank Azor, chief architect of Gaming Solutions at AMD. “The Corsair Voyager a1600 is the first truly mobile streaming solution; coupled with AMD smart technologies like SmartShift MAX, users can automatically unleash the full potential of this laptop whether gaming, streaming, or creating,” Frank further added.

In terms of dimensions, the Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop comes in 356mm x 286.7mm x 19.9mm and weighs 2.4kg.


This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discuss the Surface Pro 8, Go 3, Duo 2, and Laptop Studio — as Microsoft sets a vision for Windows 11 hardware. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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AMD Ryzen 7000 Series, AM5 Desktop Platform, ‘Mendocino’ Budget CPUs Announced At Computex 2022

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AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su announced some details of the company’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 series CPUs at her Computex 2022 keynote, along with a new AM5 socket and 600-series chipsets for motherboards that will accompany them. The company also teased an upcoming ‘Mendocino’ CPU lineup for affordable mainstream laptops and Chromebooks as well as a new SmartAccess Storage feature for high-performance laptops. While specific details of models, pricing, and features were not disclosed, AMD did say that these products will launch by the end of 2022.

AMD Ryzen 7000 series, AM5 socket, X670E, X670, B650

Ryzen 7000 series CPUs, codenamed ‘Raphael’, will be based on the Zen 4 CPU core architecture and will feature up to 16 cores spread across two physical chiplets. These chiplets will be manufactured using a new 5nm TSMC process and CPUs will also feature a new IO die based on a 6nm process.

AMD will introduce the new AM5 socket, finally retiring the AM4 standard which has served since before the introduction of the original Ryzen CPU series in 2017. This will allow for a generational shift to DDR5 RAM and the PCIe 5.0 interconnect standard. The maximum TDP supported will go up to 170W, and all coolers designed for socket AM4 will be compatible. This also marks a shift to an LGA-style CPU package, from the current pin grid layout.

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AMD promises boost clock speeds “significantly above 5GHz” and a demonstration shown during the presentation appeared to show a pre-production 16-core CPU sample running at up to 5.5GHz in the game Ghostwire: Tokyo. The CPU was also shown beating Intel’s Core i9-12900K in a multi-threaded Blender workload.

Zen 4 CPU cores will feature double the L2 cache as the current generation, and expanded instructions to handle AI acceleration. The company will also use its RDNA2 GPU architecture for integrated graphics capabilities. AMD touts improved power efficiency and a 15 percent uplift in single-threaded performance thanks to the higher clock speed, architectural improvements, and new manufacturing processes.

amd computex 2022 am5 motherboards amd

Socket AM5 motherboards will be available from several hardware OEMs when the CPUs go on sale

 

Ryzen 7000 CPUs will have up to 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes. Platform-level capabilities include Wi-Fi 6E, up to 14 USB ports, and four simultaneous displays over HDMI 2.1 and/or DisplayPort 2.0. Three new desktop chipsets have been announced: the X670 Extreme for “the most demanding enthusiasts” will support multiple PCIe 5.0 devices along with extreme overclocking and power delivery capabilities. The X670 will appeal to “the bulk of enthusiasts and gamers” with PCIe 5.0 to at least one graphics card and M.2 storage device. Motherboards based on the mainstream B650 will only support PCIe 5.0 for storage devices. The budget segment will likely continue to be served by AM4 products for some time.

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AM5-based Motherboards from ASRock, Asus, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI will be announced this week at Computex 2022, and will go on sale along with the new Ryzen 7000 CPUs later this year. AMD also says PCIe 5.0 SSDs from major brands will be available at the same time, and it has worked closely with SSD and controller manufacturers.

More information such as Ryzen 7000 series SKUs, specifications and prices as well as details of the Zen 4 core architecture will be announced closer to the “fall 2022” launch window.

AMD ‘Mendocino’ CPUs

Along with new enthusiast desktop hardware, AMD talked about the success of its Ryzen 6000 series laptop CPUs, announced at CES earlier this year, and teased a new CPU family codenamed ‘Mendocino’ for low-cost laptops and Chromebooks. Curiously, this is the same codename that Intel used for one of its earliest Celeron CPU generations in the late 1990s. AMD’s Mendocino will be based on the Zen 2 CPU core architecture but will also feature RDNA2 graphics capabilities. Other specifications include support for LPDDR5 RAM. CPUs will have up to four cores with eight threads. The company projects over 10 hours of battery life for Mendocino-based laptops.

AMD is targeting laptops in the $399 to $699 price range (approximately Rs. 30,000 – 55,000 before taxes). Laptop OEMs should begin announcing models in Q4 2022. These should appeal to students, office workers, and those who need simple, basic productivity in a portable package.

AMD Advantage

During the keynote, AMD also touted the success of its AMD Advantage laptop design programme and various capabilities that OEMs can implement with an AMD CPU and GPU. Along with models from Alienware, Lenovo, HP and Asus that deliver such capabilities, AMD also previewed the upcoming Corsair Voyager notebook which is designed for mobile gaming and streaming. Featuring AMD hardware and smart features plus a 16-inch display, 10-key Elgato command centre and dedicated webcam and video input switching controls, the Corsair Voyager will be available in some countries later in 2022.

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Corsair launching first ever gaming and streaming laptop exclusively with amd – entire family of smart tech, 16” premium display. Voyager. Truly mobile streaming solution. 10 key elgato command centre. Integrated camera hub software, change video inputs and field of view. DDR5, available this summer including customizable versions from origin.

Finally, the new Smart Access Storage will leverage Microsoft DirectStorage to allow for large game textures and 3D models to be loaded directly from an NVMe SSD to the GPU’s memory.

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HP Envy, Envy x360 Refreshed Laptop Models With 12th Gen Intel Processors Launched: All Details

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HP has refreshed a bunch of laptops from its HP Envy lineup on Thursday, May 19 in the United States. These laptops are primarily aimed at creative professionals and are claimed to offer flexibility with great performance. These new laptops are Intel Evo certified and are powered by up to 12th Gen Intel Core processors. The laptops also offer up to 4K OLED displays, including touch display with multi-gesture and stylus support. The newly launched laptops include the HP Envy x360 13, HP Envy x360 15, HP Envy 16, and HP Envy 17.

HP Envy x360 13 (2022), HP Envy x360 15 (2022) price, availability

The HP Envy x360 13 has a starting price of $899.99 (roughly Rs. 70,000) on the HP site. The Intel model of the HP Envy x360 15 starts from $899.99 (roughly Rs. 70,000) whereas the AMD variant begins from $849.99 (roghly Rs. 66,000) on the HP site.

HP Envy 16 (2022), HP Envy 17 (2022) price, availability

The HP Envy 16 is available on the HP site starting from $1,399.99 (roughly Rs. 1,09,000). It will also be available on Amazon and select retail stores. On the other hand, the HP Envy 17 begins from $1,099.99 (roughly Rs. 85,000) on the HP site. It will also be available at BestBuy retail and online stores.

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HP Envy x360 13 (2022), HP Envy x360 15 (2022) specifications

The HP Envy x360 13 offers the option of up to a 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED display. This laptop can come with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. The laptop can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage. According to the company, its 66Wh battery can provide up to 20 hours of backup.

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HP Envy x360 15 (2022)
Photo Credit: HP

Whereas the HP Envy x360 15 can be equipped with either a 15.6-inch IPS or a 15.6-inch OLED display. This laptop can come with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processor or up to an AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Besides the integrated graphics, this laptop can also be equipped with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card. Users can add up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage.

These convertible laptops feature Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2 connectivity support. They sport two Thunderbolt 4 ports and two SuperSpeed USB Type-A ports. The Envy x360 laptops are fitted with HP Wide Vision HD webcams and Bang & Olufsen speakers. Both feature a full-size backlit keyboard.

HP Envy 16 (2022), HP Envy 17 (2022) specifications

The HP Envy 16 features a 16-inch 4K OLED display or 16-inch IPS displays with a 2,560×1,600 pixels resolution. This laptop is powered by the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i9 H-Series processor. For graphics, it can be equipped with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card or Intel Arc A370M integrated graphics. It packs up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM and up to 2TB of PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD storage. The laptop houses an 83Wh battery.

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HP Envy 16 (2022)
Photo Credit: HP

On the other hand, the HP Envy 17 sports slightly larger 17.3-inch 4K or full-HD displays. However, it is powered by up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 P-Series processor. Besides the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, this laptop can be equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 dedicated graphics card. It gets up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB of NVMe M.2 SSD storage, and a 55Wh battery.

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These laptops are fitted with the HP True Vision 5-megapixel IR webcam as well as Bang & Olufsen speakers. They feature two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a microSD card reader slot, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Furthermore, the HP Envy 17 features three SuperSpeed USB Type-A ports whereas the HP Envy 16 only packs a single SuperSpeed USB Type-A port. Both of these HP Envy laptops support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2 wireless connectivity.


We discuss the best of Google I/O 2022 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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