Tech Update: MacBook Pro, Formula E and the 3D revolution

Technology | Wed 23 Nov | Author – Business & Finance
Apple MacBook Pro

Bite-sized news, views and updates from the global tech industry, edited by Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly.


MAC TO THE FUTURE?

Apple has also updated its lineup in time for the Christmas rush. The MacBook Pro gets its first update in over a year, and sees the introduction of a ‘touch bar’, a touch-sensitive display above the keyboard to replace the function keys.

It also works as a fingerprint sensor, and the flagship machine is thinner and lighter than before. Tim Cook’s company also announced a new TV app for the Apple TV, iPhone and iPod that aims to unify content across the various video apps that users install.

CRACKING THE FORMULA

ABT Schaeffler FE02

Audi has become the latest major car manufacturer to sign up for electric car-racing series Formula E, following Jaguar’s entry this year.

But whereas Jaguar has been absent from motor racing since its Formula One foray was put out of its misery in 2004, Audi’s move is more dramatic: it has shut down its world-conquering World Endurance Championship efforts, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours 13 times in 17 years, to concentrate on Formula E.

With the 2016/17 season kicking off in Morocco on November 12th Audi will team up with the ABT Schaeffler outfit until its full factory programme ramps up for 2017/18.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said that the manufacturer has innovated and won in several fields of motorsport, and intends to do so with the tech-heavy electric car. 

sky-cinemaJOINING THE Q

Sky has launched its new Sky Q mobile app, allowing users to take the company’s flagship offering with them wherever they go.

With the Sky Q system installed at home, users can download their recordings to their phone and watch them without an internet connection when out and about.

It also features streaming and on-demand access to Sky’s range, including the all-important Premier League fixtures.

BLUE IN THE BASS

sonySony’s latest bluetooth wireless headphone range has been released, and features three new models aimed at fitness fanatics. The flagship MDR-XB80BS (€140) has an IPX5 rating to resist rain and washing, and has Sony’s Extra Bass technology and a battery life of seven hours. The MDR-XB50BS (€80) has an IPX4 rating and Extra Bass, and the MDR-XB70BT (€90) has wireless Bluetooth, NFC, Extra Bass, an in-built mic and HD voice support.

googleKICK OUT THE JAMBOARD

Google has made a move for presentations and brainstorming sessions with the announcement of its Jamboard, a 55-inch 4k machine with HD camera, wi-fi, speakers and stylus/touch input.

It’s aimed at collaboration between teams and team-members, and its G Suite software and Google Drive cloud storage accessibility make it a 21st century alternative to the time-honoured whiteboard.

Expected to come in under USD$6,000 and be released next year, it’s a competitor to Microsoft’s similarly sized Surface Hub boardroom device – which costs USD$3,000 more. Pricey they may be, but Google and Microsoft are betting that companies will pay to eliminate projectors, whiteboards and ubiquitous slide presentations. 

THE THIRD DIMENSION

Microsoft has set out its stall for the next phase of Windows 10, and 3D is at the centre of its plans. The tech giant has revealed details of its second update to the operating system, which it dubs the Creators Update.

microsoftThe venerable Paint app is being revamped to prepare for the coming 3D revolution, and vendors such as HP and Asus are working on 3D headsets as cheap as $299. The ability to make 3D content has been beyond the ability of most users and most hardware so far, but with Windows Capture 3D the camera on a smartphone can be turned into a 3D scanner.

Hololens, a headset that offered a sneak preview of Microsoft’s 3D vision when it was first unveiled, has become available for pre-order in Ireland and is expected to ship late this year – albeit at €3,299. It also announced a faster Surface Book with better battery life, and finally showed off the rumoured Surface Studio, a desktop PC with a razor-thin 4500×3000 display and some clever hardware. It starts at USD$2,999, but Windows 10 Creators Update will be a free update this spring.