These days there have been reports on two sides of the same product: cables and power adapters, often dismissed by users, are more important that it may seem.
On one end we’ve got OnePlus, who has been victim of a detailed analysis by a Google Engineer. He found that this maker should be using 56kΩ resistors on their OnePlus 2 power adapter, but instead they’re using 10kΩ resistors.
As Ars Technica explains, these adapters are suitable for OnePlus smartphones, for sure, but you shouldn’t use it on other USB-C connector devices such as the Nexus 5X/6P or the Chromebook Pixel.
And then we’ve got another detailed analysis, this time exploring the inside of a MacBook Power Adapter. The result, as the text itself, is surprising, and the expert reviewing it calls it “an impressive piece of engineering”
We usually criticize Apple and other makers for selling us expensive cables. Sometimes we can be right, sure, but others it seems quite clear that an expensive cable or power adapter has a reason to be that expensive.
Not in the case of HDMI cables, by the way. Don’t buy expensive ones.
Yesterday Apple renewed their iMacs and peripherals with the traditional fanfare. The company masters product placement and their media coverage is astounding. In fact, most media seems to just believe the exact same message Apple sends on their press releases, and it’s difficult to find proper insight that goes beyond what Apple wants us to talk about.
That’s what we’re here, of course. Since The Unshut is about talk freely and openly about all kind of things tech related, let’s talk about what Apple didn’t say on this particular occasion. The announcement speaks about stunning new Retina displays: we’ve got now a 4K 21.5” option on the smaller iMac, and the Retina 5K display is present on all the 27” iMacs. The new machines come with new peripherals too: the Magic Keyboard (as The Verge notes, the keyboard is magic now: it was just wireless before) , Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 are also a matter of debate.
Here are 9 reasons why the new iMacs and their new peripherals are a (big?) disappointment.
No Target Display Mode: you won’t be able to use the new Retina Displays to connect your console, a MacBook or Windows laptop, or a tablet, for that matter.
Broadwell on the 21.5 inches iMac: Apple has decided to use the old Broadwell family of processors, and for a good reason: they’re integrating the latest SocS from this 5th generation because they include Iris Pro integrated graphics. That’s reasonable now that there is a 4K display with many pixels to move arround, but there are absences as well: no discrete graphics option on the 21.5 inches models. I could talk about memory too: no DDR4 support even on the new, Skylake 27” models. That’s not very important (benefits aren’t that amazing), but we’ve got again big costs for memory upgrades: $200 for each additional 8 GBs, when you could by for example a nice set of 16 GB (2x8GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport for $75 at Amazon.
Hard drives. 5400 RPM: In 2015? Seriously? With products that cost a minimum of $1,100? This is even harder to believe on the 27 inches models, that start with 1TB hard drives (7200 RPM, miraculous) for $1,799. You’ve got to be kidding me.
Fusion Drive with 24 GB of Flash: hybrid storage devices from Apple combine traditional hard drives with Flash memory, but on the 1TB base model you will have only 24 GB of Flash, when previous models had 128 GB (on 2TB and 3TB versions the drives actually include 128GB of Flash storage, you’ll have to pay $100 for each additional TB).
Magic Keyboard isn’t magic: no backlightning, no numeric keypad. This is a desktop keyboard, why is Apple so obsessive with getting a keyboard as small as possible? The rechargeable battery is nice, even though you’ll have to use wires from time to time. $99 dollars for this, a non-mechanical keyboard, seems overpriced to me.
Magic price for the Magic TrackPad 2: this is a good peripheral with a good feature -Force Touch is a more than welcome addition- but the price ($129) isn’t right again. Logitech T650 (true, no Force Touch there) is $40 at Amazon.
Not much magic on the Magic Mouse 2 either: the big change here is the rechargeable battery and the Lightning port. That’s it. No Force touch (would have been nice), and that super flat design. Again, not very affordable at $79.
No Thunderbolt 3, no USB-C: Apple continues to support Lightning above all the alternatives -not on the MacBook though, wonder why- and doesn’t take advantage of the new Thunderbolt 3 spec with the USB-C ports. I wonder if this is a limitation of the new motherboards in the iMacs.
No Thunderbolt Displays: there was no news for Mac Pro -two years now without a big refresh- but the thing is even worse when Thunderbolt Displays are now 4 years old. It’s ironic: we’ve got 27 inch 5K Retina displays, but we haven’t got that on an independent display. I’d love to check that screens. 5K seems to me a bigger deal (1440p on perfect scale) than current 4K/UHD offers.
I don’t know about you, but for me the new iMacs are pretty much a fraud. I would only consider them if I really would take advantage of the new, promising screens and that gorgeous resolution. No gaming here (even on the $2,549 27 inch model with a Radeon M395X), the only real reason to upgrade is… none.
The official Raspberry Pi 7 inch touchscreen display is available to buy, with an 800×480 RGB screen, 24-bit colour and 10-point capacitive touch.
There were ways to connect the Raspberry Pi to several kind of displays, but having an official, specific touch display is really nice. I guess we’ll see tablets and laptops based on this combination very soon.
This is interesting for makers, but not that much for end users: if you want a cheap tablet you’ve got lots of good options and even Amazon is planning to launch a $50 dollar one.
Like the Pi Camera, this is a really welcome addition to the RPi family. Let’s see what creations come up from this.