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So, what’s been happening, what’s happening now, and what year is it?
- The week’s major event is Samsung’s “The First Look 2021” event.
- Coming January 6, it’s a streamed event, where “a new vision for screens begins,” for its display technologies.
- Likely, we’ll see TVs and laptops and tablets with new display tech like new MicroLED and Mini-LED, and new QLED TVs in 4K and 8K.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 launch date is official.
- The new Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra phones will make their debut on January 14, 2021, confirming the rumored date.
- Pre-orders are open already. Sort of. Samsung has already kicked off its pre-order reservation program in the US. The reservation system seems to be Samsung’s new play, and reserving gets you some credit and bonuses. The cost is $0, but Samsung will hoover some of your data.
- You know how we’ve been talking about Apple’s Tile-like AirTags, which should offer object and device tracking?
- Samsung is working on it, too.
- A certification authority in Taiwan posted images of a product likely to be called a Samsung Galaxy Smart Tag, revealing a Tile clone getting closer to release.
- One publication suggested an $18 pricetag, which seems fine?
Xiaomi launched the Mi 11 on December 29:
- The M11 launch established the latest Xiaomi flagship as the first Snapdragon 888 phone, and it came at a sub-$650 price based on its release in home market China.
- 6.81-inch OLED screen, 8GB to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 128GB to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch response rate, vapor chamber cooling system, 4,600mAh battery, and plenty more 2021-spec features.
- Two prototype foldable iPhones have reportedly passed internal tests for durability (MacRumors).
- One is a clamshell, one is a dual-screen type display looking more like a Surface Duo.
- In theory, the process here is that Apple will now take these proven designs and decide if either, or its likely host of other prototypes, meet its requirements before moving towards full production.
- That’s if, and it’s a big if, the reports are accurate.
- The SolarWinds hack by Russian cyber attackers is, clearly, one of the most significant cyber events in history.
- New York Times: As understanding of Russian hacking grows, so does alarm: “the breach was not detected by any of the government agencies that share responsibility for cyberdefense … but by a private cybersecurity company, FireEye.”
- I keep reading headlines like “hack may be worse than original feared.” (The Verge).
- I can’t state this more clearly: it’s worse than we think now. Not when it was first unearthed, when it already sounded very bad. It’s worse.
Drone rules change:
- The FAA relaxed drone rules, meaning UPS and Amazon delivery drones became a step closer to reality(CNET).
- Mind you, still a long way off happening for most people, most of the time.
🎧 Just in: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro appear in detailed hands-on video weeks ahead of official launch, somehow purchased via Facebook Marketplace? (Android Authority).
🏃♂️ OnePlus Band officially detailed, with specs and price separately leaked. Coming next week? (Android Authority).
⌚ Wear OS in 2020: The most stagnant smartwatch platform (Android Authority).
💀 Flash is dead. Officially. And in 2021, Adobe recommends you uninstall it. Here’s how to remove it on Mac (AppleInsider) and on PC with Windows 10 (Laptop Mag). Here’s what Adobe says about Flash Player, too.
🤔 Chinese billionaire Jack Ma suspected missing. More likely out of the spotlight to preserve himself and what he built, but… (Yahoo Finance).
💊 Apple oddly went after Amphetamine, a Mac app that keeps your MacBook or iMac or whatever permanently in keep-awake mode that has been around for years …because of the name. After a public tussle, the developer managed to get Apple to backtrack to let the Mac app stay up with its current name and logo. Apple is best fought in public if you can manage to create enough uproar over arbitrary punishments (MacRumors).
🎶 The biggest TikTok trends of 2020: the industries it impacted, how it showed COVID-19 responses, a view of the front lines for warehouse workers and fast-food employees, and US culture impacts. Still not banned, too! (NYTimes).
🍎 Why the iPhone Timer App displays a fake time: it’s more natural to gently “lie” in a display, even if the time is accurate (lukashermann.dev).
🤖 Watch Tesla’s Full Self-Driving navigate from SF to LA with (almost) no help: showing solid progress, but also that there’s a long way to go. There’s been a sighting of the refreshed Model S Plaid too in Palo Alto, and Tesla made almost 500,000 EVs in 2021 (Engadget).
🍃 “My green home: $90,000 in clean tech upgrades, $20,000 in tax breaks”: solar panels, a heat pump, a condensing boiler, and an electric car (Ars Technica).
😊 Mark Hamill is a treasure (r/wholesomememes).
🤔 “Contrary to popular belief, what’s not a bad thing?” (r/askreddit).
Here’s a laptop battery meme, after fighting my Dell XPS 15 over the holidays and experiencing much of the same:
- It’d be great if Dell just sold replacement batteries, ‘cos I sure could use one, as third-party batteries look like a huge gamble.
Glad to be back, and thanks for your emails asking where we were! I’ll never holiday again!
Cheers, Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor