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September 20, 2021
👋 Good morning! I sort of need to upgrade my laptop. Next steps, needing to decide if I see what Apple does with its M1X MacBooks, or go for the new Dell XPS 15 again, or something else.
Surface Pro 8 + Duo 2: September 22?
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Windows 10
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Microsoft is holding a Surface hardware event this week, on Wednesday, September 22, starting at 11AM ET / 8AM PT. 

Expected:

  • What we think we’ll see are new editions of the Surface Pro, Surface Book, Surface Go, and Surface Pro X.
  • Given we’re up to a Surface Pro 8, Microsoft’s main flagship, and the high-end Surface Book is now at a 4th edition, those two bits of hardware are some of the more polished devices.
  • The Surface Pro X, which is expected to have an ARM-based processor again, has seen imperfect Windows app support and a really high price tag.
  • Then there’s the Surface Duo, which was billed as a dual-screen Android device for productivity and performance, but was roundly seen as a terrible release.
  • And ahead of this week’s event, we have very solid leaks around the Surface Pro 8 and the Duo 2.
  • For the laptops and notebooks, they’ll be released with Windows 11, which you’ll recall is set for an October 5 release date. 
  • Part of the hook of Windows 11 is the promise of more optimizations for CPU performance in particular.

Surface Pro 8:

  • The Pro 8 coming this week has seen a stack of leaks, with the latest via a Twitter post that looks like it’s a leak from a retailer, showing the Pro 8 will have Intel’s 11th-generation Core processor on board, a slightly bigger 13-inch display at 120Hz, replaceable SSDs, dual Thunderbolt interfaces meaning no more USB-A, and it’ll come with Windows 11.
  • What’s significant is the 120Hz refresh rate, which ties in with Windows 11 offering a dynamic refresh rate feature
  • So, like on high refresh rate smartphones, the refresh rate will be lower when you’re reading a page and kick up to 120Hz when required, such as during scrolling, flipping between 60Hz and 120Hz to save power and performance.
  • But with a display firing at 120Hz comes significantly more demand on the CPU and battery life. 
  • The Surface Pro has never been about raw power, so seeing how this balances out will be interesting.
  • And, Intel’s 12th generation CPUs are expected sometime in late October though availability is likely in November, December and perhaps 2022 for anything other than the enthusiast spec desktop CPUs.
Microsoft Surface Duo using opened and typing
David Imel / Android Authority

Microsoft Surface Duo 2: 

  • We’ve seen Duo 2 leaks for months now, and new discovered FCC filings have crystallized some details, revealing 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and NFC support, which was a big omission of the original Duo.
  • Previous leaks suggested coming specs including wireless charging, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB/256GB storage options, an actual rear camera setup, and a 4,400mAh battery to power the dual-screens.
  • So, should you have any interest after the Duo’s terrible first edition? 
  • Well, Windows Central managed to tough out a year with the Duo 1 and detailed the good: dual-screens at the right aspect ratio are great and can be better than the Galaxy Fold line in many use cases, and the bad: Microsoft just hasn’t fixed enough software bugs, noting “Microsoft is the problem with Surface Duo.” Ouch.
  • The Duo 2, then, has a lot to prove: what it’s like right out of the box, and how committed Microsoft is to improving, refining, and making the very high price-tag seem worth it.
Roundup

📁 The grapevine continues to suggest Google isn’t just working on its Pixel 6 series, but a Pixel foldable as well. This summary explains the possible existence of two foldable Pixel devices, with evidence in Android 12.1 and via @evleaks (Android Authority).

⏩ Also, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro could charge fast, jumping up to 33W, and Pixel 6 wallpapers have leaked (Android Authority).

Ikea’s $40 pad adds built-in wireless charging to almost any table (The Verge).

🔋 Volkswagen’s electric ID.4 was already good—does adding AWD via twin-motors change that? (Ars Technica).

🏠 Ultra-white paint could reduce the need for air conditioning. Like how the blackest-black paint Vantablack has special uses, white paint that reflects 98.1 percent of solar radiation is pretty handy too (Engadget).

🚀 The SpaceX Inspiration4 mission and crew returned to Earth with a splashdown on Saturday and everyone seemed pretty chuffed, capping off the first fully private mission in orbit. They had fun in space including betting on NFL and ringing the NYSE bell, and raised US$153m for the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital as well (The Verge).

📰 The endless Facebook apology, written after the WSJ’s incredibly detailed reporting with whistleblower documents everywhere: “The Journal’s series includes internal reports showing that Facebook was fully aware of Instagram’s deleterious impact on the mental health of teen girls while moving full steam ahead with an Instagram for Kids product; internal documents inferring that the company lied to its independent Oversight Board when it said it gave only a small amount of celebs, pols and other grandees a wide berth to break its rules on the platform while, in fact, the free pass was given to millions; and the latest revelation that Facebook makes people angry, in part because of futile efforts of its leader, Mark Zuckerberg, to stop the endless rage.” (NY Times, gift link)

📡 Elon Musk says Starlink will come out of beta phase next month, though he also said it’d come at the end of summer. So, soonish? (Gizmodo).

🚗 NTSB head says Tesla must address ‘basic safety issues’ with semi-autonomous features, i.e. pump the brakes on the roll-out of “Full Self Driving” (Engadget).

📺 Emmys 2021 results: The full list of winners, many of which are streamed TV series like Ted Lasso or The Crown (CNET).

🌌 A mathematician’s guided tour through higher dimensions (Wired).

🦦 How sea otters can fight climate change (BBC).

🌩 “Can lightning really crack rocks and damage mountains like we see in fiction?” (r/askscience).

Monday Meme

Ok ok this can be applied to most yearly releases from any device maker but it’s pretty funny:

you you
  • Apparently, the video comes from an old Egyptian TV drama series.
  • And I think the actors are trying not to laugh? 
  • My colleague Hadlee recommended this very similar sequence in wrestling, too.

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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