Your tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, March 25. 

1. Apple iPad Pro 2020 reviews are out

And those reviews are faint with praise. The new iPad Pro is not a smash hit but with trackpad support for it and all iPads that can update to iPadOS 13.4, the world of tablets is much more interesting again.

Reviews:

  • The general vibe from reviews is that while the iPad Pro 2020 is the best yet, and the new trackpad is interesting if expensive (and not available yet), other iPads remain very good and much cheaper.
  • The Verge says the hardware is overkill given the software can’t make the most of it: “Unless you’re quite sure what you are going to do with these cameras, that LIDAR, or the faster processor, chances are you’d be equally served by the much-less expensive iPad Air — or even the base iPad.”
  • CNET agrees and notes the best new feature is trackpad support which is coming to other iPads anyway.
  • WIRED sums it up by saying: “The best iPad you can get… [but] you can get an earlier iPad, and a Pretty Darn Good one, for a lot less.”
  • All reviews agreed that the inclusion of Lidar didn’t really seem to be useful, and you’re paying for it now but it’s something for the future. You might like to have a future-proof device, or you might like to only buy something when it’s useful.
  • And most said if you have the 2018 iPad Pro, unless you’re doing AR for a living, it’s not worth upgrading.

But the more important thing is in just-released iPadOS 13.4, which includes trackpad and cursor support for all iPads. And those who’ve already had a few days with it seem to hugely enthusiastic.

Cursor fun:

Android/PC:

  • It’s almost a certainty that we’ll see the thin Android tablet market try to adopt a similar offering.
  • The Google Chrome and/or Samsung DeX ecosystem is where this makes most sense, given that PC cursor behavior-changing in the likes of Windows 10 is largely unlikely.
  • And the Android tablet market is really an afterthought for most manufacturers.

2. Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note 10 to get Galaxy S20 camera features with an update due soon (Android Authority).


3. Huawei P40, P40 Pro full specs leak a day before official reveal (Android Authority).


4. Facebook has put out details on how its platforms are holding up under strain, noting messaging is up 50% and voice and video calling have more than doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp, and investors be warned, admits it isn’t making money from those tools. Adding to that is a New York Times piece detailing how Facebook’s own staff are struggling to keep things going while working remotely: from being told to stop chatting on work message boards, to building their own video conferencing tools as the likes of BlueJeans struggled to cope (NYT).


5. YouTube cuts SD quality by default worldwide to tame bandwidth surge – users can still choose higher-quality streams, but streams will start at 480p (TechCrunch).


6. As Half-Life: Alyx launches, Valve talks about what happened to Half-Life 3 (Ars Technica).


7. With the rise of true wireless, is there a place for wireless earbuds? (Just to be clear: “Wireless” earbuds retain a wire connecting the pieces in your ears, but no wires to the audio source. “True wireless” have no wires at all) (SoundGuys).


8. The Internet Archive has opened 1.4m free books and has removed the waitlist to borrow books. Free and open globally: the National Emergency Library (archive.org).


9. NASA explains why wheel-like blip in space images is not a UFO (CNET).


10. Why the COVID-19 related drop in air travel could make weather forecasts less accurate: less data being gathered (Gizmodo). (Worth it.)


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