This week has been a big part of what we're calling Techtober. New product announcements were made by both Apple and Google, plus an exciting new partnership from Raspberry Pi.
Apple announced the next generation of MacBook Pro, complete with some significant changes over the last generation. The company has seemingly done a good job of listening to customer feedback, for the most part, and returned some of their customers' favorite features. Most notably, the new MacBook Pros have said goodbye to the much-maligned Touch Bar. In its place is the more traditional Function Key row, which had existed before the Touch Bar was implemented.
In addition, some old standards have returned. A full HDMI port and SD card slot are built into the computer, which will be a bonus for media producers and business people alike. But, the addition that has Mac fans excited is MagSafe 3. Charging the computer over USB-C will still be possible, but MagSafe, the connector that breaks away when you trip over it, will also be an option.
But, one new feature that goes against customers' wishes is the addition of a screen notch for the webcam. Customers absolutely hate the notch on the iPhone, so it is a surprise that they would bring such a hated feature to the MacBook. At least the webcam has gotten better.
These new computers are powered by a new generation of Apple's custom processors, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The M1 Pro has 8 or 10 CPU cores and 14 or 16 GPU cores, depending on the model of computer. The M1 Max always has 10 CPU cores and can have 14 or 16 GPU cores. The new laptops can also support up to 64 GB of RAM, again, depending on the model. New models run $1999 to $2499 for the M1 Pro models, and starts at $2899 for the M1 Max models.
Google also took this week as an opportunity to show off new hardware. While the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been the worst kept secret in the industry, we did learn a lot of new information. The newest generation of Pixel is also powered by a unique processor, this time from Google. The Tensor processor is supposed to be more powerful than a Qualcomm, though Qualcomm disagrees.
This custom processor allows for onboard AI processing, because it is based on the company's existing Tensor Flow technology. This means things like language translations and computational photography can be quicker and will not require an internet connection.
The cameras have also been enhanced, including a 50 MP main camera, though the phone will store the photos at 12 MP. The added overhead allows for better digital zoom, error correcting, and AI features. Some of these capabilities are background people removal, facial stabilization, and more.
The new phones will run only $499 for the Pixel 6 and $899 for the Pixel 6 Pro.
Our good friends at Raspberry Pi announced a new partnership with LEGO. This partnership resulted in the Build Hat, an add-on that makes it possible to use existing LEGO LPF2 devices, like motors and sensors, on the Raspberry Pi. This will be a great transitional technology for kids who have experience with LEGO electronics. Education kits will come with a mounting plate, but you can also 3D print your own plate.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.