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Top insider reveals when Apple will launch its big MacBook Pro redesign

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Apple launches new Macs every year, with most of the upgrades bringing the expected performance improvements that come with each CPU and GPU refresh. Major redesigns are rare, as those come only every few years. It so happens that rumors say 2021 will be the year when Apple drops redesigned MacBook Pro and Air models. But the insiders familiar with Apple plans have offered all sorts of launch predictions. The most optimistic rumors claimed Apple wanted to launch the new MacBook Pro at WWDC back in June. And Apple has leaked the M1-successor name on YouTube, seemingly confirming that an M1X MacBook Pro reveal might have been in the works.

Now, a new report indicates that we might not see the new MacBook Pro in stores until much later this year. That’s in line with the more pessimist leaks from earlier that pointed to September as a potential launch window.

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Apple changed the game last November. It released the first MacBook Pro and Air devices with its own Apple M1 chip inside. All Macs that will follow will run on M1 chips or better, as Apple doesn’t need Intel anymore. But the 2020 MacBook Pro and Air featured the same designs as their Intel-based predecessors.

The redesigned MacBook Pro

Apple is planning a major redesign for both laptop models. We’ve already seen purported MacBook Air renders, and the redesigned MacBook Pro claims appeared in several rumors earlier this year.

The 2021 MacBook Pro’s flat edges aren’t that exciting. What’s really exciting are claims that say Apple will bring back MagSafe charging and several of the ports it removed a few years ago. The list includes HDMI and an SD card reader.

The redesigned MacBook Pros will also feature mini-LED screens, similar to the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro display.

Finally, Apple plans to launch the new Pro in two sizes. We’re looking at 16-inch and 14-inch display variations. The latter represents a new entry in Apple’s MacBook Pro line-up.

September announcement at the earliest

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said in his Power On newsletter (via 9to5Mac) that Apple will announce the redesigned MacBook Pro sometime between September and November.

The insider said that production will start in the third quarter. Ming-Chi Kuo made similar claims recently. “These new MacBooks were supposed to launch earlier, but complications around the new mini-LED display have held up production,” Gurman said. Previous reports claimed that production yields impacted Apple’s launch plans for the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. The 12.9-inch tablet featuring the Liquid Retina XDR display (mini-LED) wasn’t available in stores immediately after Apple’s spring event.

Gurman did not detail the redesigned MacBook pro in the newsletter, aside from mentioning the potential launch window. He said that buyers unsure what MacBook to choose should go for the Air if they need web browsing, email, and light photo editing. The MacBook Pro will deliver more speed and RAM for resource-intensive apps like Photoshop and video editing software.

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Tourists fined $500 for touching Hawaiian monk seals

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U.S. authorities say a Louisiana woman who was honeymooning in Hawaii has been fined $500 after a social media video showed her touching an endangered Hawaiian monk seal

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched an investigation last month and found the woman violated the Endangered Species Act, said Dominic Andrews, a spokesperson for the agency’s Office of Law Enforcement.

A video posted on TikTok and other social media showed a woman touching the seal at a Kauai beach in June. The video showed her running away after the seal snapped at her, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

The Associated Press wasn’t immediately able to reach the couple Thursday. The couple previously apologized and told the Star-Advertiser earlier this month that they love Hawaii and didn’t mean to offend anyone.

There are an estimated 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and 300 in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Under state and federal laws, it’s a felony to touch or harass a Hawaiian monk seal. Penalties can include up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Authorities warn people must remain at least 50 feet (15 meters) away from the animals or 150 feet (45 meters) away from pups with their mothers.

NOAA also fined another traveler $500 for touching a resting Hawaiian monk seal. It is unclear when that encountered occurred, but an Instagram account shows the visitor recently visited Oahu in May, the newspaper reported.

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Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, how to watch and how it works

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Adam Ondra is probably the best climber in the world right now.


Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

Sport Climbing is about to make its long awaited (by me) debut at the Tokyo Olympics. We’re extremely excited.

Regular old rock climbing has been around since — well, since the first time someone tried to climb something rocky. But modern recreational climbing started in the 19th century, with sport climbing only emerging in the 1970s and ’80s. 

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Traditional climbing takes place outside without a predetermined route.


Getty Images

In the Olympics, climbing will take place on engineered or indoor routes. They practice in pursuit of physical perfection and strategy as opposed to vertical height.

Rock climbing has evolved as a catch-all term for many different sports, including everything from free soloing to bouldering. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about sport climbing at the 2020 Olympics.

When to watch climbing at the Tokyo Olympics 

The Olympic master schedule has already been released, with sport climbing qualifying events on Aug. 3 and 4. 

Here’s the breakdown for the men…

  • Qualifiers for men’s speed climbing take place August 3 at 4 a.m. EDT (1 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for men’s bouldering takes place August 3 at 5 a.m. EDT (2 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for men’s lead climbing takes place August 3 at 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT).

And for the women…

  • Qualifiers for women’s speed climbing take place August 4 at 4 a.m. EDT (1 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for women’s bouldering takes place August 4 at 5 a.m. EDT (2 a.m. PDT).
  • Qualifiers for women’s lead climbing takes place August 4 at 8 a.m. EDT (5 a.m. PDT).

The finals will be on Aug. 5 and 6. In the US, NBC will broadcast events, with the BBC securing rights in England and Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two in Australia. All events will take place at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

How climbing works at the Olympics

Sport climbing will be broken up into three separate disciplines: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Not every country will be represented; only 20 athletes per gender (40 climbers total) will be allowed to compete at the Games, and only 2 athletes per gender per country will compete in any given event.

FYI, the International Olympic Committee currently recognizes only two genders — female and male. There are currently stipulations for athletes that identify as transgender, both female and male, to compete. But there aren’t any guidelines or rulings for athletes who don’t identify as female or male — including those who are nonbinary, agender and genderqueer.

The combined nature of climbing at the Olympics has been somewhat controversial. Speed climbing requires a completely different skillset compared to bouldering and lead climbing. In the next Olympics speed climbing is being broken out as a separate event, leaving bouldering and lead climbing as a combined event.

Speed climbing

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Two climbers, one wall.


IFSC

Speed climbing is relatively simple: there are two climbers with safety ropes and one 15-meter wall set at a 95-degree angle. The climbers race against each other to get to the top, with the fastest one winning. The speed route is the exact same at all times: the same holds in the same position at the exact same angle. The addition of speed climbing has been somewhat controversial in the climbing community, because it requires a completely different skillset compared to other climbing disciplines.

Bouldering

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Athletes use physical and mental precision to climb to the top of a bouldering route.


IFSC

Bouldering takes place on an shorter wall, where climbers take turns attempting to scale as many routes on a four-meter-tall wall in 4 minutes. Each route (also called a bouldering problem) is laid out with hand and foot holds in a specific color, and they vary in difficulty based on the size of the holds and the way they are spaced out. A climber completes a problem by grabbing the top hold with both hands.

Bouldering has traditionally been about power and finger strength, but recently competition route setters have been creating problems that require delicate co-ordination and explosive gymnastic movements. This one will be fun to watch. 

Lead climbing

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In Lead climbing, participants secure themselves with a rope as they climb higher.


IFSC

Lead climbing is arguably the most recognizable of the three events. The climber has six minutes to climb as high on a wall that is taller than 15 meters. They use safety ropes that attach to quickdraws on their way up, allowing the rope to run freely while they stay anchored to the wall. If two athletes reach the same point on the wall, the person who got there first is the winner. 

In both bouldering and lead climbing, climbers are not allowed to practice climbing on the routes before they compete or watch each other scale the wall, and they only have a couple of minutes to study the routes and decide their strategy before the timer begins.

Medaling system

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The Olympic and Paralympic medals are made from recycled electronics. The Olympics won’t change the year on the medals, by the way.


Tokyo Olympics

If you thought the qualifying system was a bit complicated, take a deep breath. There’s only one set of medals awarded per gender, so all three events will go into determining which country gets the gold, silver and bronze.

The speed climbing discipline will be done in a bracket format, with athletes competing head to head, while bouldering is in a leaderboard format. Lead climbing will have a point system in which each hold on the wall counts as one point and the athlete who climbs the highest will obtain the highest score.

Once all the athletes are ordered by placement per event, their placement numbers will be multiplied, and the climbers with the lowest scores will win medals. Because of the scoring format, each climber will compete in each event. For example, if an athlete gets second place in speed climbing, third in bouldering and first in lead climbing their overall score would be six (2 times 3 times 1 equals 6). 

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AMD’s new Radeon RX 6600 XT offers 1080p RDNA 2 gaming for $379

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AMD has a new entry-level RX 6000-series GPU: the $379 RX 6600 XT, which is still based on the same RDNA 2 architecture as its beefier cousins, but it offers a more wallet-friendly price point. The new card promises the “ultimate 1080p gaming experience,” for customers who don’t necessarily need a next-gen 4K gaming setup.

At a suggested retail price of $379 (AMD isn’t selling its own version of the card), the RX 6600 XT slots at an even cheaper price point than the $479 RX 6700 XT that the company released earlier this year, which targeted 1440p gaming.

The RX 6600 XT features 32 compute units, 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, a 2359 MHz base clock, 2589 MHz boosted clock, and draws 160W of power. For comparison, the top-of-the-line RX 6900 XT 80 compute units, while the RX 6700 XT offers 40 compute units.

The RX 6600 XT, compared to AMD’s other 6000-series GPUs
Image: AMD

AMD’s logic here, though, is that most players don’t actually have the setup necessary for a full 4K gaming rig, which requires not only the latest and greatest in GPUs but also a processor and a display that can pump out enough pixels. The company cited research from IDC that claimed that roughly two-thirds of gaming displays sold last year were 1080p panels — but also that growth in high-refresh displays was 20 times higher than lower-refresh rate models.

The RX 6600 XT is meant to slot into those trends perfectly, promising to be able to run AAA titles like Battlefield 5 or Cyberpunk 2077 at high frame rates on maximum 1080p settings. The new card isn’t meant for someone who wants the latest and greatest GPU — it’s for customers using an outdated GPU like the aging GTX 1060 (which still accounts for almost 10 percent of all graphics cards in Steam’s hardware survey and can struggle with more recent games).

RX 6600 XT benchmarks versus the RTX 3060.
Image: AMD

The new RX 6600 XT also offers a big boost over AMD’s 5000-series cards, offering 1.4x or greater improvements in FPS rates compared to the RX 5600 XT and RX 5700 for titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Doom Eternal. AMD also claims that the new card outperforms Nvidia’s similarly entry-level RTX 3060 GPU, which (at least in theory) starts at $329.

AMD is also aware that supply may be an issue for the new card, commenting at a press briefing that “we’re doing our best to get supply, but the demand is unprecedented, and also the supply constraints are real, so we are working with those situations at hand.” Given the general difficulty in buying new GPUs these days, it might be best to prepare for another round of hard-to-find cards, though.

The RX 6600 XT will be available starting on August 11th from AMD’s usual slate of partners, including ASRock, Asus, Biostar, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, XFX and Yeston, with prebuilt systems set to arrive sometime in August, too.

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