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New MacBook Pro raises the bar

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Amid the hype of the new Apple laptop being the “most powerful MacBook Pro ever”, replacing function keys with a Touch Bar is a step forward.

Apple this week introduced its thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro yet, along with a breakthrough interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a multi-touch display called the Touch Bar.

The new MacBook Pro features a bright and colourful Retina display, the security of Touch ID, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It’s also described as “the most powerful MacBook Pro ever”, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, super-fast SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Touch Bar places controls at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand and Final Cut Pro X, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos.

“This week marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook; through the years each generation has introduced new innovations and capabilities, and it’s fitting that this all-new generation of MacBook Pro is the biggest leap forward yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the groundbreaking new Touch Bar, the convenience of Touch ID, the best Mac display ever, powerful performance, improved audio, blazing fast storage and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity in our thinnest and lightest pro notebook yet, the new MacBook Pro is the most advanced notebook ever made.”

Apple provided the following adjectives:

Building on innovations pioneered in MacBook, the new MacBook Pro features an entirely new enclosure design and all-metal unibody construction that creates an incredibly rigid and dense notebook that is amazingly thin and light. At just 14.9 mm thin, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 17 per cent thinner and 23 per cent less volume than the previous generation, and nearly half a pound lighter at just three pounds. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro, at just 15.5 mm thin, is 14 per cent thinner and 20 per cent less volume than before, and weighing just four pounds, is nearly half a pound lighter.

Touch ID Comes to the Mac

Integrated into the power button is the convenience and security of Touch ID, one of the great features customers have come to know and love from their iPhone and iPad. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can quickly unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognise and match it with the secure element in the new Apple T1 chip.

Apple’s Brightest, Most Colourful Notebook Display

The best Mac display ever delivers images that are more vivid, reveal even greater detail and appear more lifelike than ever. As thin as a MacBook display at .88 mm, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro at 500 nits of brightness, is an amazing 67 per cent brighter than the previous generation, features 67 per cent more contrast and is the first Mac notebook display to support a wide colour gamut. And with power-saving technologies like a larger pixel aperture, a variable refresh rate and more power-efficient LEDs, the display consumes 30 per cent less energy than before.

The Most Powerful MacBook Pro Yet

Powerful processors, cutting-edge graphics, blazing-fast SSDs, high-speed memory and an advanced thermal architecture deliver amazing pro-level performance in a dramatically thinner enclosure. Sixth-generation dual-core Core i5 with eDRAM, dual-core Core i7 with eDRAM and quad-core Core i7 Intel processors deliver pro-level processing performance while conserving energy. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro features powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics delivering up to 2.3 times more performance than the previous generation; while the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with Intel Iris Graphics that are up to two times faster than before. All models feature SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps and Thunderbolt 3 which consolidates data transfer, charging and twice the video bandwidth in a single port — allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

The New MacBook Pro Also Offers:

• Much larger Force Touch trackpads — 46 per cent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro;

• More responsive and comfortable typing on the keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism;

• Louder, more true-to-life sound through speakers with double the dynamic range and improved bass;

• macOS Sierra, the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, with new features like Siri integration, Universal Clipboard, Apple Pay on the web and Photos, which helps you rediscover your meaningful memories, organise your library and perfect shots like a pro.

Availability

• The 13-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.0 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships today.

• The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, and features a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

• The 15-inch MacBook Pro features the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

• Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbookpro.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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