Apple has released the 2nd generation AirPods with a new H1 chip that Apple claims delivers “performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free Hey Siri.” Yes ‘Hey Siri’ is now supported.
It has also added an optional Qi compatible charge case. AirPods Gen 2 have up to 5hrs play time per charge. A fully charged provides up to 24 hours of listening time.
- AirPods and standard charge case $249
- AirPods and Qi charge case $319
- Qi charge case alone (works with Gen 1 as well) $129
Apple News+ – magazine and news reading subscription service
Apple News+ adds a more expansive collection of high-quality stories for a subscription to the free Apple News service. Its kind of an iTunes for magazines.
Currently its only available in the US and Canada at US$9.99/12.99 per month. There is no indication when or if this will come to Australia.
Apple Arcade – games subscription service for macOS, iOS and tvOS
Apple will offer a curated Apple Arcade game subscription service with over 100 new and exclusive games. Users can pay to try any game from its handpicked titles that are all-you-can-play, have no ads, ad tracking or additional purchases, and respect user privacy. It is coming to Australia ‘later this year’. No monthly subscription details have been announced.
Apple TV+ subscription TV service and new Apple TV App
Apple has developed its ‘Original Video Subscription Service’ as part of a new Apple TV App to give users access to exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries for a monthly subscription. It will feature a new slate of programming from the world’s most celebrated creative artists, including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer, J.J. Abrams, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan, Jon M. Chu and more. Interestingly competitive streaming services like Netflix are absent having declined to enter the Apple walled garden and saving the 30% fee Apple demands from content providers.
The new Apple TV App coming in May allows users to subscribe to and watch new Apple TV channels — paying for only services they want. Rental and purchase movies will move from iTunes to the App.
The App will also be available on Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future. Content from iPhone or iPad will be able to be streamed to eligible smart TVs with AirPlay 2 support.
We have no information about timing or prices yet.
Apple updates iMac desktops – 21.5 and 27-inch
Apple has released two new 21.5-inch 4K Retina iMacs with 8th generation i3, i5 and i7 processors. It has also released three new 27inch 5K Retina with 6-core i5 and i9 processors.
The recognisable iMac all-in-one design remains with Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.2, USB-A 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 ports for expansion.
Prices start at $1999 for the 21.5-inch base model and $2799 for the 27-inch base model. A fully kitted i9 is around $8500.
Google launches Stadia game streaming cloud
In the Android camp Google has previewed Stadia as a subscription cloud game streaming service. It works on any device that supports Chromecast or Chrome Browser which means iOS, Android, Chrome OS, macOS, Windows, and the Chromecast dongle. If your Internet plan supports it then you can stream up to [email protected] with HDR and Surround Sound.
In theory this removes the need for expensive, high-powered local PCs. Google will release a dedicated game controller pad and PlayStation or Xbox controllers are also supported.