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Of the four members of the new iPhone 12 family, the base iPhone 12 might be easy to overlook. It isn’t a radically different size, it doesn’t have the highest-end camera system, and it is perhaps the most iterative in terms of updates in the new portfolio. This isn’t a simple upgrade to the iPhone 11 though; launching at a much higher starting price, it creates a new tier in Apple’s lineup. You could see it as a step up from the iPhone 12 mini, but much like there are two sizes of Apple Watch, the differences between these models are more to do with personal preference than capabilities.

Should you spend Rs. 10,000 more on the iPhone 12 than the iPhone 12 mini (Review)? Should this be your natural upgrade option if you’ve got an older model? What exactly does this model lack compared to the much more expensive, yet very similar iPhone 12 Pro (Review)? I have all these answers and much more.

iPhone 12 price and positioning in India

Prices have gone up across the industry thanks to a GST rate increase and fluctuations between the US Dollar and Indian Rupee. However, Apple has also decided to bump up the base price, leaving the iPhone 12 mini in the slot we expected the iPhone 12 to fill. That means you’ll have to spend a bit more than you might have anticipated if you don’t want the smaller model. The iPhone 12 price in India starts at Rs. 79,900 for 64GB, and goes up to Rs. 84,900 for 128GB and Rs. 94,900 for 256GB.

What’s interesting is that the iPhone 12 Pro price starts Rs. 40,000 higher at Rs. 1,19,000 (which is a much wider difference in India than elsewhere in the world, for reasons that Apple declined to clarify when asked). The iPhone 12 Pro has a stainless steel frame rather than aluminium, twice as much storage per tier, and a 2x optical telephoto camera plus a LiDAR sensor which has some applications for AR and low-light photography. It’s also capable of higher maximum screen brightness, 60fps Dolby Vision HDR video recording, Night mode portraits, and ProRAW photo capture. If none of these features matter to you, the much lower-priced iPhone 12 with exactly the same SoC, battery, and other camera hardware suddenly seems like a pretty compelling alternative.

Do keep in mind that none of the new iPhone 12 models come with a charger or headset in the box. You might want to pick up a MagSafe wireless charging pad, plus one of Apple’s own chargers if you don’t have a Type-C adapter lying around, and to get the fastest possible wireless charging. These, plus a case and maybe a pair of AirPods, will all add to the price you end up paying.

Battery life is better with the iPhone 12 than with the iPhone 12 mini

 

iPhone 12 design

We return to a completely flat front and back, as well as a flat frame running around the perimeter of the iPhone 12 family. This is somewhat like the iPhone 5 ­generation, but without even bevelled or chamfered edges meeting the display glass. If you choose one of the brighter colour options, you’ll see the metal frame around the edges of your device. That means the front and rear panels are more protected, but I suspected that the frame would likely get scuffed or dented without a case, and that’s exactly what happened within a week of using the iPhone 12.

Apple says its new Ceramic Shield material, used on the front, is four times more resistant to damage in case of drops, but that doesn’t mean it’s scratch-resistant. You also get an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, and this phone did survive being tossed in a swimming pool and even being used to record video underwater for several minutes during the review period.

The lack of rounded edges means that the iPhone 12 does feel a little less comfortable in the hand and against the ear than the iPhone 11 (Review). However, it is considerably smaller in all dimensions, especially thickness, and also quite a bit lighter. At just 7.4mm thick and 162g, the differences are immediately noticeable. If you’re talking on the phone, playing games, shooting video, or even just scrolling through endless feeds, the iPhone 12 is an ergonomic improvement overall.

One-handed usage isn’t much of a problem, since thankfully the glass rear panel isn’t slippery. Without a case, the two camera rings on the rear do protrude quite a bit, which is a cause for concern. You get the usual power button on the right, and volume buttons plus mute switch on the left. There’s a Lightning connector on the bottom and invisible MagSafe magnetic ring on the back for Apple’s new line of wireless charging accessories. There’s a single Nano-SIM tray but you can use an eSIM if you need a second line.

iPhone 12 specifications and software

We’re now quite familiar with Apple’s A14 Bionic SoC, which can be found across the iPhone 12 lineup and in the new iPad Air (2020). It has two high-performance and four energy-efficient CPU cores, a quad-core GPU, next-gen “Neural Engine” AI logic, and more. Apple claims that this 5nm chip is not only the fastest current smartphone processor, but also incredibly power efficient. The big push with this generation is machine learning, which can be used to accelerate on-device AI to make apps and the UI itself more personal and secure.

One of the most noticeable upgrades that the iPhone 12 introduces is its screen. Apple has used almost exactly the same OLED panel on this device as on the iPhone 12 Pro, in stark contrast to previous generations in which lower-end models were saddled with noticeably lower-resolution LCD screens. This makes the iPhone 12 feel a lot more premium than its predecessors.

The 6.1-inch 1170×2532 HDR panel supports the wide P3 colour gamut and Apple’s True Tone ambient light adjustment feature. The notch at the top is pretty huge by today’s standards, and it’s definitely annoying when watching videos fullscreen, but it isn’t otherwise much of a problem if you’re used to using any fairly recent iPhone. A high refresh rate would have been nice, but that remains an advantage for the Android camp for now.

Apple doesn’t officially disclose things like battery capacity and amount of RAM for its products, but we know from third-party teardowns that the iPhone 12 has a 2,815mAh battery and 4GB of RAM. You can choose between 64GB, 128GB and 256GB of storage – considering the prices, the base model really should have had more, but cloud and streaming services these days have alleviated a lot of the pain of running out of space.

The entire iPhone 12 family supports sub-6GHz 5G, which isn’t a selling point now, but will hopefully be useful in India in the near future. There’s also Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, Ultra-wideband positioning, GPS, and NFC, though Apple restricts how some of these standards can be used.

iOS 14 runs exceptionally smoothly without a hint of hesitation. The UI is responsive and animations are super slick. Apps load quickly, even if they haven’t been used in a while. You do get more customisation options and built-in features (including some localised ones)  than with earlier versions but you still have to learn to do many things Apple’s way. Despite the high prices of iPhones, iOS 14’s stability and longevity, as well as its privacy features, do keep a lot of people within the fold.

Much of the appeal of iPhones is down to Apple’s various apps and services including iMessage, FaceTime, and iCloud. The company pushes its Apple Music, Arcade, and TV+ subscriptions heavily, and some of the notifications can get annoying. You can claim three free months of Apple Arcade and an entire year of TV+ with the purchase of any new iOS device, but iCloud storage is limited to 5GB without a paid subscription.

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The aluminium frame is prone to scuffs and dents

 

iPhone 12 performance and battery life

It shouldn’t be any surprise that performance in everyday use was absolutely faultless. Everything from Face ID authentication to loading heavy games and switching between apps felt effortless. There isn’t much these days that really stresses out even mid-range phones, but the A14 Bionic still completely demolishes expectations in terms of responsiveness and fluidity.

That said, everything isn’t perfect. Even in normal use, I felt the back of the iPhone 12 get slightly warm. It wasn’t a problem, but it was noticeable. When pushing the A14 Bionic SoC to its limits in games and tests, the back and metal frame did get quite toasty, and this might be uncomfortable for some people over long stretches. A case might help mitigate this to some extent.

Benchmarks showed that Apple isn’t kidding when it talks about performance. AnTuTu reported a score of 5,68,462 while Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core scores were 1,563 and 3,675 respectively. As for graphics, every scene in GFXBench ran at 58fps or better, except for the highest-end Aztec Ruins (High Tier) test which managed 48.8fps. The new 3DMark Wild Life test also ran quite well, with 6660 points overall. In our iPhone 12 mini review, I pointed out that the Wild Life stress test revealed a drastic performance drop after just a few loops – the iPhone 12 did considerably better, but the stability score still dropped to 71.2 percent.

Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends ran fine, aside from the body getting a bit warm. Casual games such as Alto’s Odyssey and Lara Croft Go were a lot of fun. You won’t have any trouble staying entertained, though you will have to supply your own Bluetooth earphones or recycle a headset with a Lightning connector from an older iPhone.

The display is bright, crisp, and engaging. Videos and games look great, apart from the large notch often getting in the way. Colours really pop in HDR videos, and this is one of the key areas in which the iPhone 12 is a significant upgrade over its predecessors. The stereo speakers produce surprisingly full and detailed sound, and although bass is weak there’s no distortion even at high volumes.

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iOS 14 is more customisable than previous versions and has new privacy features

 

Battery life is not especially great but you can comfortably get through a full day and maybe have some power left over for the next morning. If you play games for an hour or so, stream lots of music, check social feeds and take lots of photos and videos, you’ll probably want to plug this phone in (or snap on a MagSafe pad) each night. The iPhone 12 lasted for a reasonable 14 hours, 32 minutes in our HD video loop test, beating the iPhone 12 mini by only a small margin and coming in slightly behind the iPhone 12 Pro with the same capacity battery. I wasn’t able to test charging speed in any meaningful way since Apple doesn’t bundle a charger anymore and buyers will use various adapters with different output ratings.

iPhone 12 cameras

You get the same arrangement of cameras as on the iPhone 11 – a 12-megapixel wide-angle primary camera and an additional 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle one on the rear, plus another 12-megapixel sensor for the front camera. Other than generational improvements, the main difference in specifications is in the aperture of the primary camera, which is now f/1.6 for better low-light shots. On the software side, you can now use Night mode and Deep Fusion on all three cameras, and you can record Dolby Vision HDR video at up to 30fps.

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iPhone 12 daytime photo sample (cropped)

 

The main benefits are better performance and more versatility in low light. Most of Apple’s camera tricks work in the background – you don’t get to choose when Deep Fusion is active, but it will combine multiple exposures using what Apple calls “computational photography” to produce a single, well-exposed frame. Night mode isn’t a separate mode that you need to select; it just kicks in when needed. This is exactly the same experience you’ll have with the iPhone 12 mini, and unsurprisingly, results are pretty much exactly the same with both phones.

Daytime shots came out looking crisp and bright, with colours that were vibrant but not oversaturated, and decent amounts of detail even in distant objects. The ultra-wide-angle camera does a great job, and photos have the same general tone and minimal distortion at the edges, though definition is noticeably weaker. Close-ups have excellent natural-looking depth of field. The iPhone 12’s primary camera’s biggest strength seems to be its ability to reproduce extremely fine detail in close-ups, even when there are complex exposures to deal with.

iPhone 12 Review NDTV Gadgets 360

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iPhone 12 daytime photo sample (top: wide-angle; bottom: ultra-wide-angle)

 

 

Portrait mode works with humans and pets, and the background is aesthetically de-emphasised. It is s sometimes a bit fussy when locking on to a subject though, and edge detection isn’t great with irregular objects such as flowers. You can adjust the background blur and portrait lighting effects after taking a shot. Shooting ordinary close-ups is effortless in contrast, and far more flexible in terms of framing, but you don’t get the same lush effect and tweaking options.

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iPhone 12 daytime close-up photo sample

 

As for low-light shots, the iPhone 12 truly excelled, revealing details in landscapes that were completely invisible to the naked eye. With barely any ambient light around, this phone was able to reveal sharp detail in close-ups and surprising contrast in landscapes. The default delay is 2-3 seconds but you can push this up to 29 seconds, which is only advisable if you’re using a tripod. On a moonless night, I was able to capture stars as actual points, and not just blotches against the black sky.

1607122757 22 iPhone 12 Review NDTV Gadgets 360

iPhone 12 Night mode photo sample

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iPhone 12 Night mode photo sample (using tripod)

 

Video is recorded in HDR by default, and you’ll need to visit the main iOS Settings app to override this. It comes out looking smooth and vibrant at 1080p as well as 4K, with very little jerkiness thanks to the primary camera’s optical stabilisation. You can get pretty good results with the wide-angle camera as well, in the daytime and at night.

Selfies are also sharp and detailed, and Night mode helps you capture usable (though slightly grainy) shots even in dark corners with very little light around.

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iPhone 12 selfie samples (top: daytime portrait; bottom: Night mode)

 

 

Verdict

The iPhone 12 is a solid, competent phone but it is also very expensive. Along with the iPhone 12 mini, it’s clearly positioned as a premium option, with its slick new body, excellent high-resolution OLED screen, and flexible cameras. The choice between the two siblings will come down to personal preference in terms of handling and screen size, but you should also consider the difference in battery life.

If you’re currently using an iPhone 11 or iPhone XR, chances are you won’t gain much by upgrading at the moment. For users of older models who have been waiting for a good reason to upgrade and intend to hold on to their purchase for at least three years, both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will feel fresh and offer great performance for at least that long.

You should also consider that you get nearly all the capabilities of the much more expensive iPhone 12 Pro at a far lower price. Unless money is no object or you’re very serious about photography and video recording, the iPhone 12 should serve all your needs.

Last year’s iPhone 11 and even the two-year-old iPhone XR still selling for considerably less. These are actually the strongest competitors to the iPhone 12, especially if you consider value for money (and that’s even more apparent when they go on sale). Sure, they don’t have all the latest and greatest features, but they do most of what the iPhone 12 does, and they’ll receive regular software updates for at least a few more years.


Will iPhone 12 mini become the affordable iPhone we’ve been waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Signal Back Up: Users May See Some Errors, Company Says Will Be Fixed in Next Update

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Signal said it had restored its services a day after the application faced technical difficulties as it dealt with a flood of new users after rival messaging app WhatsApp announced a controversial change in privacy terms.

Signal has seen a rise in downloads following a change in WhatsApp’s privacy terms, that required WhatsApp users to share their data with both Facebook and Instagram.

Signal users might see errors in some chats as a side effect to the outage, but will be resolved in the next update of the app, the company said in a tweet.

The error does not affect the security of the chat, the company added.

The non-profit Signal Foundation based in Silicon Valley, which currently oversees the app, was launched in February 2018 with Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp before selling it to Facebook, providing initial funding of $50 million (roughly Rs. 365 crores).

Signal faced a global outage that began on January 15. Although users could open the app and send messages, nothing was actually delivered.

Signal later sent Gadgets 360 a message with the following statement from its COO Aruna Harder: “We have been adding new servers and extra capacity at a record pace every single day this week, but today exceeded even our most optimistic projections. Millions upon millions of new users are sending a message that privacy matters, and we are working hard to restore service for them as quickly as possible.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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CES 2021 wrap up: How enterprise tech makes all those smart toilets and robots possible

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From smart toilets and disinfecting robots to transparent OLED displays and sleep tech, CES 2021 was a showcase for the latest innovations in consumer and enterprise technology.

CES 2021 is a wrap. And although this year’s all-digital event was a significantly different experience from past shows, there was plenty of innovative tech on display. TechRepublic’s Steve Ranger, Teena Maddox, and Bill Detwiler join Karen Roby to discuss the products and technology trends that stood out. The following is a transcript of their discuss edited for readability.

Smart toilets, disaffecting robots and a flying Cadillac

Karen Roby: Teena, let’s start with you, just general impressions from the show and some things that maybe stood out to you.

Teena Maddox: Sure. As always, it was an interesting CES, full of really cool products. Even though this one was virtual, we still managed to find some really great things to write about for TechRepublic. One of the things that really stood out for me was just the fact that there was so much creativity still going on and people were still really interested. You had your virtual groups of people surrounding products. One of the things that got a lot of attention online was the product from TOTO that… I know you did a video about that, the wellness toilet that, not to get gross here, but it lets you know how you’re doing based on your bodily functions. I thought that was really interesting. That got a lot of attention.

Ever wanted a toilet to analyze your poop and tell you what it means about your health? Well, you’re in luck. Toto unveiled a concept toilet at CES 2021 that does just that. It scans your body and excrement to provide recommendations to improve your health.

 

Image: Toto

And then there was that really top of the line tub from Kohler that tops out around, I think, $16,000 that just gives you like this virtual environment. It has lighting, it has fog, it has music. It has a little bit of everything, and I really want that tub for my bathroom, but there’s no way I’m going to spend as much as a small car on a tub for my bathroom. So that got attention.

We wrote about tons of gaming monitors and laptops from so many fantastic brands, Dell and Acer and Lenovo, HP, everybody just really came out with some really great products. I talked to HyperX and they talked about how, they’re known for making gaming products, headsets and microphones and things like that, that gamers and streamers use, but everybody’s been buying them in this past year of course to work from home because they’re also great products to use as you’re doing things like we’re doing now, doing an online meeting, online videos. So they’ve really been working toward that and people have been using their products for double duty. So they introduced some new products and we wrote about those.

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This one is marvelous and cool. LG’s autonomous disinfecting robot uses UV-C light to disinfect high-touch, high-traffic areas. LG plans to offer the robot to hospitality, retail, corporate and education customers in early 2021. 

Image: LG

There’s just been so much cool stuff. There’s a lot of sleep tech, a lot of fitness tech and to be expected, there were a lot of masks that had really high tech features because tying tech with masks. I think some of them are a little over the top, like Air Pop Active Plus. It’s $150 mask that works with an app on your phone. I’m really not sure who really wants to spend $150 on a mask, but it’s there if somebody who does want to buy it. And then there were a lot of disinfecting robots. LG had a really cool one that uses UVC light to disinfect high touch, high traffic areas. And they’re going to market it to schools, to hospitals, to hotels, places like that. It rolls around and it disinfects on its own. So that is super cool. And Samsung had some disinfecting robots as well.

SEE: CES 2021: The big trends for business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

There was just quite an array of really cool products like that. But one that really stood out and I know this would have been that one, if everybody had been at CES in person, air taxis that always gets attention. And GM introduced the Cadillac E…I’m not sure how they pronounce it…but eVTOL air taxi, E-V-T-O-L. That is just really spectacular. They just did a virtual image of what it would look like and what it would be. They’re trying to get that created. It’s all electric with vertical takeoff and landing and it has speeds up to 56 miles per hour. So I thought that was super cool, but I could talk all day, but that’s just some of the stuff that we saw.

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Flying air taxis are always a huge draw at CES, and this year was no exception, even for a virtual CES. GM announced that it is working on a Cadillac personal aircraft, the eVTOL. it’s all electric with a vertical take-off and landing. It’s powred by a 90-kWh battery to reach speeds up to 56 mph. It’s in the conceptual stage and it’s pretty impressive.

Image: General Motors

Karen Roby: Yeah. And as you mentioned, Teena, when you see so much, whether you’re in person or virtually, it all kind of starts to run together by the end of the week. There’s just so much- 

Teena Maddox: Yes. I was running around virtually. I had 15 tabs open at once, so it was like the equivalent of running place to place in a taxi in Vegas like we usually do. And I still feel like at the end of the week, there’s like another thousand things I didn’t cover that I want to. So you still have that feeling, but it’s still a lot of fun and there’s still some more things that we’re wrapping up and writing about today because there’s a lot of really great things that come out and things that we’ll be writing about in weeks to come that just are things that were conceptual that may or may not be created, but still really inspired great stories out of us and others.

SEE: Best robots at CES 2021: Humanoid hosts, AI pets, UV-C disinfecting bots, and more (TechRepublic)

Tech to help us sleep better and PC innovations

Karen Roby: Yeah, I think so, too. And Steve, we talked several days ago on the front end of CES about what is this going to be like going to a virtual experience? We’re so used to that hands-on opportunity and when people collaborate but I think all in all, it turned out okay.

Steve Ranger: I think absolutely. In fact, I’m really amazed by the amount of energy and kind of enthusiasm and excitement there has been around CES and all the CES products. I mean who knows, maybe being virtual means we get to see more stuff, rather than be hiking from place to place. So then from hall to hall, actually just flipping between tabs like Teena was doing, means you get to see more stuff, which is great. Like her, I thought the robots is really interesting this year. Obviously, that really plays into what’s been happening in the last year or so.

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Some models include special lighting to encourage sleep and the ability to track overall sleep habits. 

One of the things I thought was quite interesting was a lot of the sleep tech, because on first glance, I thought, wow, this is just the tech industry finding something else they can encroach on and put a few chips into and resell us our own sleep again. But actually the more I thought about it was, well with loads of like exercise and things like that, we are present. So we kind of know if we’re out for a run and we have a vague idea of what we’re doing. When you’re asleep, you’re asleep. You have no idea what’s going on. So actually maybe sleep is one of the really good things to be measuring and trying to understand because it’s the whole chunk of the day when you really pretty much aren’t there.

So I think a lot of people are getting more sleep at the moment because they’re going outside less. So actually trying to understand what your sleep patterns are and trying to optimize that I think is a really good thing because actually, a lot of the time we’re not getting enough sleep, we’re not getting good sleep. So I started off rather kind of doubtful about some of these technologies. The more I think about them, the more I think they might actually have some interesting uses there.

The other thing that I saw that was really good, which comes every year, but I kind of like, is all the innovation around laptops and PCs. Certainly when we were speaking a while back, we were saying, there’s a renaissance of interest in the PC because many of us are at home working on PCs and we’re not using smart phones or tablets or whatever. And actually the PC, which had been kind of on a downward trend is actually back up again right now. And so it was nice to see a lot of companies playing with the idea of new screens or different screens.

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Image: ASUS

So there was some laptops with a combined e-ink screen that you could use in different ways or a laptop with a secondary screen on the front that you could use alongside the keyboard. I guess none of these things are likely to take over the world simply because we are so used to the form factor we have with one screen, one keyboard. But I think it’s really nice to see there is still some innovation in what is a really traditional form factor that’s been around 30 years or longer. So I liked to see that as well.

SEE: The weird, the wacky and the marvelous at CES 2021 (TechRepublic)

And as Teena said, the robots is always good fun to look at some robots and for once they might actually have some actual uses this time in terms of healthcare and that kind of thing. So yeah, I think actually, I’m surprised by the levels of interest and innovation we saw and I think that’s a really good sign for the industry.

All-digital CES 2021 had its advantages

Karen Roby: Yeah, definitely, Steve. I agree with you. And especially with the sleep tech, interesting to see what we can learn that otherwise we’d have no idea about. And Bill, one of the things that’s been great about CES being virtual is that more people will have access to the information, otherwise that people can’t get to Vegas or don’t feel like they’re part of the show, but that was a big difference this year.

Bill Detwiler: Yeah, it is. And we’ve seen that with other events that have gone virtual in the wake of the COVID pandemic, is that it has enabled more people to participate, which is a good thing because, for the industry, for just society, for closing that technology gap and the only thing that I hope we see more in the future as we go back to the new normal of in-person events mixed with a digital event. Because let’s remember, most of these events always had a digital component. It’s just that it wasn’t the focus. Going forward now in the new normal, when we go back to in-person events, that there is a greater emphasis on the digital portion of the event and in allowing people to continue to participate, that maybe just can’t be there physically.

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This was an interesting CES. Microsoft partnered with CTA to really sort of bring the virtual side of things to life. Microsoft has been on and off at CES, and this was a chance to showcase what they can do in that realm. Whereas maybe Microsoft competitors, Amazon through its home and consumer electronics brands and Google through its consumer electronics brands have been there in the past and Microsoft sometimes has been there and then has not been there. But this was really interesting to see the technology that they used to pull it off. And I think they did a pretty good job. I’ve been going for many, many years, and I will say that this definitely felt like more of a fire hose of information coming at you. There were a lot of products being released simultaneously. You had competing events happening at the same time or during the same week. So I think there’s a little more work to do around that for future shows, but all in all, I think it was a really solid virtual CES.

CES is a showcase for enterprise, as much as consumer, tech

Karen Roby: Yeah. Most definitely. I think that it will be interesting, like you said, to see how this year influences next year when assuming, we’re back in person.

CES 2021 must-read coverage

Bill Detwiler: Yeah. And one of the things I thought was really interesting. Before we did this call this morning, I went back and I was looking at some old footage of CES from actually 1991. So 30 years ago. It was some footage from a show that I used to watch back here in the US on Public Television. There was show called The Computer Chronicles, which was all about the early days of computer technology in the eighties. And they were interviewing several people at CES. It was still in Vegas. This time they split it up. They actually had a summer and a winter CES. And of course, the big computer show at the time was COMDEX, which isn’t really around anymore like it was back then. And so they were interviewing Nolan Bushnell, who was co-founder of Atari, creator of Pong, and it was interesting to me that he was really talking about the merging of computers or computer circuits and chips at the time, with consumer electronics, because, up until then, consumer electronics were really about car alarms, cell phones.

They weren’t seen as computing devices. And in that transition from the late eighties into the nineties, you started to see people just thinking about electronics and consumer electronics as functional devices, tools that served a purpose. You could embed smarts into them and make them better products that helped people in their lives. And now we’re seeing the same trends, 30 years later, the same discussions. I know we talked about it earlier this week. You’re seeing that, except it’s not silicon that we’re talking about. Although we talk about that a little bit with miniaturization and power, low power chips, things like that, that allow us to put computers into your toaster. But they’re talking about the cloud now. We’re talking about 5G. We’re talking about enabling these technologies, these underlying enterprise technologies that put the smarts in all these smart gadgets that we have around our house that are being shown off at CES.

Karen Roby: Yeah. It’s always interesting and fun to look back on YouTube. It’s crazy when you look back at that old video and the quality of it and things like that. But man, we’ve definitely come a long way. And one thing too guys, before we jump off here, I think one thing that really raised some eyebrows is the president of Microsoft, Brad Smith coming on and talking about tech and how the industry has to remember ethics, improve in ethics, and that tech must be used for good. And in light of everything going on in the world, very poignant time for him to be speaking.

Bill Detwiler: Yeah. I think that is something that people sometimes don’t think about with technology, but tech is a tool like anything else. It’s either a benefit or a hazard.

Karen Roby: Yeah. Most definitely. All right. Well, we have got loads of coverage for you on ZDNet and Tech Republic from everything CES 2021. We hope you’ll check it out there. Thanks for being with us here today.

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Glimpse of a blazar in the early universe

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The supersharp radio “vision” of the U.S. National Science Foundation‘s Very Long Baseline Array has revealed previously unseen details in a jet of material ejected at three-quarters the speed of light from the core of a galaxy some 12.8 billion light-years from Earth.

Glimpse of a blazar in the early universe

A blazar with its jet pointed toward Earth, the brightest radio-emitting blazar yet seen at such a distance. Image credit: Spingola et al.; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

The galaxy, dubbed PSO J0309+27, is a blazar, with its jet pointed toward Earth. A blazar is a feeding supermassive black hole in the heart of a distant galaxy that produces a high-energy jet viewed face-on from Earth. PSO J0309+27 is the brightest radio-emitting blazar yet seen at such a distance; it’s also the second-brightest X-ray emitting blazar at such a distance.

PSO J0309+27 is viewed as it was when the universe was less than a billion years old, or just over 7% of its current age.

In this image, the brightest radio emission comes from the galaxy’s core, at the bottom right. The jet is propelled by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole at the core and moves outward, toward the upper left. The jet seen here extends some 1,600 light-years and shows structure within it.

An international team of astronomers observed the galaxy in April and May of 2020. The researchers report their results in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

“This research is important for understanding jets launched by feeding supermassive black holes,” says Joseph Pesce, a program director in NSF’s Division of Astronomical Sciences. “The observation allows for a more detailed assessment of differences between objects that are large distances from Earth (and in the early universe) and those relatively closer to Earth.”

Source: NSF




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