More info about the event can be gathered here.
More info about the event can be gathered here.
Today’s session of IT Pro Forum is scheduled to start at 6 PM. We will be Live from Microsoft Sri Lanka Office. Till then stay tuned. more info and the agenda about the event can be found here.
This is the inaugural Meetup of this forum and is scheduled to start at 6 Pm from Microsoft Sri Lanka Office.
More information: here including the agenda.
It would be an understatement to say that Apple’s Mac Pro workstation was getting a little long in the tooth. As of summer 2012, it was missing Apple’s own Thunderbolt ports, not to mention 802.11n WiFi. Finally, though, Apple released an updated version, and it addresses a little more than just the wireless card and I/O options. Redesigned from the ground up, it’s now much smaller and lighter, with a space-age cylindrical shape, an overhauled cooling system that’s half as loud and a spec sheet that includes standard dual GPUs, PCIe SSDs, 802.11ac WiFi, up to 64GB of RAM and the latest Intel Xeon processors, once again going up to 12 cores. In short, these are specs that bring the Mac Pro into the modern age — and make it ready to handle the coming onslaught of 4K content.
If you’re a professional photographer, videographer, audio engineer, animator or what-have-you, you might actually be considering spending $2,999 on one of these — maybe as much as $9,599, if you have the means. Or maybe you’re just like my colleagues here at Engadget, who don’t need one, and won’t ever buy one, but covet it just the same. Either way, you’ll want to read on to see how this thing actually performs (though you probably already have an idea).
|MAC PRO (2013, 3.7GHZ INTEL XEON E5-1620, DUAL 2GB AMD FIREPRO D300)||IMAC (2013, 27-INCH, 3.4GHZ CORE I5, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA GTX 775M)||IMAC (2012, 27-INCH, 3.4GHZ CORE I7, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA GTX 680MX)||IMAC (2012, 21.5-INCH, 3.1GHZ CORE I7, 16GB RAM, 512MB NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 650M)|
|Geekbench (multi-core)||12,650 (32-bit) / 14,207 (64-bit)||10,920 (32-bit) / 11,867 (64-bit)||13,045 (32-bit)||12,577 (32-bit)|
|READ SPEEDS||WRITE SPEEDS|
|1GB||912.5 MB/s||764.7 MB/s|
|2GB||919.3 MB/s||753.3 MB/s|
|3GB||910.0 MB/s||758.3 MB/s|
|4GB||933.0 MB/s||761.2 MB/s|
|5GB||918.3 MB/s||768.3 MB/s|
Apple wrapped its October event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco earlier today and, as promised, there was plenty to dig into. We’ve pumped out plenty of stories dissecting Apple’s myriad announcements, but in case you’re looking for a highlight reel of sorts, we’ve put together a quick rundown of everything Apple pulled back the curtain on.
New MacBook Pros: Yeah, people tend to swoon about new iGadgets, but the company’s refreshed batch of Retina Macbook Pros are nothing to sneeze at. Apple showed off slimmer 13- and 15-inch versions that sport Intel’s latest Haswell chip sets and bigger batteries and come preloaded with OS X Mavericks.
In the event these things struck your fancy, you can lay claim to yours in the Apple Store starting today. Here are Darrell Etherington’s thoughts on how they compare to past versions based on initial impressions.
New Mac Pro: Many a nerd has salivated over Apple’s curious Mac Pro redesign, and today we got a better look at what’s ticking away under the hood. Long story short, the back provides you all the access to input/output/expandability you could want, and the otherwise unbroken smooth cylinder evokes a ‘Darth Vader’ vibe.
It’s got dual workstation GPUs (proprietary in design but potentially upgradeable down the line) and an amazing Intel processor, making it an awfully powerful machine housed in an awfully pretty body.
The two actually have plenty of things in common: both sport the same 64-bit A7 chip that recently debuted in the iPhone 5s, both have screens that run at 2048-by-1536 resolution (though the smaller screen on the mini will make for much crisper images), and both are going to hit store shelves starting in November. They even resemble each other to an extent — the Air essentially looks like a 10-inch iPad mini, making it significantly slimmer and lighter than the model that came before it.
If you’re not looking to spend too much, though, Apple is keeping some older models around to make sure that anyone who wants to jump on the iPad bandwagon can do so. The (non-Retina) iPad 2 is still kicking and will set you back $399 to start.
Today it seems the name of the game was ‘free.’ Apple announced that two of its most prominent software suites — iLife for content creation and iWork for, well, work — would now be free with the purchase of any new Mac or iOS device.
But that’s not all. Apple’s next big OS X update, OS X Mavericks, is also free and it’s available right now for all to download. This should help dramatically raise the rate at which users update their software, which has a benefit for security and for developers, too.
Considering that the Apple has been charging for these annual updates since the earliest days of OS X, this is an unexpected (though very welcome) change. It’s true the company has been reducing the cost of updates with each new version, but going completely free was a move almost no one saw coming.
Apple also delivered an update about how quickly people are taking to iOS 7, and the numbers aren’t too shabby. It’s been just over a month since the update went live and started getting pushed to iDevices across the globe, and so far a full 64 percent of those Apple gadgets are now running iOS 7.
And that’s about everything there is to know about Apple’s big fall event, without getting too deep into the nitty gritty. Safe to say, Apple has a lot of new stuff for people to get excited about going into the holiday shopping season.
Source : TechCrunch
Today Microsoft took the wraps off its holiday hardware lineup, unveiling two new tablets, and a number of new and updated accessories. It’s a lot of information to process, so let’s go through each piece in order.
I spent time in Redmond last week with the new hardware, and the team behind the Surface project itself. Hands on notes regarding the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will be published following this piece, along with an extensive interview with Brian Hall, current general manager of the Surface effort, and Panos Panay, corporate vice president at Microsoft and chief of Surface.
For now, you need an overview of what’s new. We’ll get granular shortly. Here’s the once-over.
The Surface 2 is the second generation of the Surface RT, though its name doesn’t take after its ancestor. In its most basic formulation, the Surface 2 is quite similar to its predecessor: It is an ARM-based tablet that supports attachable keyboards, and is built to make Windows 8(.1) sing.
That aside, Microsoft has made across-the-board improvements to the product itself. Battery life has been bettered by 25%. A new processor (the NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip) has improved speed and graphical performance. The kickstand now includes a second, deeper angle that makes using the device on your lap far simpler. It has a new look, with a silver magnesium case that resists fingerprints, and is sturdier. It has improved cameras to better support low light settings, helping you Skype with folks in darker rooms. And, it’s cheaper, starting off at $449 – Surface RT headed into the market for $499.
If you think that Windows 8.1 matures the Windows 8 platform sufficiently for daily use, and that the Windows Store has become populated enough with applications in its year of life, the Surface 2 could be a device that you enjoy. Certainly, the hardware has has improved greatly since its first generation. The question becomes how well Windows 8.1 can take advantage of those upgrades.
Frankly, the Surface 2 is a very good-looking device, and one that I would feel great using at a cafe if I ever worked in such desultory locales.
In that vein, its success is quite tied to that of Windows 8.1: The better Windows 8.1, the more the Surface 2′s upgrades can shine through. The Surface 2 (again, in my very limited hands-on time) proved a capable device. I can see students loving it, for example.
If the upgrades to the Surface 2 were broad and various, the changes to the Surface Pro 2 are targeted and vertical: It’s all about battery life, baby. According to Microsoft – and more on this later – it received constant feedback that business customers were interested in the Surface Pro, but could not bear its underperforming battery life. The company is frank that its first generation Pro lacked in that department.
So, instead of changing the device externally a single mote, Microsoft rejiggered the guts of the unit into what it calls the Surface Pro 2, which will have around 60% better battery life, a figure that it claims can skew higher in certain use cases.
The Surface Pro 2 has been bumped up to the Haswell generation of Intel chips, can contain up to 8 gigabytes of low-power DDR RAM, and a SSD that can reach the half-terabyte mark. It also receives the new kickstand position, which Microsoft is proud of, mostly because it works.
The Surface Pro 2 looks like its predecessor, is the same size and weight, but lasts longer, and goes harder and faster if you kit it properly. It starts at the same price point as its forefather: $899.
Microsoft is stapling two things to each new Surface that you buy: 200 gigabytes of SkyDrive storage for two years, and a year of Skype service that includes international calling. The play here is simple: Buy a Microsoft device, and the company’s services come along with it. Microsoft, as you certainly recall, is pursuing a “devices and services” model – this is the fusion of the two.
If you were to buy 100 gigabytes of SkyDrive storage for a year, it would set you back $50. You currently can’t buy 200 gigabytes at a time. So, the SkyDrive perk is worth $200 – theoretically – by itself. Microsoft is essentially buying your digital storage custom with the deal.
The loser? Other storage companies that do not match that scale, such as Box.
The old Touch Cover was a neat piece of hardware that I, and perhaps you as well, never really mastered. It was never quite where it needed to be for me to fully trust it. Microsoft, in the past year, has built a new Touch Cover that contains 14 times as many sensors, along with firmware upgrades.
In practice, better software and a boatload of new on-keyboard sensing technology make the new Touch Cover a far superior typing experience. Would I replace my mechanical keyboard with the new Touch Cover? No, but it would make typing on an airplane a far simpler if I lived with a Surface device.
The new Touch Cover is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and is backlit.
Most interesting in the new Touch Cover are gestures: Slide two fingers across the number key line, and the Touch Cover will highlight text. Release, and the selected text will be deleted. A spacebar gesture talks to Windows 8.1′s word recommendation system. There are others input methods which are worth learning. I had some trouble finding my sea legs in quick testing, but would have been able to master the set in a day, I think.
The original Touch Cover was perhaps the most innovative part of the Surface lineup. Microsoft has taken its initial product, and greatly improved it.
What’s the downside? A high price point of $119 per new Touch Cover. That’s equivalent to the price of the original Touch Cover, released last year.
The above are the most important parts of the new hardware announced today, so this is the proper moment to take an interlude and discuss what Microsoft is keeping from last year’s line of devices. The Surface RT, for $349, and the original Touch Cover, for $79, will remain on sale for the foreseeable future.
Microsoft likely has quite a number of extra units of both that it would love to get rid off, and having the cheaper set of hardware in the market allows it to, in a way, combat both the iPad Mini and Chromebooks, devices that are absorbing chunks of the lower-end PC market.
However, keep in mind that the key marketing point of the Surface line is that it is a tablet that let’s you get shit done, roughly. But you can’t really do much in terms of productivity with a Surface without a keyboard, and that means that the lowest Windows 8.1 tablet-to-get-stuff-done point remains north of $400 when you factor in its keyboard accessory. Microsoft could release a bundle of Surface RT and Touch Cover for $400, but the company told me that it has moved away from bundling its hardware, so don’t expect it.
Here’s the funny part: Microsoft Office 2013 Professional, for a single user on a single PC, currently costs $400 on Amazon. That’s nearly as much as a Surface RT and Touch Cover that come with the basic Office suite. We’re seeing hardware price declines clip the top end of software costs. It’s a market trend to keep in mind.
Microsoft has produced a new, third keyboard variety for its Surface tablets: The Power Cover. It’s thicker version of the Type Cover, essentially, that can greatly add to the amount of juice your tablet can drink from.
I was told that a Surface Pro 2 with a fully charged Power Cover can last roughly 2.5 times as long as a Surface Pro with a Type Cover. Snap a Power Cover on your current Surface Pro, and you’ll get around 60% more battery life.
So, if you have a long flight ahead, this Cover could be the one for you. I don’t have pricing details at this point, but expect the Power Cover to cost between $150 to $200.
One neat trick about the Power Cover is that so long as it has energy, it will dump it into the Surface. So, if you have a 90% charged Surface Pro 2 attached to a Power Cover with any battery at all, it will upload that power into the tablet itself, even while stashed in a briefcase. Not a cheap solution, but an option for those who need it and aren’t price sensitive.
Along with the new Touch and Power Covers, Microsoft has remade its Type Covers to include quieter keys, backlighting, and different colors. So, if you want to have a keyboard that includes moving keys for your Surface, you can get it in magenta, or blue. Whatever strikes your fancy.
Previously, while Touch Covers came in a number of colors, the Type Cover was stuck in a Fordian black, befitting its more business focus. Well, it would appear that folks wanted their typing to be a bit more stylish.
The dock. This leaked ages past, but it’s worth discussing here briefly. The Surface dock is a move by Microsoft to better integrate its Surface Pro 2 device into the workplace.
It has USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, an ethernet jack, a Mini Display port, and two audio jacks. If you use all four USB ports, Microsoft confirmed to TechCrunch that the dock can support them all at full power.
The dock works in the following way: You place your Surface Pro 2 device (keyboard can stay attacked) in between the twin arms of the dock, which you then press into the unit, with one port on either side of the device used to hold it in place.
From there, you have wired Internet, peripherals as you need, and, of course, simple multi-monitor support. You can also yank the Touch Cover and use a larger keyboard if you want.
What else is out today? A wireless adapter for Touch and Type Covers that turns them wireless, so you can type back from your screens. I’m not sure how popular the doodad will be, but if you can use a Touch Cover on a non-Surface device, that could boost the popularity of the pair.
Finally, Microsoft has created a mouse-variant called the Touch Mouse Surface Edition. It’s designed to work with the Surface devices. I honestly don’t have much on it, but if I get my hands on one, will review it for you.
That is the rough lay of the land. TechCrunch has more breaking news and analysis on the way, so strap in.
Microsoft will also reportedly unveil new Surface accessories, including a docking station and a “power keyboard” featuring its own batteries that can prolong battery life of the Surface itself.