Laptops & Tablets

Delayed Launch for Next iPads?

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Delayed Launch for Next iPads?

According to DigiTimes Apple is working on 3 iPad models for 2017, but the new tablets "may not be announced or even released in the market until the second half of 2017."

The tablets were supposed to be announced during Q2 2017, but "lower-than-expected" yield rates for the 10-nanometer manufacturing process apparently led to launch delays. As a result Apple will also be looking into getting components for secondary suppliers.

DigiTimes adds the 3 iPads set to launch this year are a 9.7-inch model with a "friendly price range," a 10.5-inch model armed with the A10X processor and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple supposedly plans to have the 10.5-inch model replace the existing 9.7-inch line, with the 9.7-inch iPad becoming an entry-level device aimed at the education sector.

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A Laptop Dock for the Compute Card

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A Laptop Dock for the Compute Card

NexDock, the maker of a laptop dock for Windows 10 smartphones and mini-PCs, announces plans to launch a similar device powered by the Compute Card, Intel's credit card-size computing platform.

Recently the company start shipping self-titled laptop docks for use with Windows 10 smartphones, mini PCs and tablets. The result of an April 2016 crowdfunding campaign, the NexDock offers a Bluetooth keyboard, 14-inch display and 10000mAh Li-ion battery, and works best with devices using the Windows 10 Continuum feature (although the company says it can also act as a second display for iOS and Android devices).

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Feel Fabric on a Touchscreen With Tanvas

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Feel Fabric on a Touchscreen With Tanvas

Tanvas has an intriguing demo at CES 2017, where it shows off surface haptics technology allowing one to feel the texture of different materials through a touchscreen.

Seen in the shape of a repurposed Nexus 9 tablet, TanvasTouch technology simulated a number of surfaces, including wood, cobblestone and grass. Another demo allows one to drag their finger through a virtual pool with a pebble floor, and a partnership with apparel maker Bonobos offers the chance to check the difference between cotton and corduroy fabrics by rubbing the touchscreen.

How does Tanvas touchscreens work? Reportedly the result of 10 years of research at Nortwestern University, the technology involves “real-time control of the electrical forces between your fingertip and the touch surfaces.” Essentially the display has a TanvasTouch layer on top of the touchscreen acting as an electromagnet. The magnet physically pulls the tips of users' finger as they move across the screen, creating a "sense" of touch.

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An eReader One Can Draw On

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An eReader One Can Draw On

The reMarkable might look like an unremarkable ePaper tablet, but it hides an interesting trick up its sleeve-- one can draw on the 10.3-inch "Canvas" display, making it a combination of electronic device and paper notepad.

According to the makers the display has a paper-like surface and a low latency of 55ms, meaning it can handle writing or drawing with the included Marker stylus without noticeable delay. This makes it superior to similar devices seen in previous years, whose displays failed to handle the capabilities of a regular piece of paper and a pen.

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IDC: Premium Drives Q3 Tablet Market

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IDC: Premium Drives Q3 Tablet Market

According to IDC Q3 2016 tablet shipments reach 8.2 million in W. Europe-- a -6.7% Y-o-Y decline, with the quarter trending towards the expansion of hybrid/detachable devices and tablets aimed at the commercial market.

In fact, hybrids see solid 48.4% Y-o-Y growth, while the commercial segment is up by 13% Y-o-Y. Hybrids tend to have higher prices, and as a result the number of devices in the €600+ price band sees 66.7% Y-o-Y growth, making 10.6% of the total Q3 2016 market. It also lead to revenue growth of 4.8% Y-o-Y to €2.5 billion, despite the aforementioned shipment decline.

"The increasing penetration of detachables, particularly in the commercial space, is sustaining tablet market value despite the contraction in volume," the analyst says. "The offer available in the market continues to grow, along with enterprises' increasing interest in technologies that fit their mobile strategies. As a result detachables, particularly those with the performance and security to meet enterprise standards, are continuously gaining traction and this is boosting demand for premium devices."

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Three New iPad Pros for March 2017?

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Three New iPad Pros for March 2017?

According to Barclays analysts citing Asian supply chain sources Apple plans to launch 3 iPad Pro models on March 2017-- refreshed versions of the 9.7- and 12.9-inch models, and a bezel-free 10.9-inch version.

As detailed in a research note obtained by MacRumors, the bezel-free design allows the 10.9-inch iPad Pro to be the same physical size as the current 9.7-inch tablet, meaning it has an edge-to-edge design and and possibly no Home button. Speaking of the smaller iPad Pro, the analysts add the 9.7-inch model will be relegated to "low-cost" status together with the 7.9-inch iPad mini, a device not getting a 2017 refresh.

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IDC: Hybrids Lead Declining Tablet Market

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IDC: Hybrids Lead Declining Tablet Market

IDC reports the global tablet market remains on a slump-- Q3 2016 shipments total 43 million, a -14.7% Y-o-Y decline, even if the market does see a Q-o-Q increase of 9.8% as larger vendors preparing for the holiday quarter.

In the meantime low-cost (sub-$200) hybrid tablets shipments see an all-time high, the result of vendors such as RCA flooding the market. However such devices deliver a low-cost experience, and can prove detrimental to the market in the long run as customers can consider such devices as disposable, rather than potential PC replacements.

"Beyond the different end-user experience delivered by low- and high-end tablets, we're witnessing real tectonic movements in the market with slate companion devices sold at the low-end serving a broader platform strategy, like Amazon is doing with Alexa on its Fire Tablets, and more expensive productivity tools closer to true computing and legitimate notebook replacement devices that should manage to keep average prices up," the analyst adds.

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MacBook Pro Gets Touch Bar in 2016 Update

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MacBook Pro Gets Touch Bar in 2016 Update

Apple announces the next generation of MacBook Pro-- one featuring what the company calls a "Touch Bar," a slim multi-touch display located just above the keyboard, replacing the function keys.

The Touch Bar is an interesting addition, since it automatically provides app-specific commands. For example, Mail has it display buttons to create new messages, replying or moving an email to the trash, while in Safari it allows users to preview tabs, switch between tabs and go to a favourited site, all without need for mouse or trackpad commands. The Touch Bar is also customisable, and as such one can add features or buttons as required.

Another MacBook first is a Touch ID sensor-- a sapphire crystal-covered number located on the right of the Touch Bar. It is powered with a new chip, the T1, and promises to keep fingerprint data safe as well as allow users to switch between multiple profiles with a simple touch.

On the hardware side, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13- and 15-inch versions, and is described as the thinnest yet at 14.9mm. The 13-inch version carries a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU, while the 15GB ups the spects to a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and a Radeon Pro 450 GPU. Both offer 256GB of SSD storage, as well as a larger Force Touch trackpad and connectivity via x4 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports.

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Samsung Gilds Galaxy TabPro S With Gold Edition

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Samsung Gilds Galaxy TabPro S With Gold Edition

Samsung announces a Gold Edition of its Microsoft Surface rival, the Galaxy TabPro S-- an upgrade featuring an improved battery together with more RAM and storage, all inside a gold-coloured case.

The TabPro S Gold Edition retains the same 12-inch AMOLED 1920 x 1080 resolution display, 2.2 GHz Intel M3 CPU and 5MP front- and rear-facing cameras, but now the RAM is up to 8GB while storage comes via 256GB SSD. As for the battery, Samsung says it powers up to 10.5 hours of video playback on a single charge.

The body is in magnesium alloy, and includes x2 USB-A ports for peripherals, HDMI port for displays and a USB-C port for charging. Also included in the package is a detachable keyboard case (connects via Pogo pin port), while an optional TabPro Pen provides stylus input.

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Apple Plans Dynamic Keyboard for Next MacBooks?

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Apple Plans Dynamic Keyboard for Next MacBooks?

According to 9to5Mac and TrustedReviews Apple is in talks with Sonder Keyboard to integrate the latter's eInk-based dynamic keyboard technology in an upcoming MacBook version.

The reports follow a Reddit post by one "Foxconninsider" claiming Foxconn is working with Sonder on a MacBook keyboard design featuring a smart module with a backlit eInk display allowing for shortcut and language swapping. The user adds the Apple Procurement Board "was closing an acquisition" with Sonder, and claims to have seen DFT (design for testing) versions of the MacBook keyboard module and a 2018 eInk Magic Keyboard.

The /r/Apple subreddit moderators have verified the identity of Foxconninsider, but obviously cannot confirm the accuracy of the post in question. However, Sonder got back to TrustedReviews and 9to5Mac with a statement confirming negotiations are going on with Apple.

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Infocus Kangaroo Becomes a Notebook

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Infocus Kangaroo Becomes a Notebook

InFocus announces a different take on the Kangaroo mini-PC concept-- the Kangaroo Notebook, an 11.6-inch laptop powered by interchangeable mini-PC modules.

Each mini-PC module is a self-contained Windows 10 PC, and the concept behind the Kangaroo Notebook has users switching between different modules dedicated to different uses. In fact, InFocus insists on the concept so much the package contains 2 modules, each featuring Windows 10, an Intel Z8350 Cherry Trail CPU, 2GB RAM and 32GB storage together with the laptop dock.

As for the dock, it includes everything a laptop requires, including keyboard, Synaptics ClickPad, battery, webcam, ports, microphone and speakers.

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