The Wrap – December 15, 2017

Microsoft’s big quantum computing revolution, Apple’s big iMac, Epson’s little big printer, Samsung’s big Star Wars experience, and a big new TV from Panasonic reviewed. It’s a big new Wrap.

Transcript

For the middle of December, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest roundup of technology, and this week there’s big, big things happening, even as we end the year.

Normally, this is the quiet time, the time for the cricket sounds and sound effects to come out, but instead, there’s big things afoot, and that starts with Star Wars.

Yes, The Last Jedi is out, and while we won’t spoil anything, it’s a pretty big deal, because it’s Star Wars… and well… Star Wars. You know that doesn’t even need a reason. Star Wars. You know what I’m talking about.

And from this week, if you either get yourself to one of the many Samsung stores across Australia — or you have a Samsung phone and a Gear VR headset — you’ll be able to play a VR experience set inside the Star Wars universe. While it’s not the trench run like from the first proper film, it is a droid repair job that you won’t get paid for, except in BB-8 sounds. Which is totally fine, because BB-8 is worth it.

And if not, we’ll just reprogram him. It. Whatever.

And that’s actually a possibility this week, as Microsoft unleashes a new programming language that has the potential to do big things.

That might come across even more geeky than us going “Star Wars” and expecting it to explain everything, but Microsoft’s new Q Sharp language is a big deal simply because of what it has been developed to do.

While current programming languages are about using the computer power we have access to in order to run things like apps and games, Microsoft’s Q Sharp is built on quantum computer, and basically makes it possible to do more with larger amounts of power.

That means if you happen to be learning how to program and want to do big and amazing things with artificial intelligence, with lots of data, with medical and science fields, and so on and so on, Microsoft’s quantum language is worth looking into, simply because it will give you a fresh start into a field that will only get bigger. You never know: your kids could make a giant breakthrough the likes of which the world has never seen.

Or they could ignore programming altogether and be artists. And if they make that transition, this week they’ll find a new printer available to them. Or the parents will, because they’re the ones spending money on these tools.

This week, Epson has launched its Expression Photo HD XP-15000, a real mouthful of a name that is best described as a smaller printer that can do bigger almost poster-sized prints, and yet fetches a price tag just under $500. That’s a big deal, especially since printers for big prints are normally very expensive, kind of like big expensive computers.

And this week, there’s one more of those kind of made for artistic endeavours, as Apple’s iMac Pro makes its way out, one last thing before the end of 2018.

This isn’t your ordinary iMac, either, taking a 27 inch 5K iMac and supercharging it, with the starting machine packing in an eight-core Intel Xeon, 32GB RAM, 1TB of solid state storage, an AMD Radeon graphics chip made for high end graphics processing, and some of the fastest wired networking ever. That will set you back a good $7299, but this thing can be configured to 20 grand. Yikes.

It’s a big deal for Apple, because it’s made to make 4K video, ideal for 4K TVs.

In fact, speaking of 4K TVs, we took a look at one of those this week, with Panasonic’s EZ950, one of the company’s first OLED TVs, which also happens to be a 4K Ultra HD TV.

Sporting a minimalist look with slim bezels and a stand that is in no way an eye-sore, Panasonic’s 4K telly is one of the nicest screens we’ve ever seen.

Much like Sony’s A1 from earlier in the year, the panel is made by LG, but the colour and rendition is from Panasonic, and it is lovely, complete with THX certification to make the imagery more natural for films. In fact, there are so many settings on the Panasonic EZ950 that if you happen to be a videophile or a Jerry from an alternate dimension, you’ll enjoy fiddling with each one.

Really, it’s just a screen that truly stands out, and while its smart TV interface needs work, it’s hard to fault Panasonic’s EZ950, as it’s a lovely big 4K OLED TV.

It’s not little like this show, which is little, and clocks in around the five minute mark, which we’re getting close to hitting and need to stop talking.

You’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest roundup of technology, covering the week that was and a little bit more.

We’ll be back next week with more of that little bit more, and some more news, too. Until then be sure to have a great week, a lovely weekend, and we’ll catch you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

Sound effect credit: BB-8 sounds used in the show come from Sphero’s BB-8

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