Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – September 22, 2017

Samsung’s new Note, Apple’s new iOS, a date for Google’s new phones, and a new fresh feeling (kinda). It’s a new Wrap.


For the week ending September 22, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology podcast with all the big new things in one little package.

And new is exactly where we want to be, because this week, most things are new and within reach, as the word new becomes one of those things you can reach out and touch, rather than merely struggle to grasp slightly out of reach.

That’s definitely the case with Apple’s iOS 11, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system for its iPhone and iPad, which this week has made its way out for owners of those devices, just in time for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which see release from today, September 22.

Available for most current devices made by Apple, the new release provides a more clear way to multitask, something that will effectively make the iPad as close to a laptop as the tablet has ever been, and that’s good news for people unsure of where their iPad fits in the world. Is it a tablet for viewing content, or can you do something more?

Aside for that inclusion, you’ll also find a new files app to let you do more with the phone ands tablet, an auto-on driving mode that can silence your notifications, and new support for augmented reality.

There’s that “new” word again, because with iOS 11, Apple is finally on board with augmented reality, also known as mixed reality, where the digital world can filter into your viewing of the real world, great for entertainment, educational entertainment, and more.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you should be able to get the most recent version of iOS today, and it should be relatively bug free, as it had quite a long beta period.

Also new is what’s going on with Google, and what’s going on with Google?

First is news that we’ll hear about a new phone in early October, which means a new Pixel and Pixel XL is on the way, while the other news is big and new, with word that Google hasn’t really bought HTC, but it has paid for a bunch of HTC employees to come and work at the company.

It’s a big deal that one, and one worth a whopping 1.1 billion USD, with the whole thing likely helping Google to retain some of its lead over competitors and continue the work of HTC’s business which includes both its smartphones and its Vive VR business, two things Google tends to go big on.

And new is also the case for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, which has gone on sale and provides what is arguably the biggest mobile experience you have have in a smartphone without carrying a tablet around.

In fact, the Note series is the original device range behind the big phone, something a few companies didn’t think would work, and then joined anyway, because, you know, if they’re doing it, we need to as well.

That mentality has helped some phablets like the iPhone “Plus” series models come to life, but Samsung has continued to try and evolve the range, making them more than just a really big phone.

Last year, however, that phone series backfired, thanks to battery issues that unfortunately caught fire. There was news everywhere, and we hate to dwell, so we won’t, as the phone outside of those safety issues was spectacular.

And this year Samsung is back, reviving the range so as not to let it end on that rather unfortunate note, no pun intended.

This year, consumers will get the Galaxy Note 8, a handset that delivers more than just a big screen in a mobile package, but one of those massive full length displays like we saw on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. In fact, the screen here can more or less swallow the Galaxy S8 entirely, making it a massive phone, though one that actually fits in the same size roughly as what you find with the Plus-sized iPhone.

But this isn’t just a big phone. Rather, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 returns the clicking S-Pen at the bottom of the handset to let you scribble and draw on the handset for notes and such, and you can now do cute little animations and translate words, so it’s fairly feature backed.

The Bixby button is still there, so Samsung’s kinda-useful AI is here, but we’re hearing reports that an update might be rolling out making it possible to switch off that button, great for those of us who may not want to use it.

Really, the strength in Samsung’s Note 8 aside for that pen is the specs and camera, both of which have been bumped up and are now better than ever.

For instance, you get mostly the same hardware from the Galaxy S8, but you get even more memory, bumping this to 6GB, and that has had a tremendous effect. Apps feel faster, multitasking feels better, the eye scanner that lets you open the phone has never felt more quick, and if you use Samsung’s DeX desktop PC converter, everything just works the way you feel it’s supposed to.

The camera delivers much the same experience, as one becomes two and Samsung adopts the methodology set forth by devices like the iPhone 7 Plus, with two cameras sporting optical image stabilisation, one of which is your regular viewpoint and the other which just happens to be closer.

There are some differences in quality overall, but by and large, it’s hard to find fault in daylight images with the Note 8’s camera, which helps to make this one of Samsung’s best phones yet.

But it is really big. Like really, really big; we can’t understate that, and it’s also not cheap, either, hitting the absolute high of just a dollar shy of $1500, making it one of the most expensive Android phones out there.

The fingerprint sensor placement could also do with some work, sitting in the rather awkward position of next to the cameras and ready to help you smudge those cameras, but with water-resistance built in, a glass body with wireless charging, and pretty much every possible fix-in you’d need, Samsung makes a really compelling argument for its Note 8 handset.

We liked it more than we expected, and that’s even with its enormous size.

Why it’s eve n bigger than this show, though that wouldn’t be hard because Pickr’s The Wrap is a relatively small show. Why, it’s so small that it’s over. Yes, it’s actually over. Nothing to see here, nothing at all. Time go home.

You’ve been listening to The Wrap, Pickr’s technology podcast, and we’ll be back same time next week for more news and reviews. Until then, be sure to have a tremendous week and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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