The Wrap – April 27, 2018

Telstra and Spotify offer something for nothing, while Sonos and Ultimate Ears both gain the support of Amazon’s Alexa. And we’ll review Apple’s 2018 iPad. Is it the best iPad ever? Find out all of this in less than five minutes on The Wrap.

 

Transcript

For the last week of April, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while last week was all about the latest happenings in TV world, this week shakes things up a little more. That’s the way we like it, because that means more things for us to bang our drum about.

So let’s start with the internet, because it’s one thing that is surely taking its time to get better in Australia. You might have the National Broadband Network, but much of Australia does not, and with the abundance of complaints, even if you do have it, you might not be happy.

That’s bad news, but if you’re a Telstra customer this week without the NBN and with cable, you’re going to be a little bit happier.

This week, Telstra added speed to cable customer connections, upping the bandwidth from a maximum of 30Mbps to 50Mbps. That’s close to what you should find on the good NBN connections when they come around, which might be next month, but also might not be for another two years. Here’s hoping that holds you.

Freebies like that are worth talking about, and Spotify has a freebie worth mentioning as well this week. If you’ve never quite cottoned onto the idea of paying for your music services and you’re using the Spotify free tier, you now get a little more free music.

Before, your free music was subsidised by ads and only played on shuffle, but from this week, Spotify will let you play any music file from a few of your playlists. That’s great news if you like free music and want to listen to it in your order. You’ll still get the ads, but at least you know why you’re paying to upgrade.

If you do pay to upgrade, you won’t just find no ads. You’ll also find support for Spotify on Sonos and Amazon Echo speakers, and this week, that gets a little more interesting, as the two speakers talk to each other.

This week, an update is rolling out to Sonos users that will link the Sonos speakers you might already own to the Amazon Alexa-enabled speakers. When they properly talk to each other, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to play music around your home, or if you have one of the Sonos One speakers, you can do it directly for that.

In fact it’s not just Sonos that meets Alexa this week, with Ultimate Ears updating its Boom and MegaBoom speakers to the Blast and MegaBlast, more cylindrical wireless and waterproof speakers that gain Alexa support this week.

That’s a lot of Alexa news for the week, and it adds to last week’s news of the Amazon Echo Spot, a modern take on the bedside alarm clock that has Alexa inside.

You’d almost think Amazon is the biggest tech company around, but there’s still Google and Apple.

That last one has a new product, and we’re ready with our review, as we check out the new iPad.

We’re calling it “the new iPad” because that’s what it is, and it’s not the iPad Pro. Rather, this is the ordinary iPad, though it’s anything but ordinary. In fact, while it might seem like last year’s iPad, the 2018 iPad has a whole lot more going for it.

For staters, it has a chip very similar to the iPad Pro sitting under that bright 9.7 inch screen. That screen has a new trick, too, supporting the Apple Pencil.

Granted, the price of the Pencil isn’t cheap at around $150, but it works on both iPad and iPad Pro, and it isn’t necessary. You only need to buy it if you plan to scribble or do some art.

Otherwise you can type, and typing is fast. We typed our review on the iPad, and the screen was fast enough for our fingers, while the battery just chugged along.

Ultimately, Apple’s 2018 iPad is one of the best tablets you can find, offering performance and quality in a metal body that’s hard to miss. You won’t get that cool Smart Keyboard connector, but given you can find the iPad for under $500, it’s easy to forgive. We’re recommending this one, as it’s one of the best tablets you can find, not just on a budget, but in general. The tablet world is changing, too. Windows tablets are everywhere, and Android tablets are hard to find, but the iPad is still a solid choice.

You can even listen to podcasts on it, like this one, even though we’re at the end.

And you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup.

As usual, you can find more about these stories on our website at Pickr.com.au, as well as any of our other episodes, which can also be found on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

We’ll be back next week for more that’s happening in the world of tech in the fastest time possible. Until then, have a great week and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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