The Wrap – July 20, 2018

Apple’s new gear, Gorilla’s new glass, two anniversaries, and two new headphones. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For the week ending July 20, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we’re starting the week with an anniversary or two. On July 17, we hope you smiled with your phone for World Emoji Day, and the next day, we hope you celebrated the joy of computing as chip-maker Intel turned 50.

Anniversaries weren’t the only things this week, though, because we also saw a few updates to technology.

Apple had one this week, with new MacBook Pros announced and out, sporting Intel inside boasting four cores in the 13 inch and six in the 15. That’s a fair amount of grunt, and it can be matched with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 4 terabytes of storage if you happen to have a lot of cash to spend.

It’s not just computers in line for updates, but also phones. While you can expect a new model or two in the coming weeks — including Samsung’s next Galaxy Note — the glass that protects your phone’s touchscreen is also in line to get refreshed, and it could just make it close to drop-proof.

This week, the makers of one of the world’s most relied upon smartphone glass screens announced a change, with Gorilla Glass 5 upgraded to Gorilla Glass 6. It’s been two years since Gorilla Glass 5 was announced, and this update brings more scratch resistance and a little more drop durability, made from a new chemically strengthened formula that can survive more drops from one metre and is more resistant to damage.

You’ll likely see this on phones as early as next year, and it hopefully means the days where we see broken phones and watch screens will be on their way out.

In fact, broken screens were something we checked out recently at the website, throwing a shattered display under the microscope to see if it is indeed bad for your fingers. And Lo behold, it is, so try not to do it. If you have a broken screen, get it fixed as soon as you can. It’s just better that way.

Headphones were also talked up this week, with two variations being seen this week.

On the one hand, there’s that something new, with a type of headphone designed by Australians. We’re always interested in a local story, and the Audeara headphone is that.

Designed by two doctors from Brisbane, the first pair are called the A-01, and they feature a built-in hearing test to profile the sound your listening specifically for your ears.

Remember that every ear is individual, and these are essentially made for personalised audio, joining what is growing to be a new category of healthful technology.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the Audeara headphones later on and how they relate to other headphones, because we don’t think they’re the only healthful model out there. For now, though, we’re checking out another headphone, arriving in an update of sorts from Bang & Olufsen.

And it’s one you might already be familiar with, especially if you remember classic designs in the audio world. We definitely do — we’re weird like that — but it’s one that Bang & Olufsen has been asked about for a while, so much that while we were at CES in Las Vegas in January, we heard this question asked during a private briefing:

When will the Earset be coming back?

For those who don’t know, the Earset is B&O’s take on the earbud, with a special design that works with every ear, latching and closing in on the individual ear, while holding the earbud just on the outside of where you listen.

This year, it’s back, arriving in the 2018 wireless Earset, a model that ditches most of the cables and leaves one, tying the left and right Earset pieces to each other.

The design is largely the same, and can play nicely with pretty much any ear, though you may struggle to get it on the first few times.

When you get it going, you’ll probably experience the sound in one of two ways.

On the one hand, they sound absolutely lovely, with B&O’s typically warm signature sound able to provide solid clarity across the spectrums with great spatiality, but it has to be in a generally quiet place.

The second experience is what the Earset are like when you’re walking along a road or in a crowded place where there’s plenty of ambient noise, like a bus or train. In places like this, the sound leakage is frustrating, and like the Apple AirPods, you need to turn up the volume to compensate.

That’s not great for your hearing at all, and it’s a pain to deal with. The 2018 Earset are such lovely earphones, but they just let so much noise in.

They’re harder to love because B&O already has a great pair of wireless in-ears for the same price. At $449, the B&O E8 are one of our favourite pairs, and at the same price, the Earset is a little harder to justify.

But they’re not bad, just a little misunderstood, which is kind of where you’ll be when you’re trying to listen with them in a crowded place. We feel like they’re made for people who want to listen to the world and their music, but if it were us, we’d go with B&O’s other pair. It just makes more sense.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears every Friday at PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be back next week for more tech in five.

Until then, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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