The Wrap – March 31, 2018

Twilight is so pretty.

Huawei’s camera efforts gets serious, Apple’s educational ideas are firmed, Google comes to more TVs, and 5G hits Australia early. It’s The Wrap.

Transcript

For the last week of March, you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and while it might be the last week of the month and heading into a nice long weekend, technology companies aren’t letting up at all.

Take everyone’s favourite Apple, because while we’d hoped to see a smaller iPad made for schools, what we got instead was a budget iPad made for drawing, scribbling, painting, and Penciling.

This week, Apple’s entry-level iPad — the 9.7 inch Apple merely calls the “iPad” — found a feature change, as Apple added support for its Pencil accessory. That means you no longer have to spend close to a grand if you want to use your iPad to scribble with, as the iPad Pro is no longer the device you have to have to make the Apple Pencil work.

Instead, Apple’s $469 iPad 9.7 will work, though you’ll need to spend a third of that price to get the Pencil, because that still ticks around at $145.

Apple has also increased the processing power for the iPad, while also lowering the price for the educational sector, but not by much, around $20 to $30. We’re not sure if this will really change anything locally, but we’ll wait to see what schools and parents think about this in the months to come.

And in the months to come, you have faster internet speeds to look forward to, with 5G on the way. In fact, it’s here a little faster than we expected.

This week, Telstra used the Gold Coast in Queensland to roll out a test of 5G, and if you happen to be near where it’s happening, you could be a very happy downloader.

That’s because Telstra has connected up two locations, with WiFi hotspots in Southport and on a car driving through the Gold Coast, and if you’re in reach, you can download 10 gigabytes of data per day per device through that connection. As far as we know, you don’t even have to be a Telstra customer, you just have to connect to Telstra’s 5G test, which will give the connection a good throttling, because with a 3 gigabit connection, Telstra is making a good 375 megabytes per second available to Queensland to share. It’s the first place Australia has to test the 5G connections that will be arriving properly next year, and we’ll let you know when the rest of Australia will be getting them.

When that happens, 5G will make short work of internet video, and by then, more TVs will likely be connected to the web.

Even if you don’t have a smart TV, Vodafone chimed in this week with a way of making your old TV a little smarter, and your new TV, well, smarter again.

If you’re not happy with the smart TV on your TV, or you don’t have one, Vodafone TV could be the way to go, with a small Android TV powered box delivering not just Android, but Google Assistant, meaning apps and support for the on-screen assistant you can talk to on phones, on tablets, on Google Home speakers, and now your TV.

Vodafone TV is a small device, and even supports both 4K resolution and a tuner, meaning you won’t lose out on classic antenna TV if you don’t want to, and it won’t be expensive either, with a price of $120 outright in Vodafone stores shortly.

You may want that technology in the TV, though, and if that’s you, Kogan has a couple of Android TVs on the way, as well. Kogan’s calling them “smarter TVs”, a name we’re not sure about since Android TV isn’t new to all TVs. You can find it in Sony’s TVs from last year, and those were very, very good, but Kogan is hoping to draw people over to budget 4K screens with Android in a couple of months.

And that timing gels well for quite a few things, including a couple of new phones which could be on their way to Australia very soon.

This week, Huawei launched its latest phones built around the camera, a concept that is beginning to really make a dent on the compact, and even the mirrorless as well. How often do you take your actual camera out of the cupboard these days? You’ve got your smartphone to thank, and this week’s announcement is sure to make it worse.

Huawei’s latest additions were unveiled in Paris, France, and we were there for the event, taking a look at the P20, P20 Pro, and Huawei and Porsche’s MateRS.

While there were three phones talked about, the real attention was on the middle star, Huawei’s flagship P20 Pro, a phone sporting three cameras, and one of the most advanced sets in the world, with a 40 megapixel colour, 20 megapixel black and white, and 8 megapixel telephoto camera, and along with some smarts, it makes for some impressive technology.

While it’s quite clearly a 6.1 inch phone, that massive camera on the back sports a bracketing mode for night photography, stacking images on top of each other for a proper night image you can be proud of, and not one shrouded in darkness or blur.

Our initial preview can be seen with full-res images at the Pickr.com.au site, as well as our write-up, which also includes the other two phones, but for now, that’s all the time we have.

You can find more of us online through Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts, TuneIn, and more, and we’ll be back next week for more in the world of tech.

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

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