The Wrap – November 2, 2018

Apple announced a new iPad Pro or two, but it wasn’t the only thing we saw. What else did Apple talk up, and what’s the story on 5G? All that, plus the best noise cancelling headphones reviewed and more. It’s The Wrap.

Transcript

For the beginning of November 2018, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as the year winds down, you’re probably aware that the holiday season is creeping on up. That means gifts for friends, family, and more, and maybe even for you. Because treating yourself is something you should do every once in a while, just make sure you know what’s new, if you want the best of the best.

Like if you were eying an iPad this year, you’ll shortly have the option of a new one, as this week Apple unleashed its most powerful iPads yet.

Part of the iPad Pro series, they notch a new model or two for the range and ditch the fingerprint sensor home button like the new phones, but they don’t share the same notch in the screen as their iPhone cousins.

From next week onwards, the iPad Pro will come in an 11 inch model and complement the 12.9 inch, both of which now feature smaller bezels and more power. A similar chip as to what’s in the excellent iPhone XS Max is here, and Apple has also gotten rid of the Lightning port at the bottom, replacing it with Type C USB, the same port that charges pretty much every major Android phone.

It’s a big deal, and it signals an eventual shift that Apple will likely make, jumping from the proprietary Lightning port on the iPhone to something more readily found like Type C USB.

Apple’s new iPad Pro also gets a better screen with better colour, a thinner body, and support for a new Apple Pencil that is held magnetically on the side.

Overall, it looks like a lovely little tablet that can also do the job of a laptop, but it’s one that won’t be cheap, starting at $1229 in Australia for the 11 inch model, while $1529 starts the 12.9 inch iPad Pro.

And Apple’s tablets weren’t the only thing we heard about this week. Apple talked up two more Macs, as the MacBook Air and Mac Mini both finally, finally got updates.

The Mac Mini probably needed it more, not being updated since 2014, but now we have new chips, more memory, faster storage, and that whole Thunderbolt 3 Type C USB thing Apple is talking about on the iPad Pro.

The MacBook Air is also in the spotlight, and once again, it’s an Apple laptop that desperately needed a refresh. It’s still called the MacBook Air, and comes with Intel’s latest chips, one of Apple’s recent butterfly mechanism keyboards, a built-in fingerprint sensor, and a new screen, something the Air desperately needed.

About the only confusing thing might be the price, which starts from $1849 in Australia, though that might just be because Apple hasn’t retired the slim MacBook, which is clearly outgunned and outmatched in the new Air, but for some reason is sticking around.

We’ll let you know more about these as soon as we get our hands on them, but it’s not all we were talking about this week.

There was also news from Oppo, which chimed in with a 5G test this week, or to put it simply, stupidly fast mobile speeds are coming.

For those who don’t know, 4G isn’t at an end, but there is a faster technology coming in 5G, and Australia already has it on the Gold Coast and in Toowoomba.

And this week, we’re one step closer to experiencing 5G, as Oppo has tested a 5G phone. Now that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily see a 5G phone before the end of the year, but it does suggest one is on the way in the very near future, and it’s an area we know Samsung, Huawei, and Oppo are all trying to get in with first.

This week also saw yet another 4G Nokia phone in the 5.1 Plus — I think we’re up to ten Nokia phones this year — as well as an update to the Tile tracker to give it a replaceable battery, and a version of Audible’s audio book service made for dogs. We’re not kidding.

But our favourite thing may go to a pair of headphones we really liked, with the latest noise cancelling cans from Sony.

They’re the third in the XM series, and come with the unappetising name of WH-1000XM3, but model name aside, the headphones are absolutely excellent. They’re large headphones that sit around the ear comfortably, and use a combination of a noise cancellation chip and Sony’s DSEE HX audio enhancement engine to help make sound really pop.

The new headphones are wireless, but you can bring the cable if you so choose, and there are touch controls on the right ear pad.

But the real reason to come is for the sound, which is excellent, well balanced, and offers different soundscapes using Sony’s app for iPhone and Android. It all ads up to a really great set of headphones that was already good, but is even more improved.

Sufficed to say, Sony’s WH-1000XM3 is our new benchmark for wireless and noise cancelling. They’re not just Bose beaters, they’re doing well with everything. Great for all types of music, even podcasts like this one, which is now over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap appears every Friday at Podcast One and Apple Podcasts, and will be back next week for more tech five.

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

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