The Wrap – Lights, Cameras, Maction

What’s happening in the world of the Mac? We’ll talk about the iPad beta and review the new MacBook Pro, plus look into smart lights for the home and brand new cameras. All in five.

Transcript

For the last week of June 2019, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with winter arriving in Australia and summer hitting the US shortly, we’re reminded of movie season. Summers usually mean lights, camera, action in America, but the past week in technology has meant something else.

Take the arrival of more smart lights, as IKEA’s Tradfri range properly rocks up in Australia, providing more competition to what’s around.

Locally, you can find WiFi controlled lights from quite a few players, with the long established Philips Hue, the local players LiFX, plus TP Link, Nanoleaf, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Sengled, Wiz, and now IKEA.

That means wireless lighting is within reach of more people, and it’s the sort of thing you can control using your phone, your tablet, and if you have a smart speaker, your voice.

Local players Lifx added some smart panels and strip lighting this week in the Tile and Beam, and like many other smart lights, they’ll provide colourful lighting around the home.

But like other smart lights, you may want to look at a smart speaker if you buy from several brands. That’s because most of the lighting systems don’t really link up properly. They’re easier to control when a smart speaker is involved, less so when there’s several apps to control things individually.

We’re just not at that stage where everything works together, but it’ll come eventually.

Just like better cameras. We have much better cameras in our phones now than we did a few years back, and these days you need a pretty good reason for having a proper camera if you have a decent phone.

Like if you have a Leica. That’s a pretty good reason to use a camera not in your phone, because you’ve spent so much money getting it in the first place.

Though in July, Leica will have a model that won’t require as much money. Kinda. Sorta. Leica’s M-E digital rangefinder still won’t be what we’d call cheap, but given how a Leica normally costs upwards of $10K, the Leica M-E costing $6500 locally is a little closer to “normal”.

And it’s not even the most interesting camera this week. For that, we turn to Oppo, which has this week shown off an under-screen camera for phones.

That means in the near future, you can forget about the weird placement of selfie cameras in phones, because there’s one coming that will sit under the screen entirely. You won’t even see it.

Finally, there’s action. Or more specifically, there’s Mac-tion, because we’re talking Macs, or just Apple in general.

And if you like to see what’s coming next from Apple and don’t mind living dangerously, the public betas for the next Apple operating systems are out. That means macOS Catalina, iOS 13 for iPhone, iPadOS for the iPad, and tvOS for the Apple TV are ready to download now. Like right now.

They do come with bugs. Quite a few. While our iPad is feeling like it’s from the future, it’s a future where not everything worked the way it once did. That’s the thing about betas: they’re not final, and are still being tested.

We don’t suggest most people download these just yet, not unless you’re ok with knowing email, web browsing, saving photos, and battery life are going to be affected, because that’s what’s happening to us.

There’s also a very old MacBook Pro recall for the 15 inch models, so if you have an old 15 inch Apple laptop, you might want to check the website to see whether you’re affected.

Of course, there’s a new MacBook Pro out now, and we’ve been reviewing the 15 inch model of that. Unsurprisingly, it’s a massive laptop that can get very expensive quickly.

15 inch laptops aren’t as common these days, but if you need a portable Mac with a dedicated graphics chip, this is your only choice.

On the 15 inch MacBook Pro, you’ll find a starting price of $3499 for a six core Intel i7, and a recent one at that. If you have the money to spare, you can boost the performance even more.

But make no mistake, this is a laptop with grunt. It’s basically a workstation on wheels. There’s a nice and bright 15 inch display, fast innards, and a good ten hours of battery life or so.

You’ll find a new version of Apple’s ultra-thin butterfly keyboard, and while we’re having pretty good luck with it — it does feel better than previous versions — we need to spend more time with it. We’re not as enthused with the Touch Bar, which just feels kinda useless, but we love the massive mouse and the fingerprint login.

We actually love most of it, except for the price and the fact that it can get really warm quickly.

It’s packing a lot of power, so that’s expected, and it delivers a solid workstation experience. It is very pricey, and we really wish Apple would make a 13 inch Pro with a proper graphics chip like other brands. But if you need power, the MacBook Pro 15 is an excellent machine.

It’s big, though, so make sure you have the room. Not like this show, which is quite small, and 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 in five. Until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

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