As we start to shift towards self-isolation, it’s time to consider how broadband can work for the entire family at once. Plus Apple’s latest iPad and whether you should spend money on new gear or just wait for features. All in five minutes.
Near the end of March 2020, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with the coronavirus kicking in and closing borders, it’s pretty clear the world is changing. It’s changing so much that shops and stores and restaurants and more are closing shop, and it’s having an effect on everything.
Staying at home is the new black, because it’s all about self-isolating. For many of us, that means becoming even more reliant on the internet and the NBN, Australia’s National Broadband Network. It’s going to get a little interesting over the next few weeks as we settle in for this ride, as we attempt to ride out and flatten the curve of coronavirus infection, and as we push our internet connections to breaking point.
Depending on how big your family is, that may come from everyone accessing the internet at once, and all of the time. If it does become a problem, you might want to take control of your router and set up what’s called the “Quality of Service”, sending most of the bandwidth to devices you favour, like an Apple TV or a few computers. Most routers will support the technology, and while there are other options for controlling the internet at home, this one might give you some sense of automatic control. Otherwise, there’s telling your kids to get off the internet, but that might not be an option.
If we’re all self isolating to escape the coronavirus, you may be working from home while they’re attending school over the internet, so it might require some creative control and balancing over who gets what speeds, or if it means an upgrade to a faster internet connection is within reach.
You might even consider using your 4G mobile connection for data, and that may not be a bad choice if you’re with Optus or Telstra. This week, those two telcos announced its customers would be getting extra download bandwidth for the next month. If you’re an eligible Optus customer, you’ll receive 20GB, though Optus hasn’t told us what “eligible” means yet. Meanwhile, if you’re a Telstra postpaid customer, it’s 25GB extra. Both will have extra downloads for prepaid customers, with an extra 10GB offered if you’re regularly spending $40 a month.
So 4G is an option if you do need that connection, and it’s possible we’ll see more data added over time, because no one knows quite how long this will go for. It could be a month, two, or six.
Stores are beginning to feel it, though. Apple has closed its stores outside of China, which while a good practice for health, is a bit of a shame for people wanting to play with new gear, because there’s some of that coming up very shortly.
This week, Apple didn’t run an event for pretty obvious reasons, but it did have a few new products to talk about.
For one there’s the Mac Mini, which saw an update, alongside an revitalised MacBook Air. We say revitalised because Apple is fixing one of the most requested changes on the MacBook Air by changing the keyboard.
If you’ve ever complained about the softer butterfly mechanism keyboard on the current Macs, you might have been excited about the return to scissor switches in the Macbook Pro 16. Well the good news is the new MacBook Air is getting them as well, and that means a proper old school keyboard is back on one of the most bought Macs.
There’s also an increase in performance, memory, and storage, while the price drops a little, starting at just under $1600 in Australia for 256GB, compared with the two grand that would have cost last week.
Apple also has a new iPad Pro on the way, with both the 11 and 12.9 inch iPad Pro getting an updated processor, two cameras, and something you might not know about called “LIDAR”, and the easy way to explain this is it’s a technology that measures the room using light. Apple will use this technology for its augmented reality, making for a better and more AR-friendly tablet, and one that now supports a mouse. There’s even a new keyboard on the way with a trackpad built in.
But the new iPad Pro won’t come cheap, starting at a little over thirteen hundred for the iPad, and 469 for the Magic Keyboard case with that trackpad.
In a time when we’re all probably trying to save a little bit of money, that sort of cost for an iPad might not be something within reach of everyone. No one is quite sure what will happen, and so you might want to be cautious with money, particularly if a recession is on the cards.
That doesn’t just affect Apple’s items, but some of the other gadgets announced for release this week, whether it’s the $220 Powerbeats wireless earphones or the $2200 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip foldable phone. There’s a lot still coming on the horizon, and a lot of uncertainty, which may mean it’s best to sit tight and be a little cautious with money.
Maybe just wait and see what sort of features what you already own will get from updates. You may not need the new iPad, because if you have one already, come next week you’ll get support for the mouse and trackpad, even if you don’t have the new Magic Keyboard. Features come to older devices all the time, so while it might be nice to buy something new or upgrade what you have, being patient might just give you a treat as well. All good things to those who wait.
Except when you reach the end, like we have for this show.
So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode goes online every Friday at Podcast One, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.