Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

The Wrap – A SciFi Now

It’s 2020 and there’s no flying cars, so where are they? And is 8K more than just a high-res dream, plus how is TV changing to become more social? All that and more in five minutes.

Subscribe to The Wrap at Apple Podcasts…


For the week ending July 10, 2020, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while it can feel a lot like the year hasn’t quite gone according to plan — thank you Coronavirus — some things are beginning to firm up.

It’s 2020 and we still don’t have flying cars, so the science fiction element hasn’t quite come to life yet, but a part of rural New South Wales will at least be used to Electric Vertical TakeOff and Landing vehicles, suggesting flying cars are at least on the way. Gradually. Bit by bit.

While we wait for our science fiction future, we can settle on a slightly more accessible present, which includes things this week that might feel a little sci-fi all the same.

Take two things announced by Samsung this week, with one delivering an almost dry cleaning system for your home, while the other is a very special kind of TV.

The dry cleaning one is first, and it’s called the AirDresser, which is a standalone box for your bedroom, office, or anywhere else you typically rest your clothes, and uses steam to refresh your clothes and get rid of odours, bacteria, and viruses.

Think of it as a steam-based washing machine in a box for clothes you don’t want to risk running through a tumble cycle, because that’s largely what it is. There’s no chemical or solvent, so it won’t clean the way a dry cleaner will. But Samsung’s AirDresser does read as a way to refresh and revive clothes which may smell a bit too much like a night you’re trying to move on from.

Samsung’s other bit of sci-fi this week comes from its TV department, which has released its unusual Sero TV in Australia. You may recall these from earlier in the year when Samsung first announced the idea at CES: the Sero is basically a TV that can rotate, providing a widescreen image for regular TV viewing, but can rotate to become a tall widescreen device when it’s used with a phone.

This is a bit of a weird one, truth be told, and is more of a social TV. We’re not sure if TV is a social experience in general, but Samsung’s Sero aims to make it happen, provided you have a cool $2300 lying around, which is how much it will cost locally.

Feeling SciFi might come from how you connect with the world, because that’s changing, too. Google recently added augmented reality to its searches, so now some of the things you search can almost appear like they do in the real world, except through your phone. All through the magic of augmented reality. You can bring dinosaurs to life with a recent development, showing just how small you’d be against a T-Rex or Triceratops using a phone or tablet and augmented reality.

Snapchat and Gucci teamed up for some of that this week, with the collaboration allowing you to try on Gucci shoes digitally through the Snapchat app. You’ll still need to wear socks and you can’t walk around in these virtual shoes, but it might just save you a trip to the store, and we’ll be curious to see if any other brands do something similar soon.

And there’s things happening in the world of 8K, too, a video resolution which largely feels like the stuff of early adopters, but is gradually becoming real and legit.

While last year might have kicked the world of 8K off with a slow and very cost-prohibitive start, 2020 is seeing more TVs and more choice. We’re going to see more monitor support on computers, too, thanks to the availability of Thunderbolt 4, which will look like Thunderbolt 3 and that Type C USB connection we’ve all gotten familiar with, meaning the changes are under the hood. That’s better for you, because it means the ports you use won’t change, just improvements to the technology.

8K still has a problem with content, because good luck finding any. Right now, if you buy an 8K TV in Australia, you’ll basically just be upscaling any content you find, because there is no 8K content anywhere.

But you can always make your own. There are 8K cameras in quite a few of this year’s phones, and there’s now a proper 8K camera on the way from Canon, the EOS R5.

It’s another one of Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera, part of the company’s “R” series, but this one sports a crazy 45 megapixel sensor and support for that 8K video capability. Aspiring Steven Spielbergs and Ridley Scotts will see the draw in that, but photographers may be inclined to check it out simply because you can cut out a 35 megapixel image out of an 8K video. That’s some real versatility there.

The R5 will also get a very impressive image stabilisation system working in both the body and lens, and that gets shared to Canon’s other new camera, the R6, a body sporting 4K video and a 20 megapixel sensor, but just a little more in the low-light department.

Both cameras are geared at enthusiasts and pros, and they come with price points to match, with the R6 netting around five grand, while the 8K capable R5 will steer the argument closer to the seven grand mark.

Those are not cheap cameras to be sure, but if you need this level of quality and definition, we can definitely see why you’d glance this way.

For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. We’ll be back next week for more technology in five, but until then, have a great week. Stay safe, and take care.

Read next