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

The Wrap – So much sound from Apple, Google & more

Between fast mobiles and great sound, we’re looking at a lot this week, covering music streaming, new headphones, snazzy guitar amps, fast 5G phones, and a way to help you never lose your computer, all in five.

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For the middle of May 2020, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and as life begins to return and a sense of normality approaches, the world of tech is beginning to feel a little revived. It’s almost like it’s had a bit of a breather, stopping to stretch and having a cup of tea before taking to the road and putting the pedal down.

The good news is if you’re interested in computers, sound, or 5G, you have a few things to look forward to, starting with a collaboration from Tile and Intel, and it may mean never losing your laptop again.

And look, that’s never happened to us — we’ve not yet had the pleasure of having that happen, and we’d like to keep it that way — but if you’ve ever lost your laptop, Tile’s Bluetooth tracker chips might help.

You can get them as little tags that attach to keyrings, cards for your wallet, and stickers for other things, but Intel and Tile are now teaming up to bring Bluetooth tracking to the inside of your PC.

It’s something for later on, but the Tile Intel team up is coming in laptops later in the year, cutting back on a little bit of loss for when we’re all going outside again.

When we’re all back outside again, there’s a good chance we’ll be taking our sound with us to go. And this week, there are more options on the way, at least as far as portable audio goes,.

While there are some neat rumours suggesting new headphones from Apple, at the moment JBL is out offering something new in the Club One, offering 45 hours of wireless sound and a form of noise cancellation that apparently tracks the noise surrounding you up to 50,000 times per second to ensure the cancellation is strong.

Microsoft has a new pair of Surface Headphones on the way, too, boasting noise cancellation with as many as 13 levels to tweak, and Bang & Olufsen is releasing a new model of one of our favourite Bluetooth speakers, the A1, which in its new model gets support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistance.

Now we’ve not heard any of these yet for ourselves, but you can bet we’re keen to.

And we’re also keen to hear a new amp from Fender that uses your phone to change the tonality of the amplifier you’re using. This is one for musos, but if you are one, the Mustang GTX for guitarists and the Rumble Studio for bassists can let your phone tweak the sound of your gig.

That’s one way to help you make music, but it’s not the only one. Apple updated its seven year old Logic Pro 10 music and audio engineering software this week to support new features, one of them right out of GarageBand on the iPad. That’ll be LiveLoops, a way to arrange icons of sound and have them play in your own way, while Step Sequencer offers a similar approach to make drum lines and melodies, and a new sampler can help budding musicians make your own style of sound.

It’s an improvement to one of the industry’s better pieces of music making software, and it’s just one way you can get a leg up to becoming an artist on Spotify or Google Play Music.

Well, not Google Play Music anymore. Not as much, anyway, as Google starts to get people to make the transition to Google Play Music’s replacement, YouTube Music. Google flipped the switch on that this week, and while it said it has no plans to cut Google Play Music yet, this seems like the first step in that eventual reality.

Another eventual reality is drawing ever more closer, as 5G starts becoming more normal.

You can find 5G in more Australian cities, delivering more speed to people with the right devices.

Those devices can include wireless hotspots, of which D-Link had a few new models this week, though none had prices.

At least you can find more than a handful of 5G phones to let you latch onto a 5G network and get a good dose of speed, which is kind of the point. Last year we saw a few, and this year we’re seeing a few more.

Xiaomi announced two in the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro this week, two phones that use the 108 megapixel camera in Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, thanks to that 108 megapixel camera being a collaboration between Xiaomi and Samsung last year.

They’re both 5G — just like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra — and we’ve been checking out Samsung’s Ultra this week to see what it’s like.

The most expensive phone in Samsung’s S20 range, it’s a two grand phone with a big screen, fast chip, water resistance, wireless charging, 5G, and about all the fixins you could want. It includes a massive four cameras, including that 108 megapixel camera, which is decent enough, but slow, and doesn’t feel any better than what other competitors are doing. You do get a crazy 100 times zoom, but it’s a digital zoom, which means it’s pixelated and largely a gimmick you’ll get over.

At least the battery is capable, offering anywhere between the full 24 hours to a day and a half or so, but two grand is a lot of money for something that doesn’t quite hit it out of the ballpark. It’s good, but not 2K good, and give us hope for what else we’ll see this year.

Right now, 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. Until then, have a great week. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe and sane, and take care.

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