Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
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The Wrap – Telecommuting & Vodafone’s 5G

Coronavirus is making an impact on the world, and that includes how you might have to telecommute for work. Plus what’s happening in the world of 5G and which computer just stole our heart. All that and more in five minutes.

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For the beginning of March 2020, you’re turned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and with the third month of the year kicking in, we’re beginning to get an idea as to what the year will be like. And it won’t have a lot of international product launches, it seems.

That’s for a good reason, though: the coronavirus is making an impact on the world, changing the way people travel, or don’t, as the case seems to be. People are staying home for some pretty obvious reasons, and events are being cancelled left right and centre.

We were lucky to attend CES earlier in the year, but since then, it’s been pretty bleak. Mobile World Congress in Spain was cancelled, followed by the Geneva Motor Show, GDC the Game Developers Conference, Facebook’s F8, and the High End 2020 Show for HiFi.

And this week, we’re seeing more cancellations, as Google cancels its I/O conference for the year, while Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple have all pulled out of South by Southwest — SXSW — in Texas. That was due to begin at the end of next week, but at this rate, it just might not happen.

In fact, unless the coronavirus is contained and handled, we expect most tech shows will likely by postponed until it is. That likely means the big mid-year events, including Computex in Taiwan, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference WWDC, and possibly E3 where you can expect to hear all about the next Xbox and PlayStation models on the way.

It seems like we’re destined to attend these events virtually, as the world of telecommuting comes to more places, and your work might be one of them.

While your chances of getting coronavirus are likely quite small at the moment, it’s possible your work place is putting into action a plan to tackle what happens if workers come down with the COVID 19 coronavirus.

And if that happens, you might be working from home, joining in meetings using something like Google Hangouts, which alongside Cisco’s WebEx tool has made more of its video conferencing tools free in light of the virus. It also means big businesses and schools will be able to do more video-based teleconferencing without added cost, though you’ll want to be equipped at home.

And by equipped, we mean you need a computer, a relatively fast internet connection, a browser such as Chrome with all your stored passwords, and a place to work or study, if it happens.

We say “if” because despite people going into panic mode and buying up all the toilet paper, pasta, and Panadol, there is still a fairly low chance of contracting the coronavirus, and the world is still going on outside.

In fact, while factories have shut down and the production lines stalled slightly, technology is still coming out.

This week, we saw new headphones from Denon designed to isolate you from the sound of the world, as well as a neat new gadget from Osmo designed to teach kids coding by letting them play music in a bit of a jam.

But the big new tech release of the week wasn’t set around sound or coding, but rather mobile and internet speeds, as Vodafone launched 5G in Australia. The last of the three telcos to do so, Vodafone subscribers in Western Sydney with a 5G device will have access to 5G right now, with more places in Australia set to get 5G from the middle of the year onwards.

And in a nice change, Voda is saying it won’t cost extra to access those 5G speeds, which is something Telstra has said it will charge for later in the year.

There should be more 5G devices to take advantage of these speeds in the coming months, and while Samsung’s Galaxy S20 range adds to the list this week, we suspect Oppo’s Find X2 will be one of the models sporting 5G soon enough, as will potentially a 5G iPhone set for later in the year.

Outside of the possibility of 5G, there’s not a lot known about the next iPhone, so you’ll just have to stay tuned for that one.

However we have been playing with the latest MacBook Pro, and it’s a return to keyboard excellence for Apple, among other fantastic features. The 16 inch Macbook Pro is Apple’s latest big computer, and it sports a return to Apple’s scissor style keyboard, which is solid and provides great traction. At 16 inches, it’s also bigger than the 15 inch MacBook Pro, just a little, and it comes packing the power. Intel Core i7 or Core i9, 16 gigs of RAM, AMD graphics, and a decent amount of storage make this thing a beast, and basically a desktop made to go.

It does get a little toasty, and because it’s a metal laptop — like the other Macbook models — you will feel it. However it’s just a beast of a laptop, and about the best big laptop you can find today.

It’s also a neat indication as to what Apple will launch next, because you can expect that better keyboard to make its way to the next small Macbook Pro, which probably won’t be a 13 inch, but instead a slightly bigger 14 inch.

But that’ll be for another time, possibly in the next few months. Maybe at WWDC if it happens, or something else.

Whenever it is, you’ll hear it on The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, which is what you’ve just been listening to. A new episode of The Wrap 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.

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