This week on The Wrap, get stuck into a trio of new truly wireless earphones, a couple of new phones, and a big change to the Apple Wallet. All that and more in five.
It’s the end of July 2021 and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, still seemingly stuck in lockdown but reporting on the latest in tech, and this week, there is surprisingly a lot of that.
While you may well be stuck at home like this guy, it doesn’t mean you can’t go places virtually. Kinda sorta, because this week Microsoft released Flight Simulator on the Xbox Series S and X on its Game Pass service, which could make for a virtual fight to locations around the world provided you had one of those.
Sadly, it’s not out for the standard Xbox One, but owners of the new models plus Windows PC will see it on Game Pass, allowing them to get a virtual flight on of sorts.
Even if you can’t get that for a while, there’s plenty of happenings happening in the world of tech, starting with your phone.
Or maybe even a future phone. There’s an expectation Samsung will launch two in two weeks, with foldables likely the centre of attention. It’s been almost a year since both the Galaxy Fold 2 and Galaxy Flip 1 I guess you could call it came out, and so follow-ups are on the way, with at least one set to include the Galaxy Note S-Pen.
There’s no word yet on what else we can expect, not officially anyway, but with the announcement on August 12 in Australia, we’ll have something soon.
Before then, Nokia has a new phone built to survive the rigours of everyday life in the Nokia XR20. It’s basically a mid-range Android phone built to survive drops of nearly two metres and big splashes of water, with two cameras and 5G, because those things matter. It does come with a pretty staggering price tag for a mid-range phone, hitting just under $900, which is basically a $400 premium on the spec sheet.
ZTE also has a phone on the way that we may or may not get that has a selfie camera you can’t see. It’s under the display of the Axon 30, making it an all-screen phone of sorts.
No word on if or when Australia will get this, but it’s a sign of things that could come. Hey, we might even see both touch and Face ID in an upcoming iPhone.
For the moment, the iPhone does something new in Australia, with the Apple Wallet the first digital wallet in the world to support health insurance cards.
It’s one more way to cut your physical wallet out of your lives. It can already hold your bank card and a credit card if you have one, and you may be able to use your phone as a digital driver’s license. But now Apple Wallet will talk to the health insurance cards from Bupa, GU Health, Medibank, and NIB, with HBF set to launch in August.
No word yet on Medicare, as government cards aren’t really supported as part of the Apple Wallet yet. Maybe in time.
Those health cards will work between the iPhone and Apple Watch, but there’s no word yet on when they’ll arrive on the Android equivalent. Give that time, too.
Most of the week has felt focused on the gadgets for your ears, because with no less than three earphone launches, well, let’s just say someone’s been keeping an ear out for audio gadgets.
First there’s what came from Nothing, which was, well, something. You’ve probably not heard of Nothing, but it’s a new brand from the founder of phone brand OnePlus.
This week, the Ear 1 launched, and it’s a pair of truly wireless earphones — because they all are — that manages to come without the typical assortment of bulky plastic designs. Rather, Nothing uses a see-through plastic to let you see the hardware underneath, with noise cancellation technology inside.
Essentially, they’re transparent truly wireless noise cancellation earphones, which itself is a bit of a theme.
You see the other two announcements are much the same: truly wireless noise cancelling earphones.
Next up is what Bang & Olufsen announced in the Beoplay EQ, B&O’s first truly wireless noise cancelling earphones made for a premium crowd.
There are several microphones and offer a little over six hours of battery life with noise cancelling on, with an aluminium charging case. Of particular interest is the adaptive noise cancellation, which B&O says adapts the cancellation based on what it hears, something we don’t often see.
No word on price for either these or Nothing’s earphones in Australia, but at least on the next one, we have that.
Australian brand Nura also launched a truly wireless pair of earphones that can measure how you hear and make a profile of personalised sound based on that.
They’re coming in the NuraTrue, a pair that shrinks down the large Nuraphones to a truly wireless noise cancelling pair of earphones that maps how you hear.
Very different from the crowd, these work best when you run through the test, which uses otoacoustic emissions to understand the sounds heard from your inner ear, basically giving you a sound made just for you.
It’s not Nura’s first try here – this is actually the third — but this concept will set you back just shy of $300 in Australia, and we should have a review of it next week.
For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. A new episode can be found every week at Listnr, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts. Otherwise, have a great week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.