Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Listening to music on a phone

The Wrap – Apple Music, Android 12 and an Aussie idea

This week on The Wrap, learn what’s coming from Apple Music, Spotify, and what changes to Android await. Plus an Australian invention, a crazy smart dog bowl, a budget 5G phone, and more. All in five.

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It’s near the end of May 2021, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week, we’ve seen big news from two of the major players in the phone world, but for different reasons. Apple and Android, making this largely the Apple and Android show.

Both are in the news for very different reasons, starting with Apple, which this week announced some pretty big news for subscribers of its Apple Music service, with two big features on the way.

One of these is Dolby Atmos music, which is basically music played in an almost 3D kind of way. For those not down with the jargon, Dolby Atmos is one of the technologies used to make sound appear all around you. It can be found in soundbars and speaker systems, and it’s going to be a part of Apple Music in the coming weeks, joining Tidal, which works there, delivering a more spacial approach to music, and kind of throwing you in the middle of the sound.

It’s a different way of listening, and can really bring a smile to your face, letting you hear things differently, but it’s not the only one.

Apple will also be bringing lossless audio for audiophiles and purists, basically meaning higher definition sound is on the way. And good news: it won’t be charging extra for either Atmos or lossless, making it different from the other services that do. Tidal charges a little over $20 for Atmos and lossless, and new rival Qobuz charges a little more for lossless without Atmos.

Meanwhile, Apple will be offering it for a $12 bucks locally, and that might make a dent on other streaming services.

We already know Spotify is planning its own HiFi service, but there’s no word on pricing just yet. Honestly at this rate, it would have to be free to even compete with what Apple is doing.

However Spotify is doing something different for the next month, launching a virtual concert service, with a month of livestreams. Like a real concert, they’ll cost you a ticket price, but you’ll be able to watch international bands from your own home, you know, until those international bands can get on touring again.

The other major news this week isn’t from Apple, but rather about Google’s Android, with Android 12 announced this week. There’s a new design on the way, and the approach seems like Google is about making phones more unique, and more personal overall.

To do that, it will have a way of tweaking the look and feel of Android based on your wallpaper, changing the colour of widgets, of menus, and adapting it into a style that is totally you. There’s a beta out now, and we’ve not seen that side of things in action, but that’s what’s coming, and it’s not alone.

Google also announced that it’s working on a new version of WearOS with Samsung, which also means Samsung is saying goodbye to its own smart watch system, Tizen. That’s a shame because it worked so well, but Samsung and Google promises something is coming in the near future.

Google is also making medical discoveries of sorts, announcing a project that uses artificial intelligence to find answers to what ails you on your skin. That’s coming in an AI dermatology app that can analyse your skin and suggest conditions to help give you an idea of what you might be seeing.

Locally, Australia has its own developments in science, technology, and health care. An Australian from the University of Sydney has come up with a way to print something that can restore sight, restoring senses to people with spinal cord injuries.

It’s still very much in development, but it could be coming soon to a pair of eyes near you.

Also coming soon is something for the furry humans in your life, with Purina inventing a bowl that can read how much your dogs eat and work out if it’s good for them. That’s coming in the “Chekr” dog bowl, while Kobo has a new eReader you can scribble notes in. It’s called the Elipsa, and it’s kind of like a Kindle, except you can take notes in digital books. We know some people who would dig that.

And finally we’re taking a look at another phone this week, and it’s another mid-range 5G phone. That’s a big deal lately, and rightfully so, because you shouldn’t need to spend up big to get high speed 5G.

We’ve seen phones from Oppo, Realme, and TCL so far, and now we’re adding Motorola to the picture, with the Moto G 5G Plus, another sub-$500 5G phone, save for one difference: it’s probably the best of the bunch so far.

There’s a 6.7 inch screen, four cameras on the back, two on the front, a fingerprint sensor, Near-Field tech for Google Pay, and, yes, support for 5G.

And it’s a phone that really delivers on value, but it does it better because the performance is that much better. The lag and speed issues we had in the other phones isn’t here, and outside of a mediocre camera, Motorola has delivered.

The Moto G 5G Plus has a complex name, but it is otherwise a simple and solid phone, and they don’t always come along at this price point.

And that’s all the time we have for this week, so 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, and take care.

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