This week on The Wrap, dive head first into the rumours suggesting what Apple has on the way, plus how wearables are evolving to track more of your health, the future of working from home, and the latest take in mid-range phones. All that and more in five.
It’s the final week of August 2021, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and while we’re still trapped in this lockdown box, watching vaccination rates rise and hoping we’ll all be over this soon — hold on people, do the right thing and we’ll get through it all — the week has otherwise been a little quiet.
Why, it’s almost like something is in the pipeline, with September set to reveal a phone or four and a wearable of sorts.
If you can’t read between the lines, we’re talking about the iPhone 13 and the Apple Watch Series 7, what’s expected to be the next models in the list likely getting announced sometime in September.
That is literally just around the corner, and the rumour mill is ramping up for both. You can expect the same firm edge look now found across the iPhone and iPad models, a share design trait, with the look largely the same. Rather, the new iPhone is expected to include hardware updates designed to impress, with a new chip, a faster and slicker screen, and updates to the camera, hopefully bringing the sensor shift technology from the 12 Pro Max to more of Apple’s phones. There’s even a possibility of a bigger screen and a smaller notch, plus a larger battery, something we’re a little excited about. One rumour even cites the idea of a new Face ID system that could unlock a phone while wearing a mask, handy because that’s the world we’re living in.
We’re largely expecting four models like last year — iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Mini, and 13 Pro Max — and we may hear about a new watch at the same time.
There’s been one of those yearly, and this year, we’re expecting the Series 7 to take on a look more like the iPhone and iPad, with those flat edges we keep talking about. That may increase the screen sizes, possibly going from 40 and 44mills to 41 and 45mm, with a new chip and possibly some new health monitoring.
There’s a rumour suggesting blood glucose monitoring could happen through the skin, and if true, it wouldn’t be the only wearable this year studying the skin more carefully.
Google’s Fitbit — yep, Google owns Fitbit — announced a new version of its Charge smart band this week, bringing a colour AMOLED screen to wrists alongside a bunch of technology built to track fitness and much of your health.
While a heart rate sensor and GPS were part of the design previously, new in the Charge 5 is an electrocardiograph — an ECG — with it able to track your heart rate variance, which is the time in between heart beats. There’s also a skin sensor on-board, able to pay attention to your sweat, because that’ll be important for working out stress levels, and possibly some other things, too.
The Charge 5 will be heading to stores in late September for around $270 in Australia, and it’s just one example of wearables getting smarter.
Another popped up this week from Whoop, a brand you’ve probably never heard of that has been out, but mightn’t be easy to find. It’s a sort of advanced tracker for folks already doing a lot of moving about, and an expensive one at that. Priced closer to $400 Australian per year, it’s a fitness tracker on a subscription model that analyses your health and spits out data-based insights, so much that it might even tell you if you have COVID.
To do that, the tracker takes a good month’s worth of analysis and works out if your breathing has changed without you realising it, warning you if something might be wrong.
Whoop may not be alone in doing this, mind you. With more wearables tracking more data, it mightn’t be too long before every wearable can know if you’re symptomatic before you do.
Elsewhere in the world of tech and games, Xbox announced that cloud gaming would soon be coming to the Xbox One and the Series S and X, making it possible for you to play games without needing to install them. It’ll support around a hundred games initially, maybe a few more, and may even make it possible for next-gen games like Flight Simulator to run on the slightly older Xbox One.
Facebook has a virtual office experience coming in the form of Horizon Workrooms, a sort of remote place where people can meet up in VR — because working from home is clearly still very much a thing — while another company Absurd Joy came up with a desktop style remote working environment called Tangle, which is sort of like a multi-room zoom call of sorts.
Unsurprisingly, there’s lots of stuff happening in the remote working world because so many of us are remotely working, but there’s also a lot happening in phones.
Even though Apple is expected to show off new iPhones shortly, with Google’s Pixel 6 to follow, Motorola shook things up this week with new Edge 20 phones, mid-range phones priced from $500 to $900 with big screens, 5G, and a staggering 108 megapixel camera. Each one of them.
While we’re not sure of the quality just yet, big cameras could just be enough to win people over, especially for the price, which sees those massive megapixels find their way across all three models.
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.