This week on The Wrap, find out how low 5G prices can go, what’s going on with the Apple rumour mill, and what a smart display is and how it can help track your sleep. All that and more in five.
For the week ending March 19 2021, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up, and in a week that has seen rumours suggesting new Apple gadgets could be on the way, let’s start there, because there could be new Apple gadgets on the way.
We’re coming up to a year since the last iPad Pro came out, and that means the rumour mill is spinning, with talk about what the next iPad could be. The expectation is that we’ll hear something soon, likely within the next few weeks, and it mightn’t be the only thing Apple is be launching, with talks on new AirPods, an Apple TV, and maybe something else. With so many rumours in full flight, unless you desperately need an iPad Pro, Apple TV, or a pair of AirPods, you might want to wait, because if it’s not announced in the coming week, it sounds like it will be soon.
Also on the horizon, Scribd launched a new eBook service with magazines and sheet music in Australia for $14 per month, LG’s light “Gram” laptops launched locally, and Peleton announced that it was rolling into Australia this year.
And there was also some cheap 5G announced on the way, and it’s coming from Samsung, as the company tries to compete more aggressively with other brands.
Cheap 5G is a thing now, because while it has dominated the high-end over-thousand dollar phones for a couple of years now, last year it started trickling below the thousand mark, and this year, it’s hovering around $500.
A couple of weeks ago, we found the $500 Realme 7 5G a wallet-friendly take on 5G that could do with a better battery and camera, but meant that 5G didn’t have to be expensive. This week, Samsung appears to agree, launching the A32 5G, a $500 5G phone from Samsung. It’s another big 5G phone, with a 6.5 inch screen, a big 5000mAh battery, four cameras, and hopefully good value for 5G, given Samsung now has an entry in the cut-cost world of 5G.
It also has the high-end covered in the Galaxy S21, too, but there’s another mid-range mobile with a better screen and better cameras in the Galaxy A52 5G, competing with one of last year’s best phones all round, the Google Pixel 4a with 5G.
In fact, if you look at the mid-range, that’s where some of the best stuff is happening. There’s this really great balance of value and compromise, but in the best way, all happening there. Basically, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a 5G phone anymore, and can end up with something good for under a grand, and that’s great news.
It’s a similar thing in the world of speakers for your home. You don’t need to spend up big to get something great, as more is coming out.
The relatively inexpensive $279 Sonos Roam looks to be an example of that, offering both smart assistants, Google and Amazon, but there’s still yet more on the horizon, and much of it coming in a smart display.
Now if you don’t know what this is, think of a smart speaker that you can talk to, but it not only tells you the results on speaker, but can show you them. A smart display is kind of a more tactile approach to smart speakers, and it can even show video from services like Netflix and YouTube, show the news, or give you the text and steps of a recipe.
We’ve always seen smart displays as a better intro to smart speakers for people not comfortable talking to a speaker just randomly, without a real prompt. And this week, there are two more.
Amazon’s Echo Show 10 is heading to stores for around the $400 mark, providing a camera that you can talk to people through, but also a design that actually tracks your position and moves with you. It means that if you’re talking to someone, the Amazon Echo Show 10 will actually rotate in its position with you, kind of following you around.
$400 might seem like a lot for that, but it’s competing with the $300 10 inch Google Nest Hub Max, which stays put.
There’s a smaller model coming from Google, though, and this one will do something a little different. At $149, the new Google Nest Hub is basically version 2.0 of a product that launched in 2018, and was the first smart display with a 7 inch touchscreen, a microphone, no camera, and speakers
Three years on, Google’s approach keeps the same design, but improves the speakers and adds a type of radar, allowing you to touch the screen if you want, but also not touch it and make gestures to control it.
And that radar tech has another purpose, too: it can track your sleep.
If you’re someone who wants to use a smart display as an alarm clock of sorts next to your bed, Google’s new Nest Hub will actually use that radar tech to track how you move when you sleep. It’ll use this data to try and find ways to improve your sleep overall, but is different from the ballistocardiography of the Withings Sleep Analyser, and of the ECG of smart watches, so it’s just yet another way to help you improve your sleep, but in a smart display.
And on World Sleep Day, which is today, March 19, that’s important, because nap times are good too.
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, but for now, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care. Happy napping!