The Wrap - Australia's fastest technology roundup

The Wrap – What’s new from Apple, Google, Samsung and Sony

This week on The Wrap, we’ll cover Australia’s first mmWave phone, Sony’s big new camera, and everything Apple including new Macs, new AirPods, and reviews of both the latest iMac and Apple Watch Series 7. All that and more in five.


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Transcript

It’s nearly the end of October 2021 and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and this week was a big week with news from so many places. There was just a lot of technology this week, handy if you’re into phones, computers, earphones, cameras, and more, so let’s get stuck in starting with Samsung which *crickets* wasn’t quite as eventful as we’d hoped.

Easily the least exciting event of the week, Samsung’s last Unpacked of the year was for a colour customised Galaxy Z Flip 3, the bespoke edition. It costs a little more, adds a splash of colour, and yet doesn’t add any extra battery life, which is the one thing it desperately needs.

And that was largely it.

Fortunately, there were better and more exciting events this week, starting with Google, which has two new phones coming to Australia very shortly, arriving in the 6.4 inch and 6.7 inch Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Big and bigger phones, these are Google’s latest vehicles to show off Android 12 as it arrives, getting flashy screens, 50 megapixel cameras, and a chip made by Google to let you transcribe the spoken word and translate another language all on the fly without being connected to the web. It’s a big deal, the Tensor chip, and it arrives alongside another big deal: millimetre wave 5G.

That’s something the Pixel 6 Pro gets, not the regular Pixel 6, but it’s a first for Australia in general.

Yes, Australia’s first millimetre wave 5G phone is the Pixel 6 Pro, achieving speeds over three gigabits if you can get it, which right now is quite rare. There are a handful of places in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane on Optus and Telstra that work with millimetre wave, but it won’t be more readily available to all until next year.

However folks with the Pixel 6 Pro in those places will get to experience 5G before everyone else, provided they can get one. Early news of the new Pixel phones is that Google sold out of its $1300 pro-model Pixel 6 pretty early, at least initially.

Sony also has a 33 megapixel camera on the way in the A7 four, another of its full-frame mirrorless cameras that doesn’t quite hit that 8K video mark, just shy of it, actually. It’ll handle 7K video, but since that’s not a thing, it’ll take 7K video and oversample it to 4K, making it a high quality 4K.

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Elsewhere, Oppo has a new super low-end phone in the $250 A16s, Alienware turned 25 and offered up a properly special edition computer for gamers, and then there was the assortment of computers and earphones from Apple.

Yes, the big news this week was what came from what is likely to be Apple’s last event of the year, because we’re heading into shopping season.

And with that season well and truly under way, Apple saw fit to launch new chips for content creators and folks who want the best. Those chips are new versions of the mind blowing M1 we saw last year, the chip in the MacBook Air, and now in the MacBook Pro 14 and 16, which come with big 14 and 16 inch screen options as the name suggests, less of a bezel thanks to an iPhone-like notch, and snazzy new chips.

You’ll have the choice between a high-speed M1 Pro or even faster M1 Max, and they will come with quite a lot of grunt, with more to work with from the graphics, as well. The new MacBooks aren’t limited on a screen size level, and if you want a 14 inch as fast as the 16 inch, you can get it, though the 16 inch does get better battery life, with as much as 21 hours on offer.

Apple also announced a new version of its AirPods, with a newly designed third-generation model that gets refinements to how you wear them, plus support for dynamic spatial audio, meaning if you listen to Apple Music’s Dolby Atmos selections, they’ll sound different as you move your head.

They were the big announcements from Apple this week, the sort of things journalists stayed up late to report on, but we also took the time to check out two other Apple gadgets, reviewing them both right now: the new Apple Watch and the recent iMac.

We’ll tackle the iMac first, and this is a really nice desktop computer, even in a world that has largely moved on from these. There’s a big 24 inch 4.5K screen, a great Atmos capable sound system, and a look that makes it stand out with several colours to choose from.

It’s an iMac that screams personality and backs it up with the performance, engineered in much the same way as that great MacBook Air. It even comes with a new keyboard with a fingerprint sensor, making it a totally new device and worth checking out.

Also worth checking out is the Apple Watch Series 7, but for a different reason. Apple hasn’t changed much here, with the only major change being a slightly bigger screen.

While the battery still isn’t great, the whole thing feels like it comes together and doesn’t try to be anything else. The Apple Watch Series 7 feels more iconic, and while it’s expensive, it’s now more itself than any other smartwatch we’ve seen.

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.

Leigh :) Stark

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, GadgetGuy, Popular Science, APC, PC & Tech Authority, as well as for radio and TV since 2007.

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