Surface Surprise, New MacBooks, Vine is Dead – This Week in Tech


It has been a really busy week in the tech space. A lot of big news and one of them was especially shocking to many.

Microsoft Event – Surface Surprise

Surface Studio, Surface Dial, Surface Book and Windows 10 Updates

Microsoft was in rare form this week, blowing some minds (and expectations) with the reveal of their new Surface Pro Studio, their new all-in-one PC. The Surface Studio (or as I like to annoying call it—“The SStu”), comes with a skinty 28” PixelSense display. When it comes to storage it offers up to a 2TB hybrid hard drive (a mix of SSD and HDD), in memory up to 32GB RAM, in graphics up to 4GB GDDR5, four USB 3.0 slots, and either an i5 or i7 Intel Core Processor; depending upon what configuration you choose. And it’s got a headphone jack which is now quickly being a Petty Patty selling point for all tech companies not named Apple. The Surface Studio starts at $2,999. So not cheap.

Microsoft Surface 2016

Microsoft is touting the device as a creative one-stop shop of the future. It resembles an iMac on hinges, as the screen can be positioned upright like an easel, or lower to offer a flatter, slightly angled working space. The Studio supports the Surface Pen to draw and write anything to your heart’s content, as well as new $99 accessory called the Surface Dial. The Dial looks like a dial you’d find on an average car radio to change the station—only its palm-sized and functions as a completely new method to navigate, customize, and access tools on your Surface device without interrupting the creative process.

There were also updates announced for the Surface Book, VR and Windows 10. The Surface Book will now reportedly last up to 12 hours on one charge and still offers the unique 2-1 design of both a laptop and a tablet, the screen being fully detachable from the keyboard. The Windows 10 updates were numerous, mainly with the exciting Creators Update which will bring Paint 3D for the creation of 3D focused images and objects, 3D Printer integration, 4K game broadcasting (Xbox and all Windows 10 devices), custom tournament creation, and more—and it’s all available for free in Spring 2017.

Perhaps most stunningly was the arrival of the console-priced new VR headsets. With the VR headsets coming in $299 along with the new 3D software, Microsoft is making sure to target, well, everybody as architects of the VR revolution. With VR finally cracking the functional barrier, we’ll need tons of content and ideas to push the technology towards normalcy and Microsoft seems to be leading the charge.

Photo credit: Microsoft

Apple Event – Touchy Feely MacBooks & TV

Perhaps surprising no one since they leaked their own photos of the MacBook Pro refresh a few days before the event; Apple nevertheless marched forward to reveal their new MacBook Pro lineup. The new MBP follows the Daft Punkian mantra of thinner, lighter, better, faster, stronger; offering a 13” or 15” Retina display models in silver or space gray. It starts at 256 GB in SSD storage, and i5 or i7 processor depending on configuration, 8GB LPDDR3 memory, the Intel Iris Graphics 550 chip, three Thunderbolt (USB-C) Ports, and up to 10 hours battery life.

Apple’s “new thing” however wasn’t the upgraded specs, but the new component on the MBP keyboard dubbed the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar lives right above the number row, in the space usually reserved for the function keys (F1, F2, etc.). The Touch Bar is a retina display, multi-touch sensitive area that offers up different tools and functions depending on the application in use. The TouchBar can display options like emojis, control buttons, timeline navigation (i.e. when editing videos), and more as its fully programmable and customizable.

Apple New MacBook Pro 2016

As expected Touch ID has also been integrated into the MBP, so now you can use Apply Pay directly on the notebook. For those that are touch adverse, Apple is still building a model of the updated MacBook Pro without the TouchBar (putting the function keys right back where they found them), which will cost you $1499. The pricing for the TouchBar enabled models will be $1799 and $1999 respectively.

Tim Cook also chatted up the new updates coming to TV—namely the new app called “TV”.  The TV app provides a hub for all tv and movies that you are watching across apps and devices and allows for a seamless, continuous viewing experience. Content shown in the TV app comes from the apps you already use (or pay for) so that everything you watch is accessible in one place. For example, if you watch both Game of Thrones on the HBO Go app on your tablet and How To Get Away With Murder through your Apple TV device, the TV app will slurp up both of those shows and give you one place to view them. One TV app to rule them all I suppose.

You can find all the event details from my Storify here: Apple Event LIVETWEET

Apple New MacBook Pro 2016

Photo Credit: Apple

Vine Gone. My Ninja Dead.

To the dismay of almost the entire Internet at large, Vine (owned by Twitter) has pulled the plug on itself, announcing that in the coming months they will discontinue the mobile app. Due to incredibly sluggish user growth and top talent abandoning the platform (both inside the company and the content creators), the writing was on the wall for Vine.

Vine’s death knell rang almost 3 years ago once giants like Instagram added video to their platform and Snapchat gained steam in popularity. While the aspect of telling a story, delivering news, or delivering a gut busting punchline in six seconds is still considered a skillful art form, larger services such as IG effectively took over that space. In addition, Vine increased video length to 140 seconds which, in the long run, made no sense considering Twitter started having video directly integrated into its app a year ago.

Truth is, Twitter has been unable to secure a buyer and with slow revenue growth felt compelled to cut 9% of its workforce to reduce strain and reallocate resources. Unfortunately, that cut included Vine.

While the service will be shut down soon, you can still create Vines today. Vine also stressed that (for now) they will not delete any existing content and that they will keep the website online so that viewers can still watch and download endless Vines. In response the Internet, in peak nostalgia, dug up tons of classic, top 5 Vines to releve entries in the services most compelling and popular genre—comedy. Rest in Peace to a Good one.

This Week in Tech 10/28