This week, Apple got into the Halloween spirit in an unusual way by hosting the ‘Scary Fast’ event – and while the only really scary thing was the price tags, it also delivered some computing fun.
As you can see below, we got a trio of M3 chips, new MacBooks and a revamped iMac to trick us into bankruptcy before Christmas. But that wasn’t the only big tech news we saw this week: At the other end of the affordability scale, Netflix increased its cheapest ad-supported subscription tier with a nifty new download feature.
Even more surprising than the Apple event was the return of The Beatles for one final song, Occasionally, which was made possible thanks to AI-assisted ‘demixing’ software. AI smarts have also given a slightly less culturally important group, dashcams, a boost with the arrival of the Nextbase iQ.
So if you missed this week’s tech news, fear not: it’s all here in a five-minute overview, ready for you to download into your old-school gray matter…
7. The Nextbase IQ gave dashcams a brain boost
After years of development, the Nextbase iQ was finally launched this week, promising to be a new dawn of ‘smart’ dashcams. Thanks to a 4G connection (and with power coming from your vehicle’s OBD II socket), the always-connected iQ is a dual-camera device. It has a front camera in 1K, 2K or 4K versions and an ultra-wide camera in the cabin, plus the option for an additional rear camera.
The expensive hardware is impressive, but perhaps the attractive selling price for the iQ is its AI-powered smart features and subscription-based services with impressive features like ‘Guardian mode’ in the pipeline. Our Nextbase iQ review unpacks this impressive built-in camera in more detail, but simply put it does the job for you when tricky situations arise, and it looks like it’ll be part of our best dashcams guide.
6. Netflix’s cheapest tier got an unexpected boost
Netflix’s cheapest ad-supported tier (which costs $6.99/£4.99 per month) is a tempting proposition, but unfortunately it doesn’t let you download any movies or TV shows yet. This week, Netflix announced that its ad-based plan now allows downloads on supported devices, just like its more expensive ad-free plans.
Better yet, these downloads don’t contain any ads either. So if you spend most of your time watching Netflix while on the go, that ad-supported subscription might be right for you, if you don’t mind the lack of 4K or the ability to add extra people who do not live with you to the account.
Netflix is certainly happy to see more people signing up to that plan since it can make money from the ads. But it also means that streaming is becoming harder to distinguish from cable TV by the day.
5. The very last Beatles song appeared – thanks to AI
Earlier this year, we saw an AI-created song by Drake and The Weeknd (or imitations thereof) go viral on TikTok. But this week, a slightly less controversial use of machine learning technology gave us a somber but poignant final song from The Beatles.
Occasionally had been collecting dust for fifty years since John Lennon recorded a demo of the song in the 1970s. But thanks to the ‘demixing’ technology that director Peter Jackson and his team used in the Disney Plus docuseries Come backLennon’s vocals were separated and mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos with some freshly recorded instruments.
You can listen to the song above or now on your favorite streaming service. But true fans will also watch the accompanying film short documentary and also buy the double A-side on vinyl.
4. LG’s TV-on-wheels came back into our lives
This week, LG provided a bit of relief with the UK launch of the StanbyME, a 27-inch Full HD TV that sits atop a mobile stand. Upon arrival on November 29, the StanbyME had already been operating in other areas, including the US, for some time, but we were happy to see it return to our lives.
A fun, quirky TV, the StanbyME seems ideal for professional environments with its screen mirroring function for video calls and for people who simply can’t miss some sport (even for a bathroom break) as it can be easily moved on its wheels. With HDR10 support and webOS built in for all your apps like Netflix, the StanbyME seems like a nice idea.
But with a UK launch price of £1,199 (it’s $999 in the US), the StanbyME is more of a novelty item for those with money to spare than your next essential TV purchase.
3. The iMac finally got a long-awaited update
If you’re a fan of all-in-one computers, especially those from Apple, then this was a very good week for you. After a year-long hiatus, Apple has finally upgraded its iconic iMac line.
The super slim and very colorful collection received the new baseline M3 Apple Silicon SoC. The designs appear largely unchanged, but that new CPU – a major update to the first-generation Apple Silicon M1 – will deliver faster overall performance and better gaming support.
When we say that Apple hasn’t done much else with the all-in-one system, we mean it. Everything from the 4.5K Retina display and the large chin underneath to the Magic Keyboard and the lightning port-charging trackpad are unchanged.
Still, this was a solid and attractive system in 2021 and the looks hold up in 2023 – and now they’re backed by what appears to be a much faster and smarter SoC. This could be a win, but as always we’ll reserve judgment until we’ve tested Apple’s latest iMac.
2. Apple has come up with a trio of hot M3 chips
The new Apple M3 chip, along with its Apple M3 Pro and Apple M3 Max siblings, is dramatically shaking up the Mac and MacBook lineup with some big performance upgrades and more streamlined specs.
Perhaps the biggest change between the Apple M2 series and these latest chips is the improved graphics capabilities of the Apple SoCs. These are the first Apple chips to support hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading. The former makes 3D rendered scenes look much more realistic by modeling the way light actually moves through an environment, while the latter improves the chip’s ability to quickly realistically darken an entire 3D rendered object, allowing more complicated landscapes in games and other real-life situations become possible. time-displayed content.
This, combined with a new way of handling memory requests from the graphics engine, will certainly make the Apple M3 series chips a much more attractive platform for playing the best PC games like Baldur’s Gate 3 and others.
1. The MacBook Pro has gotten an M3 makeover
During the unusual “Scary Fast” event, Apple didn’t reinvent its MacBook Pro line, but instead received a major brain transplant with a trio of all-new M3 Apple Silicon SoCs.
The new M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max will appear in the new MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch (Apple has put the 13-inch model out to pasture). The goal here is to elevate the MacBook Pro to next-level portable workhorses, thanks to capabilities like the industry’s first dynamic caching. This frees up more uniform system memory, in addition to in-hardware ray tracing and mesh shading, to support the most demanding video and creative work.
Combining these new capabilities could make these new MacBook Pros capable gaming systems, among other things. Of course, we won’t know for sure until we put these new laptops to the test soon.