Most believed that Apple would present a ton of new gadgets and services at WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference). But our hopes have not been justified yet. Anyway, we are prone to think that it is just a matter of time and that soon we will see a presentation of new gadgets. Meanwhile, a bunch of other interesting updates have seen the world, and as usual, we have covered these in our new IoT digest for September.  

Apple A14 Bionic noticeably surpasses Snapdragon 865+ in Geekbench

There is a 5nm A14 Bionic processor inside of the recently unveiled iPad Air 4. The same chipset is expected to complement the new series of iPhone 12. This chip testing results have already appeared earlier in the network, in AnTuTu, showcasing a slight increase in performance compared to the A13 Bionic. But as it turned out, in the Geekbench benchmark, the new processor shows much more impressive numbers.

 The new iPad Air 4, equipped with A14 Bionic, scored 1583 points in Geekbench 5 in a single-core mode and 4198 - in a multi-core mode. The test demonstrated that the processor is equipped with six cores and operates at a frequency of 2.99 Hz and that the amount of built-in RAM is 4 GB.

 As for the competing solutions, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865+ demonstrates slightly less than 1000 points in Geekbench 5 and about 3500 points in single-core and multi-core modes. It is also worth mentioning that this is an eight-core processor. Thus, the conclusion is that Apple chips are still the leaders.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro: 144 Hz screen, Snapdragon 865 and 5000 mAh battery

During the online broadcast, Xiaomi has presented the new flagship Mi 10T line. The manufacturer has focused on performance, cameras, and smartphone displays, offering top-end hardware at an affordable price.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro received a 6.67-inch IPS-display with a hole for the front camera in the corner and a refresh rate of 144 Hz. The smartphone can determine the type of displayed content, automatically setting the optimal screen refresh rate. So, there will be a limitation of up to 25 Hz when watching movies, and while gaming, it can be all 144 Hz. Moreover, a special MEMC-chip can “paint” the missing frames so that the videos being played appear smoother than they are.

Google introduces AR Mode in Google Maps

Google has launched a special augmented reality mode for its own mapping service, Google Maps. With its help, users will be able to receive additional information about objects by activating the 3D mode in real-time.

HP unveils premium Specter x360 14 bezel-less laptop

HP has updated its line of branded laptops with the introduction of the premium Specter x360 14. It obtains a 15-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and thin bezels as well as the original design and a powerful 11th generation Intel processor. Besides, the company has unveiled three more new laptop models based on chips from the Intel Tiger Lake family.

The HP Specter x360 14 is powered by an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with Intel Xe integrated graphics. According to the manufacturer, the use of the new CPU has increased the power of the device by 34% compared to its predecessor. In addition, the laptop has become the first device from the series with an aspect ratio of 3:2, which has increased the workspace in portrait mode by 20%.

HP new laptop

IOS 14 and watchOS 7 bugs force users to Hard Reset

After updating their iPhone and watchOS to the latest versions, some users have experienced a number of issues, including crashing apps, lost workout statistics, and increased battery drain. Apple has already recognized the software problem and offered an effective way to "fix" the gadgets. However, this can contribute to some headaches for their owners.

According to Apple representatives, the application conflict arose after the gadgets were updated to the latest watchOS 7 and iOS 14 versions. 

The occurred issues include the Fitness application's unavailability, the inability to open statistics in the Activity and Pulse application, as well as the rapid battery discharge. For now, there is one possible way of solving these problems - to reset the devices to the factory settings.

Marshall unveils Major IV wireless headphones with 80 hours autonomy

Marshall has introduced a new model of the Major IV on-ear Bluetooth headphones proving impressive battery life. Among other novelty features, the manufacturer mentions the emergence of a wireless charging function along with the design changes compared to the previous model of the branded series. 

The alleged autonomy of Marshall Major IV is up to 80 hours of music playback. At the same time, the gadget supports fast charging technology: within 15 minutes after connecting to the main adapter via a USB Type-C cable, the device will be able to continue working up to 15 hours away from the outlet. The vendor has placed the inductor for the wireless charging in the right earcup, but the corresponding charger is not included in the kit - you will need to purchase it separately.

Marshall wireless headphones

Google Photos app redesigned and enhanced with the image editor

Google developers have introduced a new version of the popular Google Photos application, redesigning its interface and adding an advanced image editor. Now, the service has a new tab enabling image automatical enhancement.

 The new version of the program has a special section - "Offers", where users can either adjust photo settings manually or entrust this task to the company proprietary algorithms. You can change the level of contrast, brightness, as well as the overlay of portrait effects. In addition, the developers have added the Color Pop function, with which you can focus on the selected area of ​​the photo: for instance, you can make this area remain in color, while the background becomes black and white.

Singapore introduces the face recognition system nationwide

On the territory of the city-state of Singapore, a new identification method is being introduced at the governmental level. The city residents will gain access to public services and bank accounts after passing through quick identification by face.

 This is the first time in the world that such a technology has been introduced at a national level. Currently, face verification is provided as one of the methods of personal identification in many countries. But Singapore will be the first city to use this technology nationwide. Here, face recognition is used by the tax office for filing the reports and by the DBS bank to open an account.


A specialist hacked a smart coffee maker and taught it to mine cryptocurrency

With the growing popularity of the Internet of Things, cybersecurity experts persistently remind users of smart devices' frequent subtle vulnerabilities. To demonstrate the potential "holes" in smart home ecosystems, an Avast employee hacked into a Wi-Fi coffee maker in just a couple of minutes! As a result, the enthusiast not only managed to start mining the Monero cryptocurrency in it, but also paralyzed the device operations with a ransom demand.

Commenting on the published video, an IT specialist Martin Chron noted that the device is built on the basis of popular microcontrollers, about which there is plenty of information on the network. Considering that the coffee maker does not use encryption when establishing a wireless connection, the programmer intercepted its firmware during the update, modified it slightly, and loaded it onto the device.

Airbus unveils future hydrogen jet concepts

Companies like Airbus are developing the aircraft of the future. Engineers need to make sure the structure is viable and can support thousands of flights in harsh environments. As part of the future airlines' concept, the new Zero family was shown, the main feature of which is the complete absence of emissions into the environment.

Tesla has promised to release the most affordable electric car in the brand history

During the past Tesla Battery Day 2020 event, the automaker not only announced the imminent start of its own batteries' production, but also opened up about a new car model with an electric motor. Elon Musk, the company's head, claimed that the most affordable electric car from the branded series might enter the market pretty soon. Afterward, he announced its retail price.

According to Tesla's CEO, the company intends to change the approach to assembling the budget series for electric cars and revamp their design using 370 fewer parts to reduce production costs by 69%. If the company successfully carries out this plan, the price of the new electric vehicle for the end-user will equal $ 25,000.

More powerful and cheaper. Tesla announced the release of its own batteries for electric cars 

Current Tesla car models are equipped with Panasonic batteries, but this situation is likely to change soon. Elon Musk announced the release of Tesla's own batteries. According to the forecasts of the head of Tesla, this step will significantly reduce production costs and, over time, will allow the brand to sell electric vehicles at the price of traditional models equipped with gasoline engines.

According to the businessman, the transition to the internal production and the very concept of a new battery will lead to the cost reduction of the future company products. The battery developed by Tesla is expected to reduce the price of a kilowatt-hour for the company - the unit of electricity used to measure battery packs' capacity. The industry analysts agree that, indeed, reducing these costs will allow Tesla to make its vehicles more affordable.


NASA announced the cost of sending astronauts to the moon

The landing of American astronauts onto the moon is scheduled for 2024 as part of the Artemis mission. The flight is expected to be not only technically difficult but also extremely expensive. On top of that, the information about the postponement of the first stages of this historical event has already appeared.

NASA officials have estimated the mission of delivering a man to the moon and back at $ 28 billion. Since November this year, the US Congress must agree on allocating this amount from the budget. If everything goes according to the plan, there is a chance that the flight will take place in 2024. But otherwise, the mission of Artemis is in question. There is fear concerning the upcoming presidential elections: the situation, when Barack Obama curtailed the Martian program of his predecessor, may repeat itself.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, this month was not that rich in presentations. But it is still great how the companies, even under the quarantine constraints, manage to introduce such updates and new devices. Yet, we believe that the next month will bring us even more exciting news from the IoT world. So see you then - straight in a month - in our new monthly digest edition.