Such as the previous month, November has granted us a range of exciting novelties and updates. Let's dive into the IoT world and examine what's new in the products of such tech giants as Tesla, Apple, NVIDIA, SpaceX, and others.
40% faster NVIDIA introduced the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
NVIDIA has introduced the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics accelerator. The novelty has become the most affordable model of the branded series and is focused on gameplay in 1440p resolution with support for ray tracing. The manufacturer has already announced the video card's retail price, which has got available for sale almost immediately after the presentation.
The new graphics processor includes 4864 CUDA cores and is based on the Ampere architecture. According to NVIDIA, the performance of GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is 40% higher than that of the RTX 2060 SUPER model. The GPU's base clock speed is 1410 MHz, while in the auto overclocking mode, it is 1665 MHz. The graphics adapter is equipped with 8 GB of GDDR6 video memory with the bandwidth of 448 GB/s and a 256-bit bus.
The novelty's power consumption, equipped with a 12-pin power connector in the reference version, is up to 200 W, while the manufacturer recommends using a 600-watt power supply to connect it. The reference RTX 3060 Ti interface suite includes one HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4 connectors.
Like the previously presented models of the GeForce RTX 3000 family, the video card received support for proprietary real-time ray tracing hardware technology and DLSS neural network upscaling. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti goes on sale today at a suggested retail price of $ 399.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft makes its first scheduled flight to the ISS
SpaceX has successfully launched a crew of four into orbit aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. While this is the spacecraft's second crewed flight, it is technically the first official private flight into orbit outside the test flight program.
The spacecraft was launched with a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida. Crew Dragon-1's passengers include three NASA cosmonauts and one representative from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Following the takeoff, the Falcon 9 booster, which is slated to be used on SpaceX's next mission to launch Crew Dragon-2, has successfully landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft itself will spend a little over a day in space before docking with the ISS. Crew members of Crew Dragon-1 will then join NASA spokesman Keith Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov. They arrived on the ISS on the Soyuz spacecraft in October.
The new version of macOS "broke" some MacBooks Pro
On November 12, Apple introduced the final version of the macOS Big Sur operating system, available for many of its laptops and desktops. But as it turned out, several branded devices turned out to be incompatible with the new software: users of some MacBook Pro models faced a critical error leading to the transformation of their laptop into a "brick.
When trying to update 13-inch MacBook Pro models from 2013 and 2014, their owners were faced with the fact that their devices displayed a black screen without the ability to perform any operations. Simultaneously, an attempt to reset the NVRAM memory and the SMC controller through the system menu did not solve it.
One of the enthusiasts suggested that the problem might be with the HDMI controller since after removing the chip that makes it work, the laptop restarted. The owners of these MacBook models who contacted the Apple service centre noted that it was proposed to them to leave the gadget for diagnostics. The Genius Bar representatives said they knew about the problem, but Apple did not officially comment on the situation yet.
There is no confirmation that the inability to update affects all 13-inch MacBook Pro models of 2013 and 2014. Still, users who have encountered such an error advise other owners not to update to macOS Big Sur with build number 20B29 until the situation is clarified.
Bitcoin price breaks a record
The last day of autumn turned out to be extremely lucrative for those who invested in Bitcoin. On November 30, the virtual currency price broke its record established three years ago, setting a new all-time high.
Last Monday, the bitcoin price jumped 16% to the record $ 19,860 per unit. The previous maximum was recorded in December 2017, when one bitcoin cost about $ 19,783. At the time of compiling the news, the rate has slightly decreased, to about $ 19,700. However, this year the growth is almost 175%.
According to experts, the coronavirus pandemic has influenced the rise in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Central banks in many countries have cut interest rates to save the economy. So people started looking for new places to invest. Also, large payment systems Square and PayPal contributed to this, allowing users to buy and sell bitcoins.
Xiaomi has released a roomy smart refrigerator for $560
In addition to a table lamp with a webcam and a motion sensor, Xiaomi has introduced a new refrigerator. It is equipped with two separate compartments with the large capacity and can be remotely controlled using a mobile app.
The refrigerator is produced under the MIJIA brand and can be controlled via a smartphone or a tablet. The user can remotely adjust the temperature and other parameters of the device. Additionally, there is a small screen on one of the doors displaying the current state of the device.
The refrigerator is divided into two parts, with a 351-litre chilled area and a 189-litre freezer. In the first part, the temperature is regulated from +2 to +8 degrees, and in the second - from -15 to -22 degrees Celsius. The manufacturer assures that cold air is evenly distributed throughout the entire interior space due to a well-thought-out design.
Each of the compartments has many shelves, including door shelves which are adjustable in height. The device is available in graphite colour.
The refrigerator will go on sale on December 1 for a retail price of $ 563.
Google hired AI to help YouTube video creators
A few months ago, Google added a new feature to the YouTube app - navigating through the videos using sections at the bottom of the video player. But for this to happen, the author himself must break the videos into chapters, so the ability to immediately go to the desired mark is not always available to the users. To improve this situation and speed up the adoption, Google has launched a dedicated AI tool that will automatically do this work.
YouTube's new algorithm uses machine learning to analyze what is happening on the screen, taking into account both picture and text in the frame. Based on the data gathered, artificial intelligence automatically divides the video sequence into chapters and supplies them with the title most appropriate to the fragment without any author's participation needed. At the same time, content creators can refuse to help AI if they deem their work incorrect or unnecessary.
Apple MacBook Air: the most powerful processor & up to 18 hours of battery life
Following its first computer processor, M1, Apple showed the first laptop - the new MacBook Air. It is 3.5 times faster than the previous version with Intel processors. Also, autonomy has significantly improved.
Externally, the new MacBook Air is no different from the previous version. This is the same thin and light laptop in a metal case with a 13.3-inch Retina-screen (2560x1600). But inside it is an entirely new computer. Thanks to the M1 processor, the laptop is 3.5 times faster than its predecessor in terms of CPU. And in terms of graphics, its performance has increased as much as 5 times. Apple claims it is faster than 98% of personal computers sold last year. The use of a proprietary ARM processor made it possible to abandon active cooling so that the laptop works completely silently.
The use of a proprietary processor also significantly improved battery life. Thus, the new MacBook Air can work for up to 15 hours during web surfing and for up to 18 hours during video playback in the Apple TV application.
Among other laptop features, it is worth noting the presence of a fingerprint scanner that allows you to make purchases on the Internet using Apple Pay, two USB Type-C (Thunderbolt / USB 4) connectors, a significantly improved webcam, and powerful stereo speakers.
Tesla cars will switch to the latest AMD graphics chips
The modern car has been lately seen more like a computer on wheels. This applies even more to Tesla electric cars. As it has become evident, Elon Musk's cars will soon receive a severe upgrade because the automaker plans to switch to the latest AMD Navi chips based on the RDNA 2 architecture.
The first Tesla vehicles used NVIDIA Tegra chips. They functioned in the multimedia control unit (MCU), while the autopilot is in charge of Tesla's development. At the moment, Intel chips are installed in electric cars, but, judging by the latest rumours, a transition to high-performance AMD Navi 23 GPUs is coming soon.
According to the insiders, it's all about the new RDNA 2 architecture's high efficiency delivering up to 54% higher performance per watt compared to the previous generation. Tesla engineers scrutinize new offerings on the market to optimize all of the vehicle's subsystems to make them more efficient and resulting in increased range.
Yet, there is still no exact data on the timing of the new architecture's appearance in Tesla cars.
Tesla's autopilot can prevent 90% of all road accidents
According to an independent study conducted by a consortium of German scientists, Tesla's autopilot system may become one of the most promising technologies to equip future cars. In the course of calculations, analysts were able to find out that the smart algorithm manages to avoid a significant number of accidents compared to vehicles that are not equipped with such a system.
Scientists have calculated that Tesla's autopilot can prevent up to 90% of accidents. In this regard, the adoption of sensors used in the American company's cars should be accelerated among other manufacturers as well. The main problem is that the functionality of the Tesla autopilot in Europe is significantly limited by law. Therefore, its American version significantly surpasses its European counterpart in terms of safety.
According to Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, who is a director of the Center for Automotive Research in Duisburg, the regulation regarding self-driving cars is too slow. The number of accidents per kilometre has increased significantly over the past three years. The solution to a global problem may be the introduction of autopilot systems.
According to the researcher, if all cars on the roads of Germany were equipped with Tesla autopilot, the number of accidents in a year could be reduced from 282 thousand to only 29 thousand. Figures have repeatedly proved that cars with activated autopilot are significantly less likely to cause accidents than their "analogue" counterparts.
ASUS unveils a powerful alternative to the Raspberry Pi
ASUS has released a new version of the Tinker Board - a single-board computer based on the six-core ARM-based Rockchip processor. In addition to productive hardware for its dimensions, the novelty, aimed at enthusiasts and developers, is interesting for a wide range of interfaces and for the ability to install Android as the primary operating system.
The "heart" of the compact 85.6x54 mm device is the Rockchip 3399 processor (2 x Cortex-A72 2.0 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 1.5 GHz). The Mali-T860 MP4 chip with a frequency of 800 MHz is responsible for the microcomputer's graphics capabilities. The amount of RAM standard LPDDR4 is 2 or 4 GB, depending on the configuration. The basic version of ASUS Tinker Board 2 is equipped with a microSD card slot, and the version with the S prefix has a built-in 16GB eMMC drive.
The list of new wireless interfaces includes Wi-Fi 5 (802.11b / g / n / ac) and Bluetooth 5.0 modules. The board also houses three USB Type-A 3.2 Gen1 ports, one USB Type-C 3.2 Gen1, and HDMI 2.0, each with 4K resolution support and a 40-pin GPIO connector gigabit Ethernet port.
Out of the box, the computer runs TinkerOS firmware based on the Debian Linux distribution. And in the first quarter of 2021, the manufacturer promises to add support for Android 10. The start date and the price of ASUS Tinker Board 2 will be announced later.
IFixit experts announced a verdict on the "inner world" of the iPhone 12 Pro Max
The renowned iFixit lab has completely disassembled the flagship iPhone 12 Pro Max. Having studied the device's maintainability, the specialists also compared its critical components with the more affordable Pro-modification and named the models' main differences.
One of the main features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max has become a new image stabilization system. Instead of the traditional moving lens (OIS), the manufacturer has used the technology of shifting the sensor itself. Compared with the standard version, the gadget with the Max attachment received a 47% increased area of the primary sensor matrix, which improved its light sensitivity.
The battery of the flagship has an L-shape, but at the same time, its capacity is slightly less than that of the last year's flagship iPhone 11 Pro Max: 14.13 Wh versus 15.04 Wh. According to iFixit, this is due to the instalment of a massive camera module that includes a lidar.
According to the autopsy results, iFixit experts rated the iPhone 12 Pro Max's maintainability at 6 points out of 10 on a laboratory scale. For the Apple gadget, this is a relatively high indicator - for example, AirPods earphones once received only 1 point.
From this news coverage, it seems like the leading tech "behemoths" such as Apple and Xiaomi as well as Elon Musk's brainchildren Tesla and SpaceX are by no means going to slow down their tempo despite whatever comes with these currently uncertain pandemic circumstances. We are already avid to discover what else these companies will introduce to us for this upcoming December and the last month in 2020.