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Apple Christmas Sales: AirPods Pro, iPad, iPhone, New MacBook Pro Best Deals – Forbes

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Think great deals on Apple products ended with Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Think again. The pre-Christmas sales rush is in full flow with many products now at record lows. Here are my top picks of the best deals on AirPods, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and the Apple Watch you can buy right now.&nbsp;

Tip: bookmark this article, it is updated throughout the day.

"Apple

Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max are all at price lows right now

Apple

Amazon Christmas Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals [Updated]

Forbes Gordon Kelly

Best Apple AirPods / Beats Live Deals

AirPods Pro Live Deals

  • 12/23 – STOCK CHANGES – AirPods Pro (typically $249.99) – Amazon –&nbsp;$249.00 (12/19 still out of stock!) / B&amp;H&nbsp;$249.99 (availability 6-10 weeks) / Best Buy &nbsp;$249.99 ( “getting more soon”) / Target &nbsp;$249.99 (12/23 – now "available to pick from some stores") / Walmart – $249.00 (out of stock)

AirPods With Charging Case Live Deals

AirPods With Wireless Charging Case Live Deals

"AirPods

Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are on sale right now

Apple

Walmart Best New Deals: AirPods, iPhones, Xbox, PS4, Massive TVs

Forbes Gordon Kelly

Beats&nbsp;

  • 12/24 CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE – Powerbeats Pro – Totally Wireless Earphones (typically $249) – Amazon: $199.95 (12/24 – currently unavailable) / Kohls: $199.99 (12/24 – out of stock) / Best Buy: £249.99 (12/24 – $50 price increase) / Target: $249.99&nbsp; (12/24 – $50 PRICE INCREASE) / Walmart: $249.95&nbsp; (12/24 – $50 price increase)
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Beats Studio³ Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones – Gray – (typically $349.95)&nbsp; Amazon: $279.95 / Best Buy – $179.99 / Target: $279.99 / Walmart: from $269.93
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Powerbeats³ Wireless (typically $199) – Walmart: $89.00 / Best Buy: $94.99
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Powerbeats³ Wireless (typically $199) – Amazon: $89.99 / Best Buy: $89.99 / Target: $199.99 / Walmart: $89.00
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – (typically $199) – Amazon: $199.98 / Best Buy: $134.99 (refurbished) / Target: $179.99 (12/24&nbsp; now "available to pick from some stores") / Walmart: $126.19 (out of stock)&nbsp;
  • urBeats3 Earphones with Lightning Connector – typically $59.95 – Amazon: $34.47 / Best Buy: $39.99 / Target: $39.99 / Walmart: $39.00 (12/24 – out of stock)

Apple’s Best Live iPad Deals

"Apple

Deals on Apple’s 10.2-inch 2019 iPad are a star attraction

Amazon

  • Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) – Silver (Latest Model) – $649.99 (save $150) – Walmart: $735.00 / Target: $799.99 / Best Buy: $799.99 (12/19 – $150 PRICE INCREASE) / B&amp;H: $759.00 (12/19 $60 PRICE INCREASE)
  • Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB) for $529 (typically $779) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • STAR DEAL – Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch Wi-Fi Only (2019 Model) – 64GB $399.99 / 256GB: $549.99 – (save $100) Amazon: shop deal now / Target: shop deal now / Walmart: shop deal now&nbsp;
  • 12/19 NEW – Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (2019 Model) 64GB and 256GB – 64GB from&nbsp; $479.00 / 256GB from $579.00 (save $100) – B&amp;H: Shop deal now / Best Buy: shop deal now

Best Apple iPhone Live Deals

iPhone 11 Series

  • STAR DEAL – iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro – save up to $800 with AT&amp;T / $700 when you buy two iPhones on Verizon (prices valid through 12/24/19) – Membership Wireless – shop deals now
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – save up to $700 with second purchase PLUS switch &amp; get $200 (12/20 – Reduced from $400) – Verizon (prices valid through 12/24/19) – shop deal now
"Apple

Save up to $800 on the Apple iPhone 11 range right now

Apple

  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – Save up to $450 with qualified activation of an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro for Verizon, AT&amp;T or Sprint – Best Buy – shop deal now
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – $300 gift card with qualified activation – Walmart – shop deal now&nbsp;
  • FREE iPhone 11 when you lease an iPhone 11 series, iPhone XS series, iPhone XR or iPhone X – Sprint – shop deal now
  • BUDGET DEAL – iPhone 6S / iPhone 6S Plus – Unlocked – 32GB – Total Wireless or Straight Talk – $99 / $149.99 (old models but stunning prices) – Walmartshop deals now

Older iPhones

  • STAR DEAL – iPhone 6S / iPhone 6S Plus – Unlocked – 32GB – Total Wireless or Straight Talk – $99 / $149.99 (old models but stunning prices) – Walmartshop deals now
  • iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max – save up to $300 with qualified activation – Walmart shop deal now&nbsp;
  • 12/20 $50 PRICE REDUCTION – Apple iPhone XS, 256GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed) – $570.00 (save $730.00 on original price) – shop deal now
  • Apple iPhone 6S, GSM Unlocked, 64GB – Rose Gold (Renewed) – $186.99 (old model, but a stunning price) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • NEW – Apple iPhone 8 / iPhone 8 Plus (128GB) – $449.99 – Buy one, save $450 on a 2nd (new line required) – get up to $400 when you switch – Verizon – shop deal now.
  • 12/23 – $28 PRICE REDUCTION – Apple iPhone 8, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed) – $296.75 (save $150 on original price) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • NEW – Apple iPhone 7 32GB – typically $349.99 – Get this device free with Verizon activation (no trade-in required) – shop deal now
  • STAR DEAL – iPhone SE, 32GB – Simple Mobile – Silver – $59.99 – the cheapest iPhone deal you will find this year – Best Buy shop deal new

Best Apple TV Live Deals

  • Apple TV 4K (64GB) – $194.99 (save $5) – B&amp;H – shop deal now

Apple’s Best Mac / MacBook Live Deals

MacBook Pro

  • 12/18 STAR DEAL – Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray) – $1,349.00 (save $450) – shop deal now
"Apple

MacBook Pro deals are hitting record lows

B&H

  • 16-inch MacBook Pro (brand new model) – save up to $200 on all models – Expercom - shop deal now / B&amp;H – shop deals now
  • 12/19 $200 PRICE INCREASE – MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Silver) – $1,699.00 (save $300) B&amp;H – shop deal now
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Intel Core i7 2.6GHz, Pro 555X, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Space Gray (Mid 2019) – $2,399.00 (save $200) – Adorama – shop deal now
  • 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Intel Core i9 2.4GHz, Pro Vega 20, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Space Gray (Mid 2019) – $3,899.00 (save $450) – Adorama – shop deal now
  • 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2019, Space Gray) – $2,299.00 (save $600) – B&amp;H – shop deal now (12/19 – $100 FURTHER REDUCTION)
  • MacBook Air 13.3-inch with Touch ID – Intel Core i5 – 8GB RAM – 128GB Solid State Drive (Latest Model) – $999.99 (Save $100) – Best Buy – shop deal now
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD Storage) – $699.95 (save $300) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB) – Gold – $999.99 (save $100) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • 12-inch MacBook, Intel Core i5 Dual-Core, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD (Late 2018), Gold – $1,199.00 (save $400) – Adorama – shop deal now

Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals

Forbes Gordon Kelly

iMacs

  • iMac (21.5-inch Retina 4k display, 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 1TB) – $1,099.99 (save $200) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • Mac Mini 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB SSD (Late 2018) – $1,599.00 (save $100) – Adorama – shop deal now

Best Apple Watch Live Deals

  • 12/18 STAR BUY – Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 44mm) – $599.00 (save $250) – Amazon – shop deal now / Best Buy – shop deal now
  • 12/19 NEW STORE – Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm) – Amazon –$479.00 / Target: $499.99

I will be extensively tracking Apple deals and publishing the best offers daily, so be sure to bookmark my page.

___

Follow Gordon on Facebook&nbsp;

Amazon Christmas Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals &lsqb;Updated&rsqb;

Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro Latest Sales: Here Are The Best Deals &lsqb;Updated&rsqb;

Walmart Christmas Sale: The Best iPhone, Galaxy, PS4, Xbox, HDTV Deals

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Think great deals on Apple products ended with Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Think again. The pre-Christmas sales rush is in full flow with many products now at record lows. Here are my top picks of the best deals on AirPods, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and the Apple Watch you can buy right now. 

Tip: bookmark this article, it is updated throughout the day.

Amazon Christmas Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals [Updated]

Forbes Gordon Kelly

Best Apple AirPods / Beats Live Deals

AirPods Pro Live Deals

  • 12/23 – STOCK CHANGES – AirPods Pro (typically $249.99) – Amazon – $249.00 (12/19 still out of stock!) / B&H $249.99 (availability 6-10 weeks) / Best Buy  $249.99 ( “getting more soon”) / Target  $249.99 (12/23 – now “available to pick from some stores”) / Walmart – $249.00 (out of stock)

AirPods With Charging Case Live Deals

AirPods With Wireless Charging Case Live Deals

Walmart Best New Deals: AirPods, iPhones, Xbox, PS4, Massive TVs

Forbes Gordon Kelly

Beats 

  • 12/24 CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE – Powerbeats Pro – Totally Wireless Earphones (typically $249) – Amazon: $199.95 (12/24 – currently unavailable) / Kohls: $199.99 (12/24 – out of stock) / Best Buy: £249.99 (12/24 – $50 price increase) / Target: $249.99  (12/24 – $50 PRICE INCREASE) / Walmart: $249.95  (12/24 – $50 price increase)
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Beats Studio³ Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones – Gray – (typically $349.95)  Amazon: $279.95 / Best Buy – $179.99 / Target: $279.99 / Walmart: from $269.93
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Powerbeats³ Wireless (typically $199) – Walmart: $89.00 / Best Buy: $94.99
  • TOP DEAL – Beats by Dr. Dre – Powerbeats³ Wireless (typically $199) – Amazon: $89.99 / Best Buy: $89.99 / Target: $199.99 / Walmart: $89.00
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – (typically $199) – Amazon: $199.98 / Best Buy: $134.99 (refurbished) / Target: $179.99 (12/24  now “available to pick from some stores”) / Walmart: $126.19 (out of stock
  • urBeats3 Earphones with Lightning Connector – typically $59.95 – Amazon: $34.47 / Best Buy: $39.99 / Target: $39.99 / Walmart: $39.00 (12/24 – out of stock)

Apple’s Best Live iPad Deals

  • Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) – Silver (Latest Model) – $649.99 (save $150) – Walmart: $735.00 / Target: $799.99 / Best Buy: $799.99 (12/19 – $150 PRICE INCREASE) / B&H: $759.00 (12/19 $60 PRICE INCREASE)
  • Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB) for $529 (typically $779) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • STAR DEAL – Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch Wi-Fi Only (2019 Model) – 64GB $399.99 / 256GB: $549.99 – (save $100) Amazon: shop deal now / Target: shop deal now / Walmart: shop deal now 
  • 12/19 NEW – Apple iPad Air 10.5-inch Wi-Fi + 4G LTE (2019 Model) 64GB and 256GB – 64GB from  $479.00 / 256GB from $579.00 (save $100) – B&H: Shop deal now / Best Buy: shop deal now

Best Apple iPhone Live Deals

iPhone 11 Series

  • STAR DEAL – iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro – save up to $800 with AT&T / $700 when you buy two iPhones on Verizon (prices valid through 12/24/19) – Membership Wireless – shop deals now
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – save up to $700 with second purchase PLUS switch & get $200 (12/20 – Reduced from $400) – Verizon (prices valid through 12/24/19) – shop deal now
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – Save up to $450 with qualified activation of an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro for Verizon, AT&T or Sprint – Best Buy – shop deal now
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max – $300 gift card with qualified activation – Walmart – shop deal now 
  • FREE iPhone 11 when you lease an iPhone 11 series, iPhone XS series, iPhone XR or iPhone X – Sprint – shop deal now
  • BUDGET DEAL – iPhone 6S / iPhone 6S Plus – Unlocked – 32GB – Total Wireless or Straight Talk – $99 / $149.99 (old models but stunning prices) – Walmartshop deals now

Older iPhones

  • STAR DEAL – iPhone 6S / iPhone 6S Plus – Unlocked – 32GB – Total Wireless or Straight Talk – $99 / $149.99 (old models but stunning prices) – Walmartshop deals now
  • iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max – save up to $300 with qualified activation – Walmart shop deal now 
  • 12/20 $50 PRICE REDUCTION – Apple iPhone XS, 256GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed) – $570.00 (save $730.00 on original price) – shop deal now
  • Apple iPhone 6S, GSM Unlocked, 64GB – Rose Gold (Renewed) – $186.99 (old model, but a stunning price) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • NEW – Apple iPhone 8 / iPhone 8 Plus (128GB) – $449.99 – Buy one, save $450 on a 2nd (new line required) – get up to $400 when you switch – Verizon – shop deal now.
  • 12/23 – $28 PRICE REDUCTION – Apple iPhone 8, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed) – $296.75 (save $150 on original price) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • NEW – Apple iPhone 7 32GB – typically $349.99 – Get this device free with Verizon activation (no trade-in required) – shop deal now
  • STAR DEAL – iPhone SE, 32GB – Simple Mobile – Silver – $59.99 – the cheapest iPhone deal you will find this year – Best Buy shop deal new

Best Apple TV Live Deals

Apple’s Best Mac / MacBook Live Deals

MacBook Pro

  • 12/18 STAR DEAL – Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Space Gray) – $1,349.00 (save $450) – shop deal now
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro (brand new model) – save up to $200 on all models – Expercom - shop deal now / B&H – shop deals now
  • 12/19 $200 PRICE INCREASE – MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2018, Silver) – $1,699.00 (save $300) B&H – shop deal now
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Intel Core i7 2.6GHz, Pro 555X, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Space Gray (Mid 2019) – $2,399.00 (save $200) – Adorama – shop deal now
  • 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Intel Core i9 2.4GHz, Pro Vega 20, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Space Gray (Mid 2019) – $3,899.00 (save $450) – Adorama – shop deal now
  • 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (Mid 2019, Space Gray) – $2,299.00 (save $600) – B&H – shop deal now (12/19 – $100 FURTHER REDUCTION)
  • MacBook Air 13.3-inch with Touch ID – Intel Core i5 – 8GB RAM – 128GB Solid State Drive (Latest Model) – $999.99 (Save $100) – Best Buy – shop deal now
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD Storage) – $699.95 (save $300) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB) – Gold – $999.99 (save $100) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • 12-inch MacBook, Intel Core i5 Dual-Core, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD (Late 2018), Gold – $1,199.00 (save $400) – Adorama – shop deal now

Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals

Forbes Gordon Kelly

iMacs

  • iMac (21.5-inch Retina 4k display, 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 1TB) – $1,099.99 (save $200) – Amazon – shop deal now
  • Mac Mini 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB SSD (Late 2018) – $1,599.00 (save $100) – Adorama – shop deal now

Best Apple Watch Live Deals

  • 12/18 STAR BUY – Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 44mm) – $599.00 (save $250) – Amazon – shop deal now / Best Buy – shop deal now
  • 12/19 NEW STORE – Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm) – Amazon –$479.00 / Target: $499.99

I will be extensively tracking Apple deals and publishing the best offers daily, so be sure to bookmark my page.

___

Follow Gordon on Facebook 

Amazon Christmas Sales: Here Are The Best Live Deals [Updated]

Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro Latest Sales: Here Are The Best Deals [Updated]

Walmart Christmas Sale: The Best iPhone, Galaxy, PS4, Xbox, HDTV Deals

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Photography expert Austin Mann pushes new MacBook Pro to its limits with incredible results – 9to5Mac

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Image by Mann made from 100 stacked TIFF files on MacBook Pro

Following up on his amazing test of the iPhone 13 Pro camera in Tanzania last month, photography expert Austin Mann has shared his review of the MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip. Spoiler, Mann concludes the new MacBook Pros “will substantially affect absolutely everyone,” not just pros. Read on for a closer look at what Mann accomplished with the new notebook and the performance he saw.

After Tanzania for his incredible iPhone 13 Pro shoot, Mann spent time in Flagstaff, Arizona “testing the new MacBook Pro M1 Max w/ 64 GB RAM and 8TB SSD!” Off the top, he said, “This thing is nuts and I love it.”

Answering a question many will be asking, Mann believes these notebooks aren’t just for pros:

“Is the upgrade just for pros or is it for everyone, too?”

My resounding answer is: the upgrade in the M1 MacBook Pros will substantially affect absolutely everyone… the battery life is not just slightly better, it’s on a radically different planet. This machine stays cool and handles whatever you can throw at it, whether that’s making a family photo album in Photos or rendering an animation in After Effects.

After covering his thoughts on the return of all the I/O, sharing he is glad to see the Touch Bar removed and more, he got into testing the performance of the new MacBook Pro.

While speed is always attractive, I’ve been most curious about the efficiency and power management so I ran a few non-scientific tests… one of them went as follows:

I charged the 16″ MacBook Pro M1 Max to 100% and then disconnected from power.

First, I ran an image stack in Starry Landscape Stacker on 100 TIFF files (150MB each)… it took 4m24s to render and battery life was still at 100% (the fan remained inaudible.)

Stacking 100 TIFF files (150MB each) took 4m24s.

Second, I ran a Cinebench test, which finished in just a few minutes and still the battery was 100%.

Third, I went back the 100 TIFF image files and opened them into StarStax and processed a “Gap Filling” blend of all 100 TIFF files. This intensive process took another 2m36s and still the battery was at 100%.

To get the battery to go down even 1% here’s what he did next:

So I opened 8 images into Adobe Camera Raw and used Photomerge to create a giant panorama… this happened quickly and guess what, the battery life still showed 100%.

At this point I kind of ran out of options so I went back to Cinebench to run the test again on loop… about 2.5 minutes into that test, the battery life FINALLY dropped down to 99%.

Overall, Mann was highly impressed with the speed and efficiency:

In summary, the most impressive performance from new MacBook Pro M1 Max wasn’t just speed (it was about twice as fast) but it was insanely efficient in how it managed both its power and heat which matters as much or more than pure speed.

Mann also detailed his experience with the new Liquid Retina XDR display:

Rendering this detail was previously not possible on the MacBook Pro and it’s going to be really nice to have this display power with me in the field as it’s helpful to know what detail is there and how far I can push an image.

As for changes, Mann had two wishes:

1) I wish the SD Card slot was similar to the slot in the Sony A1 which takes BOTH SD and CF Express. This would be really handy for me today and I think more practical and useful for most creative pros in the near future.

2) Really wish there was a matte/non-glare screen option. Years ago, this was an option on Apple’s laptops and with the recent Pro Display XDR “nano-etch” anti-glare option, I was crossing my fingers we might see something similar on the M1 MacBook Pro.

Be sure to check out the full review from Mann on his website here.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

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Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners will need to install day-one update – MobileSyrup

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If you’re among the lucky few who managed to pre-order the Pixel 6 or 6 Pro (or who will get one when they become available tomorrow), get ready to download a day-one update.

According to a post on Google’s ‘Pixel Phone Help’ site, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners will need to update their phones “to get all the features.” The post explains that once users complete the phone setup, the update “automatically downloads silently in the background” and will prompt users to reboot the phone once it’s ready.

The post also recommends updating apps to the latest versions as well to ensure access to all features.

The Verge further elaborates, noting that users should look for build number ‘SD1A.210817.036’ (or ‘SD1A.210817.036.A8’ for Verizon customers). You can find that number either by opening the notification shade and swiping down again to reveal the quick settings widgets (the build number will be visible below the widgets but above the edit, power and settings buttons). Alternatively, you can head to Settings > About Phone and scroll to the bottom to see the build number.

Day-one software updates seem to be the norm these days, whether you’re picking up a new phone, laptop, game or other tech. As a reviewer, I’ve started making it common practice to set new devices aside to update after I first set them (I’ve had more than a few scenarios where a laptop performed really poorly because I hadn’t installed some critical software update yet).

As for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the day-one update is likely the cause behind some of my woes during testing. I noted in my Pixel 6 review that several features weren’t available or didn’t work (I even made sure all my apps were up to date and, as far as the Pixel 6 was concerned, Android was fully updated too). Naturally, after publishing the review, the day-one software update arrived and fixed several problems, although some features still aren’t available because I’m in Canada.

All this is to say, update your phones (and other tech)!

Source: Google Via: The Verge

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Self-driving “Roboats” ready for testing on Amsterdam’s canals

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Visitors to Amsterdam may soon spot a self-driving watercraft the size of a small car cruising silently through its ancient canals, ferrying passengers or transporting goods or trash.

It will be the electric-powered “Roboat”, a catchier name than “autonomous floating vehicle” for a project shortly due to start test journeys aimed at improving the crowded city’s transport options.

“We have a lot of road traffic and congestion, e-commerce, logistics cluttering the small streets in the city,” said Stephan van Dijk, Innovation Director at Amsterdam’s Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, which is designing and engineering Roboat with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“At the same time we have a lot of open water available in the canals … So we developed a self-driving, autonomous ship to help with logistics in the city and also bringing people around.”

After four years of trials with smaller versions and refinements of the concept, the makers showed off the first two full-size, functional Roboats on Wednesday

One of the first test applications of the craft will be for an unglamorous but important task: trash collection.

The job is normally done by trucks, but they are a safety hazard on the city’s narrow streets and cause traffic jams. Instead, Roboats stationed at the waterside will act as floating trash containers, scooting back to base when they’re full.

The city, which is backing the project, is considering locations for a trash collection pilot project starting early next year, Van Dijk said.

Roboats will need to be connected digitally to the city’s water traffic management to avoid collisions, but Van Dijk said one big advantage is that they don’t require human drivers and “see” as well at night as during the day.

“So we can use also night-time to pick up waste and bring in construction materials into the city, while for instance leisure boating is more (active) during the day,” he said, leading to better distribution of water traffic.

Technical details of Roboat are at the project’s website https://roboat.org, including its battery performance and wireless charging system.

Below the waterline, it works somewhat like an upside down air drone: two propellers, fore and aft, and two thrusters on either side of the bow, allow it to manoeuvre nimbly, including smooth berthing that would put most human skippers to shame.

Laser imaging at the front, GPS systems on front and back, and multiple cameras on the sides help with positioning. Programming the Roboat is done from computers on shore.

It is not yet permissioned to enter the city’s normal water traffic with passengers. But longer term, the medium size and slightly boxy chassis of the 1,200 kg (2,645 lb) craft can be used for passenger, trash and transport models, and it was developed so that Roboats can link together.

Linking Robats will open the door to more one-off uses, Van Dijk said, such as creating a floating concert platform, a temporary bridge, forming a barge, or, in sea-faring versions, to form a circle of Roboats to help contain an oil spill.

 

(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Piroschka van de Wouw, Editing by William Maclean)

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