It’s good Apple chose to bring its Magic Keyboard to the new $999 MacBook Air 2020. It could have just updated the smaller MacBook Pro after introducing the Magic Keyboard in the 16-inch MacBook Pro last fall. The MacBook Air is the best-selling computer in the lineup, so this brings the keyboard fix to a lot more people. The performance and storage bumps in this MacBook Air update are also welcome. But Apple left out one easy upgrade. With so many people working from home in 2020 because of global concern over the coronavirus, it’s one omission that has an even larger impact.
I’m talking about the fact that Apple still hasn’t updated the webcam on the MacBook Air — or the MacBook Pros, for that matter. It’s left us with the 720p FaceTime HD camera, which is a 1.2-megapixel webcam (with 1,280×720-pixel resolution) that badly lags behind the front-facing cameras on our smartphones. For example, the iPhone 11 features a 12-megapixel camera (4,000×3,000-pixel resolution) with a wide angle. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra offers a 40-megapixel selfie cam. Even the front-facing camera on Apple’s new iPad Pro — announced Wednesday alongside the new MacBook Air — offers 7 megapixels and shoots 1080p video at 60 frames per second.
With so many people working from home and participating in video calls around the world in 2020, the usefulness of the front-facing webcams on our laptops is far higher than the value of taking selfies on our phones or tablets. It’s disappointing that Apple chose to leave its newest Mac with such outdated technology.
The 720p FaceTime HD camera launched in 2011, so it’s nearly a decade old at this point. Apple upgraded the 2017 iMac Pro to a 1080p webcam, so it has the technology and the components to make this better. It chose to save a few dollars in its laptops by not integrating the latest technology. That was a mistake that hurts customers who participate in video calls.
In fact, since the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a run on webcams on Amazon. Most of the popular models are sold out and won’t be restocked for weeks. Since virtually all of these models are 1080p or higher, we have to assume that some of them are actually being put on top of MacBook Airs and Pros. Logitech’s marketing for its popular C920 HD Pro Webcam even uses a MacBook Air in its promo photos to show that the Logitech webcam is the perfect replacement because of its superior technology, with greater clarity and a wider angle.
The problem with Apple’s 720p FaceTime HD camera isn’t just its low resolution. It also has poor white balance, which skews colors (for example, the blue walls in my home office often look purple). Even worse, its low-light performance is bad, and so the picture is grainy and the webcam is not terribly useful during nondaylight hours. The 1080p webcam in the iMac Pro has been an improvement. So, again, Apple has the components to fix this.
To be fair, Apple is not alone in this issue. Laptops from most of the major computer-makers, including Lenovo and HP, still include outdated 720p webcams that are far worse than the front-facing cameras on today’s budget smartphones — like last year’s Moto G7, which now costs less than $300 but has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that can even shoot 4K video. That’s embarrassing for Apple and the other laptop-makers. The one small exception is the Microsoft Surface, which offers 5-megapixel front-facing cameras with 1080p video on its laptop-tablet hybrids.
This is quite a letdown for Apple, which was once a leader in pushing desktop video calls forward with its iSight line of webcams. Seeing how easily Apple could have integrated at least a decent 1080p camera into the 2020 MacBook Pro, that’s the biggest disappointment in what was otherwise a solid upgrade. And while this product was in development long before the coronavirus outbreak, the fact that it’s arriving now when people around the world are looking at having to work from home for weeks or months — and may have to augment a brand-new MacBook Air by buying a better webcam to place on top of it — is an unsatisfying reality.
Sony officially reveals the PS5 controller but fails to talk about one of its best features.
The PS5 DualSense controller will be charged by USB-C.
USB-C charging will help to fix one of the biggest problems that fans have with the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller.
Sony has officially revealed the PS5 controller. It’s called the DualSense, and it has features such as a new button for sharing gameplay and haptic feedback. But one feature Sony didn’t talk about in its announcement was the controller’s USB-C charging.
PS5 Controller Uses Different Charging Cable to PS4 DualShock 4
In the photos that Sony revealed of the controller, you can see that it has a USB-C charging port. This is a significant change to the micro USB port used to charge the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller.
USB-C charging can charge things much faster than micro USB. That’s excellent news for players who plan to use up the controller’s battery playing games like Godfall. The reversible cable also allows you to put a USB-C charging cable into the PS5 controller in any way.
Sony Changes One of the Biggest Frustrations With the PS4 Controller
The charging port is one of the biggest frustrations that fans have with the PS4’s DualShock 4 controller. Many PS4 players have complained about this port as the connection becomes incredibly loose, meaning that the cable may just fall out.
However, it’s strange that Sony hasn’t spoken about this in the PS5 controller reveal post. This feature could make it so much easier to charge and use the controller, but you probably wouldn’t know about it without investigating.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
Now that Sony has finally revealed the DualSense, the controller for PlayStation 5, we can compare it with Microsoft’s controller for its next-gen console, Xbox Series X. Each one presents interesting features of their own, and speaks to the objectives that Sony and Microsoft have for their new consoles. So, let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the DualSense and Series X controller.
Currently, both PS5 and Xbox Series X are scheduled to release in Holiday 2020. Though we still don’t actually know what the PS5 looks like, we do know most of the internal specs for both next-gen consoles, which we compare in our PS5 vs. Xbox Series X spec guide.
Both the DualSense and Series X controller reiterate similar design philosophies from their respective predecessors, the DualShock 4 and Xbox One controller. Neither one is exactly like what came before, of course, but if you’re used to holding a DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller, you’re not going to have to relearn thumbstick and face button layouts.
DualSense utilizes PlayStation’s traditional design philosophy where the thumbsticks aren’t offset, with both the D-pad and four face buttons placed above both sticks. Starting at the top and going clockwise, the face buttons are still Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square. Both the lightbar and touchpad return as well, though the lightbar now sits on the edges of the touchpad as opposed to being on the top like on the DualShock 4.
On the other hand, the Series X controller continues Xbox’s tradition of offset thumbsticks–the D-pad is below the stick on the left, while the four face buttons are above the stick on the right. Similar to its predecessor, the face buttons are, starting at the top and going clockwise: Y, B, A, X. Unlike the DualSense, the Series X controller has a hybrid D-pad, making it easier to do diagonal inputs. Also, with no touchpad, the Series X’s Xbox home button is at the top of the controller, whereas the DualSense’s PlayStation home button rests at the bottom.
In terms of just overall shape, both controllers are fairly similar–at the very least, they’re far more alike than the DualShock 4 and Xbox One controller are. However, the DualSense is a bit more narrow in the middle and the Series X controller has slightly larger bumpers and triggers.
The Series X controller continues the traditional monochromatic color scheme that standard Xbox controllers have had. In this case, the default color is black. Like previous Xbox controllers, its Y button is yellow, its B button is red, its A button is green, and its X button is blue. The Xbox home button glows white while the controller is powered on.
Sony, however, shakes things up with the DualSense and goes for a two-toned color design scheme. The standard controller is white and black. Unlike previous PlayStation controllers, the DualSense’s face buttons are devoid of color–they’re white too. The spark of color instead comes from the lightbar, which by default glows blue when the controller is turned on.
Without the actual controllers in our hands, it’s difficult to do an exact comparison of their sizes. However, in terms of size, both controllers seem likely built to better appeal to smaller hands than their predecessors do.
In a PlayStation blog post, Sony senior vice president of platform planning and management Hideaki Nishino writes that the DualSense is made to “feel smaller than it really looks.” Similarly, in an Xbox blog post, Xbox senior designer Ryan Whitaker said that the Series X controller was made to better accommodate “hands similar to those of an average eight-year-old” and is thus slightly smaller than the Xbox One controller.
The Series X controller includes a Share button that allows you to more easily capture and share both screenshots and gameplay clips. Although a button dedicated to this is new for Xbox, this already exists on the DualShock 4 and Nintendo Switch Joy-Con/Pro controller.
The DualSense ditches the DualShock’s Share button for a Create button, which seems to accomplish much the same task with the added benefit of additional, though currently unannounced, features. The DualSense also includes a built-in microphone, allowing you to quickly talk with your friends without a headset mic.
The Series X controller and DualSense both feature adaptive triggers, which allows developers to customize the triggers’ resistance, as well as haptic feedback, which allows developers to customize the level of vibration a controller produces. Both features should help game developers better convey a message to the player through their sense of touch. Additionally, both controllers have a traditional 3.5mm headset jack, allowing you to keep whichever headset you currently use. Neither controller includes paddles or apparent first-party support for the attachment.
Both the DualSense and Series X controller use the same method of power as their respective predecessors. The DualSense has an internal battery that you’ll have to keep charged. On the other hand, the Series X controller supports external batteries–meaning you can use AA batteries or rechargeable ones. In terms of recharging or connecting either controller to a console or PC via a cord, both the Series X controller and DualSense utilize a USB-C port.
Sony has neither confirmed nor denied whether the DualSense will be able to connect to a PS4, but Microsoft has already announced that the Series X controller will be compatible with Xbox One. In fact, Xbox One controllers will be forward compatible too–you’ll be able to use your old controllers on Xbox Series X, including the Elite controllers.
Neither Sony nor Microsoft has announced a price point for their respective next-gen controllers.
FCA design heads Ralph Gilles and Mark Trostle have launched a new “sketch battle” on Facebook.
Created to see who can design the “wickedest and most outrageous” Ram truck, the competition is currently underway and is open to everyone regardless of where they live.
However, time is limited as all submissions must be entered by April 9th at 5 p.m. EST. That’s not very long, but the rules are pretty relaxed as users simply need to include “FCADriveforDesign.com” somewhere on their sketch. Entering is also easy as people simply need to comment on FCA’s sketch battle post or tweet it to @FiatChrysler_NA using the #DriveforDesign hashtag.
Gilles and Trostle will list their favorites on Instagram this Friday and FCA has released a rendering of the RAMpage to give people some inspiration. It’s a Dodge Challenger-based ute which features a Ram grille and bright yellow splitter guards.
Only a handful of people have entered at this point, but there are already a couple of interesting entries. One of the best so far is a futuristic Ram Power Wagon that recalls the original pickup. It even includes a new interpretation of the RamBox cargo management system.
The sketch battle is designed to promote this year’s Drive for Design contest which is open to U.S. high school students in grades 10-12. They’re being tasked with creating the “ultimate Ram truck of the future” and entries need to be submitted by May 1st.
Unlike the sketch battle, there are real prizes at stake as students can win a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 or an Apple iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. Three winners will also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the FCA Product Design studios in Auburn Hills, Michigan as well as a scholarship to attend the Precollege Summer Experience Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
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