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Sorry, but the new MacBook Air is not faster than 98% of PC laptops – PCWorld

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Let me just say it out loud, OK? Apple is full of it. I’m referring to Apple’s claim that its fanless, Arm-based MacBook Air is “faster than 98 percent of PC laptops.” Yes, you read that correctly: Apple officials literally claimed that the new MacBook Air using Apple’s custom M1 chip is faster than 98 percent of all PC laptops sold this year.

Typically, when a company makes such a claim, it publishes a benchmark, a performance test or actual details on what it’s basing that marketing claim on. This to prevent lawyers from launching out of missile silos across the world.

Apple’s website restates the claim by stating: “M1 is faster than the chips in 98 percent of PC laptops sold in the past year.” The site also includes a detail note that states: “Testing conducted by Apple in October 2020 using preproduction 13-inch MacBook Pro systems with Apple M1 chip and 16GB of RAM. Performance measured using select industry-standard benchmarks. PC configurations from publicly available sales data over the last 12 months. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect approximate performance of MacBook Pro.”

98 percent Apple

Apple is so full of it

So, not only does Apple not say what tests it’s basing its claims on, it doesn’t even say where it sources the comparable laptops.

Does that mean the new fanless MacBook Air is faster than, say, Asus’ stupidly fast Ryzen 4000 based, GeForce RTX 2060-based Zephyrus G14? Does it mean the MacBook Air is faster than Alienware’s updated Area 51M?
The answer, I’m going to guess is “no.” Not at all. Is it faster than the miniLED-based MSI Creator 17? Probably not, either.

And what is that “performance” claim hinged on? CPU performance? GPU performance? Performance running Windows? Is it using the same application running on both platforms? Is it experiential? Is this running Red Dead Redemption II or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War? Is it running CyberLink’s PowerDirector? Is it running Fortnite?

While I have absolutely no idea what Apple is basing its claims on, I can tell you that I am 98 percent sure that any of the above laptops listed will wreck the MacBook Air doing any of the tasks I just named.

When Apple makes its claims, my guess is they are comparing the new M1 to Intel-based processors ranging from Atom to Celeron N to Core i3 and up, all with integrated graphics. But by not defining the word “performance,” all this becomes just pure marketing spin. And is it really fair to compare a $999 MacBook to one that costs $150? Because $150 PCs are included in the 98 percent of laptops sold.

Maybe Apple should compare its own $150 MacBook Air against a $150 Chromebook or Windows-based laptop. Of course, that would mean Apple would have to sell a product that most people can afford. I have no doubt the M1 will be impressive, but do I think it’s going to compare to 8-cores of Ryzen 4000 performance or a GeForce RTX 2060? No. 

screenshot 2020 11 10 11.09.30 Apple

Apple’s TSMC-built, 5nm, Arm-based M1 SoC is likely to be very, very impressive running aps built for it.

Have some dignity, Apple

But what really infuriates me is there’s just no reason for Apple do go to such absurd levels to make the case for its new Arm-based M1 in the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13 and MacMini.

The M1 chip, built using TSMC’s most advanced 5nm process, looks to be a truly solid tour de force of technical prowess that one should expect of one of the richest, for-profit corporations in human history. It’s simply going to sing—just sing—for applications that are optimized for it. And, yes, there will indeed be like-for-like applications where it is indeed faster than many, many x86-based, Windows laptops.

But there will also be many, many tasks that you can’t simply run on these Macs too. And there are likely to be cases where performance might just suck too compared to an x86 PC laptop.

Now, if you are into Macs and all that Apple offers, you should definitely consider the new Macs over older Intel-based Macs. I say that because I’m pretty sure buying an Intel-based Mac is like buying a ticket to stand on a deserted island so you can wave at Apple as it sails away in a party boat.

So, have some dignity Apple, and stop with the trolling just to get attention and hopefully sway the 93 out of 100 people who prefer to buy Windows laptops over MacOS laptops every year. 

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Sonos One Wi-Fi speakers are $40 off today – The Verge

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Sonos ran an all-too-short one-day sale on its Wi-Fi speakers last week for Black Friday. The good news is that they’re discounted once again at Best Buy and Amazon, though the price cuts aren’t as steep. Both the Sonos One SL without microphones and the Sonos One (Gen 2) are $40 off at either retailer. This puts the One SL at $140 and the One (Gen 2) at $160. Neither are best-ever prices, but given that they’re within $10 of their lowest costs, we thought you’d like to know about these deals.

If HBO Max caught your attention yesterday with the news that all Warner Bros. films released through 2021 will debut day-and-date on the streaming platform, you understandably might want a subscription for yourself or to gift to someone else. For new and returning subscribers, you can save 20 percent by prepaying for a six-month subscription to the service. Instead of $90, it’ll cost you $70. Just note that this is non-refundable.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the latest installment that crams essentially four games into one package, has received a $10 price cut across all platforms at Walmart. The PS4 or Xbox One version of the game now costs $50 instead of $60. If you’re already gaming on the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S consoles, you’ll spend $60 (PS5, Xbox Series X / S) instead of $70.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you get the PS4 / Xbox One version, there’s a $10 fee associated with getting the next-gen patch for either the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S. So if you just don’t want to fuss with that, get the pricier next-gen version instead.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 antibody tests – Toronto Star

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A COVID-19 antibody test is now generally available to Ontario residents, with a doctor’s requisition. The medical laboratory chain Life Labs began offering the Health Canada approved serology test on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Currently available in British Columbia and Ontario, the test costs $75.

However, internal medical expert Dr. Gerald Evans advises that the results of a COVID-19 antibody tests are not always straightforward. He said he can’t think of many clinical circumstances when a doctor would request this information.

“Really it has very little utility in the general practice of medicine,” he said. “Right now the only use that we have for an antibody test, based on the guidelines that are issued, is to use it to investigate children who present with a multi inflammatory syndrome (IMSC)…. That’s really the only clinical utility we have for it,” he said.

He also explained that not everybody who gets COVID-19 exhibits the exact same antibody response, which makes the virus different from others such as measles or chickenpox.

“Most people get something, but some people are what we call ‘low-level responders,’ meaning the levels of antibodies that they get could be below a detection level that we’re looking for.”

“So if you wanted to do this test because you’re saying ‘I recall being ill and I think it was COVID,’ you do an antibody test. If it’s negative, it doesn’t really say that you didn’t have a COVID-19 infection. It may mean that you were one of these people that had a very mild infection and didn’t get a big antibody response.”

He also explained that humans make three different types of antibodies in response to a virus — IgG, IgA, IgM.

“IgM antibodies disappear very quickly. If you’re more than a couple of months out from your infection, you won’t find them. IgA antibodies are super tricky because they go up and down, they disappear, and some people don’t make them at all.”

The IgG antibody, which he said believes the Life Labs antibody tests are based on, is much more stable.

Life Labs CEO Charles Brown called antibody testing “another piece of the puzzle to better understand COVID-19.”

The company also explains on their website that a negative result might mean a person has been infected, but that antibody levels were too low for the test to detect. They note that you might receive a negative result, even after being infected, if not enough time has lapsed since the infection, to allow for antibodies to develop.

“Antibody response varies from person-to-person and can take up to three to four weeks post-onset of symptoms or post-exposure to be reliably detectable by antibody assays,” the company said.

Both Dr. Evans and Life Labs note that the test cannot be used to determine a current infection.

“It doesn’t really help in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Antibodies are made after you’re infected or when you’re in that recovery phase,” Dr. Evans said.

Dr. Evans said that typically, the IgG antibodies for the measles can be detected by a test in anyone that has ever had, or been inoculated against, the virus, even years later. They also indicate immunity. In the case of COVID-19, he said, it’s not the same thing.

“We still don’t quite have the exact test that tells us that those antibodies we’re measuring are at a high enough level or are responsible for neutralizing the virus, which would then predict that you’re immune,” he said.

“We’ve found people that even have these antibodies, they may not be in sufficient quantity. Or, it may not be the right antibody that actually protects them and gives them immunity. That’s the big problem.

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“You could imagine somebody saying: ‘I’m going to get the test done to show that I’m immune,’ and that’s not really what it’s telling you.”

Life Labs website states that a positive test result does not infer immunity. They recommend getting the blood test three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms, adding that it’s possible to detect antibodies up to four months post-exposure.

“We look forward, to continue building our support for the healthcare system’s response to the pandemic, where Canadians have access to more important COVID-19 information to help them make informed decisions about their health,” Brown said.

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Health Matters: Two Alberta toddlers finally receive expensive, life-saving drug Zolgensma | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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Health Matters December 3: Two Edmonton-area children, suffering from spinal muscular atrophy Type 1 and in need of a $2.8 million life-saving Zolgensma treatment, have finally received it — thanks to a twist of fate. And the winner of the Mighty Millions Lottery grand prize is revealed. Su-Ling Goh reports.

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