Apple discontinues iMac Pro, Apple Store says buy ‘while supplies last’

Mar 06, 2021 - 7:13 PM - by Reverend
The iMac Pro has been discontinued, with the Apple Store on Friday removed all build-to-order configurations for the product. The only model now available to buy is the $4999 base config and the Apple Store says that is only available ‘while supplies last’. Some other SKUs remain available at third-party retailers for the time being.

The iMac Pro was introduced in 2017 to offer more powerful all-in-ones to high-end customers wanting workstation Intel Xeon CPUs. The chassis was identical apart from a more efficient cooling system and the space gray aluminium finish.

However, it has never been clear if the iMac Pro has sold well. It sits in a niche segment of the market, and much of its place in the limelight for pros has been taken by the 2019 Mac Pro tower. The high-end ‘standard’ iMac models have also encroached on the iMac Pro in terms of performance.

Also, Apple is believed to be introducing an all-new range of iMacs soon, featuring next-generation Apple silicon CPUs and GPUs. The performance and efficiency of the M1X chip (or whatever its called) will likely remove the need for Apple to bifurcate the iMac product line, and simply offer competitive compute performance for all iMacs, hence eliminating the separate Pro model.

Supply constraints on some 21.5-inch iMacs are also a signal that a new iMac is imminent. The rumor mill expects Apple to launch a radically redesigned iMac with thin bezels and a boxy design, similar in style to the Apple Pro Display XDR. However, an exact launch date for the new iMacs is still unclear. Most reports point to a summer release around the time of WWDC, but perhaps the sudden discontinuation of the iMac Pro means that the new generation machines are coming several months sooner than that.

... [Read More]
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WhatsApp introduces video and voice calls on desktop version

Mar 05, 2021 - 9:21 PM - by Reverend
WhatsApp is allowing users to make video and voice calls on their desktop for the first time.

The messaging service plans to rival the likes of Microsoft's Skype and Apple's FaceTime by offering people the chance to voice or video call on a larger screen.

WhatsApp said it made the move following a "significant increase" in people making calls on the platform during the coronavirus pandemic, when other video calling services like Zoom have also seen huge spikes in popularity.

Group calls will still have to be made on mobile devices, but the Facebook-owned app has confirmed it is planning to expand its desktop offering to group calls in the future.

"Answering on a bigger screen makes it easier to work with colleagues, see your family more clearly on a bigger canvas or free up your hands to move around a room while talking," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a blog post.

"To make desktop calling more useful, we made sure it works seamlessly for both portrait and landscape orientation, appears in a resizable standalone window on your computer screen, and is set to be always on top so you never lose your video chats in a browser tab or stack of open windows."

Sky News
  0 Replies | 140 Views

White House says Microsoft email hackers have 'large number of victims'

Mar 05, 2021 - 9:04 PM - by Reverend
The hackers behind the powerful set of digital intrusion tools exposed this week have racked up a worrying number of victims, the White House said Friday, the latest indication that the cyber espionage campaign targeting Microsoft Corp’s Exchange email software poses a serious threat.

“This is a significant vulnerability that could have far reaching impacts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “We’re concerned that there’re a large number of victims.”

Wielding tools that exploited four previously unknown vulnerabilities, the allegedly Chinese group that Microsoft dubs “Hafnium” has been breaking into email servers since January, remotely and silently siphoning information from their inboxes without having to send a single malicious email or rogue attachment.

Few victims of the hackers have been made public so far. Microsoft said this week that targets included infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defense contractors, policy think tanks, and non-governmental groups.

On Tuesday researchers at Dell Technologies’ Secureworks said the pace of break-ins began spiking overnight last Sunday, something others have read as an indication that the hackers ramped up their activity because they knew they were about to be exposed.

Much of the activity was concentrated in the United States, but victims have popped up around the world.

  0 Replies | 113 Views

Twitter 'Undo Send' Feature Discovered

Mar 05, 2021 - 9:00 PM - by Reverend
For as long as Twitter has existed, users have been crying out for an edit button. We may never get one, but Twitter is experimenting with similar features including the ability to unpublish a tweet for a few seconds after posting it.

As The Verge reports, the unannounced "Undo Send" feature was discovered by well-known app researcher Jane Manchun Wong. As Wong's tweet below reveals, Twitter is experimenting with adding a few seconds of rethink time after you hit the button to make a tweet live. A message appears informing you the tweet was sent, but an Undo button appears underneath that doubles as a countdown timer. When the timer is empty, you can no longer "undo" the tweet.

It's not an edit button, but it's about as close as you can get because hitting the Undo button places the tweet back in an unpublished, editable state. Is that good enough? For many it probably will be, and it's certainly better than not having any option other than deleting a live tweet. Of course, we have no idea if Twitter will ever choose to implement it as a feature we can all use.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 112 Views

Microsoft Mesh for Building Mixed Reality Apps Highlighted at Ignite

Mar 03, 2021 - 10:37 AM - by Reverend
The Microsoft Ignite Day 1 keynote presentations were heavy with talk about Microsoft Mesh, a new Microsoft Azure-based platform for building "cross-platform mixed reality apps" for multiple participants, according to a Tuesday announcement.

"Microsoft Mesh connects the physical and the digital worlds, allowing us to transcend the traditional boundaries of space and time," said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman during the keynote address, which featured an underwater background equipped with circulating fish, plus Cirque du Soleil stage-design concepts.

Availability of the Mesh Platform wasn't precisely described. Some of its capabilities, which feature artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced aspects, are still months away, according to

"The Microsoft Mesh platform will in coming months offer developers a full suite of AI-powered tools for avatars, session management, spatial rendering, synchronization across multiple users and holoportation to build collaborative solutions in mixed reality," the announcement stated.

"Holoportation" refers to scanning objects in three dimensions, such as persons, and importing them into a shared virtual space.

Some of the technical challenges for developers will be aided in Microsoft Mesh by its AI capabilities. Microsoft listed those capabilities as "immersive presence, spatial maps, holographic rendering and multiuser sync."

Avatars in distinct forms and holoporations are used to address immersive presence issues across devices with Microsoft Mesh. Spatial maps are used to anchor objects in an environment, and... [Read More]
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Microsoft Teams will soon let you pretend to be a news reporter during meetings

Mar 03, 2021 - 10:23 AM - by Reverend
Microsoft Teams is trying to make video calls a little less boring during the pandemic era of remote working with new presenter modes. These allow you to customize how you appear when you’re presenting in Teams. Three new modes will be available soon, including a “Reporter” option that lets you place content above your shoulder as a visual aid, much like a news anchor during a TV segment.

Standout mode lets you float above content as a silhouette on top of a slide deck. And the third option, Side-by-side, displays your webcam feed alongside content you’re presenting. Standout will roll out this month, with Reporter and Side-by-side modes available soon.

All three modes are part of a bigger push from Microsoft to respond to feedback around making meetings more engaging during remote work. “The way I look at it now, is we need to make presentations more like TV shows,” says Nicole Herskowitz, general manager of Microsoft Teams, in an interview with The Verge. “We really have to find ways to make those digital experiences more powerful.”

These new modes take advantage of the technology that Microsoft uses in its Together Mode to remove all the background behind you on a webcam. Together Mode was one of the first big changes to Teams designed for pandemic meetings, placing meeting participants side by side in a virtual environment.

Alongside the new presenter modes, Microsoft is also launching PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams today. It’s designed to make presenting with PowerPoint slides a lot easier for both the presenter and meeting participants. Presenters will now be able to see notes, slides, and a meeting chat all in a single view, and attendees can navigate the slides themselves. That’s great if you missed a particular slide and want to skip back, and it’s a huge boost to accessibility for those with learning disabilities who want to read and learn at their own pace.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 167 Views

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