Episode 24 Overview

You're busy. We get that. Carving "I'm Busy" onto the moon with a giant laser certainly seems like a sorta Bond-villain-esque move in retrospect, but I'd imagine it's also pretty dang time consuming, so yeah, clearly you've got a lot going on. We obviously don't want to interrupt.

So you don't have time to sit down and listen to an hour of in-depth tech advice and news? It's all good. How about ten minutes to read over an out-depth summary of that same tech advice and news? Well, here you go. For the week ending April 10th, 2017, this is the Calling All Platforms Tech podcast summary.


We started this week off with a bit of Google news before hitting the big-ticket items. Evidently there may be some truth to the rumors that Samsung is going to sell a refurbished Galaxy Note 7, with images of the rumored device hitting the internet marked with an "R" (for "retardant" probably) and with a 3200 milliamp battery instead of the original 3500. The smaller battery is safer we're sure, but we also still think this is a bad idea.

YouTube TV, another thin internet/cable bundle for cord cutters, is now live in 5 cities around the country. Google Duo now supports voice calling, for all forty of you that use that app, and Google Home owners have noticed in the app for the Home a mention of multiple users. There's still no official word from Google on what that might mean, but we're thinking multi-user support that requires blood samples to setup. Because... um... obviously?

Finally, there are rumors that Google wants to invest up to a fat billion dollars in LG's display development and manufacturing, probably specifically related to AMOLED displays. Considering the only supplier capable of producing AMOLED displays at the scale needed for top tier phones is Samsung at the moment, we're all in agreement that some increased competition in that space would rock.


Moving on to Apple news, there was a new release of OS betas for all Apple's stuff, containing exactly zero features of interest. Just uh, FYI.

In other Apple news, Apple was humble this last week for the first time in quite a while. No, seriously. It's not often that Apple will publicly recognize their screw-ups and apologize for them, but last week Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller actually sat down with a press corps and did just that. What were they apologizing for, you may ask?

The lousy state of their desktop computers. They apologized for misreading the market with the Mac Pro and creating a computer that they couldn't really support going forward. They promised that a supportable, modular, upgradable Mac Pro is coming, but since it won't be ready till 2018, they also dropped the prices of the current Mac Pro configurations. They also said that new, high-end professional level iMacs (loads of RAM, better Pascal or Polaris graphics, and possibly Intel Xeon processors) are in development for release later this year that may meet the needs of some of the pros that have been left behind over the past three years, and said that work is going forward on professional-level Apple branded displays.

There was a brief mention of the Mac Mini, but really only to say that it isn't dying anytime soon. Rumors from inside of Apple after the interview suggest the possibility of a pro-level mini-tower, which might be a higher-end Mac Mini that's double the height, includes discrete graphics and more storage, and is upgradable. After all that, though, Phil took the time to shoot down the possibility of both ARM-based Macs and touch-based Macs. Which maybe isn't super surprising.

So there. Apple finally said something about their desktops. Which means that I can now catch everyone up on what the heck has been happening with iPhone rumors over the past six months. Here's a nice summary of what's rumored so far:
  • Three iPhones for 2017, 7s, 7s Plus, and iPhone X (or 8 or Pro or Edition, we really don't know what it's gonna be called).
  • The iPhone X will be substantially revised:
    • 5.8 inch bezelless AMOLED screen
    • body size similar to iPhone 7
    • No home button
    • Touch ID sensor below the screen
    • Wireless charging (puck or long range, not sure)
    • USB-C or Lightning (yes either one, we're still not sure)
    • Rather expensive (starting at $900 for 64 or 128 GB version)
    • Probably really supply constrained due to limited AMOLED screen availability
    • Basically if an LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 had a baby and put an Apple sticker on it
  • All three models should have the rest of their hardware in common:
    • dual-lens cameras
    • new A-series processors
    • new graphics chips
    • IP68 waterproofing
So there you go. Finally, after all this time, Apple is actually updating me on the stuff I care about, so I can keep you up to date on their phone.


On to Microsoft news, Wes reminds us that the Creators Update for Windows 10 is starting to roll out today (April 11th). As far as updates go, there's nothing really different about what you should be doing here, but keep in mind some basic tenets of update preparedness for Windows. Look for the update. When it shows up, schedule a good time for it to restart and install (in the middle of the night is usually good). Then, disable sleep mode on your computer, hook it up to power (if it's a laptop), and leave it on all night that night to make sure it actually restarts. The next morning you should have a freshly updated PC, you'll have avoided a lot of stress, and you won't have Windows randomly restart while you're in the middle of doing something.

Also some clarification on the Creators Update and its new Game Mode. If you've got a beastly PC already, Game Mode isn't going to change anything about how your computer runs games. It's for those of us with wussy hardware. Just manage your expectations appropriately.

Also today (April 11th) is the start of the Microsoft Store spring sale, which sees discounts on games, software, accessories, and computers. So check it out if you're on the market for some new stuff.


Moving into gaming news, Microsoft also announced a new Minecraft Marketplace, which is basically like an auction house for the game where you can buy stuff that other people have created. So if you're good at building stuff in Minecraft, maybe you can make some money?

And on to the good stuff, actual hardware specs for the new Project Scorpio (or "Xbox 10" as it will probably be known). We'll get into the details, but the overview is that this thing should be able to match and possibly beat out a $600 or more custom PC, which is a first for consoles. If you're not building your own gaming rig, this thing will almost certainly be the best bang-for-buck you can get this holiday season.

Project Scorpio will sport an octa-core CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz, a Polaris-based GPU clocked just over 1 GHz and sporting 6 teraFLOPS of compute power, and 12 GB of shared GDDR5 RAM. The RAM has higher bandwidth than the onboard RAM for even higher-end PCs and graphics cards, and the GPU should perform at about the same level as the RX 480 or GTX 1070, meaning that it will definitely support native 4k resolutions. Even better, according to Microsoft it will also make older games limited to lower resolutions (like 1080p or 900p) look better than they did on the Xbox One, even if they haven't recieved some sort of upscaling 4k patch from their developers.

Overall it sounds beastly and will definitely push the quality of console gaming forward by quite a bit.

Finally in gaming news, a new Overwatch event is coming up, and unlike previous events, it will be celebrating an in-universe Overwatch event instead of a real-world event or holiday. Based on a promotional video that leaked on the France Overwatch YouTube channel early, we're expecting a full blown event similar to the Halloween or Lunar Celebration events, with tons of new skins, victory poses, sprays, etc. It also looks like we'll be getting a new variation on the Junkenstein's Revenge hoard-mode game from the Halloween event, except much bigger. The event looks like it'll be called Insurrection, and will focus around an Omnic uprising that occured in King's Row 7 years ago from the perspective of the Overwatch gameplay. Evidently this was the first mission that Tracer ran as an agent of Overwatch, and there might be quite a lot of back-story for all of the characters that will come out in this event.

Oh and hey, that's coming today (April 11th) too? Jeez... April 11th is a busy day.