Microsoft Unveils Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, New Lumia Phones… [Tech News Digest]
Microsoft unveils Windows 10 devices, Twitter has its Moments, Facebook does a Doodle, Bob Dylan meets IBM’s Watson, and Universal posts a trailer for Jaws 19.
Highlights From Microsoft’s Big Event
Microsoft held a big event in New York City yesterday (Oct. 6), unveiling a range of new Windows 10 devices. Our Windows section will offer more details on some individual devices in the days and weeks ahead, but for now, here are the highlights…
The Surface Book is a new laptop from Microsoft. It’s essentially a convertible Surface Pro, with a touchscreen tablet that lifts away from the full-sized keyboard. It boasts a 13.5-inch display, a 12-hour battery life, and a glass trackpad. The Surface Book will be released on October 26, with prices starting at $1,499.
The Surface Pro 4 is the latest in the line of Surface Pro tablets, and this one is thinner, lighter, and more powerful than its predecessors. Microsoft had new competition to counter this time around, with Apple having launched the iPad Pro and Google having launched the Pixel C . It remains to be seen which one proves to be the best machine.
The Lumia 950, 950 XL, and 550 are Microsoft’s new efforts to gain a foothold in the smartphone market. Windows Phone failed to steal market share away from Android and iOS, so all eyes are no fixed firmly on Windows Mobile.
The Lumia 950 (arriving in November for $549) is the new flagship device, with a 5.2-inch screen, a Snapdragon 808 processor, a liquid cooling system, and a 20-megapixel camera. The 950 XL (priced at $649) is almost identical except for the 5.7-inch screen. And the 550 is a budget option available for just $139 when it’s launched in December.
Microsoft also unveiled the Display Dock, which turns Windows phones into Windows PCs, the new Microsoft Band 2, being billed as the ultimate fitness device, and HoloLens development kits, priced at a whopping $3,000.
Twitter Presents the Best Moments
Twitter has launched Moments, a new tab showing tweets about the biggest stories of the day. These won’t be tweets from people you actively follow, but tweets from anyone and everyone regarded as being worth reading. Even if you sign up to Twitter today but don’t follow anyone, you could use the Moments tab.
Currently only available in the U.S., the Moments tab will be visible on the Android and iOS apps, and on the Web. Twitter is curating these Moments themselves, with launch partners such as BuzzFeed, Fox News, Getty Images, NASA, and the New York Times pitching in. This provides an overview of the big stories of the day, as seen through the eyes of Twitter users.
The odd thing about Moments is that’s a new Twitter feature aimed at those not currently using Twitter. The social networking site has around 300 million users who are already engaged with the platform. But that means there are billions of people who aren’t using Twitter and seem to have zero interest in doing so. Moments could help draw them in.
Facebook Lets You Doodle On Pics
The more I come on here, the more I realise why I prefer Facebook.
— Bev (@Mrs_Doodles) September 25, 2015
Facebook now lets you draw all over your photos. Or write rude messages. Or generally just ruin great pictures with unnecessary nonsense. This is all thanks to Doodle, a new feature being added to its main mobile app. According to GeekWire, a similar feature has been available on Facebook’s Messenger app since last year.
Silly photo editing options are de rigueur at this point, thanks mainly to Snapchat. Doodle lets Facebook users get in on the act, as they can now choose a picture, select Edit, and draw or write all over it with a choice of colors and pen sizes. Our advice? If you’re bored enough to doodle on photos, do something more productive with your time .
IBM Pairs Watson With Dylan
IBM has persuaded Bob Dylan to appear in one of its ads, and the results are unsurprisingly unsettling. Dylan is a master lyricist, and probably the finest musical poet of the 20th century, but he’s not particularly gifted at delivering scripted lines. Which makes this ad a cringefest of extreme proportions.
The ad is about Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence . Watson may be more knowledgeable than every human being who has ever lived (with the possible exception of Stephen Fry), but his language skills need some work. Cue Dylan, who captures the human experience in a way Watson couldn’t even contemplate.
Everything is going well until Watson demonstrates his singing skills , at which point Dylan walks out of the room with his guitar in hand. A guitar filled to the brim with money, no doubt, as Dylan doesn’t come cheap. The biggest problem with this ad is Dylan judging Watson for his inability to sing. Because Dylan can’t sing either. Zing!
Universal Releases Jaws 19 Trailer
And finally, how many Jaws films have been made? If you answered “Four” then you’re sorely mistaken, as there have actually been 18 Jaws films made to date. We know because Universal has released a new trailer for Jaws 19, which reminds us of all 18 of the previous films.
OK, so this isn’t real. Instead, it’s just a promo for the Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy boxset being released on October 21 (the date Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future II. Where, among other things, he saw a trailer for Jaws 19. Ah, now it all makes sense.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Will you be buying a Surface Book, a Surface Pro 4, or one of the new Lumia devices? What do you think of Twitter Moments? What do you think of Facebook Doodle? Are you disappointed by Bob Dylan selling out? Would you actually go and watch Jaws 19?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.