New Huawei MateBook due for November debut, company lets slip

New Huawei MateBook due for November debut, company lets slip

During its London keynote event debuting the new Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro smartphones, Huawei let slip that a third MateBook laptop is due for a 2018 launch. The news comes through a disclaimer on a presentation slide that Anantech keenly caught eye of.“The soon-to-be revealed Huawei MateBook in November will be the first laptop equipped with this function,” the slide’s disclaimer reads.
Image Credit: AnandtechWhat ‘this function’ refers to is a new software trick found in the new Mate 20 phones that allows them to share files with other Huawei devices wirelessly at super speeds: up to 1,000 photos can be transmitted in two seconds, apparently. The slide depicts a Huawei phone held in-hand in front of a nondescript Huawei laptop.Anandtech suspects that this image is not of a MateBook X Pro, but rather a regular old MateBook, so exactly how this teased laptop fits alongside Huawei’s current laptop lineup is anyone’s guess. Know that we’ll be on the lookout come November.
These are the best laptops we’ve seen to date

HP empowers creators with new products

HP empowers creators with new products

During the Adobe Max event in Los Angeles, HP Inc. announced a number of new devices geared towards delivering the next generation of technology solutions to creative professionals.The company is combining the power of its Z by HP portfolio with its print and packaging capabilities to curate the ultimate experience for creators. The new Z by HP portfolio includes both mobile and desktop devices to deliver the powerful productivity, versatility and security today’s creative professionals need to do their best work.Director of Workstations, Thin Clients, Retail Solutions and Immersive Computing, EMEA at HP Inc, Gwen Coble offered further details on the company’s new products for creatives, saying:“Today’s creatives need specialized tools and solutions to help them stay in the creative zone, increase their productivity, and create whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. We are listening to the needs of creative pros and investing in innovation that makes it easier for them to unleash their creativity. With the most powerful hardware, feature-rich software and services, as well as innovative programs for creators, HP is reinventing the way the world creates.” 
We’ve also highlighted the best laptops for graphic designEmpowering creators
The new Z by HP portfolio includes ZBook mobiles, Z desktops such as the HP Z2 Mini and the powerful HPZ8 as well as the HP DreamColor displays.The HP ZBook Studio, HP ZBook Studio x360, HP ZBook 15 and HP ZBook 17 have all been revamped with greater processing power, innovative security features and bright displays.The devices now come with six-core Intel Core i9 processors to allow creators to tackle heavier workloads such as video editing and 3D rendering. The expanded memory option of up to 32 GB of memory (expandable up to 128GB on some models) also allows users to work faster even when dealing with large amounts of data.HP Inc has even added Raid 1 which gives users a mirrored hard drive to back up their creations automatically in case of a drive failure.The HP ZBook Studio and Studio x360 are also getting a significant boost in graphics performance with the inclusion of a Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics card.
HP SmartStream Designer
In an effort to unleash creative potential and make the limitless possibilities of print and packaging possible, HP also announced that its HP SmartStream Designer for Designers (D4D) Adobe Illustrator plug-in is now available globally.The company’s Illustrator plug-in is a suite of “light” design solutions to help users customise and personalise any design through the use of variable text, colour and images. Additionally, the HP SmartStream Mosaic feature within the D4D software allows designers to create seed files which can be manipulated infinitely through the use of algorithms to create unique outcomes in real-time.Global head of brand innovation at HP Inc., Nancy Janes explained how designers can utilise the new plug-in, saying:“HP Digital print has the ability to make packaging and print more agile and limitless, but until now there has been a gap between concept and creation. With HP SmartStream D4D, designers can for the first time, play with the powerful software in Adobe Illustrator CC to create memorable and impactful packaging campaigns for global & local brands.” 
These are the best workstations of 2018

New, cheaper Razer Blade gaming laptop packs dual storage and Ethernet

New, cheaper Razer Blade gaming laptop packs dual storage and Ethernet

The latest Razer Blade, while impressive and gorgeous, is nevertheless an expensive gaming laptop. That’s why Razer has just announced a more affordable, baseline version of the 15-inch Blade laptop with new features for a more palatable $1,599 (about £1,215, AU$2,250) and is available right now.This version of the Razer Blade looks nearly identical to the standard – or, now, ‘advanced’ – version released earlier this year, but with one major difference in design: the laptop has grown by one tenth of an inch in height to 0.78 inches, to accommodate new parts not available in the advanced version.The new parts include an Ethernet port for hardwired internet connections as well as a new dual storage drive option, which allows you to configure the Razer Blade with both an M.2 solid state drive (SSD) and a 2.5-inch hard drive (HDD). Naturally, the idea here is to provide the speed of SSDs with the more affordable, larger storage capacity of spinning hard drives.Also, this increase in height has allowed Razer to implement a heat pipe-based cooling system, as opposed to the vapor chamber system within the thinner model released earlier.On a pleasantly surprising note, this model starts with the very same Intel Core i7-8750H processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics as the now advanced version – for a cool 300 bucks (or quid) off – and will employ the same basic, 60Hz Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display and 16GB of DDR4 memory.The available storage options for this laptop are a 128GB SSD paired with a 1TB HDD spinning at 5,400 rotations per minute (rpm), or a 256GB SSD with a 2TB HDD (5,400 rpm), the latter of which costing $1,799 (about £1,362, AU$2,532).This new Razer Blade is available at the time of writing in the US and Canada, while European and Australian availability will begin this November.

The Blade gets white hot … figuratively speaking
In addition to this more approachable Blade model, Razer has also revealed a new color scheme for the more ‘advanced’ version of the laptop: Mercury White. Keeping to the aesthetic, the Razer logo on this laptop’s lid does not light up, and the USB ports are done in black rather than neon green.Of course, nothing else about the laptop is different from the standard model that launched earlier this year. However, Razer is only offering this color scheme with 144Hz displays and 512GB SSDs, with the GTX 1060 model costing $2,199 (about £1,665, AU$3,095) and the GTX 1070 version going for $2,599 (about £1,968, AU$3,658).The Mercury White Razer Blade will be available in the US and Canada through Razer’s website directly later this year. Unfortunately, no mention has been made of European and Australian availability. Here’s to hoping you folks get the fancy color treatment soon enough.
These are the best graphics cards we’ve tested this past year

Microsoft has fixed that file-deleting bug in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft has fixed that file-deleting bug in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update

After having to embarrassingly halt the rollout of its big new October 2018 Update for Windows 10 late last week – just days after its original release – Microsoft has today said that it’s squashed the file-deleting bug that was the cause for the pause, and is preparing to redeploy the update pending testing by Windows Insiders.Under specific conditions, the bug resulted in the deletion of predefined user folders, such as Documents and Pictures, when a feature called Known Folder Redirection (KFR) was also in use. KFR allows users to change the location of those predefined Windows folders – so they can be moved to other drives, for example – but to be affected by the bug, users also needed to have kept the original (old) versions of these predefined files and folders in place.  In an official blog post, the tech giant has stated that only a small number of Windows users were affected by the problem – specifically, less than one one-hundredth of 1% (or 0.0001%) of all installs. At the time the bug was discovered, the October 2018 Update was only being offered to users who had manually clicked the ‘Check for updates’ button within Windows settings, which Microsoft credits with helping to minimize its impact.
Tentative steps to re-release
At present, the revised version of the October 2018 Update is only being made available to users who’ve signed up to the Windows Insider program, and Microsoft says it will monitor their feedback and data diagnostics.A wider release will follow once the company is sure that the issue has been fully resolved, although a specific date for the rollout has not yet been announced.Microsoft recommends that any users affected by the bug should call their local Microsoft support number, and technicians will be able to assist users with recovering any data that’s been lost.
Here’s how to fix October 2018 Update problems if you’ve already installed it

Apple software reportedly bricks third-party MacBook Pro repairs

Apple software reportedly bricks third-party MacBook Pro repairs

Updated: according to teardown specialists iFixit, 2018 MacBook Pros can be operated on and repaired without being bricked… at least for the time being. It’s possible this could be modified in the future.Our original report is below…If something goes awry with your shiny new MacBook Pro, you might not want to turn to your friendly local Apple repair shop. Motherboard reports, citing an internal Apple document, that the latest MacBook Pro models have software locks installed that prevent third parties from successfully completing repairs on the laptops.The document in question is a policy update given to members of Apple’s Authorized Service Provider program, which details that new MacBook Pro models will be rendered ‘inoperative’ unless special ‘system configuration’ software is run following the replacement of any parts. This policy apparently applies to the iMac Pro as well, as the policy only regards Mac computers with Apple’s T2 co-processor inside.If an Apple hardware repair shop isn’t part of the company’s Authorized Service Provider program, which naturally demands a membership fee, then it doesn’t have access to this now essential software known as the ‘Apple Service Toolkit 2.’This software is designed to confirm that all of the computers’ components are working properly together, but only works when the computer is connected to Apple’s cloud servers for repairs and service that requires a login sent direct from Apple: the Global Service Exchange (GSX).Specifically, Motherboard reports that the documents list which kinds of MacBook Pro and iMac Pro repairs require this configuration software to be run afterward. For the laptops, replacing the display, logic board, top case (including the keyboard, touchpad and their housings) and Touch ID board triggers the software lock, whereas it will activate on the iMac Pro after the logic board or flash storage are replaced.
Want a repair? You better go through Apple
Not only does this mean that independent hardware repair shops won’t be able to reliably repair your new Macbook Pro or iMac Pro should something go wrong, but you won’t even be able to fix them yourself, if you’re so inclined and capable.This means that, even if you were willing to void your warranty to install one of the parts listed above, you won’t be able to with these machines.It’s a move the flies directly in the face of the growing ‘Right to Repair’ movement in the US, of which 19 states have legislation under consideration to underpin the movement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Apple is actively lobbying against the movement, according to New York state public lobbying records that Motherboard has sourced.Apple also has a history of making it harder to upgrade your Macs yourself by introducing soldered memory and a custom controller on its NVMe SSDs.Apple has yet to respond publicly to Motherboard’s report. So, cross your fingers nothing goes wrong with your new MacBook Pro or iMac Pro – especially if there’s no authorized Apple repair shop near you.
These are the best Macs we’ve tested to dateVia Neowin

Microsoft pauses Windows 10 October 2018 update over file deletions

Microsoft pauses Windows 10 October 2018 update over file deletions

Microsoft has hit the pause button in its rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 update while it investigates reports of users having their files deleted: while many users have installed the upgrade with no problems, some early adopters have found files going missing from their Documents and Pictures folders.”We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” says Microsoft on the updated support page for the new software upgrade.If you’ve experienced problems with erased files after applying the update then you’re encouraged to get in touch with Microsoft directly, so its engineers can get to the bottom of what’s been happening (contact details here). If you’ve manually downloaded the update, Microsoft advises not installing it for the time being.
Not the smoothest of updates
At the moment it’s difficult to gauge the scale of the problem, but there are now enough threads and forum posts to suggest something is happening for at least a few unlucky users. Files from documents and the desktop can be among those affected, though different users seem to be affected differently.Rolling back the update doesn’t seem to bring the files back, while dedicated file recovery software isn’t guaranteed to work either. The full automatic rollout isn’t scheduled until October 9, so that may now get pushed back.It’s not been the smoothest of update processes for Microsoft, even though the October 2018 has been extensively tested as part of the Windows Insider program beforehand. Users have also reported post-update problems with the Microsoft Edge browser and some newer Intel processors and the associated display audio driver.
Here’s how to fix October 2018 update problems if you’ve already installed itVia Engadget

Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio: is it time to upgrade?

Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio: is it time to upgrade?

The original Surface Studio set a new gold standard for desktop computers when it launched shy of two years ago and now the Surface Studio 2 looks to eclipse it with better hardware in every way. With an updated processor, graphics card and brighter screen, Microsoft’s new desktop might look like a complete win. However, a closer look at the upgraded specs and the higher price has us feeling otherwise… Is Microsoft’s more recent workstation the better of the two? Come with us as we pit the Surface Studio 2 against the Surface Studio in a head-to-head match up.

Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio design
Design-wise nothing at all has changed about the Surface Studio whether you’re looking its screen, the computer base or the whole of the exterior. That said, while we weren’t expecting the Surface Studio 2 to jump to a 30-inch screen, we were impressed that main computer box didn’t needed to grow a single millimeter to accommodate stronger components.The silver lining in all this is that the Surface Studio 2 sticks to the same great, flexible design we’ve come to love. It’s still the most elegant all-in-one desktop that looks modern and clean and the only all-in-one desktop you can then transform into a digital drafting table by pushing the screen down with a single finger.

Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio specs
The Surface Studio 2 has seen a complete spec bump with Intel 7th Generation Kaby Lake processors, Nvidia Pascal graphics. Comparatively, the Surface Studio launched last year came equipped with a 6th Generation Skylake processor, Nvidia Maxwell graphics card options.Overall, users will mostly see greater graphical performance from these silicon improvements. Pascal has run laps around Maxwell graphics, so users will be able to play games at higher-quality settings more easily. Of course, creatives will benefit most from being display complex 3D art, large illustrations and high-resolution video without stuttering their GPU.The changeover from Skylake to Kaby Lake processor will primarily enhance 4K streaming while delivering only slightly faster base and boost clock speeds.Rendering these complex files is usually taken care of by the processor. For this reason, we feel very disappointed Intel did not introduce hexa-core H-series processors from the Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake series.

Thankfully, Microsoft also moved away from its use of a hybrid-hard drive with only 64GB to 128GB of integrated solid-state storage to just plain old NVMe SSDs. Also, after much bemoaning from critics and the community, the Surface Studio 2 now features a USB-C port we felt the original desktop lacked. Although the Surface Studio 2’s sticks to the same 28.125-inch size and 4,500 x 3,000 resolution as its predecessor, Microsoft has definitely improved the display on its new desktop. Rather than just being a PixelSense display, the Surface Studio 2 now has a Brilliant PixelSense Display, which is supposedly 500 nits brighter to give us a panel that’s 38% brighter and 22% higher contrast.The starting SKU has also seen a prominent upgrade as Microsoft’s all-in-one desktop now starts with an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of memory. Unfortunately, that improved base configuration also means a higher starting price as we’ll soon see.
Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio price
Better hardware unfortunately means a higher price and you’ll find the Surface Studio 2 starts at a $3,499 or AU$5,499 (about £2,690) price that used to be reserved for the mid-range Surface Studio. From there, Microsoft’s newest self-made desktop reaches a peak price of $4,799 or AU$7,499 (about £3,690) for the highest-end configuration.

Surface Studio 2 vs Surface Studio design: should I upgrade?
Well … not really, to be honest.Until we get to test the Surface Studio 2, it seems like the Microsoft merely made it desktop better at gaming and showing off 4K content. Whether it’s a better engine to create content with remains to be seen.The higher starting price point also makes the Surface Studio 2 even less accessible than its predecessor. So with this all in mind, it seems like only those with an original Surface Studio hungry for more graphical power and USB-C connectivity should be interested in purchasing it. Our opinion may change with our final review, until then stay tuned for our continuing coverage.
For our next match up, it’s the Surface Pro 6 vs Surface Pro 2017

Microsoft might make a shrunken Surface that fits in your pocket

Microsoft might make a shrunken Surface that fits in your pocket

Microsoft may have not delivered on a Surface Phone last night, but Microsoft’s Surface Chief Panos Panay promises the company’s working a pocketable Surface device and more.How can we be so sure? In an interview published today, Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices Group, refers to a pocketable Surface device as being “absolutely my baby” before alluding to the existence of Surface devices in other form factors outside of the ones already available.While it seems like Panay affirms the existence of a much smaller Surface, Panay makes it sound like the devices arrival won’t be coming any time soon – as he stresses that Microsoft “can’t bring new categories into the world and not be a place where customers need it.”“I think any other form factor you haven’t seen yet we’ve gotta get right, we’ve got to make sure we keep inventing to make it perfect,” he said to The Verge. “I’m not talking about just the hardware, I’m talking about the whole thing. What it means to you, how it gives people the opportunity to be the best that they can be or transforms something they don’t do already.”The Surface Headphones is a clear representation that Microsoft isn’t afraid of venturing into new product categories as long as its products are novel. Case in point: the new Cortana-enabled headset features some gimmicks we’ve never seen before like rotating control dials and adjustable noise cancellation.

A modular Surface Studio?
In a second, related interview between Panay and The Verge, it seems Microsoft may have more modular devices in store for us.When pressed about the Surface Hub 2’s modular design trickling down to a future Surface Studio, Panay said “probably, you look at it and you see what’s the evolution and how do we make it better for our customer. there’s still so much more to do, and while I won’t tell you what it is you can put stories together.”While that’s basically a non-answer, it’s not a flat-out denial of its existence. There’s at least one Microsoft patent depicting a modular desktop computer according to The Verge.A modular design of the Surface Studio would be extremely welcome as it seems every version of it released so far is a generation or two behind the latest processors and graphics cards. This is especially true of the Surface Studio 2, which features Kaby Lake CPUs and Nvidia Pascal GPUs.
Here’s everything Microsoft announced during its Surface Event

All-black Surface Laptop pops up ahead of Microsoft’s October 2 event

All-black Surface Laptop pops up ahead of Microsoft’s October 2 event

Microsoft is expected to unveil a gaggle of refreshed Surface devices during its October 2 event, particularly sequels to Surface Laptop, Surface Studio and Surface Pro, but it might also have a brand new color scheme in the works. Leaked marketing images through Microsoft’s New Zealand events website have revealed what appears to be an all-black Surface Laptop. While the events page is inaccessible from other region, outlets like WindowsLatest have been able to rip images from the page as well as some telling words.“In April 2012, Microsoft launched the Surface RT, its sleek black chassis, detachable keyboard and integrated kickstand started a wave of innovation that has no signs of slowing down. Surface devices have inspired people to draw on their screens, work anywhere, collaborate across the world on 84-inch Hubs, crank the volume with dial and even float their all in one screen up and down with a zero gravity hinge. It is safe to say the devices have come a long way in 6 years.But in October 2018, Surface goes Back to Black.Come and join us at Studio 203, Ponsonby Road for a 45 minute Surface partner update followed by lunch & a chance to network with the Microsoft Modern Workplace team.”While this copy specifically refers to an event to be held in New Zealand, we seriously doubt that Microsoft would hold back such a redesign from the rest of the world. Judging by the leaked image, Microsoft will employ a black-painted aluminum on top of a black version of its Alcantara fabric keyboard deck.Here’s to hoping that A. this is true and B. that it’s not just for the Oceanic regions – and C. that this color scheme isn’t just for Surface Laptop 2, but Surface Pro 5 as well as Surface Studio 2.
These are the best Windows tablets we’ve tested this past yearVia MSPowerUser

The regional gap in AI adoption

The regional gap in AI adoption

To better understand how artificial intelligence (AI) is being adopted differently by nations around the world, we sat down with Virtusa’s Executive Vice President of Global Digital Solutions, Frank Palermo.
We’ve also highlighted the best AI platforms for business1. Is there much disparity between different global regions’ approaches to robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles or, indeed, their policies on these technologies?
As AI takes a more prevalent role in our society, the issue of ethics and governance has become critical, and policymakers around the globe have a collective responsibility to be forward thinking when deciding how best to regulate it. It is imperative that AI is managed in a way that allows the technology to reach its full potential, while ensuring it doesn’t have a negative impact on humans and society.The US has historically left technology companies relatively unimpeded by government oversight or stringent regulation, with the market dominance of the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google) serving as a perfect example of this. While China has taken almost the opposite approach, with the Chinese government having a more ‘hands-on’ role, specifically mentioning AI in their ‘grand vision’ for the country, this has somehow still resulted in a similar ecosystem of tech giants, namely the BAT companies (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent). Like America’s FAANGs, China’s BATs have established their own AI-dedicated labs, with Baidu in particular investing 15% of its revenue in R&D in AI related research.Elsewhere, Europe has a growing AI industry presence, inviting considerable attention from European regulators, though there is currently no overarching legislative approach towards AI in the region. Additionally, in the Middle East, attitudes towards AI are fairly liberal. For example, Saudi Arabia grabbed international headlines for granting citizenshipto Sophia (the AI robot) and the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031 – aiming to enhance sectors like education, transportation, energy and space to achieve 100% reliance on AI for government services and data analysis by 2031.  
2. Can you comment on the investment environments in these different regions?
With the global business value derived from AI projected to total $1.2 trillion in 2018, it stands to reason that global investments in the technology continue to skyrocket.   China is aggressively investing in AI, with the country’s AI startups benefitting from government support as state agencies are directing capital to these companies. One such beneficiary, facial recognition startup Megvii, received a $460 million investment from a Chinese government-backed venture capital fund. 
3. What is your view on mature and emerging technologies within the AI sphere?
The field of AI is rapidly maturing due to the availability of data, data storage and compute power that is now readily available through cloud and API services. The technology has moved from simple back-office automation, revolutionising the way businesses interact with their customers.Voice-enabled digital assistants are a great example of this, having quickly become a staple in the consumer and home market. Expect to see more companies adopt virtual assistants to support people in their use of technology in the workplace, with the assistants developing more human characteristics in the future, and better interpreting context and meaning.The world of robotics is also changing, with robots becoming more sophisticated, mobile, collaborative and human friendly. This improved level of maturity has caused rapid expansion of robots into industries beyond manufacturing, including healthcare, service industries and transportation. Robotics were initially focused on improving efficiency and enabling greater productivity but now, the technology is beginning to address other global concerns such as skills shortages, workplace safety, and keeping up with the accelerating pace of business.
4. What are some of the areas causing uncertainty within AI?  Anything, perhaps, controversial?
There are many areas of uncertainty and controversy with regard to AI, with some even proving to be deadly. For example, if AI accidentally kills a human being, who is responsible? Last year, Tesla reported its first Autopilot fatality when its sensors did not detect the white side of a tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky. A controversial debate immediately surfaced on whether Tesla had to be held responsible for this. Similarly, there are concerns on how we can control the weaponising of AI. The United Nations recently discussed the use of autonomous weapons and the possibility to institute an international ban on “killer robots.”  There are also many questions surrounding how can we control AI from being unleashed in cyber-attacks. Last year, two data scientists from security firm ZeroFOX conducted an experiment to see who was better at getting Twitter users to click on malicious links: humans or artificial intelligence. The researchers taught an AI to study the behaviour of social network users, and then design and implement its own phishing bait. In tests, the artificial hacker was substantially better than its human competitors, composing and distributing more phishing tweets than humans, and with a substantially better conversion rate. These uses of AI and many others need to be carefully considered and regulated to protect humans and society from harm. To accomplish this, organisations must come together to discuss the proper governance and ethics mechanisms that must be implemented to minimise the risks of AI, while harnessing the full potential of this technology.
5. Finally, what will be the ultimate effect of AI?
AI-powered technology such as robotics and machine learning has already improved productivity and enhanced the economies of many nations, and will continue to do so. Future advancements will certainly have an even greater effect on some classes of jobs, though it is important to bear in mind that apocalyptic predictions of robot overlords are hyperbolic, and AI will also create jobs and roles we have not yet fully envisioned. Ultimately, AI is about improving human performance and intelligence, not replacing it.AI will be the battlefield of the future, with the successful deployment of the tech influencing how countries compete, shifting the balance of power in both the global economy and international relations. Countries that master AI first will have a crucial strategic advantage in writing the rules for the next global order. That’s why investing in AI is becoming a major initiative for both emerging and well-established economies.Frank Palermo is Executive Vice President – Global Digital Solutions at Virtusa
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