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TECH TALK

An Apple a day

A first look at the iPhone 11 Pro, the new Apple TV+ streaming service, and Razer's hot-on-the-heels phone cases

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iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

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Apple TV+

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Razer Arctech phone cases

iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, successors to last year' iPhone XS and XS Max, have landed. In terms of design, there are some subtle changes. The phone itself is still made out of a combination of stainless steel and glass but the finish on the back is no longer glossy. It's matte. It feels grippier in the hands, and is a little heavier and a little thicker. This could be due to the glass, which Apple says its the hardest that they have ever put on an iPhone. Hopefully, this means less cracked screens.

Screen sizes and resolution are unchanged from the XS and XS Max. But a new display, Super Retina XDR, means it can now get even brighter - up to 1,200 nits - and it has a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The display is HDR-certified, supports the DCI-P3 colour space, and therefore looks mighty gorgeous: crisp and sharp with bright, vivid, punchy colours.

The big change is to the camera system. The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max both have a triple-camera system consisting of three 12MP cameras. The front camera has been improved too. It now shoots at 12MP and, for the first time ever, can record video in slow-motion. Apple calls these resulting slow-motion selfie videos "slowfies".

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But to be honest, Apple is playing catch-up here as Android phones with triple-camera systems are now commonplace. Still, Apple's system looks mighty refined and results, at least in the sample images that I have seen, look really nice.

Also worth mentioning is that all three cameras can record videos at up to 4K 60fps. And there's a Night Mode that turns on automatically in the dark but I have been told that this only works with the wide camera and not the other two. It will be intriguing to see how it stacks up against Google's Night Sight.

Inside, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are both powered by Apple's new A13 Bionic processor, which promises better performance and efficiency. The A13 also powers the iPhone 11.

On pricing, Apple has sensibly kept prices the same as last year's XS and XS Max.

iPhone 11 Pro: 64GB (S$1,649) / 256GB (S$1,889) / 512GB (S$2,199)
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 64GB (S$1,799) / 256GB (S$2,039) / 512GB (S$2,349)

By Kenny Yeo


Apple TV+

Apple announced that its Apple TV+ streaming service will launch on Nov 1. It's coming to Singapore, too, and is priced at S$6.98/month after a 7-day free trial. Customers who purchase any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac will get 1 year of Apple TV+ for free.

Apple TV+ content can be accessed through the new Apple TV app available on the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms (like Samsung's 2019 TVs). You can also watch the TV shows and movies through your browser (Safari, Chrome or Firefox) by going to tv.apple.com.

A Family Sharing group allows up to six family members can access the service on one subscription.

At launch, Apple TV+ will feature originals such as See, The Morning Show, Dickinson, For All Mankind, Helpsters, Snoopy in Space, Ghostwriter and The Elephant Queen. There's also book club content from Oprah Winfrey. Beyond the launch content, Apple promises to add new originals each month, and a couple I'm excited about are Servant, which is a new psychological thriller from M Night Shyamala; and The Banker, which stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L Jackson.

Apple says that its Apple TV app will come to more devices - such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku and LG, Roku, Sony and Vizio's smart TVs - "in the future". For TVs that don't have the app yet but support AirPlay 2, it's possible to mirror Apple TV+ content from the Apple TV app on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac directly to your big screen.

By Ng Chong Seng


Razer Arctech phone cases

Razer is looking to piggyback on the droves that flock to every new iPhone launch, with its just-announced Arctech Pro and Arctech Slim cases for the iPhone 11 line (2018 models are supported as well), both of which are supposed to keep your phone cool during an intense gaming session.

The cases come just as Apple is making a serious push in the mobile gaming space with Apple Arcade. At its event in the Steve Jobs Theater last week, Apple introduced exclusive titles from famed Japanese publishers Capcom and Konami, and the company has an entire roster of games planned for the service.

To that end, Razer says the perforations and custom-developed Thermaprene material on its cases will help your iPhone stay chilly, which can stave off drops in performance and battery life.

According to Razer, its own tests show that the Arctech case maintains temperatures up to 6°C lower than similar style cases. In addition, it was supposedly able to keep the phone below the maximum recommended operating temperature during a 2-hour test cycle, whereas a rival case saw it breach that limit within 20 minutes.

Of course, there's no way to independently verify this at the moment, but I think it's safe to say that Arctech won't make temperatures worse at the very least.

The Arctech Pro is the more rugged of the two, featuring a scratch-resistant backplate, four shock-absorbing side walls, and a polycarbonate/thermoplastic exterior to protect against drops. On the other hand, the Arctech Slim more closely resembles a snap-on case that adds less bulk to your phone. Both cases are lined by soft microfibre on the inside as well.

They won't get in the way of wireless charging either and will work with Qi-certified chargers.

They're available to buy right now at US$29.99 and US$39.99 for the Arctech Slim and Pro respectively. There's also a THS version, which is more expensive at US$44.99. You can pick from three different colours, including Black, Quartz, and Mercury. Razer is also releasing a blue light tempered glass screen protector at US$39.99.

By Koh Wanzi

*This content first appeared on hardwarezone.com.sg