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Apple iPad Pro unveiled at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.

New 10.5-inch iPad Pro brings a lot of familiar with a bigger display, more power

Winston Sih | posted Monday, Jun 12th, 2017

As computers become thinner and lighter, and tablets grow larger and more powerful, the line of whether you need one or the other is continuing to blur. Apple’s new productivity-focused tablet, iPad Pro is no exception.

If I had to choose between my MacBook Pro or iPad Pro, nine times out of 10, I’m still going to choose the laptop. I find I’m generally more comfortable and don’t get anxious about the limitations of using a tablet. The tech giant continues to market these devices to two very different crowds—but is it working?

Let’s get to the basics

Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is just 6.1mm thick and less than one pound.

Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is just 6.1mm thick and less than one pound.

iPad Pro now comes in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, the former replacing the previous 9.7-inch tablet. The 10.5-inch version rings in at 6.1 millimetres in thickness, while still giving you nearly 20 per cent larger screen surface.

Apple’s claiming iPad Pro to have the most advanced display, featuring their ProMotion technology—essentially a doubled refresh rate at 120Hz to give you enhanced responsiveness. And I would consider it a success. The screen looks more vivid, snappier, and interacts well with the Apple Pencil—an accessory sold at an additional $129 CAD.

You can tell this device is built for productivity. I launched almost every one of my over 50 apps, and iPad Pro barely slowed down. Apple has integrated their new 64-bit A10X Fusion chip that handles the most demanding of heavy apps, giving this up to 30 per cent faster CPU and 40 per cent graphics than the previous A9X chip. I successfully streamed multiple 4K videos with no lag whatsoever.

Software brings new features, but you’ll have to wait

iOS 11, the next iteration of the mobile operating system coming to iPad Pro, will bring a lot of familiar from its Mac counterpart. But you won’t get it until later this fall. Some of these features include an application dock that is reminiscent of macOS, but drastically increases multitasking, as well as improved file management and inter-app content flows like drag-and-drop photos.

It’s just too bad the hardware and software changes weren’t timed together, however very clear that Apple is saving the release to work with the launch of their flagship phone—iPhone—typically in the fall, too.

For those who like to hold their iPads up in big crowds and take photos

Yes, you know who you are—you’ll find a 12-megapixel camera capable of shooting 4K HD video, a front-facing 7-megapixel camera for video calls, as well as a four-speaker audio setup.

This device is great for content consumption. There is no doubt about that. I’d much rather have my iPad Pro out at the airport or on a flight than my MacBook. Be it magazines or movies, everything from visual to audio will be pristine.

Gorgeous accessories, but it’ll cost you

Apple iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil accessories.

Apple iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil accessories.

This is where I think Apple’s signature design aesthetic wins. Yes, you can buy third-party accessories, but nothing compares to the Smart Keyboard. The larger size now enables a full-sized keyboard, both software and hardware, and the Smart Connector allows for connectivity without charging or Bluetooth.

Apple iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, designed to work with their keyboard add-on.

Apple iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, designed to work with their keyboard add-on.

Coupled with the interactive Apple Pencil for annotations and note taking, the keyboard and pencil combo will set you back just under $350 CAD, before you even buy the device!

Other accessories include a leather sleeve, Apple Pencil case, and a Smart Cover that doubles as a stand.

The verdict

When I go back to the MacBook Pro vs. iPad Pro debate, if I had to pick one product, I’d still go back to the MacBook Pro. That is, if I’m strictly thinking productivity. You get the benefits of a full macOS with the thin and portable design of iPad with the keyboard and travelling case. Plus, the 12-inch iPad Pro is still really weighty. If you’re making your tablet look and perform like a laptop—just go get one.

10.5-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard pictured above 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

10.5-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard pictured above 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

iPad Pro is beautiful, but for it to be a true workhorse, you need the accessories. Add it to the starting-at pricing of $869 and $1,049 for the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, respectively, you’re pricing out to be near a MacBook or MacBook Pro, not to mention competitors out there like Microsoft’s Surface.

For big content consumers who value the Apple ecosystem and the extensive App Store, alongside the improved, vibrant display, and expanded keyboard size, iPad Pro could bring over more folks who want to shed the full computer experience for a simplified and user-friendly mobile design—made even better with iOS 11.

Apple updates iMac, MacBook lines; doubles down on performance

Winston Sih | posted Wednesday, Jun 7th, 2017

The new 27-inch iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

 

Apple refreshed its line of Mac computers at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, including the iMac desktop – a device the tech giant hasn’t updated in almost two years. Manufacturers typically renew computers at least yearly to stay relevant.

iMac reimagined on the inside, not out

Not much has changed on the exterior, but the first thing you do notice when powering on is the vibrancy of the display – boasting a beautiful 4K display and 5K display in the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, respectively. These displays are 43 per cent brighter than its predecessor at 500 nits with support for one billion colours. Essentially, you’re guaranteeing yourself a vivid picture with whatever you’re doing.

The thin bezel of the new Apple iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The thin bezel of the new Apple iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

From a performance perspective, Apple has heavily invested in the Intel Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core i5 processor as standard, with an option to upgrade to Core i7. Measured against the previous-generation model, the new iMac will allow for three-times-faster gaming on the 21.5-inch model.

iMac pushes the envelope in storage with the evolution of the Fusion Drive across the 27-inch line and on the high-end 21.5-inch 4K computer, adding higher-capacity memory. Fusion Drives allow users to access frequently used documents, photos, videos, on a flash drive, eliminating spinning disks of the traditional hard drive. It means fewer parts to break down. I’d like to see a move to this being standard on all desktops.

Available ports on the 27-inch iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

Available ports on the 27-inch iMac. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

Users will find plenty of connectivity on the 27-inch iMac, and unlike iPhone 7, there’s still a headphone jack, alongside four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 (a.k.a. USB-C for everyone else), a Gigabit Ethernet, and an SD card port. This allows for added displays, high-speed hard drive connectivity, and other third-party accessories.

Among the updates from the conference include a peek at the next iteration of the Mac platform – macOS High Sierra – chock-a-block full of new toys for developers to create immersive experiences for users, like virtual reality. However, the upgrade won’t be available until the fall.

MacBook Pro: Building on its success

The previous generation of MacBook Pro made the laptop much thinner and lighter. Plus, the integration of a fluid and interactive Touch Bar and Touch ID fingerprint reader has been surprisingly useful — not just a gimmick — and the 2017 version builds on that.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The upgrades bring a routine processor and hard drive boost. Machines will see the same Intel Kaby Lake processor as its desktop counterparts, as well as faster solid-state drives, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro will have snappier graphics out of the gate.

The notebook could benefit from an added USB 3.0 port for so many existing devices while still offering flexibility in the increasingly popular USB-C port. I also miss the SD card reader. Can there be a balance struck with ports, or lack thereof?

 

The OLED-lit Touch Bar on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The OLED-lit Touch Bar on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

As for the OLED-lit Touch Bar that offers virtual buttons that react to the specific program you’re in, the technology continues to be unique in its class. I’d like to see exponential growth of adoption by third-party developers for it to be a real hit. But for the apps that currently utilize this, it’s fantastic.

 

The Force Touch trackpad on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The Force Touch trackpad on the 15-inch MacBook Pro. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

 

With the last MacBook Pro, I had some issues with the shallow-but-tactile butterfly keyboard sticking. Apple has made some improvements to address reported problems with switch keys.

Other standard updates include increased speed and longer battery life. A larger Force Touch trackpad that reacts to the amount of pressure given to surface different actions remains.

MacBook receives a minor—but needed—spec bump

The new entry-level MacBook. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The new entry-level MacBook. CITYNEWS/Winston Sih

The entry-level MacBook remains one of Apple most popular laptops. It’s small in form and packs a punch as an ultraportable device, though it’s not as powerful as its sibling MacBook Pro. It gets the job done if you’re a parent just looking to surf the web and answer emails.

The entry-level laptop will get a boost in processor gigahertz, albeit minor at 1.2GHz dual-core, but when you’re working with less than 1.5 GHz to start with, every bit counts — even when you simply have a handful of web browser windows open.

In addition, the new solid-state drives are 50 per cent faster than its predecessor — rounding out a machine many students will no doubt adopt come September.

Availability

The new MacBook and MacBook Pro machines are available now.

A pro version of the iMac—aptly named iMac Pro—was announced Monday, but will not be available for sale until December. The updated classic line is available today.

 

BT Book Club – You Will Know Me

Leah Sarich | posted Monday, Apr 24th, 2017

youwillknowmebook

Here it is… the next book for the BT Book Club!! You Will Know Me is a thrill ride. The New York Times  says of author Megan Abbott “she resumes her customary role of black cat, opaque and unblinking, filling her readers with queasy suspicion at every turn.”

It’s the story of Katie and Eric Knox and their talented gymnast daughter Devon. Devon is an Olympic hopeful and the family has done everything it can to support her. Then, a tragedy strikes their gym community weeks before a very important competition and the Knox family must figure out how far they’ll go to make sure their daughter succeeds.

Allison Streit from the Calgary Public Library says BT Book Clubbers will love this book for its fast pace and relatable characters. We’ll be chatting about You Will Know Me on Facebook Live on May 15th. Pick up your copy at the local library today! Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

BT Book Club – The Forgetting Time

Leah Sarich | posted Monday, Apr 3rd, 2017

TheForgettingTime-small

Hello BT Book Clubbers!!

Thanks so much to those of you who joined us on Facebook Live for our previous discussion about Neverhome. Our next chat will be about The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.

The story is about four year old Noah and his mother Janie. Noah has always been a little different but one day he starts asking for his ‘other’ mother. He knows things he shouldn’t know. He’s terrified of water but his mom doesn’t know why. Eventually, Janie starts to wonder if Noah is talking about a previous life. She enlists the help of a disgraced professor who believes Noah may the case he’s been looking for his entire career.

This book is a serious page-turner, gripping and fearless. And it asks all those big questions… what happens to us after we die? what is the meaning of life? of motherhood? of regret?

Please join me, some BT producers, Allison Streit from the Calgary Public Library and other readers just like you.

Look for this discussion in two weeks… April 17th on Facebook Live.

Happy reading!!

BT Book Club – Book 2 – Neverhome

Leah Sarich | posted Wednesday, Feb 22nd, 2017

bookclub2edit

Hello BT Book Clubbers!

Well, have you started reading book 2 yet? It’s called Neverhome by Laird Hunt. I just started reading it last night and the first line hooked me!!  This novel is about a woman who disguises herself as a man so she can fight in the American Civil War. So many questions and I haven’t even finished the first chapter. Why is she going to fight? Why isn’t her husband? What does he think about his wife doing this? How does she disguise herself? What will happen when the fighting begins?

Please join us in partnership with the Calgary Public Library and pick up a copy and read along. We’d love to hear what you think of the book! Librarian Allison Streit and I along with some other BT producers will be sharing our thoughts at our next BT Book Club chat on Facebook Live and we’ll hope you’ll join us! This discussion is set for March 28th so lots of time to find the book and dive in!

Our last BT Book Club chat on Facebook Live has already had over 2800 views!!

As always, happy reading!

BT Book Club – 2 days left for Lucy

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Feb 7th, 2017

BTBookClub lucybook1

Hello Book Lovers!

We’re going to have our first BT Book Club discussion on Thursday, yes 2 days from now, about My Name is Lucy Barton! Allison Streit from the Calgary Public Library and I will have our regular book segment on Breakfast Television (we’ll chat romantic books in the spirit of Valentine’s Day) and then right after the show we’ll discuss My Name is Lucy Barton on Facebook Live.

Have you finished it yet? I have and I can’t wait to hear what you think!! Along with Allison and I, you’ll hear from several of our behind the scenes BT producers who’ve also read the book!

Also on Thursday’s segment on BT, Allison will reveal book number 2 for the BT Book Club… and here’s a hint: it’s about a heroic woman during the American Civil War.

See you on Thursday and as always, happy reading!

BT Book Club – My Name is Lucy Barton

Leah Sarich | posted Thursday, Jan 19th, 2017

BTBookClub

Hello and Welcome to the BT Book Club!!

I couldn’t be more excited about this! I can’t wait to share my love of reading with all of you. We are partnering with Allison Streit from the Calgary Public Library who is a fellow book lover. Allison will do her regular monthly segment on Breakfast Television and then following that visit we’ll have our BT Book Club chat on Facebook Live.

Allison and her colleagues at the Library have chosen My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout as our first book. If you don’t know this author, she’s an American novelist most famous for her Pulitzer Prize winning book Olive Kitteridge. You might know the name of this book because HBO turned it into a miniseries starring Frances McDormand. (This miniseries is amazing, by the way, and a must-watch if you haven’t already.)

My Name is Lucy Barton is Elizabeth Strout’s fifth novel, a New York Times Bestseller. It’s a mother daughter story. It starts with Lucy Barton hospitalized with an infection, a complication from a routine surgery. Her mother, whom she hasn’t seen in years, comes to visit her. The two revisit Lucy’s difficult childhood that was filled with poverty and abuse. Growing up, Lucy’s main source of solace was in books and she quickly realized she wanted to be a writer. As soon as Lucy was able she fled her childhood home and years later this hospital visit from her mother allows them to reconnect.

I’m just a few chapters in but the first chapter is one of the best I’ve ever read, and I’ve read many! So far, My Name is Lucy Barton is very accessible, thoughtful and compelling! Delighted to hear what you think!

I’ll post again closer to our chat date with specific times and how you can weigh in! Happy reading!

World Diabetes Day

Leah Sarich | posted Monday, Nov 14th, 2016

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It’s World Diabetes Day. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, one in three Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes and these numbers are only going to go up as our population ages. Diabetes is a chronic disease that is challenging for patients to manage. Endocrinologist Dr. Doreen Rabi says she sees her patients struggling to manage their blood sugars, administering insulin, tracking diet and exercise and watching stress levels. She says if diabetes is not managed properly patients are at risk for serious complications like kidney disease, heart disease and lower limb amputation.

So Dr. Rabi and her research team are working to develop some new technology that can help. They see patients using current technology like fitness or diet trackers along with the blood sugar monitoring devices but these technologies do not talk to each other to distill the important information. Dr. Rabi says patients often get frustrated by this and stop using the devices. So, Dr. Rabi and her team are working with computer science specialists to see if they can come up with a piece of technology that will either gather all the relevant information or allow the current technologies to share information. Her researchers are currently talking with patients and their care providers to determine which information is the most crucial. They hope to have an application that they can test on current diabetes patients by next year.

For more information on diabetes visit this website.

 

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