Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, 9 November 2020.

Stop press: Pfizer is saying its coronavirus vaccine trial is 90% effective. Here’s more on that stunning Pfizer-COVID19 vaccine news just being announced (NY Times)


1. Apple’s biggest launch could start the biggest tech week since… 2007?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's F8 Conference 2019.

Here’s how this week looks, as what was once private at Apple, Microsoft, and Sony, finally comes out into the open:

  • November 10: Apple’s biggest keynote in years. Since the …iPad in 2010? Or even the iPhone in 2007? Huge milestone keynotes, but the shift to Apple Silicon should be more than just a new MacBook with better battery life and handy processor, the absolute ground floor of expectations.
  • With Apple having control over its timeline, production of processors, and chipset design to get the most out of its software, it’s going to be big. The real changes might come in the years to come, but this will be the marker in the ground.
  • Remember: We expect three new MacBooks, including a 13-inch MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and possibly a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
  • Ask yourself now if Apple Silicon will change the PC industry towards Arm, as it seems like Apple is ditching x64 entirely compared to the world of PC makers. The major makers are of course Windows first with some Arm-based chipsets that are only just more than experiments — we’ve seen Microsoft with its Surface Pro X and Acer’s Spin 7 as just two.
  • Also on the Arm-front, November 10 is the annual MediaTek Summit, which is expected to see the Arm chipmaker talk about its next Dimensity CPU, and a processor specifically for ChromeOS. Not a lot more out there on this yet. (This is about 1/100th of the other news when we look back on the history, but it still matters this week.)
  • And the other major November 10 entry is the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Series S are released. Unlike Sony, retailers will be offering the console in store. Other people should see their pre-orders arrive to unbox, if they haven’t already had them delivered like a bunch of lucky folks (Reddit). There’ll be unlucky people with their noses pressed to their windows, too. Sorry to them.
  • November 12: The PlayStation 5 release date, where all the above with the Xbox happens as well, but with Sony’s latest and greatest, plus Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the updated adventure ready for launch, though not quite the brand-new exclusive blockbuster. Still, PlayStation 5 reviews (Digital Foundry), which came out right after last week’s Friday newsletter, welcomed in the next generation with only a few nits to pick, while the DualSense controller is being universally loved. It’s going to be fun.
  • To finish the week, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini will be available in stores and arriving beginning from November 13.

2. Report: Samsung beat Apple in the US market for the first time in three years in Q3 2020, with the deck stacked a little towards Samsung. Q4 should be interesting. (Android Authority).


3. I wrote up The Weekly Authority, a new fresh newsletter on Android Authority, tackling the week that was from 10,000ft, plus a deep dive or bigger story. This week: the 5nm chipset war of 2021, which is going to be great for smartphones, and you (Android Authority).


4. On that note: Why a Snapdragon 875 Lite makes perfect sense (Android Authority).


5. OnePlus 8 Pro revisited: The good and bad six months later (Android Authority).


6. OnePlus Buds Z review: Cheaper and better than the OnePlus Buds. Wait, cheaper and better? That never happens (Android Authority).


7. Sony launches Airpeak drone business to support ‘video creators’ (Engadget).


8. Apple suspends new (read: additional) business with key supplier Pegatron after discovering violations of labor rules related to a student worker program (Bloomberg).


9. Virgin hyperloop hits an important milestone: The first human passenger test (The Verge).


10. Cory Doctorow gives an incredible breakdown of HP’s ink-jet printer corporation evil. Oh, you know ink-jet printers are bad. You didn’t know quite how bad: like HP’s very recent ‘Free Ink for Life’ deal that turned, just on 12 months later, “…into a ‘Pay us $0.99 every month for the rest of your life or your printer stops working’ plan” (EFF.org)


11. The ‘most famous paradox in physics’ nears its end: Physicists have proved that information does escape a black hole, the very thing that black holes weren’t supposed to do. So, what does that mean? (Wired).


12. Going to the Sahara Desert to count trees sounds rough. Instead, deep learning techniques identified trees from NASA’s satellite imagery, to count 1.8 billion of them (WeForum).


13. This is absolutely not 6G: “China sends ‘world’s first 6G’ test satellite into orbit” (BBC). 6G will be a standard decided by 3GPP. Which they’ll do anywhere sometime in the next 5-10 years. So whatever this is from China, with high-frequency terahertz waves (not GHz, THz) isn’t what 6G will be. It’s interesting, but not 6G. Ok, cool.


14. In honor of Alex Trebek, the nicest man on television, what is your favorite Jeopardy! moment or memory? (r/askreddit).


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