New chips, new screens, new gadgets | The Vergecast

New chips, new screens, new gadgets | The Vergecast

Intro and Daylight DC1 (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce introduces the Daylight DC1, a new tablet with a unique screen.
  • The Daylight DC1 uses an electronic paper display, which is different from traditional tablet screens and e-ink screens.
  • The tablet is designed to be used outdoors and comes with a plush, outdoorsy case.
  • Pierce finds the Daylight DC1 fascinating because it represents a different approach to gadget design, focusing on tweaking existing formulas rather than complete reinvention.
  • Pierce expresses his obsession with the Books Palma, an e-ink device.
  • Details about the Books Palma will be discussed later in the episode.
  • Microsoft's new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro are traditional-looking gadgets.
  • Microsoft is making a big bet on AI and a new Qualcomm chip to change how users perceive these devices.
  • The episode will explore the philosophical implications of these changes.

Question from the Hotline [N/A]

  • The episode will also address a question from the hotline.

Boox Palma: a unique E Ink device (00:02:04)

  • The BOOX Palma is a compact and portable Android-based e-reader with a 6.1-inch e-ink display.
  • It offers a versatile reading experience with the ability to install various reading apps like Kindle, Readwise Reader, and Raindrop.
  • The Palma's long battery life, distraction-free screen, and multimedia capabilities make it a versatile companion for reading and entertainment.
  • Despite its strengths, the device has limitations such as a low-resolution screen, lack of stylus support, and occasional performance issues.
  • The new Palm smartphone runs on Android 11, which may not receive future updates, but the Kindle, despite being six years old, still functions well.

User Experiences with the Books Palma (00:06:54)

  • The Palma is a new e-reader that runs on a full Android operating system, allowing users to download apps from the Google Play Store, unlike the Kindle's limited Android version.
  • Despite the argument that smartphones can serve the same purpose, the Palma's dedicated e-reader design and distraction-free environment make it a compelling choice for focused reading.
  • The Palma's user interface is designed to minimize distractions, with a home screen consisting of only four apps: Kindle, Instapaper, the New York Times, and Libby.
  • Dieter Bohn, a tech speaker, discusses the pros and cons of the Palma, appreciating its ability to help him focus on reading and its positive influence on his behavior, incentivizing him to engage in more productive activities.
  • Bohn mentions Craig Mod, who introduced the Palma to many people in his social circle.

Craig Mod's insights on digital reading (00:12:33)

  • Craig's blog post about the Palma digital reading device generated excitement due to his expertise in digital reading.
  • The affordability of e-ink screens has enabled the production of various e-readers.
  • Android provides a reliable and familiar interface for e-readers, and the Kindle app allows access to Kindle books on various devices.
  • The Readwise reader app enhances the reading experience with features like paginated scrolling and integrates with various devices and note-taking apps, creating a seamless ecosystem for long-form reading.
  • The combination of affordable e-ink screens, Android devices, and the Readwise reader app has revitalized digital reading and long-form content engagement.
  • The Pama e-reader is highly portable, with a high refresh rate e-ink screen that allows for smooth video playback and interactive interfaces without significant ghosting.
  • Unlike smartphones, the Pama offers a distraction-free reading experience with minimal notifications and a soothing backlight.
  • The Pama runs various apps, including Reader and Kindle, and can access the web and make Kindle book purchases without feeling burdened or taxing the device.

The future of E Ink technology (00:19:45)

  • The Palma e-reader excels at long-form reading with e-ink technology, but its video quality is poor, and it lacks screen protection and conveniently placed buttons.
  • The reviewer hopes the Palma's success will inspire Amazon to improve the Kindle's web article reading experience.
  • E-ink technology, previously exclusive to Amazon's Kindle devices, is now available to other companies, resulting in more affordable e-readers like the PocketBook.
  • Despite criticism of PocketBook for violating the terms of the open-source license for Android software, e-readers are gaining popularity as an alternative to smartphones for reading long-form content.
  • Gadgets like the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, Apple Watch, and PocketBook e-reader offer specialized functions that complement smartphones without replacing them entirely.

Microsoft Surfaces w/ Nathan Edwards + Tom Warren (00:26:47)

  • Microsoft and Qualcomm have collaborated to introduce the "co-pilot plus PC" concept, featuring improved chips and AI capabilities in Windows PCs.
  • Despite initial challenges due to security concerns with Microsoft's "Recall" AI feature, various PC companies have embraced the co-pilot plus PC idea, leading to an influx of new models in the market.
  • Microsoft is showcasing its vision for the co-pilot plus PC concept through its latest Surface Pro and Surface Laptop devices, highlighting Windows hardware innovation.
  • Qualcomm's chips offer impressive performance, rivaling traditional x86 processors, and providing a smooth and efficient user experience.
  • The new Surface Pro 9 with the SQ3 processor delivers a significant performance boost over its predecessor, with about a 20% increase, but there are still some compatibility issues with certain apps.
  • Microsoft and Qualcomm are working with software vendors to improve app compatibility, as Adobe Premiere Pro currently does not work on the Surface Pro 9.
  • Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 9 outperforms Apple silicon in terms of raw performance, but benchmarks and tests are ongoing to verify these claims.
  • The new chips perform well compared to the Core Ultra and Ryzen 8000 but are not significantly better and received a 58% rating from The Review's Guide.

Performance comparison: M3 vs. competitors (00:35:38)

  • The M3 is faster than its competitors on Cinebench multicore.
  • The M3 has about 50% more cores than its competitors, but each core is slower.
  • The M3 is competitive with Snapdragon-based Windows laptops.

Battery life insights and benchmarks (00:36:11)

  • The new MacBook Pro with Apple silicon has impressive battery life, lasting around 7 hours with heavy usage of native apps and up to 6 hours with emulated apps like Slack and Discord.
  • Battery life is significantly reduced when downloading large files or playing games on Steam, which are emulated apps.
  • The MacBook Pro passes the "Cross Country flight test" but doesn't quite reach Apple's all-day battery life claim.
  • The Surface Pro 8 has impressive battery life, lasting several days on a single charge with regular use.
  • The Surface Pro 8's battery life is not as good as the Surface Pro 7 when running intensive tasks like Cinebench or Blender.
  • Emulated apps that rely on CPU compute, like Blender, can significantly drain the battery and are not recommended for use on the Surface Pro 8 at this time.
  • The Surface Pro 8's detachable keyboard helps prevent overheating during intensive tasks.

Surface Pro's detachable keyboard (00:42:01)

  • The Surface Pro 8 has a detachable keyboard with a built-in battery, allowing for more flexible usage scenarios. It features a new OLED screen with a 120Hz variable refresh rate, up to 600 nits of brightness, and 900 nits of peak brightness for HDR. However, some reviewers have noticed a faint grain at peak brightness where the touch sensors are visible.
  • The Surface Pro 8 has two USB-C ports and a proprietary Surface connector for charging. It can be powered and run at full speed when connected to a 4K monitor via USB-C. However, the lack of a headphone jack and the limited number of USB-C ports (only two) can be limiting, especially when using multiple peripherals.
  • The Surface Laptop 4 has a smaller trackpad compared to the Surface Laptop 3, which can lead to accidentally hitting the bottom of the keys while using it. The slim pen is now always on display at the top of the device, taking up some space previously occupied by the keyboard. However, the cradle for the slim pen conveniently charges the pen, unlike the Apple Pencil Pro, which can easily detach and get lost.

AI features and real-world applications (00:47:08)

  • Windows Studio Effects can crop and center users in the webcam frame, following them like a dedicated camera person.
  • Live captioning on the device can caption any video playing on the computer, including live video calls, but the quality is not as good as human-translated subtitles.
  • Image creation and co-creation features are still in their early stages and not very impressive.
  • The image co-creator feature on the Surface Laptop no longer supports pen input, making it less useful than on the Surface Pro.
  • Windows on ARM is now functioning well, but its purpose remains unclear.
  • The Surface Pro X with Qualcomm chips offers good battery life and performance, but its AI features are unimpressive.
  • The new iPad Pro lacks a real operating system, making it inferior to the Surface Pro for productivity tasks.
  • Microsoft is promoting Edge and Bing on Windows 11, causing user frustration when their preferred search engine is changed without their consent.

Future of Windows on Arm and market impact (Vergecast Hotline) (00:56:21)

  • Microsoft is releasing new Windows on ARM devices, but they are not expected to fully replace x86-based Windows computers due to performance, affordability, and compatibility issues.
  • Intel's upcoming Lunar Lake processor architecture and Qualcomm's new ARM chips may impact the laptop market dynamics.
  • The long-term impact of ARM-based Windows devices on the market is uncertain, but it could lead to increased competition and innovation in the PC industry.
  • The compatibility of ARM-based chips with existing software and systems is a challenge, and they may not become the overall winner due to the dominance of x86 in enterprise deployments.
  • Apple's transition to ARM silicon is easier compared to Microsoft's due to its control over its ecosystem.
  • The transition to ARM-based PCs is expected to be gradual, with premium laptops adopting them first.
  • AMD and Nvidia are also developing ARM chips for PCs, putting pressure on Intel.
  • 2025 is anticipated to be a significant year for the tech industry, with major chip releases from various companies.

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