TOOLS OF THE TRADE: JULY 2017By
1. ASUS ZENBOOK FLIP S
Just announced at Computex 2017, the ZenBook Flip S (UX370) is now the thinnest convertible laptop you can buy. It’s just 0.429″ thick, which in more meaningful terms makes it 55% thinner than a MacBook Air. The body is formed from aerospace-grade aluminum, and it weighs less than 2.5 lbs. The display is a full HD/4K 13.3″ that rotates a full 360 degrees on ErgoLift hinges for use as a tablet. The screen is Gorilla Glass with multitouch, and it uses an active stylus that meets the Windows Ink standard. The graphics are driven by Integrated Intel HD 620, and the screen has extremely thin bezels (0.24″). The processor is available up to Intel Core i7 (seventh generation), running Windows 10 S. Memory is up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB on a solid-state drive. There’s a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that uses Windows Hello in either laptop or tablet mode, and it has a built-in HD camera and array microphone. Asus claims 11.5 hours on its 2-cell, 39 Wh battery with Quick Charging Technology. Check www.asus.com for news on the release date and prices for the different configurations.
2. APPLE iPAD PRO 10.5
At Apple’s June 5, 2017, developer’s conference, it announced another iPad Pro tablet and previewed the new iOS 11, due this fall. So now there are three iPad Pros: the 9.7, 10.5, and 12.9. The Pro designation implies they’re designed for real work, and the reason there are three might be explained by the nickname for the “10.5 Goldilocks” iPad—it’s the “just right” work tablet: not too small, not too big. The improvements have made the iPad the standard for tablet excellence. The 10.5″ Retina screen is 20% larger than the smallest iPad Pro, has twice the refresh rate of the standard LCD display, is brighter, and has a full-size on-screen keyboard. The new iOS 11 will allow improved multitasking for slide-over and split-screen view, with both apps active as you work on them. The six-core, 64-bit architecture offers enough processing power to edit a 4K video on the go—a 30% increase over the previous Pro generation. www.apple.com
3. APPLE HOMEPOD
Siri now has her own home speaker personal assistant, but the emphasis from Apple for its new late-arriving HomePod is on the quality of the speakers and the way it integrates with Apple Music subscriptions. As with the other appliances, you can ask Siri for the weather, appointments, and search-style questions and to control smart devices in the house. But it’s the engineering, which has an Apple A8 chip managing a seven-tweeter array, six microphones, and a high-excursion woofer, that allows the HomePod to reshape its rich playback according to the acoustics in a room. www.apple.com
4. ROCKETBOOK WAVE NOTEBOOK
The Rocketbook Wave spiral-bound system consists of an 80-page notebook of fine-grain, 8.5″ × 9.5″ paper and an erasable Pilot FriXion gel pen. After you write your notes, you check an icon on the bottom of the page for any one of seven cloud storage sources such as Dropbox, Evernote, or OneDrive; photograph the page with the Rocketbook app on your phone; and the content will be immediately stored, pages in proper order, to that cloud account. After you fill your notebook, you can completely erase it (up to five times) by placing it in a microwave for a few minutes. The ink is thermosensitive. To see the advantages, watch the demo on www.getrocketbook.com.