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Tools of the Trade: December 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
December 1, 2020

 

1. APPLE iPHONE 12

 

We’ve reached that time of year when Apple releases its latest iPhone to join the more than 2.2 billion already sold. The redesign includes a return to flat sides and many new colors, including several anodized aluminum colors. The back is glass, the sides aluminum, and the new Ceramic Shield front has four times better drop performance. The profile is lighter, thinner, and smaller. There are four models and sizes, all with 5G. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini both come with 64GB storage standard, and the 12 Pro and Pro Max start at 128GB with optional 256GB and 512GB. All four feature new Super Retina XDR OLED screens. Screen sizes are 5.4″ for the mini, 6.1″ for the regular and 12 Pro, and 6.7″ for the Pro Max. All have the A14 Bionic chip Neural Engine, the fastest chip in a smartphone. The specs for the dual 12MP camera system are voluminous, so check the site for those. Water resistance has been improved to IP68 (maximum submersion of six meters up to 30 minutes). The phones have Apple Pay, Apple Card, Siri, TrueDepth Camera for facial recognition, and Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W. www.apple.com

 

2. iPAD AIR 2020

 

The new fourth generation iPad Air 2020 has been designated the year’s finest tablet by PC Magazine. The bezels have been minimized to allow a 10.9″ 264 ppi screen, almost matching the 11″ screen of the iPad Pro. The fingerprint sensor is in the power button on the top of the tablet, which saves more space for viewing. The improved Apple Pencil support, a more powerful processor, faster networking, and the $599 starting price also make it a possible alternative to the iPad Pro. The Apple A14 processor makes it the fastest iPad available, faster than any Android tablet. The main camera is 12-megapixel with a five-­element lens, stabilization, autofocus, and panorama. The Air comes with 4GB of RAM and a basic 64GB of storage up to 256GB. There are two stereo speakers on the top and the bottom of the tablet. The front-facing camera is 7-megapixel with improved low-light capabilities, making it an excellent webcam. ­www.apple.com

 

3. WD 3TB ELEMENTS DRIVE

 

One of the most expensive add-ons for mobile devices and computers is storage space. An alternative is an external hard drive, and Western Digital has a variety to choose from. The WD 3TB Elements drive offers a pocket-size portable hard drive for under $100 that will store three terabytes of data. That’s 3,000GB more room for files, photos, and projects. The drive weighs 8 oz. and measures 3.2″ × 4.4″ × 0.8″. It’s a hard disk drive that supports USB 3.0 and can transfer at speeds up to 5 Gbps. It’s backward compatible with USB 2.0. shop.westerndigital.com

 

4. LOGITECH SPOTLIGHT REMOTE

 

The Logitech Spotlight is a presentation device that’s small, 0.5″ × 1.1″ × 5.2″, and lightweight at 1.7 oz. It navigates slides forward and back, can spotlight, magnify, or circle areas on the slides, or you can simply use it as a cursor. There are three controls—a large central button (forward), a smaller button below (back), and another small one above the center button (a pointer). There are three different on-screen pointers. An adjustable spotlight darkens the screen except for the spotlight area. A magnifier will enlarge a circular area, and the outlined circle can be moved around without changing anything on the slide. www.logitech.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the technology editor for Strategic Finance for 26 years. His SF TechNotes blog is in its 23rd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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