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Tools of the Trade: May 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
May 1, 2020
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1. APPLE iPAD PRO 2020

You would think that the right time for releasing new products wouldn’t be in the middle of an international crisis, but that’s just what Apple did in mid-March with its new iPad Pro 2020 and a major upgrade to the MacBook Air. Surprisingly, the sales of laptops and desktops were up 40% over March 2019, so Apple was right. The new iPad Pro is a powerful laptop replacement that offers the advantage of four interface modes—touch, digital pencil, keyboard, and a new trackpad. The Liquid Retina display has 264 ppi, True Tone sharpness, and a very narrow bezel. The screen is available in 11″ and 12.9″. The cameras include a 12MP camera and a new 10MP ultrawide camera. Also new for video functions is a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner that measures distances for augmented reality apps. With this iPad, you can shoot, edit, and share 4K video. The A12Z Bionic chip is supported by an 8-core graphics processing unit, and the Apple-designed Neural Engine enables onboard machine learning. The new cover attaches magnetically to the back of the iPad, which floats over the backlit keyboard to provide adjustable angles. www.apple.com

 

2. MACBOOK AIR

 

The latest MacBook Air has upgrades in graphic speeds and storage capacities, and it features the Magic Keyboard. The 13.3″ Retina display has 48% more colors, 4 million pixels, and a resolution of 2,560 × 1,600. The True Tone function adjusts the white point to match the color temperature of your environment. The quad-core Intel Core i7 processor provides up to twice the CPU performance and increases in graphics processing of up to 80%. Onboard memory is available up to 16GB, with SSD storage beginning at 256GB configurable up to 1TB or 2TB. The Magic Keyboard now has the scissor mechanism for keys used on the MacBook Pro, and it’s backlit with an ambient light sensor for low-light conditions. The trackpad is now 20% larger and features multitouch gestures. www.apple.com

 

3. ONYX BOOX NOVA2

 

Eleven major producers of e-readers will debut new models in 2020, and several will combine an e-reader with digital note-taking. Already released is the Onyx Boox Nova2 that looks like your current e-reader with an additional Wacom layer and stylus so you can also edit PDF files, take notes, and sketch as well as read e-books. With Android 9.0 on board, the reader becomes a tablet with the internet in E Ink (black-and-white). The Nova2 is the next generation of Onyx’s Boox Note Pro improved with double the RAM and storage—4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Its front-lit screen is 10.3″, the size of a hardcover page and a nice-sized notebook, and you can split the page for side-by-side reading/note-taking. A nice combination, especially for those working from home who can’t get out to the library. www.boox.com

 

4. iSTORAGE ENCRYPTED DRIVE

 

U.K.-based iStorage Ltd. has a broad selection of award-winning encrypted hard drives from 500GB to 5TB. The 3TB diskAshur2 measures 4.9″ × 3.3″ × 0.75″, weighs 11.5 oz., and is available in four colors. It’s a portable hardware-encrypted mechanical drive with a USB 3.1 connection and real-time AES-XTS 256-bit encryption. You open and lock the device with your own unique 7- to 15-digit PIN punched in on the keypad. Setup is software-free, and the drive works on all versions of Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, Chrome, thin clients, or zero clients, and on any device with a USB port. www.istorage-uk.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 25 years. His SF Technotes blog is in its 22nd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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