Tools of the Trade: October 2018

By Michael Castelluccio
October 1, 2018




Announced in September 2018 and available in stores at the end of October 2018, the latest iPhones are bigger, more powerful, and more expensive. The XS and XS Plus both cross the $1,000 threshold when you include tax ($999 for the XS and $1,099 for the XS Plus), but both continue to be pocketable at 5.8″ and 6.5″ and about 6 oz. and 7 oz., respectively. The size and brilliance of the Super Retina HD screens increase their challenge to laptops. The larger XS Plus has a 6.5″ screen pushing 2,688 × 1,242 pixels (458 ppi) right to the edges of the phone. The dual cameras include a 12MP rear-facing and 7MP front-facing. The video produced is 4K at 1,080 pixels. The A12 Bionic processor is an 8-core “neural engine,” Apple’s smartest yet with en­hanced image signal processors and an improved performance controller. The chip promises to deliver up to 50% faster graphics processing, 15% faster performance cores, and up to 50% lower power usage in efficiency cores compared to the previous model. Compared to the iPhone X, battery life is 30 minutes longer for the XS and 1.5 hours longer for the XS Plus. Charging is wireless. www.apple.com




The new iPhone XR fits in between the XS and XS Plus in size. At 5.94″ × 2.98″ × 0.33″, it’s longer and wider than the XS, but still smaller than the XS Plus. At $749, it’s the least expensive of the three and could be the biggest seller. Visually, the phone is striking, front and back. The 6.1″ LCD screen is a sharp 326 ppi with 1,792 5 828 pixels, and the saturated colors glow right to the edges. Made of the most durable glass yet, the body is water-resistant with a rating of IP67. The glass-covered aluminum back is available in six colors: blue, red, yellow, coral, black, and white. There’s no home button on the front. You open the phone with Face ID and can always return to the home screen with a swiping gesture. Check the full list of XR specs on the Apple website. www.apple.com




The latest Lenovo attempt to produce a small 2-in-1 laptop with two screens was unveiled in Berlin at the IFA 2018 in August 2018, and the new Yoga Book C930 is due to be released in October 2018. It promises significant improvements along with a price that’s almost twice the previous generation’s $549. The new Yoga Book has a second screen that’s unique—it’s an e-ink display like those on ebook readers. You can write, type, draw, and browse on this 1.73-lb. book. Both the LCD IPS touchscreen and the e-ink 1,920 × 1,080 pixel display are 10.8″. The new processors are the more powerful Intel Core i5 or Core m3 running Windows only. The e-ink screen has a pressure-­sensitive keyboard with haptic feedback when the keys are depressed. You write or draw with the Wacom Active Pen that’s included. www.lenovo.com




Along with its three new iPhones, Apple unveiled a new Apple Watch at its September event. The Series 4 model has a new OS 5 and is available in a GPS version and GPS plus cellular. The body has been redesigned with a 50% louder speaker, a microphone relocated for better sound quality, and a 30% larger display in a thinner, smaller case. Added health functions include an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) that meets FDA specifications and can detect and notify about high or low heart rates. A new accelerometer and gyroscope can detect hard falls and request assistance if the user needs it. www.apple.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.

1 + Show Comments
1 comment.
    1 October 5, 2018 AT 4:01 pm

    How in the hell are these tools of trade? Iphone xS is just waste of money including all other gadets.

    and please, why do i have to type in all caps when my caps lock is off?

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