WWDC 2020 - lots of updates to all of Apple’s operating systems & the start of ARM-based Macs
World’s fastest supercomputer announced today uses 152,000 ARM CPUs
Pour one out for Mixer, Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, that’s closing down on July 22nd
Take a look at all the 2020 flagship smartphones photo quality side-by-side
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A pre-recorded WWDC 2020 keynote happened early this morning. It was split up into two parts - new features for all of Apple's software platforms and the announcement that they're changing the CPUs in Macs from x86 based chips to "Apple silicon" (the phrase ARM is never uttered) similar to what's used in the iPad and iPhone.
The next version of macOS will be called Big Sur and gets a decent UI overhaul to make it more coherent with iOS. There's square icons like iOS, Control Centre like iOS and a very flat menu/widget layout like iOS. I hope they also took time to do a boring old bug fix session along with the UI change. iOS 14 gets a feature every Android user that tries iOS pisses their pants about not having - customisable widgets on the home screen. You'll also be able to select your own damn default email and web browser if you don't want to use Safari or Mail. Heaps of other features too of course, check out MacStories for a nice list. WatchOS got some love (a cute hand washing timer, hah) and tvOS wasn't totally ignored (multi-user support, HomeKit control centre and picture-in-picture support across the OS) but didn’t get much attention today.
The Mac's transition from x86 to ARM will be very similar to how Apple went from PowerPC to x86. Rosetta and Universal apps are back to ensure x86 is phased out rather than painfully executed. Apple even showed off Debian and Docker running in some sort of virtualisation tech, but leaving the question of how to run Windows on your Apple silicon Mac unanswered. Apple did show off a native version of Office, Lightroom and Photoshop though. Developers can put their name down to pay $500 to rent a developer transition kit (16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and the same A12Z SoC as in the iPad Pro shoved into a Mac Mini chassis) off Apple, with consumer devices shipping "by the end of the year" and all Macs in Apple's lineup will get home-grown silicon in them over the next 2 years.
In what's been a big day for ARM thanks to Apple, there's a new world's fastest supercomputer according to TOP500, that also happens to use ARM CPUs - Fugaku, located at the RIKEN Centre for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan. It's made up of 152,064 Fujitsu designed A64FX ARM-based CPUs for a total of 7.3 million cores that work in parallel to crunch away on data at a peak of half an exaflop, smashing the previous fastest computer. Unlike most of the top supercomputers, Fugaku doesn't have any GPUs, it's purely ARMv8.2-A instruction based SOCs so in theory you can use commodity code (similar instruction set to smartphone/tablet SoCs) but to get the best performance out of it you need to write specific SVE (kinda like Intel's AVX512) code. Fugaku is hard at work doing COVID-19 related simulations like droplet analysis and contact tracing app takeup statistics.
Microsoft is shutting down Mixer. On July 22nd "all Mixer sites and apps will automatically redirect to Facebook Gaming. Existing Mixer Partners will be granted partner status with Facebook Gaming, and any streamers using the Mixer monetization program will be granted eligibility for Facebook's Level Up program". For those under the age of 25 - Mixer is/was Microsoft's version of Amazon's Twitch, the social streaming platform. Just a few months ago Ninja, one of the world's most popular streamers with millions of regular viewers, was lured over to Mixer from Twitch with a big sack of money and Microsoft spent tens of millions of dollars on other exclusivity deals and integrations only to gain a bee's dick of market share compared to Twitch. The network effect in action folks.
Anandtech has updated their massive comparison of smartphone cameras. They got all the flagship smartphones in the one spot and took a shitload of photos with them (over 9GB worth) in various conditions. Despite being the weakest on paper, the iPhone 11 Pro is probably the best overall camera. There's no circumstances where it sucks and there's many where it's the best (i.e: HDR and low light thanks to superior software). The iPhone SE is probably the most bang for buck here - it looks very similar to the iPhone 11 Pro (except the wide-angle and zoom, obviously) and costs less than even the Xiaomi phones in this comparison.
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