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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

Tech Roundup

It’s been an eventful couple of months, December tends to be a quiet month as we all wind down for Christmas but last year Apple finished the year with updates bring new features & Apps.

Apple Music Sing introduced a new karaoke feature with on screen lyrics and the ability to adjust the vocals volume level giving you the ability to take on the song yourself or duet with your favourite stars. With a dedicated playlists section with all the available tracks organised ready to choose your style and take to the stage, or kitchen as we experienced it!

Apple Music Sing shown on a large screen, iPhone & iPad, displaying album art and song lyrics

Wondering why your apps had moved around on your Home Screen, Apple introduced the new Freeform app. A whiteboard collaboration tool with FaceTime integration and a never ending canvas.

The Apple Freeform App on an iPad with FaceTime call in the bottom right corner

And for the adventurous, the Emergency SOS via Satellite launched to the UK & Europe allowing all iPhone 14 models to communicate with text messaging sent via satellite where no mobile coverage is available in remote locations.

Moving in to January with CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in Las Vegas. This is where tech companies large & small come to preview their latest tech and prototypes for the future.

LG showed a completely wireless TV with all signals sent from a separate controller box and a refrigerator with colour changing panels, not sure how many of these I’ll see in the wild? (0)

In years past the Smart Home section has been squeezed in to a far corner of the convention centre, but this year all that changed, and not because of a series of products, but Matter which took centre stage upon entering, the new protocol had finally launched and with it manufacturers were in abundance to show their certified products ready for launch this year.

If none of that makes any sense don’t worry, here’s an overview:

Highlights for me included the Eve Motion Roller Blind Motors coming to market as a standalone product, the Aqara doorbell camera & updated presence sensor. And then there was a piece of wood! Mui Labs really cool wooden block controller, although not on the budget side….

A finger touching the Mui Labs wooden block controller with illuminated Matter Logo

AMD made an announcement they had developed a new chip that was faster than the Apple M1 Max chip only for Apple to announce less than two weeks later the launch of their new M2 Pro and Max Chips, with the Pro chip now outperforming the M1 Max.

Apple’s M2 Pro & M2 Max Logos

And with that announcement came updated Mac Mini and MacBook Pro models.

Only to be followed one day later with the return of HomePod, not the `mini, but the full size Pod with new internals including a Thread radio plus Temperature & Humidity sensor, and with next weeks update to 16.3 the as yet unused temperature & humidity sensor in the HomePod Mini will finally spring to life.

I’m excited to see this, yet slightly miffed at the same time after buying Aqara temp sensors just a couple of months ago 😠

IPhone held over new HomePod speaker

There's so much more to share but hopefully the links and videos provided will give you a great insight in to everything that's been happening.

And if you haven't been following the trials & tribulations of Twitter, Elon has removed access to third party apps making many, including myself, very unhappy, now having to use the ad filled trash that is the official Twitter app!

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