Category Archives: Devices

Are chips “The New Oil”? A global shortage of chips

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Did you know that we are currently facing a global chips shortage? The crisis came about due to the massive demand for electronic components triggered by the pandemic, factories downtime, production underestimation, and supply chain failure. Whoever produces the chips, holds all the power – in this case the Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC seems to be a ruler.

The company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co may seem unfamiliar to you, but it is more than sure that their products are used by you every single day. TSMC is the world’s largest chip manufacturer that produces parts for major electronics and automotive companies, including Apple (which is reckoned to constitute 25% of TSMC’s income [1]).

Source: https://www.eetasia.com/tsmc-will-raise-to-expand-capacity-amid-chip-shortages/

Chips are not only a common component of consumer electronics such as smartphones, computers, or smart appliances, but they are also required for automotive electronic systems, which are expected to account for more than 50% of the total production cost of a car by 2030[2]. For comparison, in 2010 this figure comprised 35% while in the 1970s, 5%. New cars need more processors, which in other words means – more and more chips.

In fact, it is the automotive industry that has been inflicted the most during the last months. Major players on the market such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Renault, General Motors, and Honda had been forced to hold back production due to the lack of components. A shortage in the microprocessor industry is expected to slash Ford’s profit by $2.5 billion this year and GM’s profit by $2 billion[3].

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-05/chip-shortage-spirals-beyond-cars-to-phones-and-game-consoles

The crisis has also hit the electronics industry. Sony has announced that it is unable to manufacture the number of PS5 consoles planned for this year, just like Samsung which in turn postponed the release of its new version of the Galaxy Note smartphone. All this because of chips shortage. But how did such situation even come about?

During the outbreak of the pandemic, many companies decided to cancel chip orders due to a significant drop in demand for products such as cars. It was assumed that the demand would not increase quickly. In response to the situation, chip manufacturers decided to change their sales orientation to other industries. At a time when demand picked up again, motor companies were left holding the bag as microprocessor manufacturers had their hands already full with other orders. Another aspect is also the production bottleneck which lead to the supply chain destabilization. The global production of chips is based on 3-4 companies only, including the afore-mentioned TSMC, which is responsible for about 70% world’s production of technologically advanced microprocessors.[3]

TMSC’s goal is to maintain its position and increase its production capacity. For this purpose, the company announced an investment of $100 billion. It is worth mentioning however, that the reliance of global electronics behemoths on the goods of a single Taiwanese firm is an example of the negative consequences of excessive production outsourcing.

[1]https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2021/03/09/2003753477

[2]https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/tw/Documents/technology-media-telecommunications/tw-semiconductor-report-EN.pdf

[3]https://cyfrowa.rp.pl/globalne-interesy/61408-dramat-z-czipami-pandemia-sankcje-i-wielka-pomylka

The Show-up Date of New AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT was Announced

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According to Cowcotland, AMD company will introduce their new Radeon RX 6700 XT graphic card. It will become the first model on Navi 22 graphic core. This information confirms the previous leak that happened in January this year.

The graphic card is going to be the first model on a graphic core Navi 22, which is based on RDNA2 architecture. It is worth mentioning it is a middle-class processor, which is aimed to be used in gaming laptops too. In the general configuration, it has got 40 counting blocks, which is equal to 2560 streamed processors. It is predicted that RX 6700 XT will get a GPU in its general configuration, and RX 6700 will get a slightly cut variant.

It is known that RX 6700 XT will have 12Gb of GDDR6 memory and a 192-bit memory bus. This model is likely to compete with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12Gb, which is going to be presented 25-th of February. However, Nvidia is still the first in the graphic cards market top due to the number and variety of cards produced.

There is still no reliable information on the price of RX 6700 XT. However, Cowcotland information warns buyers about the difficulty they will face buying this graphic card due to a low production volume. It is better to choose something from Nvidia’s arsenal, in case you need to get your card as soon as possible.

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The Announcement of iPad mini6 will be Presented this Spring

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The main event every Apple fan is waiting for is a spring conference to be held on the 16-th of March. Its subject-matter is new devices introduction and one of them is iPad mini6.

The design of the iPad mini series has not been changed since the time it was first introduced (in 2012), and that’s what makes it so recognizable. However, this time the company decided to change its traditions and make a totally new design, hardware and screen.

An almost frameless 8,4-inch screen will take about 90% of the front panel, while its parameters are 195 x 126,6 mm in comparison with its previous 203 x 134,8 mm version. A hybrid OLED panel is going to be used in the device, which is almost two times thinner than a standard OLED panel. Apple’s designers and engineers decided to place a dactyloscopy sensor below the screen; this decision will provide much more space for placing the hardware.

iPad mini6 will be based on the Apple A14 processor, just the same as it is used in Apple iPhone 12 series. This is a super-fast 64-bit processor, comprising 6 cores, which can be clocked up to 3,1GHz and shows a great performance as well as low temperatures in both regular usage and gaming.

It is expected to see a new version of iPad Pro with a similar to iPad mini LED panel, except the fact it also has a 12,9-inch diagonal screen. So far, no other information about devices is added.

The AirTags and Apple Card that has been introduced before is also mentioned by the informant, but now the card will be available in many more countries.

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Presented black Sony PlayStation 5. More precisely – two versions at once

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At the time of the announcement, it was said about 20 kg of gold, but then the console would cost three times more, so Caviar decided to reduce the mass of gold to 4.5 kg. In a month and a half, Caviar received over 1,300 orders for this console. Among those interested was the famous American basketball player LeBron James. The company also received an order from a well-known Russian businessman and an equally well-known American IT businessman, whose names were not disclosed.
High demand has led Caviar to release not one as initially planned but nine PlayStation 5 Golden Rock consoles. It will take about four months to create such a unique console.

Many PlayStation fans are eagerly awaiting when Sony releases the PS5 in black, as not everyone likes the original two-tone design. Caviar has unveiled two black PlayStation 5 consoles covered in carbon and leather.
The carbon version will be released in 99 units for $ 5830, and the Caviar logo is made of 24-carat gold. Another version is covered in crocodile leather and costs $ 8,140. The circulation is also 99 consoles.

LG will Provide Apple iPhone with Foldable Screens

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As it was reported earlier, Samsung is the only supplier of those collapsible panels for the foldable iPhone, but DigiTimes reports, that LG Display – a South Korean technological giant, is going to help Apple with the first iPhone foldable-screen creation.

It is predicted as in the case with an OLED 7,3-7,6 inch screen, Apple is going to provide the device with a stylus similar to S Pen.  Also, Apple has introduced a new kind of construction of the hinge part, which is inside the case, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip presented. This kind of construction is aimed to prevent dust inside the hinge system or phone itself.

Besides, Apple is reported to use a chemical hardening of the ceramic protection screen, that can’t be broken while flipping and it will prevent unevenness on the screen caused by multiple folding. It is still unknown if a protection glass (as the company is going to begin using a protection glass starting from iPhone 12s) on the back smartphone panel is awaited and there is still no information about the camera module, that will be used in the device.

However, the smartphone is planned to have 8Gb of RAM and what is more stunning – 1TB of flash memory, which makes the device one of the most spacious phones in the world. The cost of it is predicted to be about $1500, which is quite fine according to the company’s market position, but for example, the cost of its main competitor – Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is about $1300-$1400.

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How the New iPhone 12s Pro will Look Like

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An unknown Chinese source announced the design of a new iPhone 12s Pro in high resolution, and it demonstrates the main differences in the way it looks and a few differences in general characteristics.

In general, it looks just like its previous “brother” – iPhone 12: it has got a flat frame along the perimeter of the whole case and a square camera module. Even though, all the surfaces, including the camera module, will be covered with a protection glass, as has already been reported before.

The smartphone is informed to lose its charging port. There are only holes for a speaker and microphone in the lower part of the phone. It is really hard to say now if it is an advantage. It means the phone will be charged by wireless chargers only and it is predicted, Apple will refuse regular chargers due to the MagSafe technology. Also, it will help to make the phone more protected from water and dust, however, lots of complaints are expected to appear on the point.

Some good news for gamers – iPhone 12s Pro will get a 120Hz refresh-rate screen (also, they say that there might be a possibility to buy a 180Hz or 240Hz iPhone modification), which will resurrect Apple-gamers’ opinion after the grand fiasco of iPhone 11 Pro Max. And of course, it will get a dactyloscopy sensor located below the screen. A great-known notch will be smaller, which will give a bit more space for the screen itself. Also, Apple agreed upon bringing Touch ID back, moreover, they made an in-display function for it. One of the possible reasons for this decision is the effect of COVID-19, as many iPhone 10 and 11 series users struggled with unlocking their phones due to wearing a face mask.

An official presentation of the iPhone 12s series is expected to be held later this year, approximately in September.

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The First Penta-Cam Aarmoured Smartphone that has a Night Vision Mode and 5G

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Eventually, almost everyone faced the problem of a broken phone screen. There will be no such a problem with Ulefone Armor 11 5G even for the clumsiest person as you need to try REALLY HARD to break it.

Some days ago Ulefone presented their new model that is called Armor 11 5G (this is actually a modified version of Armor 10 5G that was presented the previous year). The phone has got 5 cameras, including the main 48-mp Sony IMX582 module and a frontal 16-mp camera. And what is more appealing, the phone has got a 20-mp night vision module.

Ulefone Armor 11 5G is based on MediaTek Dimensity 800 5G single-crystal system, having a 6,1-inch screen, 8Gb of RAM, and 256Gb memory card. As a new iPhone line, the smartphone can use 5G net, supplying it with a great performance. The 5200mAh battery is responsible for the great work duration and a wireless 10V charger. However, Armor 11 5G is working on Android 10, and for now, there is no possibility to update it to Android 11 (it is said to be possible only after the official release).

Of course, it has an NFC module and Google Pay support, face recognition, and dactyloscopy sensor. One of the aims of the device is its usage for military purposes, and for that, it has IP68/IP69K protection level and a military standard MIL-STD-810G certificate, which makes it perfect to be used in different rough conditions. The price of such a device is unknown yet.

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Jaguar and Land Rover are to Refuse from Internal Consumption Engines in 2025

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It is generally known nowadays rapid technology changes are becoming closely related to the world automobile market. Electric cars are the ones that are expected to replace common cars operated on conventional petrol, at least we are moving to it with giant strides. One of the first companies that made its bet for electric transport is Tesla, and they have become the leader of the market so far. However, many other associations saw the great success of Elon Musk’s company and decided to keep up.

One of those companies is the “Jaguar Land Rover” corporation. The British company announced their plan to leave the “petrol” market till 2025 and start their own production in the electric car industry. For the next 5 years, the company is to move Jaguar as well as their prime-segment models into fully eco-engines. It is worth noticing Jaguar has already produced an electric model (Jaguar I-Pace) which has a great success in the electric-cars market. Anyway, it is hard to imagine an electric version of Jaguar PROJECT-8.

Also “Jaguar Land Rover” company is planning to introduce six fully electric Land Rover models by the end of 2025, having no electric cars in their model-list right now. The first electric Land Rover is planned for 2024. It is also remarkable that 60% of Land Rover cars to be sold will be equipped with electric power units till the end of 2030. Till the same time, all Land Rover models will be presented in both variants – fully electric and with an internal consumption engine.

Besides, the company is planning to reject using diesel engines in all Jaguar and Land Rover models till the end of 2026.

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Apple: Prolonged project of a self-driving car and new battery technology

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Over the past few years Apple has been developing its self-driving vehicle projects codename- Titan. The project is rumored to have over 5,000 engineers working on it. New leaks are showing that Apple was already negotiating with electric vehicle suppliers to create the Apple car. 

Before the original iPhone was even released, Apple was already in discussion for the creation of the Apple car. In 2001, Steve Jobs met with the creator of the V Vehicle, which is a lightweight petroleum powered car that used cheaper materials and could sell for just $14,000. Job saw massive potential in the V Vehicle as a glass fiber vehicle was 14% lighter than a normal steel made vehicle and costed 17% lees to produce. Ultimately, Jobs decided to focus on the release of the iPhone. After the rise of the iPhone, apple began looking into the creation of its car once again. 

In 2014, Apple started project Titan with a vision of bringing a compelling smart car that would be the ultimate mobile device. This would be leaked in February of 2015 when a mysterious van leased to Apple was spotted with a camera rig attached to it. Just a few days later one anonymous Apple employee gave a dark warning to Elon Musk by stating that project Titan would give Tesla a run for its money. Even Tesla employee were heading over to Apple as the project was too exciting to pass on. Afterwards, Apple hired Johann Jungwirt, who is the former of Mercedes-Benz research and development executive.

It is confirmed that Apple was not just focusing on creating the self-driving software for cars, but also making an electric vehicle. The leader of project Titan is Steve Zadensky, who is already given go-ahead by Tim Cook to recruit up 1,000 employees. After meeting with luxuries car manufactures like Magna Steyr. Their concept vehicle revealed that Apple was looking to create a smooth looking Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It was rumored to have a variety of features. 

For example, silent motorized doors controlled through the user’s iPhone. Another one Apple looked into was implementing augmented reality into the displays. However, the craziest feature is the fact that Apple wants to use spherical wheels. It would be similar to what Audi revealed in 2004 with its Audi RSQ concept.

Spherical Wheels
Audi RSQ

That would be interesting to the Apple car. At the same time, it would also be quite expensive. Goodyear has revealed its concept of spherical tires in 2016. Now, while Apple did have some crazy ambitions there were also many internal problems.

But, the auto industry represents a huge opportunity at $2 trillion. Apple does have certain advantages:

  • strong balance sheet
  • deep pockets 
  •  world-class designers
  • hardware-software integration

And now Apple brought in the house many of the technologies that could help in developing such a car: 

  • processor
  • batterie
  • camera, sensor
  • display

Perhaps, Apple could upend and redefine other markets as it did with smartphones. On the other hand, there will be a real risk for Cook as well. Ultimately, for all the excitement the auto industry is a low-margin and capital-intensive business. that why more analytics says that Cook more likely will focus the company’s money, time, and afford more narrowly on software. For example, an autonomous driving system or license to traditional car makers. 

Moreover, a lot of room for growth as right now about 3% of total cars sold are electric. Over the next 5 years, probably, the number will be changed to 30%. For sure, there may be a lot of reasons why Apple could be interested in building their own car. Also, to remember, that the car industry is a low-margin business. What report indicates that they make really developed breakthrough technology that will lower cost and make cars for customers more affordable. 

In terms of Apple’s brand and software abilities, I think that will be something really impressive and affordable as iPhone. The strategic partnership which they recently announced is the first step for a long-life collaboration.

Resources

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-22/lidar-makers-jump-after-report-on-apple-s-autonomous-car-plans

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/dec/22/apple-plans-self-driving-car-in-2024-with-next-level-battery-technology