Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into a simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over dinner and drinks.
It is the month of “tech-tempter”, as the enthusiasts like to say, where tons of big tech news is unveiled throughout September. But it isn’t just tech that gets the limelight; gamers also get some love with news from big gaming companies like Sony and Nintendo. So share in the excitement as we round up the headliners here!
AMD reveals the launch date of their Ryzen 7000 series processors
First unveiled at Computex 2022 in May, AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 series processors will soon be available in the hands of consumers as the company revealed that they would be launching in September 2022.
The Ryzen 7000 series processors use the new Zen 4 architecture and will be the first PC chips based on a 5nm process, with DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support as well as boost clocks above 5GHz. There are four flavours of SKUs that consumers will be able to choose from. The most powerful one will be the Ryzen 9 7950X chip, with 16 cores, 32 threads, and a boost clock of up to 5.7GHz. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 9 7900X (12 cores, 24 threads, 5.6GHz boost), Ryzen 7 7700X (8 cores, 16 threads, 5.3GHz boost), and Ryzen 5 7600X (6 cores, 12 threads, 5.3 GHz boost) round up the rest of the 7000 series line up.
The flagship 7950X chip will cost US$699, while the 7900X. 7700X and 7600X will retail at US$549, US$399 and US$299, respectively. It will be available on 27 September 2022 for those looking to upgrade their desktop CPUs.
Apple unveils the iPhone 14 line for 2022
It’s number 14 for the iPhones as Apple refreshes their smartphone lineup again for this year. As usual, the new iPhone 14 line will contain regular and Pro variants for consumers to choose from.
iPhone 14 will only see some minor changes from its predecessor. For large phone lovers, there is now the option of a Plus version with a 6.7-inch display instead of the usual 6.1-inch size. While it will continue to use the A15 Bionic chipset, it does come with an updated 12MP primary camera and 12MP front camera with autofocus capabilities. Apple is seemingly also doubling down on eSIM as there is no physical SIM tray, at least in the US, but might extend worldwide for future iPhones.
Meanwhile, the Pro line-up has some substantial differences. First off, the notch is gone. Instead, a pill shape cutout will replace it for the camera, but it has a nifty quirk. Dubbing it the “Dynamic Island”, the area around the cutout manipulates around to showcase things like notifications and alerts. The iPhone Pro line will also have the new A16 Bionic chip and an always-on display. Finally, the primary rear camera gets a massive bump to 48MP, allowing for much better low-light photography.
The regular iPhone 14 starts at S$1,299, while the Plus version is priced at S$1,499. iPhone 14 Pro will meanwhile cost S$1,649 to start, and the Pro Max is set to begin at S$1,799. The entire iPhone 14 line is available to purchase right now, with the exception of the iPhone 14 Plus, which will only arrive on 7 October 2022.
Apple upgrades their accessory devices (Apple Watch and AirPods Pro)
Also on the agenda at Apple’s September event were the company’s accessories. Both the Apple Watch and Airpods Pro will see new releases later this year.
The Apple Watch is now up to Series 8, coming with a new temperature sensor so precise that it can track a 0.1 degree Celsius increase. Crash detection has also been implemented to aid users in getting help if they get into an accident. Low-power mode also comes to the Apple Watch Series 8 to help with battery life. The entry-level Apple Watch SE also sees a refresh and will be 20% faster than its predecessor, thanks to the new S8 chip. It will also have the crash detection feature included.
Apple also announced a new smartwatch line explicitly made for extreme sports like mountain climbing and diving. The Apple Watch Ultra comes in a larger 49mm size and is encased in titanium, helping to guard it against wear and tear. There’s also a new button at the side called the Action button, which can be customised for a range of functions. Alongside the upgraded 2,000 nits of brightness, it is rated to last 36 hours on a single charge and 60 hours on low-power mode.
Lastly, the new second-generation Airpods Pro was unveiled. With the new H2 chip, it boasts double the noise-cancelling capabilities and improved transparency mode from the previous generation. The stems now also allow you to adjust volume with swipes, without needing to turn to your device. In addition, the new Airpods Pro is set to come with an improved 6 hours of listening time (30 hours in total with the case), and if you lost track of it around the home, the charging case now comes with speakers for easier finding through the Find My app.
Singaporeans will be able to get the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE right now, with both starting at S$599 and S$379, respectively. The Apple Watch Ultra comes soon after, on 23 September 2022, and will cost S$1,199. The new Airpods Pro will be available on the same date, retailing at S$359.
Ubisoft outlines the future of Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft held their Ubisoft Forward event this month, with games like Skull and Bones and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope making an appearance during the livestream. The highlight is, however, centred on their Assassin’s Creed series, which ended the event with a big showcase.
Ubisoft revealed that the series will return in 2023 after a 3-year hiatus, with the new game Assassin’s Creed Mirage. Mirage is set in ninth-century Baghdad, where players will take on the role of a younger Basim Ibn Is’haq from Valhalla, a street thief at this time. The game will also be more narrative-driven and will go back to the series’ roots, focusing on stealth gameplay. But that’s not the only title that the company had to show for Assassin’s Creed, with three other games in the works.
The first is codenamed JADE, a new free-to-play mobile game. It will be set in ancient China and will allow users to create their own characters as they discover the story of the first Assassins in China. The other is codenamed RED, and it will be set in Feudal Japan, a much-requested setting by fans. This will be the next flagship title after Assassin’s Creed Mirage, with open-world RPG elements to be expected. The last game is codenamed HEXE. Though not much is known about it, Ubisoft promises “a very different type of experience” for players.
INFINITY is also a project in the works by the company, but instead of being a standalone game, it will serve as a hub to “connect projects and players through different types of experiences”. Not only will RED and HEXE be part of that, but multiplayer is also planned to return as a separate experience for players.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel gets an official name and release date
After over a year of silence, Zelda fans finally get to feast as Nintendo finally revealed new information about the sequel to the massively popular game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Previously untitled, the sequel is now formally called The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. A new trailer also debuted, once again showcasing dungeons and Link exploring the various floating areas amongst the skies, ending with a tease of the new gliding traversal mechanic.
Fans will have to wait till next year to play it, with the release date set on 12 May 2023. But after waiting so long, the fans will have no complaints about being patient just for a little longer.
New PlayStation exclusive Rise of the Ronin revealed
PlayStation held a State of Play livestream this month to detail updates on games coming to the consoles and the new PlayStationVR2 system. Various games like Tekken 8 and Like a Dragon: Ishin! were revealed, and God of War Ragnarok also received an incredible trailer to close the show. Still, the State of Play also had a surprise announcement of a new exclusive for PS5.
Developers Team Ninja are working on a game called Rise of the Ronin, described as a combat-focused open-world action RPG set right at the very end of the Edo Period. Players will play as a Ronin and experience a story exploring a dark and ugly chapter from the history of Japan. The trailer featured action with katanas and firearms and also teased a wingsuit-like traversal mechanic.
However, the game is still a long way off, with a release window of 2024 attached to the announcement. Nonetheless, many will surely keep tabs on this title as we expect more information to arrive next year.
Grand Theft Auto VI footage leaks
It has been nearly a decade since Grand Theft Auto V was first released, and we are still waiting on the next instalment in this legendary series. Though developer Rockstar Games has announced that they are working on the next game, not much is known about the sequel.
However, we were recently given a glimpse at what Grand Theft Auto VI will be like — though it was thoroughly unintentional. This month saw what could be the most significant gaming leak in the history of the industry. Videos of Grand Theft Auto VI were uploaded onto GTAForums, showcasing work-in-progress footage of the game.
The videos depicted Vice City in a modern setting, with new player characters Jason and Lucia doing various activities like conversing with NPCs and doing a bank heist. As it is still in the early phases of development, much of the footage was unpolished and showed developmental tools like animation tests and coding onscreen.
Rockstar Games has since acknowledged the leak and is working on removing the spread of the leaked footage. Obviously, leaks are a horrible situation for any game company, and hopefully this does not impact the development of the game too severely.
NVIDIA unveils latest 40-series RTX graphics cards
The era of the 30-series is now over, and NVIDIA is now ready to move on to their newest line of graphics cards — the RTX 40-series.
The new RTX 40-series will start with the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 cards. Both graphics cards use NVIDIA’s next-gen Ada Lovelace architecture, including the new DLSS 3 feature that can boost game performance up to four times. For example, Cyberpunk 2077 was showcased to run at close to 100fps compared to 20-odd fps when DLSS 3 is off.
The RTX 4090 claims to be two to four times faster than the RTX 3090 Ti, while the RTX 4080 also boasts the same performance upgrade over the RTX 3080 Ti. The RTX 4090 is set to release first on 12 October with a price of US$1,599, while the RTX 4080 — which has two versions, 12GB and 16GB of memory — will come out around November with a price of US$899 and US$1,599 respectively.
This marks 2022 September’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this roundup gives you a little insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in October 2022, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Visuals courtesy of AMD, Apple Singapore, Ubisoft Singapore, Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, and NVIDIA.