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.
The fabled “Tech-tember” season arrives again for 2023, bringing more juicy news from the tech and gaming world, including from big names like Apple and Xbox. See what’s been announced in this month’s cycle right here!
Apple announces new iPhone 15 phones
Apple’s iPhone series refreshes again this year with the announcement of the iPhone 15 line, arguably bringing about their biggest change to the phones in recent years.
The inclusion of USB-C has been mooted ever since the ruling by the European Union, and they will debut in all versions of the iPhone 15 line. However, only the Pro versions will get 10Gbps transfer speeds. Regarding the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, they will now include the Dynamic Island feature that was previously in the 14 Pro line. Both will also see an upgraded 48MP primary camera and a display with an increased peak brightness of 2,000 nits.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max receive an all-new Action Button at the side that replaces the mute switch. The button is customisable and can be used for a variety of functions, like opening up the camera or bringing up accessibility features. The phones will also get the new A17 Pro chip, with Apple teasing that it has enough power to run games like Resident Evil 4 Remake. Both Pro phones get an upgraded 48MP camera that has better low-light performance, but the Pro Max will specifically have a 5x telephoto camera.
The iPhone 15 line was made available on 22 September 2023, with the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus costing S$1,299 and S$1,449 respectively, while the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max started at S$1,649 and S$1,999.
Apple Watch gets updated with Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch also got some love at this September’s Apple event, revealing new smartwatches in the form of the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2.
The Watch Series 9 comes with a new feature called “double tap”, where tapping your index finger and thumb together twice will allow for things like snoozing an alarm or answering a phone call. Other improvements include a brighter display, a new ultra-wideband chip for precision tracking of your iPhone, and an upgraded S9 processor that allows for improvements on things like Siri requests.
The second generation Apple Watch Ultra will receive much the same in the way of upgrades — also featuring the “double tap” function, a brighter 3,000 nits display, and that new ultra-wideband chip. It will still be geared towards adventure enthusiasts, with features like the Depth app now being able to save logs of each recreational scuba diving session.
22 September 2023 was the launch date of both smartwatches, with the Watch Series 9 starting at S$599, and the Watch Ultra 2 coming with a price of S$1,199.
Lenovo Legion Go enters the portable gaming scene
After the Valve Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally, a new portable gaming device is out in the wild. Lenovo is trying its hat in the ring with its latest device — the Legion Go.
Specs for the Lenovo Legion Go include AMD’s latest Ryzen Z1 Extreme for the processor, 16GBs of LPDDR5X RAM and a 49.2Wh battery. Also, the 8.8-inch QHD Plus screen has a 2560 x 1600 resolution, alongside a 144Hz refresh rate.
The real highlight of the Lenovo Legion Go is its detectable controllers, akin to that of the Nintendo Switch. But there’s more that it can do. The device comes with a stand that turns it into a joystick or a pseudo-mouse, giving users better control over genres like FPS titles.
No specific release date was revealed for the device, but it is set to launch within October or November of this year, with a starting price of US$699.
FTC leaks reveal the existence of new Xbox devices and games
The ongoing court battle between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft over the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard has thrown up some tantalising tidbits about the Xbox and PlayStation. Still, none will be as big as what this month revealed.
Due to a careless upload from Microsoft on the United States District Court Northern District of California’s files website, the public could see unredacted, highly confidential information about Xbox’s strategies for the future.
The first big piece of information confirms the existence of a mid-generation refresh for the Xbox Series consoles. The Xbox Series S refresh looks similar in appearance but will feature more internal storage (1TB), faster Wi-Fi, reduced power usage, and more. Meanwhile, in addition to the same new additions as Series S, the Xbox Series X will change to a cylindrical look but notably without a disc drive.
A new controller is also in the works. Codenamed “Sebile”, it will be equipped with new functionality like precision haptic feedback, quieter buttons and thumbsticks, modular thumbsticks, and more.
Unannounced games were also detailed within the leak, specifically from ZeniMax’s portfolio. Remastered versions of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 are revealed to be in the works, along with sequels for Ghostwire: Tokyo and Dishonored 3. A new DOOM game titled DOOM Year Zero also appears on the list, with the name hinting that development is further along than other projects.
Nikon goes classic with the all-new Nikon Z f camera
If you’re nostalgic for the classic look of cameras, Nikon’s newest addition may be something that interests you. The Nikon Z f is a mirrorless camera with a design inspired by the iconic Nikon film cameras of the past but equipped with the latest camera performance.
The design is an ode to the timeless Nikon FM2, though modernised with a glossy black finish and magnesium body. It offers brass dials for manual control, providing ease of use during photography.
Within the Nikon Z f, there’s a 24.5MP full-frame sensor and five-axis in-body image stabilisation, which allows for 8.0 stops of correction. Notably, It is fitted with the first Vari-angle monitor with touch functionality in the full-frame/FX-format Z series, enabling flexibility in the angles users can shoot for stills and video.
Another highlight of the camera is the inclusion of a dedicated monochrome selector, giving photographers the ability to shoot monochromatic photos and videos with a single switch. A Creative Picture Control also complements the monochrome selector, allowing users to customise colours, tonality, and clarity from the variety of presets available.
So far, no details have been announced regarding the release date or pricing of the Nikon Z f, but you can keep updated through Nikon’s official website!
This marks September 2023’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this round-up gives you insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in Ocotober 2023, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Visuals courtesy of Apple Singapore, Unsplash (via Billy Freeman), and Nikon Singapore.