Unboxing the metaverse

Facebook is now Meta and the Facebook app is now part of the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg introduced a rebranding of the parent company that owns properties like Instagram, WhatsApp or Oculus, and at the same time introduced the world to their vision of the future, the metaverse.

Regardless of whether or not you saw Meta’s presentation video, you might be wondering what the metaverse actually is. Is it a mix of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices and apps? Is it a development platform where content creators can create VR/AR experiences? Is it an actual virtual place where users can go online to meet other like-minded people?

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I locked myself in Apple’s ecosystem, now I want out

As an iPhone owner since 2013, the announcement of the next iPhone is usually an exciting moment for me. To be more precise, the anticipation leading to the announcement is what’s stimulating; the actual moment of truth tends to be disappointing since 2017. About a year ago, I wrote about how there has not been any dramatic change since the introduction of the iPhone X. The 2021 iPhone, rumored to be called iPhone 13, will not change that trend if all the leaks get confirmed next month.

This made me look towards the Android ecosystem, where some inspiring changes are happening while iPhone power users yawn. Top examples of this are Samsung’s folding devices, like the newly announced Fold3 and Flip3, and Google’s futuristic AI features, namely the on-device speech recognition on the new Pixel 6 or Duplex’s ability to make and receive calls for you.

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Exploring the multiverse of the new iPad Pro

Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010 as a consumption device, a tablet to browse the web, watch a movie, read a book, you get the idea. Certain productivity tasks, like writing documents, painting or composing music, also adapted well to the touch-only interface and over time, the iPad became a versatile tech product.

For years, Apple has defended the idea that a single customer can benefit from owning both an iPad and a MacBook, using them in different scenarios but bound by the same ecosystem. On one hand, an iPad was more suitable for light-weight scenarios, for those who did not want to be tied to any heavy peripherals to get things done. On the other hand, a MacBook was more convenient for sit-down scenarios with a need for processing power, the comfort of a bigger screen, the precision of a keyboard and mouse, etc.

This product distinction started blurring with the introduction of bigger iPads, accessories like the Apple Pencil or the Magic Keyboard, and more desktop-like features on iPadOS. An example of this was adding mouse or trackpad support in iPadOS 13. Taking into account all of these changes, there seems to be a secret plan from Apple to transform the iPad into something new, with features that were previously reserved for a laptop/desktop experience.

One more nail in the coffin was Apple’s recent Spring 2021 event, when it was announced that the new iPad Pro will house the new M1 chip. This new desktop-class processor allows Apple to compete with the likes of Intel or AMD. More importantly, Apple now owns the entire hardware manufacturing pipeline, reducing costs and eliminating dependencies on vendors. M1 already provides significant performance improvements to the latest line-up of Macs, and now iPads too. The new iPad Pro will also include up to 16GB of RAM, which is surprising given that these are the same tech specs of the newest MacBook Pro.

Many have started wondering, what is Apple planning to do with an iPad Pro that contains the same hardware as a MacBook Pro? Rumors and leaks have not provided much insight into what’s being cooked in Cupertino, so let’s explore the iPad’s intriguing future.

Thumbnail from YouTube channel: ‘A Better Computer’
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My first month with the PlayStation 5

When Sony announced that the PS5 would launch in November, I decided that it was time to say goodbye to my old Xbox 360. I read a lot about preorder fiascos with previous launches, and even more about the risks of being an early adopter of a next-gen console, but I didn’t let any reading discourage me.

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Dedusting my old Xbox 360 in 2020

I bought my first gaming console in 2010, when Microsoft introduced a redesigned Xbox 360. Even though the original Xbox 360 launched 15 years ago, in November 2005, Microsoft decided 5 years later to produce a slimmer model. It also included big improvements like built-in N-wireless connectivity, a 45nm CPU and GPU, and a built-in port for Kinect —a motion-sensing system that was released ahead of its time.

Photo by Rohit Choudhari on Unsplash
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I cannot wait for the 2027 iPhone

Another year, another iPhone with minimal changes. Virtually identical to the 2017 design except for the flat edges, the iPhone 12 that Apple recently announced doesn’t surprise. It pleases, but it doesn’ dazzle. 5G and a series of back magnets, named MagSafe, complete the highlights of a device that will sell well, but that won’t do anything to push the envelope.

Is there anything else Apple can do with the iPhone of the future? Of course: a high-frequency display, more and better cameras, eliminate “the notch”, resuscitate Touch ID… all iterative improvements. Fun for some, boring for most.

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‘Can you hear me ok?’ The benefits of remote work

When I started studying computer science in 2003, working for a Big Tech company was a dream almost impossible to reach for me. I was born and raised in Spain, and that’s also where I went to college. Studying over 5000 miles away from the tech scene of Silicon Valley had an interesting effect on me, I’d watch Apple’s tech events and Microsoft’s product announcements as if they were Hollywood movies. I could never imagine myself being part of them. 

The main reason why Big Tech companies felt unreachable was because none of them had software development centers in Spain. The only way of working for companies like Microsoft or Google as a Software Engineer was to move to another country, which made the dream feel more unattainable on top of the already challenging interview process. A lot of talent was left untapped in Spain, and a lot of engineers who dreamed of an opportunity in Silicon Valley never got it.

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